Dorney, SFGAdv, First Time (8/16-8/18)

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Tuesday, August 19, 2003 6:20 AM
Trip Report -

8/16, 8/17, 8/18 - Dorney, SFGAdv, Dorney

I had an interview on the 18th in Princeton, NJ, so decided to turn it into a coaster weekend with a couple of parks I'd never been to. I set out from Pittsburgh on Saturday morning at about 9:30am for Dorney. I hit all kinds of fog and rain and really don't remember a lot of the drive other than being rather tense and not being able to see pretty much from the Pittsburgh exit off the Turnpike to the Carlisle exit! It was pretty bad conditions and I was worried about my Dorney day getting rained out. But, once I got off the turnpike and headed north, things improved a little. I got to Dorney's exit off 78 at about 2:30pm and there was a lot of rain and lightning around, so I decided to grab some lunch at a local Wendys before hitting the park. Ran into the most stereotypical New Yorkers in the Wendys - this woman's trying to get ketchup from the big vats and there's none left. So, instead of casually going to ask the person for more ketchup, she screams over the full line of people "HEY! You're out of f-ing ketchup!" (not censored). The people at the registers just looked at her and she proceeded with her rant, screaming obcenities and demanding mroe ketchup until someone came out with packets of ketchup, to which she replied "my kids won't eat it out of a packet! This restaurant f-ing sucks! F you all!" and went to eat. I honestly couldn't believe what I just saw, but talk about being the stereotypical New Yorker - you nice New Yorkers (I know you're out there) should stop these kind from getting out in public ;)

After my Wendy's, got to the park to find the lot pretty full. But, I found a great spot right near the gate - only to run over a glass bottle someone left in the spot. So, to this point, my day isn't going very well. Luckily, no flat tire, but I did put Fix-A-Flat in it just to be sure. Got into the park to find one of the most confusing layouts I've seen at a park. Dorney reminded me of what might happen if Kennywood on steriods got invaded by Cedar Point. There were definite Cedar Fair marks everywhere, but the park still had a hometown park feel to it which was very nice. The people were generally pleasant, although there was a lot of line-cutting, and the lines really weren't that bad.

My first stop was Talon. About an hour line, but WOW! was this worth it! Talon is easily (IMHO) the best invert ever built. This is what inverts are supposed to be - small, compact, non-stop attack of element after element. There is no real stop to this ride, it just attacks you from the moment you leave the lift hill. Rode in the backseat twice (the best place I thought - 4 moments of airtime on an invert? Priceless!) and front once. This one's a 10/10!!

Second stop was supposed to be Laser, but while I was in line, the storms returned, and the rides were all shut down for about 30 mintues for a pretty intense rainstorm. I found a tree that was real dry and hung out with some other people that were by themselves that day. After the rain began to trail off, I headed for Steel Force, figuring this would be the time to get with a short line. I was right, even though when the line opened back up, a lot of people cut in front of me. This ride was a real surprise. I wasn't expecting much, but Steel Force is great! Rode backseat and got all kinds of air on every hill, and I love the helicies at the far end. One thing that really bothered me though was a MCBR on a hyper. I thought that it was really unneccesary and could easily be re-built into a short bunny hop to extend the ride and let some more speed be carried into those great bunny hops at the end. 9/10.

Next was Thunderhawk, decent ride, although quite rough. I liked it though, nothing more to report. 7/10. Laser was next, a little rough, but I was expecting just Scorpion with an extra loop and was surprised at the forces. The lady I rode with must have been completely out of it, because apparently, she didn't notice that the ride had loops until she was already sitting in the car! Ah, the neverending bounds of human stupidity ... 8/10. Last (different) ride was Hercules. Wow, burn this thing to the ground. This thing is a piece of crap, the first drop is good (other than the Mean Streak-ish brakes) but after that, what the heck happened? Flat runs, no speed, terrible ride. 4/10.

Finished up with a ride on Talon and left for the day a little early. Dorney's fun, but its probably not an every year visit place, even though I'd like to just to ride Talon!!


Next stop: SFGAdv. Sunday morning, got up early and proceeded down the Jersey Turnpike (this was my first time ever driving in Jersey - did NOT enjoy it!). Got to the park about 9:30 and joined the running of the bulls to Superman. Glad I did as I got on in about 15 minutes, and the waits were upwards of 2 hours the rest of the day! This is an awesome, awesome ride! I wasn't really expecting much since it doesn't really do a lot compared to the Flying Dutchmen, but the superior restraints, the higher speeds, and oh my god, the Pretzel Loop! B&M has the flyer down to a science already! Great ride, 9/10.

The park crowd was basically all jammed in the Superman line at this point, so I went back towards Medusa and had the place to myself! Medusa East has now replaced Kumba as my favorite sit down looper! This was absolute coaster bliss for me! Rode in the back seat, right side, and I had airtime and whips all over the place. First drop was great, loop had hang time, dive loop had air on the exit (when has that ever happened?), zero-G was truly zero-G, cobra had no banging at all, just whips, the helix off the MCBR was great, the interlocks are smooth, the final turns and whips are wonderful. I can't say enough about this. It was a walk-on when I got there and didn't have to leave my seat for 3 straight rides, then did leave for another in a more-forward row. Great ride, 10/10!

I next went to Rolling Thunder cause I couldn't find Viper. Decent possibilities here, but needs some TLC. I whacked my shin off a piece of the restraint bar on the final turn into the station, and its been hurting me ever since. 6/10. Viper was next - why does Six Flags desicrate (sp?) the name Viper with this monstrosity? This was one of the most awful coasters I've ever ridden. Painful, honestly scary (I never get scared on coasters) and just a terrible ride. I didn't even notice we went upside down. 3/10. Mine Train was next, good ride, but not much else to say. Probably my favorite Mine Train out of the bunch, but that's not saying much. 5/10. Went back for another ride on Medusa (the forward one) and left the Frontier Town. One last comment on this area - what exactly does Medusa have to do with mining?

Caught a ride on GASM on my way to the other side of the park. Wow, this is one terribly designed ride. It looked to me like some kid just bought No Limits, had no idea about verticies and smoothness of track and just built a big hill and a bunch of loops. I can't even believe that Viper (SFMM) and this ride are of the same company and the same "crop" of ride! GASM sucked, sorry. 6/10.

After snaking my way to the other side of the park, the first ride I came across was The Chiller. I knew it would be down, but after seeing it, I was quite disappointed that Batman's side wasn't running. But, I did notice once in the station that it didn't even have a permit posted from the state of New Jersey. I hope that whatever was wrong to deny this permit is fixed for next year, cause I will be back and want to ride that top hat! The theme on this ride is cool, although has taken a beating. A lot of graffiti and ripped up walls, but still looked good - almost added to the effect! The ride itself was cramped as all Premiers are, but the ride is great! I can see why OTSRs would be awful on this, but with lapbars, it was great! A backwards zero-G is just beyond words! 9/10.

Next ride was B:TR. Real long line for this one, and the ops weren't very good. Took them about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes to dispatch one train. Not too swift there, and the guy at the mike seemed to be real annoyed with all of them - perhaps a new crew being trained for Halloween weekends? The ride was the same as Magic Mountain, although needs some maintenance, as it made a lot of noise and vibrated a lot. 9/10.

I think as a general thing, SFGAdv has a low maintenance budget, as a lot of their rides are just lacking in this department. That should be their goal for next year, but hey, what do I know, I'm just a patron.

Last different ride of the day was Nitro. This just completed my impression that SFGAdv is B&M's showcase park. All of their rides here are just perfection of their class! Medusa is incredible, Superman is amazing, B:TR is a legend, and Nitro is just wonderful. I was trying to think of another B&M that didn't have the little dip before the drop, but couldn't, but anyway, the ride was just incredible. The way the turns were executed, the great airtime on every hill, the whips and turns, the forces in the helix, all of it was just absolutely great! Again, I still don't agree with an MCBR on a hyper/speed coaster, but it was a great experience and I rode it two more times. Love this ride, and I can't wait to get out to Gurney and try Raging Bull now! 10/10.

Then, life at SFGdv got interesting! I was out of major coasters I wanted to do at this point and decided to do the three B&Ms with reasonable lines again, then go home. Went back to Medusa (after walking in a circle once which annoyed me - another poorly laid out park) and found a 45 minute line. What a difference from this morning when there wasn't a soul around! Got in line though, as it was moving fast. About the time I reached the final queue before the stairs, *BOOM* Well, with that, the ride shut down, and after about 10 seconds of people complaining about them not dispatching, a huge lightning bolt struck right near the ride, and pretty much showed everyone why it was down! The line didn't empty much though, and the rain held off for about 5 more minutes. But once it started, it was there to stay! It absolutely poured! I tried to crowd under the little roof before the stairs, but with no luck, the thing was already packed. So, after about 15 minutes of standing getting my back soaked, I decided screw this, I'm going walking. So, I left the line, and got a bag from the picture people to protect my digital camera, and just began to walk around the park, heedless of the rain. There were a few others doing as I was, but not many. It was actually pretty fun, I walked all the way back to Nitro before I decided this was useless and the rain wasn't going to stop anytime soon. The midways were all flooded, some so deep that I was in above my ankles, so I just found my way to the exit. Ended up sitting in the parking lot for the better part of an hour before the lines even moved to leave the park, but that was ok, cause I was definitely satisfied with my day. SFGAdv is a great park and I will probably be back at least once a year from now on, if nothing else than to ride the 4 B&Ms! Great setting, great coasters, good employees, confusing midways, and I could have stood for better weather! ;)


My third day was mostly my interview and drive home, but I couldn't pass up Dorney since I went home I-78 anyway. Stopped for literally 20 minute to ride Talon twice and went home. Still a great ride, and I'm very glad I did.

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Give me launched or give me ... uh ... more launched!!
--Brett

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Tuesday, August 19, 2003 7:52 AM
Glad you had fun at Dorney. Such an underrated park, yeah? Talon is a solid B+M, its a great ride. You shoulda rode Hercules in the back, completely different ride. Wish I would have known you were there, woulda showed you around. Also, what did you find so confusing about the layout of the park?


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"You know its a good ride when you come into the final brake run wiping tears from your eyes."

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Tuesday, August 19, 2003 10:07 AM
Yea, it is underrated, I had a good time and probably would have had better if I had someone else with me (the trip was very spur-of-the-moment so I didn't even think to check the meeting calendar on here). I did ride Herc in the back seat - still didn't like it, sorry. Just not my cup-o-tea, sorry. Well, it took me a good ten minutes to figure out where the entrance to the park was, I walked from my car (near the parking entrance) all the way to Laser before I realized I was going the wrong direction (and since I got there at 3, there were no crowds to follow). Once inside, I was expecting Talon to be right off the midway, but it was kinda tucked back in a corner, and although I just followed the big hill and eventually found Steel Force, I had to do a lot of walking to get to the 2 or 3 crossings to the SF/TH area from the Laser. And it took me forever, and a few dead ends to get from TH to Herc.

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Give me launched or give me ... uh ... more launched!!
--Brett

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Tuesday, August 19, 2003 10:29 AM
Another satisfied Great Adventure customer. Are we the bomb diggy or what :)

Song for the day - Ex factor - Lauryn Hill

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Tuesday, August 19, 2003 11:35 AM
Heck I'd even give ya bomb-diggi-DY! Can I take your Beemers closer to home please? I'd even trade ya Phantom's Revenge, Raptor, B:KF and S:UE for Medusa and Nitro ;) (and if you're really, really ask nice I might consider Mean Streak ... )

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Give me launched or give me ... uh ... more launched!!
--Brett

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