7 Super Fun Reasons Why Dorney Park Is Perfect For Family Fun!
Dorney Park in Allentown, PA is the perfect amusement park to take your entire family. Read on to find out why!
We were hosted by Dorney Park and Discover Lehigh on this trip. However, this review reflects our honest opinion.
As we drove by Dorney Park on the highway, my 6 year old screamed with delight. You can see many of the larger roller coasters and water rides from the road. She was particularly excited about a blue and yellow roller coaster that had about 15 twists and turns. As she was planning her path directly for that roller coaster, I was secretly hoping she wasn’t tall enough yet.
I am not ready for her to be big enough for scary roller coasters. Ack! When did my baby grow up? Well, I got my wish… at least partly. She was just barely not tall enough for that roller coaster. Phew! And she was perfectly content to check out the kids area.. but those roller coasters. They were like a huge magnet, drawing us in.
We had an amazing day of fun at Dorney Park in Allentown, PA. Read on to find out why Dorney Park is the perfect theme park for family fun!
Related: Check out the Kid Friendly Maryland comprehensive resource for parents: Things To Do In Maryland With Kids!
1. Planet Snoopy
Planet Snoopy is pretty much heaven for any kid under the age of about 7 or 8. Peanuts and the gang are not unique to Dorney Park. There is a very nice Planet Snoopy at King’s Dominion too (the two parks are owned by the same parent company). Many of the rides and shows are the same or similar between the two parks.
That is awesome though because these rides are perfect for younger kids and the theming throughout Planet Snoopy is super fun!
There are 15 rides for kids in Planet Snoopy and many of them are fun for really young kids AND kids who are right on the cusp between kiddie rides and thrill rides.
Young kids can even cut their teeth on their first roller coaster. It’s super gentle but thrilling enough to really get your kid’s blood pumping!
Tip: If your kid is going to ride both kiddie rides AND the thrill rides for older kids, start with Planet Snoopy. That way, these cute rides don’t suffer by comparison.
While you are hanging out at Planet Snoopy don’t forget to show up for the character meet ‘n greets! There is a pretty regular schedule of characters on hand for hugs and photos!
And just like at King’s Dominion, Dorney Park’s Planet Snoopy features some interactive and super fun Peanuts themed shows like Space Beagle!
2. Water Rides
Oh my goodness, the water rides at Dorney Park are AMAZING!!!! For real, I think Dorney Park officially has THE best water ride I have ever been on.
Dorney Park has three water rides– Thunder Canyon and Thunder Creek Mountain are like the whitewater and log rides you enjoy at most parks. You will get wet.. but some people will get wetter than others.
White Water Landing is in a class all by itself.
Check out this video of how off the hook this ride is:
Basically, it is a big raft that hold about 20 rider at a time (so the line goes by fast). The ride goes up, up, up a hill.. .and then down, down, down to a ginormous wave. Everyone.. Every. Single. Person.. on this ride gets soaked to the bone. It is glorious.
And then, if you aren’t already wet enough… you can stand on the bridge afterwards and get soaked again when the next raft plummets into the water.
Needless to say my daughter and I absolutely adored this ride… we rode it about 4 times!
3. Roller coasters!
Ok, so I was feeling relieved that my daughter wasn’t tall enough for that twisty turny roller coaster (Talon) mostly because I didn’t really want to ride it with her. I know.. horrible Mom (hey.. I am very aware of my mortality!). But there was no way my 6-year old was totally letting me off the hook.
And honestly, I didn’t really want to miss out on all the roller coaster fun. I am so glad she talked me into riding Steel Force!
Steel Force is awesome for a few reasons. First off, it is fast but it doesn’t go upside down. That means that if your kid is at least 48″ tall, they can ride it.. no problem! Secondly, the ride is incredibly thrilling.. but it is also very smooth. That means even an old’ish fart like me had a great time.
But the reason you absolutely MUST ride Steel Force is because it is one of the best roller coasters in the United States. Why? Well, the 205 ft drop for the first hill might have something to do with it. That’s 54 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty! And then there are a few shorter hills that keep the thrill level high. And both me and my daughter were laughing with excitement the entire ride. Man, that little girl has nerves of steel!
4. wildwater Kingdom
If you go to Dorney Park and don’t plan to spend at least a few hours in Wildwater Kingdom you are totally missing out. This water park accounts for almost half of Dorney Park. It has something for everyone in the family too.
There are at least three areas for younger kids, plus wave pools, lazy river, and water slides that range from mild (so kids as short as 42″ can slide) to serious thrill factor.
Honestly, there are so many ways to have fun in Wildwater Kingdom, you could easily justify a second day at Dorney Park just to do it all!
5. Non Roller Coaster Thrills
As with many amusement parks, the thrills are not just with the roller coasters. We loved that Dorney Park had a really good mix of kiddie rides, roller coasters, family rides (like an antique carousel), and other thrill rides.
I think our favorite non-roller coaster thrill ride (and when I say our I really mean my daughter because umm… I didn’t get anywhere near this ride) was Revolution.
Wow, my heart was in my throat when this ride started up. I thought my daughter would surely fall out of the seat or something. But no.. my little daredevil had a blast and within 5 second of the ride starting, she screamed at the top of her lungs, ‘BEST DAY EVER!!!’
Yeah, that pretty much summed up our day. We had a blast.
One of the things I love about both Dorney Park and its sister park, King’s Dominion, is the game area. Sure, some of the games will eat your money like a hungry Pac-Man. However, there are a few games geared for kids where a prize is guaranteed.
We played this fun zombie game and for $10 my daughter was able to ‘win’ this adorable bear. She was thrilled… and I was glad to get a gift for her that didn’t cost an arm and a leg.
7. Where to EAt
There is a wide variety of yummy places to eat at Dorney Park. We ate at Suppertime, located inside Planet Snoopy. The chicken strips were really yummy, as was my daughter’s mac ‘n cheese. Other dining locations include Subway, Tex-Mex, Pizza, Chickie and Pete’s Famous Crab Fries, and more.
But seriously, make sure you save room for dessert! What’s the point of going to an amusement park if you don’t indulge a little, right?
Rita’s actually has four locations sprinkled throughout the park. In my humble opinion, there is nothing better than a big Italian Ice on a hot and steamy day. If Rita’s isn’t your jam, there are plenty of other options including Dippin’ Dots, ICEE, regular ice cream spots, and funnel cakes.
So, there you have it. Dorney Park is really so much fun for younger kids, adults, and everyone in between. We had a blast and I know you will too!
Where To STay
There are plenty of hotel options near Dorney Park. But if you have kids, you will absolutely want to stay at the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Allentown West. We were hosted by Fairfield Inn & Suites for our stay, but I actually sought this hotel out because I heard so many great things about it. The hotel did not disappoint. And, it is only 10 minutes from Dorney Park.
The rooms are really comfortable, with plenty of room for suitcases, a microwave, mini frig, and Keurig. The beds are very comfy (as in we both slept soundly). The complimentary breakfast has a wide variety of items, including mini-waffles. You will definitely not go hungry. Also, the hotel staff and management are super responsive to customer concerns and they take customer service very seriously.
The reason this hotel is so fabulous for families though is this pool! Oh. My. Goodness. It has a water-slide! Woo hoo! My daughter’s eyes lit up when she saw this pool and we probably spent 2 hours here every day we stayed in the hotel. The great thing about the water-slide is it is self contained. That means even younger kids can enjoy it without splashing into the deep end of the pool.
Here is the hotel information so you can make your reservations!
Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Allentown West (click link to make a reservation)
208 Pennsylvania Route 100, Breinigsville, Pennsylvania 18031 USA (Google Map directions link)
How about some more family fun ideas?
Check these fun family travel and family fun ideas out!
- King’s Dominion is fantastic for family fun!
- Best DC Area Amusement Parks for younger kids
- Best Things to Do With Young Kids in Philadelphia