Hersheypark, Hershey, Pennsylvania, USA
On Saturday 5/14 I had off work and decided to go pickup my season pass at Hersheypark. I relocated to the Harrisburg area so it made sense to buy a $160 all season pass for me; last season I only went twice and spent about $180 on entry, parking, and food. Since I was just going alone today I didn’t really plan on spending much time there, I was just going to make a lap around to take in the sights and sounds of the park.
I arrived around 11am and the parking lot was half full, but mostly with school buses. Turns out it was music in the parks day, with lots of high school bands and choirs performing. I stopped to watch some of the performances at the stage across from Music Box Theater and listened to some bands playing at the amphitheater. It reminded me of my high school days and our band trips to Kings Dominion, Cedar Point, and Six Flags New England.
Despite the weather being overcast and dreary, the park looked very clean, bright, and full of families and groups of kids having a great time.
Then it happened… as I walked up the path from Trailblazer underneath Storm Runner, I saw something amazing. I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. Storm Runner has 'Maverick' restraints!!!
I went right for the line. I didn’t care if I was solo today, I was going to ride Storm Runner! The line was a short 10 minutes and the rideops were very efficient for it being early in the season. I also LOVED that they were using 'regular' guests from rows 6 and 9 to fill the unused Fastpass rows’ seats. That was one of my complaints on my last trip report.
Ok now the ride – my first coaster of the season! I got in line for the back row on the Blue side. The launch – forceful as always! The train feels like it whipped over the top of the hill faster than usual, but that’s ok because the ejector air in the back seat was incredible. And instead of crushing your shoulders/collarbones into hard OTSR, you now just get held in comfortably by the new soft restraints. Storm Runner has the same (or more it seemed?) intensity, but it’s not the same in roughness. It was awesome! The parts of the ride where I always would hit my neck laterally were when dropping from the snake dive, and through the s-turns up into the brakes. Now there is absolutely no head/neck/collarbone banging. I used to only ride Storm Runner once or twice per visit, but now it is 100% rerideable and goes up a bunch of spots on my favorite coasters list.
I got off and got right back in line, I wanted to try the front of the train with the new restraints. After a 5 minute wait I rode in row 2. The experience was the same, intense but smooth, comfortable and fun! The biggest difference in the front is more airtime at the top of the tophat, and more airtime at the top of the hill entering the zero-g roll. What a great ride! I said in my trip report here last June that I wanted to see Maverick restraints on Storm Runner, but I didn’t think the upgrade would improve the ride experience THAT much. Thank you Hersheypark!
Then another moment of wow… could Fahrenheit have the same upgrade? I walked over and grinned ear to ear seeing the soft restraints also on Fahrenheit’s trains! The line for Fahrenheit was really long, showing 1 hour on the Hersheypark app which looked accurate. I really wanted to try the new restraints, but I didn’t want to wait an hour plus by myself. I’m really looking forward to seeing how much the soft restraints improve the Fahrenheit experience.
I decided to walk the loop through Midway America. Wildcat was down and the train was stuck at the top of the lift. I wasn’t going to ride it anyway. RMC – plz save Wildcat.
I walked back to Storm Runner and rode it three more times in different rows and sides with about 10-15 minute waits each time. That’s more Store Runner rides in one day than I usually do in one season! And I could have done more, but I decided to call it a short day and head out. On the way out I stopped at Nathans and grabbed an order of bacon ranch fries for lunch.
To sum it up, the park was clean, everything freshly painted, all rides seemed to be running. Storm Runner is super comfortable now with the new soft restraints. All the staff including the season pass office, the rideops, to the ladies at Nathans were smiling, efficient, and friendly. I look forward to dozens of visits to Hersheypark this year!
We were there yesterday. No crowd and the longest wait was 20 minutes Laff Trakk. Fahrenheit was down, but we rode Storm Runner three times. I like the new restraints, but I never had a problem with the old ones. I had a hard time getting the belt fastened myself. The ride operator assisted.
Sky Rush was running really well. We only skipped the Wildcat because of single train operation.
Great first visit.
I have never had a problem with the restraints on either of those rides. Skyrush has the worst restraints on any coaster i have ridden and those should've been the first to be replaced imo.
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