5 Observations on Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom

Dorney-ParkWe visited Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom this past weekend – this was my first time there and for the most part, my observations are based on a comparison with Six Flags Great Adventure. Let’s dive in:

#5: ADMISSION
Like most parks, you can buy tickets to Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom at the gate or online – they’re a bit cheaper online at $39.99… I forget how much they were at the gate. The important thing to realize here is that both parks are single admission, which is unusual in the theme park industry. We also purchased their Fast Lane wrist bands, which allow you to skip to the front of the line on all of their major roller coasters and rides, but serves no benefit at the water park that I recall/noticed. I believe it starts at $60 per person, but there’s a volume discount – we paid $40 per person with 4 people. For a Saturday, the park seemed a bit light on attendance – at least on the Dorney side. The Wildwater side was hopping as it was a hot day… you may want to let this influence your Fast Lane decision, but for me, any time there is a way to skip lines, I say go for it.

#4: FOOD & BOOZE (VEGAN NOTES)
There didn’t seem to be a tone of booze around – there was certainly a full bar at Chickie’s & Pete’s, where we were also able to have a very large salad for dinner. We had a veggie burger for lunch at Coasters Drive-In – it was kinda boring, but that’s just how veggie burgers often turn out. The Wildwater side also included a sushi stand that had a vegetable roll… or maybe an avocado roll.. you can check out their dietary needs page here. There was also a caged-in bar area on the Wildwater side where we had an unexciting strawberry Daiquiri. I saw them add liquor, but it was totally ineffective. Oh well. Bottom line: If you’re vegan, Dorney is doable.

#3: THRILL RIDES
I wouldn’t say Dorney can compete with Six Flags Great Adventure, but they have a totally adequate collection of roller coasters. Possessed is a unique experience I’ve never had elsewhere, so I would say coaster fans would want to check Dorney out for that ride alone. Talon is a smooth and pleasant coaster – similar to Six Flag’s Batman, but way more comfortable – I’d guess it’s faster, too. On the other hand, Dorney’s Steel Force can’t compete with Six Flag’s Nitro – they’re both about the same in terms of track, height, speed and so on, but Nitro’s train design offers a superior experience and is my current favorite roller coaster in any park, any where.

#2: WATER PARK
I haven’t been to a water park in a zillion years, and I wouldn’t say Wildwater Kingdom stacks up with something like Wet n’ Wild, but on a hot day, this place is totally adequate, and given that both parks are single admission (unlike Six Flags and their water park), you can’t be disappointed. If i counted right, WWK boasts two wave pools and two lazy rivers.. although one isn’t so lazy. I would say that they could use some additional signage – for example, you’ll find that each line is clearly marked as to what attraction you’re entering, but it’s difficult to tell where the line is going and if you don’t know the names of the attractions, this information is relatively USELESS. They’re sticklers about footwear in the water park – I believe they only allow secured water shoes to be worn on the water rides, but I’d double check that. We spent a lot of time in our bare feet and we did NOT love it.
Purchasing a locker for the day was a necessity for us… I can’t really think of anyway around it. We got a small locker for $20, and this was adequate for two backpacks that were about full, but not stuffed. They large lockers are in limited quantity and run out quick, so if you want one, you’d better take care of that as soon as you arrive. The changing room situation seems less than stellar, especially for ladies, but I suppose it’s better than trying to change your clothes in a bathroom stall.

#1: THEME, FIREWORKS & OVERALL RECOMMENDATION
It might not be fair to call Dorney a theme park, but they do have a deal with Peanuts, so Snoopy is all over that motha. The Planet Snoopy area is set up for the 10 and under group (or thereabouts) and seems to have a fair amount of rides and other things to do. The Dorney side has a ton of pay per play carnival games that we did not partake in, just like Great Adventure – they’re not especially pro active/pressuring people to play, so that’s nice.
From what we were told, there will be fireworks on the fourth of July, but going forward, Dorney’s nightly fireworks have been cancelled due to a dispute with the local residents. Apparently, people live very close to the park and they are not wild about the idea of Dorney shooting off explosions every evening, which is too bad because fireworks are awesome, but I can certainly see their point – especially as a dog owner.
If you’re on the fence about visiting Dorney, I’d encourage you to check it out. Here’s my summary of the park in a nutshell: Dorney does a nice job of pleasing everyone from little Timmy to Grandma while not necessarily giving anyone the most fun they’ve ever had in their life. It’s a great park, it’s not especially large so it won’t walk your feet off and it’s relatively affordable, so there are lots of pluses here even if it doesn’t have the best collection of roller coasters and water rides in the area, but it’s still a fun place. We recommend you check it out!

About Jamie Insalaco

Jamie Insalaco is the author of CreativeJamie.com, BomberBanter.com and editor in chief of ComicBookClog.com

Posted on July 2, 2013, in observations, photo, vegan stuff and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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