RideZone's Talon
April 25, 2001 Construction Photo Gallery - 14 photos
April 23, 2001 aerial photo by Brett Bekiarian - 1 photo

A New Inverted Roller Coaster at Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom in Allentown, PA

by Joel Styer

Note: Due to the large number of photos on these pages, they may take a long time to load

On Wednesday afternoon, May 25, I received THE call I had hoped would come - "can you come up and ride Talon?". After some rearranging of schedules, I found myself on the platform, literally drooling. This test session was being used for operator training and we were going to slip in for a ride or two. 

We went first over to the transfer track area while the first train was being transferred, an amazingly precise and quick operation. The first train was tested for three circuits and then the second train was added and tested. Finally I was asked "Are you ready to ride?" Was there more than one possible answer?

I had waited so long for this day. I entered the front, right hand seat. We start up the lift hill a bit and then it picks up speed. It seemed to move faster than I recall other inverted coasters, but maybe I just wanted to get to the top quicker. I won't describe the elements here, since anyone who has seen the photos or the animation has a good idea what they are. Instead, I'll describe the differences from other inverted coasters and the highlights.

If you have ever ridden a B&M inverted coaster (other than in Florida), you know the "B&M Roar". The first thing you notice here is the silence. It is much quieter than I expected with the filled rails. Almost eerie. You cannot use the sound to gauge the ride speed, which I think adds immensely to the ride and becomes part of the illusion. That illusion is the shear number of "near misses". After seeing it all winter and editing the photos for hours, I thought I had a pretty good idea where the surprises would be. Well, a couple of them got me and one surprised me good on both rides, totally not where I expected it. Yes, I lifted my legs! We call them "foot choppers"

The landscaping totally reinforces this effect. The park could have easily saved a few dollars by leaving the ground flat and dull, but nope, they did it right. The areas of travel are contoured to heighten the tightness of the ride and the closeness to the ground. Of course there is adequate clearance for even the largest person, but a number of good illusions have been created. You will see a lot of people lift their feet come summer. 

Talon is also continuously fast, there are no dull spots. It just flies from beginning to end, even with only a few people on the train. While many of us drooled over the tight layout, some people were concerned about possible roughness or head banging due to the tight transitions. Nope, none of either. Extremely smooth and no noticeable head banging in the front or back seat. Just fun.

Of course Talon isn't the biggest or longest coaster nor does it set a list of world records. What is does do is provide a fun with a very pleasing ride. To me, it is close to perfect. I have never been known to keep riding an inverted coaster over and over (Except in Florida - no lines) but I could ride Talon quite often and hopefully will. Dorney Park couldn't have asked for much more, it is the perfect fit into their roster of coasters and should make the enthusiast as well as all their coaster loving guests very happy. I suspect, like Steel Force, there will be a path almost worn in the concrete from the exit back to the entrance. Few will be able to get enough of it.

Hopefully, I have whetted you appetite for Talon. Opening day is but a week away (May 5, 2001). The excitement at the park and in the area is building. With Dorney Park being the co-host of the American Coaster Enthusiasts convention this year, many enthusiasts will get to try Talon. I am sure everyone will enjoy it.

I would like to take this moment to thank all the wonderful people at Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom. They took a chance on allowing me take and share these photos. I hope can only hope it has been beneficial for them. For me it was a dream come true.

Thinking back over the past six months, what strikes me most is how kind and helpful everyone was. I don't think I have ever been any place where everyone seems like they go out of their way to be friendly and nice like they have been at Dorney Park. It seemed every time I visited Dorney Park, I met someone new and each time they were just as as friendly as the last. 

In particular, I would specifically like to thank Mark Sosnowsky (Dorney Park PR), John Albino (Vice President and General Manager) and Keith Koepke (Assistant Director of Marketing and Sales). Without their support none of this would have been possible. If you happen to meet one of them and have enjoyed these photos, please thank them. I wish Dorney their most successful season ever. Thank you.

Joel Styer - April 27, 2001

Talon spins right side up coming out of the top of the Immelmann with a lone rider during this test run.

Another train speeds through the Corkscrew. Beauty in motion!

Once again, photographer Brett Bekiarian and Jerry Katula (pilot and plane owner) team up to bring us another beautiful aerial shot of Talon and it's surroundings.

Both trains are in the storage tracks on the right, waiting to go.

Close-up of the front of a train.

From the rear of the final brake, this is the view of the finale. The brakes start just above the photographer.

Looking the same direction as above but through the brake and transfer area.

A view of the "inside" of Talon showing the station, photographed from the storage track and brake run.

A train is just leaving its storage area onto the transfer track.

A little farther along. It is amazing how precise and quiet this operation is..

Standing with our backs to the railing, the train movers (laterally) toward us to line up with the main track. It is almost unnerving to see a train move toward you like that and stop inches away, although we are standing between rows.

Ready to go!

The train arrives in the station.

The first test. A single train was run three times, then the second train was added and that was tested. Then the moment came to ride :-)

The train dives under the lift and will swing around into the Corkscrew.

Article and pictures are 2001 by Joel Styer unless otherwise noted. Aerial photos are copyright Brett Bekiarian and are used with permission. All photos this page (except aerial photo) taken April 25, 2001. Aerial photo taken April 23, 2001

RideZone wishes to thank Mark Sosnowsky, John Albino and Keith Koepke of
 Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom,
Carl Hittner and Cliff Herring for all they have done to make these pages possible.
Talon, Hang Time and Wildwater Kingdom are Trademarks of Cedar Fair L.P.
Thanks to Brett Bekiarian and Jerry Katula for use of the aerial photos.

2001 Joel W Styer. All rights reserved. Updated Sunday, January 18, 2004
RideZone is not affiliated in any way with the above Amusement Park