Hersheypark 6/23/15

Wednesday, June 24, 2015 11:47 AM

It’s been awhile since TWISTER wrote a detailed TR… here I go!

After reading LostKause’s TR about Hersheypark being so dead the other day, it gave me an itch to visit Hershey again. Off work and with nothing to do on Tuesday, one of my coworkers and I decided on a whim to visit Hersheypark. Even though Hershey is less than an hour away, I hadn’t been there in 3 years. I was most looking forward to riding Skyrush again. Last time I was there it we waited about 1.5 hours and it was at the end of the night and I was really tired and didn’t seem to enjoy it. I also wanted to be sure to hit Great Bear, get my Laff Track credit, and ride the best racing/dueling coaster around - Lightning Racer.

The forecast called for showers and storms later in the day, so we went early hoping to get around the park before the rain started. In the past, I’ve done this with success by visiting SFGAdv and Dorney on days it called for rain, and was able to get on everything with little to no lines.

We got there right around 1030am and the parking lot was nearly empty… yes! After getting inside the park, we took the little hidden trail along the river through Skyrush. I don’t think many people know about that path, because we were the only ones walking it.

Everything, with the exception of Laff Track and Storm Runner was either a walk-on or 1 train wait. We started up at Kissing Tower Hill with Great Bear, and planned to work our way down thru Hollow, across Pioneer Frontier, then into Midway America. Great Bear had about a 1 train wait. One of my favorite parts of the day was at Great Bear, seeing the Fa$t Track people $tanding on the other $ide of the $tation and waiting for their coveted 4 row. The regular line was shorter. Ha! I’m glad you paid more money to wait longer… and I’m $ure HERCO is happy too!

Great Bear seemed to be running faster and smoother than I remember. We sat in row 2. Wow… this ride has some serious positive Gs in the helix after the lift, and also while entering the immelmann. I also noticed for the first time a nice pop of airtime on the hill after the zero-g roll where it goes up and over Sooper Dooper Looper. I love the way Hershey put Great Bear in where it is. I never would have believed they could fit a world class B&M inverted coaster in that location. One of my favorite parts of Great Bear is the quick and subtle left turn it makes just before the final corkscrew to the right. That really throws your body into the corkscrew and the positive Gs there are also quite intense. I love Great Bear – always have since it came out. It’s my 2nd favorite inverted coaster, just behind Talon by a smidge. It’s also pretty cool how they have Scott Stuccio (the Hershey Bears radio commentator) doing the “welcome back” announcement in the station. Little things like that make me smile! We rode again and sat in the very back seat. The ride experience was about the same, but the most Gs in the back seat seemed to occur at the exit of the vertical loop. Great Bear wins the award for best ride-ops of the day. They were quick; efficient, and got the train dispatched just at the previous one was getting back to the station each cycle.

We walked on Coal Cracker which is a great flume ride, but I didn’t get wet at all. With temps in the 90s and it being very humid I was hoping to get splashed at least a little bit. Oh well. We then rode Sooper Dooper Looper which is nostalgic, smooth, and enjoyable. SDL will always hold a special place in my heart for being the very first looping coaster I ever rode… way back when I was just a wee 42” tall Reese’s.

Then it was time for Skyrush. Like I said earlier, it didn’t impress me back in 2012 when I rode it. It just seemed average. Well… that was about to change. The wait was a walk-on except for the front row. We opted for the very back. Let me say, the whip over the first hill sitting in the back row is hella extreme – the most extreme I’ve ever experienced. The airtime over the 2nd hill, the headchopper hill, and the last hill before the brakes are the most extreme ejector-airtime hills I’ve ever experienced. El Toro x10. The quick direction changes on the over-banked turns on the water were the most intense direction changes I’ve ever experienced. When the train hit the brakes, I had to stop and check to make sure my internal organs hadn’t squeezed out of my orifices and my pants hadn’t been soiled. It was then I realized the lapbar had become so tight on my legs, I think it was cutting off circulation to my feet. Thankfully they lift your lapbar up an inch or so once the train stops on the brakerun. Everyone on the train let out an audible “ahhh” of relief when the staple-bars released.

Could Skyrush actually be “too” intense? Is it possible for a coaster to have too strong negative Gs? It seems like if you’d marathon ride Skyrush, you’d end up having back problems and bruised legs. Either way – it’s without a doubt, the most intense roller coaster ride I’ve ever been on. My track record is only 101 coasters… but it’s more intense than Maverick, Alpengeist, and El Toro combined. Although in terms of ranking, Skyrush is not in my top 10; Mostly due to the restraint comfort.

Storm Runner had a 10 min wait. Kudos to Hershey for still doing duel loading even on a slow day. But of course, 2 rows of Storm Runner on both trains were reserved for fa$t track. And since no one was in the fa$t track line, those rows just got left empty during each cycle… a 20% decrease in capacity for no reason. I don’t understand why they don’t fill those seats with “us regular guests” when there is no one in the fast track line. Whatever… I’ve never been a fan of people who pay to make others wait longer… but the indu$try thinks with their bottom line profits and not with their overall guest satisfaction in mind. Storm Runner was awesome, except for the s-curves after the snake dive. Lots of unpreventable neck/head banging. If the new restraints on Maverick get great reviews, I hope parks install them on all their Intamin loopers.

Neither of us wanted to ride Sidewinder, so we headed for Midway America to ride Lightning Racer. It was a walk-on and great as always. I love this ride. The dueling aspect is well designed, and the pacing is kept fast from start to finish. It’s also quite smooth for a 15 year old wooden coaster. LR isn’t that tall, only 90ft, but it feels a lot bigger and faster than it really is. We rode twice on the Green Thunder side, once in the back, and once in the middle. The back was slightly more rough at the bottom of the first drop, but still much smoother than most woodies by comparison.

We then got in line for Laff Track which had about a 15 minute wait. It was neat. Very colorful, and a much bigger and faster coaster inside than what’s expected. The ride seemed short though, and our car didn’t spin as much as I would have liked. It’s unique, fun for all ages, and a good addition to the Hershey lineup of coasters.

We skipped Wild Mouse, but we did get a ride on Wildcat. Wildcat was mildly rough, but that ride always has been rough to me. Not as rough as Hercules or Mean Streak by any means. The Millennium Flyer trains help, but it still needs retracked in the high G areas. I know it holds historical significance being GCI’s first coaster, and named Wildcat after Hershey’s first coaster, but I wouldn’t be upset if someone at Hershey makes a call to RMC about this one… 'Iron Wildcat' has a nice ring to it.

A quick ride on Fahrenheit reassured my desire to smack the people that say Knoebel’s Impulse is just like Fahrenheit. Fahrenheit has a vertical lift/drop and a cobra roll, but that’s all that’s the same. Fahrenheit needs new restraints… a la Maverick style. I didn’t like Fahrenheit, and I probably won’t ride it again unless it gets new more comfortable restraints. Their ride-ops also win the award for slowest and most unenergetic employees of the day.

It was lunch time so we ate at the western place at the bottom of Storm Runner’s 1st drop. I can’t remember what the place was called, but the pulled pork was well worth its price. I checked the weather and it looked like we had about another 2 hours before the rain came, so we went back to Hollow to get some more rides on Great Bear and Skyrush. On the way I got a lemonade at the stand to the right of the Hollow entrance by Comet. The girl at the window wins the most unfriendly employee award. No hello, thank you, here you go, enjoy your day, etc. She just took my money, and sat my lemonade on the counter and turned around. Sheesh. I guess I’ve been spoiled by the friendly employees at Knoebel’s to always expect friendly. It took me by surprise, but I guess that’s becoming normal unfortunately.

We rode Skyrush I think 5 more times until our legs could take no more punishment. By the 4th ride I learned how to ride aggressively by leaning into the direction changes to make them more comfortable. We also rode Great Bear 2 more times in row 2, and saw dark clouds moving in so we left for the day around 3pm. We stopped at Chocolate World on the way out and took our last ride of the day on the Chocolate Tour, because no sweet trip to Hersheypark is complete without it.

To sum everything up: Overall it was the most-dead I’ve ever seen Hersheypark, which made it great for no lines. We got on everything we wanted to multiple times in just 5 hours. Skyrush is extremely intensely insane. Laff Track is a fun new addition all ages can enjoy. For it being the ‘sweetest place on Earth’ not one single employee was seen smiling. I love Lightning Racer. Wildcat needs RMC treatment. Storm Runner and Fahrenheit need Maverick restraints. Great Bear is underrated. Fa$t track $uck$. Chocolate is good. The end!

-TWISTER

Last edited by T-W-I-S-T-E-R, Wednesday, June 24, 2015 11:53 AM
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Wednesday, June 24, 2015 2:40 PM

Nice TR. You picked a good day to go. I've never managed to get to Hershey when it wasn't a mob scene, and never got to ride Comet b/c the queue was too long. Agree totally that Skyrush is the most intense of the slightly over 100 coasters I've ridden. Also agree that Fahrenheit and Impulse have little in common. Don't recall a problem with the restraints on Fahrenheit, however. They were a lot more comfortable than the restraint on Impulse, which tightens to the point of being severely constricting at the bottom of the free fall.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015 2:44 PM

Was Comet not running or you skipped?

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015 4:33 PM

Comet was running but had a half full que all day. They may have been running single train, but I didn't look that closely. Both of us had ridden Comet and wanted to take advantage of the deadness to get extra rides on our favorites.

On Fahrenheit I banged hard on the over shoulder restraints thru the corkscrews and on the turn at the end right after the airtime hill. The first drop, Norwegian loop, and cobra roll were all OK, but the 2nd half of the ride was rough for me.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015 8:07 PM

Entertaining report. I am in disagreement about a few things. I don't find Skyrush re-ridable at all, because the intensity is too much for me to handle.

I do not like Great Bear's placement. That whole section of the park irks me in design. Great Bear ruins SooperDooperLooper's appealing good-looking style by towering over it and blocking its view. Skyrush does the same to Comet.

Last thing I disagree with you about. Fahrenheit is an awesome coaster! The only thing I dislike about it is the low capacity and long line it creates.

Now for the Hersheypark love: I love that newish little path from the front gate to Skyrush a lot. It's quiet and secluded, and provides a way to skip walking up and down the big hill at the front of the park.

About the rain - Something that has changed at Hersheypark from the old days is that they will close practically EVERYTHING when there is a rain cloud anywhere near the park, even if the rainclouds are not visible. That's been going on for at least five years, that I know of. I wonder if that policy has been recognised by enough visitors that it keeps people away from the park on days rain is expected? If there is rain in the forecast, you are risking that nothing will be open. I think many people know that nowadays, maybe from experience. This makes for very slow days, which can be awesome if the rain holds off. This may pertain to many other parks besides Hersheypark as well.

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Thursday, June 25, 2015 10:31 AM

Someone on Facebook posted that they rode SkyRush Sunday for 6 hours in the same seat. I don't know her, I have no reason to doubt her. So why do I have trouble swallowing it?

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Thursday, June 25, 2015 12:07 PM

Mike Gallagher said:

So why do I have trouble swallowing it?

...

Oh, never mind.

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Thursday, June 25, 2015 12:59 PM

LostKause said:

I do not like Great Bear's placement. That whole section of the park irks me in design. Great Bear ruins SooperDooperLooper's appealing good-looking style by towering over it and blocking its view. Skyrush does the same to Comet.

I love seeing old pictures of Comet Hollow when (pre-blue painted) sooperdooperLooper and Comet were the only coasters there (and Trail Blazer was the only other coaster in the park). Reminds me of when I first started going there, and my obsession with SDL when I was a kid. That said, I actually love how the new coasters are placed over and around the older ones. It's a mess, yeah, but there are few parks who do this and there's something fun about it.

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Thursday, June 25, 2015 1:49 PM

Yea. The few criticisms I have for the park are pretty small. "Hersheypark build new rides overtop of the old rides. Boo hoo!" LOL

Hersheypark really is a great park, especially over the last decade or so. The expansions have really made it a huge park, and the growth of trees and the awesome landscaping make it beautiful.

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Thursday, June 25, 2015 10:02 PM

I like seeing pictures of Hershey's Comet Hollow with Comet, The Bug, and the Mill Chute and no sooperdooperlooper at all.

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Thursday, June 25, 2015 10:21 PM

You win.

Or lose, depending on your perspective.

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Thursday, June 25, 2015 11:58 PM

I like seeing pictures of Comet Hollow before humankind was a species when there were just dinosaurs.

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Friday, June 26, 2015 9:43 AM

Then... I'm sorry, I'm not following. How could there be pictures?

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Friday, June 26, 2015 9:49 AM

Cave paintings. With all the caverns in PA, I'm sure there are some. What I find cool is that Hershey decided to name their wooden coaster "Comet" to fit the area's ancient namesake.

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Sunday, June 28, 2015 12:47 PM

One of the (many) charms Hersheypark holds for me is the whole, "hey, let's see just how many things we can fit in this one little area" approach.

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Sunday, June 28, 2015 1:04 PM

The standard unit of measure for charm is (and always has been) trees.

Please express in units of trees exactly how much charm the ""hey, let's see just how many things we can fit in this one little area" approach" provides.

For example:

Hershey's "hey, let's see just how many things we can fit in this one little area" approach" provides exacty 257 trees worth of charm for me.

Thank you.

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Sunday, June 28, 2015 4:07 PM

It's funny because it's true, Gonch.

Actually, I love the landscaping of that park, especially over recent years.

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Sunday, June 28, 2015 5:05 PM

I respectfully disagree. I think 257 trees is a little on the heavy side for that crammed-up Hersheypark with its terrible layout.

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Sunday, June 28, 2015 6:01 PM

Is it enough trees to offset a solar panel?

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Thursday, July 30, 2015 2:43 AM

Not if we build the solar panels over the tops of the trees.

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