Monday, May 5, 2014

Dorney Park Opens for 130th Season of Fun

This past weekend marked the opening day of Dorney Park's 130th operating season, quite an accomplishment for any business - especially an amusement park!  I dropped by to see what was new, and of course take in some rides after an especially long, cold winter.

Above is the billboard that is located at one of the park's entrances, it appears as though Cedar Fair is still using the same marketing firm as the past few years.  That's a good thing!  The adds are simple and smart.

The park's history is being proudly shown off in Good Time Gifts, the park's expansive gift shop.  Using old photos and other printed materials, Dorney Park has created a series of banners and photos that line the entire top area of the shop.  Above is a close up shot of some of those banners, though there are a great deal more.

This shows off some more banners, which feature the park in different sets of time periods, though what you can't see clearly are the walls up top which feature more photos.  It's a great trip through the park's past and I have no doubt that many guests will have memories brought back to them as they view the display.

The park has also added to their historical signs, several of which have existed at the park for years now.  I'll let you find all of them on your own, but the one seen above is located near Demon Drop.  It gives information on Castle Garden, which was located over the lower lake and hosted big name performers though the years.

It appears as though Alfundo himself has taken up home in many places throughout the park this year, all in celebration of the 130th anniversary.  If you look close you'll see his image on rides, in queues, and in various other spots.  You have to have a very careful eye, however, as sometimes he's pretty small and hard to spot.  Finding him will make for a fun game for everyone during the Summer.

The park's Main Midway has seen some changes this year, mainly in the way of food offerings.  The park has expanded the Funnel Cake operations inside, replacing the former ice cream factory.  The indoor location allows for better line control and faster service - a great improvement for guests!  The park also replaced their custard and coffee outlet with a new pizza stand.  Another smart move as many hungry folks descend on the Main Midway at night, and this will help mitigate other lines.

The park is also swapping out Expressions, which created custom shirts and other items, for a new sweetFrog frozen yogurt stand.  It is not quite ready yet, but will certainly be up and running before the busy summer season.

Just like the other Cedar Fair parks, Fun TV has been set up in many of the park's ride queues.  Here is one of the TVs located in Talon's queue.  They are showing a combination of weather, music videos, entertainment updates, fun facts and quiz questions.  I did not see any advertising at all on them while I was at the park.

Here's one of the quiz questions I spotted... with some curious answers.  Granted the correct answer (Thunder Creek Mountain) is indeed located at Dorney Park - but none of the other choices are!  Thought I certainly wouldn't mind having the Beast or Maverick so close to home!

The park is continuing to upgrade their food offerings, improving quality across the board.  This year the Chicken Shack is offering, well, chicken products!  Guess that's not a surprise, but with a totally new menu with items like boneless wings, this will be a popular stop for many visitors.

The park's new food truck is taking advantage of its mobile nature, and was located near the Sea Dragon when I visited.  Capable of changing its menu to meet the needs of the park guests, this addition is being welcomed by all.

The park has continued to make cosmetic improvements as well, including some new signs for attractions.  White Water Landing's new sign is especially nice!  Thunderhawk also received a new sign after this winter's heavy snow destroyed the old ones.  Many midway games also needed new signs due to the effects of the winter's snow.

This year Dinosaurs Alive! is free for season pass holders, and I have a feeling that's going to make the attraction much busier.  I took advantage of the new perk and checked out the dinos, and although the park wasn't too crowded there were plenty of families strolling through the wooded paths.

The park added new dinosaurs to the attraction last year, I believe the scene above specifically.  There are baby dinosaurs!  I think there's another new scene this year, but was not familiar enough with what dinos were previously there to pick them out.

A big hit last season, All Wheel Sports will return to the Good Time Theatre at the end of June.  The show performed to a crowded theater all last year, and proved so popular that the return of the show was actually announced before the end of the year.  The show is not only highly entertaining, but also provides a wonderful break from the summer heat.

I know it is way too early to be excited for Haunt VII, but the park put up a banner so I get to share this photo!  Nothing is official yet, but rumors are swirling that this year Haunt will see a sizable expansion, including new scary offerings.  I'm sure we will be hearing more as the season progresses.

Since Wildwater Kingdom is not open yet for the year, I did a little outside the park photo session of Snake Pit's construction.  Crews have continued adding to the tower since I was last at the park, with many more slide sections in place.  There are also more pieces of the towers in place, including the start of the ever-important staircases.

Moving over a bit, here is a better view of the body slides going up.  These are a part of Python Plummet, and start with a drop-floor freefall.  In the back you can also spot the start of the Constrictor, which is the purple slide.  Wildwater Kingdom opens for the season on May 24th, so you can be sure crews will be pushing to complete the set of new slides before then.

A great start to the season, and there's still plenty more to come this year.  We will check back in on Snake Pit's construction soon - stay tuned!