Dorney Park, Allentown PA
Dorney Park Coasters
Dorney Park is a mid-sized family theme park owned and operated by Cedar Fair L.P., the same company that owns Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. Like Cedar Point, the Dorney also lies adjacent to a full water park, Wildwater Kingdom. Also like Cedar Point, Dorney prides itself on operating a variety of state-of-the thrill rides, right alongside the traditional coasters and attractions. While not as ambitious as Cedar Point-the park does not have as much acreage and therefore not as many coasters as its sister park-the Cedar Fair company seems intent of keeping the park current and updated with new rides on a regular schedule. In the recent past, a major rollercoaster or attraction has been added every two years.
Dorney Park Coasters:
2001 (Go to Talon photos and specs)
Dorney Park added its first B&M coaster in 2001. Talon is an excellent ride, twisted and packed into a small space. Although it includes several "standard" B&M elements, a unique arrangement plus several new features make this anything but a "copycat" coaster. An inclined spiral located high above the entrance queue makes for a unique visual element that beckons guests toward the ride.
Because the course of Talon is so tightly compacted, the experience from the front seat is visually quite different than that of other, more expansive B&M coasters. Much of the ride is spent on drops that dive deep into the bright blue support structure, creating a feeling of confinement and danger.
2000 (Go To Skyscraper photos)
In 1997, a company called Gravity Works developed a new style of thrill ride. The Skyscraper is a unique ride that immediately draws attention, and looks even crazier and scarier than previous upcharge attractions. The ride rises 170 feet into the air. Four passengers ride at a time, each tightly seated in a two open seats slightly reminiscent of Ferris Wheel seats. The two groups of seats are attached to what is essentially a 160 foot propellor, which rotates around the center bringing the riders to a top speed of 70 mph.
Skyscraper is one of Dexter's favorite non-coaster rides, and he seeks them in parks and recreation spots whenever he travels.
2000 (Go to Wild Mouse specs)
This new version of the classic style ride takes riders through zig-zagging turns and camelback hills.
2000 (Go to Woodstock Express specs)
Following the theme of the Peanuts characters incorporated into the park to represent and entertain children and families, the Woodstock Express features a train of mine cars that traverse miniature hills and turns.
1999 (Go to Dominator specs)
Dorney Park's list of thrill attractions includes a somewhat smaller version of sister park Cedar Point's Power Tower freefall ride. Featuring two towers (as opposed to Power Tower's four) Dominator includes both the "blast off" style and the "downward launch" style for passengers to choose from.
1997 (Go to Steel Force photos and specs)
In 1997, Steel Force debuted at Dorney Park. The 200 ft tall hypercoaster's first drop plummets a distance of 205 feet courtesy of an enclosed underground tunnel at the bottom, one of two 120 foot tunnels over the course of the ride. Two more tall, straight hills follow before the turnaround at the far end of the "out-and-back" layout, which spans virtually the entire length of the park. An impressive 510 degree helix and several small negative-G bunny hops complete one of the best examples of the now classic hypercoaster that Dexter has ever ridden.
1992 (Go to Dragon Coaster specs)
Although not a coaster per se (the trains are powered rather than coasting) Dorney Park's Dragon Coaster offers the thrill of a coaster on a smaller scale. The single train travels over a pretzel-shaped track that includes a tight, descending spiral.
1990 (Go to Little Laser specs)
The Little Laser coaster sits next to its older sibling in the park, the Laser, and features a "little dipper" design in an oval arrangement, plus a pretend loop to add to the fun.
(no longer operating)
1989 (Go to Hercules specs)
Hercules opened in 1989 as a rather impressive ride, full of speed and synergy. At the top of the lift hill, a 90 degree turn to the left revealed the first drop, over the edge of an embankment and heading toward a small lake below. The first drop was fast and furious, funneling right into tight, highly banked turn, seemingly skimming the water. After rising to the top of the second hill, the train then would weave its way through the structure, through a few more incredible turns, and a great combination of large and small hills.
Unfortunately, Hercules was altered after its initial year, as sometimes occurs with coasters. Brakes were added to the first drop to slow the overall speed of the train. In order to accommodate the slower speed of the train, the second hill had to be lowered and reconstructed to allow the trains enough speed at the top to finish the remainder of the course. The reduction of the hill and speed had dramatic consequences for the elements that followed.
Hercules was crippled; what began as a great ride full of synergy from the moment of the first drop, was now a "one hit wonder" with only the first drop and turn of any real interest for thrillseekers. A sad loss.
Hercules was demolished at the end of the 2003 season, leaving room to build a new attraction on that land in the future.
1986 (Go to Laser specs)
Laser is a standard Schwarzkopf double looping coaster, featuring two consecutive vertical loops off the lift hill, followed by several banked curves, all located in a compact space.
Dorney Park purchased the ride in 1986 from the Parque de la Ciudad, where it was originally named Cobra.
1923 (Go to ThunderHawk specs)
When ThunderHawk opened in 1923, it was not officially named and was simply referred to as "The Coaster." Originally constructed as an out-and-back design, the ride was modified in 1930 to the classic figure eight as it stands today.
As is often the case with older coasters, ThunderHawk offers an excellent series of fun and thrills without the need to compete in size and speed that modern coasters boast.
All coaster specs and descriptions are gathered from park info, manufacturers specs, ACE and other coaster literature, and the Roller Coaster DataBase project at www.rcdb.com.
All photos unless otherwise noted were taken by Dexter. Park logos and other graphics are from the parks' official websites.
All pages, images and info © Copyright 1997 - 2009 David W Creighton.
All rights reserved.