Tom (aka TPR forum member 'Bubba Coaster Bates') and I had a fantastic time at Dorney yesterday for our first ever Coasting For Kids event.
We signed up way before it was announced on here that TPR was doing groups for each park so we just did our own little thing as far as fundraising goes and managed to raise $540.00 between the two of us. Nothing amazing I know but at least it was more than the bare minimum. Huge kudos to everyone else that participated especially to the few that raised serious $$$ and thanks to everyone that donated for us. Thanks to TPR forum mods/admins for letting me keep the event in my signature even though I wasn't participating with the clubs' group.
Here is little report of the day and some visuals to go along with the words. I was going to just add a little update to the Dorney thread but since we don't go to this park often, we got some cool shots & had such a good day I figured I'd just start whole new thread about it. Enjoy.
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We got to the park right after 9am for registration which took no time at all. We got our wristbands and T-shirts and lined up with season passholders who were headed in for early entry @ 9:30. Down the hill we walked for our half hour early morning ERT session on Possessed when we met Megan, our C4Ks "liaison" for the event, who joked we must have ran because we were the first people to show up! It was here we were informed there wouldn't be any actual marathoning all day as the management were required to have us ride one lap, then sit one out, and so on. As other participants showed up we managed 5 rides on Possessed, which is one of my two favorite rides in the park.
I don't know why I like this installation so much better than Wicked Twister at Cedar Point, but we have a few theories. The first is obvious: that straight back spike with the ludicrous holding break, another is that this version is smaller and therefore more packed together resulting in higher G's, similar to how the Batman clones are mostly more intense than the majority of the other B&M inverts. It's also nice that they mess with you on the launch countdowns, you never really know when you're gonna take off. Whatever the case, we both love this ride and this was a great way to start the day. Rode in both the front and the back and all 5 rides were kickass. I even managed to pick up a really rad Possessed fridge magnet later in the day to add to the ever-growing collection - the missus commented it was "scary" upon arriving home late at night.
Our marathon itinerary for the day was Steel Force from 10am-12pm followed by lunch and awards ceremony, then Talon from 1:30-3:30pm then Hydra from 4-6pm to finish it off. After our mini-marathon on Possessed we were informed Steel Force was not yet ready and they had rejigged the schedule so that we were now heading to Hydra for an hour, then Talon for another hour, the Steel Force all afternoon. Super bummed. I hate Hydra.
We managed two laps, once toward the front, then the back row. I'm not gonna sit here and dog this ride to death but I despise the jo-jo roll, its uncomfortable and pointless and nothing more than a novelty. The rest of the ride is just a let-down: small and boring first drop, a whole lotta generally forceless inversions, zero airtime on the two bunnyhops and I don't know if it's because it was 10:15am but it was crawling through the course. The finale is dull and it just sorta limps into the break run. I will say the ride looks amazing, but riding it is a snoozefest.
The rest of our group soldiered on but we decided to venture off on our own and hit up the Screaming Swing. $2.00 upcharge but who cares because I freaking love these rides so much. Very short cycle but still a ton of fun. It was here Tom started to feel a little queasy. We had a half hour til we had to be at Talon for our 11am-noon marathon and we chose to grab a small bite and just sit for a minute across from the Swing. At 11 we spotted our group heading to Talon and we joined them.
During our Talon marathon we were given our own train and the ride supervisor allowed us to stay on the train but just move to different seats, as they were sending out trains with lots of empty seats and the GP waiting were getting a little testy about it (this would only get worse on Steel Force). Tom managed 3 laps on Talon before he had to take a breather. I kept on going, jumping from seat to seat and topped out at 8 laps total. I was gutted when they announced "one more cycle". This is my favorite invert and I could have rode it all day. It's most definitely a front seat ride, and I got a bunch up there. Not only do I love the entire ride but the first half is just amazing. The drop, the vertical loop, the zero-G and the immelman are perfectly paced and executed and its just coaster nirvana imo. The end after the 2nd drop into the low-to-the-ground section is incredible. I've decided my favorite seats are the front row, right side and back row, left side. I really wish we got two hours on this as originally promised, but it is what it is.
From here it was lunch at the Food Fest Grove. The food was average, but we joked we were eating for free at an amusement park, which is kind of a big deal lol. I got a burger, chips, some fruit salad, and potato salad, Tom got a chicken sandwich and some sides I forget what. And ice cream. We hung out for a while, Tom actually laid down on the picnic table bench for a moment after eating since he still wasn't feeling 100%. It's a shame as Tom is never like this, he has the most stamina for this kind of riding out of everyone I know.
After lunch we were led to the awards ceremony which was held at that stage between Dominator and Demon Drop but because we're assholes we took a detour to Dominator and did the drop side. We only had a 5 minute wait. After boarding we were actually positioned facing the stage so we could still see what was going on lol, not that we were paying attention but we knew we were not getting any awards anyway. Anyways Ive said it before and I'll say it again - I LOVE these S&S towers. It feels less like a freefall and more like you are being shot toward the ground. Airtime galore. So fun.
We made our way over to join our co-participants for the awards ceremony, which actually hadn't started but we made it just in time. We had some major 'characters' in the bunch but generally everyone seemed to be there to have a good time. Once again kudos to everyone that participated, this is such a fun day for a great cause. Some participants raised some serious dough, and we were informed here that Dorney came in 3rd (after Cedar Point and Knotts) with a total of $18,000. Awards distributed, an appearance by Charlie Brown, a few more thank yous, a group photo and we were off to Steel Force where we were allowed to marathon it until 5pm!
Again they gave us one whole train which was not completely filled, and told us we could have the whole train for as long as it was warranted. It might be a good idea for the park to maybe put up some sort of display at the entrance of the ride explaining to the general public what we are doing, as the queue for this was half full and they were only running two trains, one of us which was for us and was only halfway filled at the most on the majority of our laps. Not surprisingly we heard some snarky comments from GP folks waiting behind the airgates, as every time we came back into the station we all just swapped seats and headed back out for another lap. This would only get worse as the day went on. During this first marathon, I managed 8 consecutive laps on this, Tom sat the last one or two out - he was feeling better, but he still wasn't 100%. It's hard for this ride to be a favorite when there are so many other great hyper-coasters, but over the course of the day I definitely developed a new appreciation for this ride. While the rest of our group continued their Steel Force marathon we hopped off to go do our own thing.
We really wanted to ride Stinger at least once since we both needed the credit and it was running (gasp!). We had a one-cycle wait and boarded the very last car so that we did the course backwards first then the other way around. This is the first Vekoma credit I've gotten in a really long time, as well as the first boomerang I've ridden in over a year, and surprisingly it rode really well. Pretty damn smooth, zero headbanging, overall a pretty good ride. We never came back here because it wasn't THAT good, but it was far from a bad ride. The music/autospeil in the station is another story entirely, I'm surprised the ops haven't committed mass suicide listening to that on repeat all day. Also had anyone else noticed the high pitched dog whistle type tone that stabbed us in the ears while the ride was running? We only noticed in the station while waiting but it was almost unbearable. Some sort of feedback on the PA system while the ride was operating?
Since they are right next door we decided to do the Cedar Creek Flyers and what a giant waste of time this was. They run very slow, and just as we had some momentum and were able to get our boats really moving, the cycle was over. There is always one big dud of the day and this was it. This will probably change once I get to Knoebels, but so far Hershey has the best installation of these rides I've ridden, this was the worst.
Also on our list of 'must-do's was Demon Drop, which we somehow just accidentally missed during our visit to Dorney last fall. The last time I've ridden one of these first generation Intamin drop towers was Stuntmans Freefall @ Great Adventure sometime in the early 90s. Since that time Ive gone from hating drop rides to recently flat out loving them again so I was excited to try this. SWEET BABY JESUS THIS THING IS INSANE. Its not so much about the height now that there are so many other huge drop towers everywhere but its so freaking intense! Especially the pull-out. Is it the weight of the old clunky ride vehicles that makes it drop so fast and forcefully? We walked right on and were so blown away we almost walked around for a 2nd drop but it had gotten a decent line within the time that we rode. We did come back later.
We needed a break so we checked out a couple shops looking for stuff to buy (I snagged a sweet Possessed magnet for the fridge collection) and popped out to the car for some midday beers and a break from the crowds. The park was far from packed but it felt busier than our last visit during Haunt last year. Have I mentioned the weather was perfect all day? A little cloudy here and there but not hot, and no rain that we felt.
Upon reentering the park we thought we'd hit up Dominator (shoot up side) and Demon Drop again, and I thought we should give Thunderhawk another shot. I only took one ride on the parks classic and only woodie during our visit last year, in the back row, and HATED it. Like 'worst woodie ever' status. Just brutally rough and no airtime or fun bits at all. I've read/heard from multiple sources the front seats are where its at, so after a short station wait we decided to stake out the front and wait for it. We would up going for row 2 and I have a new appreciation for this ride. While its still unbelievably rough, we did get some great pops of airtime sitting up here. I wish the park would put in some serious padding (ala Kennywoods woodies) because you really need it on this coaster. We didn't go back here but I'm glad we gave it another chance as I feel more favorable about it now.
While waiting for Thunderhawk we spotted the C4Ks train still going on Steel Force with just a few riders still sticking it out. It was a little after 4pm and knowing that marathon was to end at 5, we hustled over there for a few final laps and were lucky to climb up the exit ramp just when the marathon riders had all just shifted, leaving the front seat wide open for us. Of course we jumped right in! I felt bad that we did this once we completed the course and spotted a more-the-half-full queue for this ride. It's a shame the park was not more prepared for this and was only running 2 trains, as the GP that were waiting were becoming borderline hostile, to the point where we overheard a crew member telling guests they would be led out of the park if they didn't stop making harassing comments to the C4Ks participants. Some people asked nicely what we were doing and seemed OK with it once we explained it was for a childrens' charity, others were flat out cussing us out. Some of the C4K's marathoners returned fire. Ugly. Thick tension in the station since at this point the C4Ks train had at our count 7 other people besides the two of us, the rest of the train being sent out empty. Not our fault obviously, the park should have been more prepared or made it more well known what were doing.
On this 2nd mini-marathon we got 4 more laps (bringing my total to 12) and I don't know if it was the mid-day beer break or if I had just done so many laps, but it was at this point that I became one with Steel Force. We sat all over the train today but it is without a doubt a front car ride. The most brutal part is the end of the helix when you turn left into the the hill that leads up in the the MCBR, but after a few rides I learned to shift my rear to the right and ride into the curve and it was no longer a problem. On one of these laps I had my own little personal "I feel like I'm flying" moment as we rounded the helix. This ride has great airtime on the return hills and we felt, and others we spoke to agreed, that she was running perfectly all day. I have a newfound appreciation for this ride, and it has without a doubt moved up in my 'favorites' rankings.
It was now almost 5pm and again we were hungry so we headed all the way back up to the full service Chickies & Pete's to sit down and get waited on and grub on some crab fries. I've been eating these way too much lately but I can never get enough of them. The service here was horrendous. We ordered our food and beers all at once the first time our server stopped by our table. Tom got a beer and I got a mixed drink (The Flyin Hawaiian, a rum drink) and my drink came out pretty quickly, but no beer. You would think it takes a few seconds to pour a beer compared to a few minutes to mix a drink, so what gives? After I had my drink for a good ten minutes our server reappeared to inform Tom they were out of the beer he ordered. Tom asked what else they had on tap and the server had no clue so he had to bring us the menu again (which took another 5 minutes), and also happened to mention that this was all the bartenders fault as she was brand new. Ugh. Eventually Tom settled on something else and then our food came out, but still no beer. A good ten minutes AFTER we had our food Tom's beer finally came out. We also had to ask for napkins (!) silverware, and water. Living in the city for almost 20 years, I've come to know quite a few service industry workers and everything this guy did was a huge no-no. This guy was beyond friendly but SUCKED at his job, but we let him know that with our tip (and we are both usually insanely good tippers, for the record). The food was good, my drink was tasty, no other complaints besides the beyond abysmal service.
It was now after 6pm and we wanted to get one more ride in before we embarked on our hour long ride back to Philly. Since we love Possessed so much we were willing to walk all the way back down to the other side of the park just to check the line. Lucky for us we are at Dorney Park so we got on after just 2 cycles. This last ride felt lightyears more intense than our early morning marathon. In the middle of our ride I yelled to Tom "she's running a little meaner than this morning!!!" When we got off he said "what did you say the ride did to your wiener?" We had a giant laugh at that one.
Overall it was a great day at a pretty great park. It's hard to pick a favorite of the day because Dorney doesn't have a top level ride that stands head and shoulders above the rest of their line-up. They could really use a great wooden coaster, I know a lot of people "predict" they'll get a GCI, but I would LOVE it if they got an Intamin pre-fab, similar to Balder. Fat chance I know but we joked they could put an El Toro clone right along Steel Force lol. I'm very curious to see what they will do for their next coaster. Stinger is above average and Possessed is flat out amazing, but considering Hydra was installed in 2005, its been ten years since they got a brand new, custom coaster.
Anyways, any day at this park is great for minimal waits and lots of re-riding. Being able to marathon Steel Force, Talon and Possessed was the icing on the cake. And I'm SO happy we got on Demon Drop twice. Overall the park is pretty generic but there are a few charming areas at the bottom of the hill around Thunderhawk with lots of trees and shade. The park is also unique in that it may feel crowded but the lines for the coasters are never really long. I could do without all the hills.
Ride totals (with the marathoning I was able to break my record for most coaster laps in one day w/ an even 30):
Steel Force (12x) Talon (8x) Possessed (6x) Hydra (2x) Thunderhawk (1x) Stinger (1x) Dominator (2x) Demon Drop (2x) Screaming Swing (1x) Cedar Creek Flyers (1x)
Thanks for reading and huge thanks to Dorney and Give Kids The World (and everyone that donated) for allowing us to have such a great time. Now some fun visualsssss
I love going to Dorney and coming over the horizon to this.
We will be possessed in 3... 2...
Did I mention we love this ride?
Worshipping at the alter of Intamin
Hydra looks fantastic
Shame its so dull
Our view while eating lunch was cool
Detour to Dominator
Group photo by Dorney. We were told to make silly faces.
Steel Force marathon time
Let's try out this Vekoma inverted boomerang
Really not bad at all
Super lame-o flyers
Love me an S&S tower
Thanks Dorney & Give Kids the World, great times for a great cause!
Last edited by boldikus on Mon Jun 08, 2015 1:35 pm.
Nice way to spend a Sunday! Raising $500 is a decent chunk of change for C4K and something to be proud of. Too bad about the GP not having a clue what was going on with the trains and getting angry. It happened to us last year at SFGAdv when we went on a whim around Halloween, the place was jammed and we only had a couple hours so got dropped mega bucks on Platinum Flash Passes. We had the time of our lives and got in more rides than I ever thought we would... except nobody had any idea why we were able to stay in our seats. The station attendants would announce overhead that certain rows may have to wait an extra train, but boy did we get nasty looks! It was quite uncomfortable and we did our best to smile or sometimes pretend we didn't exist while in the station haha.
^ Yeah it was definitely uncomfortable, and the reason we just did a few more laps and bounced. I've never gotten a Platinum pass, as I've always been fine with a gold pass, but now I know what getting the death stares and lip smackin' feels like.
So, touching on my whole Possessed vs Wicked Twister thing - Looking at both in person, WT looks bigger to me. And so I assumed Possessed is a smaller version of it, in height and track length. But here's something interesting. According to wikipedia (yeah take it with a grain of salt I guess), Wicked Twisters' track length is only 675 ft but is 215 at its highest point, while Possessed is 704 feet long but is only a height of 185 feet, so wouldn't that mean the horizontal/launch section of track is actually longer on Possessed? Which debunks my whole "tighter" theory, no? The G's listed are stronger on Possessed than WT. Anyone else ridden both and what are your thoughts? I'm really curious to know why I feel Possessed feels more intense to me.
^ You know what? I am assuming they did not have any sort of sign/display about the event because we didn't see them and especially because everyone seemed so in the dark and confused/irritated about the few of us taking up the entire 2nd train. There very well may have been something in front of Steel Force, but we never went up that way, they just had us go up the exit. You would hope so - I'm pretty sure a few of the participants rode it for the full 4 hours. But I know I didn't see anything in front of Talon or Hydra, and we walked right past the front of those rides.
I was always under the impression that Possessed (then Steel Venom) had the stronger launch than Wicked Twister, thus the reason why Steel Venom actually would approach the top the spikes whereas Wicked Twister does not. The back seat was always my favorite as I loved the pure freefalling feeling of the straight spike though watching the plunger get closer as you sit in the front is a pretty awesome experience as well.
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