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Photo TR: Dorney Park 10/19/08


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I was in Allentown last Sunday for the Philly Non-Sports Card Show (held this year in Allentown instead of Philadelphia, though they kept the name for tradition's sake) and not wanting to drive three and a half hours just for a trading card show, I decided to work Dorney Park into my schedule, as well.

 

I'll admit I was leery--after all Dorney is a Cedar Fair park, and I had a vastly horrible Cedar Fair experience earlier this year at Kings Dominion (http://www.themeparkreview.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=44010). But then, I had a decent experience at Canada's Wonderland, so I really wasn't sure what to expect.

 

Suffice it to say, Dorney Park is one of the best corporate amusement parks I've visited in a long while. It champions its history, has some great rides and is just an overall nice place.

 

Even the food was (mostly) decently priced, which I did not find to be the case at all at either Kings Dominion or Canada's Wonderland. Had I realized I could have gotten a taco for $2 at Dorney, I wouldn't have bothered with the $6 buffet at the hall where the card show was held (I wish I'd taken my camera with me on that portion of my trip because that food was so awful, it had to be seen to be believed)!

 

Anyway, enough with the "blah, blah, blah"; you want photos. The next 97 are on me.

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Fortunately, I had better luck at the second Waffle House on my route. I was the only customer, so the service was impeccable! The two waitresses were extremely nice, my food took less than four minutes (most fast food places can't even do that anymore), and I got all this for just $7.20!

 

And then I returned home to my boring life. But at least I have the memories of Dorney (and the girl from the "Dead Awakening" show) to tide me over until next amusement park season begins!

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Besides, I had other plans! Fun fact: The first Waffle House I stopped at on the way home was--are you ready for this?--out of waffles! And the waiter was extremely rude about letting me know that. I mean, what was I thinking, ordering a waffle at the Waffle House?

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A Dorney Park employee actually approached me about entering the hot dog eating contest, but I declined. Not only did I have to get on the road, but I really didn't want to be on the road for three and a half hours with 30 hot dogs in my system!

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You know, when the brochure said the sideshow featured "girl-on-girl grinding," this wasn't exactly what I had in mind....

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Heidi was the fire dancer. And really, with a name like Heidi, you're going to be either a fire dancer, opera singer or St. Pauli Girl model. She chose wisely.

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Spike, the stilt walker, was our host for the evening. Why "Spike"? Well, because in addition to walking on stilts, he also swallowed razor blades and challenged himself to play the "shell game" by smashing his hand on a series of paper lunch bags, one of which contained an upturned broken beer bottle. Quality entertainment!

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The outside was well-themed, though the inside was just Dorney's picnic pavilion with a stage set up in front.

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Unfortunately, I didn't get to see if the mostly naked girl ever awoke from her nightmare, as I left early to squeeze in the evening's first showing of "General Jack's Sideshow Bizarro" before I had to leave for the long drive back to Maryland (the next day was a work day, after all).

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This is the stage on which the "Dead Awakening" show played out. I wish I had gotten photos of the actual show, but my camera doesn't do well with moving objects at night. Plus I would have been a little embarrassed.

 

This had to have been at once one of the best and worst theme park shows through which I've ever partially sat. Basically, an incredibly attractive 20-something wearing nothing but Victoria's Secret panties and a babydoll nightgown dances suggestively and sings (very well) while trying to escape a nightmare from which she cannot awake. A bevy of semi-attractive female backup dancers in Frederick's of Hollywood lingerie and a few guys in ripped T-shirts (who look like rejects from either the Sharks or the Jets) provide the "nightmare," which ranges from a car crash to something having to do with a bell tower (I really didn't understand that part) to having her new fiance seduced away from her to drinking alcohol to flirting with lesbianism. Honest.

 

What I really couldn't believe were the number of parents who brought their young children to the show! Signs all over the place specifically stated the production was suitable for adults only, yet there were kids in strollers on up through 12-year-olds. Which I'm sure later led to questions like, "Mommy, what's rehab?" and "If they can wear their underwear outdoors, why can't I?" and "Why was that one lady crawling all over that other lady like daddy crawls on the babysitter when you're not home?"

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I include this picture from Canada's Wonderland for comparison purposes to demonstrate perhaps the only way in which Canadians are superior to Americans: Dorney's Coasters serves Pepsi products, while Wonderland's offers Coke.

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See, Universal isn't the only park with a Die-In! You can't see them that well here, but Coasters also featured '50s-colored pastel pink and blue coffins on its roof.

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Suggested Caption No. 1: Because rusty farm implements are ALWAYS scary!

 

Suggested Caption No. 2: Not to be confused with "Cornhole Stalkers," which is a whole different (but equally terrifying) attraction.

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No nighttime photos of the Haunt areas, unfortunately, but here are some pictures of the facades to give you an idea of what was offered. This was the haunted Wild West town. Think the basic plot for every generic western you ever saw, only in skeletal form.

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When I walked by him later that evening, he got sprung.

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Here's our master of scare-amonies, Jack.

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Only kidding! The event everyone clicked to see, of course, is Haunt!

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But enough rides. It's time to get to the event everyone clicked on this TR to see. (Seriously, I think I was the only non-Jew at the park all day.)

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Is it just me, or is there something a little "off-model" about all those Scoobys?

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I'm pretty sure the seat belts weren't originally part of the ride, though. Dang lawyers!

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It even still had all its original brass fixtures!

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There it is, in all its 88-year-old glory.

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An original 1920 whip? This sign might as well have said, "Hey, Jason, come and ride me! You know you want to."

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Of course, I saved the best for last.

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For my fellow antique carousel enthusiasts.

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The coolest thing about this antique carousel, besides its being an antique carousel, was that during Haunt, it played organ versions of "scary" TV and movie themes. I heard "The Addams Family," "Ghostbusters" and "Casper, the Friendly Ghost."

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I know; I could be a postcard photographer, right?

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A purple, one-of-a-kind 1935 kiddie train called the Zephyr? Sweet!

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I took a picture of the Enterprise just because I felt like I should. And now I feel bad for caving in to peer pressure.

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Even the exit signs on Apollo were cool! (I'm a bit of an amusement park sign fanboy, in case you hadn't noticed.)

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I've loved these rides ever since I discovered them on the Behemoth/Flyer Trip earlier this year.

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A ride named after the candy bar on "Lost"? Count me in!

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Someday Road Rally will be gone and something else will take its place. And on that day, this picture will be worth MILLIONS on eBay!

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...or Kings Dominion.

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I couldn't decide whether this reminded me of Marineland...

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That's probably why! That was the temperature shortly after 3 p.m.

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White Water Landing was SBNO today.

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Screamin' Swing? No thanks! Especially since it's an up-charge.

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I love a park that openly celebrates its history. Here's a shout out to the dearly departed Flying Dutchman. It's giving credits to angels now.

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Go, kitty, go!

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...but most of all, it features cars resembling both mice AND cats!

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...and the corner brackets in the cue are themed to resemble swiss cheese...

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OK, so what makes Dorney's Wild Mouse the best Wild Mouse ever? Well, for starters, they have these cute gate markers...

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And a Talon shot from inside the park. Because we know we can count on your vote.

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Also, parking lot Talon.

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Parking lot Hydra. Because I'm trying to sway the Hydra fan vote. BeemerBoy for president!

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Fun fact: Hydra was originally supposed to be called Hydrox. The name was changed when plans for it to be the first roller coaster with a creamy vanilla center were scrapped.

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Let's twist again like we did last summer.

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Thinking back to those walk-around characters, I wonder if Doo-Doo likes Voodoo?

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Regardless, here it is again.

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And speaking of Steel Force... does its logo remind anyone else of a certain other Pennsylvania coaster? Say, in the Pittsburgh area?

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Oooh, trains for Steel Force and Thunderhawk in the same shot! "What skill this photographer must have," you say? Well, actually... all I had to do was wait for Steel Force to come around. Thunderhawk, you see, was stuck on the lift hill. I took this maybe a minute before the evac.

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I loves me a 1923 woodie. Fun fact: I caught myself humming Billy Joel's "Allentown" while in line for this coaster. And then I stopped.

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And speaking of Thunderhawk....

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This place had a serious cobweb problem.

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...was closed during Haunt?

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Am I the only one who finds it ironic that Monster...

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...and Doo-Doo Head. (NOTE: The woman to the right isn't an officially sanctioned walk-around character, but if she was, her name would be Rude Lady Who Doesn't Care That She Walked Into My Shot Because She Already Got Her Own Picture of Doo-Doo Head.)

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...the Mummy Who Apparently Has to Pee...

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You gotta love the kiddie Haunt walk-around characters. Like Tipsy Pete the Pirate...

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"Grrr, I am the guardian of the last pay phone in Pennsylvania! Deposit 50 cents or I WILL EAT YOU!"

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I wonder if Waldameer's Whacky Shack came to the funeral... or just sent flowers.

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It took me awhile to realize the names on the headstones were defunct Dorney rides.

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I loved the coffin benches in this section.

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So what's an angel like you doing in a seedy neighborhood like this?

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Ha ha ha! Get it?

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Time to go walk under the giant skull.

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What's the difference between Dorney and Kings Dominion? At Dorney, this is Haunt theming. At Kings Dominion, oozing barrels of toxic waste are SOP.

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Because random skeletal organists placed in the middle of open fields are always good theming!

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I liked this one especially since he wore a Snoopy tie.

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The zombies apparently were named after park managers.

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Of course, there were subtle reminders that I was still at a Cedar Fair park. Seriously, $4.50 for a bottle of water? Dude, for just 50 cents more, I can get a whole order of crab fries. Or six bags of coconut haystacks!

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To go with your strawberry steak, naturally.

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Yes, you are reading that right; it's a gummy strawberry T-bone steak. I didn't buy it, but since candy was 50 percent off for the end of the season, I did help myself to two bags of Dorney brand coconut haystacks at just 75 cents each!

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In other news, Peppermint Patty is now facing a class action suit filed by patients with type II diabetes.

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Woodstock Express track, for those who are into those kinds of things.

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Some people wait for the leaves to change. Me? I wait until they grow doors.

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Franklin is to the core of "Peanuts" what Bucky Bug is to the core of Disney. Which is why I was at once surprised and delighted when he turned up at Dorney!

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"Marcie, why does our school look like something out of 'Little House on the Prairie'?"

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This is what he looks like now.

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This is what Snoopy used to look like before they cut off his hands and legs and stuffed him with straw.

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Of course, not all the Haunt decorations were scary. These ghosts reminded me of the ones we used to make out of Kleenex, ribbon and Dum Dums in elementary school.

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You know, maybe playing rooftop football is the way this guy got all dead in the first place.

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And they even replaced some of the cannonballs with bowling balls. Brilliant!

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There's his target on the other side. So since they went through all the trouble of setting up a random cannon scenario and all, at least they followed through completely.

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OK, now where did this skeleton find a cannon? Seriously, who just leaves a cannon lying around by the side of a lake?

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And would you believe the Wichita lineman is STILL on the line?

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And in here! Fun fact: Just before leaving the park that evening, I stopped in the restroom adjacent to this attraction and washed my hands next to one of the evil clowns.

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Clowns go in here!

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Oooh, it's the scary... um... ice cream truck. Yeah.

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Sadly, I know guys in real life who would pay big money to have their trucks painted like that.

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They were having trouble getting the dune buggy started this morning. It's good to see they finally got it to turn over. Now who's ready to see the back side of water?

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It's funny because his name sounds like what he does!

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When I was a kid, I had a "Ghostbusters" car that looked a LOT like this. Does anyone else remember that, or am I just making up childhood memories again (seriously, if I am, my therapist wants to know)?

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Somehow, this lacks the ambiance of Disneyland's horse-drawn version.

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Dorney boasts quite the vehicle collection during Halloween Haunt. I assume they don't leave the hearses lying around during other parts of the year, but since this was my first visit, I really don't know that for a fact.

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This is how I know I'm about to enter the park.

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Excellent report--good work on the captions. I kind of like Dorney, myself (particularly Steel Force and Laser--oh, poor Laser).

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^^^I'm not sure about whether the hot dog eating competition was an up-charge. One would assume it was, but when they approached me about entering, they made it sound like it was free. Since I didn't pursue it, I didn't think to ask.

 

^^Nope, no Laser for me. I'm allergic to most rides that go upside-down.

 

^Thanks, Chuck!

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Hey, I was at Dorney on Sunday too! Did you happen to see a skinny 15-year old wearing a grey Dunder Mifflin T-shirt or a dark brown Knoebels sweat shirt?

 

Anyway, I'm with you that Dorney is a nice park (more so than a lot of people give it credit for), and it seems you had fun there.

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Sorry, King, I must have missed you because I definitely would have noticed either of those shirts (my favorite TV show and park, respectively).

 

However, I did have one guy dressed in all black, holding a cornstalk, walk up to me and ask if I was Jewish. This was before I saw the Sukkot Festival sign, so before he spoke, I thought he was a scare-actor!

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Sorry, King, I must have missed you because I definitely would have noticed either of those shirts (my favorite TV show and park, respectively).

 

Mine too; I guess it's true that great minds think alike.

 

I seem to have trouble with going to Dorney when large groups are there. On Sunday, there were the Jewish people, and the last time I went, there was some group of chorus girls who all dressed and looked the exact same (really, it was bizarre), and sang on half the rides. It was crazy how many of them there were.

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I was there last Sunday also. I was there from 6:30 - 9:30. I couldn't believe how empty it was. Voodoo, Steel Force, Hydra and Talon were all walk ons.

 

I didn't know there was a hot dog eating contest, that would have been cool to see.

 

The only bad thing was Laser was closed the entire time I was there (and it was closed on October 5th as well). I am leaving in a few minutes to go back tonight for a few hours, I am hoping it is just as empty as it was last week,

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Great report. I liked Dorney a lot, and I would agree with your assessment that it is currently run better than KD and not quite as good as CW (if that was your assessment, it kind of looks like it though )

 

Billy Joel's "Allentown"

Billy Joel is THE MAN. I feel old saying that but HE IS!!!

 

 

I took a picture of the Enterprise just because I felt like I should. And now I feel bad for caving in to peer pressure.

I am very appreciative of it! Unfortunately when I went to Dorney last year I didn’t know I liked them so much. Just one of many enterprise credits I need to enjoy at some point in life…

 

Did you happen to see a skinny 15-year old wearing a grey Dunder Mifflin T-shirt or a dark brown Knoebels sweat shirt?

 

Dude, what genius attire!! Seriously, the best two parks of Pennsylvania, in one wardrobe, awesome!!

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Unfortunately, the Enterprise at Dorney isn't that great. I rode it tonight and the cycle has gotten so short to the point where the arm is fully tilted for maybe 3 rotations at the most. I'm still glad they have it since both Hershey and Great Adventure got rid of their Enterprise's within the past few years but I wish they cycle was a lot longer.

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