Dorney/King's Dominion 8/17-8/20

Daniella's avatar

Hi! I've just returned from a 4 day road trip, and I've just got to write about it before I forget all the little details. (:

We left early Sunday morning to get to two new parks for my mother and I. I wasn't really expecting much from Dorney Park, and I didn't get much. I pretty much just really wanted to get on Snake Pit actually, the new for 2014 water slide complex.

Coming from Cleveland, it was about a 7 hour drive, we got there around 4 ish. Luckily I was a Cedar Fair employee and I got in for free yay. The front gate person stopped and looked at my ID and was like wow, first one of these I've seen haha. First thing we walked to was Hydra. I've never been on a floorless, as the only two parks I've had the privilege to go to are CP and KI.

The line was basically empty, we waited 2 trains for front seat. I was very surprised that Dorney uses automated spiels in their stations. No one really talks at all, just the 'ready' and 'clear'. It makes the ride dull, there no one there yelling to get pumped and 'welcome back riders, how was that ride?' I even ask that to guests when I'm working the bottom of the tornado water slide. I was also surprised that neither parks have wait times posted at the front of the entrances, while I didn't wait more than 15 minutes for anything the entire trip, I wished they did have those.

Anyway, I was actually disappointed in Hydra. The jojo roll was fun, but the ride itself was boring and sort of jerky. I give it a 6.5/10.

After that, we made our way back to the front to ride Talon. It was also a walk on, I believe we waited 2-3 trains? I was very pleasantly surprised in this ride. I almost want to say I like it better than Raptor. (orange is my favorite color anyway) The inline inversion is probably my favorite part. 8/1o

After that, we went to the water park because I work at the other Wildwater Kingdom, had to see what they were all about. The drop capsule water slides were what I wanted. It was pretty hot that day and even after 5 pm, it was incredibly crowded in the water park. I went on a speed slide first, which all I have to say is major wedgie. Swam in the double wave pool for a wave cycle, saw a guard make a save and then finally faced the line for Snake Pit that went all the way down the stairs. It was probably a good 15 minutes.

I happen to really love the drop capsule slides now. We need some of those in Ohio haha. The tube side of Snake Pit hardly had a line, so after the body slide I went to the tubes. There are 3, one that has 2 sort of steep drops, 1 that has one steep drop and then an enclosed one that has bulb like turns that you flip around in. I chose the enclosed one because the other two are exactly the same as the slides we have at Geauga Lake which I ride all the time. It was okay, I was expecting to go up the sides more on the bulb things, but it wasn't awful.

After that, I went down another tube slide and then the park closed so we got dressed and went back to Dorney.

After the water park, we walked all the way to the back and rode Steel Force. I was expecting a lot of this coaster considering I actually happen to love Magnum XL-200. I chose row 4 because that's my favorite row on Magnum. I was very surprised with this coaster, it was incredibly smooth, and the bunny hills were actually really awesome. It is probably my favorite at Dorney. 9/10

We got on Thunderhawk after that. Meh it sucked. 4/10

It was getting pretty dark by now, so we were thinking about leaving now. Had to get one ride on Demon Drop in because my mom used to ride it as a teenager. Yet another walk on. It was okay I guess. 5/10

Heading back to the front, my mom forced me onto The Whip because she used to love the rides. It was actually very fun, I love the old antique rides.

We rode Talon one more time in the back row and then left for the hotel. I think Dorney has one of the most confusing parking lots ever. We spent a lot of time trying to park.

Anyway Day 2 we got there right as the park opened and hopped right on Talon again. Awesome ride, I think I like it better with a full train though, more weight.

Exploring the side of the park we didn't get to the previous day, we rode Possessed right as it opened. It was okay, Wicked Twister makes me sick and this one surprisingly didn't. I just didn't like that whole stop you at the top of the back hill thing. It was painful. I guess 5/10.

Stinger was closed the night before and today. I wasn't all that upset honestly, I would have only ridden it for the credit, I hate boomerangs.

We got another ride on Steel Force in, and then got the credit for Wild Mouse which was awful by the way. Made me sick actually.

We were going to hit up Hydra again before leaving but neither of us wanted to ride anything else after Wild Mouse. We decided to leave around noon, and head towards the better park, King's Dominion. It was about 5 hours away I believe.

Overall Dorney Park wasn't that impressive. I liked the park, it wasn't awful by any means, I'm sure I'll be back when the next new ride comes, but I'm not raving about it. It didn't have much decor or themes to it at all. I collect plastic drinking cups, and I couldn't find any there. I don't like the ones with lids, so I ended up just getting a lanyard. My mom got a cool Steel Force mug that was on sale so we ended up spending maybe $4 in the park total because I get 25% of merch.

Part 2 of the trip to King's Dominion will be added on later, hope you enjoy. (:

2014-2015 Geauga Lake WWK Lifeguard 2015 Gatekeeper Crew 2016 Disney World Lifeguard
Jeff's avatar

I've never understood why Hydra is so rough. It seemed to have opened that way (according to others... I didn't ride it that year). I agree, Talon is just slightly better than Raptor.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

I can't remember much about hydra having rode it ten years ago about, well nine since it opened in 05. I just remember it being ok as compared to what I knew at the time which was Dominator.

Steel Force has those Morgan trains so that makes for a much more comfortable ride. I also thought it was the ride that stole the show there. However, Talon was the first ride and it was just warming up when we got to Dorney back in the day. A second ride was much better. I agree Jeff, its right there with Raptor.

Lastly, you mentioned the whip. Pennsylvania parks are known to keep these. I know Kennywood, Dorney and Knoebels have one. I think maybe Hershey has one as well, but don't remember. To be honest ever since the Kennywood took the top off of theirs because of the storm accident, I think it slightly lags behind the others, but what fun rides they are.

Resident Arrow Dynamics Whore

Hershey does have a whip but it is a modern version from RideWorks that was added in 1997. It's a fun ride but not nearly as good as the Mangels version the other parks have.

Idlewild has one too.

It seemed, for a while anyway, that the Paratrooper could be found at just about any park in Pennsylvania. In fact whenever we see one we still call it the Pennsylvania Paratrooper.

But we're just zany like that...

Glad you had good time! These are 2 parks I haven't been to since 2005 so I can't really remember or compare the coasters anymore. I am waiting on some new ride to drag me out to one of these places.

Nice report. I tend to agree with most of the opinions except I like Thunderhawk a little more than you and Possessed a lot more than you. That being said, I drive past Dorney every day but haven't been there in several years so not sure on Thunderhawk's current condition.

Also, for the other conversation going on, Knoebels has a kiddie whip in addition to the regular one.

Vater's avatar

Daniella said:

I was actually disappointed in Hydra. The jojo roll was fun, but the ride itself was boring and sort of jerky. I give it a 6.5/10.

I'm with ya here. Precisely how I felt about it.

Talon. I was very pleasantly surprised in this ride. I almost want to say I like it better than Raptor.

Yep, definitely prefer it to Raptor.

Steel Force. I was very surprised with this coaster, it was incredibly smooth, and the bunny hills were actually really awesome. It is probably my favorite at Dorney. 9/10

Not sure I agree it's the park's best, but it's always solid ride.

We got on Thunderhawk after that. Meh it sucked. 4/10

Annnnd you completely lost me...

Daniella's avatar

Alrighty here's my King's Dominion part~

It was about 5pm when we got there, and the park closed at 8, so we only had a bit of time to get some rides in. We immediately went to Intimidator 305, duh. We sort of got a bit lost, going straight all the way behind the Eiffel Tower and into Candy Apple Grove, but then wasn't sure how to get to i305, but we did get there! I happened to really really enjoy the atmosphere that KD has. It's got a bit more trees, but still reminds me of King's Island of course, and the themes are really great. I think I enjoyed the scenery just as much as the new rides.

They were only running 1 train boo ): so it was about 9 trains for front seat, it took about 20 minutes. It had been a bit drizzly when we were getting on, so whipping through 95 mph in just a bit of rain was not fun. Overall the ride was amazing. It's pretty much exactly a mix between MF and Maverick. I've still got MF as my #1 steel, but it does make it to the top 5. I'm not a fan of the whippy aspect, hurts my neck a bit, but it's still an amazing ride. 8.5/10

We got off and since we only had about an hour left of time for the night, we went up front to ride Dominator. Instead, we got lost again and ended up at Volcano. So yeah we just hopped on and I have to say it was also a pretty awesome ride. I expected the seats to be identical to Wicked Twister and Possessed/etc, but they were a bit of Maverick/WT mix, they were actually more comfortable but not that big of a difference. I had my phone in my pocket during the ride and with the air time on the inversions, I thought I would loose it so I had to hold myself down. (the second time we rode I left my phone so I could enjoy the inversions more) Overall the ride was actually really awesome. My mom rated it as her favorite at the park. I give it an 8/10.

We actually did find our way to Dominator after that. It sort of had a nostalgic aspect to me, considering I look at it's original footers everyday across the lake from my water park lol. I never actually rode it there though, that was before I got over the whole 'little kid scared of roller coasters' thing, but I remember standing in line for it once and then freaking out and leaving haha.

I got that awesome ride pic here

The ride was way better than Hydra, thank god. It's probably my favorite at the park. We waited maybe 2 trains for front row. Definite 9/10. I wish there was something more though, like maybe some themeing? A keyhole or some stuff on the ground? It seems very plain and the only thing you're enjoying in the ride itself. Although this is Cedar Fair we're talking about ha.

After that it was close to 8, so we just left to avoid the traffic getting out. We stayed at the Best Western that was on property so that was cool. It was a cheap ****ty hotel but whatever, I'm there for the coasters. There was nothing even really in the area at all.

We had reserved our 1 full day to be at KD, instead of Dorney, and that was a great choice. It was 10 am and already blistering hot outside, so I had thought the park would be a little more crowded today but surprisingly it was not at all. It started pouring rain around 6pm, but it didn't last very long and the day was great up until then. Actually it did rain around 2pm, but not pouring and only lasted like 5 mins.

We started out the day by getting a ride on Ricochet, which was actually better than I expected. I only ride them for the credit, but it wasn't an awful Wild Mouse. 6/10

After that we rode Hurler, which was actually not bad, but it wasn't great. The ride itself is short of boring, and it's a typical jerky coaster but it wasn't unbearable. I'll probably ride it again next time I go. 5/10

After that we tried to find the entrance to Grizzly, as it had been ride there, but we couldn't find it so we didn't stress it and ended up going to ride Avalanche. I wasn't impressed with it, but it was a fun little coaster I'd take my nephew's on. I liked it. 6.5/10

We were going to get another ride on Volcano since it's right there, but they had not opened yet, probably due to late testing or something. It was only about 11 am at the time.

Leisurely making our way around, we hit up Backlot Stunt Coaster. Meh. I happen to like the KI one better actually. Don't know why since they're the same thing, but this one made me sick. 5/10

After that we were both sweating and hot, so we went to the water park. It isn't really big or anything but the water was cold so it was a great way to cool off. It seemed as though no one was even in the water park at all. They're little wave pool is tiny and had little baby waves that barely did anything. I mean our wave pool at WWK is small, 390,000 gallons, but our waves come all the way up the sides of the pool. 9 ft waves I believe. The Big Wave Bay was closed for some reason, I'm not sure.

I went down a couple slides and then we went in the lazy river and then it started raining a bit so we just changed and went back to KD. It's surprisingly a well wooded area. I really love the atmosphere of the park.

We headed out to the car to put our wet stuff away, and then hit up Grizzly after finally finding the entrance. It's past the Dinosaur's Alive gift shop, so I was confused lol.

I happened to like this one a bit. It was jerky as most woodies are, but it wasn't boring, and reminded me of The Beast. (not as good but still good) 7/10

I'm pretty sure we hunted down lunch after that. There aren't very many options here actually? I was trying to find something cheaper that we could share, but there was pretty much Chik-fil-A and a pizza deal. We ended up just getting something from Panda Express. It was alright.

We waited out some drizzly rain while we ate, and then got another back seat ride on I305. I think I like the back better actually. There's nothing hitting your face at 95 mph.

We rode Flight of Fear as well. I enjoyed this one, thought it would make me sick but it surprisingly didn't. I give it a 7.5/10

Volcano was running by this time, and we enjoyed a ride on that. It's short, but the ride is really awesome, I love that the inlines are both directions. My mom had no idea what this coaster was before we rode it and the launch scared her and then out of a volcano we went haha. She's a newbie enthusiast~. She just gets it from me, I'm going to school for Tourism and will probably get my bachelors in Marketing/PR. Cedar Fair for lyf.

After Volcano, we hit up Shockwave. I was expecting horrible, but I just got okay. It wasn't as awful as I expected. The hill and the loop were actually pretty fun. Second half was so-so. I give it a 6.5/10

We got on Rebel Yell after that. I enjoyed this one as well. We rode the right side, I believe that was red? Not sure. I wish I had gotten a chance to ride it backwards, as I have not been on a backwards coaster. I'm hoping CF will pick up on the Namtab ideas. Talon would be fun backwards! Anyway I give it a 6.5/10

We headed back to the front after that and got the credit on Woodstock Express. I was expecting a boring little coaster but it was a lot of fun. Of the 17 new credits I got on this trip, we ended up buying the on-ride photo here. It started pouring rain as soon as we left the station. The picture was too hilarious to not buy.

It poured for quite a while actually, and it was already 6 pm, so we just ended up leaving for the day. I was going to get another Dominator ride in, but I'd rather not get soaked.

For the last day, we went right back to Volcano for some reason and got another ride in, and then rode i305 once more, and was going to get on Dominator but the line was incredibly long actually and we had to leave by noon for the 7 hour drive home. Yet another time I wish they had the estimate time waits posted.

All in all our 4 day roller coaster road trip was amazing. I wish we could have added on Carowinds or possibly Hershey/Kennywood on the way home, but it ended up being too much money.

I hope I can go back sometime next year. I know a Carowinds trip will be a definite thing now that Fury 325 was announced. Can't wait for that!

2014-2015 Geauga Lake WWK Lifeguard 2015 Gatekeeper Crew 2016 Disney World Lifeguard
HeyIsntThatRob?'s avatar

I love, love, love, love i305. I'm addicted to its intensity!! You're making me want to get back out there again. Soon.

And I really miss having Dominator so close when it was at GL. It really is a solid ride despite missing the zero-g roll. KD is really getting themselves a nice ride lineup.

Looks like you had a blast. I used to do a ton of those road trips back in the day. Good times for sure.


I have a trip to Kings Dominion planned for next year to try out I305, Dominator, and Volcano: The Blast Coaster (is it acceptable to abbreviate that as V:TBC?). However, with the announcement of Fury 325, I might have to see if we can change that to Carowinds. Still, it sounds like you had a great time and I'm sure I will too if I end up sticking to the KD plan.

Last edited by maverick master,

Loving Maverick since 2007!

Jeff's avatar

It seems like Dominator never really gets the recognition it deserves. At the height of the floorless craze, it was easily the best of the group. It's very weird to stand in the middle of that ride, knowing the same track previously lived over the swampy shores of Geauga Lake.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

sirloindude's avatar

That's a good point. It strikes me as a sort of "forgotten" B&M, but then that entire floorless class of 2000 seems that way to me. It's interesting to me considering that that was a quartet of excellence, but even amidst such good competition, I'd say Dominator narrowly edges out SKC as the best of the breed.

13 Boomerang, 9 SLC, and 8 B-TR clones

Daniella's avatar

I've been trying all summer to get my supervisor to let me go on the other side of Geauga Lake, but alas all I've gotten to is Pearl Divers on the Sea World side. ): It's where they store deflated tubes.

Now that I'm home, I really wish I had stayed and gotten that one last ride on Dominator before leaving. It is what it is, but still. It was a great trip.

2014-2015 Geauga Lake WWK Lifeguard 2015 Gatekeeper Crew 2016 Disney World Lifeguard
Vater's avatar

I like Dominator, but I find it a little too intense for me in my old age. I think Medusa at SFGAdv is superior.

I thought Dominator was installed backwards. I liked walking under it at Geauga, it made a perfect entrance, and the first drop was toward the park. Now it's toward the parking lot.

But I will say its always been one of my favorites and I'm glad it lives on at KD.

I don't get the love for I-305. I didn't get there in time for version 1, but tried 2 and 3. I liked 3 better but thought both were weird. I think it has uncomfortable transitions and overall bad timing. To me it will always be the ride that started out as a mistake and never really got corrected.

sirloindude's avatar

Interesting, as I thought that Medusa/Bizarro was actually one of the more intense members of the floorless family. Maybe not quite at the Dominator level, but certainly more so than most of the others. In fact, of the US floorlesses, I'd say Dominator might be the only one that is more vicious (counting Scream! as being at the same intensity level as Bizarro). I only rank SKC higher than Bizarro for the terrain interaction, and even then Bizarro might be my #2 floorless.

13 Boomerang, 9 SLC, and 8 B-TR clones

Vater's avatar

Eh, when I say Bizarro (keep forgetting it's not Medusa anymore) is superior, I don't mean by leagues or anything. Just, better. The inversion flow is better, and that zero-g is probably the only zero-g that I find worthy of singling out as a great inversion. I think Dominator's pacing is great at first, but when I reach the mid-course brake I'm ready for it to be over...but then it's got some fairly pointless meandering left to do in order to cram in the tedious interlocking corks. People talk about Alpengeist's crappy ending, but Dominator's ain't much to write home about, either.

Also, keep in mind those two and Hydra (meh) are the only floorless coasters I've ridden.

Last edited by Vater,

I really enjoyed Dominator (as B:KF). But I agree with the sentiment that it really misses out by not having the zero-g roll. The zero-g roll on Kraken (the only other floorless on my record) was incredible, best example of that inversion I had ridden until GateKeeper came along. And I'm sorry to hear it was set up "backwards" at KD. The entrance really helped build the anticipation when I rode it at SFWoA.

I always read about Hydra being just OK. Is this an example of the floorless models working better as larger models? I remember hearing the same thing about B:TDK, which looks to be a smaller model as well. Maybe "more compact layout" is a better description? Both of those rides look really interesting to me (especially how Hydra seems to interact with the terrain). When I say "smaller," think B: TR vs Raptor or Alpengeist.

Last edited by ShaneDenmark,

But then again, what do I know?

HeyIsntThatRob?'s avatar

RCMAC, I totally agree! They installed Dominator backwards at KD. I miss the entrance in between the cobra roll and the overbank flying over your head.

Gah! I miss GL. I took a ton of photos in August 2007 of the park because I saw the writing on the wall. Such a shame. Even in its rough state, Villain was the best wood coaster in Ohio and Dominator was awesome!


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