The skyline at will change yet again, with the addition of an eighth coaster for the 2012 season at the amusement park in South Whitehall.
The $10 million, 138-foot Stinger will be an inverted shuttle rollercoaster resembling a scorpion ready to strike. Riders will sit face-to-face and get flipped six times as they go along 1,014 feet of overhead track, forward and backward, at speeds up to 55 mph.
Despite the coaster's name, “riders will only be injected with a pure rush of adrenaline,” said park spokesman Charles Hutchison, at a news conference Wednesday.
South Whitehall had recommended the township's commissioners approve the coaster project. Park officials didn't reveal the coaster's name at that time, though a sketch on file had identified “Project 2012” as being the Invertigo coaster from Great America park in California, owned by Dorney's parent company, Cedar Fair LP.
South Whitehall commissioners in April.
Hutchison said in an e-mail following the news conference that the coaster had been at Great America under the trade name Invertigo, but decomissioned there to be installed at Dorney Park as a new ride.
“A complete overhaul of the ride including upgraded control systems, a full track work-up, new foundational structure, new installed mechanical and drive systems, all topped off with a fresh paint color scheme are just some of the things that will make this ride a safe and thrilling new experience at Dorney Park,” Hutchison said.
Invertigo was at Great America for 12 years. According to a published report in 2009, 24 riders got stuck on the ride for hours in 2009 because of a mechanical failure. No one was injured, and the ride was reopened at that park last summer.
Hutchison said Dorney Park has in the past acquired rides from other parks that are put through extensive overhauls and inspections. He said Dorney commits millions of dollars annually to ensure that rides meet or exceed manufacturer and state ride safety standards.
Also, Jason McClure, the park's vice president and general manager, said in the statement, "Stinger is poised to strike Dorney Park guests with nothing but exciting thrills in a safe and controlled ride experience. I would like to reassure everyone that safety is the Park's first priority above all else."
Though Stinger is being constructed within the park's existing perimeter, McClure said the park might expand into other areas with the of new land from Lehigh County.
Dorney's Stinger coaster will have seven coaches, with four riders in each coach, for a total of 28 riders. Hutchison said it will handle 840 riders per hour. Riders must be at least 54 inches tall.
The coaster will be located in the northwest corner of the park, approximately at the site of the former Laser coaster. Construction is under way.
McClure said at the news conference that the park plans a capital investment each year. Planet Snoopy, an area with children’s rides, opened this year and the Demon Drop coaster opened in 2010.
Cedar Fair has invested more than $200 million in Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom since acquiring it in 1992, according to McClure.
Brad Osborne, president of the township board of commissioners, said Dorney is “one of the most innovative and exciting companies in South Whitehall Township.”
The park, which is among the Lehigh Valley's largest tourist attractions, has been good for the local economy. The park generates $1 million to $1.3 million annually in amusement tax revenue for
Brad Nesland, vice president of construction and maintenance, said Stinger also boosts the local economy with construction jobs. Nesland said the Stinger construction might be completed by December, and the ride will be ready well in advance of opening day in April 2012.