Dorney Park is an amusement and water park operated and owned by Cedar Fair. It is located in between Pennsylvania, Allentown and Emmaus, Pennsylvania. Dorney Park can be reached from Interstate 78, U.S.Route 222 and Cedarcrest Boulevard. It features adult and children rides, eight roller coasters and the Wildwater Kingdom, a water park. It features some prominent roller coasters, including Steel Force, the second longest and the ninth longest steel roller coaster. This region is around 10 miles to the Dorney Park east and is served by Lehigh Valley International Airport. There is a nearby bus terminal, Bieber Tour ways at the Charcoal Drive-In offering daily service from New York City and other regional locations.
Dorney Park has its origins from 1860. This was built as a summer resort during the period of Solomon Dorney outside Allentown. Dorney decided in 1870 to convert this estate into a public attraction. The facility initially features refreshment stands, games, playground-style rides, a hotel, picnic groves and a restaurant. Dorney, by 1880s, made a small addition of a small zoo, various mechanical rides, and gardens, thereby marking the beginning of the enterprise as an amusement park.
In 1899, the Allentown-Kutztown Traction Company added a stop to this park, and later after two years, the Traction Company purchased the park and was operating it until the year 1923. It was bought in 1966 by Robert Plarr and his partners. But very soon Plarr had it purchased all by himself and ran it up to 1966, until his death. This ownership passed to his son, Stephen who passed away within a year and was taken by Plarr’s son-in-law, Robert Ott, in 1967 as the owner and in 1985, he sold to Harris Weinstein, who owned it until the year 1992 and then he sold it to Cedar Fair Entertainment Co in 1992.
Dorney Park opens now for its 125th season, and the Park has an old and new history making it more valuable worth a visit. Here are some fun facts.
The Hercules Saga
Dorney Park, in 1988 announced it was creating the largest wooden roller coaster in the world. This coaster was named ‘Hercules, ‘ and it was built to make appropriate use of the sloping topography of the park to create a sweeping 157-foot drop down the hill and reach the park east end over the lake. The ride started in 1989 and is the largest coaster that was challenged by the Texas Giant, a coaster over Texas at Six Flags.
The Giant was taller and had a shorter drop than Hercules and Dorney took Six Flags to court. Though it is rated as world class by people, Hercules experience maintenance problems. Alterations to the structure made it bumpy and jarring. Later, Hercules in 2003 made way for a steel coaster named Hydra The Revenge and has gained this name by the mythical Hydra.
In 1968, Dorney Park attracted its people by offering the silver screen, and this was the time when Columbia decided shooting several scenes. The Rosalind Russell arrival and other movie stars posed a media circus. The shots in this film feature the park entrance the Alfundo, the parks clown mascot, Journey to the center of the earth, the Pirate’s Cove, and the scrambler.
Director John Waters tapped the park after 20 years to serve as a stand for Tilted Acres, a fictional Baltimore park owned by character Franklin Von Tussle, played by Sonny Bono. More recently the park was a music video setting of a Kidz Bop cover of “Move Along.”
The park was renowned for its thrill rides, and it started as a fish hatchery in 1870. Solomon Dorney, Cetronia entrepreneur wanted to raise trout to attract local anglers and to sell it to fish markets. His “Fish Weir and Summer Resort” initially featured eight trout ponds and many picnic groves. After including a small zoo and some rides, Dorney gave the grove the name as “Dorney’s Trout Ponds and Summer Resort,” that is considered the official initiation of Dorney Park. The trout ponds continued for many years, and at Dorney’s Mansion House restaurant fresh trout was a specialty. Throughout the years, trout thrived in the creek and was fed by park patrons. Today, the massive fieldstone fountain was built in trout ponds by Robert Plarr, who attracts patrons to feed trout.
Dorney Park opened the largest artificial pool in 1901. The pool had sand bottom and beach filled with chilly water from the Cedar Creek spring-fed. The attraction gives free lessons for swimming, and it was used for practice by the Allentown High School swim team. In 1962, the state regulations ruined this attraction, and the pool was closed. The bathhouse was transformed for exotic animal’s enclosures, while half the pool was for sea lions as a home and the other was used by motorized whaleboats. Dorney closed the 650,000-gallon pool voluntarily in 1985 and emptied into the Cedar Creek the water.
Dorney Park in 1927 added an open-air, wooden dance pavilion, known as the Al-Dorn Ballroom. It was enclosed and renamed in 1935 as Castle Gardens, an 8,000-square-foot dance hall and it was a hit, hosting big band names ranging from Tommy Dorsey to Count Basie and local proms.
Whether you love rides or you visit Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom for food, it has all that you need. The park is suitable for all ages, jam-packed with rides for all levels of adventure. Here are the most thrills and favorites rides of most people:
Steel Force: A roller coaster, suitable for people who love heights. Get ready for high and fast the ride takes you and reach a whopping 75 mph while you fly down the 205-foot drop. Take a hold on!
This ride is certainly not for the weak hearted. Shoot upward or downward for incredible views at 40 mph. Also get ready for your stomach to drop.
Screamin’ Swing: If you fear heights, stay away. This ride is enjoyable as it swings, flips upside down in the air at 60 feet.
This is less scary than the Steel Force, and most people love this roller coaster. This rollercoaster is in wood.
This ride can fit up to four people and make it an ideal choice for great rides for families.
This is a mini roller coaster in “Planet Snoopy” taking you over little hills and turns offering the perfect ride for adventure-seeking children.
This ride is a large Viking-themed ship. “This 60-foot-long Viking-themed ship swings you front and back, producing the weightlessness.
Fun fact – This is the oldest ride, a family-friendly ride that “whips” you lightly around a track.
The Ferris Wheel is a right way to end your adventure because as you go, you enjoy a fantastic view of the entire park. It looks pretty at night with twinkling lights.
This is a miniature train taking you around the park on this scenic ride.
People planning a visit to Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom should take a look at various packages. Each package includes discounted tickets and overnight accommodations to the park. Contact the hotels directly to get benefitted with deals.