2 hot days at Hershey Park!

Associated parks:

Saturday, August 13, 2005 4:41 PM
Ride of Steel's avatar A couple weeks ago we decided to head to Hershey Park so I was very excited to finally leave on Thursday morning. We were aiming to leave the house at 8:00 but didn't leave until 9:00 and ended up getting to the hotel at 1:45. We finally entered the park at 2:30, purchasing our two day tickets.

First Impressions:

I haven't been to Hershey in at least 10 years so I was excited. After paying the ridiculous $8.00 parking, we finally made our way to the huge parking lot. This 'entertainment complex' isn't like most amusement parks. The skyline isn't as exciting as Cedar Point, but you can tell how big the park because you see lightning racer on one end and Great Bear on the other.

They don't lie when they say you smell chocolate in the air as you pass the factory.

1st Day

We started out the day by heading to Lightning Racer, then hitting the Wild Mouse as well as Wildcat. We continued on and got in line for Storm Runner. After that we rode Great Bear a few times, had dinner, and continued over to Comet. We ended the day with another ride on Storm Runner and headed back to the hotel at about 9:30 or so.

2nd Day

We bolted straight towards Storm Runner, and ended up getting 3 rides in before 11:30 which wasn't too bad. After that, we headed toward Americana Midway, and rode WM, LR, and Wildcat. Lightning Racer had a short line so we did that repeatedly. After that, we headed towards the Chocolate Factory and did the tour and ate lunch. At about 3:30 or so we headed back into the park and rode the Great Bear a few times. After Great Bear we rode Flying Falcon which was great. We then rode Storm Runner in the front seat, headed back over to Lightning Racer for a few laps, got wet near Rollersoaker, rode Great Bear, Comet, and Superdooperlooper, and headed out.

The Rides:

Storm Runner:

The first ride on this thing I wasn't sure I liked it. I sat in the back seat, and it was sorta rough and I couldn't see where I was going. The entire ride, aside frlom the launch was sort of dull. On later rides, we sat in the front twice and towards the front the rest of the rides and it was GREAT! The airtime before the snake dive element was awesome and the launch felt just as powerful as TTD and provided the same sensation. It feels really fast because of all the trees around. The rest of the ride was great, the snake dive was slightly overrated but was fun none the less. The restraints were pretty cool. At one point it closed because of the weather and people were super angry. People in Ohio are much more patient for TTD than these people are for SR. I can only imagine what happens with KK when it breaks down. Overall 7 laps.

Lightning Racer:
I really liked this ride. The airtime was ok, not anything great, but the racing was fun and the second day Thunder won nearly every lap. Good ride but not amazing. It's funny how they try to make it like a steel coaster when it comes in to the station, lightly tapping the brakes so it maintains a constant speed instead of starting and stopping.


Now this was the biggest surprise of the trip! It was fabulous! Great Laterals, airtime, and g's. I've grown up on older and rougher woodies, (I've only been on one CCI), so I'm used to these kinds of rides and this was excellent.


This is another Great woodie, alot faster and longer than I thought, great layout and smooth ride.

Great Bear:

This was another surprise of the trip, the helix before the drop was awesome and the entire ride kicked butt, but it was a little too short. However the ride itself was excellent.


This was a nice ride. It feels like an Intamin coaster and it's nice and long.


I was expecting a bad ride but it was pretty smooth and fun, and you get a good view on SR's line.


I was expecting the worst considering it's an older Boomerang but it was pretty smooth and the restraints were well padded so it was great just like SFDL's Boomerang.


I think that's about it. We hit a few smaller rides too but didn't ride any water rides. I never got on the Claw but I've ridden those before so I didn't miss out too bad.

The workers were ok but not great. The ride ops were like machines. And what's up with the loading procedure at this place? It's the only place I've ever seen the ride ops do an 'ok sign' with their hands instead of the usual thumbs up. They also don't say "clear" or "Enjoy your ride" or anything like that. On a couple coasters they say "dispatch" but that was as exciting as it got. There looked to be a kid my age running Great Bear which made me jealous because I'm currently stuck working at McDonalds because theres no parks around me. Oh well, I'll be at CP in 2007.

Overall the park was clean, the rides were great, and the Chocolate World was cool. The Pepsi machines now take credit card which is sorta cool. A 32 oz fountain drink was $2.50 which wasn't too bad.One question, did Hershey switch from Coke to Pepsi this year? Because all the machines looked brand new and it seemed like they were really marketing for the soda company.

I had a great time at a great park and we hope to go back soon. They just need some sort of freefall ride, or a hyper coasters because there are no rides with extreme heights here.

Saturday, August 13, 2005 5:32 PM
Thank-you for the report, ROS, much appreciated. I've never been to Hershey Park (I'm based in the UK) but one of my co-workers has. He loved it so much he named his pet rabbit after the park (ladies and gentlemen...introducing 'Hershey' the coaster-crazy bunny!). Sounds like you had a great visit.

Shame my only experience of Storm Runner is via RCT3: Soaked!

Saturday, August 13, 2005 5:35 PM
Your trip is over already? Seems like so long ago you were asking for tips about the park. Glad you had a good time. So how were the backstreet boys? :) You didn't mention how crowded the park was because of the concert.

To answer your question, yes I think they did switch from Coke to Pepsi this year. I thought I remembered reading that somewhere (not on this site).

I'm wondering if the township put any restrictions on how high Hershey can build since they don't really have anything very tall other than the Kissing Tower, and that's there from the 70's.

Also in your description of Wildcat, you mention riding only one CCI coaster. I don't know if it's what you intended to say, or if I just read it differently, but Wildcat is a GCI coaster, not a CCI. Hmmm, and Thunder's winning again?

Saturday, August 13, 2005 6:00 PM
Ride of Steel's avatar Yes the trip is already over lol :( . The backstreet boys were just grand even though I was in line for Storm Runner as the concert went on ;)

To tell you the truth, the crowds were identical on both Thursday and Friday.

Sorry I left the waits out, I was sort of in a rush typing it.

Storm Runner - 15 minutes in the morning, 45 minutes in the afternoon.

Lightning Racer - 1-2 train wait

Wildcat - 10-20 minute waitt

Comet - 10 minute wait

Superdooperlooper - 1 train wait

Great Bear - 5-10 minute wait

Sorry I left that stuff out! All the coasters were running two trains. We didn't ride rollersoaker because of the line.

I have only ridden one CCI, which is Silver Comet at Martin's Fantasy Island. I've ridden 3 GCI's. Gwazi, LR, and Wildcat. My point is that I've grown up riding rides like Predator at SFDL, Mean Streak, Cyclone at SFNE, etc.

Saturday, August 13, 2005 8:29 PM
There's no sliding scale on the parking either. I still got charged $8 at 6pm at night when the park closed at 8pm. You would think they wouldn't even have attendants at that time of night, like at PKI in 2002.
Sunday, August 14, 2005 2:33 AM
Having the season pass this year, I didn't notice that parking had gone up. But at least you can see they've done a lot with the parking-- that whole new parking scheme, the underpass, etc. The lot at PKD looks like it needs a lot of work done to it, and you also pay $8 for parking there.

Intamin, last year I got in twice without paying parking... the last day of the regular season, in just before 6 for an 8pm closing. And once during HP in the Dark, in around 9:45 for a midnight closing. But I guess that was then, this is now. Was there an event going on at the Giant Center when you were there, Intamin?

Sunday, August 14, 2005 4:11 AM
Thanks for the great TR, RoS. I'm going on Monday with JD.

It's really interesting that SR has taken a lot of line away from GB. I remember always waiting an hour for GB a few years ago.

I'm always happy to hear people say how surprised they were with Wildcat. I don't care how "bumpy" it gets, it will always be one of my favorite woodys because of it's interesting layout and wicked speed.

I wonder who the genius is who designed the new parking lot layout. He deserves an award. I always hate paying for parking though.

Glad you had fun. I consider HP one of the best park in the US, but it is one of my homeparks, so I am a little biased.

Monday, August 15, 2005 2:58 PM
coasterqueenTRN's avatar ^It's one of mine too. Well, any park under 5 hours to my house I consider "home" parks. :-)

Wildcat is actually a woody I didn't care for, which is rare because I am always bragging on the GCI's. The bumpiness was a little TOO much but I do agree it WAS wicked.

ROS, those wait times are NOT bad at all, especially in the dead of summer.

Gotta love Storm Runner, mild launch but that twist-and-dive element is amazing! Glad to hear my Lightning Racer is still kickin!

I also remember Great Bear's line being quite longer than usual. Last year when I went it was the longers (this was in early May). The rest (including SR) was 10-20 tops.

I rode the Rollersoaker once, and got blasted! Silly brats. ;-)

Glad you have fun! I will have to get up there again next year.


*** Edited 8/15/2005 6:59:57 PM UTC by coasterqueenTRN***

Tuesday, August 16, 2005 3:05 PM
I went yesterday. I take back the great comments about the parking lot. They need to do something about the exiting. It was like 6 lanes merging into 6 lanes, and if you were in the wrong lane you had to turn onto the road in you undesired direction.

I wish I could draw y'all a picture. It was insane.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005 4:28 PM
Oh please! Exiting the park is nothing!

Want some fun? Try exiting GIANT Center after a hockey game on a sold out night... 10,500 fans all trying to leave at once. It's like NASCAR... with a little ancient Roman chariot racing thrown in just for the heck of it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005 5:40 PM
Aren't we talking about the same thing, SLFAKE?
Tuesday, August 16, 2005 11:55 PM
Usually when I leave Hershey, it's me and maybe 30 other cars. Makes the merging a lot easier.
Wednesday, August 17, 2005 12:11 AM
dexter, I definitely agree with you on the exit strategy -- something about how all the lanes merge into one, then split back into four again is really confusing.

In response to the various comments about the coasters, I'll offer up some of my own thoughts from having ridden them all for the first time last year and having come back from a return trip just a couple days ago:

I didn't remember liking Comet all that much, but it rather impressed me with its smoothness. On the other hand, SooperDooperLooper, which I'd heard nothing but amazing things about, was still a disappointment to me. The helix at the end is nice, and the loop is pretty forceful, but there didn't seem to be too much in between.

My biggest surprise was Great Bear. It may not be the longest invert, but it certainly ranks as one of the best. The helix at the top -- the "fake drop" is one of the coolest elements on any invert, period, and is a great setup for such a nice ride. The ending falls a little flat -- and the camera couldn't possibly be in a worse location -- but pound for pound, I'd take four laps on the Bear over even two laps on Raptor.

One thing I really noticed about Comet Hollow this time around was the integration -- the way the three coasters, the Antique Cars, and the log flume all are interlaced, with crossing tracks and supports. It's really an amazing engineering feat to look at. I make special note of this because Storm Runner, while a fine ride, must be one of the most aesthetically hideous coasters ever built. The curves just don't really look very smooth, the track always seems to be at unusual angles, and save for the overhead view from the Kissing Tower, the ride really isn't photogenic at all.

As for the ride experience, I beg to differ about the launch. TTD and KK seem to get a second wind halfway through the launch, that point where it really kicks up a notch. Storm Runner always seemed to me to have the most force right at the onset, making for an overall less impressive launch. I also forgot how painful it is -- while the snake dive is a cool element, you drop hard into the restraints, and those shoulder harnesses just aren't comfy at all. However, I will say that the 90* banked right turn just after the snake dive is not only the ride's highlight but one of the most unexpected and terrifying elements on any steel coaster -- totally wicked.

All I'll say about Wildcat is that it was way too rough for my taste. Roller Soaker is just a barrel of fun, although slightly less fun when the water bombs aren't quite working right. And the Wild Mouse is definitely above average.

Which brings me to Lightning Racer, which I absolutely adored last time and grew to love even more this time. It may not have the most negative Gs or laterals, but it is one damn fun ride. The racing element is truly exciting, the pacing of the ride elements is about perfect, it's pretty to look at, and it still rides smooth as silk. It may not be legendary, but if you haven't ridden it, you're missing out on what I feel is a fantastic though underrated woodie -- particularly since it's in a state that has such renowned wooden coasters.

All told, a great trip (though Sunday night was muggy as hell). Probably won't be repeating it next year, but that just means I'll have to hit up someplace else, won't I? :)

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