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To Renew or Not?

PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2014 8:02 pm
by mandylouwho
My husband and I were discussing whether we want to renew our season passes. We were wondering if anyone has left for a year or so. My kids are running out of excitement for Dorney, and with no changes on the horizon, I'm a little disappointed.

I'm thinking of season passes to Camel Beach or possibly to Hershey. My proximity to Dorney though is just too perfect.

I have also been having MAJOR issues with line cutting, mean parents and blatantly mean children as a result. We had far easier times at Knobels and Hershey this year. :cry:

Re: To Renew or Not?

PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2014 8:47 pm
by Yoshi
2 things always get me to renew, Wildwater Kingdom and the lack of crowds. I also have a season pass to Great Adventure (I live an almost equal distance away from Dorney and Great Adventure) and I have heard enough bad things about Hurricane Harbor that I am hesitant to try it and prefer going to Wildwater Kingdom in the summer. I also like knowing that whenever I go to Dorney, I know I am not going to be waiting in any lines more than a few minutes at least on the ride side if I avoid summer weekends and Saturday nights during Haunt compared to other parks where it lines are almost always there.

Re: To Renew or Not?

PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2014 12:18 pm
by dorneyflynn
I am switching to a dorney park season pass for 2015 and cancelling six flags great adventure. I hate six flags and wanted to get a dorney season pass for years now. DO NOT invest in a six flags pass because six flags is just awful. cedar fair is way more fair. and six flags is just a crappy park. the only thing they have over dorney is rollercoasters. and really, their only good ones are el toro, nitro, and bizarro. The others are just WAY overrated.

Re: To Renew or Not?

PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2014 2:17 pm
by coasterluver
I personally like Great Adventures coasters a lot better than Dorney, however Dorney kicks butt in just about any other category. You can't lie that Great Adventure has so many better coaster, I mean Nitro beats Steel Force and Batman beats Talon(just my personal opinion there), although I personally like Hydra better than Bizarro(too much head banging on bizarro) The decision of Dorney vs. Great Adventure is mostly a decision of do you want a park with decent but not amazing coasters, but in turn get a much better atmosphere where just about everything else is much better than Great Adventure, or do you want an awesome coaster collection in a poorly managed and operated park where you see LONG lines much of which is a result of mistrained/unmotivated ride crews causing an insane amount of stacking. So, while Dorney will always be my home park, I do understand the advantages of both.

Re: To Renew or Not?

PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2014 5:44 pm
by mandylouwho
I will NEVER get a six flags season pass. I grew up there. The lines are heinous. The clientele even worse. So no, I hear you on that point. I have a soft spot for it though, since most of my friends worked there at one time or another. I got in for free on more than one occasion. Viper was my first big coaster, not too long after, they had it dismantled.

I really liked Hershey, and would consider a season pass, but like an idiot went on a weekend and it was crazy. I love Dorney's easy weekday lines. We spent A LOT of time there on Tuesdays/Wednesdays on a very leisurely summer day riding over and over on rides like the whip and scrambler.

Camel beach is only an hour and a half north. Hershey, west. So it remains to be seen. My kids may very well want to do dorney again when it comes time and they had a rest from it.

We had so many issues with line cutting/attitudes and lack of employee intrusion. I got to a point in Boo Blast, where a family in front of us kept adding kids to their line for the Woodstock Express. I finally had to ask them to stop, that there is an END to the line. I know these issues exist everywhere, but they seemed to be worse this year.

WW Kingdom is not a large draw for us yet. My kids love waterworks and lazy rivers, but they are a little too big for kids coves. My youngest is 7 and is too short to do any of the larger slides. Even Aquablast. The only ride they loved they took out. Rip tide. So we don't spend much time over there for that reason alone. There is only so much time you can spend in the wave pool/waterworks and lazy rivers.

Re: To Renew or Not?

PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2014 5:30 pm
by tlchristy
Dorney Season Pass + Dorney Season Meal Pass = The largest and lowest costing daycare facility in the Allentown Area... I'm using Six Flags America as the example :D
(More on this later)

In regards to season passes and that "this or that park" debate one must first consider what the kids are capable of handling followed by cost, distance, number of planned visits etc etc...

I grew up in the little town of Warwick, Md (1969 - 1988) and throughout my childhood Dorney was the park for us followed by Hershey, Great Adventure and Kings Dominion. I bought my first season pass and parking pass for Six Flags Great America in 1989 while stationed nearby at NTC Great Lakes - I recall everything costing well under $50, Photo I.D. for me and a decal for my 1987 Hyundai Excel. I loved Great America with its circular layout and modern rides, I loved Dorney for its classic feel and atmosphere. While Dorney was about friends and family Great America was solely about me and I often went alone as it was hard to get fellow sailors to part with $40 for a pass or even the $15 for a weekend twicket (Yes Twicket). My confidence as far as amusement parks go comes from Dorney and whether it was ride tickets, ride bracelets (strutting across 222 to get to The Flying Dutchman) to today's single entry price it was and still is a place you can cut your pre-teen kids loose to explore and enjoy.

A problem with Dorney from my parental perspective is Planet Snoopy. Its cramped and full of kids 3 times bigger than the rides are rated for cause parents no longer cut kids loose and Dorney prevents this by consolidating kiddie rides in one locale. Some of the cramp is due to the fact that many kids are bought to the park by their grands who settle in the spot which happens to be a spot sadly free of seating and ride queues (Seating for the elderly and Queues to contain the kids and provide order giving the grands a break) - Hopefully i'm not a grand for at least another 10 years but I have marked my spots to settle into when that day comes :lol:
Great Adventures has 2 areas both along the south edge of the park the eastern one is for smaller kids and the other near skull mountain is larger and more spacious than Planet Snoopy it also has the lack of seating problem but the walkways are nice and wide and that area along the lake has great intermediate rides with reasonable lines. Our little one confidently gets around here better than at Dorney. We all know that Dutch wonderland is great for kids but Story Book Land is a great kiddie park as well... Hershey is all over the place as far as kiddie rides go so be prepared to feel like a rock climber in getting to them...

Problem 2
Season Pass cost... Great pricing if your a local but when your a fringe family (75 miles or more away from the park) there is no value in it when comparing it to its competition. I think its priced to keep a local element out but this in turn may keep good money spending fringe families away from season pass purchases. We are a family of 5 in the Newark, De area the kids are 17, 13 and 6. The parks for our local area are SF America (ouch!!!), SF Great Adventure, Hershey Park, Dorney Park, Dutch Wonderland, Clementon, Knoebels and Story Book Land all of which are under 2 hours travel except for Knobels at 3 hours - We can do BG Williamsburg, Kings Dominion, SF Great Escape and SF New England without planning a overnight stay. If your into Season Pass Pricing you will see that our biggest bang for the buck is Six Flags for our locale - Gold passes are $50 each when purchasing 4 or more from SF America, this is entry and parking to all SF Parks (Excludes detached Water Parks). We have been through this Season Pass Dilemma and with 2 big time coaster aged kids we had to go this route. Dorney is nicer on the eyes but its too stagnant for our teenagers and too cramped for our 6 year old and for this reason we relegated it to either pre-season or Haunt only status (We love the Haunt)...
Dorney is an excellent place to go to wind the season down - The Haunt alone is worth the admission price.

We all have issues with each park. My kids and I have been cut more times just getting onto ride Steel Force than we have experienced at the other places combined - What ever is outside of the parks is inside of the parks as well - Ride with your kids and tell them all the things to expect as far as peeps are concerned. I was afraid of taking my kids to SF Great Adventure but I couldn't keep them from Kingda Ka, Nitro and Bizarro. Hydra is too elemental and not enough coaster to take on Bizarro - its our choice after comparing and you can only do that by getting them out there to see for themselves. We are heading to SF Great America in 2015 - Its paid for so why not - I'm still paying 1989 prices for it :D

Your kids will find something special at whatever park you take them to - The right time will be when you feel you are holding them back - I tell you only from experience - It hurt me to drop Dorney for season passes but keeping them from SF hurt much more...

I hope the above statement isn't true for Dorney but when numb brained parents see they can obtain daycare + meals all summer long for roughly $220 minus the public transport cost, your leisure weekdays at the park are soon doomed - SF America is called Maryland's largest M-F daycare for this reason alone...

We have only gone to SF America in the off season to process season passes. It is by far the worst looking park on the planet. We have had no issues with staff or guest but it is the Medusa of all active american parks - I recommend it highly for those wanting to see how bad a park can look without it being on the defunct list - Must be a sister park of SF New Orleans :lol:

Re: To Renew or Not?

PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2014 6:18 pm
by tlchristy
In March of 2013 I posted the following - See exactly how torn I was at that time...


I am 43 years old and have been doing Dorney for 40 years. My coaster riding kids are 15 and 11 and well over 54 inches in height. We love Dorney but I feel something(s) is/are missing, lost or flat out stolen and I cant quite pinpoint exactly what but I've been wrestling with the idea of getting season passes again this year but I just can't do it... (I remember my stroller days there watching people play lots of skeeball)

I can't see myself spending $520 in Dorney season passes for the 5 of us to be bored. We live 97 miles from Dorney, 83 miles from Hershey, 95 miles from both SF Great Adventure and SF America respectively and 180 miles from Kings Dominion (Won't ever do Clemington again). Should we be Bored? I don't think so and I know that most of you agree.

its sad to say, but...

My coaster riding kids were nurtured by Dorney (same as I) but now its time for them to leave the comfort of that nest and seek bigger and better thrills (My girlfriend's 4 year old wants merry-go-rounds and not much else - bless her little heart)... Sure some parks are over crowded and we might even have issues with some of its clientele but at the end of the day rides are rides meant to be ridden and these rides are today's park experience and memory makers - The Very Reason We Hit The Dangerous Highways With Family and Friends In Tow. Please note that I said rides are today's experience - Dorney was once much more than rides and the experience that was uniquely Dorney has faded... (For starters The Coaster is not Thunder Hawk - Where are our picket signs, signed petitions and fund raisers to correct that? :evil: ) I have exposed my kids to as much of Dorney both past and present as I could and currently there is just not enough to keep us from looking elsewhere...

Two Great Parks For The Price Of One??? One of what??? Are they Serious???

I can no longer shield my kids from the ills of Six Flags but Dang Nab-bit they have coasters (and merry-go-rounds to), a Gold Pass from SF America cost just $60 when you buy 4 or more and I have 6 for a cost of $360 not including the 10% Md entertainment and general admissions tax ($396 total). I happen to live between SF America and SF Great Adventure so that equals "Two Great Parks For The Price Of One" and that One being the Price of One General Admission to either. I hate to use CF's Dorney motto against it but what do I get for $111 each season pass but one park and only one park. Maybe they consider the parking lot a park as well for pass holders - pay an additional $10 and get fast lane access to the premium parking spaces. What does a $75 child pass get you but one over crowded zone of kiddie rides - build a classic carnival style kiddie ride zone to help spread peeps out (Good Grief)...

I'm not gonna go this park season without a visit to Dorney - I'll see you all during the Haunt. SF parks are open now and I need this less crowded time to acclimate my kids to 2 new parks for the price of one... (The Price of one entry)

To the Cedar Fair Execs - Build it (That Woody) and we will return

Of course this was written shortly before ever going to SF America... The plus side is that our passes for 2015 cost us 10 bucks less each than in 2013 :D

Re: To Renew or Not?

PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2014 3:36 pm
by jscll
tlchristy wrote:We have only gone to SF America in the off season to process season passes. It is by far the worst looking park on the planet. We have had no issues with staff or guest but it is the Medusa of all active american parks - I recommend it highly for those wanting to see how bad a park can look without it being on the defunct list - Must be a sister park of SF New Orleans.

If you want to see a chain park in sorry shape, I would recommend a trip to La Ronde, Six Flags park in the Great White North (Canada). Most of La Ronde's rides have pealing paint, planters are overgrown with weeds, weeds are growing in cracks in the queue lines, former animal exhibits are overgrown with the old animal shelters left to disintegrate, a former dolphin show building is sitting abandoned, and multiple rides are regularly down at any given time for maintenance reasons.

Re: To Renew or Not?

PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2014 1:59 pm
by dorneydude
we dropped our 4 passes 2 years ago. Essentially, we are not WWK folk...especially if you work till 5pm and it closes at 7pm. We were never too enthused about the weekend crowd and avoided the park at those times. The 'new' recycled rides from my youth was nostalgic for a visit or two but I quickly came to appreciate new tech, especially after seeing people stuck on them...and the kids were apathetic to them anyway. The park was always clean, close and convenient but just became too pricey for what they had offer us. We went to knobles the last two years with the added benefit of being able to bring our dog. Their coasters quickly and easily removed any longing I had to jump on Steel Force or Thunderhawk. I think next year we will hit SFGE...I have not been there since my youth.

The scariest thing about not renewing is you may find you don't miss it and realize you may have missing other things the last few years.

DP is a great deal for seniors who wish to take grandkids...or people who have nothing to do all day and like water rides...or people who just want to frequent the Haunt. Its lost its excitement for us...I'd blame my age but my kids and their friends aren't very excited any more either.

Re: To Renew or Not?

PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2014 10:12 am
by mandylouwho
dorneydude wrote:The scariest thing about not renewing is you may find you don't miss it and realize you may have missing other things the last few years.

DP is a great deal for seniors who wish to take grandkids...or people who have nothing to do all day and like water rides...or people who just want to frequent the Haunt. Its lost its excitement for us...I'd blame my age but my kids and their friends aren't very excited any more either.

Yeah, see that's what I'm worried about. We have made it a regular thing, and in the summer, when we are all together, ALL the time (I can work around my kids, I'm lucky), we do need things to do. This is one of them. We do Dorney about once a week.

My problem is WWK. They don't like it. We go to Water Country USA every year and they love that park. It has so many rides, both intermediate and small for my kids to enjoy. I have one kid *just* starting to like bigger rides like snake pit. But I have 2 others that don't and are too big for the kiddie areas. (And one not tall enough for their restrictions). WCUSA has 42 and 44 inch restrictions on family type slides, where WWK has 46-48. I have little guys who aren't tall for their age, so I have one waiting to catch up.

We still don't know what to do. The problem with Six Flags, is you are catering to shore tourists all day long. Every day. I grew up there. I love the park, but the crowds kill me. Hershey is not too far away, and we are considering that as well as Camel Beach.

I appreciate all the input. My decision should be based on what we want vs. what we are used to doing. (Having a nice memory). We are leaning towards not getting them.

Re: To Renew or Not?

PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2014 4:17 pm
by dorneydude
Well, maybe you can identify several water rides you can all do….the river rides, wave pool. Then it could be worth it…or if your kids are old enough to let them go their own way for a few hours…though I still have a 14 year old and I’m not sure how comfortable I’d be with that…maybe on a weekday…not on a weekend. The down side is you may not find somewhere to go every week that is as economical or close.

Maybe drop the passes and see how much they really miss it. I’d also take them to Knobels for the day.

Re: To Renew or Not?

PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2014 12:13 am
by Hooky965
I was born and raised in Bethlehem. To me, Dorney is, was, and always will be "Allentown's Park". This line of thinking is probably myopic and goes against what virtually everyone responsible for marketing and promotion, as well as the demographic results will tell you. However, when it comes to season passes, to me anyway, it makes sense for those who live within a 25 mile radius and will visit the park more than 8x per season. If this is you, go for it. If not, there are many other options which will probably do well to satisfy you and the kids. Dorney's biggest problem and greatest asset is that it is essentially still what it always was...a trolley park. It's what keeps it homey, despite it's efforts to project itself as a major park destination. It's also what keeps it from becoming the kind of draw that would make it a no-brainer for anyone who isn't a park devotee that lives in the immediate area. It's not Hershey, and it's not SFGA, nor will it ever be. There's a certain honesty in admitting that, but I don't think that you will ever hear that outside of places that are free to mention it without reservation.

Re: To Renew or Not?

PostPosted: Mon Dec 15, 2014 4:08 pm
by nathanaelerik
I completely agree.

I think a few things are actually hindering dorneys growth, whether it be their own fault or outside restrictions.

The township. Big problem. Look how long it took to approve the flyers. Speaking of..

That is their new big ride for 2015. Sure, it may be on par with great adventures fireball, but hershey is adding yet another coaster.

Cedar Fair doesnt seem to want or care to compete with its competition. I mean heck, Knoebels is getting another coaster, Impulse.

Dorney is constantly being ripped off, I mean I LOVE possessed, favorite ride in park and a great addition, but the other recyclables are terrible. Stinger says enough for itself and Demon Drop wasn't needed.

/done rant

Re: To Renew or Not?

PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2015 12:02 pm
by rotlex
We renewed again for next year even after discussing not doing so yet again. While the park is very frustrating at times, it's proximity to our home, 10 minutes max, is very handy for my wife and kids. Particularly WWK, which is what we use the passes for more than anything. Still more fun than the local pool, LOL.

In all seriousness though, if Hershey were just 30 minutes closer and had a real water park, I'd ditch Dorney in a minute. Our family loves Hershey. Beautiful park with some world class rides, and at least in our experience, far better customer service. Heck, they didn't even make me throw out the apples and pretzels in my back pack on our last visit. (Hint to Dorney, lighten up on the darn food thing. I can see not bringing in a picnic basket, but I'm tired of having to hide snacks)!

Re: To Renew or Not?

PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 3:40 pm
by mandylouwho
The snack thing is a major problem. Esp since I have a kid on the spectrum and he can't tolerate most junk food. I had to complain to guest services once because they made me leave gluten free granola bars behind. I mean, granola bars. I ALWAYS buy their cups, so I never sneak drinks. The only thing my kids can have there is popcorn and every now and then a pretzel. The last time we had funnel cake it hurt our stomachs. Plus, Im on a strict diet. So I think before I renew I will be calling them to get a note or something! lol. :lol: