by Danny Miller
Ever since Laser was removed from Dorney Park in Allentown, PA, many locals like myself have wondered what may take its place. It has been talked about numerous times that perhaps it would be a great starting point for a wooden coaster that would snake its way behind the Steel Force station and restrooms in the wooded area normally occupied by the “Backwoods” haunt during the Halloween Haunt event.
For 2012, Dorney has seemed to have taken up both areas, and neither will be occupied by the wooden coaster that Dorney fans so adamantly desire. Instead, this season will see the wooded area behind Steel Force opening the smallest of the Dinosaurs Alive! attractions that are now littering the Cedar Fair parks, while the former Laser plot will feature Stinger, the relocated Vekoma “Invertigo” model from California’s Great America.
As far as the dinosaurs go, most reports from the parks that already have them have been generally positive. It should increase the educational value of the park for the numerous local schools that take science related field trips to the park, and Dinosaurs Alive! will be one more way to draw in schools.
The big story however has been the relocation of Invertigo to Dorney where it will open as Stinger this season. The ride was supposedly moved from California’s Great America because it was a fairly easy ride to relocate, and with the future of CGA still up in the air, it seemed like a smart choice to move the ride. Dorney has become famous over the last few years for getting relocated rides from within Cedar Fair. In 2008, Geauga Lake’s Steel Venom was moved to the park and opened as Voodoo (now Possessed). In 2010, Cedar Point’s Demon Drop ride appeared at the park.
Despite being a clone, and another recycled ride, the mood around Dorney has been very upbeat, and many people including family and close friends have asked me about the ride and have expressed excitement to go ride it this season. As a side note, the addition of Stinger also gives Dorney the claim to the most inverted coasters in the world with three. Some parks have three if you include suspended coasters (Cedar Point with Raptor, Wicked Twister, and Iron Dragon), but Dorney is the only park I know of that can claim to have three true inverted coasters, Stinger, Possessed, and Talon.
A few weeks ago I was at the park for job orientation for the summer, as I will be working on the Possessed ride group this coming summer, and I was told that Stinger should be ready to open to the public on opening day, something that Possessed was not able to do. I was also lucky enough to catch it testing on my way out of the park, and for the most part it looks to be running pretty well, and based on sound, there doesn’t seem to be too much rattling going on. I have been on the Kings Island version, and I was happily surprised at the minimal head banging that normal “Boomerang” models usually possess.
Once the ride opens up we will see just how reliable and popular the ride will be, but overall it is a good fit for Dorney. It remains to be seen if the general public will think that Stinger and Possessed are the “same ride,” but I don’t think that will be as big of an issue as some are making it out to be. Most importantly, Stinger will quench the coaster thirst for at least a season or two until we start licking our lips for something brand new at Dorney.