Specific Type: Floorless Coaster
A story of Greek mythology and a battle between coaster forces began, unsuspectingly enough, in the hills of Pennsylvania in 1989. That year was the season that Dorney Park proudly unveiled its wooden coaster Hercules with the largest drop of any woodie on earth and fastest speeds of any woodie to tie Paramount's Kings Island's Beast. Designer Curtis Summers' layout utilized a 60-foot hillside to accomplish the ride's record-breaking 151-foot drop straight into a scenic turnaround above Lake Dorney and mad 4,000-foot dash over the wooded terrain at up to sixty-five miles per hour. Following Hercules' grand opening,Dorney Park had achieved a standing on the coaster scene and would go on to wow thrill ride
lovers with such rides as Steel Force, the Eastern U.S.'s tallest coaster in 1997; the multi-tower launched freefalls of Dominator in 1999; and the Northeast's longest, most twisted inverted coaster Talon in 2001. But then something happened that no one would have foreseen back when good old Hercules was the talk of the coaster world: the status of a once-great attraction had shrunken to no more than Dorney's most unpopular coaster, and a common complaint for roughness. Rather than spend any more on maintenance, management made the call to go with something completely new, so at the time that the coaster would have celebrated its fifteenth birthday, instead, bulldozers were ripping down its timbers. The legend of Hercules was dead, but not for long.
Footers appeared. Steel track arrived. Support columns rose. And this spring, Dorney Park will open Hercules successor: Hydra: the Revenge. In mythology, the story goes that Hercules once completed the impossible task of slaying a ferocious nine-headed serpentine monster. That monster's name was Hydra, and in 2005 Dorney is continuing the legend by bringing Hydra back to life in the form of an equally-serpentine multi-inversion steel twister of a floorless coaster. The company behind this new experience is Bolliger and Mabillard, who brought some of their Swiss magic to Allentown once before with Dorney's 2001 inverted Talon. For the same price tag as Talon - thirteen million - the park will get a completely different type of steelie using their unique floorless, above-track trains, and a longer, loopier layout. While Hydra won't slaughter old Hercules at all in the way of statistics, what it will do is put new uniquenesses into B&M's popular floorless coaster.
Starting out of the station with the first ever pre-lift inversion in the world, a heartline roll that Dorney calls a 'jojo roll,' riders will know that they're in for something unique. From a lift hill equal in height to the defunct ride, passengers will drop immediately into an inclined version of a dive loop making this ride the first of its kind to throw away the traditional vertical loop. And from there, the unique sequence of inversions continues as the stand-out lime and dark green track forms a zero-g roll, corkscrew, compact cobra roll, and second corkscrew in a course vaguely double-out and back, like the previous coaster. Along with inversions, Hydra will have plenty to offer with a layout including a high-speed S-curve, airtime hop, and carousel curve. The same terrain that Hercules once roamed has also been taken advantage of by Hydra: the Revenge, though more minimally, and riders will dive into five trenched valleys including one at the curving base of the ten-story first drop.
The concrete midway leads to the back corner of Dorney Park where teal and green steel waits to thrill. Passengers get in line near Hydra's first corkscrew and, sooner or later, ascend into the loading station up a flight of stairs. In the station, the queue divides into eight rows and the next group of thirty-two performs boarding procedures once the air gates open. Pink shoulder harnesses pushed snugly into place, the station floor retracts to reveal the green track directly underfoot. Once Hydra leaves the station behind, the train dips slightly and begins the first roll to start off the ride with a bang, and plenty of hang time, rotating a full 360 degrees to the right, and then completing a clockwise banked turnaround much as Hercules once did. The track straightens and then the chain lift starts riders on their trip up the ninety-five-foot slope. Passing over the Thunder Creek Mountain flume and the end of Hydra's S-curve, a leisurely climb brings the ride up just above Steel Force's double-helix out to the left and well over Lake Dorney beyond. Instead of the standard Bolliger and Mabillard dip, the first drop begins, ready or not, heading down straight ahead and down sixty-eight degrees. As the track pulls out, a banked fourty-five-degree turn to the right ventures into the first trench 105 feet below as rocks fly past on either side at fifty-three miles an hour. The track climbs and rolls left to enter into the sixty-five-foot inclined dive loop inversion, and once inverted the left half inclined loop takes riders down just below ground level again only to pull up into the second inversion. Two-toned green track climbs and twists over the top in the heartline spin of the zero-g roll before plunging and pulling into the first corkscrew. Hydra: the Revengethrows passengers for a right corkscrew diving down the hillside fifty feet and into another trench at the start of the cobra roll. After a half-loop inclined slightly to the left, the non-inverting and re-inverting curve takes the train through the signature element before ending with the second half-loop to finish off the layout's quick-paced five-inversion marathon. Climbing from another trenched area, the coaster starts off its figure-S by banking and ascending over the post-station track, then curving the other direction to duck under the lift. Diving under lift hill supports, passengers are thrown over the crest of a rabbit hop and then dive back to the ground and beyond to the foot of the second corkscrew. Hydra flips to the left in the seventh and last inversion and starts off the carousel curve finale after a slight right turn. Climbing 270 degrees counterclockwise, the spiral ends, and then it's time for a fourty-five-degree turn over the first plunge and onto the brakes after 3,198 feet of track.
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