Finishing The Season: Dorney/SFGAdv 10/27-28

Well, a not-so-nice young lady named Sandy has closed my office for the day, so I have a bit of time to share with my CB brethren some experiences from my last weekend of the Northeast roller coaster and amusement park season.

As a rsult of my Coasting For Kids fundraising, I was awarded a package of four Dorney admission tickets with Fright Lane added (Fast Lane not included.) I invited my client/friend Fran and her husband, Mike, to join me. Fran's a Great Adventure/Kingda Ka groupie, but has not been to any other amusement park in over 20 years, and even then it was local small parks like Palisades and Olympic Parks here in NJ, and seaside parks like Seaside Heights and Coney.

I met them at McDonalds around 11 am after a stop at the local Weis supermarket and we headed over. No trouble picking up tickets and Fright Lane passes at Guest Services. I gave the fourth admission ticket to a woman on line at the ticket booth.

It's important to remember what I said about Fran and other parks. We hit the Wild Mouse first to avoid the anticipated line later, followed in succession by the Top Spin (Hang Time,) A back and a front seat ride on Talon (which felt a bit forceless, but still enjoyable) and two rides on Meteor, which I still love the heck out of. Fran and Mike took two front seat rides on Hydra, while I took the back. It's nowhere near my favorite floorless, but I like it a bit more than I used to.

We then headed down to the lower section. I figured Fran would like Possessed, since it's Dorney's only launched coaster. She did, but it felt, to me, very sluggish and slow on the launch, and it made a terrible noise on the launch that made me wonder if something was wrong with it. Stinger was next. I'll only ride it in the end seat facing out as you climb the lift. This was actually Fran's favorite coaster of the day. But since she has no real point of reference...take it for what it is. We only got one ride each on Possessed and Stinger, then hit Steel force for one. Good ride, not too much braking. Again they went for the front..she's one of THOSE people ;) Hell, she even likes the front seat on Toro!

We decided to eat, and made our way back to the Game Day Grill by Hydra. We stopped for a few flats including the Whip, Enterprise, and Dominator, which I passed on. Two rides on Free Fall..I mean Demon Drop..thrilled the heck outta Fran, as she always loved it GAdv. I like the ride for what it is, but I HATE the flip-back into the upright position. Fran was insisting that GAdv's model was remosed because of a fatality, but I believe she's incorrect..I can find nothing about an accident on Free Fall.

I had a hunch they would pick up the tab for dinner, and they did. I had a very good cheeseburger and excellent onion rings. Free refills on soft drinks, which I took advantage of through copious amounts of decent iced tea...they used very small cups, though.I gave the fourth Fright Lane pass to a woman sitting near us, who said she'd use it to avoid waiting with her kids (who were not present in the restaurant) I thought that was pretty funny.

After that, Fran wanted to re-ride Hydra, Steel Force and Stinger, but the crowds had increased exponentially as we realized upon leaving the restaurant at 5:30. All three of those coasters had very long(for Dorney) lines. So we did a couple more flats, killing time until the haunt attractions were to open at 7pm.

The haunts were slightly disappointing this year. There's a coupla new ones, but my favorite... Backwoods/Camp Cudie... has been eliminated because of those darn dumb dinosaurs. We started with Grave Walkers, an outdoor cemetery (whether intentional or not, the word "cemetery" is misspelled on the sign.) Not bad, very disorienting, without a clearly marked just kind of wander around until you find the exit.

Most of the Haunts were very crowded and the Fright Lane seriously came in handy. Most did a good job with the visuals/props/decor/creepy atmosphere, but the scare actors left something to be desired. Highlights:

The farting horse in Blood Shed.

The violin-playing zombie in the Mansion Hotel..he was very good, and playing live. Working where I do, I've developed a slight appreciation for classical music. I actually let Fran, Mike, and several others pass me by while I listened for a bit.

The urinating hillbilly in CornStalkers.

Being complimented by not one, but two zombies on my Walking Dead t-shirt!

Fran and Mike left about 10. I wanted to visit two more Haunts, so I gave their Fright Lane passes to a young couple lining up in that area of Blood Shed and CornStalkers, which are in Wild Water Kingdom.

Okay, that was Saturday.

Now, on to Sandy...I mean Sunday.

The storm was coming from the South, so what do I do? Head South, of course, to finish the season at SFGadv. I waffled several times on the way down, and came close to turning around. But I didn't...and I'm glad. I won't spend a lotta time on this part of the report, because I write about GAdv enough. But all rides...and I went on only five..felt somewhat rough..maybe it was the chill, the heavy winds, who knows? I was also stapled tighter than usual, since I was wearing a baseball jacket over two t-shirts, instead of my usual one-and-done t-shirt. When I saw there couldn't be more than 1500-2000 people in the park, I decided to try for ten rides each on my four favorites (name 'em!) The only thing that prevented me from succeeding was Nitro, which was running two trains but took one off while I was next to board the back seat. Because of that reduced capacity, I knew it would be difficult to poach, and took only two rides. I got to the park slightly before 10:30 and left about 2:15 after 33 total rides (I took a lap on the Choo-Choo.)

I ran into some rain on the way back north, but not heavy. The brunt of the storm is expected to hit later today and tomorrow. But there's no coasters on the horizon, that's for sure. When does April get here? And that better not be a newly named hurricane...

Thanks as always for reading.

Last edited by Mike Gallagher,

The amusement park rises bold and are huddled on the beach in a mist

I find that on Steel Force, the back seats are pretty rough. I like the first seat of the second car.

But front seat of Toro?? Meh...there is not a bad seat on that ride, but I will wait for the second to last or last seat every time before waiting for the front. That is definitely one I don't get the fascination for the front.

The haunts without fright lane are impossible to see all of them. We got to do exactly one of them when I went with my friend.

"Look at us spinning out in the madness of a roller coaster" - Dave Matthews Band

Walk-Off HBP's avatar

"Stinger was next. I'll only ride it in the end seat facing out as you climb the lift. This was actually Fran's favorite coaster of the day. But since she has no real point of reference...take it for what it is."

Always nice to see people enjoying a Vekoma coaster before going on the internet and reading about how brutal they are from the experts.

The trick was to surrender to the flow.

....which she isn't gonna do. I find Stinger no better or worse than others. But I guess you always remember your first (although in this case, I don't.)

The amusement park rises bold and are huddled on the beach in a mist

Walk-Off HBP's avatar

^ I wasn't singling you out as an example. What I meant to convey was that one only ever runs into the exaggerated disdain of all things Vekoma on coaster message boards. Everyone else seems to think they're just fine.

The trick was to surrender to the flow.

Didn't think you were, and you're absolutely right.

The amusement park rises bold and are huddled on the beach in a mist

I actually found Sea Serpent at Moreys to be just fine, and Stinger isn't bad in the middle of the train for roughness. Their regular hang n bangs are horrendous, but Vekoma does some things ok.

"Look at us spinning out in the madness of a roller coaster" - Dave Matthews Band

Until I started reading these forums a couple years ago, I had no idea I hated Vekoma coasters!

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