I enjoyed the ride enough to go on 4 times when I was there 1 1/2 weeks ago. I haven't been on any other floorless coasters so I can't compare it to another floorless but I sort of liked the forcelessness of the ride. In the past month I started to try out more thrilling coasters (before August 2005, the most intense coaster I had been on was Loch Ness Monster). I don't think I would have liked it as much if it really had a lot of forces like the earlier B&M coasters supposedly have.
I don't think I would have liked it as much if it really had a lot of forces like the earlier B&M coasters supposedly have.
Early B&M's really are intense. Batman: The Ride was probably the most intense ride I have ever ridden. I blacked out 3 to 4 times while riding it. Most of the ride has very strong positive g's.
I would probably enjoy Hydra, since I hate when I have to worry about going unconcious through every loop. I'm more of a fan of intense negative g's and floater air than blackout-inducing positive g's.
'Where it all began' Dorney Park's oldest building, the former Mansion House Hotel, is coming down. By Ron Devlin Of The Morning Call
Before it passes into history, Bob Ott took one last look at the old building in the center of Dorney Park.
Its original elegance had long been masked by additions, facades and signs that read ''Gold Mine Arcade'' and ''Dippin' Dots Ice Cream.''
Few, other than Ott, 87, former Dorney Park chairman, know that beneath the fake brick and aluminum siding lies a jewel that was at the center of the 121-year-old amusement park's history.
It's the Mansion House Hotel & Restaurant, the oldest building in Dorney Park, and today it will fall to the wrecking ball.
''I get a tear in my eye when I think of it being torn down,'' confessed Ott, who worked at the park for 40 years. ''But it's time for it to go.''
Dorney Park management had considered renovating the structure, spokeswoman Heather Kramer said, but its age and condition made the work too expensive.
''We had no choice but to tear it down,'' Kramer said.
The building, next to center stage, will be replaced by a Subway sandwich shop and an outdoor plaza when the park reopens next year.
Ott, who retired in 1986, revisited the old structure Tuesday and reminisced about the park's history.
The Mansion House Hotel & Restaurant was owned by Solomon Dorney, the park's founder, in the 1880s. Dorney, who farmed the area around the hotel, raised trout and served them as a delicacy in his restaurant.
''It had a big front porch with rocking chairs, like most of the hotels of the day,'' said Ott, who has reproductions of old Mansion House photographs. ''This is where it all began.''
Solomon Dorney added crude amusement rides to the hotel — the Old Mill, the Ferris wheel and the Scenic Railway. In 1884, with more rides added, Dorney Park was born.
Installation of a double-track trolley line in 1899 was a key factor in the park's development, Ott said. At a time when few had automobiles, the trolley provided a convenient way for Allentown residents to get to the park.
''That's what made the park,'' Ott said. ''Transportation.''
The Allentown-Kutztown Traction Co., which owned the trolley system, bought the park in 1901. The trolley line operated it until 1923, the year the first wooden roller coaster was built, when the company sold the park to Robert Plarr, Bill Ruske and Ray Sandt. Plarr bought out the partners a few years later, initiating the park's modern era.
Ott married Plarr's daughter, Sally, in 1940. After a stint in the Merchant Marine during World War II, he began working at the park in 1946.
''I did everything from slinging hot dogs to painting buildings,'' he recalled. ''In those days, you did everything.''
In 1966, after the death of then-President I am too stupid to spell Steel Vengeance so I'll just write SteVen and pretend I'm being cool Plarr, Ott became president. He was elevated to chairman of the board in 1980 and retired six years later.
Tramping through the dark innards of the old Mansion House, Ott recalled milestones in the park's history.
Ott recalled one incident in the big-band era, when top bands like Tommy Dorsey's played at Castle Garden dance hall on the park grounds. Eddy Duchin, a big-band pianist, was playing ''Stormy Weather'' when a bolt of lightning knocked out the lights.
''Nobody minded. They just kept on dancing,'' Ott said.
Then there was the nun who did an unintentional back-flip off the rowboat ride when the operator jerked the boat. And the woman who peeled potatoes in her bare feet at the french fries stand.
Ott was ''flabbergasted'' at the $2 million price tag of Thunder Creek Mountain, the park's flume ride. He just signed the loan papers and hoped it was the right thing to do.
''You had to gamble in this business,'' Ott said. ''Sun or rain makes the difference between profit or loss.''
Ott scoured the deteriorating upper floors of the old Mansion House, where he found old Dorney Park envelopes and a sound speaker from the 1940s.
Insignificant to most, they were treasures to a man who invested four decades of his life in the park, run by Cedar Fair L.P. of Ohio since 1992. He's comfortable with Cedar Fair's modernization, which has turned the park into a fiesta of 100 rides on 200 acres.
Yet, it was hard for the old amusement park warrior to let go of the one remaining symbol of the park's 19th century origin.
''It's hard to see it go,'' said Ott, wearing a Dorney Park baseball hat. ''But that's progress.''
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