Hershey Park 8/15/2008: The Good and The Bad

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Sunday, August 17, 2008 2:18 AM
I'm not the only Coasterbuzz'er that went to Hershey Park on Friday August 15th and decided to write a trip report about it! :-)

The cast: Ross, Laura, Liz, Susan, Erin, Noel, Heidi; ages from 23 to 38; average age 31.

The Day:

First stop - Chocolate World. We did the tour. It's like a warm-up; the Hershey Chocolate mood seeps in like warm melted milk chocolate. It was great as ever.

Second Stop - The Park.
THE RIDES: Score XX out of 10
1. Comet: 6 OUT OF 10
Only one train running. It opened late. The wait for the coaster wasn't really worth it for me but others in the group really wanted to ride it.

2. Wave Swinger: 10 OUT OF 10
Beautiful, pleasant, enjoyable, can't go wrong.

3. Sooper Dooper Loop: 7 OUT OF 10
It pains me to score it so low, but they only ran one train. On a Friday?? What the heck is wrong with this park?

4. Great Bear: 5 OUT OF 10
Stacking like a master!!!! They were running two trains but it didn't matter because they were constantly stacking them on top of each other. That, and someone had puked on the ride and this caused about 20 minutes lost waiting while they cycled the trains 2 or 3 times. And sanitized the station over and over again. I don't like puke either but come on. Plus, riding in the front row, my head got knocked a little bit too much. That shouldn't happen on a B&M invert. Hershey needs to give this beautiful machine some additional TLC.

5. Flying Falcons - Didn't do it, but at night with those red lights, the ride looks like falcons from hell circling over the park. I hope they keep this ride for many more years to come - it's really impressive. We simply didn't have the time to ride it because of the cr*ppiness in ride operations throughout the park.

6. Pirate Ship - Another casualty of stolen time due to p*ss poor ride operations.

7. The Claw - 10 OUT OF 10
Is Very nice!!!!

8. Storm Runner: 8 OUT OF 10
Again - what is the deal here?? This one opened late - maybe close to 1pm. Then it closed for good at about 6pm. One side was closed for the whole 4 hours it did operate, and the ops were running only one train. It's a good thing that the ride lasts only 2.5 seconds. This ride is magnificent in the front row. In the back row, you can't see anything, you get completely disoriented, you get knocked through every transition roughly, and then you're thrown into your restraints at the brake run and forget which day it is because you've lost a brain cell. The score is not less than 8 because the front row was so magnificent.

9. Sidewinder: 8 OUT OF 10
That's what my friends say. I have stopped riding this coaster because it is so rough with those concrete horse collar restraints, that I am physically unable to get my balance when I step off the coaster train. Because my head has been knocked about so badly. It's a shame because this ride type is so intense; this coaster is just so incredibly rough. Vekoma's a Vekoma, right?

10. Canyon River Rapids: 11 OUT OF 10
It's hard for me to believe that someone in Hershey Park management decided to get rid of this wonderful family ride in order to put in a big boring generic wave pool with unimaginative lazy river. I like to imagine that it went something like this: A majority force of park employees got together and protested that people would forgo the game of "Oh my gosh! My clothes are soaked!" in order to simply wear bathing suits onto the ride and sear the retinas of these park employees with how horrible they look in their bathing suits. It is depressing. Even if you look decent or better in a bathing suit - you're going on a ride, you're not getting in a pool. It's so deflating to see people just shrug and give up as if to say - well, I'm going to get soaked on this ride, so I may as well just go in my bathing suit and skip the illusion. There's just something not right about getting on a RIDE, not even a WATER RIDE, in one's bathing suit. And yes. most folks who do this in amusement parks should NOT do this. I am, myself, about 180 pounds having delivered my baby in April of this year. I mean, one lady I saw on this ride got on not only in her one piece, but with a HOT PINK SHOWER CAP on!!!

I think it's a big mistake to scrap this ride.

11. The Howler - Didn't get a chance because of the excessive time in lines due to horrible ride operations, but it looked like it is a lot of fun!!!

12. Tidal Force; 10 OUT OF 10
It's quick and simple but fun and silly. It is set up so nicely too - it always looks clean and aesthetically pleasing. Love the light house. Got drenched of course, even though it was barely 80 outside.

13. Farhenheit: 10 OUT OF 10
The first hill is a doozy. Not going down, but going up. I love how the coaster train pauses gratuitously in frnt of the hill to show you what you're not getting out of. The ride was smooth with just a little bit of roughr umble as though to give an impression of danger. Thsi ride is a must. If you like Storm Runner, you'll enjoy this one too.
Again - MASTERFUL STACKING.

14. Wild Cat: 1 OUT OF 10
Can there be any way to make this ride experience enjoyable? New trains were put on this coaster but still it's rougher than anything I could possibly conjure up for comparison. I sat in the front row and still got a headache. I couldn't remember if I was actually in Hershey Park or actually in Six Flags America when the train returned to the station. There is never any wait for this coaster more than 5 minutes and for good reason. Instead of scrapping CRR for a wave pool, they should scrap this ride instead. It is a massive wooden piece of junk. It's Hershey's answer to Great Adventure's notorious Viper. I know them's fighting words, but it is so true.
One train operation - but who cares.

15. Crazy Mouse: 6 OUT OF 10
I'd like to score it higher because it is truly an effective Crazy mouse, but it seems like it's just a bit tooooooo crazy.

16. The Whip: I'd love to say we had the time for it, but we didn't. Too busy crawling through rreeeeeally slow lines.

17. Ferris Wheel: Another casualty.

18. Music Express: Ditto above.

19. Lightning Racer: Lightning 12 OUT OF 10; Thunder 12 OUT OF 10.
MASTERFUL STACKING.
This ride is even better in the dark when the racing lights are on. I sat in the second from the front-most row and it was GLORIOUS. i got views of the twisted track in front of us yet I was also not clear on which direction the track would twist at any point in time. This coaster breaks the record for Most Fun Had on a Wooden Racing Coaster.

20. Trailblazer: Closed for the day.

21. Roller Soaker: No way.
Are you kidding me? On a day when ride operations were so abysmally slow, there was no way I would wait to get on the "roller coaster" with the absolute worst ride capacity per hour of the whole park. That, and the ride is an incredibly boring concept. I think the same person who lobbied for this ride also was the person who lobbied to have CRR scrapped for the big generic blue mass of chlorinated water with no soul. THAT person needs to keep their mouth closed and stop ruining the party for everyone.

THE FOOD:
Phenomenal. I had a large pretzel for lunch, I had a large healthy salad for late lunch/dinner, I shared a very tastey funnel cake with 2 of the friends, and then I finished the day with a hot Mocha from the specialty chocolate counter in the Chocolate World building. I didn't pay attention to how much it was, but I felt that I got a great deal for the price. Very very very fresh all the time. Just made.

THE GOOD:
Flying Falcons, Great bear, Sooper Dooper Looper, Comet, Wave Swinger, The Howler, Canyon River Rapids, Tidal Force, Farenheit, Storm Runner, The Whip, Music Express, the Claw, Lightning Racer, Food, Chocolate World, Hot Mochas

THE BAD:
Wait lines, Train Stacking, Single Train Operation, Late Coaster Openings, Early Coaster Closings, Wildcat, Crazy Mouse. Roller Soaker. Sidewinder

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Sunday, August 17, 2008 9:57 AM
Wildcat - I sat in the first and second row, and both rides got a 10/10 for me. Was slightly rough, but just the right amount, and certainly no headache.
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Sunday, August 17, 2008 10:46 AM
I agree with everything you said. The operations were pathetic. Last year was record attendance and they decide to run single trains on the coasters? On a day when everything is a walk on, ok but not when the lines are getting to over an hour. I have considered a season pass for next year but I don't have the patience to stand in those kind of lines all season when I can go to Dorney and Great Adventure and get lots of walk ons and at most 20 - 30 minute waits (Great Adventure)

It is a shame about the rapids, I have no interest in a wave pool and lazy river and the rapids were a lot more fun.

Roller Soaker should have never been built. The park's website says 875 an hour. To get that, a train has to dispatch less than every 4 seconds and that is with every train being full. I think every 3 trains dispatch around 2 minutes so that's 360 an hour, but I think that number is even high. Maybe at a small park where it wouldn't get such long lines it would work better. *** Edited 8/17/2008 2:47:09 PM UTC by YoshiFan***

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Sunday, August 17, 2008 11:53 AM
Hershey stacks the trains on almost everything, I have to wonder if it's an official policy. But the only ones it really sucks on are Great Bear and Comet. (Yes, I rode Comet this year to see if the trim brake was really off. It seemed to be. It's still no Phoenix, but it no longer sucks. Except the dispatch time.) The dispatch time would suck on Wildcat if it attracted a bigger crowd. (Yes, I like Wildcat.) Everything else seems to keep moving fast enough most of the time, stacking or not.

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Sunday, August 17, 2008 12:56 PM
Can anyone tell if ride operations at Hershey Park have been this bad consistently throughout this season? Has it been specific to certain days of the week? Is it because of our placement int he season - should I plan Hershey Park trips toward the beginning of the season when energy is higher?

I ask these questions because I am trying to envision how I would plan a trip to the park in a few years with my little guy. A day like August 15th would have me very displeased.

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Sunday, August 17, 2008 1:13 PM
Well that's sad to hear. IMO, Hershey had always run rides with multiple trains, without much stacking at all. Actually, I remember the day when SDL ran three trains. A season pass was worth it then....not sure about now either.
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Sunday, August 17, 2008 8:11 PM
When i was there a few years back they were doing well with the people moving and capacity, not really any capacity issues.

It seems strange that they would open one of thier premier coasters late unless there was a problem, meaning stormrunner, was there? As for Comet it opened late when i was there too, but the line was one of the longest we had to deal with that day. As far as the ride it was good.

I can see you faults on the Wildcat, but i rode it before it got millennium flyers, and that thing was probably one of the worst experiences i have had on a wooden coaster. Roller Soaker i can see being a long wait, but it was a blast to me, it seems like you have been on it a bunch so i can see that being boring to you.

Lightning Racer moves because of its two trains on the track at the same time, and when i was there it wasnt crowded around Midway America so it could have been a marathon, seriously. I however, felt kinda the same you did overall back then, it was ok not great, but the employees were much better at dispatches and things back when i went.

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Sunday, August 17, 2008 9:34 PM
I haven't been to HP since July, but my earlier visits this season were MUCH better than these recent TR's!! I'd be pissed!! All my visits were weekdays with mulitple trains and nothing down. HP better wise-up and get their act together, especially since they're promoting their Fall operations so much now!
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Sunday, August 17, 2008 9:58 PM
I heard Hersheypark in the Dark was very crowded last year. I was considering going since in 2005 and 2006 waits weren't that bad (in 2005, the wait was in the station for Storm Runner) but with increased crowds and bad operations, I don't feel like going to stand in long lines when I can go to Dorney and get walk ons on Sundays
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Sunday, August 17, 2008 10:31 PM
Wow, this sounds absolutely NOTHING like my visit in late July!

There were multiple trains running on all coasters, wait times were at a minimum, and I was overall impressed with the staff and operations.

I also didn't find Wildcat, Great Bear, OR Sidewinder very rough... Oh, and I found Storm Runner to be an AMAZING ride; my favorite in the park! Everyone is entitled to their opinion though :)

Did you at least have a good time?

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Monday, August 18, 2008 12:42 PM
Erin, I was at the park on Friday (I wrote a more detailed response in Yoshi's TR). It was my 4th visit this year. Most recently I was there two Sundays ago, and I'll say Friday was by far the worst I've seen with ride staffing and ops.

Just to compare, when I was there on 8/3, we got rides on Wildcat, Wild Mouse and both sides of LR within an hour. The line in SR bypassed most of the queues (20 minute wait). Monorail was a 3 train wait, like Friday, except with 2 trains running, it took half the time.

I'd say the parking lot was just as full and so was the park. Hopefully, this past Friday was just an aberration and not the norm.

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Monday, August 18, 2008 6:11 PM
Erin, I have been to Hershey at least once a week for the whole Summer except for when I was traveling to other parks to visit. I'd have to say your experience is definitely out of the norm.

I usually visit on Wednesday evenings after work because of the lighter crowds. Usually the rule is a 2 train operation on any coaster with more then a 4 - 5 train wait. The only exception seems to be Lightning Racer since it runs 2 trains at the same time. That line is usually never more then a 2 train wait for any seat except the front.

Like RatherGoodBear had said about the parking lot being so full. That's how I gauge whether or not I am going to go into the park. If cars are parked on both sides of the tram road, and they are using tram stop 2 it's not a good day to visit. Sometimes I'll still go in the park to get some exercise.Some of the time I don't even want to deal with it and make a B line for the exit. Also don't forget to look to the right of the Stadium, and see how many buses are parked. :)

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Monday, August 18, 2008 9:47 PM
I always remember Hershey emptying out a ton as the day gets on. We had 3 minute waits on Storm Runner in June this year. But the Great Bear loading is a big problem, and I refuse to ride Comet with the line that it gets. It's just not worth it.
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Tuesday, August 19, 2008 11:59 PM
I've never ever EVER had this kind of experience at Hersheypark. In fact, except for the first year Storm Runner went up, I never saw it broken down (for an Intamin launcher, that's amazing, right? LOL). SDL and Lightning Racer have always been walk-ons...what was up with Hershey? Were they training new staff or something? Wow...sorry for ya...don't judge the park on this visit, please. I was there three or four times this year, one being over a holiday weekend (4th of July), and while the park was so packed I was parked near Giant Center, I still rode everything with minimal waits and had an excellent experience. I hope your next visit (if you choose to HAVE a next visit) will be stellar.
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