The winds of change have blown away the quaint Camp Snoopy at Dorney Park...
and brought Planet Snoopy along with them!
Yes, the 2011 season at the park is without a doubt all about everyone's favorite Beagle. The $8 million transformation has created what the park is calling a "third" park, that's in addition to the regular rides area and the water park. To be honest, I have to agree with them.
The 3 and a half acre Planet Snoopy does function quite well as its own children's theme park, if you want to look at it like that. 16 rides, 7 of which are brand new, were operating today, and the area was fully complete down to the last of the new brick pavers. There are several food and retail outlets located in the area, along with amenities such as the Family Care Center.
Planet Snoopy includes reconfigured midways that make the area slightly more confined than it was previously. Above is the entrance that's located where the former Balloon Race ride was, directly across from Hydra's cobra roll. No longer can guests exit the area by Snoopy's Moon Bounce, that's now closed off from the midway below:
It's a small change that makes a big difference. Each of the four entrances to Planet Snoopy is now clearly defined as such, with one (or more) gigantic welcome signs making that clear.
But how about those 7 new rides? They were a mega-hit with families this morning, no doubt there. Above is Snoopy's Junction, a train ride, with Snoopy's Rocket Express traveling on its tracks above the land.
Speaking of Snoopy's Rocket Express, it's probably my favorite of all the new attractions. The ride ads a lot to the area, with the rockets silently traveling around the course. While it's station is imposing, it's located in such a manner that it again helps to define the area as its own by blocking sight lines.
Coming in as the tallest of the new rides is the Flying Ace Balloon Race. It's a worthy replacement for the original Balloon Race, and also sits where the former ride was located. The buckets spin by rider control, which was making for some funny rider faces today.
The new ride with the longest line was definitely the Linus Launcher, a spinning ride where guests actually lay down for their flight. Big kids, little kids - didn't matter, everyone was lining up for this one!
The surprise ride this year was Sally's Swing Set - this attraction wasn't part of the announcement last Summer, but was added to each of the three Planet Snoopys opening this year. The ride is as it sounds - a powered version of a swing set! The kids loved it, though.
Two other new rides are Woodstock Whirlybirds, a miniature tea cup attraction, and the Peanuts 500, a whip-style attraction also for smaller kids. The varied selection of ride styles that were added really rounds out the offerings for kids at the park.
The live entertainment offerings were bulked up as well with the addition of the Peanuts Showplace. Currently the theater is showing Charlie Brown's Jungle Journey, but more shows will be added as the season progresses.
Existing rides that were a part of Camp Snoopy were either renamed, rethemed, painted, or some combination of the three. All are brighter in appearance and greatly liven up the area.
The Snoopy Boutique has taken up residence in the section's largest building, along with Joe Cool's Soda Pop Shop and the Family Care Center. The building has formally been divided into the retail/food and care area, and looks fantastic. The retail is now on two different levels, changing the entire feel of the building.
I always enjoyed the calm setting that Camp Snoopy had, and wasn't sure what to make of Planet Snoopy when it was announced. Now, having been there I think it was a really great move by the park. The area is bright, active, and nicely done.
Watch for our full gallery on the NPN Facebook later this weekend, as we have way too many shots to fit into one story! We'll also check out the many other changes in the park this coming week!