TR: Dorney Park (little sister) 8/11/02

Associated parks:
None

Tuesday, August 13, 2002 6:21 PM

After not getting to a park in three weeks (Great Escape) and not getting to a major park (CP) in a month, I had suffered enough and decided to make a trip to Dorney Park in Allentown, PA. I arrived at the park after a 3 hour and 40 minute drive from upstate NY (90 East to Albany, 87 South to 287 South to 78 West) at about 9:40 AM, parked about 10 rows back, and proceded right to guest relations to get a ticket using my Cedar Point season pass. I saw that there were a couple other PO!NTERS already on the list in front of me. After a quick bathroom break (no Xcelerator hand dryers :(), I heard Frank from the 2001 Magnum crew yelling my name across the entrance plaza. I had talked him into making the trip the night before. So, into the park we went! The main lot would fill up and they'd have to use the grassy lot across the street on this day, but the park didn't seem overly crowded. Our longest waits were 30 minutes for Talon, Wild Mouse, and Thunder Canyon.

Of course we wanted to hit Talon first. We had seen them doing block checks earlier, but at this point, there wasn't much activity and the ride actually opened about 5 or 10 minutes after 10. Our wait was under 10 minutes and I immediately noticed that Talon still looks brand new! Hopefully its paintjob lasts better than the ones on Mantis and Raptor at CP did. I like how they put mulch underneath the ride and did not just leave plain dirt like Mantis at CP. We took our first lap in the back left and much like Joe E said, it seemed slow. I'm not sure how much of this can be attributed to the absense of the B&M roar. This thing is quiet! The Immelman and the series of close sweeps to the ground though make it into another winner from B&M. Three more rides later in the day were actually better than the first because they felt faster. It's not as good as Raptor because I feel that it seems to lack a bit of speed, but it's definitely the type of ride that everyone can enjoy. The crew could learn a few things from a bus trip to Cedar Point. They weren't terrible, but they managed to stack at least half the time. One guy looked like he was trying to get them to move things along and was really hustling, but then we saw him do something really stupid - reach into the moving train coming in to undo the seatbelts. I'm all about doing little things to help make things move quicker, but this didn't seem too smart to me. I say bus them to Sandusky for a day and have them learn a thing or two from Raptor's crew! :)

Next up was Hercules where someone heard us talking coasters and asked if we were Acers! :) As much as we probably sounded like Acers, we had to tell him that we weren't. Anyway, holy Mean Streak! What is it with Cedar Fair and putting trims on the drops of coasters. This one, Mantis, Mean Streak, c'mon! :) This ride didn't feel as slow as Mean Streak since it only banks to the right and turns at the bottom of the drop and doesn't ascend again right away. This ride still has plenty of speed left when it hits the brake run. It would have been nice if they had a few airtime hops to bleed off that extra speed. We only took one spin on this one and I can't say that I consider it one of my favorite rides.

Next, we made the trek down a hill that reminded me of BGW's terrain to Steel Force. They were only running two trains on this day, but at this point, the wait was under 10 minutes and we didn't wait more than 15 minutes for any of our three rides. The track on Steel Force has faded much like that of Magnum so that it looks kind of pink in most areas. It looks like they painted a few spots, but the areas where they stopped painting stick out like a sore thumb to a trained eye. Of course it's hard not to compare this Morgen hyper to its Arrow counterpart out at Cedar Point. Steel Force definitely rides smoother, but honestly, I found it a bit boring. The trains are very roomy and comfortable compared to Magnum's, but the track doesn't deliver quite as well. The turnaround is neat, but I'll still take the pretzle over the large sweeping circles. Also, the midcourse brake seems kind of out of place and really shouldn't need to hit so hard with only two trains. The bunny hills are much larger and more parabolic than Magnum's, but they deliver only mild floater air and the only decent pop of ejector air comes from the last half hop. One thing we noticed was how slow the trains creep into the station, coming to a dead stop halfway in, and then resuming. At first we thought it was the operator, but since it happened every time, we began to think otherwise. They could probably adjust the programming a bit on that so that they'd come in a bit quicker and improve capacity a bit. Steel Force was definitely not in the same league as Phantom's Revenge, but it was also far from a bad ride. It's smooth as glass and everyone loves height and speed. It's probably only the enthusiasts that would complain about lack of ejector air.

Next up was a walkon to Thunderhawk which looks a lot like an out and back, but rides more like a twister. It delivered some strong laterals, but very little air. There's one point right at the end where it looks like you're about to get air, but a trim severely damages the goodness of two small bunny hills.

One of our longest waits of the day was on Wild Mouse. They stopped briefly to transfer one train on and take another off. We ended up waiting about 30 minutes. This mouse is definitely better than the one at BGW, but probably not as good as the one at Hershey. It is not braked to death and the hairpin turns are fun! We were joking about all the big tough guys who think these rides are nothing, until they get on, and then they realize otherwise. Good times! :)

Our last coaster to conquer was Laser. This ride was a pleasant surprise as it delivered two extremely smooth vertical loops without lapbars and a fairly intense helix. Schwartzkopf was definitely way ahead of his time. This thing was almost as smooth as a B&M. We were a little disappointed that Dorney only had two people running the ride with one train. We didn't wait more than 5 minutes, but the girl at turnstyles was also the lapbar checker for the whole train and one other person ran controls.

Other rides we hit included the mini flume ride, Dominator (up and down), the topspin, Meteor, and Thunder Canyon.

You can definitely feel the influence of Cedar Point and Cedar Fair in this park. Some rides have similar names including White Water Landing, Thunder Canyon, and Cedar Creek (Cannonball). Also, they have lots of trash cans. The distribution ratio was about the same as at CP and the park was spotless everywhere except for the Thunder Canyon queue. For some reason, there were no trash cans in there and the garbage was mounding up. Many of the rides and attractions (Steel Force being probably the only exception) in this park look to be freshly painted and well maintained. There is also lots of white concrete (which I prefer over blacktop) and "Cedar Fair fencing" in the park. Operations were good, but not great. Talon stacked about half the time, Steel Force only ran two trains, and there just didn't seem to be quite the push for capacity that there is at the flagship park. Some crews were a bit on the small side as we noticed that they were lacking an entrance person on several rides, including Steel Force. While it wasn't up to CP standards, I'd say overall, capacity was on par with a "good" Six Flags park like Great Adventure or maybe even Hershey and definitely much better than say SFDL or SFNE. I did notice that there seemed to be a line to exit the park the whole day. Perhaps they need to figure out a way to get another lane or two going, at least during the times when many people leave.

I ended up leaving a bit before 7 since I had to work on Monday, but it was a very satisfying day. I did everything I wanted to at the park and more! Dorney is definitely worth a visit and it definitely offers some good healthy competition for Six Flags Great Adventure which is fairly close by.

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-Matt
2001 Magnum Crew

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Wednesday, August 14, 2002 8:08 PM
Tha place was so crowded last weekend, and the water park was where the masses were! Great TR!

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See THE ULTIMATE in Orlando TR'S! Right now in the TR fourm!

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Thursday, August 15, 2002 3:46 AM
If that was as crowded as it gets, then they didn't do a terrible job handling things as I never waited over 30 minutes for anything. Capacity could have been even better I think, but I've waited 30 minutes for Superman at SFDL when the line barely spills out of the station and it's 40 degrees out! :) Dorney is definitely worth a visit...

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-Matt
2001 Magnum Crew

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Thursday, August 15, 2002 4:11 AM
It's hard to judge just how crowded Dorney will be based on its parking lot alone. This is because Wildwater Kingdom is located in the same complex. So its really a matter of whether the people in the cars in the lot are riding coasters or getting wet...
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Thursday, August 15, 2002 6:54 AM

Is this a TR on Dorney or simply an essay on how Dorney compares to Cedar Point?

Review parks for what they are... not for how they compare to other parks (even if it is another park in the same chain).

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Kind of hard to take a post as objective if a park or coaster name is part of the "user name"

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Thursday, August 15, 2002 10:01 AM

MDOmnis said:

"Of course it's hard not to compare this Morgen hyper to its Arrow counterpart out at Cedar Point. Steel Force definitely rides smoother, but honestly, I found it a bit boring. The trains are very roomy and comfortable compared to Magnum's, but the track doesn't deliver quite as well. The turnaround is neat, but I'll still take the pretzle over the large sweeping circles. Also, the midcourse brake seems kind of out of place and really shouldn't need to hit so hard with only two trains. The bunny hills are much larger and more parabolic than Magnum's, but they deliver only mild floater air and the only decent pop of ejector air comes from the last half hop."


This really sums up how I felt after riding Steel Force. The first few hills were great and the turnaround was....fun. But I couldn't help but miss some of the thrills that Magnum's pretzel turn create. And as for the return bunnyhops...aren't they supposed to create airtime?

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James Draeger
-Proud co-founder of the Coasterbuzz street team

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Thursday, August 15, 2002 10:11 AM

If you didn't get air on the Bunny Hops on the return on Steel Force, then either a) you have a different deffinition of air than I, b) the front seat really does make a difference, c) a year has made a big difference, or d) we were riding two different coasters.

I rode Steel Force last August. Those hops on the way back to the station had me out of my seat almost the entire way... practically "standing up" as my wife put it quite correctly. Of course we were riding in the front seat. This is truely a front seat coaster.

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Kind of hard to take a post as objective if a park or coaster name is part of the "user name"

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Thursday, August 15, 2002 10:19 AM

SLFAKE said:

If you didn't get air on the Bunny Hops on the return on Steel Force, then either a) you have a different deffinition of air than I, b) the front seat really does make a difference, c) a year has made a big difference, or d) we were riding two different coasters.


Well, in my case, it was none of the above. When I rode it last year, the mid-course brakes grabbed just a little too hard to create forceful negative g's. Nevertheless, the ride is still good.

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Dayuum, Your HOT!

*** This post was edited by Coasterr on 8/15/2002. ***

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Thursday, August 15, 2002 11:28 AM
What's interesting about Dorney is that there was a "Cedar Creek" there long before Cedar Fair came.

I really need to get back to this park. I haven't been there since 1999 and it sounds like there have been some big changes.

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Thursday, August 15, 2002 12:33 PM

millrace said:
What's interesting about Dorney is that there was a "Cedar Creek" there long before Cedar Fair came.

I was just thinking the same thing yesterday, very ironic


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Thursday, August 15, 2002 12:44 PM
The Lake there is Cedar Creek dammed up. Ironically the creek that runs behind the park is named Cedar Creek.

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All I need is 4.5 million bucks and a half a mile long sliver of land and maybe someone could build me my very own Shivering Timbers. ;)

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Thursday, August 15, 2002 12:52 PM

MDOmnis said:


Next up was a walkon to Thunderhawk which looks a lot like an out and back, but rides more like a twister. It delivered some strong laterals, but very little air. There's one point right at the end where it looks like you're about to get air, but a trim severely damages the goodness of two small bunny hills.



Are you kidding? No air on thunderhawk. What seat did you ride in. You get the most air in the front row. My legs were sore the rest of the day after riding that in the front. The air was amazing in the front on thunderbolt.

*** This post was edited by B&M ROCKS on 8/15/2002. ***

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Thursday, August 15, 2002 1:34 PM

SLFAKE said:

If you didn't get air on the Bunny Hops on the return on Steel Force, then either a) you have a different deffinition of air than I, b) the front seat really does make a difference, c) a year has made a big difference, or d) we were riding two different coasters.

It must be the difference a year makes. I was at Dorney on July 15 and had very much the same reaction as Draegs. "Where is the air on the bunny hops?" We rode in the back, the third row and the front seat. The front car was better than the back but the air was lacking overall.

I had ridden Apollo's Chariot, S:RoS at SFA and S:RoS at SFNE during the previous week and Magnum was my #1 steel coaster from last year, so Steel Force had a lot of airtime monsters to live up to. It was not up to the task and was one of the few anticipointments of the entire trip. Steel Force had been my buddy's first hyper and did not live up to his memory of it either.

That said, it was still a fun ride.

Alan T.


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Thursday, August 15, 2002 3:40 PM

SLFAKE said:

Is this a TR on Dorney or simply an essay on how Dorney compares to Cedar Point?

Review parks for what they are... not for how they compare to other parks (even if it is another park in the same chain).


I'll write my TR's the way I want to and you write yours the way you want to, okay? I'm sure you compare features when you're buying something in the store or a new car. I compare amusement parks! I snuck a few other comparisons in there in addition to CP, but it really is hard to walk into Dorney and not feel like you're in a mini-CP, so that is what I tried to convey. They could stand to be more like CP in a few areas though such as capacity and having a few more people working some of the rides.

I stand by my opinion that Steel Force is weak compared to other hypers I've been on including Magnum, Apollo's Chariot, Nitro, S:ROS (SFNE), S:ROS (SFDL), Phantom's Revenge, etc. Deal with it!

I rode Thunderhawk in the back so perhaps the front does deliver more air, but the back had next to none.

I like the park, don't get me wrong, it's just that I thought some of the rides were a bit weak. I had an awesome time there and honestly, the only parks I can say that I might like better are CP, BGW, and Hershey. That's pretty good to be considered in the same league with those parks (not that I've been everywhere! )

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-Matt
2001 Magnum Crew

*** This post was edited by MDOmnis on 8/15/2002. ***

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Thursday, August 15, 2002 8:52 PM
Yeah i also dont see how no air was delivered on Steel force, thats awkward, he usually always delivers.
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Friday, August 16, 2002 5:29 AM

Hey Matt:
Word of the day for Talon???
STACKED!!!!

That drove me CRAZY during my visit last year and this year during CoasterMadness! :(

Jo
2000 Raptor Crew
Gemini 100 "Survivor"
2002 Raptor Crew ?
did I say that???

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Cowboys dig cowgirls in trucks
Cowgirls dig cowboys in Wranglers! ;)

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