Thursday, May 14, 2015

A Look at Dorney Park's 2015 Opening Weekend + Cedar Creek Flyers

Dorney Park opened for their 2015 season at the start of May, and while this story is a bit delayed we did head over to check out what's new.  The park looked great under blue skies and bright sun, as exemplified by this photo of Talon.  All the major coasters were open and running when I visited - including Stinger!

One new item I noticed was the Play & Save deal for games at the park.  This $15 mini package gets people $20 worth of game vouchers, ten coupons that can be used for merchandise or food, and two single-use front of the line passes.  That's a pretty great deal if you ask me, especially for families with kids - playing games can be expensive so the front of the line passes and coupons really make the value even better.

Up near Talon's entrance we were able to see how the park has changed with the removal of Hang Time.  If you weren't aware the ride was there before, you might easily not even notice the spot.

The area the ride sat on has been flattened and covered in mulch, blending in with the existing landscaping.

You can now get really clear views of both the Cedar Creek Cannonball and Thunder Canyon from the plaza in front of Talon.  The space the ride left is a bit awkward in size, but since it is prime real estate I hope the park finds a new use for it in the future.

Down in the center of Dorney Park the former Pizza Patio has been totally renovated and is now the Smokehouse Barbecue.  The building has been modified so that you actually go inside to cafeteria-style serving.  The pizza place just had walk-up windows.  You can only see it a bit in this photo, but the park has the smoker for the barbecue over on the right side of the building.

Here is a look at the inside of the building.  Very nicely done - I have a feeling this will be an extremely popular food location this Summer.  The smells alone were drawing people in when I visited - myself included!

One of the park's classic rides got a big "plus" this off-season, and that's the Zephyr Railroad.  The attraction is credited with keeping the park open during the war, due to the popularity of the experience.  In recent years half of its journey headed through 'back stage' areas, which weren't always the best looking.  To help that, the park has put up signs, billboard and other graphics along the way to show off the long history of the park.

This starts in the Zephyr's station, where plenty of old photos are now being displayed.  

The graphics along the way are a really nice addition - great to see something at the park get a little bit of capital that doesn't have much return on investment!  These are just a few of the images, there are many more but I'll let you guys see them in person.

Thunderhawk also got a little redo, in the form of a new entrance sign.  The previous one was in the landscaping and didn't always catch the attention of those on the midway.  Now the entrance is clearly defined and should help those looking to ride find their way.

Thunderhawk itself got some love this year too - you can see all the new wood in this area of the ride.  I'm not sure if those footers are new, too, or just the wood extending from them.  It is great to see the park keeping the ride in shape each year.

Down on the midway that extends past Stinger is the park's main new attraction for 2015, the Cedar Creek Flyers.  With the ride down at the end there, there's finally a reason for guests to use the midway.  It was nice to see that!

Cedar Creek Flyers are a set of Larson Flying Scooters, a popular ride for many amusement park fans.  There has been a great resurgence of these being added to parks across the country in recent years, a trend I'm happy extended to Dorney Park.  The ride is very family friendly and appeared to be a hit with guests.

The park helps riders understand how to use the movable fin on their eagle-themed car to swing high or low during the ride via an announcement track.  That's a nice touch, and will help with the learning curve of the ride.  On opening weekend many guests weren't quite getting it, resulting in eagles that didn't fly up much - I have no doubt that will change by the end of the year!

Here is a look at the new ride:

Dorney Park has a long season ahead of them and is already off to a great start.  We will be back to check out other changes and special events as the year goes on!