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Friday, August 22, 2014

Dorney Park Hydra Construction 2005

The announcement of Fury 325 the other day reminds me of another project that captivated my mind. I was disappointed in the loss of Dorney's Hercules at this point a while ago, but was captivated by what could replace that giant. So today I found some stuff deep in my archive from my excitement about the building of Hydra. This was one of the first coaster projects with a more modern internet presence. There were continual construction updates online, along with the use of a webcam. The park also came out with a top notch POV video, utilizing the same program they still use for previews today. These are some photos that I saved from the park's postings.
I specifically labeled them too. This is the first glimpse we had of it testing! It is in the JoJo roll, the inversion right out of the station
First two train test.
The first look at the evening lights
These days I do not watch the webcams too much, but the novelty of it back then made it pretty exciting. Here is a view from the first ride for the park staff back then. It is hard to believe that we are approaching a decade since Hydra opened!
There was lots of excitement for the opening of the ride. The ride that it replaced, Hercules, was removed in 2003 and from the moment the ride closed, we were eagerly anticipating the replacement.
The park was very creative in the naming/mythology for the creation of Hydra. If you are familiar with Greek mythology, the great Hercules killed the seven headed monster, Hydra. In Dorney Park Mythology, they came up with the idea that Hydra came up from the dead and took out Hercules. The ride has seven inversions, one for each head of Hydra.

Here is a look back at Hercules, the ride that Hydra replaced. When it was built in 1989, it was the world's tallest wooden roller coaster. I spoke with the Weinstein's a while back, the family that owned Dorney Park throughout the 1980s. They sold the park to Cedar Fair in 1992. The Weinsteins had a large wooden roller coaster on their minds from the moment they were in control of the park. They hired Summers and Dinn to build Hercules. The coaster utilized a large hill to make the ride's then world record, 151 foot drop, while only having to be 95 feet tall. In my personal opinion, the drop right out of the station, the lift hill with a view of the drop, the turn at the top, the huge drop, the turn over the lake, and the drop under the station, were great. Other areas of the ride were slow paced and rough. It needed changes. Changes were made throughout the life of the coaster, but they were unable to improve the pacing of the coaster and the tearing up of the track. The coaster was quietly closed in September of 2003, and demolition started immediately to build Hydra. The following photos are from RCDB, for this was before I had my own camera. 
The following picture is not a perfect match with the vantage points seen above, but you can see how Hydra only utilizes the top of the hillside. Near the bottom of the Steel Force helix, and to the right, out of the view of the picture, is where the Thunder Creek Speedway Go-Karts ride. This has been closed. Additionally, the bottom of the Hill that Hercules utilized is relatively open. I would love to see something utilize the bottom of that hill again and perhaps use the support cutouts from the old Go-Kart track to get through the helixes. I doubt that this is possible, but it would be cool to see. Maybe a terrain Premier launching coaster, a Zamperla launched Moto-Coaster, or a terrain wood coaster? They could put the station near the trout pond. Another option could be to take out the White Water Landing water ride, seen standing near the middle of this picture. This ride is popular and photogenic, but it is aging and only gets utilized during the warmer times of the year. I would imagine this plan would have problems passing through the difficult local government, but it would be cool. This would be a great spot for another coaster, along with the areas on the other side of the property. Those are the more likely spots for new coasters.

This was a"deep cut" from my archive of photos. It is hard to believe that all of this is approaching ten years ago!

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