Dorney Park, Allentown, Pennsylvania, USA
Every year, my cousin, Donna, who lives in Bethlehem, PA throws a pool party around this time of year and invites me. We don't communicate too much, but she and her husband are good people..good food, good company, and a crystal clear in-ground pool..can't beat it.
The shindig was scheduled for today, so I decided..as I've done the last two years...to hit Dorney for some rides in the a.m. and head to Donna's (about 15 minutes away from the park.) I figured on spending 2-2.5 hours at the park.
Late yesterday afternoon, before I left work, I got an e-mail from Luna Park at Coney Island. They were looking for people to come ride the Cyclone and Wild River for free today, while being filmed for an upcoming Travel Channel program called (tentatively) Amazing Boardwalk Empires. The first 25 people to respond would have the chance, along with a guest. Unfortunately, I didn't see it the moment it hit my in-box, so I was too late. I was kind of surprised to actually receive a 'better luck next time" type of e-mail. If I had been selected, I probably would have done that instead. But it's probably just as well..I don't drive in New York City, so it would have been tough to make it over there by the 9:45 start time.
So anyhow, I left Bayonne a bit past 7:30. Following my customary stop at Waffle House in Bethlehem for breakfast, I arrived at Dorney a little before 10.
This was to be my 3rd visit to Dorney this season, but the other two were really not "full" visits. In June, I participated in the Coasting For Kids Fundraiser , so a large chunk of that day was taken up by the Steel Force marathon itself, although we got on a few other rides following that. The other visit was July 4, when I spent the day in the waterpark, save for a handful of Talon laps. That was the day of the sunburn from Hell, and my left foot had gotten the worst of it..it only began to feel better last weekend. It was fine for GAdv this past Wednesday, but the blister I developed THAT day is hurting. I didn't expect it to bother me too much today, and it really didn't.
What I figured on doing this morning was hitting the coasters I hadn't had a ride on this season. So I (very gingerly) navigated the hill down to Possessed, and the first train of the day was waiting for me. I took two rides, one back, one front. Enjoyed them, but nothing out of the ordinary. I hit Stinger for one lap, and it proved that, other than the first seat facing the sky on the lift, it's too much of an ear-banger to be enjoyed elsewhere.
Took a spin (literally) on Revolution. they seem to have severely shortened the ride cycle. And it was a little strange when the ride attendant..in checking my restraint...says, "You've been here before, haven't you?" Didn't recognize him as anyone I'd ever had any interaction with.
Took one circuit on Steel Force. Felt very slow, but I got better than average airtime, both on the first two drops AND the bunnies.
The last car on Thunderhawk had all three rows chained off, so I rode in the last seat of the next-to-last car. It was pretty rough, but I think that's a wheel seat and I was on the right side.. For my second ride, after walking around, the chains had been dropped, so I took the middle seat of the last car..much better ride, and I sat on the left this time.
Got wet on the Flume and got dry on the Enterprise. Synchronicity.
All of those were walk-ons or one cycle wait.
Then came the shocker. Headed up the hill, because I hadn't been on the Mouse and wanted to hit that, Meteor, Talon and Hydra for one apiece, then split. So I get to the top of the hill by Hydra's entrance, and I'm greeted by something rarely seen at Dorney...decent-sized lines. Hydra was in the first three switchbacks from the stairs. The Mouse ALWAYS has a line, no matter the day/time/crowd. So I skipped both of those. I was willing to wait the two cycles for Meteor since it is..and still remains...my favorite non-coaster ride in the park.
I wanted one ride on Talon,and was expecting to (and was willing to) wait, having realized that 95% of the population in the park was up at that end. The line was in the fourth switchback, and I waited exactly a half-hour. They weren't filling the station gates, though, so I was able to walk right onto the back seat once I was in the station, and took a second ride before heading out. Two terrific, forceful rides. Talon never disappoints me, front or back.
Walking out, I stopped by the Coasters Bandstand to hear some music. If I see attractive women in skimpy costumes singing rock and roll, I'm stopping. I'm glad I did. In addition to meeting the above criteria, these three women (and the same number of fellas) were very talented and did not appear to be lip-synching. Also, the show did not necessarily feature the "usual suspect" songs found in a show like this. Proud Mary (Tina Turner version,) Born To be Wild, Land Of 1000 Dances, and Leader Of The Pack were among the featured songs (I missed the first five minutes.) I enjoyed this show a lot.
Left the park at about 1pm. Following stops at Weis and a Hess station, I got to Donna's about 1:45. So, a pretty darn good day.
Incidentally, Donna gave me some Dorney coupons that have a pretty decent discount..about $15 off..and they're not specifically for weekdays. Any operating day through 9/3. Anyone needs/wants 'em, let me know via PM. Also for those without passes planning to go to the park, the local Weis (on Cedar Crest Blvd, about a half-mile away) sells day tickets for about $35.
And it appears Dorney's Haunt will start pretty early this year..mid-September. I might be wrong, but I don't remember it being that early in past years.
Thanks for reading..hope you enjoyed doing so as much as I enjoyed sharing my day with all of you :)
Haunt is starting a week earlier this year, I was really looking forward to going the first day since it is a Friday night and the park will be empty but I have to attend a wedding.
I'm glad that the chained rows on Thunderhawk were just temporary. In 2007, that was happening all the time and it got annoying when they didn't remove the chains even when there was a line.
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