June 19, 2009
I’d been planning a huge summer coaster trip since the end of 2008. My original plans were too ambitious. Then there were issues with work. Then there were issues with pets. But eventually everything worked out and instead of 10 days up north for coasters and more, my trip was cut down to a more manageable 5 days with three large amusement parks and 2 days spent in 2 different cities. I had a plan, a place to stay, and a mission, to finally hit 200 coasters.
Friday, June 19, 2009 was West Virginia Day and as a state employee I always had the day off with pay, so I left the nite before and headed out to my brother’s place, which was roughly half the distance to my first destination: Dorney Park in Allentown, PA. I had been told that Dorney was not an all day park. I was meeting up with friends on Friday evening at the park, so I didn’t want to arrive too early. Unfortunately, on Friday morning I woke up at about 6:30 AM and couldn’t get back to sleep. I decided I’d go ahead and head out.
The drive from Moorefield to Dorney Park was not bad, even if I did take the scenic route. I arrived at the park around 10:00 AM, parked, and headed to the main gate. My first impression after going thru the gate at Dorney was of a mini Cedar Point. The front midway was very reminiscent, and even though Talon was on the right, its right up front like Raptor. And since Talon is right up front, that was my first coaster.
Talon–My first ride on Talon was in the front row. The first drop was typical B&M inverted goodness that went directly into the loop. I really liked the layout with the zero G roll, the Immleman, a nice airtime hill that was much like the one on Afterburn at Carowinds, and then laterals from the helix. The ride sounded rattly, but was actually very smooth, and because it’s one of the quiet B&M coasters, the only sound while riding is the wind and the passengers. Talon was a nice, well paced inverted coaster that seems to take some of the best parts of Batman & Afterburn, with a sprinkling of Raptor thrown in. It wasn’t too intense and was really fun.
After my flight on Talon I walked over towards the Shoot the Chutes and took some pictures. I toyed with riding the Mouse, which is right off the main midway, but instead headed over to the park’s other B&M coaster, Hydra The Revenge.
Hydra The Revenge–I’d heard good and bad about Hydra. I really was looking forward to the inversion right out of the station. My first ride was in the front row, and boy does the pre-lift inversion mess with you. The lift hill was short and fast, and Hydra was a very against the grain coaster. Instead of taking the normal route of drop, loop, Zero G, etc., you dropped and headed into a dive loop, zero G roll, alternating corkscrew, cobra roll, slight airtime hill, then hit the lateral section with another corkscrew. I was impressed. Hydra was definitely not like the rest of the B&M floorless coasters I’d ridden, and I loved the placement.
So I liked Hydra. I liked Talon. My next stop was Steel Force. How would it stack up? I walked down thru the tree lined midway and down the hill. I toyed with riding Dominator, but decided to come back to that later. Then when I got closer to Steel Force, I saw the park’s only wooden coaster, which I’d forgotten about. I went to get in line, but it was down at that moment, so I passed on thru. There was a very nice, shaded area lined with trees in-between parts of Thunderhawk that was very nice. But I was heading to another coaster, so no time to stop and enjoy the scenery for now.
Steel Force–Steel Force was at the park’s boundary. I was again faced with no lines, so I decided to ride in the back of the train. It looked like it was going to be amazing. But honestly, other than some decent floaty airtime, Steel Force didn’t do very much for me. I thought maybe I just got a bad ride. The first couple of hills were okay, but not forceful. The turnaround was definitely forceful, but I’m not always a huge fan of lateral forces. Then the mid-course brake run killed the rest of the ride. There were quite a few hills and tunnels, but very little airtime. I was not impressed. It was okay, but not great.
I toyed with riding Revolution but passed, hoping to get on later that evening when I was with others. Then I walked over to Possessed to see a very short line. Since I’d ridden the coaster before they moved it from Geauga Lake to Dorney, this ride wouldn’t be a credit, but I do love impulse coasters so there was no need to skip it. It was only a 2 train wait for the front, so that was where I rode.
Possessed–The launch didn’t sound as loud as when it was at Geauga Lake. I love these coasters and wish more parks had them. The first launch up the twisted spike was fun, but I’d forgotten how high you actually get when going up the back spike for the first time. I always cringe in the front seat as you go up the twisted spike for the 2nd time because it feels like you’re not going to stop. Then on the back spike, the LIM brake holds you ever so slightly. I love that about these rides because it still scares me. My only complaint is that I wish that the train went up the back spike one final time and then came to a stop in the station, since braking whilst going backwards makes my head hurt and causes a bit of nausea.
Up next, I went over to Dominator’s shot side. I was hoping and yet dreading a powerful launch, but by the time I got to the top, I wasn’t thrown into the restraints, so no major airtime, but still a fun ride. The larger versions of this type of shot tower just don’t have the powerful airtime that the smaller ones do.
Wanting to ride the Ferris Wheel, I headed there next but was denied since I was a lone rider and that isn’t allowed. I needed a bathroom break so I went to the front of the park and wanted to see when the ice show started, but I didn’t realize that the new theater hadn’t opened yet so I went into one of the shops before taking a break at Game Day Grille. Then I wondered over to Wild Mouse for a spin.
Wild Mouse–For my first mouse of the trip, it was nice to ride one that wasn’t over braked and ran very well. It was kind of odd to see the cars painted as cats, but I guess the ‘theme’ is cats chasing mice in the trap. Dorney’s mouse was fast and the trims weren’t catching for the most part. It could use a paint job, but otherwise it was a fun coaster.
I’d ridden all of the major coasters at this point but had lots of time to kill. I gave Talon and Hydra another ride, then went over to ride the one train near the rapids ride. It was quaint, and I like riding park trains because, while relaxing, I’m still getting to do something fun and take pictures along the way. Then I headed over to the rapids ride and talked to Dan for a while, who was working. After visiting Dan I walked back over to Steel Force for another ride. Just as soon as I got in line, the ride closed for some unknown reason. I waited it out for a while, but then decided to go. I came back around to Thunderhawk, which was now running.
Thunderhawk–I didn’t have high hopes, but I was at least expecting something fun and classic. Thunderhawk was rather boring. What could have been a great ride was trimmed to death and the last part of the ride was just slowly jumping over some hills. Sad, really, as the ride has a good layout and great potential. I never felt like riding again during the day.
I tried to go see the new Ice show, but the theater isn’t done quite yet. I did get around to riding Steel Force again, and got a better ride, but still nothing special. I rode Possessed again in the back seat for a thrill, then walked over to the kiddy coasters, but didn’t ride any of them yet. Eventually I parked myself on a park bench, talked to Matt and Kevin either on the phone or via text, and then took a slight nap. Once I got up to head to the front of the park I ran into Dan again as I was ordering some Mac & Cheese to eat.
I walked with him for a bit, and then headed to the front gate to wait for Matt, where I sat on another bench in the shade. Finally, Matt called and said he’d arrived, so I went to the front gate and met him. Of course, our first ride was Talon. Again, it was running very well, and I sat in Matt’s favorite seat, which had lots of lateral forces. Usually they make me queasy, but this time it was really good. Next up we hit Hydra again before making our way around the park. I made Matt ride the Zephyr train with me, and we hit up the two available kiddy coasters, since I’m too tall to ride The Unnamed Coaster (Formerly Little Laser, but recently renamed Steel First after my visit). Well, Matt didn’t ride the Roller Skater with me, but he did ride the Dragon. First up was the Roller Skater.
Woodstock’s Express–The ride op was a lot of fun. Roller Skaters can be no fun a lot of times, and this one wasn’t that great. It has a nice setting, but it was a little shaky and they sent us around twice. I was really only riding it for the credit.
We walked over to the other area with a few kiddy rides where Laser used to be. This area had a nice flat plot to put more stuff. The kiddy rides were very carnival looking, and there was a building at the end used for Haunt. They should just have it as a dark ride since the park had none. We went to the last credit of the day that I needed.
Dragon–I was actually glad I rode. This was a fun coaster that had some nice forces and was really a lot of fun. You get some good speed going as you go around, and we went around maybe 6 times. It was just a simple portable kiddy coaster, but it served its purpose.
Walking up to the Ferris Wheel, I now had a partner to ride with. I love Ferris Wheels. We walked around some more and eventually Kevin & Emily called to let us know they were at the park now too, so we met them and headed to the rapids ride to see Dan, but he’d already left, so we headed to Talon instead. Matt and I rode up, but Dan didn’t come until after we were getting off. And of course, he had to announce over the PA that Matt and I were in the station. We headed over to Hydra and got a quick ride in before heading back over to Steel Force to wait for Dan. Even after riding, the rest of the group stated that Steel Force wasn’t running at its best. I had to hike to make it to the restroom behind Steel Force, which is like 200 miles away from the midway. I think it’s further to that bathroom than it is from the midway at Dollywood to the station for Mountain Slidewinder.
Matt and I went over to Revolution to ride next. Just as I finally got the light on my seat to go Green, meaning I could fit, the ride op realized someone had thrown up on the station floor and had to shut the ride down. I didn’t get back for my ride. So we rode Steel Force another time then headed up the midway. We were going to ride Possessed, but didn’t. Instead, Matt, Dan and I headed to Dominator for a ride.
Dominator was the last ride of the nite. We headed out the front gate as Dan parted ways to go home. Matt, Kevin, Emily and I went to a Perkins for dinner and ended up running in to Tim Danner, whom I hadn’t seen in a couple of years. He was eating there with his girlfriend. Dinner was decent and our waitress was a blast. Once we were finished, though, we headed back to Matt’s, which was about a 40 minute drive thru mostly back roads to Pottstown.