We arrived in Allentown, PA this afternoon, where it’s hard to keep a good man down (according to Billy Joel). With severe thunderstorms forecast for tomorrow, Joel and I decided to visit Dorney Park this evening. In three hours, we rode seven coasters (and one kiddie ride), explored the park, and had dinner, with time to spare before closing. Dorney didn’t have the charm of other Cedar Fair parks like Knott’s Berry Farm or Cedar Point, but it was an enjoyable way to spend our final afternoon and evening in Pennsylvania.
Steel Force – Joel felt it was “trying to be Millennium Force, but not”. He said it was “okay in speed” (for him, 75mph is “okay”), had good height (over 200 feet), and he liked it overall. I agree.
Hydra – This was a great floorless coaster. According to Joel, Hydra was awesome, especially the crackerjack roll (a slow corkscrew at the beginning). He was truly excited to ride it, since it won its episode on the show “Insane Coaster Wars”.
Talon – This was a thoroughly enjoyable inverted coaster. Joel was amused by the signs below the track leading up to the first drop, and he liked that it had a slower, twisty descent after the initial climb, rather than the huge drop at the beginning. We always love the inversions on these coasters. It reminded him of Great Bear at Hersheypark.
Possessed – This shuttle coaster akin to Wicked Twister at Cedar Point added a brake on the final run, so the coaster completely stops, making you feel like you’re about to fall (as Joel said, you think the coaster is “possessed”). It was a surprising twist that will excite some and terrify others.
Stinger – This coaster was relocated to Dorney in 2012 and is a variation of the standard Vekoma Boomerang Coaster found at Knott’s Berry Farm, HersheyPark, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, etc. In this version (“Invertigo” is the most famous of these), the coaster is inverted and rides sit face to face, so half the riders go backward for the first run, then forward for the return, and the others do the opposite. These are rather intense coasters, but Joel enjoyed it (more than I did – I’m not a fan of going backward).
Wild Mouse – Just an average Wild Mouse coaster. No spinning. Normal track. Incredibly slow loading, as they only allow two people over 48” in a car at a time. Nothing special.
Woodstock Express – Joel and I “officially hated” this kids coaster (his term, not mine). It was really rough, threw us side to side, and not fun in any way. To add insult to injury, they made us go around three times. Ick.
Thunderhawk – Built in 1923, it’s one of the oldest coasters in the world. Too many people told me they were in pain after the ride, and after 47 roller coasters in six days, I didn’t want to push it, and Joel didn’t care. After the three Kennywood classic wooden roller coasters, I feel like I have done the best old woodies in America, and I didn’t feel a driving need to ride this one, at least not today.
Parking: In 2013, it was $15 for standard parking or $20 for preferred. For Platinum Season Pass holders, standard parking is free, and you can upgrade to preferred for $5.
Fast Lane: Like other Cedar Fair parks, they have a Fast Lane pass which dramatically cuts wait time, and on this day it cost $50 for the first person, and $40 or less for each additional person. Since we arrived late in the day, the crowds had already thinned, so it wasn’t necessary.
Lazer Maze – Joel really enjoyed this attraction ($5 per person), where you have to work your way around laser beams (imagine a museum security system from a movie) and press targets in record time. Joel suggests trying easy or medium, but said that expert is super tough. Perhaps a jewel thief would use this for practice. Many other parks across the country have this attraction.
Linus Launcher – This was the only non-coaster ride we tried. It’s in the Planet Snoopy kids area, and you lie flat on your stomach and revolve around the center pole. It’s sort of a flying coaster for young kids.
Chickie’s and Pete’s – This Pennsylvania-based chain opened a full-service Sports Bar in the park in addition to its fast food location, where we had some decent chicken tenders. Not surprisingly, they’re “famous” for their French fries, which they call “crab fries”, even though they have no crab in them. It has something to do with the seasoning. They were good, but nowhere near Kennywood’s Potato Patch.
Although we generally prefer chains in the Hilton family, we couldn’t resist staying at the Holiday Inn Express directly across the street from Dorney Park. Not only did we have a view of the park from our window, but the bedroom has a Jacuzzi in it, which we needed and used. Like the other hotels on this trip, it had a sumptuous buffet breakfast included in the room rate, with one item I had never seen before: a push button pancake maker. You push a button and a pancake comes out less than a minute later, almost like a piece of paper from a laser printer. We had a great stay, and you can’t beat the location.
Dorney Roller Coasters ridden: 7
Total for the tour after eight parks: 47