Dorney Park Opening Day 5/1

Sunday, May 2, 2010 3:02 PM

I was up with the proverbial chickens yesterday as usual, and headed West to Dorney for my first Opening Day at that park. After all the hassles getting my CF Platinum Pass replaced, I was looking forward to it. I arrived at the park about 9:30 for the 10 a.m. opening. I could see some groups already walking around, although the gates hadn't been raised. I assumed they were groups of employees training (although they were in street clothes) or students working on a project before the public came in.

When I walk into Dorney, I usually head for Talon. But because I couldn't anticipate the crowd size, I headed left toward Possessed and Steel Force. Possessed was a no-go. It did not open at all. No idea why. There was no work activity going on.
Walked past Revolution on my way over to Steel Force. That swinging pendulum ride was also non-operating.

I realized at the point that the knee I banged at KD two weeks ago was gonna be giving me trouble. I haven't felt it much but for an occasional twinge. But it hurts most when going down ramps and stairs..not as bad going UP, and not painful on level ground. But many of us know how hilly Dorney is.

Got on what I believe was the second or third train of the day on Steel Force. This is still one of the most agonizingly slow lift hills..but I've gotten spoiled by I-305 and Toro. The ride felt good. No rough spots, except leading into the trim before the bunnies. Took three rides at that time, but had to go around on each, despite no waiters. Got nice airtime on the bunnies. I took one front ride, which I sorta enjoyed, but no airtime to be had. They were running two trains.

Headed over to Thunderhawk and took four rides, three in or near the back. Only one train ops, and no re-rides. I've always thought Thunderhawk was a bit under-rated. It's got a couple of nice transitions and laterals. I just wish it was about 45 seconds longer. Not as rough as remembered.

Headed to Hydra, which I've surprisingly come to like a bit the last few visits. Took two spins, one front, one back. I actually can't decide which I like better. Only one train.

On to Talon, which is my favorite coaster in the park. I knew the exit stairs on Talon would play havoc with my knee, so I really wanted to avoid them as long as possible. By mixing in with the passengers depositing and retrieving stuff in the cabinets, I was able to get six rides before I got shut out. My first two were in the front. Like Hydra, I like both front and back on this baby. Riding in the front, you feel like you can reach up and touch the track above you. It's a neat visual.

The rest of the day is hit-or-miss in terms of time frames and my memory, so I'll simply do the best I can to encapsulate the day. I got a few more rides on SF, TH, and finished the day with a dozen on Talon. Crowds were non-existent until the late afternoon, when there appeared to be an influx of people taking advantage of the Starlight admission after 5pm. There were a few buses/school groups there, but they weren't bunched. Longest wait was for the Mouse, which I skipped because of that. At times there was only one car on the course. I know Mice (mouses?) are slow loading, but Come On! There was also a decent-size line for Season Pass processing, which I thankfully did NOT have to concern myself with.

Possessed, as previously stated, was down all day. Talon, Steel Force, Revolution, Hang Time, and Meteor all had downtime at some point. Meteor is my favorite ride at Dorney, and I did get on, but it went down while I was waiting for a second shortly before I split for the day.

I did get on Revolution in the afternoon, but the experience took longer than expected. After the carriage had settled into position at the end of the ride, the floor would not rise. So we were left dangling for about 15 minutes. I was thinking we might have to be let loose and make the 5-6 foot drop to the floor. Under normal circumstances, sure. But with this knee? I think not. Then Mr. Tool Man arrived and rectified the situation.

I did pretty much all the Spin-n-Spews..Swings, Enterprise, Tilt-A-Whirl, Music Express, etc. Although I suffered no NEW injuries (for a change!) the ride that beat me up most was the darn WHIP! I don't remember ever getting bounced off the walls of the straightaway that much.

Dominator drop tower offered me a nice visual of what is barely a skeleton of Demon Drop. I don't know how long it takes to assemble something like that, but it's barely started. I didn't see anyone working on it yesterday. The log flume was closed, I assume because of the construction (DD is the flume's new next-door neighbor.) Naturally, I was disappointed, because I love Dorney's flume. What's lousy is that if a coaster is down, you can still admire its grandeur and aesthetics (okay, maybe not Dark Knight!) But a flume ride empty of water and boats? That's just sad to see.

Fortunately, there were other water ride options. Although I wore black jeans, I wanted to get wet, and of course, you don't get any wetter than on Thunder Canyon unless you're in a pool or ocean...and even then...

Last year, water leaked into my pouch when I rode TC and ruined my cell phone. So this year, I rode with my right hand under my El Toro shirt, cupping the pouch in a valiant effort to save the phone. I knew it was wet, but I forgot HOW wet. You're pretty much guaranteed to get doused by most of the six or seven waterfalls. The phone survived this time, though. I tried to make some calls later, but it wasn't working. I was worried, but it turned out to be a range thing, I guess.

Part of my routine at parks now is to make sure I don't go the entire day without eating, as I've often done. So I decided I couldn't walk to McDonald's because of the knee. I took my car out, stopped at Weis for some Gibbles Cheese Puffys (Hey, ya can't get 'em in Joisey!) and went to Friendly's for lunch around 2:30. Had a burger with white cheddar (the "Vermonter") that was very good, although the bacon that was on it left a bad taste in my mouth. Plenty of iced tea and an absolutely delicious sundae to go with it.

I went back to the park, but this time, since I had my hand stamped, I took everything out of my pouch..save my car key..and re-entered the park with the intention of riding Thunder Canyon without worrying about anything except getting soaked. And I did..twice more. Second time I was actually in a boat by my lonesome. Also did White Water Landing (shoot the chute)..and got wetter than ever before on that, too. It was warm all day, but not uncomfortably so, so the water rides felt great..except for the post-ride "squishies."

I was PO'd to be told yesterday that I couldn't ride the Scrambler by myself. I got paired up with an obnoxious, loud, pimply faced teenager who spent the whole ride yelling at his friends in another car. I was able to tune him out a bit and enjoy the ride a little..hey, being partly deaf ain't ALWAYS a bad thing!

I finished, as I often do, with a ride on the carousel. I was gonna follow that with a night ride on Thunderhawk, but I had a bad mental moment where I thought I might have lost my wallet. It was in the car, though. I thought I might have trouble parking when I got back from Friendly's, but I found a space even better than the one I had when I went out.

Two t-shirt anecdotes: Ride op on Thunder Canyon sees my shirt. Says, "You shouldn't be wearing that shirt. You should have a Hydra one or something." I borrowed Judd Nelson's Breakfast Club line..."Not even close, BUD!" I added, "You've got some nice coasters here, and I love Talon, but this ride is on a different planet." He took it in fun, and that's the spirit in which it was intended.

Then while I was waiting for my aborted second spin on Meteor, the youngest of three girls in front of me says, "Do you go to Six Flags?" I said "All the time. I live in New Jersey." So her older companion..turned out to be big sister, twenty-something and very cute..says, "Well, why do you come here too, if you live in Jersey?" I said, "I love both parks and it's about the same driving distance." Then she started asking about Kingda Ka, and we had a nice conversation.

I was surprised to see a few remnants from Dorney's Halloween festivities last year still hanging around..notably signage from Club Blood and some leftover props, including the entryway schoolbus, from Camp Cudie..and NO, it's not "Cutie"....it's C U DIE!!!

I think that about wraps this up. Thanks for reading, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Mike

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Sunday, May 2, 2010 3:12 PM

I put my phone in a ziplock bag sometimes. I have ruined a phone from sweat on a really hot day once.

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Sunday, May 2, 2010 5:44 PM

Nice TR.

If I forget a ziplock from home, I go into a gift shop and ask for a plastic bag. I then wrap it around all of the belongings in my pocket, button the bag away in one of my cargo pockets, and I'm set for the wet rides.

I am assuming that you were wearing some kind of Six Flags shirt? Kinda Ka, perhaps?

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Sunday, May 2, 2010 8:31 PM

Has the vibration problem on Hydra settled down?

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Sunday, May 2, 2010 10:05 PM

Jim S. said:
Has the vibration problem on Hydra settled down?

I didn't sense much. It felt pretty stable.

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Sunday, May 2, 2010 10:08 PM

I hate the no re-ride policy at Dorney, it is such a waste of time to walk around each time when the stations are empty. The no single rider rule on the Scrambler makes no sense to me, they just added it last year and Eli Bridge's website states no single riders reccomended unless the ride has seatbelts and of course with it being a CF park, the ride has seatbelts.

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Sunday, May 2, 2010 10:08 PM

LostKause said:


I am assuming that you were wearing some kind of Six Flags shirt? Kinda Ka, perhaps?

As mentioned in the TR earlier, it was an El Toro shirt. I wouldn't say "I wouldn't wear a Kingda Ka shirt if you paid me"...but you WOULD have to pay me.

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Sunday, May 2, 2010 10:11 PM

Agree with you that their Mouse is the worst in terms of loading. It's bad enough with the 2 adult rule, but there seems to be no rhyme or reason how they load and dispatch cars. The ops will tell you to stand in Row 2, then they'll dispatch 5 cars in a row from 3 and 4. So you're standing there watching people who were half a queue behind you ride before you.

Also think Dorney's Whip is the best. Although last year, there were two sections of floor that didn't meet quite right. Nothing like a speed bump on a Whip. Overall nice TR. Sounds like you got to ride quite a lot and managed to nab a decent lunch.

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Sunday, May 2, 2010 11:25 PM

Thanks. I used Firefox's "find" feature to find where you mentioned your El Toro shirt in the part about Thunder Canyon.

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Monday, May 3, 2010 5:04 AM

RatherGoodBear said:


Also think Dorney's Whip is the best.

I'll take that comment to mean you MAYBE haven't been to Playland in Rye, NY. Coaster-style AIRTIME on a Whip!

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Wednesday, May 5, 2010 9:37 AM

I was at Dorney on Sunday. I was also super bummed the flume was closed. I noticed when I was on Hydra but didn't realize it was due to construction till I got down to that part of the park. I would have liked to ride the swan boats too, but all in due time I guess.

I have to say I thought Hydra still has it's awful vibration problem. Nothing like Talon.

I also rode the Cedar Creek Cannonball (newer train) for the first time since like 1995. There was really some beautiful landscaping on the other side of it with some perfectly pruned weeping willow trees.

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Wednesday, May 5, 2010 1:06 PM

From the sounds of it, Thunderhawk has had some work done on it recently. Good to hear. I always find it encouraging when Cedar Fair deigns to take care of its woodies.

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Saturday, May 8, 2010 6:37 PM

Nice TR. Dorney is my closest homepark and I haven't made it up there yet. Maybe tomorrow.

How tight was the trim on Steel Force? When that midcourse brake is loose, Steel Force is a fantastic ride, but when it's on tight, it's just another ho-hum big coaster. Any improvement to Thunderhawk's trimming? That ride used to be great, but now it's hard for me to enjoy it knowing what it once was.

Glad to see so much love for the log flume. It really is great and I would have been very bummed to see it closed as well.

As for Possessed, the train was only installed two days before park opening (not sure why), so I'm guessing it hadn't been approved for opening yet, but the crew was being trained on it this week, so it's probably good to go by now. My roommate is one of the leads for that crew. He hates the "no re-rides" rule as well.

I hope they get Demon Drop open soon. I plan to be riding that a lot this year. Love, love, love that ride!

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