Hershey has been in major expanding mode for the past 10 years or so. They have so much to do, and the service is usuially way above my expectations. It is very charming and satisfying. Shade is abundant.
Dorney is a nice little park that lacks a lot of choice and atmosphere. With the exception of Talon, their coasters are good, but not great. I think that maybe in 10 years, Dorney will be as good as Hershey if they keep up the expanding. They have one of the best waterparks I've been to, however it has a very confusing layout and isn't very shady.
Both are very clean and friendly.
DISCLAIMER: The above is not fact, rather it is MY opinion. Read signature below.
Everything else is equal in my opinion.
Hershey has more wooden coasters to choose from. I love Wildcat, and Lightning Racer is just a fun ride, especially in the back where you can really enjoy the crossovers. Plus, in my opinion, Hershey is an "all daY" park, where Dorney can be done in a few hours, unless you like water parks.
However, at Dorney, Talon is one of my favorite inverted coasters, and though it's not Magnum XL200, Steel Force is a very good ride. Plus, the double loops on Laser, WILL give you a brown out.
Dorney has a good waterpark, Hyper, 150ft S&S tower, Talon, Classic Schwarzkopf, Decent little woodie, crappy mouse, and of course the new B&M Floorless.
In my opinion I'd rather ride Hershey's rocket more than any coaster that Dorney has.
Then again, I'm not telling you anything...that you don't already know. :)
Dorney's entrance area: Not any trees except for the occasional small one, all concrete, very bright (reflected sun). Note: further in the park are shaded areas - between camp snoopy/hydra, under thunderhawk, back end of tot spot (Dragon Coaster especially), by Solomon's Snacks down the hill from the Ferris Wheel, even the midway near the monster has considerable shade from that big vegetation island. The only problem is bright, sun-reflecting concrete. The shaded areas don't seem so shaded.
Hershey's entrance area: Big trees, and asphalt.. it doesn't reflect the sun as much as concrete. Note: further in the park (such as almost the entire back half near midway america) is, from my memory, almost treeless and not very shaded at all. Their redemption comes in, yet again, with the asphalt pavement. it's darker and not very light-reflective so it's not as bright, and thus people think it's more shaded.
You may still choose to have a concrete jungle OPINION, but it is by no stretch a fact.
My advice on the 2:
Want Chocolate? Go to Hershey :)
Want Coca-Cola? Go to Hershey
Want Pepsi? Go to Dorney
Want better versions of same rides? Go to Dorney (Talon beats Great Bear, Laser beats Sooperdooperlooper, Revolution beats The Claw)
Want more unique coasters? Go to Hershey (Stormrunner.. Kingda Ka still doesn't go upside down ;), Lightning Racer, Roller Soaker)
Want a cleaner park? Go to Dorney (I have yet to visit a park that keeps it as clean as Dorney. Even CP isn't quite as tidy) Note: This isn't saying Hershey is littered.. it's not.. but I've noticed DP is cleaner.
I guess that's an even 3/3 split for me. ;)
When we went 2 years ago in the summer at the end of June, my dad got heat stroke, and both my parents got tired of walking all over the hilly terrain.
Hershey has fun rides, I hate pepsi, and I like going upside-down. ;)
I'll try and add another perspective: Hershey's more of a thrillpark than Dorney. Dorney has a lot of coasters, so if you're just looking for credits, that will work for you. If you want big time rides, the percentage of total is better at Hershey. Many of Dorney's coasters are smaller and have more charm than thrills, although there is one definite and one upcoming possible exception to that. If you're planning an entire vacation, there's more to do around Hershey besides the park too.
The thing is, with Midway America at Hershey, there are trees, but they are not mature trees. Until the mid 1990's, that area was one big open field (used for some events like car shows). Up until around 2000, the areas around Lightning Racer were still open. Give the trees there a few years.
As for Dorney... I will admit that I am more familiar with Hershey, but from what I remember of Dorney, the "newer" sections of the park (not in the creek valley around Thunderhawk) were pretty baren and almost wall to wall concrete or buildings.
Some sections of Dorney do have personality and atmosphere. The older section of the park (in the creek valley) still has atmosphere. Of course, I am worried that even some of that atmosphere (around the log flume) may have disappeared along with Hercules sitting on its hillside.
I can't speak about Hydra The Revenge at Dorney or Storm Runner at Hersheypark because I haven't visited either park in the last two seasons. I can say that Dominator at Geauga Lake (another B&M Floorless, like Hydra The Revenge) was not my favorite coaster. I loved Top Thrill Dragster, and expect the same launch thrill with Storm Runner. (Note: Storm Runner has OTSRs and TTD has only a lap bar and seat belt. There are other threads dedicated to how this impacts ride experience.)
We visited both parks on a cold, wet weekend in May 2002. We had a great time at both. If I had to pick a favorite, it would be Hersheypark only because of the chocolate scent wafting from the factory. :) *** Edited 1/17/2005 3:09:14 PM UTC by greatwhitenorth***
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