Fall road trip: Part 1 - Hersheypark October 15

We drove through driving rain all the way from Ottawa to Wilkes-Barre Friday evening. We couldn’t believe it when the sun finally came out Saturday morning. Beautiful!

We arrived at HP around 11:00, so we visited Chocolate World and took a Trolley Works tour of Hershey. While Trolley Works was a bit pricy ($10 each), the tour guides stuffed us with chocolate throughout the tour. We arrived back just as the theme park opened and we joined the rush.

The line for wristbands was our longest line of the day. I’m not sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing. :-|

Storm Runner (Ghost Runner) – 1st row, 3-train wait. WHEE! What a rush! We held our hands up high during the launch and kept them up throughout the ride. Ouch! We have the bruises to prove it. (My wife’s arms look UGLY.) The good news is the OTSR only hit our arms, not our heads. We stopped long enough to check our photo before riding again. 2-train wait for 2nd row. Also awesome, even with our arms down for the post-loop elements. We rode again at night after two break-downs that virtually cleared the queue. The views from the top-hat and loop were amazing. :) My wife said, “TTD isn’t at the top of my list anymore. I don’t think it’s top-ten. It’s so boring compared to every other new coaster we’ve ridden.” ‘Nuff said. :)

Wildcat (Scaredy Cat) – the first drop is the steepest dive-turn I’ve ever seen on a woodie. Lots of curves, a few head-choppers, a pretty wild ride. The wife loves it and could tell me what seat was best for each element. I didn’t notice or didn’t care – all seats gave me a great ride. :) IMO, it was nearly as intense as Knoebel’s Twister. We would have ridden it more than 3 times if the queue wasn’t such a long walk.

Wild Mouse (Mouse Stew) – very fast and violent wild mouse. Almost painful – we didn’t repeat.

Lightning Racer (Wicked Racer) – We rode both sides. It’s quite fun, especially the weaving track elements near the finish. IMO, not quite as fun without the hand-slapping like Gemini.

Comet (Ichabod's Train) – IMO, it ran slow in the afternoon, but got better at night. We got some airtime sitting in the back at night, but not on all the hills, and nothing as powerful as Knoebel’s Phoenix or even SFGE Comet. Is this normal? I’m not sure, but I had very fond memories from my previous trip in spring 2003 and it didn’t meet my expectations last weekend.

Sooperdooperlooper (SooperBOOperlooper) – nice smooth ride. We’ll be calling it a classic soon. It wasn’t immersed in the smell of chocolate like our previous visit, but it was still a good ride.

Great Bear (Great Scare) – a big park-crossing B&M invert. Very smooth, very fast. The only negative about this coaster is that it doesn’t surprise riders the same way the more compact inverts do. Of course we had fun.

Non-coaster attractions:
The Whip (Spiders Web) – a good ride, but IMO, Hersheypark’s restraint systems are overkill. Requiring ride ops to manually unlock every car makes the ride cycles very slow and requires two staff rather than one like other Whip installations.
Friends From the Sea – a very entertaining sea lion and dolphin show. :) It was very popular with the families.
Flying Falcon (Raven Haven) – WOW, what a treat! While many parks have these Condor-type rides, Hersheypark and La Ronde are the only installations that operate them fast enough to be thrilling. The cars spin so fast, they hang out to the side and riders can look straight down. I got dizzy trying to watch the lights on the park below. It seemed to be nearly as high as the crest of the Storm Runner. I love it! :)
Zoo America (Creatures of the Night) – I would never plan to take a break from a theme park to visit a zoo, but since it was included in the price and we had lots of time, why not? It was quite enjoyable despite the hoards of kids and stroller grid-lock. It was nice to see the nocturnal animals active, including wolves, mountain lions, owls and alligators. The staff were very friendly and answered all our questions. We even got a chance to pet an alligator and a (de-scented) skunk.

After one last ride on the Comet, we headed to our car and our next hotel on the other side of Philadelphia. We didn’t take the most efficient route, but we checked in at 2:00 am without any scars. :)

(to be continued) *** Edited 10/20/2005 4:34:41 PM UTC by greatwhitenorth*** *** Edited 10/20/2005 4:44:14 PM UTC by greatwhitenorth***

Nice TR from a fantastic park. Glad to see you enjoyed the day in the Land of Chocolate.

That wild mouse has to be one of the most insanely run ones in the northeast area of the US if not all of the US. Brakes... what brakes on the top section? I know they are there but they don't use them.

Both of the Intamin rockets with OTSR's can leave bruises on your arms but not necks if you do hands up on them.

I would love to have been able to pet an alligator but I don't know about the descented skunk.

Watch the tram car please....

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