Tradition won out over the lure of the new coaster and I found myself at the entrance to the Comet. It was a walk on and I hopped in the 4th seat for my first coaster ride of the season. As always, the Comet did not disappoint. Even with that annoying trip on turn 2 (the “station turn”) it was still great to be on this coaster again.
Next up was Great Bear. Since it was a 3 or 4 train wait for the front seat, I decided for the #2 seat which was a walk on. Visuals are not quite as good as up front, but not all that bad either. Then came the scary part. I couldn’t get the belt buckled... I was a fraction of an inch short. A little pressure on the OTSR by the OP got it closed with no problem, but it did throw up a red flag. LOSE SOME WEIGHT! Anyway, the Great Bear was running good as always.
After a walk through what I call “Trail Blazer Valley” and up under the tracks of the Dry Gulch and I was at the station of Storm Runner. The line here was the longest I encountered…. About a half hour wait. It would have moved faster, but only one side of the station was open. Since I waited this long, I decided to wait for the front. Eventually I was seated and secured with no problems (WHEW! The test seat seemed sight, but there seemed to be more room on the actual train). Then it was out to the launch track. Then it was the launch… top hat… inversion / turn… roll above Trail Blazer Valley… and then it was over. Very fast, very disorienting. All in all a good ride, but I can’t call it a great ride. Could have been a little “Anticapointment”, I’m not sure.
After exiting here, I walked over to Roller Soaker. It was a surreal little walk back behind Canyon River Rapids… the park was not very busy and the paths back here were empty… completely abandoned. Got the feeling of what it would be like to be wandering alone through a closed park.
Seeing that the temp was still kind of warm, I decided that I would give Roller Soaker a try if the line was not long. There was absolutely no line… a walk on. So, now in its 3rd season, I finally decided to climb aboard. For what ever reason, I had more “anxiety” on this coaster than I had on most. Not because of its intensity (it doesn’t have any), but because of the dread of “Oh, I hope I don’t get too wet.” Forget that! I was totally drenched and soaked through by the time it was all over. Seeing those plumes of water I was heading for, I was thinking “Oh NO!” (and then “Oh NO! Not AGAIN!”) What surprised me was the force of the wather. Anyway… the ride surprised me. I liked it better than I thought it would. Would I have thought that way after the more common hour wait? I don’t know.
Two quick laps then on the always good Lightning Racer, followed by two quick laps on Wildcat. Both were walk-ons… both as good as every.
While getting off of Wildcat, I decided “why not hit every coaster tonight”, next was Wild Mouse, followed by Sidewinder. Again, both as good and fun as always. Both also were walk-ons. As much maligned as boomerangs seem to be, I still get the most dizzy on them and kind of like them.
A quick check of Storm Runner showed that there was still a long wait so I decided to pass on a second ride and to give the Frontier Flyers a try instead. I walked up to the queue in mid cycle and stepped in line behind a man and 3 young girls. As the ride came to a stop, we watched at the single op walked around to each tub and manually unlocked it. The man ahead of me said that the last time they rode, his daughter stuck her little finger in the hole where the release mechanism is and unlocked it before the op got to them. He said he didn’t think it was very safe… “they need to make those holes smaller.” He looked at me like I had three eyes in my head when I said that I find it funny that they even have them locked like that at all… “most places have seat belts or just a chain or strap that hooks into a metal loop.”
But what happened next really shocked me. While waiting I had noticed a rider who was trying to snap his tub. He had moderate success, but pale compared to what can be done at Knoebels on their Flyers. After letting everyone off, the op came over to the queue. She said, “There’s going to be a slight delay. On that last ride one of the riders really was swinging his flyer from side to side and I have to run the ride through a cycle to make sure that it was not damaged.” The man who was waiting then agreed, saying “Yeah, I saw him doing that and I heard something snap. I think he may have broken something.” At that point, I simply ducked under the rail and left the queue. If they were that anal about snapping (or attempted snapping), what is the point.
I guess that is what bothers me about these flyers. They have potential. Either leave them be ridden up to that potential, or else put the little rubber stoppers or the chain or what ever else can be used to limit the movement of the rudder so that they can’t be snapped. I hate the idea of “neutering” flyers like that, but if every time someone gets near snapping them you have to “run through a cycle to make sure they are not damaged”, why not do this.
Anyway, after the flyer incident, I headed down over the hill to Trail Blazer. I had heard last year about different trains. No longer is there the bench seat and the “T Bar” that restrains both riders. Now there are contoured seats with individual ratcheting lap bars (similar to the sooperdooperlooper). Still a tight fit, but yet a lot more comfortable than before. Not sure if it was the new trains, the darkness, or the close encounters with Strom Runner, but Trail Blazer seemed to be running faster than in years past.
Up the hill again for two more rides on Great Bear… in the back seat and then in the front seat. In the back seat, I can not understand how some say this ride is “forceless”. I find it very forceful in the back… and not all that bad in front either. Only bad part… it’s a bit short. However… I’ll take its quality over its (lack of) quantity .
With time running short (it was now 9:45 pm), I headed down the hill to sooperdooperlooper. Surreal moment number 2… I walked into the station, walked into the front seat, sat down, and the train was dispatched… with no other riders. I always liked the old looper… but this ride was different. It was night… and it was very dark in the part from the tunnel to the helix... and , in an empty train… very quiet… eerily quiet.
The final stop of the night was Comet. Walk on… Third seat. Great ride at any time, really great at night. And, low and behold… the Station trim didn’t seem to be catching like it usually does. The second half the ride actually was fast. Rolling into the station, the word was “if no one is waiting, you can stay on. If someone is waiting for your seat, move to another seat.” So, I stayed in #3. On the next return to the station, the same rule applied… again a ride in seat #3. I Always like ending a visit to Hershey with a ride on the Comet… an here it was three in a row (2 being rerides) to close down the coaster for the evening. Comet still is my sentimental favorite at Hershey.
What was great was that the crowds were light and every coaster was a walk on (unless waiting for a certain seat… then only a few train wait) except for Storm Runner. Lightning Racer was only running one train each side, but this didn’t cause problems. Comet, looper, Great Bear, Wildcat were all running two trains, even though crowds were light. While there were some cars not in operation on Roller Soaker and Wild Mouse, they were running enough to make lines non existent. Considering all of this, I was surprised to find that Storm Runner not running both sides of the station. However, it is a new coaster, so I am sure there was some reason for this. Still… even with the longer wait for Storm Runner… 17 coaster rides (and a lot of walking between them) in 3 hours 45 minutes is not a bad day for Hersheypark.
All in all, a good night at Hersheypark, and a good “dress rehearsal” for our vacation through the south east coming up in the next two weeks (10 parks, some large, some small). *** Edited 6/9/2004 3:22:43 PM UTC by SLFAKE***
HOWEVER... Weekends are very busy, and lines are long. Also, check ahead for any other events going on in either the Star Pavilion or Hersheypark Stadium. Days of concerts can be a mad house... both in the park and for parking and traffic.
Being local, I either hit the park on week days, week evenings, or even Sunday evenings.
I have officially given up on the flyers at Hershey. The girl who was running the ride last night did not mention anything to the person about snapping, but I was there once when someone did get admonished for this... and it wasn't even a good snap. You want good snapping flyers in PA that you are alowed to snap, visit Knoebels. *** Edited 6/9/2004 4:26:20 PM UTC by SLFAKE***
That path "behind" the rapids is actually a fave spot of mine during the busy hot days. It's nice and quiet and they run the misters, so I can cool off in peace and quiet without unsupervised kids running all over. Not to mention that it's right by the waterfalls on the rapids ride, so you can watch everyone get soaked...LOL
Regarding Great Bear...It is my least favorite B&M invert because there is too much "dead track". The initial helix is great (I wish more coasters had that helix off the lift), then is sputters over to the drop and then the next couple of elements are very good, then it sputters a little more to the corkscrews, then sputters back to the station. The "non-dead track" is great, but it's those dead spots that prevent this from being a better coaster IMO. But that's just my opinion and I won't argue with anyone that disagrees.
I was surprised to hear they were only running one train on SR. I had not seen that yet this season.
Regarding the flyers...I have yet to get any good snaps, but I have snapped. And I have seen others snap as well. No one has ever said anything to me or anyone else that I have seen snap. And I can assure you that I have never seen them do an empty cycle after someone has snapped. That just sounds really odd to me. I don't know what that guy was thinking...maybe he didn't realize that it was just someone snapping, but rather something mechanical..who knows. I completely agree with your assessment of these versus the flyers just to the north.
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