This year, I got a King season pass this year for Hershey Park. I went to the park for the first time in 10-years last Sunday. I went there because I got to ride the "new" Jolly Rancher Re-mix coaster over and over because it was only open to King season pass holders and there was no line. It was just the old "Sidewinder" with a new paint job and some cool music and a tunnel you go through where they spray some "Jolly Rancher Flavor" in into the train when going through the tunnel. I wasn't too impressed.
I went back to the park this Thursday, as I was able to take advantage of the "Sweet Start" program. That is where I was able to get in at 10am and ride Candymonium, Skyrush and SooperDooperLooper before the general admission crowd at 11am. I must say, that is pretty awesome. I rode Candymonium and Skyrush four times each before general admission is allowed in.
The thing that pissed me off was, yes I got to ride all of these rides, but at 11 am all the coasters in the back of the park were CLOSED (Fahrenheit - Storm Runner - Great Bear). By the time they opened, you would be in a 1-3 hour ride line without Fast Track.
I wasn't too impressed.
Well…it’s a boomerang.
Hershey can get crowded, but I’ve never seen a 3 hour wait for anything. Especially on a weekday. I think the longest wait I’ve had was maybe 90 minutes for Great Bear.
Hershey has cut their normal operating hours by 25%. They used to operate 12 hours. Now it’s 9. Cramming the same people into less hours means longer lines.
They used to open everything at opening. That was a great way to miss lines. Go to Midway first then work forward. If they are staggered opening like Busch, it crams everyone into the sane lines.
What a shame. It used to be a wonderful experience. Now it’s high prices for less experience
I just assumed like most seasonal parks they would start their 10-10 days (or even 11-10) sometime in June. That they are 11-8 (with an occasional 11-9 on a weekend) all season is definitely a major blow. Hershey is one of those parks I am happy to spend a full O-C day visiting.
As I was leaving the park (Around 2pm), I decided to walk by the Candymonium entrance to the ride, and the sign said it was a 180 minute wait! That blows my mind. Do people actually wait in this line fort three hours for a 2-minute ride? I guess so. Not me, 4-rides in 20-minutes :)
That's crazy. No way I get in a line that long.
I wonder what the reason is for the shortened hours. Staffing? Because if there's a 180 minute wait for a ride, your park is crowded enough to warrant a late close.
I remember when SooperDooperLooper opened that the wait was regularly an hour to 3 hours, regardless of day/time. Oh, how times have changed.
I think the hours being cutback at HP, and many other parks, is the hiring situation right now. Parks are short staffed and have had to increase wages. Being open the extra 2-3 hours (prior to the pandemic) was easier to justify when wages were lower and labor was easier to come by. I think we are going to have to see a decent increase in ticket prices to get back to the old hours of operation at most parks.
I am thankful to be in distance of Kings Island and Cedar Point. Normal hours this year. 10a to 10p. All summer.
CP is not in a metro area yet they can staff properly. If they can do it I think it’s possible at any park. I think most parks are just using this as an excuse to cut hours and maximize profits at the cost of guest experience. It will backfire as guests have a less favorable experience.
When Hershey Normal hours I don’t recall waiting in long lines there too often.
Also Hershey has cut out their live entertainment shows. This seems like another cost cutting measure because performers are definitely available. CP and KI have a full roster of live shows this year
CP is not in a metro area yet they can staff properly.
I would disagree with this. Unless you are visiting in the heart of summer season, CP can often times be a disaster when it comes to a staffed park
I was at CP last week on a Monday in May. All rides were operating except the Skyway because of wind. Only a few food locations were closed. They appeared to be well staffed. They definitely aren’t using it as an excuse to cut hours this year like some parks.
CP not being open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in May seems like a pretty sharp reduction in hours.
Were they traditionally open weekdays in May? I know they tried it a few years but was it long established? I find any weekday operation before Memorial Day a bonus
CP operated this year in May on 3 weekdays. Hershey only operated on Fridays. CP still had about 25 more operating hours a week than Hershey in May. Sandusky is less populated than Harrisburg as far as finding employees go.
BTW I am not a huge CP fan (I like theming) so this is neutral opinion.
I'm pretty sure this has been a case of me being out of check with reality at "Real" amusement parks. I have been going to Six Flags America for the past 10+ years, and since I live so close, I have mastered the dates and time where there are super low crowds. I have been to that park on days in the spring and fall where I was the only rider on the coaster. As in, six attendants working the ride and then just me on the coaster. "You guys didn't have to open up the park for me" is my joke that usually lands flat :)
I had a real eye opener at Orlando Universal Studios a few years back. The heat and the crowds were out of this world. We ended up paying big bucks to get the fast track ticket, and as expensive as they were, it was worth it in those conditions. Looks like I'll have to pony up more $ at Hershey park if I want to enjoy myself. I can't/won't stand in a line for more that a half hour. So I will have to either buy fast track, or wait until the fall to try to catch a quite weekend day in September or October.
Cedar Point was always, traditionally, open daily from opening day forward. It’s the date for opening day that has changed over the years
When I was a kid in the 60’s the park opened on Memorial Day, or maybe that weekend. Breakers was the same.
Later the day was pushed earlier into May. I remember attending the debut of rides like Magnum when it was still pretty cold out. For years it was Mothers Day weekend that marked opening and the beginning of daily operations. And remember that schools held huge learning events in the spring. The park might be running with kids in May but they were back on the busses by 4 or 5.
Later opening dates in May is a more recent thing, due to staffing issues (that was even a pre-Covid necessity) and then through the pandemic all bets were off.
Which is why I think everyone is surprised by weekday operations. (And I’m surprised at that, daily, 7 day ops weren’t all that long ago.)
I had a real eye opener at Orlando Universal Studios a few years back. The heat and the crowds were out of this world.
It's already getting humid in the morning and evening. I'm not ready.
(Memorial Day 2022 - Six Flags America) the start of summer. Arrive at the park at 10:45am (park opens at 11am). The line was much longer than any day prior in the spring. It was a couple hundred yards long to get in, but it was moving and I was in by 11:05am. (50% of the people were going to the water park as it was a smoking 90+ today). I made a Bee line to the back of the park, rode Superman FIVE times, 2-in the front and 3-in the back (preferred seat and never left the station.) Then I take a spin on Wonder Woman, Two rides on Jokers Jinx, one on Harley Quinn, then two on Fire Bird. As I am leaving the park at 1pm, there are hundreds of people entering the park as I am ending my day, Boom! 10-rides in 90-minutes.
This is impossible to replicate at Hershey Park or Cedar Point type resorts. Other than the Hershey Sweet Start program (which is great) but it is only one hour and is the quickest hour of your life :)
While not common it’s definitely possible. On a good good morning you can get multiple Millennium Force, Maverick, or Steel Vengeance rides if you’re staying on property. It’s fairly typical for my my wife and I to ride one or two of the big three, and a couple others before lunch at Melt.
Can’t really speak for Hershey since I haven’t been in over two years but if it’s busy Tröegs is just down the street…
Weekdays in May were the best at CP. Ops were usually struggling a bit, but the crowds were so light it didn't matter.
Candymonium is really not a very good ride in my opinion. It's the most forceless B & M yet. Not really worth the trip unless you need it for your count.
To being an "us" for once - instead of a "them".
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