The Hershey preview plan is a great idea. We paid our $7 to park which was good for the next day as well. Using our $30 tickets from AAA, we had no problem getting in for the preview. Hershey was packed, as most of the lot was full.
SuperDuperLooper was about a 10 minute wait. I was kind of expecting more intensity from the loop. It seemed to use the terrain well, and it was a fun smooth ride. Would rather go on one of these than an Arrow Corkscrew any day (5/10).
We headed up the path to Great Bear, in which line didn’t seem long but it was about 25 minutes till all was said and done. I haven’t really heard much about Great Bear, and was expecting a kind of tame ride. I boarded in the back left seat, and was actually surprised how good it was, albeit short. The spiral drop lift the lift was faster than it look from the ground. After a good first drop, the loop/immelman/zero G Roll combo reminded be a bit of Montu, although not as intensity. I actually preferred Great Bear over Talon, as this Beemer is a nice addition to this parks coaster line-up. (7/10)
After Great Bear we walked down around, and up to Storm Runner~~! . The line was just into the temporary queue area. This was the first time I got a whiff of the chocolate smell from the factory, which seems to encompass the whole park. :) very nice. With the duel loading stations, the line went by very quickly. To me, this loading procedure makes a lot more sense than Dragster. Since the ride is relatively short, either side does not sit empty for long, as they were pumping trains through at good pace. Intervals were maybe a little over a minute or so. Unlike Dragster, were the trains for the most part are sitting empty or loaded waiting to move up to the next block, Strom Runners trains are always doing something. Seem a lot more cost effective.
In about 40 minutes we were one train away from getting on, when it did the typical Intamin hiccup. The breakdown lasted a mere 10 minutes, which wasn’t bad because I was expecting the worst since I wasted a good portion of my life in Dragster queue during a breakdown ;). All that happened was the Mechanics came, told some ride ops some things, and appeared to just reset the ride, turning some keys and pulling a un-launched train back into load and sending it out again. Alright!
We boarded in 2-1, and first thing I noticed was no stadium seating, which I think is pointless anyway unless you are riding in the back of a car. Normally when you ride in the front part of a car of a Intamin with stadium seating your view is blocked, but not with this. Also the restrains are well done and appear to accommodate larger people well. Normally because of my height I have almost no slack on the belt with Impulse restraints, but on Strom Runner I pulled 3-4 inches easily. The shoulder part rested just above my shoulders, which I thought might be a problem during the ride, but the lap bar part prevent me from banging into it too bad. FINALLY Intamin is getting a clue with these restraints and more than the Oompa Loompas can now get on their rides :)
Now, I have ridden Dragster roughly 20 times and am getting to be quite bored with it. It just doesn’t do enough for me. I wasn’t sure what quite to expect from Storm runner. After the familiar roll back before the launch we accelerated, and it packed quite a punch.. Storm Runner hits and climbs the top hat very fast with no let, And the pop of air at the top is amazing
“Living” with dragster for a year, it’s tough not to draw a comparison. It felt as, if not more intense and Dragster. Dragster seems to just keep on going to the point were it loose’s it’s “acceleration” feel after the 2 seconds. I can also feel it loose it’s speed as it takes it’s time to climb the tower. There is some air at the top, but Storm runners gives a bit nicer of a pop. To me I almost liked the shorter more intense feel of the 150 foot top hat than the 420 version.
My favorite part of the ride, and what could be my favorite “element” on any coaster. the zero G/ dive loop. combination. As the train reached the top of the hill, we were send airborne before the zero G Roll commenced, and we stayed in the air during the roll. Pure Bliss! Most Zero G’s feel more like a flip and no air/ but this was amazing. While still “in the air” the train spined again and hit the dive loop for another intense moment. On the way up to the brakes, I enjoyed the little “flip” which doesn’t seem like much when you look at it, but it’s a lot better than a simple climb up.
I felt Storm Runner was a non-stop Intense experience, which is what I look for in a ride. Werner Stengel is a genius as this design is PERFECT for the limited space Hershey had to work with. Hopefully this will get Intamin Back on it’s “A game,” as I wouldn’t mind seeing more of these pop up with more creative layouts (9.5/10).
By the time we got off the ride the park closed, and we headed back to the hotel. Here is where we attempted to find some cold ones and relax after a long day. I have friends who live in PA, and they told me that the state laws in liqueur are goofy, but I didn’t realize they are just plain idiotic. Apparently in PA, the only place you can buy beer is at state liqueur agencies and it cannot be sold anywhere else, including grocery and convenience stores. On top of that, you can only buy beer by the crate, no 6 or even 12 packs allowed. Coming from Ohio, there is none of this nonsense, so I find it to be very odd. I could get into the economics of it all, but this isn’t Beer Buzz, so....(-5.76/10)
Next morning we arrived a Hershey a little after 10, and the park was already packed. It took about 10 minutes to get in the park since we already had prepaid tickets, but the line to buy tickets was enormous. Here is one of my few complaints about Hershey. I love the layout of the park, but it’s just not equipped to handle these sort of crowds. A larger gate area or another entrance is desperately needed, and the “midways” are just to small. The area around storm runner is a constant bottle neck of people. For Hershey though, it’s a good problem to have.
First we hit up the Comet which already had a sizeable line. It looked like a fun, classic layout but provided nothing but a rough, boring ride for me. The first two drop were ok but after that it was very slow. (3.5/10)
We decided to head too the “back” of the park next where it was less crowded. Wildcat only had a line of 10 minutes so we hopped in line. I really like the whole feel and look of the GCI’s. I know this was one of their first attempt and it was a good one. The ride felt incredible fast through the course and provided some decent laterals, but the air was a bit lacking. The pacing of this ride made it a winner though (7/10)
The wild mouse had a longish looking line so we skipped that. I’ve ridden mice before and now, I feel it’s not necessary to ride every mouse or /boomerang out there just to boost my track record, so we headed over to Lightning Racer.
Lightning Racer was about what I expected, which is a good thing. Incredibly smooth and Fun. The Millennium Flyers are definitely all that, and probably the most comfortable train I’ve ever ridden in. Feels like a couch on wheels :). To me, Lightning and Thunder felt gave about the same experience. The first half of the ride I felt was excellent, with nice air and laterals on every drop and turn. The seconds half of the ride is a little slow but still fun. The theming and dueling element was top notch, as I enjoyed losing all 4 times. ;). Capacity is great two, as we had 4 walk on’s and a two minute wait for the front seat. (8/10)
We skipped roller-soaker because the line and we did not feel like getting soaked. The ride is fun enough to watch though. The lines for the flats/flumes and everything else were long, but all the ride look every well maintained and done.
Finally was Trailblazer which was probably the most boring, short Mine Train I’ve been on. I really like these kid of rides, but with the exception of the final helix, this didn’t do much for me (2.5/10).
Becusse of the crowds we headed out, but with the Preview night we were able to do most of everything. While exiting, I noticed the line for Comet was out into it’s “portable queue” area, and the parking lot for Hershey Park was maybe 100 spots short of being full,.... Amazing. On the way out we stopped in Chocolate World, which was wall to wall people as well and enjoyed some excellent goodies. Heath Bars and Peanut Butter cups are probably my two favorite candies, so I enjoyed a heath cookies and a peanut butter chocolate milkshake, Great stuff. .
Overall Hershey Park was excellent.. The ride lineup is one of the most well rounded I’ve seen, ass there really isn’t anything lacking. Can’t go wrong with Chocolate either :) I can’t wait to go back, next June probably to experience the park when it’s a little less crowded
One Final Note- Storm Runner is now in my top #5, and really hope I get to ride it some more next year to get a better opinion. The last time I walked off a ride with a WOW! like that was SROS @SFNE. I think it's that good.... *** Edited 8/25/2004 7:22:16 AM UTC by Joe E.*** *** Edited 8/25/2004 7:44:39 AM UTC by Joe E.*** *** Edited 8/25/2004 7:45:17 AM UTC by Joe E.***
Still, Storm Runner is a great coaster, and Hershey is the best park in Pennsylvania.
And PA's liquor laws aren't THAT restrictive. If you can't find a beer distributor or a state store, you must not be looking very hard and if all else fails, many bars sell six packs (the only legal way to get 'em). Just don't try and buy on a Sunday ...
Yet another satisfied report coming out of Hershey. I think Storm Runner is really deserving of some Golden Ticket notice, because it really is near-perfection for just about anyone. It has air, it has laterals, it has launches, it has speed, it has drops, you name it, it's got it! Can't beat that!
I agree... Who says you need the world tallest launch coaster to impress. Hershey built a coaster that is a decent height and instead of going for the height record, they added different elements to the coaster instead and should be well rewarded for it.
I can't wait to see the final attendance numbers for Hershey this year. *** Edited 8/25/2004 3:28:22 PM UTC by coasterguts***
If you can buy 6 packs at a bar and take them out, that makes it a little more bearable for residents. On the way back we actually found a "Beer Zoo" an purchased a case of Yuengling, which is great stuff. It just seems like a big hassle trying to find it late at night. Living in Ohio all my life and buying 40's oz from Grandma's corner store at 12am makes it just seem a little strange ;).
Knowing the mouse is good will just make me have to back next year. :)
Joe E. said:
The line was just into the temporary queue area.
This is something I still don't understand about Storm Runner. Why would Hershey create the queue area so small? A big, new attraction like Storm Runner is going to generate big crowds so why only allow a queue of 35 minutes to assemble? It just doesn't make sense. They had to take up 3/4 of the midway the last time I was there to make room for the people.
Ray P. (who is still telling anyone who will listen at work about how great Storm Runner is)
I'm really interested to see how the attendence of Hershey is different than last year! It's definately going to be a record breaking year.
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