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Iron Menace roller coaster at Dorney Park is a 64 mph thrill. Here's what it's like to ride

Iron Menace roller coaster opening soon at Dorney Park | What it's like to ride
Iron Menace roller coaster opening soon at Dorney Park | What it's like to ride 03:18

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (CBS) -- When the Iron Menace roller coaster paused after hoisting myself and fellow thrill seekers 15 stories above Dorney Park, I had a thought: Why did I do this?

That thought then gave way to the thrill of a 95-degree drop — and multiple twists left and right, getting thrown upside down four times and experiencing weightlessness — all at a speed of 64 mph.

Jessica Naderman, the general manager of Dorney Park, had warned me I might feel what I felt at the top.

"The drop is the star, as I like to say," Naderman said. "The drop, which holds you for three seconds so you get to contemplate 'Why did I make this decision, why did I ride this ride?'"

Dorney Park reopens for its 2024 season on May 10, with Iron Menace as the heavily marketed new ride to watch. We got a chance to preview the ride beforehand.  

In the end, photographer Tom Gardner and I had loads of fun. We filmed our ride on the new coaster that you can see in the video above.

Howard Monroe (in blue, left) and photographer Tom Gardner ride Iron Menace, a new roller coaster at Dorney Park in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The dive coaster features a 95-degree angle drop and a top speed of 64 mph. CBS News Philadelphia

It's going to be a big season for the 140-year-old amusement park in Allentown. 

Iron Menace is the park's first new coaster in 19 years. It's also the 100th anniversary of the wooden framed rollercoaster, Thunderhawk. 

The park's newest and oldest rides are now thrilling enthusiasts in perfect harmony: the clickety-clack of Thunderhawk matched with the silence of Iron Menace, which already has some rave reviews.

"It is the fact that I know what I'm doing is safe but it's so thrilling and exhilarating," said Elizabeth Ringas, president of the American Coaster Enthusiasts group.

Iron Menace has a haunted industrial theme

The ride is about a minute long and tells the fictional story of a haunted steel factory.

CBS News Philadelphia

"You get to live a ghost story in this thrilling experience on Iron Menace," said Ken Parks, a designer with Dorney Park's parent company, Cedar Fair.

"We're really excited about how the theming of the ride station and the land steel yard came out, because it really feels like an authentic, abandoned early 1900s factory," added Clayton Lawrence, another designer with Cedar Fair.

Thunderhawk, the wooden framed roller coaster at Dorney Park, turns 100 years old in 2024. CBS News Philadelphia

As Iron Menace runs in unison with its predecessor Thunderhawk, the hope is Dorney Park becomes the park of choice once again. 

"The Lehigh valley is very proud and they're very excited. This gives people a reason to love Dorney Park again," Naderman said.

Get a first-person look at riding Iron Menace at Dorney Park

When you can ride the Iron Menace roller coaster

Dorney Park opens for pre-season preview days Saturday, April 27 and Sunday, April 28, as well as the following weekend, Saturday, May 4 and Sunday, May 5.

The park said Iron Menace will be open for visitors on those pre-season preview days.

Dorney Park then fully reopens on Friday, May 10, 2024.

One of the multiple inversions taking riders upside down on Iron Menace at Dorney Park. The park fully opens May 10, 2024. CBS News Philadelphia
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