Allentown, Pennsylvania, USA
“Decent, but not as spectacular as most Cedar Fair parks”
Allentown, Pennsylvania is home to Dorney Park. This is one of Cedar Fair’s East Coast amusement parks. In all honesty… the park has never been on my bucket list. Still, we paid a visit to Dorney Park during our 2017 road trip from Sandusky to New York City. I didn’t have high expectations as this was mostly meant as a quick stopover. Our Cedar Fair Platinum Passes granted free access to the park and I was prepared for a mediocre experience.
School holidays ended a few days before our visit, so the park was practically empty. That means no queueing for a thrilling ride on Talon. In Europe, we’re used to a ride called Taron. And although Talon isn’t on the same level as that German coaster with nearly the same name, it’s definitely a great ride. Talon is smooth, fast and pretty intense. The fact that the ride literally was in a walk-on state during our visit, means that we made a lot of rides.
We ride the park’s wild mouse and the Snoopy-themed kiddie coaster for credit purposes. Things get more interesting afterwards, when we ride Hydra – The Revenge. This is Dorney Park’s second B&M and it became quite famous thanks to it’s JoJo roll. This inline twist is placed between the loading platform and the lift hill, so it guarantees a very bizarre start of the ride experience. Fortunately, Hydra is more than its first inversion. This is a decent floorless coaster which benefits from its unusual layout and the smoothness. This isn’t the best floorless coaster on Earth, but it’s very decent nonetheless.
Dorney Park’s oldest coasters are Thunderhawk and Steel Force. Their age difference is considerable, though. Steel Force was presented in 1997 and wooden coaster Thunderhawk opened more than 70 years earlier! Despite its respectable age, Thunderhawk made a good impression. I expected it to be a very rough and uncomfortable, but it definitely wasn’t.
Searching for Dorney’s longest, tallest and fastest ride? Then you’ll need to walk towards Steel Force. This impressive coaster has a length of 1,700 metres, the first drop is 62 metres and the trains reach speeds of up to 120 km/h. Steel Force turns out to be an excellent ride. The track length and the smoothness are remarkable and I’m amazed by the capacity. Although most of the seats remain empty, Steel Force is in a 2-train operation all day long. And you know what that means: lots of rides!
Dorney Park offers two rather unusual shuttle coasters and they were placed right next to each other. I’m talking about Stinger (a Vekoma Invertigo) and Possessed. The ride looks very similar to Wicked Twister at Cedar Point, but it’s a little less fun. Don’t get me wrong: I like this powerful coaster type a lot and Possessed is superb, but the twisted spikes at Cedar Point make it considerably more exciting.
Just like most Cedar Fair parks, Dorney Park is rather an amusement park than a theme park. It offers a quite extensive variety of attractions, including multiple flat rides, a nicely decorated children’s area and two soaking water attractions. We needed to board a plane just a few hours after our visit, so we skipped both water rides. However, we didn’t want to miss a ride on Dorney Park’s oldest attraction. It’s called Whip and this is a typical American flat ride. I wouldn’t call it a major thrill, but it’s just incredibly hilarious.
Talking about old-school flat rides… first generation free fall towers are lots of fun. I’ve ridden this type at Nagashima Spa Land and Italy’s Movieland Studios and I enjoyed that a lot. It was a nice surprise to encounter another version at Dorney Park, but unfortunately we didn’t manage to ride it due to a refurbishment.
WORTH A VISIT?
Honestly, Dorney Park is one of the least interesting USA parks I’ve visited so far. The park has some good coasters and the atmosphere is nice, but I like other Cedar Fair parks better. It hasn’t got the charm of Knott’s Berry Farm, rides aren’t as good as they are at Carowinds and the park just isn’t as legendary as Cedar Point. Dorney Park is one of those mediocre parks you should just visit for credit hunting. In my opinion, it’s not worth a day trip from New York, so please choose Six Flags Great Adventure or Hersheypark instead. However, if you plan to come here, you should be able to see the entire park in five or six hours, depending on crowds.
Photo Gallery 2017
Do you agree about this park’s mediocre experience? What’s your favourite coaster at Dorney Park? What would be your preferred theme park for a day trip from New York City? Share your opinion in the comments section at the bottom of this page.