Music In The Parks 2013 - Dorney Park - School Trip - Friday May 31

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It was time for our annual Music In The Parks Extravaganza. The children were excited about this as they are each year. And the weather was calling for 90 degree temps without rain.

A few years ago I wrote a full report about what goes on at Music in the Parks, and I am too lazy to repeat myself again. Just note it's a HUGE windfall for all of the parks as they are PACKED on days when they wouldn't even have a full draw to be open. Also it's not like Kennywood where the kids play in the park...but at schools not too far away from the parks.

The children and their parents were to meet in the school parking lot by 5 AM. We were to load instruments into the coaches (AC and DCD) and then head out to one junior high school in Pennsylvania for the instrumental judging and then to another one for the chorus.

Unfortunately, one of the buses that showed up was 10 seats shorter than what was ordered and we had to ask parents to drive to the sites instead. I don't think we will be using this bus company ever again and I want to say thank you to all of the parents who gave up their spots in order to save the day.

I forgot the name of the two schools where we played, but they had beautiful auditoriums and were well-prepared for any equipment that would be needed. In one school...we had to wait for another school's performance to go first and I saw for the first time an actual hand-bell ensemble. It was impressive.

My school sent 4 buses with a concert band, a jazz band, an orchestra and a chorus. All of the children are in grades 4 - 6.

When we got to the park it was time for everyone to go forth and have a blast. We were to meet at the picnic area at 5:30 for the award ceremony and then another hour of rides and then back at the bus by 7:15.

When we got to the gate it was later then I expected and we were on the line for bag check which took 15 minutes. Getting into the park was another 5. Now near 12:45. I needed to "Log Out" so that took some more time. The bathrooms were pretty clean for the volume. (The general public's...not just mine!)

My boss and I opted for fast lane because it was already over 90 degrees and the place was packed. THOUSANDS of kids wearing school music t shirts and since I won't go into the water park with my school, we opted for the fast lane. Online its 35 bucks but at the park it was 45. In either case it was worth it. Just for thunder canyon alone. The girl at the main gift shop (which did not have AC told me that they had only sold about 8 already.

Talon - first ride of the season. Fast & fun. Fast lane saved us 20 minutes and for us it was a 1 train wait. Here's an interesting thing. There are two "larger" seats in rows 3 and 4 but they are single seats and not next to each other. The same thing would happen on Hydra. Interesting. I would have hoped they would have been next to each other.

Steel Force - Broken - train stopped mid lift hill - would run later but I missed it this time.

Dominator - The boss likes the shoot up tower. Instant access with Fast Lane – Save about 7 minutes. It was tight in there…but we made it. The kids from our school saw us from behind the fence and they waved. That’s always fun. Hi Kids!!!!

Hydra – Instant access (Fast lane save 15 minutes) but the bigger seats situation forced us to allow people ahead of us so we could ride together. The secret to avoiding Hydra head-banging is to push your head all the way back.

Scrambler – No single riders. Boss didn’t want to - but I rode it with one of my students. Mom took a photo that shows us on it with the scrambler and Dorney Park logos in the photo. Great memories!!!! Short cycle.

Splash Landing – Instant access and saved about 20 minutes. Holy Smokes the lap bar was tight against my belly. Almost painful. One splash and instant relief.\

Thunder Canyon – Instant Access and saved about 30 minutes. This is one of Dorney’s most underrated rides. It is so well done and the waterfalls hit with a little force as you go through it soaking everyone (Even though the boss and I had a private charter). I have been on Congo rapids at six flags and other similar rides where one person or no one “gets it” and then the rest of the passengers is as dry as they were when they boarded.

Hey! Any thoughts on this? Does the weight distribution of these doughnuts determine who gets soaked or is it truly random and current driven?

The little railroad train near the boat soaker was down as was possessed and stinger for parts of the day.

The parking lot was about 10 percent full but the bus area was loaded. I am certain the water park area was insane – but I never made it over there.

As is our tradition, The whole staff (From two schools) enjoyed dinner together. We did eat at the new Chuckie and Pete’s – which used to be Game Day Grille – which used to be one of the worst meals I would eat each year. My favorite line about that place was “Every year I say it can’t get any worse and every year it does.” Well with the new menu and (management) I can honestly say…. It still sucks-though not as much.

A burger was 10 bucks (nothing included) Fries were 8 or 9 bucks (enough for 2) and the drinks (being school staff on-duty nobody consumed alcohol) were expensive though with refills. The waitress was fast but it was easy to see that we were being rushed. The quality just wasn’t there. Also she told us that she would bring out food when it was done – not at the same time…which meant some us were finishing as others were starting. On a scale of 1 to 10….my medium burger (served well-done) was a 3. Nothing special and no pickles.

The award ceremony at the picnic area was usual. Every school won a bunch of trophies and nobody got an award less than good. Almost everyone won first place because they were competing against schools of different sizes. (Since there was only one “hand bell” choir…guess what??? They got first place for hand-bell choir. If you had 10 people you were competing in class A. If you had 20 people, you were competing in class B. This way everyone wins, goes home with trophies and the same schools pony up for next year.

I see some of the same logos each year. It was funny when the music in the parks official made an announcement that someone lost a clipboard and a lens cap. I stepped up to get it…and thanked the judge as if I won an award and my school went nuts applauding for me. I bowed and walked off in front of thousands of people like a hero. It was a funny moment that I will never forget.

I stayed for the second award ceremony (Since there are so many schools – there are two different award ceremonies so that our two schools do not compete against each other. And then it was back to the bus and back to long Island.

There is something I would like to complain about…. The picnic area is right in front of the bus parking lot. It would take 2 seconds to open the gate and let us out there. Instead we have to walk up the “hill from hell” and around to the front gate. That is cruel at the end of the day.

I would like to thank my music department colleagues for putting this together. I also want to congratulate the children for doing such a great job. I am VERY proud of you!

Thank you for reading this.

Last edited by Richie Reflux,

Here's To Shorter Lines & Longer Trip Reports!

Thunder Canyon is the best raft ride out there, if you take "best" to mean wettest. And I do.

I liked Game Day Grill. I disliked Chickie and Pete's. Oh well...

Coasting For Kids one week from today (yay!) will be my first, and possibly only, visit to Dorney this season.

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

ApolloAndy's avatar

In my experience, trying to predict canyon rapids rides is futile.

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

My favorite rapids ride is Popeye because it's fast, scenery-filled, and you get a good amount of water on you but not too much.

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