Hercules @ Dorney Park - any

Wednesday, May 11, 2005 2:27 PM
As i've been to dorney park last season - the season between Hercules and Hydra - i did not have the chance to ride any of them. And unfortunately i think i'll never be there again.

So what i'm interested in is, was there any reason the park replaced Hercules, other than they needed the space for a new coaster?
Was there a problem with Hercules or was it maybe sort of unpopular to the visitors - all i know is from books and pictures and Hercules really looks like good fun to ride. What's your ride experiences with Hercules - was it rough or rather smooth, freaky or lame, etc.?

Thanks for sharing your experiences.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2005 2:32 PM
Way to much $$$ to keep it running. It constantly needed maintence. It was also unpopular and very rough coaster. If I am correct it was retracked a few years ago and was up for retracking again. It was also voted one of the least popular rides in the park. *** Edited 5/11/2005 6:33:16 PM UTC by Crashmando***
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Wednesday, May 11, 2005 2:34 PM
Yes what Crashmando said. I have no clue about Dorney Park's space situation but taking it out is hitting two birds with one stone. They are getting rid of maintenance nightmare that was unpopular and at the same to replacing it with a modern, low maintenance, coaster that will draw crowds much more than Hercules did.
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Wednesday, May 11, 2005 2:51 PM
Hercules ran very close to a residential neighborhood that always complained about nouse coming from the park. I'm not saying that's the main reason Hercules got demolished but by getting rid of that and replacing it with a quieter steel coaster that was built further away from the neighborhood, Dorney scored points with people living in the area.
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Wednesday, May 11, 2005 3:20 PM
Crashmando hit the nail right on the head
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Wednesday, May 11, 2005 3:40 PM
It was more than retracked... certain parts of the ride were reprofiled throughout the years and that contributed to many of the ride's problems. The addition of trim brakes didn't help make it any more comfortable, either.
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Wednesday, May 11, 2005 4:00 PM
I hate to see a coaster be torn down but in this case I think it was a smart move for them. Ride of Steel said it best with a ride with low maintenance and and will drawl big crowds.
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Wednesday, May 11, 2005 4:07 PM
Note to self: NEVER build a big wooden coaster with a first drop that goes immediately into an unbanked turn....;)
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Wednesday, May 11, 2005 4:10 PM
To sort of expand on this, I was around when Hercules was built and at the time, this thing was one mammoth wooden coaster (156 ft drop). It was fast and pretty out of control. Many considered it one of the best woodies out there in 1989 and for a few years later. As you recall, Mean Streak along with Hercules (built by Summers/Dinn) didn't hold up well to their original layouts and Hercules got worse and worse over time. They completely cut out the second drop, added a trim to the first drop, practically a third way down the drop before you got going. The ride literally snailed its way through the course for the past few years hardly giving any thrill and I even skipped it altogether when I would go. In addition, the previous posts are correct that it was very unpopular, cost too much money to maintain and Hydra is much quieter and much farther away from that neighborhood.

As for Dorney's land situation. That is a terribly land-locked park with the proximity of rides on the outer parts of their land being too close to residential areas and new rides being built will always be a problem. Also height restrictions for rides on the top of the hill which is why Steel Force and Dominator are in the valley.

That place has one of the toughest groups of local residents for zoning of new rides I have seen.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2005 4:16 PM
I rode Hercules on two visits 10 years apart-- 1990 and 2000. I remember it being a pretty good ride the first time; the first drop towards the lake and the turn over the lake was especially cool.

The next time, I went with my brother and his family to a Halloweekend, and I told my brother that he and I had to ride it. My brother must have thought I had it in for him. The ride was horribly rough and shaky and not enjoyable at all. Surprising that it got so bad in such a short time.

As I remember, the train was almost empty that day, so I guess people were already avoiding it like the plague. Also, IIRC, the entrance to the ride was way off to the side away from the midway and most of the pedestrian traffic, so it wasn't even easily accessible.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2005 5:12 PM
The best part of Hercules was the runout from the station to the lift hill. It picked up enough speed to make it thrilling but not enough forces to tear it apart. Basicly after that the rest of the course was pretty boring. The final drop before it climbed into the brake run wasn't too bad either. If they could have kept that run to the lift followed bu that final drop Hercules would have been an ok coaster!
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Wednesday, May 11, 2005 5:29 PM
Hercules was never a fantastic coaster- it's design was extremely flawed- but the runout from the station to the lift was a lot of fun and the power of the large drop and lake turnaround couldn't be disputed. Back in its early years when it was smooth and fast, Hercules was a good reason to go to Dorney Park.

Pardon the pun, but Hercules went downhill very fast... by the mid-90s, it was really bad and it only got worse after that.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2005 5:46 PM

Mantis2 said: That place has one of the toughest groups of local residents for zoning of new rides I have seen.

A lot of the parks up and down the east coast where major cities are so close have similarly tough restrictions. Take SFA for instance. They have a height restriction of 200', they can't exceed a noise decible level of 35 (I think) at their borders, all attractions (no matter what the size) must preapproved by a planning board, they are restricted to increasing their coaster count by one per year, and they pretty much have to have ANY perminant change to the park approved (including recently a concrete pad so they could move the rock climb wall). Hershey and SFGAdv also have some pretty interesting restriction, but I'm not as familiar with exactly what they are.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2005 6:38 PM
I agree with coasterpunk here in that they didn't have to destroy the entire coaster. They could've designed an entirely new wood coaster from the top of the original lift all the way into the final brakes keeping the original station, run-to-the-lift, and lift hill. It really wouldn't have been that difficult to engineer. But Rob's point about the noise and also that Hercules was built too close to the residential area made up the parks mind too. It was a terrible ride from the top of the lift. One of Summers' worst since he didn't know how to use that hillside (except for the main drop). But then again, that's where all (if not most) of the trouble began anyways. It was a big time headache machine in more than just one way.

Hydra looks like a decent ride, but wood being replaced with steel just makes me sick! (where's that vomiting emoticon when you need it?)

Wood Coaster Fan Club - "Sharing a Passion for the Classics"

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Wednesday, May 11, 2005 8:54 PM

Coaster Lover said:

Mantis2 said: That place has one of the toughest groups of local residents for zoning of new rides I have seen.

A lot of the parks up and down the east coast where major cities are so close have similarly tough restrictions. Take SFA for instance. They have a height restriction of 200', they can't exceed a noise decible level of 35 (I think) at their borders, all attractions (no matter what the size) must preapproved by a planning board, they are restricted to increasing their coaster count by one per year, and they pretty much have to have ANY perminant change to the park approved (including recently a concrete pad so they could move the rock climb wall).


You actually got a lot of that wrong. Do you know how quiet 35db is? I do sound at a church and we regularly push 95db (I have a meter). On quiet songs we average around 80-85db. You'd never get 35db in real world situations, not with all the cars that pass through on a daily basis. Even normal conversation is much higher than 35db. Whoever said they were restricted to increasing their coaster count by one a year? Remember in 1999, we got Joker's Jinx, Two-Face the Flip Side, plus the kiddie coaster (and S:ROS was sitting out in a field). I also think you're wrong about the planning board. I get the Prince Georges County Planning Commission newsletter emailed to me, and I never once saw the waterpark expansion mentioned. I've also recieved some information from a reliable source that the 200ft. height limit might be a myth also.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2005 9:43 PM
I originally rode Hercules in its opening year, and up until its last season. The difference was like night and day. I remember it being excellent on its opening year. It was rough, but not overly rough.

A huge powerful(record breaking)drop was its claim to fame. That was my favorite part of the coaster when it first opened. Like others have said the drop out of the station was a cool quick jaunt to the lift hill.

In the more recent years it was just horrible. When Cedar Fair bought Dorney I believe that is when the brake was added to the 1st drop. Pardon the pun, but it really went downhill from there. It really needed to be removed because it was unpopular, and unrideable piece of crap. I'd rather see a woodie saved, but it just wasn't worth it.

Cedar Fair also added the brake on Thunderhawk that really ruined the last 2 bunny hills, but that off the topic. ;)Thunderhawk is still a very reridable coaster.

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Thursday, May 12, 2005 9:47 AM

Thrillerman said:
One of Summers' worst since he didn't know how to use that hillside (except for the main drop).

I don't think Summers knew how to use a flat piece of land, either!

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Thursday, May 12, 2005 11:38 PM
If memory serves me correctly, Hercules was the inspiration for the disasterous design changes to The Rattler.
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Friday, May 13, 2005 12:12 AM
Hercules was a brut and it was one of , if not the roughest coaster ive ever been on, it is still sad to see the beast go. I remember when i worked at dorney park from 98-2000 operating hercules from time to time. The ride was still good if you dumped the breaks. Hercules was always dead though in the later years. Low ridership,high maintance and in 99 and 2000 it vally-ed out a few times failing to return to the station. Dorney could use a good woodie though, i love thunderhawk and ost other schmeck coasters but lets get a GCI woodie in dorney.
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Friday, May 13, 2005 10:09 AM
It would be nice to see a new wood coaster at Dorney (as well as the brakes removed from Thunderhawk) but I doubt that will happen- Cedar Fair seems to avoid wood coasters like a plague. A nice out-and-back surrounding Wildwater Kingdom wouldn't be too bad, right? I'm sure GCI would be more than willing to do it!
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