Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Summer Fun at Dorney Park During PAPA's Summer Meeting

This year's Summer Meeting of the Pennsylvania Amusement Parks Association (PAPA for short) was held at Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom.  The organization dates back to the early 1930's and has been supporting the growth of amusement attractions in Pennsylvania ever since.

Each year PAPA holds their Summer Meeting at one of their member's properties, and this year was Dorney Park's turn.  The park held a number of events spread out over two days, which included a special golf outing, park tours, board meeting, rides, dinosaurs and more.  Plus there was a lot of fun, which makes sense since this is an amusement park association!

The sponsors that supported the Summer Meeting
The PAPA Summer Meeting is not only held as a way for its members to meet, share information, best practices, and news, but also to discuss the state of the industry in Pennsylvania.  Clearly there's a lot of interest in seeing amusement parks thrive in the long run, and several important issues like hotel and amusement tax reform were discussed.  With park owners and management so busy during the summer it is nice to see their appreciation for each other come out at these meetings.

I was able to attend one of the park's tours that were offered to the group, a behind the scenes look at Wildwater Kingdom's all new Snake Pit water slide tower.  We started with a look at the giant pump room that was built in order to support the slides.  The structure also includes electrical and several computer systems under its roof.

Let the exchange of information flow! (pun intended)

Since water doesn't just flow uphill on its own, there's a lot of massive - I mean really massive - pumps located in the structure.  There's also plenty of filtration systems and other mechanics that quickly went above my head as they were discussed.  That's okay, though, since I only have to write about the slides, not keep them operating!

It is amazing to hear the park's staff go over the level of detail that's involved in daily operations of such a huge slide tower.  It was also neat to see other park operators be able to ask about the latest and greatest features that Snake Pit has.  And in case anyone asks, no, we most certainly did not turn that giant blue handle in the photo above.  No idea what that one does!

The tour also included a climb to the top of Snake Pit, so the group could check out the new slides in action.  This purple monster is the start to the Constrictor, one of the lower level tube slides that are a part of Snake Pit.  It features a totally dark course that has helix sections with some of the tightest turns offered in the industry.

At the very top of Snake Pit the tour group was able to watch several riders take the trap-door plunge down Python Plummet.  These slides have proven very popular at the park, and in the water park industry at large.  Everyone was nearly as excited as the riders to watch them take on the drops and then show up in the run-out trough shortly after.

The view from the top of the Snake Pit tower was also a treat since it offered such great photo opportunities.  Granted we were missing out on a pretty blue sky for the background, but there were still some nice shots to be had.  Here we see a look out at a section of Wildwater Kingdom including Aqua Racer and the Wave Pool.

Sections of Snake Pit's Boa Blasters are in the foreground of this one, with the giant Aquablast family raft slide in the background.  One of Wildwater Kingdom's children's areas, Lollipop Lagoon is in the middle between the two slides.

The tour took place just as the water park opened for the day, so there weren't too many guests around just yet.  Wildwater River, one of the park's two lazy river attractions, looks very peaceful as it waits for riders.  Dorney Park offered all guests who were a part of the PAPA Summer Meeting the chance to try out all the slides and rides, though today's weather tried to make that difficult.

Since we had the chance to take such great photos as a part of the tour, here are two more showing off some of Dorney Park's rides and attractions:

I mentioned earlier that one of the activities held during the two day PAPA Summer Meeting was a golf outing at a course not far from Dorney Park.  The competition takes place yearly and allows PAPA members to show their skills, have some fun, plus it is all for a good cause.  The sponsors cover the event so that it is also a fundraiser for PAPA's scholarship fund.

This year's PAPA Summer Meeting Golf Outing raised $1,200 for the scholarship fund, which is awarded annually to students.  This year's sponsors were Camelbeach, DelGrosso's Amusement Park, Dorney Park, Great Wolf Lodge, Knoebels, Sansei Technologies, and Zamperla.

The event was great fun to attend, and we thank Dorney Park for allowing us to come by and cover the fun.  We also thank them for the Crabfries from Chickie's and Pete's - if you've had them you know what we mean!


GS said...

Is it true they are getting a new GM? Some talk online came up but I could find no confirmation.

NewsPlusNotes said...

Yes, Brad Marcy is the new GM. Mike Fehnel has been promoted to Carowinds.