Hersheypark 12/29/07

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Sunday, December 30, 2007 1:17 PM
Needing some relief to the offseason, my family decided to take a trip to Hersheypark yesterday.

The gate price was $9.95 but they had an online special that was $36.05 ($34.80 + $1.25 fee) for 4 tickets, 4 small hot chocolates and 4 skill games (3 tries at the goblet toss per person), which was a great deal. Parking was $6.00 which is $2.00 less than the summer price of $8.00. Preferred parking was $15.00.

We got to the park at around 1:30 and it was more crowded than I expected. Parking and seeing Wildcat and Storm Runner and knowing they wouldn't be running along with all the other coasters with a little disappointing but I knew no coasters would be running going into this.

First ride of the day was Reese's Xtreme Cup Challenge. About a 20 minute wait. I really like this ride despite the criticisms most people have with it, I just wish it wasn't so short. We destroyed the other team, 230,000 to 11,000.

We were going to go to the monorail but there was a sign 1 train was running and it looked to be at least 30+ minutes so we skipped it and went to Dry Gulch Railroad. 2 trains were running so it was a walk on, not much to see since it was during the day and when we passed Storm Runner's station, I saw the shells of the train leaned up against the wall of the station. It was strange to not see any Storm Runner or Trailblazer trains going through their course since that is something I always watch for while on the train.

Pirat was next, another walk on, a lot better than Dorney's Sea Dragon and it's bad ride program. After that it was a stop in the arcade for some DDR and Deal or No Deal (it's crazy how popular this game is, despite the arcade being empty that game had a wait)

Crowds were starting to get worse and the Monorail had a even worse line than before, so we went to Fender Bender with a 15 minute wait. They are a lot more fun that the horrible bumper cars Dorney has despite Hershey like so many parks enforcing a one way only driving rule.

We went to Zoo America next which was included in park admission (I don't know who would pay $7.50 or $8.50 just to get into the Zoo when admission to the park is only a few dollars more), and spent about 45 minutes there. Having not been there for years since coasters and other rides take priority during the summer, it was something different and a chance to get some relief from the cold in the inside exhibits.

We stopped at the Goblet Toss and had no luck, it seemed as if there were fewer than normal winner goblets compared to the summer when there are no vouchers to play for free. The Kissing Tower had a full queue and was about 20 minutes, instead of a narrator talking about the park, they played Christmas music the whole ride. The views of the park were different such as the drained Coal Cracker.

The antique cars had a full queue and was overflowing into Minetown and with only 6 cars running (and the sports car track not being used at all), I estimated the wait to be 30 - 45 minutes so it was skipped. While in Zoo America we saw a 2nd train was added to the Monorail and went back to that and had a 20 minute wait. It would have been nice to see both sides of the antique cars and sports cars being used due to the lines and if they had a 2nd train for the monorail, they should have started the day with 2 trains since they had to know it would be packed with it being a Saturday and above normal temperatures. I had originally figured the 2nd train was done for the season to get it's yearly work done.

Reese's Xtreme Challenge was even more crowded than before so we opted for the single rider line and got on in 10 minutes and then went to Comet Hollow. Bowler Roller was opened at $0.25 a game which is a bargain since most parks charge a minimum of $0.50 to as much as $2.00 a game (Fantasy Island in NJ). They moved one of the Merry Dip Fun Slides to Comet Hollow. 10 minute wait and it seemed much faster than normal where I slid off slide onto the padding they put at the end.

The final ride was Starship America, which I hadn't been on in years. I was expecting a slightly more intense version than Dumbo but it was a lot more intense that that. It seemed to get to full speed very fast and was much more forceful than I had expected to the point where my head hurt for a few seconds after the ride. We stopped at the merry go round and went to Chocolate World for the dark ride tour which had a full queue but was just under 20 minutes.

As we were leaving, more and more people were entering the park, I can imagine the lines were getting even worse.

Overall it was a fun trip, I'd like to see more attractions open and the ones that are open run at full capacity. Most importantly, I'd like to see a few coasters open (Comet, Sooperdooperlooper, Trailblazer) since that would have helped with the crowds and would definitely make me want to attend this event every year.

Thursday, January 3, 2008 2:27 PM
I guess that crowd was to be expected on one of the few nice weekend days we've had in PA this December. We had freezing rain, sleet, or snow on every Sunday during the month.

In previous years, I'm positive they opened both the antique and sports car sides of that ride. Not sure if they've ever used 2 trains on the monorail for this event though. They played Christmas music on that as well instead of the usual narration.

Maybe because it was the last weekend, they decided against opening more vehicles. Especially if they weren't crowded on a lot of other days/nights up till then. It's a shame if attendance was way down because of the weather, because it really is a fun event, even without coasters.


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