Dorney plans $8M for six new water slides, renovations

By - Last modified: August 28, 2013 at 11:24 AM

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Rendering courtesy of Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom: Six new slides will be installed as part of a massive $8 million renovation project at Wildwater Kingdom in South Whitehall Township.
Rendering courtesy of Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom: Six new slides will be installed as part of a massive $8 million renovation project at Wildwater Kingdom in South Whitehall Township.

Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom will build six new water slides as part of an $8 million project at its South Whitehall Township amusement park. The project also will include major renovations to Wildwater Kingdom, the water park adjacent to Dorney.

Named the "Snake Pit," the new slide complex will feature the Python Plummet, The Constrictor and Boa Blasters. Combined, they will offer six body and tube slide experiences and will bring the total number of water slides at the park to 26.

At the peak of the 65-foot tall structure, riders step into one of three chambers of Python Plummet, where a trap door launches riders down a high-speed — nearly vertical — fall through a series of flat loops and S-curves. The longest free-fall drop is nearly 450 feet.

The Constrictor spirals through an enclosed chute with four 360-degrees loops across 449 feet of slide.

Twin Boa Blasters will shoot guests down a series of high-speed drops and banks through single and double tubes.

Construction is scheduled to begin in the spring, with the slides and renovations expected to be ready by Memorial Day. To make room for the slide complex, Wildwater's Reptile Run and Lilly Pads will be removed.

Michael Fehnel, vice president and general manager at Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom, called the changes a "major expansion" for Wildwater Kingdom.

"With total costs at $8 million, $4.5 million will go toward constructing the water slides while the remaining $3.5 million will be used throughout the water park for the other modifications," he said this morning.

Wildwater will revamp its seating areas, landscaping, lockers, restrooms and concession stands, Fehnel said. The total area of renovation is 4,000 square feet.

New electronic lockers will require pin codes – as opposed to keys – and the food menus will be revamped to include more options.

"We've just hired a new chef, who started three weeks ago. We've never had one before," Fehnel said. "Think about at a baseball game where the food concessions are themed. That's where we're going with this.

"While everyone still wants to get a funnel cake and cotton candy, our new menu will offer more options than ever before."

Earlier this year, Dorney Park opened a Chickie's & Pete's sports bar franchise, which has been a big success, Fehnel said.

The amusement park's last major addition was the three-acre Dinosaurs Alive exhibit and the $10 million 138-foot Stinger inverted coaster, both in 2012.

Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom is owned and operated by Cedar Fair Entertainment Co., a publicly traded partnership listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "FUN." Cedar Fair is based in Sandusky, Ohio.

Christopher Holland

Christopher Holland

Christopher Holland is a researcher for Lehigh Valley Business and blogs on arts and entertainment in the region.

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