I braved the freezing temps and made it up to the Allentown area with the missus, my sister Alison, and bro-in-law Tom on Saturday night for a little double date night of sorts and to check out Dorney Park's annual Halloween event "Haunt". The girls hadn't been to Dorney since at least the late 90s so there was lots for them to do here that they hadn't before. It was also the first time all four of us had been riding together since our Cedar Point roadtrip earlier this summer.
I love driving through Pennsylvania this time of year.
We arrived at the park around 5:30pm and were joined by a steady stream of cars entering the lot. We also noticed an empty Stinger train stuck on the 2nd spike, and wouldn't see it operate all night.
After a brief wait to be wanded by security - who were everywhere all night on their little bikes - we got in, had a quick stop at the bathroom, and checked out the scene at Talon. The line was almost out to the entrance but we could not tell if it went through all of the switchbacks.
We overheard people getting out of line saying that it was an hour wait, which it probably wasn't, but we went ahead and turned around anyway and headed towards Hydra the Revenge. We waited about 15 minutes and planned to ride in the front row but once we got in the station we said screw it and jumped in row 3.
I also had a good chuckle when we hit the brake run and I asked the missus "what did you think" to which she responded "that was cute!" Cute! Not a common term to describe a big bad B&M coaster. LOL. Even though I've ridden this before it still amazes me how quiet this and Talon are compared to other B&Ms.
Take a virtual ride on Hydra the Revenge, POV by FrontSeatCoasters
From here we headed down the hill towards Demon Drop and were happy to see it was running. It was also here we noticed Thunder Creek Mountain was closed and completely drained. On our way around to Demon Drop we noticed the Haunt maze Cornstalkers had a ridiculous wait but lucky for us Demon Drop only had about a 5 minute wait.
Check out Demon Drop in action, courtesy of CoasterForce
We were all hesitant to do a lap on this old painful woody but Tom goaded us into the line and we were able to walk right on to the front and 2nd rows. I will not ride this anywhere but in the front of the train since its like a trainwreck anywhere else. They were running two trains but not sure why since this ride was a ghost town. I have to say our lap was a lot of fun - totally out of control but two great pops of ejector airtime before the 1st and 2nd turnarounds. The trim brakes were definitely on during the bunnyhops, noticeably so. Also the crew was painfully slow on this, we sat on the brake run for maybe 5 minutes with a completely empty station in front of us.
Take a virtual ride on Thunderhawk. POV by DeathbyIllusion
From here we walked into the Age of Darkness scare zone to head towards the park hypercoaster, Steel Force. I was a bit let down by the scare zones compared to last year as the actors didn't seem to be using many props like shovels, rakes, chainsaws etc for the guaranteed startle factor. Also many of the actors seemed to be standing around talking to each other instead of engaging the guests.
Once we got back to Steel Force, the missus decided to sit this one out (too fast, no shoulder restraints) even though we attempted to convince her the name is misleading and it really rides just the worlds largest mine train, but no dice. The wait was about 20 minutes but the Fun TV's in the queue were playing some really strange interesting music videos that kept us entertained while we waited. I really like that the Cedar Fair parks have these and keep the content interesting. Really helps with the waiting.
We also noticed the op kept saying to departing trains "Enjoy your FREEZING COLD RIDE on Steel Force!" We headed for the 2nd/3rd rows since sitting toward the front of the train is the only way you'll get any kind of force on this thing and once we were headed up the lift I became very aware of why the ops were saying that. Jesus lord this was easily the coldest coaster ride I've ever taken! Of course because I am an asshole I went hands up the entire ride and pretty sure my entire body was frostbitten by the end. Brrrrrrr!
Take a virtual spin on Steel Force, POV by DeathbyIllusion
We decided to get Possessed and on our way spotted insanely long lines for Gravewalkers (Haunt trail) and Revolution (spinning claw ride). Tom tried to get us to ride Revolution but none of the rest of us felt like waiting in what looked like a healthy line so to Possessed we continued. I'm willing to queue quite a while for this one since it's one of the best rides in the park, but we only wound up waiting about 15 minutes. We sat in the last two rows and the girls agreed it was very intense and better than Wicked Twister, which they both rode earlier in the season. After our ride I noticed my feet felt tingly.
Possessed POV by FrontSeatCoasters
It was about 8:30 and we were all getting hungry so we headed back up towards Chickie & Petes and had a stop at the parks other drop ride Dominator on the way. We let the girls decide which side to ride since Tom and I had both done each side before, and since we already dropped earlier they wanted to go for the shoot up side. Glad we did as the line for this was considerably shorter than the drop side. We waited about 5 minutes and this was a lot of fun. Huge burst of cold air as we shot up and great ejector air at the top. We all laughed about how much it smelled like BBQ up there.
Dominator (Up) in action!
We headed up the hill through the CarnEvil scare zone and stopped at Chickies for dinner and had an absolutely awesome experience. Since we are from Philly we always hit up Chickies when we are here and last time we ate here was at Coasting For Kids in June and while the food was good that day the service was absolutely abysmal. This time we were seated quickly, put our order right in and had our food and drinks in no time. Our server was great - attentive but not overbearing and got everything right. I had the Hydra (mixed drink) which was nice and stiff and tried the fried shrimp with some crab fries because crab fries, duh. Ordering the shrimp at Dorney Park was a dicey proposition but it wound up to be so good I was in disbelief I was eating in a theme park. Everyone else really liked their food and it all seemed to sit well with everyone. Also not terribly expensive - four entrees, two orders of crab fries, and booze for all and it was less than $100.
Once we finished up we thought we'd check on Talon again and were excited to find a walk on for row 3. Tonight Talon told me I needed to lose weight! I rode this thing 8xs in under a hour at C4Ks in June and didn't have a single issue but tonight I needed an extra push from the nonplussed op to get the seatbelt to snap! To be fair I had just stuffed my face with fish and fries and compared to just a t-shirt in June I was layered with 2 t-shirts, a sweatshirt, and windbreaker. Anyways, I got in.
Talon POV by FrontSeatCoasters
Butter smooth, perfectly paced, I just can't get enough of this ride. My absolute favorite B&M invert and tonights rides solidified that. So so good. The girls also loved this and were strangely comparing it to Gatekeeper @ Cedar Point which we all loved (but is a totally different style of coaster). We snagged the on-ride pic for this one and then ran around for a second ride, this time waiting two trains for the front row. Another frigid ride with no seats in front of us to block the 40 degree wind in our faces! The crew here was hustling, at least compared to the generally lax ops we experienced so far.
Our first of two consecutive laps on Talon
After doing a full lap around the park everyone was ready to pack it in when Tom and I gave each other than look that one gives another when they want one more spin on Intamin hotness so we dragged the ladies all the way back down the hill for one last lap on Possessed. 10 minute wait and we went for rows 3/4 and somehow this was even more insane than our earlier ride. Since we were close to the front on the 2nd forward launch it seemed like the front row was less than a foot away from the end of the track on the front spike. It had me wondering if there is some sort of launch boost for when its cold on the impulse coasters. The missus wouldn't do this again so she hung out in the store Possessions across the midway where we met up with her after our ride and I grabbed a Dorney magnet to add to the ever growing collection on my fridge.
Tom and Al about to be Possessed again
All in all another fun trip to Dorney Park. I know this park gets a lot of flack and they sure are missing that signature coaster that would really bring them some attention but I like that this park is relatively close as its a nice chance of pace from Great Adventure. The Haunt stuff wasn't as good as last year (though I can't speak for the trails since we didn't do any) but the best scare we witnessed was an actor lying down in some bushes right near the front as we exited. Would never have noticed him until he suddenly jumped out at a couple of tweens walking in front of us. Made us jump a little bit too.
Possessed flying up the back spike
Both of the girls commented that hardly any of the rides at Dorney have that major HOLY SHIT factor like we have with El Toro, Kingda Ka, etc but overall everyone had a really good time and I'm looking forward to another visit, probably in the spring for C4Ks 2016. I was really beat up on Sunday and I think it maybe partially because I haven't ridden any coasters in a month but I think it had to do with how cold it was and how I was likely tense and not relaxed while riding. Regardless, by Sunday morning I felt like I got in a fight on Saturday night!
Demon Drop 1x
Steel Force 1x
Dominator (Up) 1x