In May of 2016 I visited New York with my parents for the purposes of seeing the Yankees take on my Chicago White Sox in the Bronx. I insisted that on this visit, we make the 2-hour drive west to Allentown, Pennsylvania and log some coaster credits at Dorney, another Cedar Fair property.
Though it was a wet and rainy morning, by afternoon the skies cleared and I was able to nab multiple rides on all six major coasters at the park (I don’t consider the Mack-built Wild Mouse a “major” coaster). Stinger was great in the back row, Possessed was decent for an inverted impulse shuttle, Thunderhawk was rough and surprisingly yawn-worthy, Talon was enjoyable (though not incredible), and Steel Force was an awesome hyper. But what about that lime green B&M floorless lurking in the back?
Replacing the late — and I’m told brutal — Hercules, this coaster has far less impressive ride stats than the ill-fated Greek mythological hero. With a top speed of only 53mph, a first drop of 105ft and a track length of just under 3,200ft, I didn’t expect great things from Hydra (especially when compared to Hercules’ 65mph at the base of the 151ft drop and his 4,000ft of track).
However, Hydra does last for roughly 2-1/2 minutes and boasts 7 inversions including a very peculiar kind, but I’ll get to that later.
I loved the color scheme on this one. Teal supports with lime green track and bright PINK shoulder restraints on the trains stood out, but in a good way. Despite an extremely cool sign, there was no discernible theming from Dorney. The station was very bare-bones.
The Big Gimmick
For my inaugural trip, I decided that the front row would be best. Turns out, I was right! Immediately out of the station is the ride’s unequivocal highlight: a veeerrrryyy slow heartline roll taken prior to the lift hill. It’s nicknamed a “jojo roll” (don’t ask) and the hangtime experienced in your restraint is superb.
Heartline rolls before the lift are becoming more common these days, but as my first time witnessing such a thing, I have to say it was phenomenal. In fact, the rest of the ride was anticlimactic! Speaking of which……
The Rest of the Coaster
……..I wasn’t all that impressed. There was no signature pre-drop (like you see on so many B&M models), just a gentle decent to a top speed of 53mph, which is barely fast enough to get through the remainder of the course.
Hydra’s 2nd inversion is an inclined dive loop, which to be honest didn’t even feel like a “true” inversion. That’s followed by a zero-G roll, after which is a large sweeping corkscrew. An oddly twisted cobra roll counts as inversions #5 and #6, and Hydra wraps things up with one final corkscrew and a brief helix turnaround before the brake run.
(Hydra’s back half, with the inclined loop and final flatspin visible here [inversions #2 and 7])
Aside from an unbeatable view of the “jojo roll”, the front row didn’t offer much in the way of thrills. I personally found the back row delivered a wilder, more enjoyable ride. Hydra is smooth and features numerous inversions; rider throughput is pretty good with 8 rows of 4 across.
This is my 6th floorless coaster to date, and of those half dozen, I’d have to place it towards the bottom of the list. Rougarou, Bizarro (née Medusa), heck, even Batman the Dark Knight at SFNE were all faster than Dorney’s newest custom coaster.
I just don’t see Hydra stacking up to other floorless creations like the fantastic Superman Krypton Coaster at SFFT and Kraken at SeaWorld Orlando. This summer I’m traveling to Spain and while there I plan on hitting up Parque Warner Madrid for their floorless, ‘Superman / la Atracción de Acero’. I’m sure it’ll be right up there in the high ranks, far above this entry.
Don’t get me wrong, I definitely didn’t hate Hydra the Revenge. But when the train meanders through its course like it does here, it’s hard to give heaps of praise when you consider others in the same category. I’d give it an 8/10 for layout uniqueness, and 5/10 for thrill factor.
Final Rating: 6.5 out of 10.