Yesterday was my grandma’s 78th birthday and in honor of that, I am featuring Thunderhawk! Thunderhawk is a wooden roller coaster in Dorney Park (Allentown, PA) where my grandma is from. My Dad took my uncle on this coaster when he was a kid, so there’s a bit of history here for me.
I think we all know wooden coasters are terrifying. And not just the oh-I’m-going-so-fast terrifying. It’s more the this-thing-might-fall-APART terrifying. Thunderhawk was built in 1923 originally with a track that went out, had a few hills and then turned back. Exciting! It was also originally called THE COASTER. Hah! After Hercules was built, it got a new, more twisty track and was renamed to Thunderhawk. Dorney Park doesn’t waste much time in creating a cool waiting line for any of their rides, which kind of sucks, but to each his own. Thunderhawk is a floor coaster, seating two across with a simple foam lapbar. The lifthill is chain operated, which doesn’t feel so secure, but then again, what DOES feel secure on a wooden coaster? When you finally get to the top and make the first drop, it’s pretty tame, but come on! It’s a super old school wooden coaster! A few hills later and you make your first turn. It feels treacherous because the wood supports on your left feel dangerously close to decapitating you. Then, back you go, over the hills the other way and lastly, through more wood supports that force you to put your hands inside the train for fear of dismemberment. It’s a simple, old school, rickety coaster. When my cousin, Emily and I went on it, we could not stop talking about how much pain that coaster inflicted on us. Just from the rickety-ness! I’m not a huge fan of wooden coasters, but I do like the novelty and history of them. So there we go.