First Trip To Dorney - 7-2-2006 - Dilema on the Monster

Associated parks:
None

Tuesday, July 4, 2006 1:01 AM
Good evening, Morning or Afternoon. I will probably go off on tangents, but if you are interested in the rides, scroll down as they will be in all caps.

Sunday, July 2, 2006

Weather: Hazy-hot - 90's (Late day Thunderstorms Predicted)

Solo Trip

Left long island by 6. PUlled in for breakfast at 9 (Everyone in my family is a big Bob Evans fan). (Had to make a mad dash for the toilet and barely "cleared cotton.")

Got to the park by 9:45 (Paid parking and meandered around until I go to my directed spot) - Bought a one day ticket and used my money saving coupon from Subway. Most of the people on line had some discount offer. Already I could see that this was going ot be a VERY crowded day. The national anthem played and mostly nobody cared. (There wasn't a flag to salute while on line). The gates opened and there was a stampede. But where was everyone going....?

Never being here and not having a map on-hand I found myself heading over to TALON. There I found six other people and a smiling lady who told us that the ride wasn't opened yet. She expected it to open soon. Finally, (ten minutes later) we made our way thourhg the maze and up the steps. (I don't think I ever saw thicker track supports). I waited two trains for a front row, took off hte water park shoes, and off we went.

Overall - Very smooth! Minimal banging. The ride had a series of signs to look at on the way up the lift hill. I also enjoyed the mini tunnel under one of the loops and the reversal at the midpoint of the ride. When we got into the station, I couldn't believe it...no heavy lines. I motioned for a ride op and did the begging thing that I do with my hands to grab a re-ride. The guy was shocked that I even asked. I hopped right on again, and had to sit in row two. By the way there were six people working the ride. One button pusher, four seat and strap checkers and someone else. Already the trains were pumping out of the station at a good clip. I got 3 rides in a row and then decided to further explore the park. Good crew, did thier jobs and didn't mind quick re-rides. ONe question...where are the people?

WAVE SWINGER: It was a no cycle wait. (The one op saw me coming and almost held it for me and then proceeded to do the same for 3 more people) The ride started right up, no long warm up and hit a good full speed. IT was a smooth ride with just a touch of dizzyness, but it was fun.

WHITE WATER LANDING: The guy running hte ride saw my El TOro shirt, asked me about it and we were discussing rides. He is heading to Great Adventure Thursday to try it out. I love it when ride ops are also fans. This is a nice Shoot the shoots. THe curve at the top is completely covered. You get a nice pop of water as you top the lift, a nice swell on the way down and then a follow-up with the bridge run-off. Front, back, makes no difference, everone was soaked. THere is a bit of cheating here on hte bridge. The bridge is placed so far away from the stirke zone, that you don't feel too much of the force of the water. (4 boats running - 3 minute wait)

CEDAR CREEK CANNONBALL: This is a very gentle train ride with a bit of narration about this section of the park. I did it thinking it would go all over the park, but there's another train for the south western end. (NO wait)

THUNDER CANYON: Very unusual rapids ride. FIrst, there are significant waterfalls and runoffs to get everyone saoked. Second: there is no central handle to hold. You have to hold on to the handles by your seat, making this a bit uncomfortable. Third, very little legroom. Fourth: The ride ops were spinning the boats as they left the dock to provide a bit more fun. I was with a family of three and anohter mom and daughter as there were 6 to a boat. Everyone had fun and enjoyed the refreshment of the cool water. This was unlike great adventures, as you can do that whole circuit and not get a drop. (3 minute wait)

HYDRA: This board has some debate as to why Dorney wanted a new ride that was very similar to Talon. The Jojo roll was cool, but for a ride that is not too old, there was quite a bit of head banging and discomfort. I ride front seat and mid train. Front was a bit smoother. ACtually, the guy said I could take off my shoes to ride, but I had to be in shoes to go up to the platform. (So it was back to the bin for my shoes). Then the same guy let me re-ride without exiting. Win-some Lose-some. (Two trains - 2 minute wait)

METEOR - THis ride reminded me of Kennywood's Aero 360. It was going around completely by the second swing (Again - no weasely warm-up for this puppy.) I was far from being the first in line, yet I still got an end seat. I love how the platform raises and lowers at the start and end of each ride. Very smooth swinging. (Walk on)

WILD MOUSE: I usually don't care for or respect mouse coasters, but this one had some serious lats. My legs were huring from lack of leg room, but it was a surprising nice ride. (30 minute wait)

THUNDER CREEK MOUNTAIN: This log flume had a double loading platform. (There was a 5 minute wait) The lady boarding the logs was giving the guy in front of me a hard time. (His girls were in bathing suits and needed to be fully covered.) I offered him my towell and they were off. I Was next. While I was meandering around the curve and going up to the hill, the guy in front of me was stopped, as was the lift. We bumped lightly and he gave me back the towell. Then I was bumped lightly. Then again. It seemed as if we weren't going anywhere. A ride op came with a maintanence guy and asecurity guard. They were taking people off of the ride. They were also asking us for our name, adresses and zip codes and questioning our need for medical assistance. (I said "no, but how about a free lunch or something.") Well, we were actully given a coupon good for a free regular soda at any standard restaurant. Then we just walked away. (I'd like to see Great ADventure do something like that every time Ka breaks down - nice gesture!)

THUNDERHAWK: Broke down as I was about to board. No reason other than "Maintanence."

SCRAMBLER: Another nice flat that came up to speed in a hurry. (No wait) I would have liked a longer cycle, but I like scramblers and have no trouble finding them at most parks.

You know how most parks have a certain area full of serenity and peace? Great ADventure has the lakefront, Cedar Point has the western area, Rye has the fishing pier, etc. Ironically, I found serenity in the pathway between THUNDERHALK and STEEL FORCE. I was alone for most of the walk. Where is everyone?

STEEL FORCE: THis is the big hyper that you see from Route 78. The wait for the front car was about 10 minutes, the wait for anything else was a walk on. I opted for the back. My impression was that it was just ok. I expected it to be Nitro smooth, but had quite a bit of shaking and discomfort. It was cool to watch the rest of the train go down the hills after the straight-a-way, but I just expected more. My second ride, mid train, was also "just ok." By the way, I will probably get verbally assaulted for saying this but, I found it very similar to Cedar Point's Magnum, which I don't really care for too much either, as it's a bit uncomfortable with little leg room. At least 5 ops were working the ride and to give them credit, THEY WERE RUNNING 3 TRAINS!!!

LASER: I didn't expect much from this coaster, and Ithought that the loading and unloading was a bit unusual. There was no seat choice and no "instant re-rides, despite no people being on line when we returned. (I think there were two trains) after the loops, the rest of the ride had some nice speed and helixes. It could have been longer, but it was a nice ride.

MONSTER: THis is a personal favorite of mine, that is getting harder and harder to find at parks. But it was here that I met the ride-op from "heck." We all know that this ride is a slow loader. (Although this one has seats that fold down and allow you to climb up on them as a stepping stool). The guy stopped the ride, let one section off, and let four cars board. He repeated this only once and let the ride run full cycle. This meant that most of hte cars were empty and there were quite a few people on line. We were baffled. WHy wold this idiot let the ride run full cycle without loading. So I asked. He said, "The ride is moving." (No kidding genius) So I Politely answered, "May I ask you why you didn't load everyone first?" He became angry. "Do you want to speak to my supervisor? The ride is MOVING! Now I could either be a smart ace and say, "Yes, I want to know why you did that," But then I thought, he may think I'm starting trouble, tell his supervisor to eject me and that would be it. I decided to let it go. "No, that's ok." Well, as the ride was coming to a stop, another ride op was making his way to start the shift, and he proceded to load all of the cars correctly. THen he took off. THe deal was his shift was ending and he just was getting very lazy and didn't want to do his job. If I knew that, I would have opted for the supervisor. Lazy son-of-a-fish!

BY now it was getting very hot and I was looking for something to eat....

They have a WHIP! I had to try it. (No wait) I shouldn't have bothered. This was a big let down. This was a very short ride and it was completely force-less. Go to Rye Playland if you want a good whip. This was just poor.

They have a SWING AROUND. Ok, it's called APOLLO, but I had to get on it. It was a bit fast, a bit short, but instantly provided memories of last summer at Kennywood. I only got about 7 or 8 blasts of outward motion, but it was a nice ride. (1 cycle Wait)

By now I was famished and there were massive lines for food. I didn't think it seemed right to wait 30 minutes for a hot dog or hamburger. I figured I will cool down at the waterpark and then grab a bite to eat. I know the lazy river ride....

The wait for it was too long. I really need to cool down, the wave pool...Wall to wall people. You couldn't swim without bumping into anyone. The only option was to just stand there and to bob up and down. Even that caused lots of bumping into people. Leaned against the wall and got a few waves and then headed out to the restaurant.

It wasn't a food stand, it was a beach shop store. (I never do parks with my glasses anymore) THe line for Subway was over 40 minutes. I tried to use the soda pass at two stands and was told that they did't accept those and that I had to go over there....another place with lines out the wazoo.

I tell you what...I found where everyone went...the water park.

By this time, I realized I was dead tired, I had a ride home that was about 3.5 hours and I left to go home.

Bottom Line:

WHen you first look at Dorney Park, you realize that the rides don't look so impressive because it appears to me as if the place is in a valley. You look down at the park from Route 78.

There is very little shade and lots of concrete midways, that kind of sprawl away from the entrance.

Food: Hard to get during peak times. I literally had to leave the park to eat.

Ride Ops: Most were good, but a few could have made a good day even better, but decided (though thier apathy, against it)

Merchadise: I bought a few things, but the T-shirt was priced 3 bucks higher than a similar shirt at Great ADventure. I would have liked to have seen a bigger variety of stuff to buy. I did see a K'nex set that I never saw before - and I wish they and other parks offered bumper stickers. I also picked up some magnets.

Mood: The park was playing a "safe" mix of popular music though their speakers on ride lines and throughout the park.

Clientele: Most of the people I met were very nice. There were (obvioulsy) a lot of families and a strong mix of people with different ethnic and racial backrounds. I didn't really see any line cutting and even at the over-crowded waterpark, people were patienly waiting for their turns on the endless lines. There were quite a few people who were wearing bathing suits that were un-flattering, but I am not one to talk to loudly.

Waterpark - Impressive - standard attractions but I didn't see a race way, a funnel, a bowl ride, etc. The waterpark still needs some people eaters and perhaps some carts to expidite food service.

Security: Not too noticeable. But to be fair, I didn't see a situation where security was needed.

SHows: Did not see any by choice. THere was going to be a fireworks display at 9 (Weather permitting)

Rides: You didn't have to wait too long for anything once the park was up and running. There were quite a few that I didn't go on such as DOMINATOR (Did Power Tower and Cedar Point) , TILT A WHIRL (I just can't do those), MUSIC EXPRESS (I can get that anywhere), FERRIS WHEEL (JUst too hungry looking for food) SCREAMIN' SWING (Pissed off because the one at Kennywood, Cedar Point and Lake Compounce includes there's with admission) and hte Antique Carrousel (I did stop by it to admire it and it's sound). I also am scared of the ENTERPRISE. (I just can't get on it). The SEA DRAGON is another ride I can get anywhrere.

The point is that everything was up and running. 3 Trains on STEEL FORCE? 1 was enough. Two trains on TALON, 1 would have been efficient. THis was impressive.

Some people complained on this board that DOrney lacks soul. I could see that...to a point. This is another park that truly caters to families. (Hear that Mr. SHapiro) They have enough of everything including flats and starter coasters that parents can do with thier kids, along with some bigger thrill rides.

What would have made this a better day for me would be the option to go back at 4 PM to a hotel, take a nap, swim indoors, and then return for some serious night riding. By then, maybe some of the water park might have emptied out a bit.

I had a good time and I look foward to going back.

Next stop - Lake Compounce.

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Tuesday, July 4, 2006 1:29 AM

You know how most parks have a certain area full of serenity and peace? Great ADventure has the lakefront, Cedar Point has the western area, Rye has the fishing pier, etc. Ironically, I found serenity in the pathway between THUNDERHALK and STEEL FORCE. I was alone for most of the walk. Where is everyone?

This caption hasn't changed in 4 years. :)

I still think Dorney is one of the (maybe even the) most underrated parks in the enthusiast community.

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Tuesday, July 4, 2006 8:08 AM
The reason for the upcharge screamin' swing at Dorney is that it was one of the early low-capacity models. Moreys and KBF also have them. I heard that when Kennycorp bought their two swings (for KW and LC), they got an agreement that there would be no other large capacity rides of this type in the Northeast for two years. Cedar Fair able to buy two of the largest model for their midwestern parks (CP and VF) because this was in a different region of the country.

I believe that the upcharge swings will eventually be gone from most of the major parks in several years once several more of the bigger models are installed. By then, people will be expecting that a Screamin' swing should be included with the park admission unless the park is a pay-per-ride park.

As far as operations are concerned, it appears that DP is going out of their way to appeal to disgruntled SFGAdv visitors that are sick and tired of that park's inefficiencies and long waits. Certainly, If I lived in the Philly area or in NJ, I would consider this strongly in deciding where to go with a family. Why is it that the PA parks, even the corporate ones, seem to do things right? The Keystone State has a right to be proud of each and every one of its parks.

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Tuesday, July 4, 2006 9:46 AM
Dorney was running at a high customer service level when I was there earlier this year. Heck, we even saw an employee not only emptying a garbage can, but scrubbing the outside of it! Now that's going the extra mile!

I agree Gonch, Dorney's "main midway" might be a little stale, but once you start to go over the hill, you cannot tell me that the wall-to-wall rides, games, food, show pavillions and landscaping doesn't make for a wonderful setting. I think prior to Hydra, the "money" ride at the park was Talon, so most enthusiasts stayed up on the main midway for the bulk of their time, so I think that's where the bias started. Whatever the reason, between the bad enthusiast reputation and the higher attraction of the waterpark, another intangible of Dorney is there are rarely long lines!

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Tuesday, July 4, 2006 11:57 AM

Richie Reflux said:


Solo Trip

Left long island by 6. PUlled in for breakfast at 9 (Everyone in my family is a big Bob Evans fan). (Had to make a mad dash for the toilet and barely "cleared cotton.")


That made my day! So funny!! LOL

Its sad, however, that no one cared about the national anthem, especially considering what weekend this is.

Nice TR.

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Tuesday, July 4, 2006 12:19 PM
Nice TR Richie....*loved* the free drink coupons, NOW we're talking customer service (GL take note). Likewise the spinning of the rafts on TC.

Hydra, I also thought was quite *meh*. Thank goodness for Talon and Lazer so I can "get my steel on"...Steel Force impresses me a little more each visit, nothing to rave about, but after being told to ride near the front I can say it's not NEARLY as lame as I first thought. Also, thick track supports on Talon *may* be related to the sand used to quiet the ride...

ThunderHawk....needs to re-visit its own history.


^^ Arthur, there IS a park with the smaller model that doesn't upcharge...of course, it also happens to be the home of the worst-maintained wooden coaster built in the last ten years....Wild (Mis)adventures.


Finally....yes, there IS that walkway...which is really nice. SFStL uses those covered ones to GREAT benefit near Freeze and Colossus (gaint wheel). The *sterility* argument DOES hold some water, IMO, but that also plays a part in the "family-friendly" vibe I guess...

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Tuesday, July 4, 2006 2:15 PM
Seriously, How would you folks have handled the Ride Op situation on The Monster Ride?
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Friday, July 7, 2006 4:19 PM
Richie,

I don't know what else you could do with a ride-op like that. Maybe that's why it's good to know a seond language. ;) It was a good thing the shift change occurred when it did. But then again, maybe the guy wouldn't have responded that way (or loaded the ride as he did) if it weren't the end of his shift.

Even if you pursued a further course of action right then and there, it only would have taken up more time on your part, and probably caused you to dwell on it even longer after that. Is it worth spoiling an otherwise good time at a park?

If it still really, really bothered you after that, there's always a stop at Guest Relations, or even a politely worded but firm letter several days after the visit. But make sure to mention you did enjoy the rest of your visit. :)

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Friday, July 7, 2006 4:52 PM
You (As always) are the voice of reason.
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Friday, July 7, 2006 9:42 PM
The Meteor comment was funny as it's the same exact ride as Aero 360. It's your standard off-the-shelf Zamperla Hawk 48 with different themeing. You said you don't do Enterprises. What scares you about them? You also didn't mention Revolution down by Steel Force. Did you ride it or did you skip it too? Your Steel Force comment wasn't out of line at all. Many people have viewed Steel Force as Morgan's answer to Arrow's Magnum. They're both overgrown minetrains after all.

You mentioned the bridge on the Arrow Shoot-the-Chutes "Whitewater Landing" as cheating the previous riders. There's a damn good reason for that. The last time I rode (last year) I remember the drop being so forceful that I was thrown into the lapbar in the frontrow. If the bridge were too close, there's a possibility that someone could get swept off the bridge from the wave. Check out the O.D. Hopkins-made Tidal Force at HP. There's a plexiglass panel on both sides of the bridge to cut down on the water lodged at the people standing there. When the spray goes up, you literally can't see anything.

p.s. "Cleared Cotton?" Is that a southern phrase? I've never heard it before, but it sure is funny.

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Friday, July 7, 2006 11:52 PM
Intamin fan -

1) I am not too good with manufaturere's rides names as opposed to what the parks tend to call their models. (It's not really my fortay.) At least my take on the Meteor and Aero 306 was correct. I didn't know it was the same ride with a different theme but it had a similar feel.

2) My comment that I thought I would get nailed with wasn't so much about Steel Force, but my mention about not liking Magnum. So many people here revere that ride, but I just didn't care for it and found it uncomfortable. To each his own. That's why we have these boards, to discuss, debate, learn and laugh. (Ok - End of sermon)

3) As per the Whitewater Landing. I have always hated when rides like this have false troughs. By that I mean, when you reach the lift hill, there is no water. The only water you get is the spout hose on the way down. That and the force of the boat make the wave. Kennywood and Rye Playland both have false troughs and (to me) it takes away from the ride. I am in a boat and I want to see water. Dorney not only had water, but a nice pop of a splash once you get off of the lift hill.

You are correct. I have never seen a chute ride deliver more of a wave than Hershey Parks. They are as exciting to watch as Ka and Dragster launches. I also must admit that I don't like plexyglass barricades on exit bridges. Give me the full force of the wave, drench me on a hot day and send down the next boat. PRONTO!

4) "CLeared Cotton" is a great expression. I have to give credit where it is due. That is a frequently-used expression from a sydicated radio personality called "The Greaseman" who sometimes has callers deliver "Brown Capping Stories." (Mind over massives) where the plot is always a race to the bowl before an impending splashdown. I love his style and his show, though I can only get some of it on the internet now-a-days. I don't know if it's a southern thing, as I live on Long Island, (New York) but I love country music old and new even though I have never lived down south.

Most people know by now that many of my positngs have a few yuks from time to time and lots of stuff about things that I see and hear from regular "peeps."

Thanks for reading and responding.

P.S. - Of late when I contribute something, it tends to be a final posting. (Either noone is offended, no one is inspired or, most likely, noone cares.) I have killed more topics on Coaster Buzz than bugs on my summer windshield.

P.S.S. - Other terms for "Brown Capping:" How about "Launching a submarine" or "Dropping some friends off at the pool." *** Edited 7/8/2006 3:52:52 AM UTC by Richie Reflux***

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Sunday, July 9, 2006 12:50 AM

Richie Reflux said:
You (As always) are the voice of reason.

Yes, and I absolutely hate it. Why can't I be the off the wall, wild and crazy totally obnoxious one?

Oh yes, and I'M the topic killer around here, so stop trying to take over my job. I want my name to be listed under every thread as the last post. :)

So the Greaseman is still around? I remember him from the early 80's in DC, unless it's a different grease. But judging from the emphasis he places on BMs (and I don't mean coasters, children), it sounds like the same guy. He used to do an imitation of Sylvester Stallone talking about going for his "morning constitutional" as only Sly could say it.

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Sunday, July 9, 2006 1:15 AM
LOL! True "thread-killers" get threads LOCKED.... ;)

I hadn't heard of "Greaseman" since I lived in the DC area...around the days of Howard Stern, high school, hmmmm, early 80s sometime DOES sound right.

How's this for bizarre recollection? Nino Grismanelli (sp?)? I must be mental or something...

Next year I need to get to Dorney during the WARM season...the water rides either aren't open or don't appeal to me too much in October, so the only one I've been on at Dorney is the flume. Had cool use of the terrain. Kinda like SFMM's does....did... :(

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Monday, July 10, 2006 10:32 PM
Same Greaseman, same type of bits, but now - as usual, I have ended yet another thread!
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Tuesday, July 11, 2006 12:14 PM
Hobble? Gobble? Bosco Lingis? Yep, Nino is still around, on some AM station in DC. My friends and I occasionally pitch in and order some classics from the grease archive. Check out greasman.org.
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