The morning ERT was on Laser, Steel Force, and Thunderhawk. We made our way to Laser and were delighted to see two train operation. I can't remember the last time I saw both trains running - bonus points for DP. Laser is one of those coasters where you are not allowed to pick your seat. When you enter the station, you are required to fill the train from front to back, so we've never been able to time it right to get a front or back ride. That changed today. Our first ride landed us in the back, and our second right was in the front. Believe it or not, the g's were stronger in the front, and the visuals were much better. After Laser we headed over to Steel Force for two quick walk-on laps. There was a large retirement card for John Albino set up at Steel Force's entrance that everyone could sign. It was to be given to him later in the day. Next up we hit Thunderhawk for some morning wood action. As always, "Coaster" delivered. Now that I think about it, they should change the name back to Coaster, since the name Thunderhawk has been destroyed by using it on an SLC.
It was almost 10:00 and the park was starting to come to life, so we decided to get in a lap on Talon before the line started to grow. And it did grow quickly. There were many bus loads of teenagers arriving at the park for a band competition, so I knew at that point, the rest of the day would be spent relaxing and hitting less popular rides. Of course there was also time to get a few more Hydra construction pictures. We also used our half price coupons for a refreshing spin on Skyscraper.
Next up we headed to the picnic groves for some tasty free food. In addition to the usual chicken and hot dogs, pot roast beef sandwiches were available - nice touch. For the second year in a row, I won nothing in the raffle. Chris Ozimek introduced John Hildebrandt as Dorney's new GM following John Albino's retirement. John also mentioned Chris's recent promotion to Director of Marketing at Worlds of Fun.
After lunch, we killed some more time riding various rides, including the ever popular Joker. Later on, around 5:30 or so, we left the park and headed up the road for supper at TGIFridays. After that we headed back to the park for what I feel was the most fun part.
We took a quick lap on Laser, which proved to be the most exciting. I've never been tossed around on a steel coaster as much as I was on this one in the third to last car. It wasn't a bad tossing either, it was just plain fun uncontrolled mayhem. And believe me, it was very surprising that a coaster that I've been riding for years would deliver a memorable ride like this.
Now it was time to hit Steel Force for some early evening riding (about 7:30), and all I can say is 'Wow'. With as packed as the park was all day long, I figured we would get 1 or 2 rides in before we wanted to head up toward Talon for the night ERT. From looking at the line, I expected about a 20 - 25 minute wait. That wasn't close - it might have been 10. Once we got up to the station, we could see that the crew was working very hard. I'm not sure what their goal was but they were pumping trains out about every 45 seconds. One was getting dispatched when the one in front of it was cresting the second hill. The best three train operation I've ever seen before was a dispatch with a train on the mid course brakes. The crew seemed like they had something to prove, and I can honestly say they reminded me of the Raptor crew in the way they moved. Needless to say, we just had to keep going for re-rides. On our fourth trip, Steel Force just decided it needed a break, and stranded a train full of peeps on the mid course brake. After about 15 minutes, they were cycled back through to the station, and the ride re-opened. After our last ride we made our way toward Talon for the main event of the evening.
We got there around 9:00, but the line was already down to about 10 minutes because there was a mass exodus of buses after 8:00. We sneaked in a few rides and were able to walk over to Coasters for a milkshake before the park closed. Once the ERT started, we were able to walk on to any row on Talon, except the front, which was about a three train wait. Now anyone who goes to Dorney should know this: Talon is a completely different ride in the dark. It has somewhat of a Jekyl and Hyde personality. It has something to do with it being nearly silent (compared to other B&Ms). The other cool thing was hearing the screams of terror when the public was in the park turn into screams of 'weeeee!' Of course, the screams are the only things you hear.
Over all, yet another relaxing day at Dorney, even though it was a long one.
Great TR - although it did little more than make me long for the days that I could slip over to Dorney on a boring evening and get a couple dozen walk-ons on Talon :)
I miss living less than 5 miles from a park that offers season passes.
(anyone from Kennywood reading this - hint hint :) )
Apparently, Steel Force goes upside down 3 times! According to three girls sitting behind me Steel Force has 3 inversions and they were screaming their heads off, yelling "Oh My God tell me we just didn't go upside down." "We did I felt it, I felt it." "Oh my god that was insane did you feel the loops." As I shook my head in disbelief I then realized how stupid the general public is.
I went around asking people where Hercules is and they gave me basic directions to that side of the park. When they told me that it wasn't their they earned a point, but then when I asked where Hydra was they told me it wasn't bulit yet and it was going to be the tallest, fastest, coaster in the world reaching speeds of 100 m.p.h. So I revoked his point.
After lunch altough I sticked around to talk to Chris because he was headed to Worlds of Fun with a promotion. He asked about 5 of us if we wanted to be on the news riding coaster (err....Thunderhawk). So we went through the exit and got to ride while channel 69 news filmed us.
All in all it was a great coaster maddness looks like i'll see all of you at Kennykon and Coaster Mainia!
BTW, good job "news riding" on Channel 69! Yowzers!
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