Rock n Roller 16: Dorney Park and Kennywood

It was just a couple hour drive from New Jersey to our next stop on the tour, Dorney Park. This park was part of the Cedar Faire family along with Cedar Point and a later park on the tour, Kings Island so it was added late in the planning stages when we decided to get a season pass. Remember, when you buy a season pass you can go to any park in the family. When we arrived it was crowded and hot. There were lots of groups here from the city in matching shirts. It always reminds me of a rainbow of sheep to see all of these groups huddled around each other and being pushed around en masse by their shepherd.

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We rode a bunch of cool coasters here: Wild Mouse, an old woodie, ThunderHawk, and a cool one called Talon that has the seats sitting outside of the track with your feet dangling in the breeze. We also rode Stinger, Possessed, and Hydra that is over a half mile long and lastly Steel Force.

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Steel Force as a great ride. It was also the only ride were we bought the picture that all the coasters in the parks take of you at just the right moment. We always get a kick out of running down to the photo booth to check out the crazy faces we made as we flew by the camera. This pictures are only up for a few minutes until the next set of riders goes by so if you want them you have to act fast. Usually they are about 20 bucks a shot but this one was worth it! A couple of facts about Steel Force:

  • Steel Force is the longest steel roller coaster on the East Coast and is the ninth longest steel coaster in the world.
  • In 2001, Steel Force was featured on the Discovery Channel special “Top Ten Coasters.”

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Then Michele almost gets into a fight. Yep, right here in the middle of the park amongst a gaggle of families and rainbow sheep she almost throws down with a lady in line for a burger and fries. We don’t usually eat meals in the parks. It is just so dang expensive and the lines are usually way to long but we made an exception and went into the 50s style hamburger stand. I told Michele that I would find us a table if she waited in line. It seemed like it took forever but by the time she made it to our table she was furious! Some half-naked chick in line ahead of her was leaning over the counter behind the eyes of the teenaged cashier and handing off two-by-two those 20 dollar unlimited refill cups! Remember how I told you about the all-you-can-drink cups that we bought back in Six Flags St. Louis? Well, apparently this half-naked lady and her toadie companion were stealing these cups two-by-two and had taken about 8 of them before Michele pushed passed her to grab our order.  This chick was passing these cups off holding up the line while her own food sat in front of her ready to go. As Michele pushed passed, not touching this chick, she moved the chick’s tray out of the way and grabbed ours. Words started flying and the next thing you know we almost had the main event of Wrestlemania right there with Elvis singing Love Me Tender. If this throw down would have gone on one more second I think it would be one heck of a show, one that Brendan would be happy to see (If you don’t know who Brendan is, Google it. It is a tasteless reference but hey, I am not here to win any awards for my satire). The chick turned around and blocked Michele. The chick then made a fist and clapped it into her other hand, “like, come at me bro!” and yelled at Michele, “Why you touching my food?” Michele looked her dead in her yellow eyes and said, “you don’t want any of this today!”  Then security showed up and deflated the entire event while everyone watched the chick run out of the diner.

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After munching on our overpriced, stale burger and wiping Michele’s eyes reminiscent of Ralphie in A Christmas Story after his fight with Scut Farkus, she headed over to the water ride. I decided to play the opt out game on this one and sit and watch Michele as she got soaked. There was no way I was driving across state in a wet pair of whitey-tighties. No, I don’t wear those, sorry.

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We headed out of the park at about 2 and drove across Pennsylvania. Remember me telling you that we couldn’t figure out why it feels like you are going downhill on the Turnpike from Pittsburg to Philly? Well for some strange reason it doesn’t feel like you are going up hill on the way back. Interesting…

When we got to Kennywood we weren’t expecting much. We were here on the advice of a friend on Facebook that lived in the area. It was just about 5 pm when we arrived at the parking lot. You had to park on the other side of the street and walk under through a tunnel. This was a truly blue collar-type park. Just across the river you can see the steel mills that made this area so famous.

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We entered the park and jumped on the first roller coaster we saw, it was the Jack Rabbit and just happened to be the oldest coaster we rode on the entire tour. It was built in 1920 right here at Kennywood. Its not the tallest, by any means, just 40 feet and a max drop of just 70 it still was a cool ride! It only goes 45 miles per hour but back in the day that was fast! Michele and I loved it and left with a smile on our face as we worked our way over to another woodie, The Racer built in 1927.

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From the Kennywood website:

This beautiful John Miller classic is the only single track, racing coaster in the United States. It is designed with a reverse curve so riders begin on the right and finish on the left. Thus, from the lift hill on, the tracks remain side-by-side rather than separating in the middle of the ride allowing riders to experience the race throughout.

Next we would stand in line for Phantom’s Revenge. The sun was just starting to set and I took the awesome picture of the two coasters, above. This would be our first park in the dark. We waited a long time in line for this coaster and by the time we got on it was almost all the way dark. It was a fun ride! Here is a little more info: Phantom’s Revenge is one of the fastest roller coasters in the world. Unlike most coasters, the biggest drop on this ride is not the first but the second–a whopping 230 feet, reaching speeds of 85 mph. The Phantom’s Revenge travels over and under the Thunderbolt with plenty of banked curves and lots of airtime.

Our last coaster of the day was another old school woodie, Thuderbolt. We did not expect what was going to happen on this ride! By the time we jumped on it was totally dark and it was a ride we would not forget. In fact, I believe this is the only wooden roller coaster I have ever ridden in the dark. It was awesome! Since we couldn’t see anything we had no idea what was coming up around the next turn.

Who would have thought that this little park that has been here almost a hundred years would turn out to be one of our favorite parks on the whole tour. So much roller coaster history is here! We found our hotel high on a hill and headed to a tavern for a very late dinner. They had great sandwiches and we sat on the patio and talked about the day.

Tomorrow we will be heading to where I grew up, Huntington, West Virginia. I haven’t been back there since 1989 so it will be a happy and sad moment for sure.

Tomorrow: Growing Up and Camden Park 

Coasters to date on the tour: 49.

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