October 23, 2005
Weather - Perfect, lots of sun, high in the mid 60's
"So, did you like riding the Princess?" my sister asked when I talked to her later that evening. "That can be taken all sorts of directions, huh?" She quickly corrected.
I did enjoy riding the Princess, the Sky Princess that is. A couple of weeks ago at PPP, I ran into Brian and Carol Watts. Brian had said they had planned on visiting Dutch Wonderland the night before, but due to the rain it was closed. He had a bunch of comp tickets from Hershey, and offered me one since I was planning on visiting on Sunday. As it turned out, I woke up on Sunday feeling like I had been hit by a truck, and decided to instead get a few last rides in, visit GCII for the tour, and head home.
So, it took me two weeks to finally get a chance to take a ride out to the land of the Amish and visit the park for the first time in 20 years. I got to the park at about quarter till four, for the four o'clock opening. You enter the park through the castle, which just as I remember it, was a large gift shop. On the other side of the castle was the main gate to the park, something that was not there when I last visited, since then it was a free admission park with ride tickets.
The ticket plaza itself is small, but nice looking, with colorful brick buildings making up the various gates. The park mascots, the Princess and Duke, the Dragon, were there greeting the kids.
After going through the gates you are confronted with the train station and a choice, to head right or head left. I headed to the right to make my way to the Sky Princess. On the way I cross the small pond via this neat pontoon bridge.
It did not take me long to get to the empty Sky Princess station (1), and I headed up to the platform.
I hopped into the back seat, and after a minute we were off. Sky Prince was CCI's first coaster, and is a small family coaster topping out at only 55 feet. It is a funky design, not overly thrilling, but great fun to ride none the less. Out of the station the coaster turns to the right and rolls to a quick lift hill. After cresting the lift, the ride does a small drop into banked right turn before dropping down the main drop. At the bottom of the main drop there is this funky little five foot bump, that is all that it really is, that gives a little spike of airtime before rising a larger hill. The train does an s-turn as it passes over the monorail and then drops down into the fan turn to head in the other direction. Out of the fan turn is a short tunnel as it passes below the monorail, which for Halloween they had decked out with a strobe light and a fog machine, making as really cool effect as it grew darker. It does another bunny hop, and then a flat left turn into a dive under the monorail yet again. This is the best part of the ride, with some nice laterals and a nice pop of air. The dip is followed by a quick upward helix into the brake run. I really liked the ride, it is nothing intense, but it seems to fit perfectly into the park, and actually delivered more then I expected. It was run very well to, a very friendly crew that had no problem letting me take any empty seats, so I got a ton of rides on it that night. I just wish I could have gotten some better photos of it.
Across the was from the Princess is the Joust, a decent sized Zamperla coaster. I got a circuit on it for the credit. It is an odd little ride, with a funky circular layout.
I headed for the back of the park and the bumper cars there. They had some speakers set up outside the bumper car building playing 50's music, all related to cars, playing very loudly. But what I found inside is what really surprised me.
Oh yeah!!! That is a Lusse name plate you are looking at. These cars are like the ones I rode a few months ago at Oaks Park, they look like old antique cars, and not like the ones at Knoebels or Bushkill. They still have the same guts, though, and they ride just like the ones at Oaks, they seem to skid around the corners, but they still move pretty fast and hit hard. Actually, I am surprised to find them in what is a kiddie park, as they seem to hit a little too hard for the little kids that were riding them with their parents. The arena is small, and they only have nine cars running, with a few in the bull pen, but the ones running ran well. I caught a couple of rides on them and then headed for the Monorail.
The Monorail is a signature ride at Dutch Wonderland. It has been at the park since nearly the beginning. When I was there as a kid, I was disappointed when we ran out of tickets and I could not ride the Monorail, so now I finally got my chance.
It runs a long circuit, running along the back of the park past the Bumper Cars,
and the international gardens (2),
before making a turn and working its way through the Sky Princess.
It then runs through a second station and out and around the parking lot.
Then the ride runs over the lagoon and dragon (3),
over the two motion simulators,
before finally returning to the station.
I headed towards the front of the park and caught a ride on the Dragon's Lair boat ride. It is a slow circle through the lagoon, nothing spectacular, but unique and cute.
Right outside the boats is the Sky Ride, so I got on it and rode it to the other side of the park. It gives a nice view of the park, but it is run in ultra slow speed, so I figured I would do better not riding it back.
I headed over to the motion simulator rides, the Astroliner and VR Voyager. (4) I hopped on the Astroliner first for that vintage retro feel. By today's standards it is pretty lame, but I just can't pass up the classics.
The VR Voyager was a pretty neat ride too, pretty decent motion the matched up with what was going on on the screen pretty well.
Next up for me was the Wonder House, another ride that I did not get to go on as a kid. It is a haunted swing, and an old one at that. The effect is still good, and it really works if you just forget that it is an illusion and go with the flow of it. I loved how they had a microphone set up on the inside and speakers outside, it really added to the effect as you could hear the screams and laughter coming from the inside.
I took a quick spin on the Flying Trapeze, a Yo-Yo, and then headed over to the Princess for a few more rerides. Actually, a lot more rerides, the coaster is very ridable and the crew was outstanding. So I would ride four or five times, head down to the Bumper Cars for a few rides, and then back up to the Princess. I did this until about 8 before deciding it was time to hit the road.
I had a nice time at the park. It is a very well rounded park, with a bit of something for everyone. The staff was outstanding, everyone was very friendly and helpful. The park was also imaculate, not a bit of litter to be found, well, with the exception of a turned up Hershey bar wrapper that I saw. Hmmmm...I almost wonder if that was on purpose. (5)
Hope you enjoyed.
1. Since it is Halloween, just like Hersheypark, most of the rides here have had their names changed, for instance, the Sky Princess is now the Roller Ghoster, but I am going to stick with the common names
2. The international gardens were closed for the season; I remember riding this ferris wheel as a kid?
3. I wonder, is this Duke's big bad brother?
4. This is pretty cool. When the park decided they needed a new simulator to keep up with the times, instead of getting rid of the old Astroliner, they put the new simulator, the VR Voyager right next to it.
5. At Hersheypark, which now owns Dutch Wonderland, Milton Hershey used to walk around the park picking up any litter he would find. The only thing he would not pick up were Hershey bar wrappers, which he would instead leave turned face up.
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