Dinosaurs Alive! is a truly great addition, but if you're headed to Dorney Park in 2012 and are looking for thrills, then Stinger is probably what you're going to make a beeline for when the gates open. The new roller coaster is located in the lower section of Dorney Park, resting nicely in what was once Laser's home.
Here's some perspective on how the coaster fits into things at the park. The midway that follows along the ride curves and ends in a large circular area that will be used for special events on an as needed basis. There is no trace of the additional children's rides that were located along the creek, a nice grassy area has been created. Also worth noting is that the area under Stinger is nice grass, not mulch or stone. Easy on the eyes, indeed!
Before moving on with more of the ride, I had to snap a photo of the cool (pun intended) ice sculptures that the park had for the event. Very nice touch!
Dorney Park's history of creating fantastic ride marquees has not been broken with Stinger. This sizable 3-D sign has been placed at the ride's entrance complimenting the cool blue and teal color scheme.
Inside Stinger's station awaits the train for the ride, which seats riders in a face-to-face position. Since the ride travels both forwards and backwards through the course, the direction of the seats still means each rider experiences both directions of travel.
The station structure is brand new for the ride, since it was uncovered in its former life. Park Vice President and General Manager Jason McClure noted that they, "appreciate Vekoma, the ride's manufacturer, who helped us get the ride commissioned and ready to open."
I've covered Stinger's construction in many posts before here on NewsPlusNotes, so it was refreshing to finally get shots with the train in it! The ride starts as the train is hauled up the 138 foot tall lift hill. Slowly you climb, pause, then click - you hear the brakes release and the train falls back down the hill, blasting through the station and up into the first inversion.
The first inversion is really an element that contains two flips, a cobra roll. The naming of the element is for the shape that a cobra makes before it strikes, however, Stinger also looks quite similar to a scorpion ready to strike. I wouldn't want to be involved with either creature, personally!
As the train navigates the cobra roll element (seen above in a fish-eye view), it flips as it both enters and exits, with only a brief moment of right-side-up in the middle. From there riders really have no time to catch up because it's about time to flip once again.
And this nice 72 foot tall vertical loop is there, ready and waiting, to do just that. Remember that the seats face each other on Stinger, so that the whole time during all this flipping and twisting you're able to stare straight into the face of those riding with you... both hilarious and a bit unsettling at the same time. Hope no one gets too motion sick!
Stinger actually hits 55 miles per hour at the base of the first drop, so things happen very quickly here. It wasn't the warmest day today and the coaster was still moving at a good clip - and as things heat up in the Summer that's only going to get faster!
The ride then heads up the second lift, and again we hear the brakes release and down again we go. Depending on how you sat you are now either face-forward or backwards, making the journey quite different than the out-bound route. Really, if you haven't been on a shuttle coaster before you'll know what I mean once you experience it!
Back through the course Stinger's train goes, covering the 985 feet of track just as fast as the first trip. Before riders know it, the one minute and thirty second ride has come to an end and a total of six inversions have been experienced.
Stinger is Dorney Park's 8th coaster and according to the park is "the only suspended boomerang coaster on the East coast with face-to-face seating." The ride will have an official ribbon cutting ceremony on the park's 2012 opening day, this Saturday the 28th of April.
Check out this short video of the ride in operation:
Many thanks to Dorney Park for having us out to the park today. We're looking forward to the rest of the 2012 season and the other treats the park has in store!