I was going to try to get to Hersheypark on Saturday to process my pass and get some rides in but the weather looked like it might rain later in the day and with Hersheypark being close to a 2 hour drive and knowing they don't have a great rain policy, I decided to stay closer to home and go to Dorney instead.
The lot was more crowded than I expected with some buses with school music groups and Crayola having a company day there but even with those events, it was still the mostly typical Dorney crowd levels, walk ons are close to walk ons for most rides. Parking has increased from $15 to $17 and preferred parking is still $20.
At the entrance they have a few security guards using the wand metal detectors. In past years, they only used them during Haunt. I prefer the metal detectors at Great Adventure that only take a few seconds to walk through and usually not a long wait with many lines open. From reading past reports, when Dorney is more crowded they haven't had enough metal detectors in use and can cause somewhat of a wait to get into the park.
There were 2 ride removals over the offseason. Screamin' Swing near the front of the park is gone. It originally was $5 to ride then they lowered it to $2 plus it was buy 1 get 1 free for passholders making it only $1 a ride. They also added it to Fast Lane Plus as a non upcharge. Even with all of those changes the ride wasn't that popular and never had a line or even full cars. I would have liked to have seen them at least try to run it as a non upcharge attraction. It was the lower capacity 8 seat model but that might have been ok at Dorney and not caused much of a line. The other ride removed was the Chance Carousel near the ferris wheel. Combine those removals with Hangtime removed last year and there are some empty spaces in the park.
Talon was first with 2 trains running and 2 people checking restraints unlike the normal 4 people they have checking restraints. Dispatches were still fast.
Thunder Canyon was running with few riders with it being just under 60 degrees and with the waterfalls you can't avoid getting soaked. I would like to see the ride run with the waterfalls turned off the first few weeks of the season. Opening weekend around 5 or 6 years ago they tried that and it was nice to be able to ride early in the season without getting completely soaked and just a little cooled off.
I didn't think Whitewater Landing was running but it was just they weren't dispatching boats often with so few riders.
Wild Mouse had it's typical 25 - 30 minute line that at The Dark Knight would be less than 10 minutes with the same amount of people in line.
Hydra like Talon only had 2 people checking restraints and dispatches were slower than normal with the gates for the next train of riders to board not being unlocked until the other train was in the cobra roll. It seemed slightly less rattly compared to last season although not even as close to as smooth as Bizarro is.
Cedar Creek Cannonball was closed. Even though I knew about the Fast Lane being added to the ride ahead of time, it was still strange actually seeing it along with all the other rides added to Fast Lane that will almost never need it either.
Thunder Creek Mountain was also running with no line but I skipped it because you can get soaked on it, much more than Sawmill Log Flume.
Dominator was next with about a 10 minute wait. It's still a fun ride but the drop feels so short compared to Zumanjaro.
Thunderhawk was closed but opened up a few minutes later. The new trains look very nice with the bold paint colors and the metal parts of the train like the footstep area very shiny. The lack of headrests is also great and the seatbelts are retractable like at Steel Force. Unfortunately that is where the improvements end. The buzz bars are really missed and I found the new lap bar design with a slight bend to them at the bottom push into one of your legs. I took a non wheel seat and really didn't notice much of an improvement with the roughness of the ride even in the areas that look like they had some track work done. There is still the trim at the end of the ride that takes away what would be some air time hills and the train still goes into the final brakes with some force. I would rather have seen them keep the old trains with the buzz bars even with the headrests.
Walking by Road Rally, it had almost full queue and with no many cars running was probably around a 30 minute wait.
Steel Force was running great with a lot of floater air time in the last car. I walked around for another ride this time going to the 2nd car with less air time compared to the last car.
Stinger was running but I skipped it. I haven't ridden the coaster in 3 years and still don't plan to anytime soon until I am convinced it can run reliably without having to worry about getting stuck for 90 minutes on the lift hill or worse.
Cedar Creek Flyers had no one in line. I tried to snap but with the short cycle it really seems difficult to be able to. With no wait I walked around for another ride.
Possessed had a half empty station and I went to the last row. I prefer the last row since you don't go up the twisting front spike that much.
The Whip had what turned out to be a 2 cycle wait. It was taking a very long time to let people in the ride, check restraints and start the ride at around 8 minutes per cycle. I timed it and from when I got in line to actually getting in a ride car was 20 minutes. I wouldn't have waited if I realized it would have been that long since the actual ride time is less than 90 seconds.
I got the all season dining plan this year (I knew I wouldn't visit the park enough last year to make it worth the cost). It was $15 more than Great Adventure's season dining pass and didn't include the souvenir bottle or a snack. The other difference is instead of set lunch and dinner times, you can get the meals whenever you want but have to wait 4 hours in between meals. I noticed there was a lack of choices in food compared to Great Adventure where it seems like there is a lot of different menu items. At Dorney, it seemed like the main options were chicken fingers or burgers. I ended up going to Chickie's and Pete's. They have 2 locations in the park, a table service restaurant and a counter service location. Only the counter service location accepts the dining pass as expected. They were fast with preparing the food and it was good.
I finished the trip with another ride at Hydra and Talon.
I like going to Dorney but have kind of been burned out of riding the same few coasters over and over again. For some reason this doesn't happen to me at Great Adventure even though I have ridden the coasters at Great Adventure more than at Dorney. I know once Wildwater Kingdom opens for the season I always enjoy my trips there more since I spend the majority of time in the waterpark and on the water rides on the ride side of the park and usually just spend a couple of hours riding the dry rides.