Looking for a fun theme park that has something for every single member of the family? You’re going to love Dorney Park! I’m sharing a few of my favorite tips to really maximize your fun (and budget) during your visit!
Thank you to Dorney Park for sponsoring our fun day! All opinions our own!
Dorney Park brings back so many memories for me. I grew up in the Poconos, just about 45 minutes from the park, so we went there often on school field trips. As a teenager, I remember driving down with friends to hang out in the park from open to close! Back in 2007, when my son was still a toddler, we took him to their Halloween Haunt one weekend.
Our most recent hosted trip, though, will probably go down in history as my son’s favorite! He’s 12 now. Old enough to really enjoy all the thrill rides…and enjoy them he does! He and his dad are huge fans of roller coasters! My best friend also joined us at the last minute with her toddler, making the day even better.
Read on for my favorite tips to really maximize your fun (and spending money) at Dorney Park! First, though, check out our video with a few of our favorite rides and attractions!
5 Tips to Maximize Your Fun at Dorney Park
Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom is basically two parks in one. On the Dorney side, you have all your exciting rides for all ages, from crazy scary roller coasters for thrill seekers to a ton of “kiddie” rides over in Planet Snoopy. When you need to cool down, you just walk right on over to Wildwater Kingdom, where you’ll find water slides, wave pools, tot-friendly splash pads and more.
We did both parts of the park, but most of our pictures are from the Dorney side. Hey, you try carrying a camera around a water park! Although they do sell waterproofing gear for just about everything you can think of there! Here are my top tips for really maximizing your fun and getting the most bang for your buck.
1- Parking and finding your car
When you arrive at Dorney, you’ll have to pay for your parking before you even enter the lot, unless you have a Season Pass (more on that in a moment). Parking is $20 per car, so make sure you factor that into your budget for the day.
When you get out of your car, take a picture of the nearest signpost. Each one has a different Peanuts character on it. For example, we parked between Linus and Sally. The parking lot isn’t too crazy huge, but when you’re exhausted from all the fun at the end of the day, knowing exactly where you parked is definitely a plus!
2- Pay online for the best price!
If you want to get the absolute best price on tickets, pay online! While Rich(my husband), Jake and I received complimentary tickets, as I mentioned, my friend Dana was a last-minute addition. Kids ages 2 and under are free, so we didn’t have to pay for Penelope. Since the online price is currently $19 cheaper than the gate price, I just loaded up the Dorney Park website on my phone and bought the ticket right there. When I was done paying, I showed the scan code at the gate and we were good to go.
Throughout June, they have a fabulous deal where everyone gets in for the kids’ price ($39) when you order online. It’s part of their Lemonade Days! Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom joined Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation to help fight childhood cancer, and you can contribute to the cause with a purchase of a lemonade. All proceeds go to the Foundation.
If you’re planning to visit the park more at least twice during the season, I highly recommend buying a 2017 Season Pass. It pays for itself in two visits, especially when you factor in the free parking that comes with it!
3- Save on drinks and food
Food and beverage prices are about what you would expect to see in a theme park. Save money by upgrading your admission with one of Dorney’s drinks and dining packages. If you’re planning multiple visits, get the All Season Dining Pass so you can get lunch and dinner every time you visit. If you’re just going for the day but plan to eat in the park, the All Day Dining Pass is a must. For under $32 per person, you can get an entree and a side every 90 minutes at participating stands and restaurants in the park. I wish I thought to grab that!
Dorney Park also allows you to bring in one factory-sealed water bottle per person. I bought a big one at the grocery store, then we refilled it from the water fountains all over the park. The water is actually good, too! No weird taste that you’d expect from a water fountain, and I’m super picky about water, so I’d know.
4- Get a free park map and make a plan!
Plan to do a lot of walking at Dorney Park! The park itself has a pretty good layout and gorgeous landscaping, but the coasters are a bit spread out. It makes sense, a few of them are HUGE so they need more space. There are also a few hilly walkways throughout the park. I suggest making a plan for which coasters and rides you really want to go on, then doing sort of a loop of the park. That way, you’re not walking all the way down to one ride, then all the way back up to the next, then back down again.
Jake and my husband started with their new ride, Kaleidoscope. It spins you around and makes you feel weightless throughout the whole ride. Jake loved it, of course. It’s also super close to the park entrance, so it’s the perfect place to begin your adventure.
5- Go during the week, if possible!
We went on a Tuesday and got there around noon. The park was busy but not overwhelmingly so. Jake and Rich waited in line for less than 10 minutes for each coaster. They hopped on the Hydra while I snapped some pictures. I really love that Dorney has a seat from each coaster near the entrance. That way, you can see how you’ll be strapped in (and make sure the seat is a good fit for you).
The longest line that we stood in all day was for the Tilt a Whirl, which just happens to be one of the few rides that doesn’t scare me. I’m kind of a wimp when it comes to thrill rides! I always say, “I was born feet first, so the universe doesn’t want me to go upside down!” I was so happy to see the Tilt a Whirl. It was my favorite ride at the fair as a kid, but our local fair got rid of it years ago to put in more thrill rides.
If you do go on a day where the lines are longer (like the weekend or a holiday), you can upgrade your ticket and get a Fast Lane bracelet for as little as $43 dollars (that’s in addition to the actual admission fee). Oh! Another tip that goes along with this, I suggest doing Dorney first, THEN Wildwater Kingdom. A lot of guests do the reverse. Trust me, though, on a hot day, you’ll want to cool down after walking around Dorney for a few hours!
Now that you know a few of my favorite tips, how about checking out some of my favorite Dorney Park moments? I admit, I went way overboard snapping pictures! We so rarely get out as a family, I wanted to capture every bit of it.
Our favorite rides and moments from our day at Dorney Park
I think by now you can tell that my son and husband were all about the thrill rides, right? After Hyrda, they had to check out Steel Force. The coaster is celebrating its 20th anniversary! Did you know that when it opened in May 1997, it was the tallest free-standing coaster and the first to break the 200-feet barrier on the East Coast? It’s so big, I couldn’t fit it into one picture!
Dorney Park definitely has its share of thrill rides, but what about fun for the little ones? That’s where Planet Snoopy comes in! This section of the park has a TON of fun for even the tiniest tots. From super cute and mellow rides to fun shows featuring your favorite Peanuts characters, smaller kids never feel left out.
When you’re tired and need a break, there are plenty of benches in shaded areas to sit for a minute!
As I said, the landscaping is gorgeous and the designers of Dorney Park clearly put a lot of thought into making sure there are plenty of shady areas to get a break from the blazing hot sun!
We finished up our day in Wildwater Kingdom. My friend took Little P over there before us and got a good spot near the splash pad for the little ones. Penelope had so much fun running around and cooling off, especially when Jake came over to play with her!
Our Dorney Park day was filled with fun and excitement…and a lot of sun! I put sunscreen on Jake but somehow forgot about myself. My last bit of advice: DO NOT forget the sunscreen! I’m currently coated in layers of aloe because of my mistake!
Dorney Park is an absolute blast for everyone in the family! Located in Allentown PA right off Route 78 (just a few miles from where my son was born!), it’s easy to get to from just about everywhere. It’s just about 45 minutes from the Poconos , a little over an hour from Philadelphia, and less than two hours from all the major metropolitan areas in NY and NJ.
Visit the Dorney Park website to learn more about all the rides, ticket prices and package deals! Follow Dorney Park on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with news, and on Instagram for trip planning inspiration!