Sunday, February 5, 2023

Taking a Deep Dive Into the 2024 Dorney Park Coaster Plans


© NewsPlusNotes
Now that I've had some time to really look into the plans that have appeared on South Whitehall Township's website regarding Dorney Park's plan for a new for 2024 attraction, let's really dig in.  My earlier post covered some details but there's more to uncover here, and as the image up top would suggest, we've even got an idea of a layout to show.

 

© Dorney Park
The park is seeking to add a new attraction that stands 161.67 feet tall, and is located over 2.7 acres generally where the former Stinger roller coaster was.  The above schematic shows the area when complete, but obviously this just includes station building and footings, so it doesn't look like much of a roller coaster here.  But it is.


© Dorney Park
Here is the area of the park that will be changed for the new roller coaster.  The plans refer to the 161.67 max height coming the "lift tower" and more importantly on the architect's drawing their internal network file path is listed and the drawings were saved as "titlesheet - coaster" in a 2019 "project" folder - so it also seems the original intention to build a coaster at the park never truly died, just changed over time and had to bake in the oven a bit longer.


© Dorney Park
This coaster project will see the removal of a few items in this section of the park - in yellow here.  That is two old picnic groves that have been storage areas for many years now, some old service road pavement, the Rita's stand that's near Possessed, and the three planters near Possessed.  Notably, the haunted house building, Flying Scooters and Possessed all will be staying - plus the Zephyr train ride looks to keep the exact same route (it was slightly rerouted in the 2020 ride plan).

 

© Dorney Park
The area directly South of the Cedar Creek Flyers will be the ride's station area, so there will be a lot of changes made here.  It looks like there will be a nice new plaza area that will have steps up (like 3 feet) to the entrance area.  From there it look like there's a long, regular queue that heads back where the two removed pavilions were, and a shorter queue for Fast Lane (all queue has a ton of shade structures designed in).  The exit looks like the normal stairs off a high station then down some ramps, and I have an "E" in there for the elevator up to the station as well.  The ride's track is in teal and you can see that the transfer tracks are just before the station, and will slide the trains South and into the storage shed... which actually sit directly over the Zephyr.  The ride's station is definitely going to be high off the ground, much like Talon and Steel Force.


One other thing that has me very interested, there are three areas (purple lines) along the queue where the drawings indicate "concrete pads for attraction theming."  Say what now?  No further indication on exactly what that means but I find it very encouraging and a bit mysterious for Dorney Park.


© Dorney Park
Moving East slightly the plans also detail a lot of other changes.  The plot of open space we've watched for years now is dotted with coaster footings, but we will get to that. In purple are more themed concrete pads - one circular one in the middle of Stinger field at what I believe is the base of the ride's first drop, and two along the existing walkway that will head to the coaster's station.  There will (in blue) be a nice new plaza created with wall seating that will also look up at the ride's first drop and also feature a very big inversion overhead.  The yellow existing planters will be removed to create more space as this part of the park is sure to be busier in 2024.  Finally, the area in red is a "propane tank pad" which I think is new, and if it is then it's probably for the Zephyr and relocated from the back of the park where the new coaster's queue will be located.


© Google / NewsPlusNotes
Here is a look at some of the changes in the same area.  Moving left to right - the planters in the area will get the axe, the one furthest to the right will be fully gone as two footings will be located in the spot remaining in this image.  The Rita's stand is also totally gone, and the border of Stinger Field will actually expand outward to include the concrete area with the dots on it.  The path past the old games building will lead to a widened plaza with a seating wall, and the existing walkway will have two new concrete pads built along the side of it.


© Dorney Park
Moving on to what you all came here for... the coaster.  Here is the work area with the footings marked in red.  It looks like a mess of red dots that make no sense to me, to be honest.  But the footings run a distance of about 730 feet from the to-be-removed planter near Rita's all the way back to undeveloped land that is just slightly Southwest of the haunted house and storage buildings.  At first my eyes saw a steel shuttle coaster of some type, potentially using a swing launch system to get through the layout.  But, I was very wrong.


© NewsPlusNotes
Thankfully a good friend who's really smart was able to look at these footers and make some sense out of it... and that sense turned into one of B&M's smaller Dive Machine coasters - the likes of which we just saw added last season as Dr. Diabolical's Cliffhanger at Six Flags Fiesta Texas and Emperor at Sea World San Diego.  You can compare the footings here to the previous to 'check the math' but it's pretty darn close, giving us a pretty darn high level of confidence here.  These smaller B&M Dive Machines feature cars that seat six or seven across, usually in three rows deep.


© NewsPlusNotes
Here is another view still locked into the park's existing landscape to give an idea of how everything fits in.  After the station the dive trains will head up the lift to 162 feet in the air, pause then drop.  It's uncommon for a B&M Dive Machine not to turn at the top of the lift hill, but it has been done before.  I would wager that the drop may be beyond vertical as Dr. Diabolical's Cliffhanger went to 95 degrees, why not beat that and take a record?


© NewsPlusNotes
After the drop (with the mystery theming element at the bottom) the coaster will head into a large Immelmann, with the edge of it sticking out into the current-but-will-be-removed planter.  The ride then will swoop up into a heartline roll that crosses near the station and takes trains toward the back of the ride.  The next element I never in a million years would have guessed (and yes I know others sites show this too, we did not copy them rather the footers simply only make sense for it) is an inclined loop.  The first vertical loop B&M did was on Yukon Striker at Canada's Wonderland in 2019, so titling it slightly at Dorney will make it the first of its kind element for a B&M Dive Machine.


 © Dorney Park

© Dorney Park
Our footer path then takes the trains up into a corkscrew, into a low level 180 degree turn and then up and into the final brake run.   All in this layout packs 4 inversions into 2,223 feet of track (in this render), plus the potentially beyond vertical drop.  Also of note, there are two more large sections (in purple) of concrete pads for theming in the final part of the layout, under the inclined loop and then also during the low to the ground final turn.  Very interested to see how those are used in the end.  

 

Current Midway View © Google

Similar View © NewsPlusNotes
We are excited to see how closely this render ends up to the real deal, but for now remember this is just a best guess based off the available plans.  While we're pretty confident in what's shown here there is no way to have all the details correct, which is a good thing.  Leaves some more fun for the future!


© NewsPlusNotes

The park's planned ride for 2021 was a shuttle wooden coaster, which was exciting for the park.  This however is a much larger project, both in scope and certainly in cost.  It has been since Hydra opened in 2005 that Dorney Park received a custom new coaster.  The part of the park it is going in badly needs to be pepped up, and this will definitely do that.  I have a feeling it might spur additional development down there in future years as well.  

 

Here is the point of view ride on the render created for this story:

The type of ride, a B&M Dive Machine, is also unique to the area.  It's getting very hard to find a ride that is not available between Hershey Park and Six Flags Great Adventure, so this is a smart move for the park.  There are a lot of opportunities for "biggest in," "steepest in," and "only in" type of marketing schemes for this ride - we all know there are bigger versions out there but Dorney is a regional park, not a national one, so no bother.


Personally I'm looking forward to knowing more about the ride's name, colors and potential 'theme' if the plans prove true.  Exciting!


Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Dorney Park Seeking Approval For New Coaster-Looking Attraction (Again!)


© Dorney Park
Dorney Park is heading to the local planning commission on February 16th to seek permission for a new attraction to open in 2024.  As of now we only know the following, technically, because it was published on the planning commission's website:


So, it's a new attraction on the site of the former Stinger roller coaster, it stands 161.67 feet tall and is located on 2.7 acres of land.  If this all feels familiar to you, well it is, as a fun thing happened just as the pandemic set in in 2020 and ruined this ride's chance of ever seeing the light of day.

 

© Dorney Park
Anyway, back to current times - since planning meetings are open to the public documents related to the application are available for download which also lets us see just what the park has planned... mostly.  This one is much tougher to put together than the 2020 plan that came up, and definitely a different ride.


There is a lot to go through, and more details to uncover, and I haven't had the time to really, really dig in yet, but looking at the ride's - well we can say coaster for sure - layout from footings we can get an idea that this is definitely a 162 foot tall coaster that resembles .... 


... some other coasters out there that'd you be sure to dive over people to get in line for, if you catch my drift.  Like I said, there's a lot more putting things together but here's a first take at what I think I'm seeing based on footer locations.  The image can speak for itself, for now.


The ride will feature a pretty large queue that replaces some old buildings in that part of the park, a nice viewing plaza for what I imagine is a very steep first drop and a big inversion, and oddly, the removal of a Rita's Italian Ice stand for... grass.  Oh, and it looks like Possessed gets to stay, thanks again Wicked Twister!


More to come on this one, but one thing I will say for sure:  how exciting and a very long time coming for Dorney Park!


Tuesday, January 31, 2023

More P'Sghetti Heading to Six Flags Over Georgia in 2023


© Six Flags Over Georgia
Looks like the rumors of there being not one but TWO instillations of Skyline Attractions' P'Sghetti Bowl coasters opening in 2023 was true after all.  While it was an unconventional announcement during an fan event, Six Flags Over Georgia has confirmed they will receive a set of the dueling family coasters next season - the exact same as was announced earlier for Six Flags Fiesta Texas.  Also as with the Texas park, the rides at Six Flags Over Georgia will feature the new Aurora LED lightning package, making the ride both beautiful at night and easily customizable. 


© Six Flags Over Georgia
Combined the two coasters (the park's 12th and 13th) will feature 1,124 feet of track and are able to be operated at the same time or separately.  The trains will comfortably fit both an adult and a child in each row, making the yet-to-be-named attraction quite family friendly.  The new P'Sghetti coasters use a weld-free track that requires less maintenance and a lower price tag for parks, so it is reasonable to think we could see many more of these coasters popping up at parks in coming years!


Monday, January 30, 2023

Zambezi Zinger's Curves on Display from Worlds of Fun


© Worlds of Fun
Worlds of Fun has updated two new images to their Zambezi Zinger construction blog and wow, what a pair of photos they are!  When the ride was announced it was made clear from the concept drawings and directly from the ride's manufacturers (Great Coasters Int. and Skyline Attractions) that most of the ride would hug the ground and they weren't kidding.  This image shows much of the "back" of the ride, meaning the furthest out from the lift hill and first drop section.  It is going to feel amazing flying so close to the ground on these wild turns.


© Worlds of Fun
This shot is slightly zoomed in from the first one, showing more detail on the Zinger's many curves - specifically a large s-curve that passes under the hill in the background.  Trains will be Infinity Flyers from GCI, which seat 16 riders in each and that shortened length allow for the tight turns seen here.  Zambezi Zinger was already one of my most anticipated rides for 2023, and these photos have even further cemented that excitement for me!


Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Permanent Universal Parks "Horror Experience" Coming to Las Vegas


© Universal Parks & Entertainment
Universal Parks & Resorts are full of surprises, as the same day they announced their new family theme park in Texas they also revealed plans for a year-round "horror experience" as part of Area15's 20 acre upcoming expansion.  You know, it is almost as if Universal's owner Comcast, figured out that if you do it right, parks and attractions can be like printing money!


Anywho, the permanent entertainment experience will be one of the larger tenants of the Area15 expansion, taking up 110,000 square feet - which is a really big building if you google it.  The company says that it will be filled with "a variety of unique, immersive, fantastic horror-centric experiences that surround high energy food and beverage spaces by day turned haunting bars and eateries by night."  They promise that the location will also feature "a continuously updated experience, must see seasonal events, and one-of-a-kind merchandise."  Horror Nights fans rejoice, now you can get your scare on year-round in sin city courtesy of Universal's "vast library of classic horror films and today’s most terrifying tales."

 

© Universal Parks & Entertainment
Area15 opened in late 2020 and has thrived since with more than 4 million visitors to date.  The upcoming expansion will be located adjacent to the existing property - in the concept art above the existing attractions are on the left, with Universal's building and plenty more to be built on the right.  When complete Area15 will truly offer an incredible campus of immersive entertainment that will surely draw millions more.  Universal will give more details in the future, including maze themes and a grand opening date, so stay tuned.


Monday, January 23, 2023

Universal Planning New Family Theme Park for Texas


© Universal Parks & Entertainment
The other week Universal Parks & Resorts made a very surprising (to me, at least) announcement that they are going to open a family theme park in Frisco, Texas on 97 acres of land they have purchased.  They specifically note that the regional (not national) park will be aimed at families with small children, so quickly shed the idea of a full typical Universal Studios style park coming to Texas, that isn't happening.  While smaller than their other parks, they promise the same level of quality and detail we are accustomed to.


The details on the park are slim, for now at least, beside the given family focus.  They did release some initial concept art, above, for the project that lets us see just how kid-oriented the park is.  Per the initial press release the Frisco park will be "set in a lush green landscape and will feature immersive themed lands, celebrate Universal’s iconic brand of entertainment, humor and innovation and will bring to life its beloved characters and stories in ways that will wow even the youngest theme park goers."

 

Cool, but what will be at the park?  Well there will be a hotel on site - seen surrounding the park's entrance.  The different lands appear to be themed to DreamWorks animation characters such as Trolls, Shrek, an animated Jurassic Park series and more.  The rides themselves looks like dressed up theme park classics, in fact if you look close it seems like the entire Zamperla family-ride catalogue can be found in the art!  Otherwise Universal promises "family-friendly attractions, interactive and playful shows, character meet and greets, unique merchandise and fun food and beverage venues" will be offered.


Hopefully a full name for the park and some details on the themed lands will come out soon, and perhaps even an opening time line.  For now if you want to read great speculation on the park, check out this podcast from Orlando Park Stop.