I will never forget that fateful day in September. Thursday, September 4, 2003 to be exact if my memory serves me correctly. Started out like a normal day - woke up, went to school, had a very boring and mediocre day, came home, turned on the computer, checked for coaster news. When I read the article at first, I was shocked, I could feel my heart pounding. Can this be? Something that's been rumored by even the GP for years is actually happening, the almighty Jerkules being torn down? And better yet, for a B&M floorless?!?! My mind raced with ideas of how this new steelie would fit into the hillside. At that point, I knew that the next year and a half of my life would be the most torturing.
While I was walking up to the ride for the first time, I was extremely impressed with how Dorney fit another Beemer into the park. I feel that when Dorney puts in a coaster, it feels very photogenic and it flows with the rest of the park. And this ride was no exception with its Raptor-like colors and wooden-esque curves. After working at Talon now, I can say that I am extremely jealous of Hydra's station. It is extremely beautiful and its set up is ingenious. For many of you locals who know what I'm talking about, the way the cubbies are set up makes for a very minimal pain-staking loading and unloading process (as opposed to Talon where everyone is scrunched at one spot trying to fiddle with the cubbies). Also, for 'bigger' people like me, I love not having to climb a million steps to get up to and out of the station. Also, it seems having the special-access elevator on the loading side of the station makes the loading process even easier. As far as landscaping goes, I think Dorney did a job equal with that of Talon when it opened. Obviously, the hill does still look barren cause of how much more room Herc took up, but in time it will all grow in. The sign for the ride is fantastic! Ok, enough of this let's actually talk about the ride.
Sitting in the train and watching the floor drop is an amazing feeling, especially in the front when you're looking down at the JoJo roll. In my opinion, the JoJo roll was a very creative idea and I enjoyed it very much, it definitely creates suspense and sets the tone for the ride right away. It was very smooth and I wasn't slammed around in my harness as some people were worried about when the ride was built. Congrats to Joe Greene, VP of Maitenance and Construction for coming up with the idea.
The lift hill is very fast and gives the same great view that Herc did. I couldn't help but look at the lake where Herc's first drop was while I was going up the lift. Although I wasn't a huge fan of Herc, I still loved its first drop, trimmed or not. Well, Hydra quickly made up for it. Hydra's first drop is very steep and fast. The drop is the sole best reason to wait for the back row, it's amazing. Believe it or not though, I still got a good pop of airtime down the drop in the middle of the train. The inclined dive loop is intriguing to say the least. As of now, I have still not decided if it is an inversion or not, sometimes it does sometimes it doesn't. But it is still a great 'element'. Fast and fun.
Next comes the zero-g roll. One of my coaster friends had expressed concern to me after Hydra was announced that its zero-g might be painful because of how tight and small it is. Wow, I don't think we were ever more happy to be proven wrong. Hydra's zero-g is the best one I have been on on any coaster (including its various barrel roll, inline-twist forms and such) It was the first one that actually made me feel a real sensation of weightlessness.
The first flat-spin was not overwhelmingly intense as I was expecting it to be but it was still a good element that kept up with the rest of the flow of the ride. Going into the cobra was another favorite part of the ride for me, lots of good G's. The cobra roll was fun and smoother than other cobras I've been on (including Medusa's) just like I was expecting. After this point in the ride Hydra does lose a ton of its pacing. The S-curved bunny hill after the Cobra is a great hill, but I feel it could be somewhat faster there. I do get airtime in it, just not as much as I would have liked. The bunny hop was a little disappointing for me, hardly airtime at all. After this though, the dive into the second flat-spin made Hydra regain some speed. The second flat-spin was pretty good and the final helix was just 'ok'. I say ok because I am used to Talon's final G-filled helix.
All in all Hydra is a wonderful ride. It is definitely a great replacement for Herc and was worth the 20 month wait. It's pacing is not as good as Talon's and its G's cease to exist for the most part after the Cobra but I still love it. I think a lot of people came away disappointed because they were expecting a ride better than Talon, but that's not what they got. I myself was one of these people, but it is very hard, IMHO, to make a ride more perfect than Talon. As the season goes on, I do expect its pacing to pick up as the ride gets broken in. Also, I have unfortunately not ridden this beast at night, but I have read it has the same changing effect as Talon does from day to night. Right now, Hydra ranks a solid 8.5 out of 10 compared to Talon's perfect 10 out of 10. I believe it is definitely a better ride than Medusa as Medusa is a very forceless ride for 90% of the time and it is very 'straight' with its elements. The only thing I miss on Hydra is a vertical loop. I know many enthusiasts were happy to learn that this floorless was so unique that it didn't even have a vertical loop but IMO that is one of the best inversions for ANY Beemer. Medusa's vertical loop was my favorite element on that ride. Thanks for reading this long review, I hope you enjoyed it. I promise to write another one towards the end of the season to compare how Hydra changes in its first season. *** Edited 5/29/2005 10:26:50 PM UTC by DorneyMan88***
For the record my fav. floorless was definitely B:DK/Dominator for it's intensity.
I'll also have to cast my vote for Medusa, but I think my all-time favorite floorless is Superman Krypton Comet at Fiesta Texas.
Superman Krypton Comet :)
As far as comparing it to Medusa, I sure hope it's better. As I stated before, I love Floorless coasters, but Medusa is my least favorite of the one's I've ridden. I personally like Kraken the best, and was hoping that Hydra would rival that one for enjoyment. S:KC was my second favorite, and B:KF/Dominator my third, with Scream and Medusa following. It will be interesting to see where Hydra fits in when I do get a chance to ride it. Thanks again for your in depth review.
We were hoping for the extrordinary, but Dorney played it safe this year. Busch Gardens most consistantly strives for the extrordinary coasters. SheirKra I'm sure will prove to be no exception, and this years best new attraction. *** Edited 6/2/2005 5:38:28 PM UTC by rc-madness***
Damn you Dorney Park for being so conventional! ;)
However, the coaster is anything but ordinary. In fact, I'd call it one of the most unique 'coventional' coasters out there.
Pre-lift inversion, 7 inversions and no vertical loop, the different Cobra Roll design, the gigantic corkscrew - very little about Hydra is ordinary.
A safe ride, but hardly an ordinary or unexceptional coaster.
Hell, most of my favorite coaster are 'ordinary' in that they don't break records, have unique features or do anything gimmicky - they just deliver good rides.
Have you been to Dorney yet to see and experience the ride or are you just playing armchair quarterback by reading TR's?
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