Hersheypark - 4/19/03, Springtime in the Park

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Saturday, April 19, 2003 6:09 PM
After traveling through the endless farmlands of Pennsylvania and sniffing the sweat smell of manure, the Kissing Tower appeared through the fog as well as Hersheyparks two awesome wooden roller coasters, Lightning Racer and Wildcat, which would unfortunately not be open. The anticipation grew with every growing second. We turned into the new park entrance, and payed our parking fee. I immediatly noticed how friendly the lady was. Last year, the guy who took the admission was literally sobbering all over out change.

We drove around the new Giant Center to the parking lot itself. My dad pulled the car up to the parking space, we slammed the doors and headed straight to the park. After a short walk, we noticed the line for tickets and wrist bracelets was pretty long, so we opted to get them inside the park. We walked through the german themed shops and noticed how clean the park was. Approaching Carrousel cirlce, I immediately noticed the changes. A fountain (and soon a statue of Militon Hershey) had replaced where there was once famous stars hand prints. There also seemed to be new bricks on the paths. The walk-way after the Carrousel also seemed wider, since the Kiosks were not there. I hope they keep them out, it helped with the congestion.

After passing the Carrousel, which was bellowing out it's organ melodies, we decended upon Comet Hollow and bought our wrist-bands which would get us unlimited rides on 37 attractions. I opted to ride Great Bear first, and saw that it had little wait. Deciding to ride in the front, I relized it wouldn't be just a little wait, because there was a 1-train operation which eventually draw up a large line and the ride-ops seemed to be moving pretty slow. Half-way to boarding, they added a 2nd train which helped with the line. Eventually, I boarded after about 25 minutes of waiting. The anticipation of riding my first coaster of the season boiled up inside, and I felt like I was going to burst.

They finally dispatched us and we climbed the 90-foot lift. After taking the small dip after the lift, we began our decent into the spiral before the 124 foot drop. What suprised me was that there was actually some headbanging threw it, and the train itself began to shake. It took me by suprise because all of my rides on the Great Bear were perfectly smooth. However, the first drop was fine and, just plain awesome, decending upon Comet Hollow at 58 m.p.h. is great. The 100-foot vertical looped followed and provided a great hanging sensation in the front half-way through.

The section of straight-track gives you a great feel of how fast your going, and up you go into the immelman. This inversion doesn't really do anything for me. Talon's is much more intense in my opinion, and better. After that, it's into the zero-g roll, which is very intense. I still don't see what all the fuss is about this inversion though, I really don't think it's anything that special.

After coming out of the zero-g roll, you fly over the midway and see people taking pictures and looking up at you. So far, the ride has been great, but unforunately, the Great Bear is a let-down from here. There is just some straight-strack along the ravine, followed by a corkscrew. Here was another suprise - the corkscrew was extremely rough. This shocked me, a B&M rough? No way! Intense, yes, but rough? I thought I was insane.

After the final inversion, an s-curve begins which isn't anything special since most of it's speed has already been lost, and you slam into the breaks. Coming out of the ride, I was nearly shocked - The Great Bear was not as good as it was, and was rough in some places. I was wondering if I should give it another try - but now the line was about 45 minutes and I wanted to go towards the Sidewinder. Overall, for this ride, I'd give it 7.2/10, since the beginning is good, but the ending isn't to good, and because of some of the rough spots.

I headed down to my favorite part of the park, which is is the area near the Trailblazer around Pioneer Frontier. The creek and setting with the trees coming alive after the winter is very cool. The smell of Foreman's Texas Grill really makes the area seem more of a frontier town.

Heading up the steep hill, I walked up to the Sidewinder to see about a 10-15 minute line. Going up to the station, I noticed how when the train was returning to the station, the people were clapping and cheering - they were really digging this ride. There were many remarks like "Wow, it goes backwards", "Does it go the whole way backwards?" and "That was better than the Great Bear!". It's funny how a simple boomerang can intrigued the GP so much.

So it was my turn and I took a back seat. The drop is very good, and the cobra roll gave me little to no headbanging, as well as the loop. Going backwards, there wasn't any headbanging in the loop but there was some in the cobra roll. However, it didn't give me a headache. I'd give it a 7/10.

I decided to try out one of two new major rides - Frontier Flyers. I had only ridden Knoebels flyers a way back and didn't remember much, so this would be new. There was a moderate line but I waited about 30-40 minutes for it. This thing doesn't have the greatest capacity, but the ride is OK. Nothing spectacular, but it was fun.

The bumper cars were next, since it had a smaller line. Waited about 10 minutes and it was fun trying to ram my Dad over and over again - except what makes me mad is the people who cannot drive a bumper car and start a huge pile up.

We walked around the park for a little more, noticing how much the area where the Cyclops once was has changed - the paths are different and everything seems more crammed together. We also saw where the claw is going to be installed.

For lunch, we headed into Subway, but it was so full we decided to head down to Foreman's Texas Grill, and we ordered wings which were terrific. After eating, we went to take a spin on the Kissing Tower, which provides an awesome view of Comet Hollow and Pioneer Frontier. We also rode the Sunaco Speedway, which was alright. They both had a 10 minute wait.

We then made our way towards the SooperDooper Looper. There was a 25 minute wait which suprised me since I never encountered it with a line - ever. There were these really annoying 8 year-olds who kept on insisting that this ride was the only coaster with a loop in the park, when the Great Bear was literally starring them in the face.

I took a back seat, and left the lap bar loose. We climbed the lift, which takes a dip and makes a left-hand turned. There is some nice air in the back when your cresting the first drop. The loop is great, and there's some weightlessness half-way through. It then takes a curve and dives through the loop before heading into a tunnel. After that, there is an intense s-curve before the mid-course which doesn't seem to slow the train down much. There's a hill then that curves that delievers some nice floater air and then dives into an intense helix before slamming into the brakes.

The SooperDooper Looper is another Shwarzkoph (sp?) classic, and is much better than I had experienced last year when it was slamming me against the sides of the train with no mercy. It is definatly worthy of a rating of 8/10.

My Dad and I then headed over the ZooAmerica, and I was anxious since I haven't been there for a few years since I usually spend most of my time in the park itself. It has definatly improved - the exhibits are cleaner and you could actually see the Wolves and the Mountain Lion. The Bears were also playing with each other which was pretty cool. We spent about an hour or so there.

I decided I didn't care if the line for the Comet was an hour and headed over there. The line had extended through it's normal queue, but they were running 2 trains so it was moving pretty well. It took an hour just to get to the station, and I waited about 15 minutes for the back. I left my belt completely loose to get as much airtime as I could out of it, since last year I experienced very little which dissappointed me since the Comet had always been a favorite and had provided some nice air. The bar was the only thing that held me back.

Climbing the lift, I took in the view of Comet Hollow, which is overcome by the steel mass of Great Bear. It's kind of dissappointing since it used to have an older setting but then the Great Bear was plunked right in the middle of it.

Anyways, cresting the hill, there is some nice ejector air which is followed by a (slightly) curved drop which is very steep and out of control. I was literally standing up on it, but then I was brought up into an unusally tight curve which provides another steep, curved drop. The hill next created awesome ejector air which I felt like I was going to be thrown out of my seat. I was again lifted aloft into a turn, but not as steep as the first.

The drop then is very good as well, but it's also short. And then came the moment of truth: how slow would the train become after the right-hand turn? It did slow, but not enough to the extent that there wouldn't be some air in the bunny hops, like last time. There was some nice floater-air in the bunny hops, and the last two provided some ejector air. Last year, I had experienced no air and a slow turnaround and the Comet dissappointed me terribly. It was also totally out-of-control this time (in a good way). Now, it is back up to my 4th favorite wooden roller coaster. I give it a 9.2/10.

I decided to try the Great Bear again. My dad went to ride his collection of favorite flats while I waited in line since there was about a 1 1/2 hour wait. I chose the front again, and the ride experience had differed. The spiral was not rough, and the ride seemed a little more intense after the immelman, however the corkscrew was even worse. I don't know why it was so rough - did anyone else that was there experience this? However, my rating did increase from the 7.2 to an 8/10.

Meeting with my Dad again, I took another ride on the Looper, and had the same ride experience, and waited just 10 minutes. We then went back to the ride the bumper cars and had a ton of fun ramming each other, and rode a few times with a 5 minute wait.

It was around 6:00 P.M., and we decided to get some Dippin' Dots for dinner. So healthy, right? After that, we rode the Carrousel. This is one of my favorite rides (kinda weird, huh?) - the horses are really cool and it just kinda facinates me.

We left the park, exiting the german themed shops and heading towards Chocolate World. We took the tour ride (free chocolate!) and went around just looking at things. I was debating whether or not to go to the Really Big 3D Show, but I wanted to get home, and my Dad did as well, so we took the tram to our car, and left Hershey for the day at around 7:00.

The only coaster I didn't ride (that was open) was the Trailblazer, and that was because there was an hour wait, and I wasn't about to wait for something I've ridden a billion times and is really short and not to impressive.

Overall though, for the part of the park that was open, Hershey has improved the little things, like landscaping and just having an even better atmosphere. Hopefully, they'll get the new hyper that some are talking about - this would fit great with Hershey's collection of coasters. Overall though, the section of Hershepark that was open gets an 8.8/10

*** This post was edited by 3r1c 4/20/2003 12:21:06 PM ***

Saturday, April 19, 2003 6:33 PM
Wow....i never knew Hersheys lines can get that long..i never have longer than a 5 minute wait for the coasters in that park. Im glad to here the park improved with the congestion in the front and am looking forward to going back.

Coaster count:32
top3 wood:Boulder Dash, Wildcat, Thunderhawk
top3 steel: Steel Force, Nitro, S:ROS@ SFNE

Saturday, April 19, 2003 7:34 PM
The lines for Comet can get ugly. I was there one day when they had to add on two extra lines of queue.
If you have a problem with clones, the solution is real simple—Stop traveling.
Sunday, April 20, 2003 8:09 AM
I got there around 1 pm, and the park was too crowded. I decided not to buy a rideband because just how crowded it was. It was horrible. I made a lap through the park to check all the lines, and they had been the longest that I have seen in several years. I am going there today cause I know the lines won't be long cause of the holiday.
Monday, April 21, 2003 5:38 AM
Couple of things to note:

1) During peak times lines at Hershey can be very long. 45 minutes for Great Bear, Wildcat (not open this past weekend) and Comet are not uncommon. People who say "never longer than a 5 minute wait" must have hit the park on a slow day.

2) Last year for Hersheypark in the Dark the loading of Comet was horribly long compared to the other running coasters. Not sure how they were loading this past weekend, but last October they were loading, checking belts and bars, and THEN they were checking for wrist bands and taking tickets. This extra process slowed things down alot.

3) While driving to Giant Center on Saturday night, we drove around the park and noticed the line for Trailblazer was out of the station and queue and out into the walkway in front of it. We also noticed how full the parking lot was. We had talked about going to the park this weekend, but ran out of time. As we drove past, my wife asked if it bothered me that we didn't get to go. I pointed to rather full lot. It looked almost like a regular crowd for a summer weekend. Large number of people + only half the park open = LONG lines. No, it didn't bother me at all.
Kind of hard to take a post as objective if a park or coaster name is part of the "user name"

Monday, April 21, 2003 6:32 AM
Great TR!

I agree that zero-g rolls on inverted coasters are nothing special. The zero-g rolls on B&M sitdown and floorless coasters are amazing! I think that is what people love so much.

"Life is like a roller coaster; there are ups and downs and it's over all too fast."

Fight Back at: www.realizethis.com

Wednesday, April 23, 2003 11:22 AM
Did Hershey get rid of Cyclops? I hear there's a new ride called, The Claw. Does anyone know what that ride is like? HP's website only has a few specs, but no pictures.
Wednesday, April 23, 2003 11:35 AM
Yes, Cyclops is gone. I am not sure what the new ride is like, since I have never ridden one before. I have only seen a few pictures, and even those don't help me much with what the actual ride is.
Wednesday, April 23, 2003 11:44 AM
Going by pics etc, it looks very similar to "Wild Claw" that has made an appearance the past few years at the York Fair (York PA). I believe the production name is Afterburner (or one of similar rides made by different companies). Just looks like a somewhat larger permanent model as opposed to a travelling model.

IF this is the case and IF Hershey decides to run it full out like it can be run, it will be one heck of a ride! Truthfully, When it reaches the top of its swing, there are negative Gs and when it is in the downward part of the swing, there are positive Gs.

My fear... Hersheypark, with its reputation as a family park, may not run it at full throttle... could tame it down. In the past few years the Pirat seems to have been slowed down and you only go to full swing once or twice before it starts slowing down. Same with Flying Falcon... has been slowed down somewhat. Granted, this could be a result of age... or a result of "Themepark / Family park" mentality.

I am holding out hope though. Same with the Flyers. I doubt they will be run at full throttle like at Knoebels... and I can just see the horror on the faces of the ops etc at HP if you even attempt to snap them... but again, I am holding out hope.

Kind of hard to take a post as objective if a park or coaster name is part of the "user name"

Wednesday, April 23, 2003 12:21 PM
I was at Hershey last year, and would love to go again, especially if the Comet has improved. That was my favorite ride there, and the air on those 1st 3 drops is amazing, and I think that if the brakes were taken off, it would have the best air in the world, considering that even with the brake, it has good air by the end.

wood's just as good
*** This post was edited by nightride 4/23/2003 4:21:31 PM ***

Wednesday, April 23, 2003 12:36 PM
I received an email earlier today from Hersheypark announcing that the park will be open for a special preview on April 26-27 for a low admission price of $22. It didn't say what would be running, but it did mention "9 roller coasters and 6 soaking water rides". Not sure if this means that these will all be running or now.

But then there was the kicker... After saying how great it was going to be and how you could visit the earlier for these "Special operating days", it tacked on to the end the disclaimer that because this was a special operating session, they could not honor Season passes, complimentary tickets, return visit vouchers, season pass tickets or any special coupons.

Kind of hard to take a post as objective if a park or coaster name is part of the "user name"

Wednesday, April 23, 2003 12:40 PM
It's exactly like the "Wild Claw" I forget the manufacturer but it's actually called Revolution. I got to put the footers in for it back in Febuary! When I was there I grabbed a tag off of the rebar we were using it had Hersheypark and the name written on it. Not much but a cool souvinere! I'm not sure if Cyclops went in storage or to another park.

After 4 1/2 years I'm a "single" rider again!

XBox Live Gamer tag: Coasterpunk

Wednesday, April 23, 2003 12:54 PM
Exacly like Wild Claw... in theory or the actual same ride?

(always thought Wild Claw was a KMG Afterburner)

If its a Revoultion, then its by Mondial.

Either way, the principle is the same.

I just hope the OTSR's are a little more roomy than those on Wild Claw. They are not contoured to the body , instead they are straight. I've never had a problem on any coaster with OTSR's (never had to resort to the "big boy" seats), but the OTSR's on Wild Claw staple me like crazy... I swore that I was going to pass out on it because I could hardly breath.

What is it about Hersheypark this year that has me looking forward to visiting more than last yeat? Last year they got Rollersoaker... which I have yet to ride. This year its The Claw, the Flyers, two kiddie rides (which I WON'T be riding) and a statue of Milton Hershey... and I am more excited about the new additions this year (even the statue) more than I was looking forward to Rollersoaker last year.

(Though driving by GIANT Center will probably bring a tear to my eye after the Chicago Wolves eliminated the Hershey Bears in the first overtime of game 5 of their first round playoff series last night)

Kind of hard to take a post as objective if a park or coaster name is part of the "user name"
*** This post was edited by SLFAKE 4/23/2003 5:02:04 PM ***

Wednesday, April 23, 2003 4:32 PM
The model at Hershey is the Chance/Morgan version of the ride.


It is the Revolution ride on that page.

Wednesday, April 23, 2003 5:03 PM
As far as I know, all the rides will be open except for the obvious one, The Claw.
Thursday, April 24, 2003 8:13 PM
coasterqueenTRN's avatar Ahhh, I miss Hersheypark. I have not visited since 2001. I plan on visiting again sometime this summer....gotta have my Lightning Racer! :-)


Feel The Adrenaline....

Saturday, April 26, 2003 7:32 PM
I also visited Hersheypark for its Springtime in the Park preview. Being that this was my home park growing up, it's hard to be objective, but I'll try...

My friend and I arrived around 11:00am on Saturday April 19. I was worried about rain, but figured it might keep the crowds at bay. Wrong! Tons of cars ahead of us on Hersheypark Drive and crawling into the parking lot. Incidentally, I'm not sure if I like the parking lot's new layout, with the addition of the Giant Center. Also, I miss the big train-shaped marquee at the old entrance. Maybe they're planning to spruce up the entrance for the summer season.

We took the tram to the entrance of the park, considered going to Chocolate World first, then just decided to go there afterwards. (I was anxious to hit the rides!)

From my last visit there for Christmas Candylane 2001, it didn't appear that many changes had been made to the European sections of the park, except for the remodeling of the restaurant in Tudor Square (which used to be called Pippins, I think). For some reason, I was happy to see that Hersheypark still has not put in metal detectors, like those big, bad urban parks like SFAmerica (my home park now) or Great Adventure.

Entering Carousel Circle, I wasn't quite as upset as I thought I would be seeing Starlight Arcade removed. The fountain put in its place (with future statue of M.S. Hershey) added a nice touch to the area. Our first ride was here, the Giant Wheel, always relaxing and offering a great view. However, I was disgusted seeing the Giant stores logo in place of the Hersheypark logo on the wheel we rode (as well as several of the gondolas). I guess corporate sponsorship is everywhere these days.

We then proceeded to the Comet, saw the ungodly long line extending out from under the canopy, then decided on the Sooperdooperlooper. I don't ever remember waiting this long for the Looper, but the wait was worth it. You're upside down for all of a second, but what a force you feel as you're pushed down into your seat. And long live the lap bars!!! May OTSRs never taint this ride.

Next up, we hit the Comet. Still a long line, but I didn't care (we were probably in line for about 45mins). Fantastic ride, made even more exciting by sitting in the back seat. My friend absolutely refused to do front seats (he's not a coaster buff), but was willing to tolerate the back. (Upon exiting the ride, we wound up near the Carousel. But I seemed to remember at one time disembarking the train on the same side as we embarked, and wound up back in Comet Hollow.) After that we went on Skyview, a SLOW ride. (I still want to know why they took out the Skyride that ran from Rhineland to Minetown; that actually went somewhere!!)

Next up were the Monorail (long line, one train running), Pirat, and Dry Gulch Railroad. We skipped the Frontier Flyers. I paused for a moment of silence to remember the Cyclops as I looked where it had been. Now just a hole in the ground, awaiting the Claw! Same for the Conestoga, whose entrance sign and queuing area are still there. Something called Frontier Virtual Theatre will be taking its place. We also went on Rodeo, and I was amused to hear the operator stop the ride after the forward run to ask if anyone didn't want to go backward. They used to run it backward without asking. The Sidewinder was closed, and upon close inspection, I noticed something strange. One of the trains was stuck between the teardrop loop and the butterfly twist between the arms of the coaster. I hope it didn't stop that way with people on it.

Down to the Trailblazer (and toward the tantalizing scent of cooking beef)! I noticed the line snaking out of the barn, down the steps, and into the outside queue. I figured, not too bad of a line. I completely forgot the LONG maze of bars once upstairs, in the barn. Worse, they were only running one train, so the line moved at snail's pace; we must've waited about an hour. I'm a diehard nostalgic, otherwise I would have said the heck with it. Truthfully, it's not worth such a long wait. The only real highlight is the final helix, for which reason my friend made me right on the right-hand side, which is closest to the ground when the train goes sideways. And those beams once you reach the station... I still swear one of these days someone is going to lose their head. My hands were up most of the ride, until that point! Also, I have to agree with the earlier post that this little valley is one of the prettiest spots in the park (and when the entire park is open, one of the more forgotten).

Up the steep hill to Minetown, and the Flying Falcon... beautiful, exhilarating ride. I love how they speed up the cars once you reach the top; my friend didn't. We sat in separate cars, and I called to him several times, but I could see he wasn't enjoying himself. He insisted that we ride a few slow rides to allay his lurching stomach, so we hit the Kissing Tower. Around this time it was beginning to get dark, and I was determined to go on Great Bear (I rode alone, surprise, surprise!). Another fantastic coaster experience, speed with a smooth ride. Not a migraine-inducer like the MindEraser at SFAmerica (they should tear that thing down and start over).

It was now dark. Encore trips on Looper and Comet. I love riding coasters at night, especially ones with lights, like the Comet. It's a great effect. Second-to-last ride was the Wave Swinger... fun (more great lights-red!), even though it was making a strange, very loud groaning noise as the tower descended. It had been closed when we were near it earlier in the day. Needs some wd-40, perhaps. Encore trip on Monorail (shorter line, fun at night too).

9:30pm... out of the park, into Chocolate World. Tour ride, of course, but no 3D Spectacular. Off to Tram Circle, which sort of reminded me of the DC Metro at rush hour. Just a big mob of people scrambling to get on the last train out of Dodge (maybe they should rename it Cram Circle). Next stop, Tram Dropoff #1!

I plan to return later in the summer.


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