Just returned from an all-day outing at Hershey. It turned into a fun, full day, though it didn't start out that way.
Despite a my general love of amusement, i only get out for about one visit a year (despite the fact i live like 30 minutes from Hershey) and usually i make it a point to go on a Tuesday or Wednesday, when crowds are lighter than the weekend. However, given the opportunity for a FREE ticket and a FREE dinner..well, i certainly am not gonna pass that up!
The forecast had been for rain, and no sooner did i meet my party (4 in total) at 9:30am, the sky opened up and the rain started. Sorta put an early damper on the day, but we pressed on nonetheless, arriving at the park right at open. The walk through the parking lot left the four of us soaked, but undaunted...it certainly couldn't rain all day...right?
First, we wound up at the Bumper Cars (Sponsored by GEICO!) It was covered and operating, despite a few flashes of lightening, so we hopped in line. Looking around, we were the oldest by far (we range in age from 27 - 32) but who cares. Took about 25 minutes to get on the darn things. I actually have not been on Hershey's bumper cars in any of my previous 6 (or so) visits and I don't think I've ever been on any that enforce a one-way directional policy (aren't hard, head-on collisions part of the fun??) but we had a good time nonetheless.
Exiting the ride, we discovered the rain has slowed to a mere spritzing and we headed further into the park to see if anything was open yet.
So, we grabbed a locker for our collected crap and decided to take a stroll through the Boardwalk (as none of us went last year and had not seen it.) It was fairly deserted so we got a good look at everything and it was better than i was expecting to see (have heard a lot of complaints about it) though that could largely be due to the total absence of people (I can totally see how this place could get crowded in a hurry).
Its past 11:30am at this point and no major rides are showing signs of life as we walked through Midway America and we are getting a bit antsy.
Strolling past Fahrenheit (and its twisted, screamingly-Orange mess of track) we see a terribly long line of people waiting for it to open. We happen to notice that The Howler is actually running, so we decide to just get on SOMETHING. As we are waiting in line, I see the first train of Fahrenheit climbing up the lift (full of maintenance and ops...guess they were serious about doing weighted testing at the start of the day, as i never saw an empty train run the course). The four of us were excited as well, but took our ride on Howler since we were there. Simple ride I've seen in parks and at fairs for years, but had never been on one. I guess the point is to spin yourself as fast as you can..which we did until Kate threated to vomit on her fiance Dan if he didn't stop.
By the time we have collected our bearings we see the queue for Fahrenheit is filling so we figure we might as well try and get on it, since who knows if the rain is going to return (they were calling for a chance of showers all afternoon)
The wait is about an hour...in fact it is exactly one hour from the time we entered the line til we were looking at our on-ride photos. (which were frankly pretty bad, even by On-Ride-Photo standards..i don't think the camera is in a good place, Storm Runner takes much better pics at 70mph).
I found Fahrenheit to be quite fun! I was in the very last row and scaling the lift was quite surprising. You really have no idea when you are reaching the top of the hill, until you see the first car start to pivot--which is actually quite fast. The first drop is short but i flew off my butt and into the restraints hard and smiled the whole time. They really do pack a lot of elements into an essentially small area. The "Norwegian Loop" was a blast (if not super intense) and the corkscrews were smooth and not jarring (as i sometimes find them to be--though the second seems to be a little less of the former and more of the latter) and the small bunny hill packs a lot of air for a innocuous looking thing (frankly, i would have LOVED a couple more of these if there has been enough room/money for them). It was all very smooth to boot (at least this time)
But, yeah, its way too short. Especially for the wait times. I have to give props to the operators; 9 times out of 10, the next train was at the lift when the previous cars were on the final breaks. They did a really great job!
Satisfied to get the new coaster outta the way, we headed down to Wildcat and test the new trains. It still shakes and rumbles, but Wildcat was much less bumpy (and hurty) then any of the previous rides on it. A good improvement in my book.
Next was Lightening Racer. This i probably my favorite ride in the park. It's fast, lots of hills and turns, great interaction with the neighboring train. About a 25 minutes wait, plus another 5 minutes because we were the train after they went from 1 car on each track to 2 on each (never actually saw them do it before, it was really a lot simpler then i was envisioning for some strange reason). Chose the Lightening Track, cuz my friend had actually never been on that side, always opting for Thunder. We won.
All this time, the cloud cover was heavy, but it never rained again. and lo and behold if the sun didn't start to shine...as it would for the rest of the day. we were all quite relieved.
Next we decided to go all the way across the park to ride Great Bear, stopping off to get a walk-on ride for the Pirate ship (and scoring the end row). The wait was only about 20 minutes until we got to the station of GB, so we opted to ride in the front...which wound up adding another 25 minutes to our wait. Remember how i mentioned the speed of the Fahrenheit ops? Not so much for the Great Bear staff--admittedly, they have about 3 times as many seats to fill and check per train, so i guess its not their fault. Front row ride was awesome. Really love the 1-2-3 punch of the Loop-Immelman-Roll on this one.
Next stop, Coal Cracker, because by now its actually quite hot and humid and its right next door. There is almost no line, 10 min wait, maybe. Glad i wore sandals cuz my feet were soaked, though little else was.
Walking down past the SooperDooperLooper, we saw there was ACTUALLY a line. Not much of one mind you, but we all agreed that if the line is past the stairs to the station, the ride's generally not worth it lol.
So instead we wondered over to the Comet and saw all the switchbacks were empty except the first one leading to the ramp and hopped a ride on that instead. Last car, first seat. Classic Woodie. It's no Thunderbolt, but a good ride.
Dinner time at the Creekside Pav. I had never been there before, it was quiet and quaint (and some other Qu words I'm sure) and a nice break.
Oh, wait, did i forget to mention that someone thought it would be a good idea to ride the Reese's Xtreme Cup Challenge? No? Yeah there's a reason. Even our guns weren't working. Zzzzzzz
After dinner came Storm Runner. Er, well, I didn't actually go on SR cuz a) i was still full from dinner and b) I don't really like SR. I certainly respect it and have been on it about a half dozen times. I'm not real big on launch coasters. Just not my thing (though i did in fact rate it an 8 out of 10 on coaster fanatics, because there are parts of it i DO like, specifically the barrel roll/flying snake dive). I got a great view of Kate's reaction a the launch--Priceless.
Hit up The Claw next. Short line. The Harness-Checking ops girl must have been having a long, bad day. She was cranky, and assaulted my lower region when she slammed my harness in tighter before the start of the ride. Just doing her job, but OUCH i was not in the right place at the time lol.
Went back to give Fahrenheit another go around to see if it help up on repeat business. Much shorter line this time, but still had to wait about 30-35 minutes and by now, they were assigning seats. Hoping for the first car, got row three. Lift and drop still fun, noticed a LOT of vibration after the Loop. Definitely not as smooth as he first ride of the day. Still liked it, though everyone in our party (and the consensus of people i heard around the park all day) was "fun ride, but the line is way too long for a ride that short."
But everyone seems to be smiling when they get off it, so I hope it stays around for a while.
Everyone wanted to go back to Storm Runner and I again sat that one out. Then it was off to collect our (STILL WET from the rain!) locker stuff and head out. I suggested one last spin on Great Bear, which though incredibly sore, dirty and sweaty, all agreed would be a good idea if it was still open (it's about 930pm at this point). Next to last row, 3 train wait. even in the back this one is a blast, especially at nite. I really could ride it all day.
After that is was a "short" walk to the car...which we had to find, as none of us bothered to remember WHERE we parked (we were too focused on the rain at the time) and then figure out who had the keys and where they were (no worries, we figured it all out).
And that's it. Hope to get back again this summer, and maybe even get another trip somewhere else...KW, Dorney, hell, CP would be nice (haven't been for over a decade).
Thanks for taking the time out to read :)
I am with you, and usually visit during the week. We visited this past Thursday evening and the park closed at 8pm. We got there at 6:15 pm, and in that time we rode(In order)Reeses Extreme Cup Challenge, The Claw, The Howler, Storm Runner, Sidewinder, Fahrenheit, Extreme cup challenge, and ended the night on the last train out on the Comet. I can only imagine how long it would have taken to do that same order of rides on a weekend day.
If I do go on the weekend, and I go right when the park opens I usually go right back to Midway America. You can take several laps on Lightning Racer, Wildcat, and Wild Mouse before anyone even gets back to that area of the park. I am sure that you know how it works on the weekends. It just a matter of going to right place in the park at the right time. Another good bet is to go right to the Great Bear. Since that is now an older coaster you can get a few laps on that with a few front seat rides without much of a wait.
GOOD TRIP REPORT! I wouldn't pass up the free dinner either. :) Since Springtime in the park we have already gotten our moneys worth out of our season passes.
I agree, fantom. I have to get to the park more often myself and get my money's worth out of my SP.
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