Monday, July 16th, 2007

I woke up at 8:30, feeling fully rested despite the emergency evac of my fleabag hotel the night before. I got a quick shower, then tried to reorganize everything in my backpack and purse from where I had thrown everything everywhere the night before. Tracy suggested breakfast at Perkins, which sounded great to me since I hadn't had a "real" meal all week. I became really fond of Perkins when I lived in Florida since it was our after work hangout. When we arrived, we found Deb Wills and a bunch of other Disney peeps having breakfast at the table next to ours! They were all surprised to see me since I hadn't taken part in any of the convention activities!

I didn't want breakfast, so I ended up getting the southwest egg rolls and the quesadilla, both of which were reasonably priced appetizers. When they arrived at the table, they were HUGE! Way more than I could eat alone haha. I motored through a little over half the food before asking for a doggie bag for the rest of it. We chatted with the Disney folks for a bit (most of which I only knew in passing...Deb was really the only one I could call by name) then decided to move along.

I said goodbye to Tracy and thanked her again so much for letting me crash with her on such short notice. I hit the road for Lancaster, and had great luck in figuring out where I needed to go without getting too lost. Right as I got to the road where Dutch Wonderland resides, my directions didn't say to go right or left. I chose left and luckily I was right! Dutch Wonderland sits right on the main road off the highway, making it one of the easiest parks to find so far! And the parking is free, woohoo! Before I went in, I managed to get down the rest of my egg rolls from breakfast.

I'd sort of assumed before I left home that Dutch Wonderland was going to be a park that I would really enjoy, despite only having two small coasters. And was I right!


There are even gators in the moat, protecting the park entrance!

This park is *beautiful* and almost immaculately landscaped! Everything just looked so nice and well kept, and was extremely inviting. It was about 11:30 when I got in the park, and there were plenty of people there, but it wasn't crowded by any means.

After wandering around a bit and watching a couple of talking dioramas, I arrived at Kingdom Coaster. As my only new CCI credit of the trip, it was a fun ride given how it was built as a family coaster. I hate the paint job though...I like the way it looked much better when it was white.

Then I went right next door and got my credit on the Joust, which was a fairly standard kiddie coaster.

With both credits out of the way up front, I had plenty of time to enjoy the rest of the park. I hopped on the ski lift, and enjoyed a leisurely ride across to the opposite side of the park.


OMG! It's just like in the Cabbage Patch!

When I got there, I saw the Dragon's Lair boat ride and decided to give it a go. It's just little boats that travel around a lake, then go through a cave where you see a big egg, but it was cute, if excruciatingly hot. There was even a photographer at the end who was taking photos, which was great, eventhough I said I didn't care if she took mine or not. As I passed, she stepped back into the shade, welcoming the little break, I'm sure!

After the ride, I walked back towards the back of the park to catch a ride on one of my most anticipated rides of the trip...

...the Astroliner! hahaha Ever since visiting Canobie and seeing theirs sitting idle, I'd wondered just what a ride on one of these was like. I ended up getting a private ride, and while I can't tell you anything about what the film was, I know that I thought it was awesome! Awesome in that "I can't believe itís still working" way!

The video in it was crap, the sound was crap, and the motion was just a slow rocking back and forth, but it felt like I was riding a truly classic piece of amusement park history. And it was air conditioned...hooray for air conditioning.

Since I was there, I took in the "modern" simulator next and didn't like it nearly as much as the Astroliner! I guess it's not old enough for me to consider it classic yet haha.

Nearby, I found the Dutch Wonder House, which was one of my "must see" rides as well. I thought I was gonna have a private ride until a family joined me at the last minute. This is very much a poor man's Vekoma mad house, but the illusion is good nonetheless. It was fun watching the kids of the family freak out during the ride too hahaha

I walked around some, watching all the kids having fun of the rides, when I realized that this park was home to...

...the infamous Lady Gay! I'd completely forgotten about that! So I immediately went over to the boat docks and got in line. After a couple of trips around the river, it was my turn to ride. There's not much to see along the way (though we did catch a glimpse of an Amish man plowing his field with a horse and plow!) but it was a leisurely way to get off my feet for a bit. Really, the best part was just to be able to say that I'd ridden the Lady Gay :-)

I made a lap around the park, taking photos along the way.


Do not climb on the cow!!!


A diorama of ladies making a quilt for a new bride while complaining about how she can't make shoofly pie!


Creepy. Just...creepy.


I don't even know what to think about this Amish pirate gnome thing.


This reminded me of Zane!

When I got back around to the back of the park, I hopped on the monorail. I wish it had been air conditioned! But at least the windows were down so there was a breeze during the ride. The family I rode with had an adorable little girl, so it was fun to watch her as I rode as well. The only other ride I really had my sights on was the train, so after the monorail ride, I found the train and took a ride there as well.

It was about 3:30 at this point, and I had planned on meeting Allan at 5:00 at Dorney. So I quickly ducked into the gift shop in hopes of finding a little something to commemorate my visit. I eventually ended up spending over $30 on stuff from their store! Couldn't believe it! I got a duck shaped hand soap dispenser, a rubber duck in a top hat, a horse and buggy pencil sharpener, an "Amish Country" change purse, a magnet clip that said Dutch Wonderland and a chicken shaped kitchen timer! I could not believe that I had spent that much money in the gift shop! Darn my rubber duck collection! I thought about getting one of the stuffed Knights or dragons, but that would have put me closer to $50! No way!


My car, greatly enjoying it's time at Dutch Wonderland

Figuring that I wouldn't have time to stop for dinner at Dorney, I pulled into a Sonic on the way back to the highway and got an order of popcorn chicken and a large strawberry fruit slush. If I ever get around to opening a park of my own, I will definitely make a deal with Sonic to sell drinks inside my park! I don't think there is a more refreshing drink in the world!


*snicker*

The drive back to Allentown was SLOW...most of it was on two lane highways with speed limits in the 35-40mph range.


Who wants to buy a gross used car or have gross general repairs done?

I also had to make an impromptu short cut just to make sure that I was hitting the highway west of the Dorney exits. I found Allan waiting for me at the McDonalds right across from Dorney, so I picked him up and we hurried off to the park. It was great to finally meet someone that I'd been friends with online for so long!

We quickly parked and made our way to the gate, and we each purchased a Starlight pass. It was only $18.50 and was admission from 5:00pm until park close at 10:00pm, which was a fantastic deal.

Like sheep, we went to Talon first since it was right next to the park entrance. I seemed to remember people talking bad about this ride, but I thought it was a great ride! Plenty of Gs that made my legs itch in a few spots, and the ride stayed interesting throughout. And there was no wait...yay.

Next we went back to Hydra, which I think was the ride that got the most flack for being forceless when it opened. Again, I don't understand the complaints! I thought the roll out of the station was awesome...probably my favorite beginning to any steel coaster I have been on!

And the rest was just really fun! I had no complaints at all about this ride.

We headed for Steel Force next, and waited through one train so we could have a back seat ride. This was another really nice ride, with great airtime on the hills. The turnaround was kinda odd, being so big and all, but I still really enjoyed the ride.


Steel Force and Thunderhawk nearly collide!


Look at those round beauties!

Next on the list was Lazer. We were seated in the middle of the train, and all I remember thinking was how much booty this ride kicked! It was crazy good! As good as B&M and Intamin are, it's pretty hard to touch a coaster like Lazer!

We briefly shed a tear over our inability to get the Little Lazer credit, then medicated ourselves with a ride on the Dragon Coaster.


The gut-busting Dragon Coaster


Playing the part of responsible person for our Dragon Coaster ride is...Allan!

When I first sat down, I thought that there was no way that the restraint was gonna close over my gut! But somehow I managed to get it closed, doing only minor damage to my internal organs in the process. The ride is pretty much just one big helix, and since they send you around like 30 or 40 times, Allan wasn't feeling so great by the end of the ride! He said it was funny that he could ride Steel Force all day and it was the Dragon Coaster that did him in!

Thunderhawk was the last major credit that I needed, so with due haste, we made our way there.

I don't recall liking or disliking this coaster. It was decent for a PTC, but I kinda settled for the "It's pretty good but it's no Cannonball or Wild One" opinion.


Coaster geek photo! The spot where all of Thunderhawk's turnaround supports meet. You'd never know it, but this was shaking at the moment I took the picture!


Also playing the part of responsible person for our Woodstock ride is...Allan!

Woodstock's Express was next, which is a Zamperla family coaster. It's pretty much the exact same layout as the Dragon coaster, only larger, so this one didn't sit very well with Allan either! hahaha

We'd only been in the park for about 2 1/2 hours by now, and I was approaching the last credit that I needed, which was the Wild Mouse.


WILD USE?

I'd prioritized everything so that the kiddie coaster and wild mouse were last, just in case, y'know. While we waited in line for the wild mouse, we saw it e-stop, and then a ride op go walking up the lift hill. He spoke with the people in the front row for a bit, and when he started walking back down...

...we realized that he had confiscated a camera from one of the riders! hahaha Man, they don't joke when they say no cameras on the rides! hahaha Once he was clear of the ride, it went on as though nothing had happened! Hope he got his camera back! The ride was a pretty normal wild mouse...nothing special to report, and no, I didn't attempt to take any on-ride photos! haha

Since we had a bunch of time left, I said that I wanted to ride the Ferris wheel before it got too dark. By the time I was on the ride, it was already too dark to get very good photos, though I did manage a couple.


The best photo I got...Talon from the Ferris wheel.


Allan kicks back and enjoys the Ferris wheel ride.

It was also nice to relax for a bit and chat, since we'd been scurrying from coaster to coaster thus far. Afterwards, we took a ride on the shot tower, where we waited in line behind the thinnest, skankiest girl ever! Eww!

For the entire trip, I'd kept seeing Italian Ice for sale, yet I hadn't gotten any. So I asked if there was an Italian Ice shop anywhere in the park, and luckily there was one right near where we were. They had mango and raspberry, so I got a large one with both flavors in it. When they handed it to me, the large was huge! It was like the size of those red plastic cups that they sell beer in at baseball games!

Allan ended up getting a brownie sundae type dessert, and we both sat down and enjoyed our treats.

After a little bit, I suggested calling our friend Mike and giving him a hard time about how we were having fun in a park and he wasn't hehe. So I called him, and since I'd never spoken to him on the phone before, I said "If I gave you three guesses, could you guess who this is?" He said "Hold on"...then hung up on me! hahaha So Allan called him back and gave him crap for hanging up on me, and Mike swore that it was an accident! We talked to him while we ate our frozen goodies, and I ultimately ended up throwing out about half of mine since it was just so big, and it was almost making my stomach hurt since it was so sweet!


Mike joins us via cell phone for a train ride

With Mike still on the phone, we rode the train around the little area with the rapids ride, then paused again once the ride was done to say goodbye to him. Since we only had a little bit of time left before the park closed, we ran to get in another ride on Hydra. This time we waited for the front row, which is something I almost never do on major coasters since I don't want to wait the extra time. But the visual of having all that track flying by you in the dark was awesome! So much better than farther back in the train! And it really made you feel like your feet were gonna get caught on the track as you rode.

We only had a few minutes left when we got to the front of the park, so we decided to do the same thing with Talon and wait for the front row. This was also a great ride in the front...it was very fun to get two front row rides without having to wait since front row rides really do add such an extra visual element to the coasters. We were on the next to last train of the day, and everything was closed by the time we left. I'd been meaning to stop by a gift shop on the way out and pick up one of their "$5 with a $5 purchase" t-shirts, but we both completely forgot about it as we were leaving! Oh well.

In typical fashion, the directions from the park to the hotel were wrong (the directions didn't take into account that the parking lot doesn't always deposit you out onto the road where the park's address is). So Allan and I ended up driving around, getting a lovely self guided tour of Allentown, for about half an hour or so! Eventually by stroke of luck, we found our way to my hotel, which was the same hotel I has stayed in for two nights earlier in the week.

The room I got the second time was noticeably not as nice as the first room, but had I not seen the first room, I'd have ever known the difference. Stuff like the missing amenity bag with the blindfold, a missing closet door, and how it had a regular wing chair instead of the cushy oversized chair the other room had. But everything else was the same.


Eww, Allan! What's that brown stain on your side of the bed?!

We ended up just hanging out, laughing, chatting, watching TV and whatnot until 4:00am when I decided to cancel my entire plan for the next day and wing it. I'd originally planned on going to Lakemont and Delgrosso's on Tuesday, then discovered that Lakemont was gonna be closed. So then I added in a few roadside attractions in the area, ending with Delgrosso's and staying in Altoona that night. But after the week I'd had of being lost on Pennsylvania and New Jersey backroads, the last thing I really wanted to do was to look for four small-town minor attractions, and probably get horribly lost in the process.

So we went back down to the lobby and got on the computer. There weren't any other parks in the area that I hadn't been to, nor was there anything along any route that I might take towards home. So I ultimately decided to just hang out with Allan the entire next day in Philadelphia. I said that I'd just let him show me around, and do whatever he thought I should do. He graciously agreed, and we headed back up to the room to catch a few Zs before morning.

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