On 10/27 myself and two friends from college decided to head down to Dorney Park. The park is in the midst of the last few operating days of the season and were offering a great student discount: For $30 you get entry into the park, and for those of you unaware, this also includes Dorney Park's Haunted Attractions. I think that this is the first great thing about Dorney's Haunt as opposed to Fright Fest. If you are going to a Haunt event then most, if not all of your attractions should be included in the gate fee. Anyway, back to the trip.
We made the wise decision of heading to the park for opening since none of us have been to the park in at least five years, we wanted to be able to make the most of our day. They had several parking attendants and we got there at 10:40, 20 minutes before the park opened (Season pass holders appear to be able to have early entry and ride time which is cool). We were directed to park in the second row of the lot, with only about 20 other cars already parked and not many behind us. We thought that maybe these crowds would last but there was plenty more people arriving later in the day to make it a moderately crowded event. We purchased our tickets at the booth with our student IDs and waited for the 11 AM official welcome and opening. I like how they play the national anthem and say good morning to everyone. Once the gates were open it took between 2-5 minutes to enter the park as there were not that many people in front of us.
Our game plan was simple- we had no game plan. We just wanted to go on as much as we could so we could enjoy the Haunt at night. We headed for Hydra and I liked it just as much as I remember. The inversions are fun, especially the roll right out of the station. It is a floorless coaster, like Bizarro at GA but is much shorter (both in height and ride time). Despite this, I think that I enjoy Hydra more than Bizarro. Side note we were the only people on the train and we decided to ride twice without getting off. Great re-ride policy!
We then headed to the left through one of the scare zones set up for later in the night. We rode Steel Force front row, no line and we re-rode in a separate row. I have heard a lot about this coaster, dubbing it "Steel Forceless" but I liked the ride overall, especially the second half of the ride which delivered some great airtime.
Then we doubled back towards Thunderhawk, their wooden coaster. I really enjoyed this coaster and makes me wish we had a family wooden coaster at GA. Somehow, I don't see it happening anytime soon. With Jersey devil coming next year, I don't see us getting another coaster for a while (but side note: JD looks like it will be so much fun). Again, great woodie, loved it.
Then we hit Possessed, which I remembered being very afraid of when I went when I was 13 but this time it was just a lot of fun. No wait, front row, I have trouble re-riding shuttle coasters so this was a one and done for the day although the line was short all day so we could have gotten on.
In the Possessed plaza, they were having a Monster truck special event which was really neat. A highlight was you could actually ride IN the truck. We ended up skipping the ride because of the consistent 1 hour line throughout the day and did not feel like spending the $30 to skip the line. Then we hit a bunch of flat rides which were so much fun. Flat rides like the Whip, Music Express, Tit-a-whirl, and more is why I love Dorney Park. It has such a great family vibe.
In the area by Tilt-a-Whirl, there were some skill games which I never feel tempted to play but today, they got me. They put a Stacker game near them and I blew $15 on it. It is a really addicting game and they had prizes like Airpods in there. I always get to the top row and, since its rigged, I never get it. Anyway, I had fun wasting my money so that's what counts haha. Moving on.
Demon Drop. Is. So. Much. Fun.
I love Zumanjaro but Demon Drop gives me a fun amount of anxiousness that no other ride does. I wish we still had it at GA, although I do love Wonder Woman which eventually took freeFall's spot.
Even though none of us were kids, we decided to walk through Camp Snoopy and I love how cute it was. The atmosphere was great, there were so many rides, and the kids were having a blast. (So were the parents). This is a kids area done right and I think GA should take a nod to Cedar Fair and theme their kids area this nice with photo opportunities and great rides, etc. I suspect we will be seeing a new kids area in 2021 so GA, take notes.
Somewhere in between all this, we got lunch at the counter-service Chickie's and Pete's. I am not a fan of the kiosk ordering at the locations around the park. Especially paying cash. People paying cash have to go to the cashier anyway so why not just have them take your order as well? Food was good, the wait was a little long (probably like 20 minutes) and my biggest complaint was that most places around the park ran out of ketchup. They close for the season next weekend and I assume they are looking to cut costs but a lot of people were unhappy about it.
As for clientele, I found almost everyone we ran into being super friendly and having a good time. The employees were good too.
Special shoutout to the operating running the two main drop towers. For those unaware, one shoots you up and one shoots you down, so they are different. Dorney Park must be short staffed (as most parks are this time of year) so this one ride operator was hustling and rotating between each of the towers. 2 cycles on one and 2 cycles on the other. Although the line was a bit longer than I expected it to be, I give kudos to this man for hustling through the day with a smile on his face.
At around 4 in the afternoon, rain started falling heavily and so we got a hand stamp and retreated to our car to take a rest even though the rides were all still running (good on Dorney for this as there were people still riding them in the rain)
I have some work to do so I will be posting part 2 (Haunt) at a later time. For now, just know I was very impressed.