Trip Report: Dorney Park 10/27/2012

With the clouds of Sandy overspreading the area I took my final amusement park trip of the season on the 27th of October…yes, I’ve been sitting on the trip report for that long folks! I was originally planning on going Sunday, the 28th, but decided that was cutting it too close. Last year I drove back from Six Flags in a brutal snowstorm and I wasn’t feeling like driving in wind and rain in the event the storm sped up and hit early or some other crazy shit.

This time, I was able to take 78 all the way to the park instead of the roundabout way I had to travel when going to the Great Allentown Fair in September. I arrived at the park at about 1pm. I had bought tickets online prior to leaving which got me in the park for a reasonable $32 bucks…err, plus $15 to park. At least their lots are nice unlike Six Flags Great Adventure that charges $20 to park in their massive pothole laden lot. The first ride I went on was Talon, which is what I ride first every time I head to Dorney. The line for Talon was basically a “take your pick,” airgate wait. When they run two trains the wait is always nothing. Talon is probably one of my favorite B&M inverted coasters; Great Bear at Hersheypark edges it out just a bit though.

Next, I walked over to Hydra: the Revenge and found that it was down so I headed for Demon Drop instead. I love these old Intamin drop towers. They’re so strange that it makes them automatically cool. Like seriously, who thought it would be a better idea to build this ridiculous contraption rather than built something similar to the S&S style towers. The wait was about 5-10 minutes and I was put in a car with a bunch of first time riders; always a fun ordeal with people that haven’t been on Demon Drop before.

I then walked to the opposite side of the park to Stinger as I had the wherewithal to ride before it gets crowded and/or breaks down on the lift. I waited one cycle and hopped into a middle seat. It’s kind of an awkward ride as you have to stare at a couple of strangers throughout the duration but the ride was actually pretty good and surprisingly smooth for being a Vekoma with inverted trains.

Here’s a video of Stinger:

Steel Force was next which had a 15 minute wait. A wait at Dorney Park, my god what is happening? Saturdays in October are apparently some of their busiest days but in reality it’s a far cry from how disgustingly mobbed Great Adventure is on a Saturday night in October. I took a second car, front seat for a change as these older style Morgan (and Arrow) hypercoasters have some pretty decent air in the front when going over drops. The first drop is totally pitiful from the front however.

Next I went over to Thunderhawk which again had about a 15 minute wait. This was due to the fact that they were running one train however. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever been to Dorney Park in the last few years where two trains were being used. Does the coaster even have two damn trains? I took a back car, middle seat. There’s a reason for choosing a middle seat as it’s a seat where no wheels are present; apparently ‘wheel seats’ are rougher. Thunderhawk has a surprising amount of airtime for an older coaster and really flies through the course without letting up until the end.

I walked back to Hydra which was now open and had a short wait. I took a second to last car simply because there was no one waiting for it. The drop on this ride is actually pretty good for a B&M. Usually they curve or have a somewhat shallow angle of decent but Hydra has an abrupt drop at a steep 68 degrees. Riding in the back ensures some pretty significant ejector air. That second inversion after the drop though, I don’t know, it’s more like an overbanked turn rather than a true inversion. Notice I say second inversion because Hydra has an inversion before the lift hill in the form of a slow heartline roll right out of the station. I refuse to call it a “jojo roll” because it sounds dumb as hell.

I walked around for a bit before hopping on Whip as it had a short line. These older Whips are a lot more fun than the newer ones, like Hersheypark’s 1997 model. The car kind of skips around the turn if there’s not two people in it. Dominator was next. I got in like for the ‘shot’ side because…well it had no line. The drop side, which is arguably better, had about a 15 minute wait. Tilt-a-Whirl was next and I actually got some good spins by shifting my weight for once! Usually I can’t get myself in sync with the ride and end up uneventfully swaying the car around.

At this point I had done the park once and it was about 6pm. The haunted stuff opened at 7pm so I grabbed some grub. I had a burger, fries and drink platter which came out to like 11 bucks. I then proceeded to eat every damn bit as throwing any theme park food away feels like tossing a dollar bill into the trash. Before I could order though the line was held up by a bunch of kids, one of which dribbing a basketball the entire time. I felt like grabbing it, dribbling it over to the pond, and tossing it in.

After I ate I headed over to Steel Force which now had one full queue maze filled. This was quite the event for me as I had never, ever seen a substantial line for a non-Haunt attraction at Dorney Park. To commemorate this event I got in line and waited…it probably wasn’t going to get any shorter, you know? Prior to Haunt getting into full swing the park had been slowly flooding with annoying teens and the entire line was basically annoying teen-land. I just browsed Reddit on my phone the entire time so I didn’t have to interact with those filthy casuals. The line turned out to be about 25-30 minutes…that’s not too bad really. I took a back seat this time and was whipped over the first drop and subsequent hills. Steel Force still delivers.

On the way out I saw a line for some Haunt attraction, Gravewalkers to be exact, so I got in line. The guys managing the line were dressed in blue jeans and a black hoodie along with a beanie and backpack…I guess that’s the accepted grave robber getup. The first area was a graveyard that, unbeknownst to me at the time, had no set path. You could walk anywhere you damn well pleased and the ghouls would harass you. That was a good idea, next time I’ll wander around for a bit. The next part occurred in a walled in area with caskets and other props. It finally ended up in a set of rooms with props and ghouls hanging around. Not bad!

Blood Drums

I went over to Posessed next which had a small line. They were only letting a certain amount of people into the station at a time. I’m convinced Dorney did this simply to generate a line and make themselves feel better by at least using a tiny bit of their excessive queue mazes. I took a seat towards the front to get maximum twistage on the front spike.

I walked around for a bit, stopping at a show called Blood Drums…how creative. It reminded me of a ‘Stomp’ type show where music is made by hitting various items like steel kegs, fire bells, pipes, etc. While I was walking around afterwards I came across a guy wearing a Haunt shirt that looked exactly like Tobin Bell who played John Kramer in the Saw movies. Dorney has a walkthrough called Death Trap that’s inspired by the Saw movies. I didn’t go in as the line was massive but that guy better have been at the end!

I went over to Apollo next which was about to load. Apollo is a Soriani and Moser “Swing Around” and is kind of like an amusement park version of Hurricane. Unlike Hurricane and Saturn 6, I’m a-OK in terms of nausea while riding Apollo! Probably because it lasts like one minute, but still. Enterprise was next because I needed to go to warp speed. Actually this Enterprise was like anti-warp speed. It’s like they set it to go just fast enough so that riders wouldn’t slide around the car. In fact it was so slow that the car would come off balance a bit at the top and start to sway as it made its way to the bottom. I had visions of the car swinging uncontrollably at some point but, yeah, that didn’t happen. That’s the second Enterprise this season to scare the piss out of me, the other being Strate’s portable model at the State Fair Meadowlands.

I stopped at Hydra again which had no line at all, yet I still had to wait to be admitted into the station. Wave Swinger was next which was filled to the brim with annoying kids. I seriously must have been the oldest on that ride aside from a father riding with his kid. The ride op waited a bit to start the ride for some reason and the result was all the kids getting restless. These kids in front of me were swinging their chair, another twisting it around, a couple others were trying to hit each other. It was like a fucking ADD case study! During the ride a couple of teens twisted around their swings. The ride op didn’t care, probably because they wouldn’t stop even if barked at. Secretly I was hoping their swing would fly off and they’d be rocketed over the mini train tracks into Thunder Canyon. But of course then I’d probably get stuck on the ride for and hour as the e-stop is pushed and everyone panics. Ugh.

Next I headed up to Wildwater Kingdom where two Haunts were, Cornstalkers and Blood Shed. The latter was a Haunt modeled after some creepy hillbilly farm complete with psychotic hillbillies that wanted us for dinner. The whole thing reminded me of a mix of the movie Deliverance and the video game Manhunt. They did a nice job inside the buildings making it look like some trashy, run down barn. I passed on Cornstalkers on the way out as it had a massive line.

A spotlight atop White Water Landing drenched the area with light. It looked pretty good.

I walked over by White Water Landing and entered the line for Desolation, another new Haunt attraction. I was kind of tricked by the line as it seemed short when in reality it filled the entire White Water Landing queue. Luckily it kept moving and the wait turned out to be around 20 minutes.

This trail, from what I could ascertain, was based on a nuclear accident that turned the town people into mutants or something. There were two parts to the trail with the first being outside with army personnel/vehicles securing the area. One of the things I remember was an army jeep that would fire a faux machinegun at the building, it pretty damn loud. I think it was set up to fire when people went past but since a constant stream of people were filing past it, the gun would shoot in random but continuous bursts. This kind of highlights the complete uselessness of asking how many people are in each group at the entrance of each Haunt. After a minute it just turns into a line of people walking through the attraction anyway!

The second part was all indoors and set up into a maze of rooms that featured various scenes of chaos. I seem to remember a giant spider at one part which was more “huh, what the hell” than startling or scary. The attraction ended where Club Blood used to be. I’m kind of sad they got rid of Club Blood, it was a short but fun Haunt. It also rarely had a large line because no one knew where the hell it was (err…well that was probably why it was removed.)

Afterwards I headed over to Stinger for a quick ride but found a substantial line. Instead I hopped on Monster, an Eyerly ride of the same name. Dorney had rehabbed this ride a few years back and this was the first time I had ridden it since its re-installation. I have to say this ride was great! It’s run fast as heck with lots of quick up and down movements. I was surprised at the amount of airtime this ride has. It seemed like I was off the seat as much as I was on it! I also spun like crazy, to the point where I didn’t know where I was pointed half the time. Monster is definitely my favorite flatride at Dorney.

Hang Time

I was gearing up to head out but hopped on Talon for one more spin. Talon at this time of the night, about 11:30pm, was basically a walk on. Afterwards I saw that Hang Time was loading and decided to get a quick spin. This Top Spin has a strange cycle in that it really doesn’t do any flips but it shakes the gondola around a lot. It’s like they just did the cycle without applying the brakes at all which is really how a Top spin should be run (here’s looking at you Great Adventure.) After the first spin the ride op gave us a second at the urging of some riders, and because there was no line. After the second spin the same group of riders wanted another, but he stopped it…which I was kind of glad about! I probably could have taken another spin but I would have been feeling like poop afterwards.

I left the park at around 12am, the closing time. It was a pretty good day at the park and a nice way to end the season.

Here’s a bunch of photos:

And a newer video of Demon Drop:

And finally a music video of my trip:

Finally, have a happy 12/12/12! Because it’s a holiday…right?

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