Road Trip to Dorney Park: September 27th, 2014

Once again my brother-in-law Tom and I got together for another road trip to a different park. This time we took the PA Turnpike up to the Allentown area to check out Dorney Park. After living fairly close to this park all my life I was really stoked to make my first visit. Tom is one of my favorite people to go riding with as he has stamina and absolutely no fear/limits when it comes to rides. 

 On the road to Dorney are cornfields...

 fall foliage...

 and delicious burgers... and theme parks!

 We see you Dorney.

Since he had to work a half day on Saturday so we didn't get on the road until almost 4pm, arrived at the park around 5pm and stayed until a little before midnight. 

Overall I really liked the park, it definitely exceeded my expectations. It is well kept, decent to good theme-ing, the crowds were lots of teens, but a bit more reigned in that the types you get at a SF park. 

We have arrived

The road into the park teasing us

All year I keep getting lucky with nice weather

The park felt pretty crowded while walking around, but the lines for rides were minimal. I guess most people were there for the parks 'Haunt' attractions, none of which we did. We encountered some scare actors while walking around after dark but our mission was strictly coasters and some flats. 


First up was Talon, which wound up my favorite overall. We walked right on to the back seat, then walked around to try the front. 

This is definitely a front seat ride! We came back to this area a few more times later just to ride this. My only other B&M invert is Batman @ Great Adventure, and I liked this more as its just a hair less intense and has a few moments where you can catch your breath before things get crazy again. 

Take a front seat ride on Talon. Video by Theme Park Review

This was great late at night as they had a haunt between the ride and the water park so walking through the queue in the dark fog and then while on the ride itself, especially the sections furthest away from the park entrance, you couldnt see much of anything. Didn't wait longer than 5 mins for this, even for the front row.

From here we wandered over to Thunderhawk, the parks oldest coaster and only woodie. I'd heard how poorly maintained this ride is and it lived up to it's reputation!

Coaster History

I am glad we did this early and got it out of the way. Ironically, this was one of the longer waits of the day. They were running one train and the station wait was 10 minutes.


What an awful ride. The first drop was underwhelming, the train just shuffled around the track, I got zero airtime, even on the two bunny hops before the breaks. This thing is riding on square wheels and makes me miss El Toro

Steel Force drop & Thunderhawk lift hill

Since we were in the area we checked out the parks Morgan hyper-coaster Steel Force, which also had one of the longer waits, but no more than 20 minutes. 

At this point it was still daylight and we just went for the back car as the wait was less. After this ride I was calling it "Herky Jerky". For a hypercoaster, the drop doesn't even feel that high. I got almost no air on the bunny hills coming back. 

Steel Force's 208 foot lift

We did come back to ride this later after dark and waited a little more for the 2nd row. We had two tiny little girls in front so we had a good view. What a HUGE difference in airtime when sitting in the front. A night ride always increases the intensity, but overall it has absolutely nothing on the other two hyper-coaster I've ridden, Nitro and Superman:Ride Of Steel. Coming up the lift in the dark and looking over at the lit up, fog filled park gave me chills and was a highlight of the entire evening.  

Next up we tried out Possessed, the parks only Intamin and only launch coaster. I didn't really have any expectations but this one blew me away. Hard to say if I like it as much as Talon but its up there. This was Tom's favorite of the day.

Possesseds back spike

 Possessed loading

Intamin wheel assembly porn

I hadn't done one of these Intamin twisted launchers before and it really wowed me. On each launch the operator would fake us out with half of a countdown, or sometimes no countdown at all. The anticipation on any launch coaster intensifies the experience and this was no exception.

Possessed POV provided by FrontSeatCoasters

We tried this a few times - both in the back and the front and it's a great ride either way, but the back might have the edge simply because of these crazy high G forces as you launch backwards up into the straight spike. Also, you are higher in the back looking down from that back spike. I also really dug how they hold the train back there for a second. The longest wait was 10 minutes for the front. We were HYPED riding this thing. 

We wandered through the park and came across the parks oldest ride, The Whip. I was informed this was one of the better installations of these very rare Whip rides, so we hopped in line. 

 I hadn't ridden one of these in a long, long time and it definitely delivered. 

Tom getting whipped 

After dark they turn off the lights on The Whip and turn on a few strobes during the cycle. We didn't make it back to ride it again, sadly. After The Whip we stopped over to ride the park's 200ft S&S tower, Dominator

This is a tower with three supports, two of them being used - one side shoots you from the ground upwards at around 50 mph, while the other side pulls you up slowly and drops you straight down. Before this year I was not a fan of drop towers, but after conquering my fear with Zumanjaro (ironically the tallest on the planet) I have been riding every drop tower at every park we've been to this summer. That said, this was the first tower I rode that shot you up from the ground, so we tried that first. It was quite a ride, but when we walked around to try the drop side, we were both blown away. Definitely the biggest "Oh shit!" moment of our entire night.

Since we were in the area we also tried one of the parks classic flats Apollo and while Tom thought I was crazy, I was blown away by how great this ride was. As I've mentioned here I don't do well with rides that spin, but I LOVED this ride. Very forceful, great lighting package, and the spinning didn't bother me at all. 

Check out this cool off-ride footage of Apollo and Dominator to wicked D&B soundtrack!

We only stopped riding to sit down for beers and crab fries at the Chickies & Petes stand across from the Sea Dragon, just as it started to get dark. From our table I could watch Possessed running, and calling me back over to it. Our grub was, as expected, excellent.

After eating we wandered to the back of the park. It was after dark now and the scare zones were open. In order to get to the parks B&M floorless coaster, Hydra the Revenge we had to make our way through the Carn*Evil area, filled with demented clowns lurking in the fog and shadows. None of them encountered us directly but lots of screams coming from teenage girls all around us. Feels like Halloween!

Once we got on Hydra we went for the back row in hopes of getting some airtime over the drop, which we did, but nothing special. This coaster has a corkscrew that the train goes through slowly, right out of the station, which I completely forgot about. As this was not long after dinner, I had a moment where I thought my crab fries and Blue Moon might make a reappearance, and I still had to make it through 6 more inversions! But I soldiered on, and Hydra is a good night ride since its pretty dark in that area. We came back later for a second ride and were able to walk right onto the front row, and it was a more enjoyable ride. Nothing earth shattering, but a solid floorless coaster. If I'm comparing, I prefer Bizarro @ Great Adventure.

As it got later we bounced around re-riding whatever we wanted to, making lots of stops back @ Talon and Possessed. At one point we passed the parks very standard Wild Mouse coaster and jumped on as there was zero wait. I would seriously kill myself if I had to work this ride, the station music is pure audio hell. Just your standard Wild Mouse, didn't kill us, nothing to report. 

the elusive Enterprise

We also made it a point to get on the park's old school Enterprise ride. I used to ride the one in Wildwood all the time as a kid, and it was easily my favorite flat for years. This one was hard to find in the park, we wound up riding really late right before we left. It had a totally creepy Chester the Molester ride operator, it also doesn't go completely vertical (wtf?), but overall was still as good a ride as I remembered, even though it made me just a tiny bit dizzy.

Most of their flat rides were of the classic variety and each had nice simple lighting packages that invoked an old school carnival feel. As it got darker we noticed the park replaced all of their pathway lighting with black lights, and cranked up an insane amount of strategically placed smoke machines, further enhancing the Haunt vibes. 

Monster looked great, but we did not ride. 

What we enjoyed most is how the park seemed crowded but there were basically no waits for any of the coasters. This was especially appreciated on a Saturday night during Haunt. Everything were station waits, or walk-ons, we waited no longer than 20 minutes for anything. Most coasters had 4 ops and were all hustling and keeping trains on the move. A few waits on the stairs but on every coaster they have someone holding people back at the station entrance so it doesn't turn into a shitshow in the station (I'm looking at you El Toro). We had a really good time re-riding what we liked and just bouncing around all over.

My only big regret is we forgot completely about Demon Drop, the parks first generation Intamin drop tower! We just never made it back to that area. Also, Meteor, which I really wanted to ride, was not running as they had a Haunt show in front of it, and their Screaming Swing was down all day. Bummer as I love the one in Wildwood

Overall Dorney is a charming park, with a really nice collection of classic flats to balance out their half decent coaster line up. It felt pretty small, and was mostly easy to get from one area to another - though I never had any idea how hilly this park is. Some of those pathways are really steep! My legs are definitely feeling those climbs today. On to some pix.

Ride count:

Talon 5x
Possessed 4x
Steel Force 2x

Hydra the Revenge 2x
Thunderhawk 1x
Wild Mouse 1x
Dominator 2x
Apollo 1x
The Whip 1x
Enterprise 1x

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