Hersheypark 4/6/07 (long, opinionated)

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Saturday, April 7, 2007 12:17 AM
Since I had to do a lot of wandering around waiting for things to open, instead of narrating my day in chronological order I'll just list the coasters in rough geographical order and note their high and low points...

Comet: I managed to get to it shortly after opening before the line got past one switchback, which was good because it was running only one train with their usual inexplicably slow checking and double-checking of lap bars and then for some reason waiting around
before dispatching the train. Later while I was trying to kill time waiting for repairs to Stormrunner, I got in line when it was past three switchbacks and there was still only one train running. I don't know why, because we weren't getting enough snow flurries to wet the ground, it has a long covered brake run, and with the trim brake in the middle of the course it doesn't exactly fly into the brakes anyway. Also there were a lot of staff in the station seemingly doing nothing. Someone needs to go to Knoebels and learn how to run a coaster, except I expect they'd die of shock. As for the ride itself,
it was no more nor less than I expected. Average roughness for an antique woody, decent speed, considering the track condition, on the large hills but not a lot of action on the bunny hops due to the trim
brake. I rode the front seat the first time and the back seat the second time, and the airtime did seem slightly better in the back but was still nothing special. Was rougher in the back, as expected.

Sooperdooperlooper: Reasonable lines all day, one train running, seemed to move at a good pace and had a reasonable amount of force in the helix, as opposed to my last visit during their Halloween event
when on an early ride it seemed to barely be going fast enough to do the loop and the helix was little more exciting than Trailblazer. As I left the area after one ride, I saw the train come out of the
station and then stop with the first car or two on the lift hill. I could barely make out someone yelling about someone's lap bar not being down. I didn't stick around long enough to see how the situation played out.

Great Bear: There was a tiny, hand-written note in the ticket booth I went through saying that the Great Bear, the Falcons, and the Kissing Tower were down. I kept watching Great Bear to see if it opened since I've heard many times that it doesn't run under 40 degrees, but it never did. Apparently either there wasn't a note in all the ticket booths or nobody was paying attention, because while eating at the restaurant across from the station (was Wok And Roll, now Gourmet Grille with an assortment of ethnicities on the menu) I saw quite a few people walk up to the station and look surprised. I suspect the not-paying-attention part, because you can see the track from the entire park.

Sidewinder: Went down while I was in line. The train was towed up the first spike and then hung there. Meanwhile there was a loud continuous sound of air being released from somewhere under the station. I left the area to investigate a rumor of the Wild Mouse being open so I don't know how long it was down or if there was a lift evacuation or the train returned to the station. Later I rode the front and back. The back seemed to have more headbanging.

Stormrunner: Seemed to be running slower than last time. It looked like it hung on top of the top hat and in the top of the Immelman for quite a while, but I told myself it was just because I was on the ground, it would probably seem faster when I was riding it. Then... it went down while I was in line. Rolled out, brakes dropped, message played, brakes raised. After waiting a while I left the line, and checking back later I saw that the train had been emptied but was still sitting on the launch track. Some people waited in the station for quite a while but the ride was down most of the afternoon as far as I know. It opened around suppertime and the line was a lot shorter than it was earlier. Usually the park is busiest around that time, but this time it seemed to be emptying out early because of the cold. It was indeed slower! The airtime and the hangtime were superb, and the roll not so nerve-wracking. On one wait in the station, the operator was exhorting riders to have their loose objects ready to stow as soon as the gates open because he was afraid if they didn't
keep dispatching trains often enough it wouldn't stay warm enough to make it over the top hat. When it got to the top he would start gesturing for it to keep going, and one of the riders got into the act too. After that the line became very short, but twice we had to wait for the restraints to be unlocked for someone to surrender her purse. The second offender apparently didn't want to leave it behind because
she left the ride. I didn't see any rollbacks, but another enthusiast told me that at one point during the day it very nearly did so and they shut it down for a while afterward.

Trailblazer: Didn't ride it. Looked like a sizeable crowd in the station, and it's not that good compared to everything else in the park. Hershey's literature ranks this as a higher thrill than Sooperdooperlooper. Either this is a typo or SDL was braked to death
at some point in history.

Roller Soaker: Wasn't open, nor was it expected to be, obviously.

Wild Mouse: Nothing in Midway America was supposed to be open, but while in Sidewinder's station I saw the Ferris wheel running and heard
that Wild Mouse was seen running. I walked back there around the Boardwalk, which looks much closer to completion than I was led to believe it would be and can be seen in its entirety because the wooden
fence present last year was removed. The Merry Derry Dip slides were also open. Unfortunately Wild Mouse was only warming up. Much later I saw that there were finally people on it so I went back again. I thought I heard a wood coaster running but alas it was the Whip. The Wild Mouse was its usual insane self with scary laterals everywhere and airtime on the big dip. The line wasn't too bad most of the time, probably due to the out-of-the-way location. This also gave an excellent overhead view of the new water area.

Wildcat: Wasn't scheduled to open, and didn't. I was hoping they would open it to show off the new trains, and had heard that it was on a standby list to open if there were big crowds.

Lightning Racer: Also wasn't scheduled to open, and didn't. With all the troubles with the steel coasters today, it was ironic that they didn't run the two other wood coasters. It also seemed absurd to have
people walk all the way back through the Boardwalk perimeter and Midway America just for the wheel, the slides, and the Whip, and people who obviously hadn't looked at the ride list seemed disappointed at the lack of rides open in this section. Plus, LR has a huge capacity. Considering that the Boardwalk construction wasn't impeding traffic as I had heard it would, they should've scheduled these two to open.


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Saturday, April 7, 2007 1:37 AM
I've read a few TR that sounded horrible, so it was nice to read one that wasn't so much of a downer. Sounds like despite the cold you still had a reasonably pleasant visit. How cold was it? Some areas are getting quite a bit of snow.
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Saturday, April 7, 2007 11:07 AM
Yeah, we were disgusted that we missed Great Bear and the usual slowness at Comet, but once Stormrunner opened we had a blast.

I don't think it got above the low 40s for any length of time otherwise Great Bear might've been running, but it was breezy and so felt a lot colder when the sun wasn't shining, which was much of the time. There was no accumulating snow at any time, but in the morning we did pass through some areas outside of town that still had a thin coating on the ground from sometime before.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007 5:35 PM
Just think, it was warmer for Christmas Candylane last December than it was for Springtime in the Park this year.
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