Dorney Park Coaster Madness - long

Associated parks:
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Saturday, June 28, 2003 9:28 PM
We arrived at the park around 8:30, and to my dismay, the season pass parking lot was blocked off. We had to park in the first row past the handicapped spaces. Where's the tram? :) After picking up our Coaster Madness passes, we strolled to the back of the park for the morning ERT on ThunderHawk and Steel Force. It didn't look like it was going to be very full, so we really didn't feel the need to rush around.

ThunderHawk was running two trains for the ERT, which although I think parks should run coasters at capacity as much as possible, it wasn't necessary here. We got in a quick lap with no waiting. I've said it earlier this year that ThunderHawk seems to be running better than ever this year. It gives a nice combination of floaty and ejector air. The only real complaint I honestly have about it is the trims on the bunny hops at the end. And to think that just a few years ago, I absolutely hated it. It has truly aged well.

Next up was Steel Force. We had a 4 train wait for the last row. I can't quite put my finger on it, but Steel Force seemed a little off. There was no air on the bunny hops, which I don't understand, because it didn't really seem to be slower than normal. We took another lap before a potty break at the most out of place restrooms in the world.

There were many people that had the same idea to just take some time to chill on the ThunderHawk path. It's a nice shady spot to sit and watch the ThunderHawk up close. I was amazed at the number of nearly empty trains. We even saw some solo riders. Since it was so empty, we decided to take another run on it before the park opened to the public.

Like I said, we were in no hurry to get anything done. Now that the park was open,we took a downward ride on Dominator. Even though it's only 200 feet tall, it's still nerve-racking sitting at the top and not knowing when you are going to drop. We wandered over to the scariest ride in the park - The Joker ;). Why you ask? Because it was actually running! Next I wanted to get a ride on Meteor, and found out quickly that I was doing it by myself. Once again, another walk-on. Hard to believe considering that it's still the newest ride on the dry side of the park.

After watching White Water Landing for a bit, it was time to take a lap on Talon. I guess I'm spoiled because I haven't waited more than a few trains all season for even the front row. The line was huge! It went all the way down the steps and halfway up one of the switchbacks. After a long 15 minute wait, we got our ride on the quietest B&M in the world.

Next we killed some time passing through the arcade and some shops before heading down to the picnic grove for lunch. Free food woohoo! There was a raffle drawing for a bunch of cool door prizes, and to nobody's surprise, I came away with jack squat! The guest speakers were Wally Ely and Bob Ott, who just released a book about the history of Dorney Park.

After lunch, a small group of us were walked back to Steel Force for an on-ride TV photo shoot. I thought we were going to be brought in through the exit, but there was just a tiny line, so we just waited a couple trains and all rode together. That was probably the rowdiest train of the day. After that lap, we were also asked to do the same on ThunderHawk, and it was the same situation. We just walked into the station and hopped on.

Now that it was the meat of the day, it was time to head over to Wild Water Kingdom to cool down. Let's just say that WWK was packed. The wave pool was more like a mosh pit. This was my first visit there this season, so I was surprised at how many paths were changed around. I had heard horror stories of waiting two hours for a lazy river. One of them had a good sized line - I would say about 1/2 hour, but the other one had no line at all. That's because it's nearly impossible to find now. The entrance is now tucked into the corner of one of the table areas, and we had to look hard for it.

By now it was around 5:30, so it was time to eat. We left the park and hit the TGIFridays up the road. I think we drove our waiter nuts because between the two of us we downed about 10 sodas. When we got back to the park the season pass parking lot was open.

Back to the park and it was time to take a spin on Skyscraper. We had half price coupons, so I figured it was time to dust off the wallet and finally give it a try. Once again, this was a solo venture for me. What a rush! It was fast and gentle at the same time. Now that I've done it, I would do it again even at full price.

Next we headed over to the Laser. Its very short, but packs a nice punch. We were treated to back row seats for the first time, which is something we've wanted for a while, because it's faster in the back ;) . This one is actually two rides. First it's the ridiculously slow crawl to the top, and then the purple and green blur. Speaking of purple blurs, we had to take our traditional ride on the Zephyr.

After a quick trip to the car to drop off sunglasses, we took a night ride on Steel Force and ThunderHawk. SF had the longest line of the day with about a 15 minute wait.

That pretty much did it for normal park hours, now it's time for the night ERT on Hercules and Talon. Before allowing anyone on Hercules, a park representative had to give us all very specific instructions to keep our restraints completely fastened until the ride was over. Evidently there were some violations in the morning ERT. By now I'm thinking Steel Force is over 200 feet and ThunderHawk gives some serious ejector air, so why would anyone want to flirt with danger on either of these. It just goes to show that some people just don't get it. The restraints are there for a reason people, can't we learn from history?

Anyway, on to Hercules. We were in the second row, because it was a long day, and we didn't need to get beat up too bad. The best part is definitely the lake turn, after that, it gets rather boring. The biggest consolation was the fact that it was smoother than we were used to. Still, one lap is enough.

On to the main event - Talon. It is truly a masterpiece that gets even better at night. The way that it's light up at night really brightens that whole area of the park. It's quite spooky how it flies through the course with just a gush of wind. After a few laps on the coolest coaster in the park, it was closing in on 11:00, and we figured it was finally time to call it a day, especially since someone needed to be at work at 6:30 am.

Overall, it was a very relaxing day, considering we did about the same amount of riding as we do when we are there for only a few hours.

Biggest surprise: Skyscraper
Biggest disappointment: Still not finding the elusive Gonchar.

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Eastcoaster Field of 64

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Saturday, June 28, 2003 9:53 PM
Heh, it's like trying to spot Sasquatch, huh?

I have a feeling I went over exactly when you guys went to TGI Friday's. I left the house right around 5pm which would have gotten me to the park at around a quarter after - even with traffic. I circled the park at a leisurely pace trying out the new camera & trying to spot familiar faces, scored a ride or two and headed out. The clock on the gate said 6:40. I was probably there exactly the time you weren't.

Talon is probably the second quietest B&M on Earth. Kraken is pretty damn quiet - almost to the point of being creepy. Talon still "roars" but it's muffled and doesn't echo or reverberate. Kraken is friggin' silent. It's weird to hear people scream and no coaster noise behind it.

And yes, Talon at night is B&M Inverted perfection. I'm not sure any ride does a Day/Night transformation like Talon. Not because of the dark or lack of view, but just because it seems to get so much faster when the sun goes down. Brilliant!

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www.coasterimage.com
Dorney Park Visits in 2003: 9

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Saturday, June 28, 2003 11:25 PM

Lord Gonchar said:


And yes, Talon at night is B&M Inverted perfection. I'm not sure any ride does a Day/Night transformation like Talon. Not because of the dark or lack of view, but just because it seems to get so much faster when the sun goes down. Brilliant!

Adore Talon at night and could NOT wait for the sun to go down to ride it at night! Gotta say here that Talon's bigger brother Raptor rocks at night too!! :) Not that I'm an expert or anything!!! ;)
And why didn't I meet you? I thought for sure out of all the CB'ers I would get to meet you!

Jo
2000/2002 Raptor Crew
2003 Crew??
Lifetime Raptor flights: 749 :) (goin for 1k in 03!)
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It's all about getting around the barrels or over the fences, right leads, no faults, fastest time and still looking pretty when done. What's so hard about that? :)


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Sunday, June 29, 2003 12:05 AM
I didn't see anyone on Friday! Like I said, I was just chilling with the new camera. I spotted a couple of "Coaster Zombie" shirts, but no one I knew. End of list.

I'm so anonymous it hurts.

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www.coasterimage.com
Dorney Park Visits in 2003: 10

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