DORNEY PARK'S NEW RIDEThat churning feeling? It's the Demon Drop
131-foot tower ride spent 25 years as a popular feature at Cedar Point in Ohio.Demon Drop at Cedar Point (Photograph courtesy of Cedar Point / January 21, 2010
By Sarah Fulton and Daniel Patrick Sheehan
FOR THE MORNING CALL
January 22, 2010
Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom is adding to its arsenal of rides that push the soles of the feet into the pit of the stomach.
Demon Drop will be new to Dorney but it's not a new ride. The 131-foot drop tower has been dizzying visitors to Dorney's sister park in Ohio, Cedar Point, for 25 years. The parks' parent company, Cedar Fair, decided it was time to refurbish the tower and present it to a new audience.
Rumors about Demon Drop's move -- and where it might end up -- have been buzzing through the amusement park community for months. Bloggers who follow park affairs had reported sightings of possible Demon Drop pieces at Dorney since the ride was dismantled.
Dorney spokesman Chuck Hutchinson said the ride was originally headed for Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, Calif., but company officials decided it was a better fit for Dorney, which had more space for it.
''The [Cedar Point regulars] have already experienced it -- it was time to give it a fresh audience,'' Hutchinson said.
The ride was approved by South Whitehall Township commissioners on Wednesday, including Commissioner Christina ''Tori'' Morgan, who joked that she wanted to ride it before voting to approve it.
Demon Drop -- similar to Dorney's existing free-fall ride, the 170-foot Dominator -- will replace the Krazy Kars, a family-friendly vintage bumper car ride. Hutchinson said ground will be broken soon and the ride could be ready by opening day in the spring.
Demon Drop contains six individual cars that hold four people seated side by side. Riders are loaded into the car in a station and then rise slowly up the tower. At the top, the car enters a track and it is released, swooping downward on a curve at roughly 50 mph until it comes to a slow stop resting on its back.
Demon Drop will be in the lowest area of the park at an elevation of 307 feet. The top of the ride will reach nearly 439 feet above sea level. Dorney is permitted to erect rides at a maximum elevation of 540 feet.
''It is a high ride, but by no means anywhere near the height limitations in the park,'' said Dorney attorney Joseph Bubba.
Bubba said the location of the ride meets all township zoning, light, sound and privacy criteria. Park officials have met with neighboring residents in recent years to discuss plans and listen to concerns.
Since Cedar Fair purchased Dorney Park in 1992, it has added several big, high-tech rides, including the Steel Force Roller Coaster and the Dominator.
The park ''has gone really out of their way to engage the community,'' Bubba said.
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