Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom in Allentown, PA is a park that has undergone a steady improvement through the years. Back in 1998 the flatride lineup was about what it is today only improved; the coaster lineup is very different however. Back in 1998 Dorney had four major coasters: Steel Force, Laser, Thunderhawk and Hercules as opposed to seven in 2008 (soon to be six in 2009 with the removal of Laser.)
I guess the cover is a good place to start off. On the left is a 1998 schedule; again if you can bend the fabric of space and time and head back to 1998, then this page will be extremely useful! On the right is the cover showcasing Steel Force along with Thunderhawk dwarfed below. Also peering out from the bottom left is the engine of the Zepher train ride; a neat little train around the east end of the park, the passenger cars are enclosed like cells however which might be unnerving to some. Nearby a family looks on as the conductor seems ready leap out into the lake, leaving the train to barrel recklessly down the tracks.
Skipping a few pages of solid text, we come across a HalloWeekends promo with some people in cartoonish looking costumes. In 2008 Dorney changed the name to Halloween Haunt and upped the scariness to compete with Six Flag’s FrightFest. They did a nice job with the Haunt; I actually think it was better than the Six Flags counterpart.
The only reason I added the left side of this page was to showcase the knight character and to note the ‘do not line jump’ icon. First, Dorney Park basically has no theme at all; each ride has its own theme and that’s that. Occasionally Dorney throws in Peanut’s characters, but that’s about it. So for that knight guy to be thrown in there completely screws everything up! Where does he fit in?The line jumping icon, on the other hand, is just funny. What if someone actually cut in line by running over people, stepping on their shoulders, heads, faces, etc? I remember someone noting that the people in line are just standing there, oblivious to the dude stepping on their head; I think someone would have beat the piss out of him by that point!
To the right is a promo for Dorney’s old Laser Light Spectacular which went over like a fart in an elevator as it only lasted for a brief time. Laser light shows were cool in the 80s, but became a bit cheesy down the road once people could buy laser pointers and make their own mini show…or be a dick and shine it in people’s eyes, whatever came first. When I was a kid I always remember the common fear that one would be cut clean in half if they happened to walk into the path of a laser during a show…god, we were stupid kids.
Opening up the pamphlet, we come across the actual map. Some things to note:
- Back in 1998 Laser was not only red, but still at the park.
- Hercules is where Hydra is now
- Joker, a Chance rides ‘Rainbow’ type of ride, was still around; located in front of Hercules.
- Sky Ride was also still around; located near Laser
- Talon/Voodoo/Wild Mouse and a litany of other rides have not been built yet
- Monster is where Dominator is now
- Paratrooper was still around as well, located next to the Skyscraper ferris wheel…which in turn was called “Skyscraper” back then.
- Season pass parking is now the location of Wildwater Cove.
- Enterprise is facing the wrong way
- Wave Swinger looks nothing like an actual Wave Swinger
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