We had a really great time at Dorney this past Saturday night. After living fairly close to this park all my life I was really stoked to make my first visit. I went up with my brother in law Tom who himself visited Kings Island earlier this summer and has joined me at SFGAdv back in June
, and again a few weeks ago for our trip to SFA
. He is one of my favorite people to go riding with as he has stamina and absolutely no fear/limits when it comes to rides.
Tom had to work a half day on Saturday so we didn't get on the road until almost 4pm, arrived at the park around 5pm and stayed until a little before midnight. Overall I really liked the park. Well kept, decent to good themeing, lots of teens but a bit more reigned in that the types you get at a SF park.
The park felt pretty crowded while walking around, but as you guys predicted, the lines for rides were minimal. The longest wait was for both of our two rides on Steel Force, but I don't think either of those were over 20 minutes. Everything were station waits, or walkons. Most coasters had 4 ops and were all hustling and keeping trains on the move. A few waits on the stairs but on every coaster they have someone holding people back at the station entrance so it doesn't turn into a shitshow in the station (I'm looking at you El Toro). I guess most people were there for the Haunt stuff, none of which we did. We encountered some actors while walking around but our mission was strictly coasters and some flats.
Loved a lot of the lighting packages on the flats here, which looked even better with all the black lights and insane amount of fog the park was pumping out all over (we had a running joke going about the parks' accountant getting the smoke machine bill next month). The red running lights on Hydras lift are a nice touch. We had a really good time re-riding what we liked and just bouncing around all over, so I'm not giving you the play by play of our night but below is what I thought of the rides. We only stopped riding to sit down for beers and crab fries at the Chickies & Petes stand across from the Sea Dragon.
First ride of the day and my favorite overall. Walked right on to the back seat, then walked around to try the front. Definitely a front seat ride! We came back to this area a few more times later just to ride this. My only other B&M invert is Batman @ GAdv, and I liked this more as its just a hair less intense and has a few moments where you catch your breath before things get crazy again. This was great late at night as they had a haunt between the ride and the water park so walking through the queue in the dark fog and then while on the ride itself, especially the sections furthest away from the park entrance, you couldnt see much of anything. Didn't wait longer than 5 mins for this, even for the front row. (8/10)
This was the surprise of the night for me. We loved this ride, Tom said it was his favorite. I hadn't done one of these Intamin launchers before and it really wow'd me. Loved the ops faking us out with countdowns before each launch. Liked it both in the back and the front, the back maybe a bit more because of those crazy high G's as you launch up into the back spike. Also really dug how they hold you on that back spike for a second. Such a great ride. Longest wait was 10 minutes for the front. We were HYPED riding this thing. (8/10)
Steel Force (2x)
My first Morgan hyper. Kinda meh. Longest waits of the day, 20 or so minutes each time. First time we rode it was still daylight and we just went for the back car as the wait was less. After this first ride I was calling it "Herky Jerky". The drop doesnt even feel that high for some reason. Almost no air on the bunny hills coming back. We rode again after dark and waited a little more for the 2nd row. We had two tiny little girls in front so we had a good view. What a HUGE difference in airtime when sitting in the front. Much better ride up there and in the dark, but overall it has absolutely nothing on Nitro and S:ROS (my only other two hypers). Coming up the lift in the dark and looking over at the lit up, fog filled park gave me chills and was a highlight of the entire evening. We (and lots of other screaming/scampering guests) saw a skunk in the grass near the bridge over the stream on our way out of this area. Kinda hilarious and wild moment. (6/10)
We did this after dark both times as we didn't get back here til after sunset. First ride we went for the back in hopes of some air over the drop. A little, but nothing special. I totally forgot about the roll coming out of the station since we were in the back and this was right after Chickie and Pete's so that slow roll did not agreed with me, but I was OK. No reappearance of crab fries and Blue Moon. Hydra is a good night ride since its pretty dark in that area. Is it me or are the lifts on this and Talon sped up? Seemed like on both once the whole train was on the lift the chain would speed up similar to El Toro. Not as fast, but you could feel the increase in speed. We came back later and did the front (total walk on right up to the front row) and it was a much better ride. Nothing earth shattering, but a solid floorless. If I'm comparing, I prefer Bizarro @ GAdv. (7/10)
Wild Mouse (1x)
Credit whores. We had decided early on we didnt care about doing this but we walked past at one point late at night to a non-existent line so we hopped on. I would seriously kill myself if I had to work this ride, the station music is pure audio hell. Standard mouse, didn't hurt us, nothing to report. (3/10)
We did this once early and got it out of the way. Awful ride. They were running one train and the station wait was 10 minutes. Zero airtime, crappy first drop, bumpy bumpy bumpy. Square wheels. One and done. (1/10)
As far as flats, we also did:
The Whip - so great, we tried to get back after dark since they turn out the lights, and run a couple of strobes but it just never happened. (7/10)
Enterprise - I used to ride the one in Wildwood all the time as a kid, was easily my favorite flat for years. This one was hard to find, we wound up riding really late before we left. It had a totally creepy ride op, it doesn't go all the way up (wtf?), but still as good a ride as I remembered. (7/10)
Apollo - SO GREAT, I think this was my favorite flat of the night. (9/10)
Dominator - both sides. First the side where you are shot up, pretty great but we were blown away when we went back and did the drop side. Holy crap! Easily the most freaked out I've been on any ride in a long time. We loved this ride. (8/10)
My camera kinda sucks at night so I didn't take very many pictures. My only big regret is we forgot completely about Demon Drop! We just never made it back there. Also, Meteor was not running as they had a Haunt show in front of it, and Screaming Swing was down all day. Overall Dorney is a charming park, with a really nice collection of classic flats to balance out their half decent coaster line up. It felt pretty small, and was mostly easy to get from one area to another - though I never had any idea how hilly this park is. Some of those pathways are really steep! My legs are definitely feeling those climbs today. On to some pix.