Dorney and Hershey trip suggestions

Thabto's avatar

We are planning on taking a trip to Dorney and hopefully Hershey while we're out that way. I heard Dorney is a park you can get through in just a few hours. Not interested in the water park. I live near Akron, OH so, the drive out there would be around 6 hours. How much time would you suggest I spend out there for these 2 parks? We were planning about a 3-4 day trip. Would it be a good idea if we just left in the morning like around 7AM and just went to Dorney that day? I know that sounds exhausting but I'm hoping to do this as efficiently as possible. I'm a Cedar Fair Platinum holder, so Dorney admission is covered, but are there ever good deals for tickets to Hershey? The time we are planning to go is in the second week of June. Any suggestions would be helpful.


I say you could do one day each for both parks. As for Dorney, it can be pretty quick if all you want is coasters and ignore the rest. Same, really, for Hershey if it's not too busy and you've chosen a good time to go. You're young, so the drive then an afternoon/evening at the park won't kill you. (Like it would me...)
I hate to start this up, but do you realize how close you'll be to Knoebels on the way to Dorney? If you've never been, I'd throw them in between the two. Then it will all be worthwhile.

Jeff's avatar

I would add that both parks' wait times are influenced by the water park, especially Dorney. I spent a lot of time at Dorney on a day in June and got many laps on Talon with no wait.

Back in the day, you could always get discount Hersheypark tickets at local Giant stores. Not sure if that's still the case.

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Both parks shouldn't be crowded that week. None of the coasters at Dorney should have more than a 5 to 10 minute wait except Wild Mouse because there are usually only 4 cars are on the track, loading is slow with a confusing station setup and a rule of only 2 teenagers or adults per car. If you have the time, I would try to ride the Whip and Thunder Creek Mountain (it's a terrain log flume that is kind of unique).

Giant markets usually have discounted Hersheypark tickets that are cheaper than the discount coupons fast food places have. The only 2 coasters that could have long lines that time of year are probably Fahrenheit and Laff Trakk. I was at the park on a Sunday in October last year and almost everything was a station wait or less and Laff Trakk was still 45 minutes. Skyrush and Comet usually are crowded at opening since everyone goes there first but later in the day aren't that bad, similar to Raptor. Even without the water park, it's still an all day park just because of how much time it takes to walk around the park and the layout can be very confusing to
a first time visitor plus a visit to Chocolate World to ride the free factory tour dark ride.

Bobbie1951's avatar

I would really recommend a full day for Hershey not only b/c there are more coasters but b/c queues tend to be long. Yes, you could get lucky and go on a day when it's not crowded but even then there will be waits for some rides. I make it a point to go to Hershey on the final day of the operating season, when attendance is way down, but even then there's a wait for Comet and as a result after multiple trips to Hershey I still haven't ridden that one. Also, keep in mind that if you do encounter a crowd and want to purchase a Fast Lane pass to get the max out of your visit, they sell these passes in limited quantities. On one occasion when the park was a mob scene I decided to bite the bullet and buy Fast Lane but it was sold out. In addition to Giant, Subway has been known to offer discount tickets to Hershey. What Yoshi said about the layout being potentially confusing to a first time visitor is spot on. And man, is there ever a lot of walking, much of it uphill. Dorney you can easily do in half a day, as there is never much of a wait for anything except water rides.


RCMAC said:

I hate to start this up, but do you realize how close you'll be to Knoebels on the way to Dorney?

As long as you're close to the East coast, you might consider a swing through Orlando to hit WDW and Universal.

If you get to dorney at opening you can do it in a few hours and head to Hershey (1hr drive) as i believe they still do the evening preview. So you would get that night and the next day. I usually get my discounted tickets from AAA.

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slithernoggin's avatar

Seconding what Mac said. Knoebel's would be well worth the slight detour.

And if you're going to be in the area, there's always Idlewild... :-)

Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
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Jeff's avatar

It's funny that the proximity of Knoebels is inversely proportional to the love one has for the park.

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eightdotthree's avatar

This is what I would do. The drive takes you right past Knoebels, if you haven't been stop and ride the highlights, have lunch, etc, drive to Dorney and enjoy the rest of the day/evening. Spend a day at Hershey, have some beers at Troegs.

I was looking to do a similar trip in the fall until I found out that Hersheypark isn't open Columbus Day weekend. Bummer.

But then again, what do I know?

Hershey is a park where one could easily spend at least 2 days, especially if it is the first trip. Especially if you like all types of attractions and like to repeat your good experiences. It's a huge park.

They have a great coaster lineup and their coasters are re-rideable. They have a strong lineup of flat rides and transportation/family rides as well. Add to that the zoo and the water park. Plus they normally have a good live performance in the Music Box Theater (Livewire in 2014 was amazing) and a good country music show.

In my experience the lines at Hershey aren't too bad on a weekday. There is just so much to do there, the crowd gets spread out well. Go to the back of the park first (Midway America) and work your way forward to avoid the early morning lines in the front of the park. Comet gets a line early but clears out at night. Fahrenheit and Laff Track tend to get lines because of low capacity.

Dorney is definitely a one day park at that. Maybe its just me, but there just wasn't anything there that outstanding that I would go again. The best ride there was Steel Force IMO.

Knoebels is worth seeing if the budget and time allows. It's a quirky trip back into time. Overall, it's not really a "nice" park (pea stone walkways, old buildings and some of the most outdated restrooms in the industry) but the age of the place is part of its charm. It's also home to the best bumper cars and the best flying scooters in the world. Those 2 rides alone justify the trip. Plus the Phoenix is amazing and the other coasters are good. And excellent county fair style food. It's one of those places you will eat even though you may not be hungry.

As far as the rest rooms at Knobel's , just saw a photo on FB of the one in question being razed. Word is that a brand spanking new one should be taking it's place shortly.

TheMillenniumRider's avatar

Not just the bumper cars and the flying scooters at Knoebels, you have one of only a few brass ring carousels. One of the only Herschell loopers still operating. The only wooden bobsled in existence. One of few Fascination games left operational. Don't forget one of the best haunted houses out there.

Yeah the paths are dirt, and the bathrooms are old. But I can bring the dog with me, he can ride some of the rides, and there is not a place like it anywhere else. If you can afford the time, don't miss it.

kpjb's avatar







ApolloAndy's avatar

I haven't been a close to a decade, but I when I tried to do Dorney and Hershey on the same day (Hydra opening day) it felt like I was rushed, even though I had been on just about everything at Dorney already. The lines at Hershey for the 2 smaller Intamins can get pretty bad. Fahrenheit in particular has really awful capacity.

Pair that with the hills at Hershey and the freakin' marathon of a walk out to Lightning Racer and the pretty nice general vibe of both parks, and I'd personally rather take my time than rush through. Talon is worth multiple, multiple laps and Steel Force and Hydra are both worth a couple. If you haven't had a lot of inverted shuttles, both are good with mediocre capacity (though I assume you've Face/Off'd enough for a lifetime).

As for Hershey, SkyRush, Fahrenheit, Great Bear and LR are all worth multiple rides and I could ride Storm Runner all day. I absolutely think that only taking one or two spins on that ride would be a tragedy.

Could you do it in one day? Sure. Would I? No, even though I have been on just about every coaster in both parks.

Last edited by ApolloAndy,

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Tommytheduck's avatar

Just a few of my own observations. While I haven't ridden it in probably 7 years, Talon was my favorite Invert, until Banshee, and one of my favorite B+M's overall. In my opinion, it's that good. Again, it's been 7 years, so no guarantees it hasn't roughened up.

With Hershey, if they are still doing the evening preview, it might be worth checking out if you get out of Dorney early.

I really want to stay out of the Knoebels thing. Obviously, if you're from Akron, you already know where Knoebels is in relation to where you're going. Personally, I do love Knoebels, so there's that. But, If you do go the Knoebels route, you'll save one trip on the extremely expensive Pennsylvania Turnpike. Eastbound is more expensive, as there's a $5 or $6 toll simply to enter Pennsylvania, but not returning westbound.

*edit* After looking it up on Google maps, it actually appears that driving Akron to Dorney should be taken on 80 anyways,which is toll free. The return trip from Hershey will probably be the Turnpike.

rollergator's avatar

Jeff said:

It's funny that the proximity of Knoebels is inversely proportional to the love one has for the park.

It's my home-away-from-home park...

You still have Zoidberg.... You ALL have Zoidberg! (V) (;,,;) (V)

LostKause's avatar

I would spend an entire day at Hersheypark, and half a day at Dorney, and the other half at Knoebels. Just an idea for you to ponder.

Hersheypark is huge, and there is just so much to do. They have 13 coasters and a lot of other rides you might want to check out. The shows are pretty good too. Then you could easily spend an hour or two at Chocolate World just outside the gate.

Dorney is small if you ignore the water park. It might be a Jr Cedar Point, but it's still worth a visit.

Knoebels is unique. There is a lot to do, and if you know what to expect, it's a very cool park. Twister is amazing and underrated. Phoenix is a fan favorite. The park really takes good care of it, and it runs really well.

slithernoggin's avatar

What LK said.

My first visit to Knoebels was during an ACE Coaster Con some years ago and I was immediately charmed. Also, I want to be able to step out of the front door of my house and see a roller coaster. :-)

Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

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