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Ultimate Rollercoaster > Discussion Forums > Roller Coasters, Parks & Attractions > Speedy Dorney Park TR 10/19/12

Speedy Dorney Park TR 10/19/12


10/21/12 at
12:36:37 AM

Hey guys,
I had off from work Friday, so I figured rather than wasting 100 bucks on going to the MD Music Educator's Convention, I would go to a park instead (hoping that the kids up north were still in school.) Originally, I planned to go to SFGradv, but when the weather was in the 70's and sunny around here, I thought better of that and went to Dorney instead. Traffic was AWFUL riding through Baltimore and Philly on a Friday afternoon. I don't think I ever got my speed faster than 45 mph all the way up I-476, so I did not get to the park until 7:00 (after leaving MD at 1:00 with an hour lunch stop).

The park had opened at 6:00, so I was one hour behind. There were a TON of school buses in the parking lot, but one thing I learned about Dorney is that everyone runs to Talon and whatever is on the upper level of the park, so I immediately went down the hill to Possessed, Stinger, and Steel Force (T'hawk was closed for the evening as the path was being used as a "Fright zone".

The plan worked, all 3 rides were still a walk-on. Possessed was a tight fit for my 290 lb frame, but I did get in (2 years ago, they sent me walking because they refused to push down on the restraint. I didn't bother to ride last year). I rode in the next to last row. The ride was "meh", as usual for the Intamin Impulses, but it was interesting that they held the train for around 2 mins, claiming they could not launch until the fog cleared. There is a Fright zone in the plaza immediately outside the ride, so it is interesting that this was a problem for the ride crew. I assume they couldn't see the thumbs being circulated between the ops and given Cedar Fair's attention to safety, they did not want to launch until it was confirmed everyone was back in position. I don't know if this was a regular problem during Haunt as I only rode one time, but if it is, they may want to reconsider putting the fog machines so close to the ride (or get a big fan for the station.)

Stinger was next. I was able to walk into the front row with another single rider. I have experienced near black out forces on the return run of Two-Face. Today, Stinger was just there. Strong, but nothing significant.

Steel Force was next. The station was just barely full, but the back car rarely had over a 1 train wait. I rode 3 times before the line started to get significantly long (I had driven through a storm on the way and figured it had to be on the way soon.) More on Steel Force later.

Not a coaster, but I rode Demon Drop. I walked up and had the entire car to myself. Demon Drop is not the tallest drop ride, but the entire set up of waiting before engaging the lift and all the banging and clanking before dropping, makes the ride seem so much less predictable than the new Intamin or S&S Drop Towers. I won't even bother riding Tower of Doom at SFA or even Dominator at Dorney, but I always make it a point to get one ride on Demon Drop. It just fits so well at Dorney.

I went up the hill to Hydra. The line was just to the bottom of the steps now, but the grouper was only allowing one load of people in the station at a time for some reason, so the wait was no longer than 5 mins. I got 3 rides in or near the back. On my 3rd ride, we got a surprise as we actually stopped on the brake run. I don't know what happened, but they unloaded the train in front of us and sent the ops on the brake run to talk to the people on our train. The girls I was riding with tried to ask them what happened (I knew they weren't going to tell us that.), but the answer they came up with was one of the ops "messed up the ride". Seeing how the final brake run on all B&M's is completely automatically operated, that seems rather unlikely, unless someone hit an e-stop or ride stop button (I did ask about the e-stop and they denied it). After around 15 mins, maintenance came and reset the ride, so we moved up to the park position behind the train in the station and they were able to get us back into the station to disembark. No exit passes, but they weren't really needed.

Remember that storm I had mentioned? While I was on Hydra, there were some lightning flashes in the distance, but to my knowledge, the other rides were still operating (Steel Force was still powering through its helix the whole time we were sitting on the brake run. I decided to do a couple of Haunts before heading to Talon. I am not a Haunt person (kids jumping out yelling "boo" doesn't scare me in the least). I do believe KD was more creative with their scarators, encouraging them to bang on walls and stomp their feet, while Dorney's just kind yelled "boo" and tried to invade your personal space. The paths at Dorney seemed longer, but were not as confined as KD's (this was especially true in the Cornstalker's maze, which was the only one that was common between both parks this year (apparently, Dorney did away with their Club Blood).

The storm came while I was in their Outbreak, which had a military theme rather than the alien one KD adopted. It didn't start raining until around 30 mins later, and it happened while I was in Cornstalkers. Funny, they made an announcement for "all guests AND EMPLOYEES to exit the maze as quickly as possible." I did not realize how far into the maze we were, but seeing all the "monsters" running in the opposite direction was a sight that I can't forget :)

It did take quite a while to get out and the storm was on full blast by the time I did reach the end near the Thunder Canyon entrance. I had on my semi-waterproof Redskins Band jacket. My jeans were not so waterproof, so I was soaked by the time I got to the shop near the front of the park to take shelter.

The storm passed rather quickly, but the rides still had not reopened, so I decided to take in a couple more mazes. More of the same, kids getting in your face saying "boo". Nothing special. Finally, around 10:30, I noticed they were testing Dominator (the drop tower; I have to focus really hard to not associate that name with the coaster now). I started making my way to Steel Force, since I figured that would be where most of the crowd that was left would go (they already did the top of the park when they came in).

It took another 15 mins of cycling before they opened, but it was worth it as there was no crowd for the rest of the night. I rode all over the back of the train. The airtime was amazing as the train was half loaded, so the block brake was almost completely open. The best ride I got was in car 6-1. I have found on 3 bench woodies, the front of the last car seems to have a little more momentum going up over the drops, causing a bounce against the upstops before getting yanked down the drop with the rest of the car. Steel Force seemed to perform the same way, causing the final bunnies to be rather violent, especially before speed hill before the double up at the end. You just don't get that kind of air in 6-3.

I had overstayed my time at Steel Force, taking 6 rides in a row before realizing that it was past 11:30 and I still had yet to ride Talon. I ran up the hill and got to the station around 11:50 (with an emergency bathroom stop along the way). The station was near empty, so I went to the back. Talon has the least forgiving seatbelts at Dorney, next to Possessed(they are just a hair longer than Alpengeist's). Especially on train 1, which I had the misfortune of drawing when I got into the station, and there was no time to wait for the next train. At least the ride op was forgiving and was willing to put the extra muscle in to get it to the seatbelt latched rather just immediately sending me to row 4. The guy was so cool, he even let me ride again once the train came back (may not have been his decision since there was no one in the station and the last group was still coming up the stairs.) A reride? At Dorney?!?!

My impressions of Talon, still remain unchanged, meh to the 1st 3 inversions, but the part from the dive under the lift to the final brake is the best ending sequence of any B&M inverted. So fast, multiple direction changes, a forceful helix and airtime!

It is now after midnight and I have to get up to have my kids play at the grand opening the new local Music and Arts. I planned it at 1:00 PM so I could get a few hours sleep, but then my supervisor called me saying that he had made arrangements for those of us who are in the Redskins Band to play AT 11:00!!. So when I got home at 5:00 AM, I got about 2 1/2 hrs sleep before having to get up and play a concert and manage around 30 elementary kids in halloween costumes with instruments and sheet music outside. Needless to say, I just woke up as I went home and crashed immediately after the show (I was too tired to even eat, so I hadn't had anything since my 2:00 AM stop at Geno's in Philly).

I plan to go to Gradv next Sunday after the Batwing taping at SFA for the Travel Channel, so since we don't have school on Monday, I might be able to get some sleep this time.

Thanks for reading (maybe this wasn't as speedy as I thought).


Re: Speedy Dorney Park TR 10/19/12 by Overbanked Overbanked Profile at 10/21/12 6:03:39 AM
Thanks for the TR Paul. That's crazy with the Possessed/fog situation; It sounds like something that Dorney really should take action on, esp since it effects the overall safety of the coaster. I definitely gotta hit up the Keystone state next year to ride all of those wonderful coasters.
Re: Speedy Dorney Park TR 10/19/12 by alpengeistno3 at 10/21/12 8:56:20 PM
Thanks, Chris! It was unusual that it was a problem that had not been foreseen or resolved. (it is the 3rd week of October and most likely the 4th week of Haunt.) The fog was very thick everywhere in the lower end of the park. Steel Force's first drop was enveloped in it. It would seem plausible that if they are going to put fog machines that close to Possessed, they would take action to keep it out of the ride station or give the ops another means of confirming their location. I wonder just how long they would wait. 1 min? 3 mins? 5 mins? Granted, Dorney is rarely crowded enough that waiting a few minutes won't hurt too much, but if it having to happen every single train, it could be frustrating for the ops, as well as the guests.

Maybe there has been enough wind to circulate the fog in previous weeks that it was not an issue until this past weekend. Still, a park that size has got to have a industrial sized fan somewhere that is not in use.


Re: Speedy Dorney Park TR 10/19/12 by drachen drachen Profile at 10/23/12 1:07:39 PM
Wow Paul, you are a warrior! That sounding like quite the exhausting excursion!

Glad you had fun... I haven't been to Dorney in two years. I'm still trying to squeeze one visit in this season before they close.

As we've discussed, I agree with your assessment of Talon. That ride has a fantastic ending.

Steel Force will always be a favorite of mine. It seems to have been running better in recent years.

Hydra is underrated in my book. It's not the most thrilling ride, but it stands as the most unique of any B&M design I've come across. I appreciate it for that fact alone - such a fun layout.

I'm also a fan of Vekoma's inverted boomerangs - of any size.

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Re: Speedy Dorney Park TR 10/19/12 by alpengeistno3 at 10/23/12 11:00:38 PM
drachen said:

Wow Paul, you are a warrior! That sounding like quite the exhausting excursion!

Hey, I got through it. Next week will be Great Adventure on Sunday to close out the season (at least in the North, I'm planning another Fl trip for Thanksgiving again :)

drachen said:

As we've discussed, I agree with your assessment of Talon. That ride has a fantastic ending.

Talon would be my #1 inverted coaster if the 1st 3 inversions weren't so "soft". I've heard it said that having the zero G roll go over the station took a lot of the punch out of it. Can't help feeling that was purposeful. Sort of like Hydra.

drachen said:

Steel Force will always be a favorite of mine. It seems to have been running better in recent years.

My enjoyment of Steel Force is totally dependent on the block brake. If it is on hard, it really kills the ending, but when it is loose, OMG, hold on!!

drachen said:

Hydra is underrated in my book. It's not the most thrilling ride, but it stands as the most unique of any B&M design I've come across. I appreciate it for that fact alone - such a fun layout.

Unfortunately, we differ there. I think Hydra is a fantastic ride on paper, but it is such a soft core ride in execution. There are no forces at all. Even the zero G roll that Dominator is missing is weak. The most forceful element is that slow roll out of the station and for me that is just an annoyance rather than an exciting moment. Unique? Yes. Worth the time compared to Steel Force and Talon? Absolutely not!

drachen said:

I'm also a fan of Vekoma's inverted boomerangs - of any size.

A boomerang is a boomerang is another boomerang. Inverted or not, it is a trick that was nifty the 1st 30 times (or however many of those Vekoma has built. It's still the same game, no matter which side of the track you are on.

Thanks for the comments and hope you get to Dorney this week. You should not be disappointed by Steel Force or Talon as they both delivered last weekend.


Re: Speedy Dorney Park TR 10/19/12 by augustus35 augustus35 Profile at 10/25/12 12:49:02 PM
It appears to be like something that Dorney really should take activity on, esp since it impacts the overall protection of the rollercoaster.
Re: Speedy Dorney Park TR 10/19/12 by alpengeistno3 at 10/25/12 8:56:35 PM
augustus35 said:

It appears to be like something that Dorney really should take activity on, esp since it impacts the overall protection of the rollercoaster.

Even something as simple as a vocal acknowledgement of the ops' location (get on the mike and have each op report, "Loader, clear", "Unloader, clear", "All clear, dispatch" would suffice). I do like the fact that Dorney was willing to pump the area with so much fog, but if it affecting the operation of the a fairly major ride (it is their ONLY launch coaster), they should take steps to correct the issue rather just waiting for it to blow over.

This could all be moot with the storms that are supposed to be coming in this weekend. The fog won't stand for long in 10 mph wind.