Fastlane for Dorney Park; 6/30/12...

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Sunday, July 1, 2012 12:36 PM

I surprised my nephews and brother-in-law with an impromptu trip to Dorney yesterday. I wanted to go from 5-10 so we could do Starlight prices. I was NOT prepared for the crowds that Dorney had. It was the most packed I could remember for years, with the entire main lot filled and the overflow lot filled as well. I don't think people know how to get to the old lot that used to be for season pass members, or they get to the park earlier in the day and are directed to park in the main lot by parking lot employees. I don't know, but I always perform my little maneuver that gets me up to the old lot. We were probably five spots from the gate. We got the starlight admissions for everyone and headed into the park.

I was concerned because we only had five hours to do everything, and the crowds were ridiculous. Talon's line was back into the winding section with the narrow walkways with the high fences. I couldn't see if it was because they roped off the switchbacks or not, but I wasn't willing to risk only riding a few rides after bringing my family, who never get to do the parks unless they win tickets. I bought us FastLane passes.

My brother in law had never heard of a Flashpass or FastLane or anything like that, so when I explained it to him, he was so excited. Like a kid in a candy store. He couldn't wrap his head around it! He DID say something that made me inwardly chuckle: "Wait a minute...you basically pay money to jump the entire line? That's kinda...wrong." Then he followed it up with: "But it's AWESOME too". I thought of all of you guys and girls and the huge discussion we could have about this, and I laughed.

Anyway, I've done a million Dorney trip reports here, so the rest of the report will be brief with just some new observations and highlights:

Talon: 2 rides, FastLane any seat. We really wanted to do as much as possible, so we did not attempt to wait for the front car. I noticed they were emptying the station completely except for front seat between every ride. Why do that? It just slows the process down, I would think. Talon was riding extremely well again, especially through the helixes.

Hydra: 2 rides, FastLane not really required. Hydra was more crowded than normal, but the line only went into the first row of switchbacks. We still used FastLane, and the attendants were very nice about helping us pick a seat. Both times we were in the second seat from the back. Hydra actually ran beautifully both times, with minimal vibration and headbanging. I honestly didnt want to ride it because my experiences have been so bad on it lately, but it was fun again.

Taco stand across from Hydra has gone downhill. It used to be 2 dollars a taco, and the tacos were actually good. Now they're kind of disgusting, and they are 8 bucks for two tacos that are almost like eating greasy puréed beef on a stale cardboard shell. Apollo after the gross tacos was NOT a good idea.

Dominator, 3 rides: I RODE THE DROP TOWER. For the first time in 13 years. I had made a deal with my nephew that if he actually did the upshot tower with me, I would ride the drop tower with his dad and he could laugh at me for the rest of the night. My nephew was so scared of the Dominator, but he did that upshot tower with a great big grin on his face and actually wanted to do the drop one. I had made a promise, so we all did the FastLane to avoid the line, and the attendants there were SO nice. They let us pick our seats, they did extra thorough checks because my brother-in-law was worried about his son not being strapped in tight enough, and they actually took the time to chat with my nephew and reassure him a little (he was pale and his eyes were bigger than dinner plates).

Nephew loved the Drop Tower, and you know what? So did I!! The last time I rode that thing, I cried. This time, I wanted to do it again!!

Thunderhawk, 1 ride, second to last seat: everyone complained Thunderhawk was so rough, but it ran better than it did two nights ago.

Possessed: Nephew had his courage up and rode Possessed for the first time. He loved it and immediately ran back around for a front seat ride.

I noticed that people in line for Possessed were extremely vocally irritable about us having FastLane. My brother-in-law was just absolutely in awe of this new feature, and he was asking me about how much a Qbot is at Great Adventure and how Dorney's system works in comparison and etc etc. I did tell him that some people have had problems at other Cedar Fair parks with seat assigning and not filling up trains with FastLane and regular lines, etc., but that Dorney seems to have FastLane under control and running well. Of course, Dorney on a crowded day is NOT Cedar Point on a crowded day, AND I don't think too many people KNOW FastLane exists, so it is not widely used yet. I only saw one other group there with FastLane, so it is hard to tell for sure how well Dorney is doing with it. Seems great so far though.

Steel Force, 2 rides: I sat in the second car first row on my second ride, and man is the front seat of each car roomy! I could extend my legs nearly all the way out in front of me and recline! I don't remember ever noticing this before. Had great rides on this.

I don't get why they put the lights on the helix before the turnaround though. One of my favorite parts of Steel Force was the night rides where you couldn't see two feet in front of you and you were just absolutely hurtling through the second half.

Stinger: 1 ride, never again, front seat. I remember Stinger being extremely intense with forces last time I rode, but this ride put all of us nearly out of commission. Actually, it DID put my nephew out of commission. We had to get him Tylenol and let him sit down, and even then, he didn't wanna ride anything else for about half an hour. How is Vekoma in business??

So, to sum up:

FastLane in the case of Dorney works great. The employees were extremely friendly and nice about the FastLane, and it almost seemed like they were trained to do a little extra for their FastLane patrons. Cedar Fair has definitely underpriced this, but until more people utilize it, i don't think they have to worry about flooding the park with FastLane users.

I just want to say how much I HATE THE DAMN BASKETBALLS!!! I really loathe them. No one hit me with one or went running to catch one that got away, but they're just so irritating to me...yes, I get that you can bounce a ball. Ooo. Let's call America's Got Talent for your mad skills at ball handling.

Taco stand, I am sad to see what you've become. Now I gotta figure out what else to eat. Think I'll stick with the Monster Grille cheese fries.

Ride total:

Talon 2
Hydra 2
Thunderhawk 1
Apollo 1
Dominator 3 (red 2, green 1), no crying on green this time
Possessed 2
Steel Force 2
Stinger 1

A shockingly nice trip all in all, even with the crowds. Plus, it felt great because I lost even more weight and was able to navigate the park with very little pain or fatigue, and I fit quite nicely into all the rides with no discomfort. Feels amazing to realize that with any luck, I'll be riding new coasters with my nephews for a long time to come.

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Sunday, July 1, 2012 12:44 PM

"America's Got Talent!" HAHAHA!

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Sunday, July 1, 2012 2:33 PM

^ Way off topic, but Krause and bunky opened the door for me, so I'll step in. America's Got Talent..which I have never watched..starts their live shows tomorrow night. The shows through the mid-September finale will air twice a week, with a break for the Olympics. The reason I'm mentioning it is that the shows will be broadcast from the theater at which I am employed, New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark. So if anyone watches, enjoy!

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Sunday, July 1, 2012 3:56 PM

bunky666 said:

greasy puréed beef on a stale cardboard shell.

You just described the Staple "American" taco. I thought everybody knew this is what they got when they ordered tacos here.

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Sunday, July 1, 2012 4:48 PM

Maybe I am just used to the tacos we make at home, Josh, but I swear this stand used to be a pretty good deal.

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Sunday, July 1, 2012 6:53 PM

Curious. How much extra does Dorney charge for it's fastlane? I was looking at MA's website and theirs is $30.00 or $35.00 on Saturdays. That is on top of the regular admission. Which I would never use at MA, because it's not needed, and it's funny that the rides that have the longest waits are not included in their fastlane program. Ceartainly not underpriced at MA considering that you might only need it at 3 rides on the list. Maybe they should include a single free ride on Rip Cord. Then, I would most certainly do it. Maybe 2 rides on Rip Cord if I could handle it the first time.

I pretty much think this might not be such a bad idea at Cedar Point though. I know I pissed and moaned about it a lot. However, if I could afford to skip the lines, I could ride all the rides I wanted in one day, and not have to get a hotel room, which would probably work out to around the same price. Multiple rides on Maverick and Raptor, and I would be a happy camper. Depending on how many people actually use it at Cedar Point.

Curious? Does Fastlane have ride times like some of the other programs, or can you ride whatever you want any time you want?

Last edited by Timber-Rider, Sunday, July 1, 2012 6:55 PM
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Sunday, July 1, 2012 7:35 PM

FastLane does not have ride times. You just go up to the FL entrance and they let you in and let you pick a seat. However, apparently some of the parks are blocking off some of the seats or certain trains for FastLane, and it has been somewhat of a disaster.

Pricing at Dorney is 55 dollars a person (I think) but goes down in cost for each additional person after the first one. I paid 45 a person for four people, which is a steal if you look at the price of a Six Flags Qbot (2 people=124 bucks for fp gold). I don't know if the rates vary with the day of the week or if you buy after 5 pm or anything like that. I would certainly pay for it for Cedar Point just to ride Maverick and Millennium Force a few times (rather than waste half the day waiting for two rides), but then again, Cedar Point is so far away for me that a hotel stay is a requirement, so I'd probably just skip the FL and take a few days to ride everything instead.

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Sunday, July 1, 2012 8:03 PM

bunky666 said:

Pricing at Dorney is 55 dollars a person (I think) but goes down in cost for each additional person after the first one. I paid 45 a person for four people, which is a steal if you look at the price of a Six Flags Qbot (2 people=124 bucks for fp gold).

Except that Q-bot isn't tied to specific persons like the Fast Lane wristband is.

That is to say I can buy a Gold Bot for two and me and my daughter can use it, then my wife and son. Then if my wife doesn't want to ride, I can go with each of the kids once or they can ride together.

Hell, my favorite feature of Q-bot is the fact that you can pay for two and creatively use it for as many as you'd like.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Sunday, July 1, 2012 8:09 PM
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Sunday, July 1, 2012 10:04 PM

Congrats on the weight loss. Perhaps I shouldn't have told you about some of the food options on the other thread. On a crowded day, I would always opt for the wristband.

I want to go to splish splash and see how they operate their system. I didn't think it would work at a waterpark, but who knows.

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Sunday, July 1, 2012 10:05 PM

Gonch, very true. I did not even think of that. As long as there is no ride that all four people are wanting to ride, it works quite nicely to have a bot, and it ends up being cheaper if you look at it that way. Excellent point.

RR, thank you, and don't worry about the food recommendations. I'm allowed to have off days at the parks. Hehehe...

Last edited by bunky666, Sunday, July 1, 2012 10:09 PM
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Sunday, July 1, 2012 10:55 PM

And it's not even if the 4 people want to ride it. It's if the 4 people want to ride it together. As long as you're okay having 2 people ride it, then 2 people ride it 10 minutes later (in the case of the gold primarily), then there's really no reason to put more people on it.

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Thursday, July 5, 2012 12:25 AM

It always amazes me how much more crowded Dorney gets on summer weekends compared to weekdays. After a trip on a Sunday in 2006, I decided that I won't go back on a weekend during the summer again (40 minute wait for Talon that day). I know that all parks are more crowded on the weekend but compared to a park like Great Adventure that gets crowded almost every day all summer, there is more of a difference at Dorney. It sounds like Fast Lane worked out well for you but the park can't be too happy with the lack of sales. In 5 trips to the park this season I have yet to see it being used at any ride (I did see a group of 4 at the Fast Lane booth with the wristbands on one trip) and on a Saturday, I would have thought you would have seen more people using Fast Lane.

Last edited by YoshiFan, Thursday, July 5, 2012 12:26 AM
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Thursday, July 5, 2012 12:15 PM

Yosi - - - > Maybe that is because Q bot has been at Great Adventure for many years already and Fast Lane is new this year. Just an opinion.

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Thursday, July 5, 2012 2:56 PM

Yeah that could be, I guess it could get more popular in the next few years or maybe even for Haunt if there is a combined pass that works on rides and the Haunts.

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