Whirlwind '04 - 19 parks in 7 days (Day 2 - Williams Grove, Dutch Wonderland, Sesame Place, and Dorney Park)

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Tuesday, September 14, 2004 3:44 PM
The Whirlwind Tour ’04 (Day 2 of 7)

Friday, August 6th

Williams Grove, Dutch Wonderland, Sesame Place,and Dorney Park

“Dude, I am telling you. Those are bunny hops.”


With successfully completing 4 parks on the first day of our trip, Jeff Johnson and myself had better confidence on doing 4 more parks this second day. The original schedule of the first and second day was shifted around a bit so we could successfully pull the first day off. The second day, while it would require some back tracking, looked to be pretty easy.

We woke up in Lancaster. We could have very easily gone right down the street and paid a visit to Dutch Wonderland, but they didn’t open for a few more hours. Instead of getting in some extra sleep, we decided to head back to Hershey. Yes, I know I didn’t add Hersheypark in the title but since we had already been there on this trip, I didn’t count it as another park.

The night before we spent two hours riding a few rides. Since it was dark when we arrived, we didn’t take any pictures. We had purchased a bonus admission that let us into the park for free the night before, but also included a second all day visit and a visit to Dutch Wonderland. The main purpose of our second visit was to take pictures and possibly ride a few things including the new Storm Runner.

As soon as we pulled into Hersheypark, we could tell the day was going to be crowded as there were many, many people walking to the front gate at opening. We knew most everyone would be running to Storm Runner so Jeff and I headed the other direction to ride a coaster in the back.

---Great Bear---

With a very minimal wait, we found ourselves climbing up the lift hill while in the back row. I know a few people that don’t care for this ride as they claim it is boring. I honestly love the ride. The ride is very smooth and still feels brand new. I love the cool helix at the top that leads into the first drop. While it does have a strange ending, I do enjoy it. It’s very unique. For whatever reason, the roar that is heard while a train is flying overhead is very similar to that of IOA’s Hulk. It’s not the typical B&M roar but one with a lower sound.


From Great Bear we decided to walk around Storm Runner to get some pictures. The sky was beautiful looking so we needed to take advantage of the moment. The only problem was the coaster wasn’t running. We decided to wait it out so we could get at least a couple of shots with the coaster zooming overhead. From where we were standing, we could seem almost the entire layout of the ride.

After about a half hour, Storm Runner started sending empty trains. I still can’t believe how quite this ride is. I didn’t hear any Intamin rattle at all. After a few more test runs, we heard screams on trains so we grabbed some shots from many different angles. The coaster is very photogenic. While we were waiting for a train to rip through the last couple of curves, the ride went down again.

In typical Intamin fashion, a few more trains were sent, then silence. A few more trains ran, and then it went down again. After waiting for another 15 minutes, we decided to walk down so we could at least get some shots of the structure as it didn’t look like it was going to run again for a while. While standing down by the entrance of Trail Blazer, the coaster decided to run again. We took this moment to get as many pictures as we could. I was surprised to see an area where people could get very close to the first drop.

As soon as we decided to walk up to the station where the ride is, it went down again. This time for only a few minutes. Once it started back up, we stood by the launch and took some more pictures and footage. I would have loved to take another ride on the coaster but Jeff and I decided to skip it as the line was very long. Since the ride was stopping quite a bit, we had no idea how long the line actually was. We got the pictures we were wanting and decided to leave. After all, we had some other parks to go to.


Our next stop was to visit the strange little park known as….


===William’s Grove===

I had been there a few years ago and had a great time. Jeff had no idea what to expect. The park isn’t very far from Hershey but it does sit far away from everything else. We decided to use the directions that Yahoo maps gave us. The only problem was they weren’t remotely accurate resulting in us getting lost. We stopped at a Fire Station in Mechanicsburg to get proper directions. Sure enough, the map was wrong and we found the park in just a few minutes.

We had to park on a side of the park that I was not familiar with. I remember walking past two old locomotives the last time I was here. This time we were parking near a race track that I had no idea existed. From the look at the cars in the parking lot, it appeared the park was pretty crowded. To get into the park, we had to stand in a long line to get tickets. We chose not to get a wristband but rather tickets as we only wanted to ride the coasters once. As we walked in we were surprised to see the park pretty empty.

---Wildcat---

I told Jeff this coaster resides in someone’s back yard. I don’t know if he believed me or not but the look on his face when we walked up to the coaster was funny. Despite the amount of cars in the parking lot, there weren’t a lot of people walking around. Jeff and I got right on the coaster with only a 5 minute wait.

The layout of this ride is very similar to Cedar Point’s Wildcat, but with a couple differences like the approach to the lift as well as the third curving drop. With only two cars on the course, the ride operator wouldn’t dispatch the next car until the last car was in the final brakes.

Jeff and I were the only ones riding when our car was dispatched. We slooooowly made our way around to the lift hill. Just as our car started to grab onto the chain, the lift stopped and we started to coast back. We made it partially around the pre-lift turnaround before stopping at a drive tire. The ride operator saw what was going on and had a puzzled look on his face. Jeff grabbed one of the supports next to our car and boosted us to the lift. This time the lift didn’t stop and we made it around the whole course. Like I said before. It’s a strange park.


---Cyclone---

This is one of the scariest wooden coasters I have ridden. Cyclone defines the classic term “shaky and rickety.” No one was waiting to ride it when Jeff and I walked up. We sat in the front car and waited to be dispatched but the ride operator told us we had to wait for 6 more people to ride. It didn’t take long for others to show up before we were heading up the crooked lift hill.

The actual ride experience was even shadier than I remembered it. There are a couple of moments when the train lifts off the track for a second and slams back down. The straight section of track after the far turnaround still has airtime. The track is so warped now that it looks like small bunny hops were in stalled but it’s just warping. One ride was more enough for us as we decided to get some pictures of the ride. Every time I ride the ride, I think it will be my last as I still can’t believe it is standing.

We left William’s Grove and drove back to Lancaster where we would be going to our next part.

===Dutch Wonderland===

As we walked up, we couldn’t believe the amount of families we saw in the front gift shop. We knew it was going to be very crowded inside the park. Once inside, we were welcomed by hundreds of strollers and families. Jeff dubbed the place Dutch Strollerland. We walked back to the first of two coasters at the park.

---Sky Princess---

At first glance, this looks to be a very gentle coaster with nothing spectacular. Since it runs full sized PTC trains, you may question the nature of this ride. We waited over a half hour to take a ride. I remember getting a much better ride in the front seat than in the back so we headed there. While the first half is pretty tame, there are a couple of nice surprises on the return leg including a very quick helix. After all, we are talking about CCI’s first coaster.

---Joust---

I decided to wait and watch Jeff ride this one as I had already ridden it. This Chance coaster is just like the one that Michigan’s Adventure has. Not much to say about this other than it was amusing watching Jeff ride with a bunch of families. With the two coasters ridden and not wanting to ride anything else, we decided to leave.


As we were leaving we walked into a model train display. Jeff is a huge train buff but seemed disappointed at the display. I thought it looked pretty neat but I haven’t been into trains in a long time. What do I know?

We also watched people attempting to slide down the super slide. Either the park isn’t waxing the slide, or people don’t know how to slide down properly as everyone wasn’t making it down. They would stop then push. Stop then push. It was pretty funny.

As we were leaving, we got a call from good friend Iain Hendry. We would be meeting with Iain later in the week and had to secure our arrangements. It was good talking to Iain again as we usually have a blast hanging out. After our conversation, we left for our next park. We had a drive that lasted a couple of hours before reaching the Philadelphia area.

===Sesame Place===

Using the “Park Shopping” option, Jeff and I were given free admission to the park for one hour. Once inside, we made our way through the hundreds of kids to our next coaster.

---Vapor Trail---

I didn’t remember much about this ride other than it being my 350th ride a few years back, and it had a few helices. This Vekoma junior coaster is the largest of its type I have seen in the country. For a coaster of its size, it is pretty powerful with some nice positive gs felt while going through the helices. Even though there wasn’t a line for the ride, the park ran two trains. Pretty impressive.

Jeff wanted to get a souvenir from the ride so we headed to the gift shop. We timed our visit just right as the park was now closing. We headed back to guest relations and gave them our ticket stub showing them we spent less than an hour in the park. The way they used to operate this option was different than the last time we were there. When asked to go into the park for an hour, they would hold your driver’s license until you came back. Now they ask for a credit car, charge it full admission, and then credit it back when you come back. Either way, it is nice of them to offer this option.

As we were leaving, we had to make a choice. We could have easily just driven to the Allentown area and called it a night, or we could try and make it to the park before close. Depending on traffic, it would be close but we decided to try.

I don’t remember how long the drive took but it seemed we arrived at our next park very quickly.

===Dorney Park===

We had an hour to spend before the park closed. We both had Cedar Fair passes so we weren’t exactly losing anything by arriving late. If we didn’t arrive before closing, the place was to be at the park at opening the next day.

It didn’t look to be very crowded so we headed back to a coaster that Jeff hasn’t ridden yet.

---Talon---

I was really anxious to ride this coaster again. Jeff didn’t look at the layout one time while in line. He wanted to be totally surprised. We walked up into the station and headed for the back row. As we were heading up the lift, I forgot how silent it is. Dorney does an excellent job at replacing the anti-rollback pads on the latches as it was very quiet.

The ride was just as fun as I remembered it. There are some nice forces on this ride. Jeff was surprised as well as he was told it was “another boring forceless coaster.” We could have easily gotten a second ride but Jeff had one other coaster to ride.

---Woodstock’s Express---

As with the other kiddie coasters of the trip, I sat this one out as I had already ridden it on a previous visit.

While Jeff was riding, I had a nice conversation with enthusiast Chris Trotter who was on the phone. He couldn’t believe the schedule of our trip and had concerns for us getting burned out. We were doing alright so far. The first few days were the most hectic but we knew we could continue. We were tired but this whole coaster drive was enough to keep us going.

We had a half an hour to spend in the park before closing. Instead of heading back to Talon, we attempted to go ride the smallest coaster in the park, Little Laser. Jeff was denied a ride. I had ridden it a few years back during an ERT (yes, an ERT).

We started to walk back to Talon when Jeff thought it would be a good idea to close out the night on another coaster. I was up for anything so we started heading back in direction we had just come from. On the way we got a nice look at the construction of Hydra’s Revenge. The lift was starting to take shape and we could clearly see the supports for the start of the ride. Count me in the group of people that think it is very possible that the coaster could have an inversion before the lift as the supports do support theory. I guess we will find out very soon.

---Steel Force---

To be honest, I have never been the biggest fan of Steel Force. While it is smooth and fast, I have never gotten one of those crazy insane rides that a lot of other people have gotten. I had no problem closing out the night on this ride as I did want to give it another chance.

There were only 4 of us on the train for our ride. Jeff and I sat in the last car. The lift feels much taller than what it is. I had ridden this coaster at night a few times but didn’t think it was spectacular.

That was all about to change.

I don’t know what it was but for some reason the coaster was flying. The helix at the far end blew my mind as did the return leg. Finally, I got a great ride!. There was airtime all over the place and forces I never remember feeling. We still had time for one more ride and we chose to ride it again. As with our previous ride, we had a great time. We managed to look at the new construction on the turnaround and noticed how many footers are already poured.

What a way to end a day.

We walked back to the front of the park where Jeff purchased some more souvenirs before heading out. Our hotel was only ten miles from the park which meant we would be getting some extra sleep. Jeff found a very nice hotel online. I don’t remember the name of the place but the rooms were large complete with a kitchen. As we checked in, the hotel clerk double charged Jeff. He wasn’t happy with this and argued with the clerk for a few minutes. He thought he had already paid for the room online but the clerk said he hadn’t. Jeff did have paperwork showing he was all set, but there was some bit of miscommunication going on. I just sat back and watched the entertainment. =:^)


After everything was ironed out, we went up to our room. I was hungry so I drove across the street grab something to eat. I was flipping through some of the stations and found one that was playing old stuff from Fear Factory, and Type O Negative to name a couple. I never hear this stuff on the radio and was happy to hear it. Too bad my drive wasn’t longer or I would have checked it our more.

Not much more to say other than I finished my grub and fell asleep very quickly. We had successfully went to 4 parks this day, unless you count Hershey again, then it’s 5. Our next day wouldn’t be as hectic, but there would be a lot of driving as usual.

Next up…

The bad day and the things that saved it.

Thanks for reading,

-Sean

. *** Edited 9/14/2004 7:53:53 PM UTC by Sean Flaharty***

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Tuesday, September 14, 2004 4:08 PM
Curse you, Sean - you just put me an hour behind my work deadline.

/can't wait for parts 3-7

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Tuesday, September 14, 2004 11:14 PM
Your hour at Dorney reminded me of the hour I spent there this summer, a.k.a. my most pathetic enthusiast moment. I ended up getting four credits in that hour as I ran around the park. The last credit I wanted was the Wild Mouse, but they closed off the queue as I was huffing and puffing from my run from Steel Force.

Tyler "also anxiously awating parts 3-7" Neu

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Wednesday, September 15, 2004 5:25 AM
Only been on the Cyclone once at Williams Grove years ago, and yes, I feared for my life. Even then I was wondering if the park was breaking like a ton of safety codes by keeping this thing up and running. ;-)

We got lost as well trying to find the place, but had fun nonetheless.

Keep 'em coming man! :-D

-Tina

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Wednesday, September 15, 2004 5:57 AM
Wow, Sean, very good again. And an easter egg in a Trip Report? I'm gonna have to remember that...;)
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Wednesday, September 15, 2004 1:01 PM
Thanks guys (and gal)!

Tekno,

Congrats on finding the easter egg. I had the photo and wanted to put it in the report somewhere but I just decided to hide it someplace. I was waiting for someone to find it, although now it looks like a lot of people are checking it out as the counter for that picture is rapidly going up.

-Sean

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Wednesday, September 15, 2004 1:37 PM
Thanks for that info on Sesame Place

I had no idea they offered that option!

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Wednesday, September 15, 2004 7:40 PM
What other parks have a shopping option? Is it just a Busch parks thing? My parents and I utilized this in the early 90s at BGW so that I could run in and grab some Loch Ness Monster goodies (even though I was afraid of coasters;) ) Does BGW still offer this?
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Thursday, September 16, 2004 11:24 PM
John,

I was aware they offered that option a few years ago but they do it a bit different now than before. Nowdays, they charge your credit card then take it off when you return. A few years ago they simply asked for your drivers liscense.

Pale Rider,

I am not sure what parks have this option. I would like to know.

-Sean

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