Daniel's *Sweet* Vacation

Associated parks:
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Wednesday, August 6, 2008 10:46 PM
Every other year, my Grandma and I take a trip somewhere up North. Well since our last trip (Ontario, Canada) was in 2006, it was that time again! This year we decided to visit Hershey, so I could enjoy the park, and she could enjoy the chocolate :)

On Monday, July 21st, we flew up into Harrisburg, and took a shuttle to the Hershey Lodge (where we would be staying for the next 3 nights). Our shuttle driver was very nice and informative. He shared with us the history of Hershey; the factories and the park. The man also suggested to me all of the rides he thought I would enjoy, and how much fun we'd have (I didn't mention that I was a total coaster nerd and had watched the park's every move since I was 7 ;)).

We were bombarded with chocolate bars as we entered the lodge, and I could tell right then that this was going to be a great experience... The Lodge was very inviting; not too fancy, but still amazing through my eyes! The room was nice as well, and again, there was more chocolate!

It was nearing 7:00pm, which meant that the Preview Plan wasn't too far away! We grabbed our 2-day passes (which were discounted by about $10 each) and hopped on the nearest shuttle to Hersheypark!

We arrived at the park around 7:20, just before the PP gates opened. As my grandma and I waited, people were POURING out of the park; I took this as a good sign. At 7:25pm, they starting letting people in, and I was off!

(From here on out, I do not remember the order in which I rode things, so I will just give general reviews.)

Rides
Lightning Racer: LR was a very fun woodie; though I found it to be quite overrated. The trains are extremely comfortable (despite those horrid lap bars!), and the dueling aspect was cool, but that's all I really think this coaster has going for it. The airtime was lacking, because it seemed that the hills were too large, so the trains lost too much speed. Still though, a nice coaster, and the tunnel was a very nice touch! 7/10

The Whip: This was my first "full-sized" Whip. I received the ride I was expecting. I was told that the new cars completely changed the experience though; I can see why...

Wildcat: I was moderately impressed with Hershey's Wildcat. It wasn't as rough as I expected, and there was a fair amount of airtime, so I enjoyed it. But it's hard to imagine what it was like with PTC's. 6/10

Fahrenheit: Honestly, I was expecting much more from Fahrenheit. I don't know why, but it just wasn't as thrilling as I thought it would be. Don't get me wrong, it was a very FUN coaster, but not amazing.

The first drop was definitely my favorite part; especially in the back seat! You were literally THROWN out of your seat, up into the restraints! The Norwegian Loop was cool as well, and had a nice mix of air/hangtime. Oh yeah, and I can't forget about the awesome little ejector hill! That thing is very deceiving...

What really brought down the ride (IMO) was the continuous vibration throughout the cobra roll and corkscrews. Why is it like this? Hershey/Intamin needs to get it fixed, for I heard multiple complaints from the GP.

Even though I was slightly disappointed, it didn't stop me from riding 8 more times! And I never had to wait more than 20 minutes! 8.5/10

Sidewinder: This was definitely my favorite Vekoma Boomerang! There was still plenty of head-banging, but Hershey has added pads to the restraints, so they really cushion the blow. Nice work, Hershey! :) 6/10

Great Bear: Great Bear is probably my 2nd favorite invert (behind Montu). It has a very cool first drop (with TWO pops of air!) and a unique layout. I personally preferred the backseat on this ride, because the Zero-G roll was MUCH more intense back there. 7/10

Sooperdooperlooper: I LOVE Schwarzkopf coasters! In my opinion, SDL was probably the most fun coaster at the park. The first drop is fun, the loop is forceful, and the layout is full of surprises. Make sure to ride this thing at night, for it becomes a beast in the dark! 8/10

Comet: Comet was COMPLETELY different than I expected! I had heard that is was rough, boring, and felt like it was going to fall apart at any moment. (Okay, that last one might be true...;)) But instead, I found Comet to be smooth, air-filled, and a REALLY fun coaster! In fact, I'd go on to say that it was my favorite woodie at Hershey! The first two drops were much steeper than I expected, so that was a surprise as well. 7/10

Reeses Extreme Cup Challenge: This ride is definitely my favorite dark ride! I had never been on one with changes in elevation, so this was quite a treat. There was something fun waiting around every corner.

Wild Mouse: Once again, this was my favorite of its kind. The cars weren't slowed down once, so the airtime (and laterals) were INSANE! I loved it... 7/10

Coal Cracker: Over the 3 days that I was at Hershey, Coal Cracker always had the longest line, but it was still less that 30 minutes. This was one of my favorite log flumes I've ridden, and the first one with a small "hop" right after the final drop. In fact, it slightly frightened me...lol

Trailblazer: For the smallest coaster in the park, Trailblazer still a fun ride. There was never a line, and the final helix was almost exciting. 4/10

Canyon River Rapids: As most of you know, this will be the final season for CRR. It is a fun family attraction, and a better-than-average rapids ride. Even though I don't have much history with it, I'm still sad to see this go for just another lazy river...

Roller Soaker: Well, there is only one word that describes Roller Soaker... CRAP. Luckily there wasn't a line, because it wasn't worth it. It was cold, rough, and boring. (Yeah I know, what was I expecting, right?) But still, why couldn't this have gone instead of a classic Intamin Rapids ride? :x 1/10

Storm Runner: I saved the best for last. After 12 rides on SR, I can firmly say that it cracked my top ten coasters. The launch was intense, the tophat produces some wicked airtime, and the Flying-Snake-Dive was the best coaster element I've ever experienced! IMO, this is the top dog at Hersheypark...INTAMIN ROCKS! :) 10/10


Food
On the 3rd day in Hershey, I met up with Brandon (BRTeller) and his friend Tyler. This was the first day I actually ate inside the park.

The food was good, and well priced for what you received, and the portions were HUGE!

I suggest:
-Chicken Fingers
-Subway
-Crossroads Creamery
-Anything in Midway America!


Staff
Hersheypark had some of the best staff I had seen! They were very fast and efficient. Friendliness was also a nice factor.

Unlike most SF parks I've attended, all employees seemed to know the park very well. Ride operators knew the "facts" about their rides, and other personnel were great help with getting around the park.

Of course, there were some exceptions, such as Great Bear and Comet's crew, but everything else was comparable to Cedar Point or Dollywood operations!


Conclusion
Hershey was a very nice town, with a GREAT amusement park. There were plenty of good, quality rides, efficient staff, and lots of chocolate!

Hersheypark is now my 3rd favorite Amusement Park, and I strongly suggest it to anyone who has never visited!

*** Edited 8/7/2008 3:07:13 AM UTC by DantheCoasterman***

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Wednesday, August 6, 2008 10:54 PM
I totally agree with you about Fahrenheit, vibration and everything. Some seats and some trains are better than others in terms of vibration though. The front is barely noticeable, but the further back you get, the worse the vibration gets. Also, it IS a fun ride, but not what I would call intense. I'd say it's a definite must-ride at least once, but after that...well, meh really. And that little bunny hop? WHEW!!! I hear people scream louder on that thing than on the drop. That's wicked airtime.

I know a lot of people that don't enjoy Storm Runner all that much, but my biggest problem with it is that it doesn't last long enough! I think it's a blast. :)

Comet smooth? Ooh, ick! To each their own, I guess. :P

Glad you enjoyed the Sweetest Place on Earth. It is a lovely park, isn't it?

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Wednesday, August 6, 2008 11:08 PM
^Yes, it truly is a beautiful park!

I took over 100 pictures. Could anyone instruct me on how to share them?

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Wednesday, August 6, 2008 11:23 PM
Were they piping in the scent of chocolate in the lobby at the Hershey Lodge? You gotta love that! When I stayed there for a conference a couple years ago there was a mishap with my room so they handed me 4 regular-sized Hershey bars when I checked in. I wasn't quite sure what to say! ;)

I think it's cool that you go for trips with your grandmother. I hope she had as much fun as you seemed to have had.

And I agree, Storm Runner is still the best coaster in the park. It is impossible to not be all smiles after a ride on SR.

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Wednesday, August 6, 2008 11:53 PM
Dan, you're probably the only other person I've heard rave about Sooperdooperlooper. When I visited three years ago, I simply couldn't get enough of that delightful surprise of a coaster. Probably my favorite attraction at Hershey (although it's a tough call with LR, Comet, Stormrunner, etc . . .)
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Thursday, August 7, 2008 12:31 PM
I haven't been on Sooper lately because I remember it being kind of rough, and my friends are usually trying to get on the more complicated rides, but I've always liked it. It's very nostalgic, and taking on any coaster with inversions and just a lapbar holding you in is always kind of thrilling. Plus, with the addition of Great Bear there, you really twist through a whole lot of track. Definitely worth a go!
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Thursday, August 7, 2008 1:15 PM

DantheCoasterman said:
Fahrenheit: Honestly, I was expecting much more from Fahrenheit. I don't know why, but it just wasn't as thrilling as I thought it would be. Don't get me wrong, it was a very FUN coaster, but not amazing.

Storm Runner: I saved the best for last. After 12 rides on SR, I can firmly say that it cracked my top ten coasters. The launch was intense, the tophat produces some wicked airtime, and the Flying-Snake-Dive was the best coaster element I've ever experienced! IMO, this is the top dog at Hersheypark.


The Coasterman preaches the truth. :)

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Thursday, August 7, 2008 1:44 PM
Nice TR! :)

Please do yourself a favor ride a *real* Whip sometime, somewhere. I absolutely detest the one Hershey is running, what a shame that a traditional park like that didn't pick up one of the Mangels' Whips that are on the used rides market.

Wildcat was a MUCH more aggressive ride with the PTCs. After my lap (singular) this year, I re-dubbed the ride..."Mildcat". I'm sure the increased smoothness is a benefit to many (OK, most) people, but to me the ride is lacking the intensity that once made it a hallmark ride.

I definitely agree that Fahrenheit has the two highlights - drop, and speed bump. Other than that, the ride vibrates too much and isn't really that much FUN. The weird loop was kinda cool though.

Lastly, to reiterate Carrie M's comment...hope your GM had a great time! The "cross-generation intermingling" is one of the greatest aspects of the amusement industry, and one that really makes the parks way more fun.

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Thursday, August 7, 2008 5:07 PM
Very cool report.

I guess I'm just one of those who really likes F-heit. I've only ridden twice, but haven't noticed the vibrations that others have. Maybe I'm just oblivious.

I definitely agree about the employees though. It's a big plus to have workers who know about their park, their ride, or whatever it is they do there. If they care about the park, they care about the guests, and the job isn't just something they're doing to get money to buy all the **** they want. Guests notice that for sure.

Hope you told your grandma what a great lady she is too. She could probably adopt a few dozen more grandkids from this site alone. :)

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Thursday, August 7, 2008 10:22 PM
They had F-heit on a coaster special on the Travel Channel recently and you could tell from the on ride video that the it has a vibration problem. Not only could you see it, but you could hear it, too.

Still, I want to get out there and ride it. That is one of the best looking coasters I have ever seen.

I think you have to be one of the few that says Comet is the best wood in the park :) I liked Comet, but it was not better than Lighting Racer for me. It was better than Wildcat, though.

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Friday, August 8, 2008 12:46 AM
Thank you for all of the positive comments! :)

Ensign, ever since I hit the brake-run after the first lap on SDL, I couldn't understand why I had never really heard much about it. I think it's the parks hidden gem...(and there was never a line!)

And Gator, my Grandma ended up having a great time! She's not much on riding, but she enjoyed (and commented on) Hershey's wonderful atmosphere and friendly staff! The only thing about the park that she didn't approve of was the Boardwalk. She said it was a big, ugly slab of concrete that was a very poor decision on the park's part. I was so proud! ;)

Glad to see everyone is enjoying my report!

-Daniel

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Friday, August 8, 2008 12:48 AM
It IS possible to have a beautiful ride on Wildcat, but it is also possible to have a free spinal adjustment whether you need one or not on that ride. LOL I think this is one of the rides where you really need a specific train and seat to get a good ride. Same with Comet because I enjoyed my second ride on Comet this year, but the first one scared the crap out of me, nearly ejected me out of my seat for REAL, and hurt for a good 30 minutes after I was done with it.

KTS, Fahrenheit is definitely worth a ride or two. I liked it, vibration and all. I've ridden it about 10 times now. I just don't think it's up there in my top 5. Of course, I've only ridden 48 coasters, so it not making my top 5 isn't really saying too much anyway. Still, it would definitely make top 10 or 15, the drop is really fun and takes your breath away a little bit, and the Norwegian loop and airtime hill are worth it in themselves.

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Saturday, August 9, 2008 10:45 AM

bunky666 said:
And that little bunny hop? WHEW!!! I hear people scream louder on that thing than on the drop. That's wicked airtime.

And just wait until you experience Maverick's airtime hill!! Now THAT'S wicked airtime!! ;)

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Saturday, August 9, 2008 1:19 PM
tig, I can't WAIT. Don't get me started, or I'll never stop! LOL
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