Hersheypark 6/28

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Monday, June 30, 2003 3:09 PM
Keeping with the tradition of visiting Hershey the day after CMadness, we left our glamorous Super 8 lodging and headed for Hershey, PA. Here is my story...

Park: Hersheypark in Hershey, PA
Weather: Mostly Sunny
Temp. High: 75 degrees
Crowds: Busy to Horrific!
Rating Scale: -5(worst) to +5(best)

Once the park was in view we discovered something that horrified all of us. A 1 mile long strech of tents, campers, vans, and cars parked off to the right. It became evident that these were no normal folk. They were very religous with their, "Honk if you love Jesus!" windowing markings all the way up to a life size replica of the manger scene mounted to the top of a cargo van. It was NOT looking good. When we paid for parking, I asked the attendant what was going on. He said it was a festival called "Creation Festival" and it was being held at all three stadiums. Over 20,000 teenagers and parents. Oh geez. But despite that fact, we still had a fantastic day.

I was surprised to find that Hershey scraped their entire old parking roadways and built a brand new one complete with overpass bridge. It was amazing to see that the park invested so much into their parking procedure. The tramway and park parking is all new and very centralized. Its a fantastic layout and very impressive. After marveling at such a HUGE construction project, we managed to find the Main Gate and enter "The Sweetest Place on Earth!"

Right of the bat the air smelled of chocolate and this trend continued all day long. Everywhere you go there is at least 5 food stands serving 5 different meals. The air always smelled of delicious food and chocolate. The grounds have been very well kept with trees, plants, bushes, and flowers galore. Already, two HUGE points to Hershey for keeping the place cleaner then a baby's bottom. Now, on to the rides, of course in no particular order...

Great Bear +4 - Bolliger and Mabillard Invert
It comes down to this, either you like Bear or you don't. Personally, i'm a huge fan of the ride. The layout is very unique and utilizes the terrain very well. With a lift of 90 feet and a drop of 124 feet, don't forget the helix turn 100 feet off the ground, the ride delievers with some quick pacing and a nice variety of elements. Though alittle bit on the quick side, this is only minor. Still alot of fun IMO.

Trailblazer 0 - Arrow Dynamics Mine Train w/ new restraints
We all agreed that the new restraints made it feel as if we were riding in a G-Train. Though nowhere near as painful, it was a huge improvement from years past. The ride is however ho-hum and isn't much to speak of. Moving on...

Sidewinder +1 - Vekoma Boomerang
If you've been on one, you've been on this one.

Wildcat +4 - Great Coasters International Woodie
Simply amazing. This ride last year and years past wasn't as thrilling but this year was a totally different story. Amazing laterals and loads of airtime thoughly impressed me. All of us walked away from the ride with huge smiles and a new found love for GCII's first coaster. Go Hershey!

Wild Mouse 0 - Mack GmbH Mouse
The only positive that came out of this ride was the ride op noticing Joe's SUF shirt and stating the park would recieve a B&M Flyer. More on the ground markings later.

Lightning Racer +5 - Great Coasters International Woodie
Joe said it best when he sumed up this ride in one word: Wow. Speed, laterals, airtime, racing, dueling, tunnels, and all around fun make this Racer/Dueler a top ten ride in my book. This ride defines that a ride doesn't have to be very tall to be exciting. The station and exit buildings are beautiful and so well done. And the chaser lights on the track add that "awwh" fact. Congrads Hershey, you have a real winner on your property.

Deciding to pass on getting so soaker my undergarmets need to be changed, we passed on riding Roller Soaker. Though tons of fun, we just didn't feel like getting super saturated. We also passed on Comet b/c its huge lines. I opted to take some video while the others rode SooperDooperLooper. Moving on to some other rides...

Railroad, Monorail, Chairlift 0
Though interesting to ride because you get a different perspective of the park, they really don't do anything other then a circle. IMO, Hershey needs a real transport ride to cut down on the hiking.(IE Great Bear to LR) The terrain can be a real killer.

Chaos +1
Having become a recent fan of this ride, we opted to see what we could do with Hershey's version. The ride cycle is longer then others i've seen and was a real treat. We did have some bad luck and couldn't get it really going. Oh well, next time...

The Claw
Hershey's latest attraction seems like a real winner. We didn't get to ride because of the lengthy line all day long but did see alot of smiling faces getting off. The ride also has a really wonderful lighting package.

The Flyers
Since there was a "Zero Tolerance for snapping" we opted to pass on the flyers. Though a new ride, a few trees around the area could be a big help. It was here we noticed the park has already been preparing for their 2004 attraction.

In-between Sidewinder and down in the valley with Trailblazer, there are hundreds of markers pointing everything from the station walls to the electric and water lines. In order to accomadate the new coaster, yes it will be a coaster, they are moving everything around. Midways are moving and many of the existing buildings will be moved. From what i've seen, they have alot of work ahead of them. But whatever it maybe, B&M Flyer, Intamin Rocket Coaster, or Hypercoaster, i'm sure Hershey will go all out and make it the best family attraction they can.

The day started off nice with mininal crowds and not much waiting but by 5pm, the park was PACKED. It was the last day for the Creation Festival so I guess the kids decided to visit the park towards the end of the day. The park itself was packed but because of the fantastic operations and abundance of rides, waits were minimal. You would think it would be one of the worst days ever but we enjoyed the very best day i've ever experience at the park. Three cheers to Hershey.

I should also mention that we rode The Chocolate Factory since it was free. I hadn't been on this ride in 13 years but it brought back alot of memories. All I have to say is...
"It's a Hershey's chocolate,
Hershey's chocolate,
Hershey chocolate world!"

The park recieves the rating +5 for being the COMPLETE vacation destination.

Coasterman Mike

"Sometimes I just kill myself!" - The Joker

Tuesday, July 1, 2003 4:55 AM
A few notes:

"Creation 2003": Hershey did an abymisal job of mentioning "Creation 2003" on their web site (listing not only the park and venues, but also events in the Hershey area in general). My wife and I were going to go to the park last Tuesday evening, but when we got there we saw the campsites sprawling out for miles and the park jammed. We passed on our visit. We later learned about "Creation 2003". In Hershey's defense... we did hear on the news this weekend that "Creation 2003" was moved to Hershey "at the last minute" because the area in western PA where it normally held was too wet this year with the rains that we have been having (this past Saturday was the first Saturday since May 9 that we did not have some sort of rain).

Flyers: The only ride that I was ever threatened with "ejected" from.... and I don't mean "ejected from the motion of the ride", I mean "ejected by the ride op because I was not following the rules". They did give the little "no sudden movement of the sail / rudder" and I did not do a sudden movement of the sail or rudder, but, being used to Knoebels Flyers, I did get a little more action on my flyer than the op liked and the booming voice came over the speaker. I do believe that the ride cycle was cut short because of this, because not long after the admonishment, the ride ended. And it wasn't even a good snap. Come to think of it... by Knoebels Flyers standards, it wasn't even a snap at all... my flyer just started to wobble a bit erratically. As much as I like HP, I was worried about this when I heard they were gettign Flyers... the old TPM (Theme Park Mentality) taking over. What could be a really fun ride ('cause those Flyers seem like they really want to take off), is being marketed as a "Family" ride... but is being run as no more than a glorified Kiddie Ride.

B&M vs Intamin Rocket speculation: Unknown at this time. RUMORS all say Rocket... but since Hershey likes Family attractions... can you tone a Rocket down to make it a Family ride? Also, Rocket tech is relatively new... would Hershey go with that? Maybe... in 1977 they did introduce the first loop on the east coast. Who knows. I could be jaded... I am personally hoping for a B&M anything.
Kind of hard to take a post as objective if a park or coaster name is part of the "user name"

Tuesday, July 1, 2003 5:37 AM
With the quality of their Great Bear ride, and the lack of reliability of the Intamin rockets, hopefully it will be B and M. Either a Raging Bull type ride or a floorless would fit nicely in their lineup, and B and M rides tend to be smooth and appeal to the masses.
Tuesday, July 1, 2003 6:47 AM
I just read the news section on the "accident" on Tidal Force on Saturday. Did you see anything with that during your visit?

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 7/1/2003 10:47:23 AM ***

Tuesday, July 1, 2003 7:55 AM
Actually we did notice that the ride was closed earlier then i've ever seen. Of course when I saw this, I immediately starting thinking about perhaps an accident. I was jumping the gun of course but I guess my suspicions were right.

Coasterman Mike

"Sometimes I just kill myself!" - The Joker

Tuesday, July 1, 2003 9:11 AM
You missed something awesome on Comet. In my opinion, it has some of the best airtime around!!!

-Bubba "I can see Canadaaaahh!"

Tuesday, July 1, 2003 4:26 PM
Can someone please describe what is meant by "snapping" on the flyers. I keep reading references to this, but I don't understand. Is it dangerous and is that why the park doesn't like it?
Wednesday, July 2, 2003 7:48 AM
When you take the Sail (or rudder, which ever you wish to call it) of the flyer and turn it so that the tub starts to wobble eratically, creating a bit of slack in the line. The tub sort of "free Falls" until the line is taught (and "SNAPS" as it becomes taught. It is really an out of control feeling.

Is it dangerous? No, not really... not if you remain seated as you are supposed to do.

Why don't park's like it? Knoebels doesn't mind it. Hershey hates it. Why? Theme Park Mentality being afraid of possible litigation if someone gets hurt? Thinking it could cause more wear and tear on the ride? Worried that families with small children will avoid the ride if they see people "snapping" ("is this ride SAFE?")?

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

Wednesday, July 2, 2003 1:06 PM
Thanks for the explanation SLFAKE..

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