New steel-themed Dorney coaster will feature hair-raising 95-degree plunge
SOUTH WHITEHALL TWP., Pa. — Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom plans to open the Northeast's first-ever "dive" roller coaster, featuring a 95-degree drop, the amusement park announced Thursday.
And its design will pay homage to Lehigh Valley history.
Dorney’s new steel roller coaster will be called Iron Menace, park officials said in an announcement that it had teased for weeks.
- Dorney Park soon will open a new steel "dive" roller coaster called Iron Menace, paying homage to the Lehigh Valley's industrial heritage
- The ride will have a 95-degree drop, a tilted loop, a three-second hold and more
- Construction likely will finish in spring 2024
Roller coaster enthusiasts and locals alike have anticipated the announcement since Dorney Park first came before South Whitehall commissioners for plan approval in February.
Iron Menace will be the first new roller coaster constructed at the park since Hydra was built in 2005.
Dorney Public Relations and Communications Manager Ryan Eldredge said it will be the first "dive" roller coaster in the Northeast.
A "dive" coaster is one that features one or more near-vertical drops that provide a moment of free-falling for passengers.
The ride also will have thrill features such as suspended passengers before the 95-degree drop, looking straight down before a sudden release.
It also will have the first-ever tilted, or inclined, loop on a dive coaster — meaning the train will enter a vertical loop at an angle.
The imagery of the coaster and the surrounding decor will “call back” to Bethlehem Steel and some of the other industrial facilities in the Lehigh Valley, Eldredge said in an interview provided by the park.
“A lot of us have fond memories [of the industrial facilities] and then some of us, when it's dark and creepy — we have those memories too. And so to tie it all together into a ride like this is really special.”Dorney Public Relations and Communications Manager Ryan Eldredge
“A lot of us have fond memories [of the industrial facilities] and then some of us, when it's dark and creepy — we have those memories too,” Eldredge said.
“And so to tie it all together into a ride like this is really special.”
The new ride will be erected on the site of the former Stinger roller coaster, north of Dorney Park Road and Lincoln Avenue.
Construction likely will finish in spring 2024, and the ride will open that season, Eldredge said.
What will Iron Menace be like?
According to details provided by Dorney, the new roller coaster will be the fourth-tallest ride at the park, at 161.67 feet. The highest drop will be 152 feet at a 95-degree angle.
The ride will last 90 seconds, with a top speed of 64 mph.
It will have two 21-passenger trains, each with three rows with seven seats. Riders will be positioned above the track, harnessed in seats but with no surrounding cart.
The roller coaster will have the newest trains from manufacturer Bolliger & Mabillard, according to Dorney Vice President and General Manager Jessica Naderman.
Naderman said in a provided interview that the new ride will be “dynamic” and different from other dive roller coasters.
“Most dives are big and lumbering,” Naderman said. “I think this one you're going to find to be a little bit more agile, and a little different than all the other ones that have been manufactured so far.”
Other features include:
- Three-Second Hold — Passengers will be suspended before the 95-degree drop, looking straight down before a sudden release.
- Immelmann — A maneuver that takes riders into a half-loop followed by a half twist before exiting while traveling in the opposite direction making a 180-degree turn.
- Zero G-Roll — The track will twist 360 degrees as it rises and falls in elevation, which Dorney says will give riders “the weightless effect of zero G-force.”
- Tilted Loop – Also known as an inclined loop, the train will enter a vertical loop at an angle. According to Dorney, this will be the first-ever dive coaster with a tilted loop.
- 360 Degree Flat Spin — Riders will go spinning through a corkscrew element.
The backstory of the roller coaster features a greedy steel baron who mysteriously disappeared and left behind "the [steel] mill's decrepit shell, rusty relics and wild tales of the owner's whereabouts," according to a description provided by Dorney.
Little has been revealed about the experience inside the ride's entrance, but renderings show rusty shacks at its starting point.
‘A real turning point’
Eldredge said the ride is a multi-million-dollar project. He sees it as an investment that will bring newcomers to the park, as well as locals who have not visited in recent years.
“What we're looking for is just to get people back to this park to remember why they loved it so much when they were younger.”Dorney Public Relations and Communications Manager Ryan Eldredge
“What I hear a lot when I go out into the community is like, ‘Oh, Dorney Park, I haven't been there in years,’” Eldredge said. “And for me, this is a way to change that. This is a way to be top-of-mind again.
“What we're looking for is just to get people back to this park to remember why they loved it so much when they were younger.”
Eldredge described the new roller coaster as a “real turning point” for Dorney Park. He said he hopes the ride will show that the company wants to be part of the community and continue to grow.
“Not only are we invested by bringing in a roller coaster, which is certainly a large investment, but we're invested in a way that we want to bring the rich tradition and history of the Lehigh Valley into this ride,” Eldredge said.
The official drawings of the coaster are finished, Dorney Director of Maintenance and Construction Paul Wieder said in a provided interview. The drawings soon will go through the permitting process.
Park officials have foundation permits, Wieder said. Digging for the foundation will start by the end of the week.