Dorney Park

June 20, 2000

Anyway, Dorney was to be the sole destination of Eric and I's second day of coastering.

After a few wrong turns, solely my fault, on the way to the park, we arrived 45 minutes later than anticipated, but that all worked out as the coasters were all in the near walk on category anyway.

We had seen Dorney from the highway as we left the airport to go to Morey's and we commented on how it looked a lot smaller than we thought it would be, and how Steel Force really sticks out.

So we pulled in the parking lot at about 1:40, and learned that the park wasn't very crowded, at leasat that was the small talk while the toll collector made change (a $6 toll, now if it were only $5 he wouldn't have to make change, and why can't Dorney post the parking rate a bit before you come to the tollbooths, though I can acuse a lot of parks for that.) So we pull into the lot, take some pictures and head to the main gate. Here Eric goes to Guest Relations to see about using his Cedar Point pass, and I head to the ticket sales counter. Dorney park runs a wonderful Spring special and was selling tickets for $23.50 instead of the posted $31. A bargain for a corporate theme park. We rejoined paths on the other side of the turstiles, walked around the Antique carousel, and found ourselves walking through Camp Snoopy, a really well done new kids area. We thought whike here we can catch Woodstock's Express, we found the coaster, which, to me, looks a lot more like a Zamperla junior (in fact it looks a LOT like the Howler at HW), than a Vekoma Junior) We also found marked next to the candy cane that while you must be 36" minumun, there is also a 54" maximum (or rent a kid) Well this makes three, three coasters in a row we couldn't ride. (City Jet, Crazy Mouse, Woodstock). We walk through to the back of Camp Snoopy, and see a cleverly themed Bouncey inflatable, but we also see the lift aproach for "Taer It Down" We climb up the hill. In contrast to the flatness of Cedar Point, Dorney is very hilly. And on top of the hill we see the entrance stairs for "Taer It Down" There is no line for "Taer It Down" and we head right up the stairs, bypasing the queuing area, get up into the station, and get another reminder we are in a Cedar Fair park: the back two cars have been chained off. We get in line for the backmost open seat, and w=have to wait a couple trains. "Taer It Down" was running single train operation, so while the first train negotiated the course, we noticed how SLOW it was going, I keep watching Hercules, while Eric turns and observes the Wild Mouse next to it. Then I hear "David, you have GOT to see this" I turn and Eric tells me to watch the Mouse. I notice the excessive braking, and just as I comment Eric says "Wait, it get's better" I notice the car almost come to a dead stop. Uh-Oh, what a lovely preview. By then it is time for us to board Hercules. With no queue gates, we move forward and take our seats, and what is this crap. What happened to the nice comfy upholstery, this LOOKS like a PTC train but the sides and back are all this barely pliable hard padding. I think I know know what Dave means when he talks about those high-density foam seats. Groan, and then the seatbelts seemed to be even shorter than the ones PTC installs, but we get the betls fastned lower the ratcheting lapbars and head out on our way. The lift approach is nothing spectacular, funny I thought I read where something neat happens before the lift. Up the lift so far so good, crest the lift turn, and suddenly our mighty Warrior Hercules is having great difficulty fighting off the evil minions of the First Drop Brake Brigade. I mean Beast first drop brakes are nothing after this, the train literally crawls down the first thrid or so of the first drop, almost behaving like an Incline Railway. Eventually mighty Hercules beaks free of the brakes but by that time the damage is done, the drop minimized into uneventfullness, the lakeside overbanked turnaround into just another piece of track, and then we start into the portion of the track that flys under and around the station. Well not flys maybe rolls calmly, We now travel around the station at a nice scenic railway speed, with absolutely no interesting forces. Eventually we come to the station where we decide that the numerous coaster nuts who rode this before us were right "TAER IT DOWN!" (#119)

Shoirtly thereafter I learned the park has another Cedar Fair trait: no hot water in the restrooms.

But then it was time to find another ride. the Wild Mouse did not exactly look apealing at this point, so we headed down the hill accross the back of the park, noted the terrain log Flume (Thunder Creek) but we'll get to that later, for at the bottom of the hill is the Thunderhawk. We note that Thunderhawk got a CP style queue line (funny "Taer It Down" didn't get one) we proceeded through the queues and were stopped at the entrance of the station. The attendant allowed us to wait for the back seat, and soon we were sitting in Thunderhawks train. the individual seatbelts are here, but it also has the traditional style double lapbars. Here I noticed something wierd, the front seat has its lap bar mech on the load side, and all the other seats have the mech on the unload side. Soon we are off, and I notice how much extra 'walkway' is built around the turnaround, the site of the former station making a great lift apporach. We climb the lift and ahh this is an intriguing layout, an out and back that has been folded over so as to form a J shaped ride. Whats more is that there is actuallr airtime on Thunderhawk. But we would find out more about Thunderhawks airtime later when we rode in the front seat. Even though Thunderhawk is braked, it still manages to deliver some nice airtime. I wonder why we don't hear more about this ride. We liked Thunderhawk, and would reride it numerous times throughout the day. We also have to give a nod to the front car. ( #120)

We then passed a Scrambler where Eric said "Is it me or is that Scrambler moving slow" I pulled a Dave Althoff and came up with a calculation of 9RPM. So yes it is moving slow. The scrambler did have a nice paint job though. We then proceeded to turn down a pathway that runs right down the middle of Thunderhawk How scenic and convenient as it takes you to Steel Force.

Steel Force is a very dominant ride in the park, startching accross the whole rear of the park between the park proper and employee parking. I can't help but notice the similarity in logo to a ride that is in it's final season at Pittsburgh. We climb up the stairs (at least these are staggered instead of being straight) and into another near walk on. Unlike T-Hawk and Taer It Down, Steel Force was running two of its trains. (The Red and Black trimmed trains) We took our first ride in the back seat and Eric commented that NOW he knows why Arrow is a bit upset. This coaster screams ARROW. Steel Force, I love it there are some nice floats on the way out, the turnaround is really nice, and the return leg has ejector airtime the whole way back. Wow, what more could we ask for. Steel Force would also get numoerus rerides, mainly in seat 1.3, or the rear seat. 1.3 offerrs that great airtime along with the unique hangtime going over the first drop. We also took a ride on 1.1. We had a unique show after one of our rides when we watched from the exit ramp, to mechanics changing out a part, but they changed the part and got the ride back in operation within 15 minutes. We were on the offending train and noticed how it climbed the lift really loud for Steel Force. When we saw the mechanics we figured they would just take the train off (it was almost 8 at that point) But no fast response, fast repair, get things back running, kudos to Dorney Park ride mechanics. We also noticed at night that when the train is out of the station, you can see a lighted hallway undenrneath the platform if you look down under the track about halfway back. (#121)

(Note: As you may have guessed I have lumped all rides on a coaster together, instead of "And them we came back to Steel Force, then went over to Thunderhawk, then back to Steel Foce, then over to Lazer, then back to Thunderhawk" which is closer to what actually happened)

However the heck we did it, we then went went over to Lazer. Lazer would be my first Doppel Looping Bahn by the master. I must say the ride recieved a really nice paint job, and although it has been 'playing' Dorney Park for a long time, it still retains its portable look, including piles of wooden blocks for footers. (No joke, I have a photo) and pools of water to weight it down. Lazer has had a queue house added with totally non-adjustable queue rails. Meaning if there is a 5 minute wait or a 50 minute wait you still have to walk through the whole thing. But I noticed NOBODY walks though the whole thing. It appears to be usual and customary practice to climb over the unnecesary queue rails than to walk through. I wonder if a strategically placed gate would eliminate this potential safety hazzard. Whatever we make our way to the station, and find out that Lazer has a narrow platform, so narrow that there is no choice of seats, the first two get the first seat and so on back with the last two getting the last seat. In later rides we sort of figured out how to get where we wanted by letting folks through. (Then agin not everybody plays by the rules) Lazers train looks real nice, and for DP we noticed the lack of seatbelts. We board pull back on the lapbar, and head up the steep lift hill, turnaround then whamo two intense high G loops one after another. Schwarzkopf prooves again he is king, then we thread the loop, then go back to the other end and do a helix to hit the brake run next to the tranfser table, then you are brought back around past what looks like could have been an unload station back around to the station for flush loading.. Where you walk along an exit path that goes right alongside a nice flat section of track then up stairs to walk over a track piece, then to walk back down staris. I noticed that for the most part DP puts coaster exits and coaster entrances within a short reasonable distance of each other. OH yeah, in case I need to say it I really liked the intense fun of the Lazer. So much so that I looked for a Lazer in the parks gift shop (for my backyard) but just couldn't find one in any of the shops :) :) )

On a later Lazer ride, Eric told me to look at the brake fins on the train on the transfer track, and since Scwarzkopf put his brake fins on the sides of the train this was easy, especially when you stop right next to the other train.. I noticed how the brake fin was painted to match the train paint scheme (and be it known both trains DO have slightly differing paint shcemes) the tip of the fin was painted rust colored. But that made me curious to check the fin of the car I was riding, and I got that chance on my way back to the station. Hmm it was painted, but most of its the paint has worn off, and the fin ahas a real shinny mirror like shine to it. We then specualted that the other train has not seen much service lately. (#122)

Right across from the Lazer is an Allan Hercehll Kiddie Oval called the Little Lazer, but the candy cane told us to forget about it. The little Lazer is painted the same as the Lazer, and real neat faux loop has been added. (No it doens't really loop) right next to Little Lazer is a Zamperla Dragon, by checking its candy cane, we learened "You must be 48" to ride alone" What the?

Speaking of the candy canes, while there are real CP candy canes out front at the child measuring station, and on the ride signange, the operators have switched to using an L shapes gray piece of PVC tubing that has a taped stripe of the appropriate color.

We waited for the next Dragon ride, hey I know its controversial and I had to think about it, but I count the Blauer "Thunder Run" at PCwo as a coaster, so that would mean this counts too. Eric took the front seat, and I took the back seat on the friendly dragons back. Pulled the lapbars back, and were treated to a multlap journey. I'm still trying to figure out why it has a 48" height req. (#123)

We then decided to try some flat rides, and we started with the Whip which appears to be a real vintage Mangels whip. A fun ride scoring a bit higher than Americana's We then headed over to the Dominator, and we had some discussion about which Dominator to do first. I wanted to go down, and Eric wanted to go up.. We chose Down and got in line. Dominator was a 2 cycle wait at most, and with a 4x2 arrangement, we would both get an outside seat. I don't know, but I just don't get it. Turbo Drop was a bit of a disapointment to me. I mean I could not tell any difference between that and a Giant Drop except that it just didn't feel as intnese as a GD. We then immediately requeued fos a Space Shot ride on the Dominator. 1 cycle wait, we furhter specualted that (or rather Eric commented) that Space Shot's get higher throughout than Turbo Drops) Then I noticed that the third unusded tower had qeue gates and everything just no mechanism installed. With lines like these they may never need a third ride installed. We placed out loose items on the shelf directly in front of us as instructed sat down, harnessed up, and were wating there and then when the op came around to check harnesses we started examing the itmes on the loose itmes shelf. I mean there is no reason why he had to pick up and look at our stuff. Eric got real upset when not only did he pick up and look at his sungalsses but set them back down LENSES down on the metal grate. As in tried to get out of the OTSR upset. There was a little chat with the ride op in question aftter the ride. I don't know if I was spoiled by the Double Shot the night before, but this Space Shot seemed weak.

Okay, Dominator was a flop, and Skyscraper was $33 for two, we declined.

We instead headed up to the Giant Wheel to take loads of pictures. And I do mean headed UP to the giant Wheel. At least we can not find fault in its placement in the park.

Then we cut back accorss the park to the Wild Mouse. We got in line for the Wild Mouse, and it was the longest line of the day, but hey its a Wild Mouse, these things aren't exactly known for capacity.. Expecially when they are slowed to a crawl through much of the course, and then we notice the riders having trouble with the cars. Individual lapbars and individual seatbelts are the culprit here. Then I notice queue gates???? On a wild mouse? in a Cedar Fair park???

Yep they preload ytwo sets of queue gates, or 4 lanes total, then load from alternating pairs. At least they can pair up singe riders this way. Unfortuantely for us, just as we were aqbout to turn the final curve into the loading area, the ride set up and in made a loud noise, all brakes locked, ride opeators dashing to call office, shut down. as in evacuate ride shut down. We opted not to wait, and instead took advantage of the chicken chute they opened (opening the gate between the load and unload areas. And headed over to Hang Time. Hang Time is a Top Spin. one with water fountains out front and signs "You may get wet" Too bad its an empty promise. However this Top Spin was running a more interesing program than the one at SFGAdv. One that actually lippes yu a few times, and turns you upside down slowly. Real good. Then we made a ditch cameras in trunk of car run. Where we noticed some good spaces in Row 3 (right out from the exit gates) so we moved the car as to have a short walk later on tonight. We also noticed park secuirty busy removing fliers that some thoughtless company decided to place on everybodys car while we were in the park. Good going DP. Reenter park, and head around look in Coasters at the picutures but we don't eat there, then I have some drinking fountain ERT and feel much better. I admit I let my dehydration warning buzzer go unheeded. I would make sure to have plenty of drinking fountain runs for the rest of the trip. We then headed back to the Wild Mouse and noticed the line not too far back from where we abandoned last time, and got back in line. Then entrance way is cute with its cheese motif, and soon we made our way to the front. After beign told to ride together, we waited by our assigned queue gate, and noticed that they are not motorized. Instead they are normal gates that are mag-locked. The maglock shuts off whenever a car is parked in front of the gate. I guess if you have to have gates this is the way to do it. We cram ourselved into the seat, wrestle with lapbars and seatbelts and take a Wild Mouse ride, Actually the top layer wasn't too bad, just not good the rest of the ride was a yawner. (#124) It should be noted that all the while we were in this end of the park, we did not reride Taer It Down.

We then decide we need some food, and stop int he Red Garter Saloon, where we learn that the live show has the day off. But we also learn that at DP the Red Garter is a full service sit down retaurant. It may be overpriced but the portions are generous, very generous to be exact. We then decided to head down and hit Thunder Creek. Thunder Creek is a log flume ride, one that uses its terrain very nicely, and in fact the lift hill and drop go up and down alongisde the topograhy of the hill, with a few neat turns up top by Taer It Down. We then moved from the Log FLume to the Krazy Kars. I had not done Krazy Kars since they were at Americana, so I have lost much of my Krazy Kar skill. There also happens to be a birds nest in the DP Krazy Kar building. It was a fun ride however. It was more or less at this point that that it was around 6:00 and we decided to coaster fest on Thunderhawk, Lazer, and Steel Force until 9:00.. And fest we did getting in numerous rides on each coaster, then around 9:00 we headed to the Taer It Down area of the park of the Laser Show, but opted to ride Hang Time instead of Taer It Down. Got off Hang Time realized we have 20 minutes still go we ride the Bavarian Waveswinger where the ususal safety strap dogclilip has been replaced by a seatbelt buckle. Then it is time to settle in for an awesome laser show. I mean laser,s stobes, fireworrks, artifical fog, movies, slides, music, all come together to form on heck of a good show. I wish everypark had one of these at night. The laser show effectively takes you from 9:35 to park close. Then we hit some souvineer stores, noted the coaster geer section was amost all Steel Foce and Dominator, then left the park. One really nice touch is that DP leaves the band organ playing on the Antique carousel as everyone exits the park. Really classy.

Back To Trip Reports