Hersheypark 8/11/2013

I was a lucky recipient of a free ticket to Hershey from my supervisor at work, who makes annual trips to Hershey as a buyer of their product for the chain of stores I work for. It was time for a trip back for the first time in 8 years.

So with one free ticket and one extra one purchased for my mother, we headed out to Hershey.

First off the major gripe of the day would have been the parking situation. It was a two mile traffic jam just getting into the lot, because of lights stopping traffic and people cutting over to get into the right hand lane. Once to the parking booths it was impossibly hard to see how much cash you needed to pay to park until you were on top of the booths. No biggie there though, 12 bucks is a steal these days unless you park for free.

Getting to the main entrance we did a bag check with the security officers, who were working. Second gripe- they were letting people come in behind them and just get their bag checked while we were waiting to be checked in front of the officer.

The entrance also should have signs pointing you to the ticket area where you are checked in, I walked to the area to purchase tickets which looked like any other entrance to a park under the archways. So after going to the right and getting my tickets scanned I was in.

Knowing the park fairly well, from 8 years ago, (well at least the layout and not the procedures of getting in), we headed for skyrush.

Skyrush was about a 35 minute wait, which wasn't bad considering that they have two trains for all coasters in the park. Loved the station one of the more uniquely built stations out there, with its clock and such. However, the ride left me feeling a rather bit rattled. The first half with the drop and turns with added drops was rather entertaining. The restraints do bust the thighs a bit, but I compare it to a Magnum bunny hill airtime induced thigh absorbing. The two twists on the run back to the breaks are where this coaster lost me. I was violently tossed right and then left, nearly hitting the seat next to me on the right as I rode a winged left side seat. Intense ride, but scary to be rag-dolled as I was towards the end.

Next, was a favorite of mine the last visit I had. Storm Runner.

Not much of a wait, so climbed in after maybe three trains and were off. Still much better than Dragster in my book with its inversions and just plain intensity. Still ranks as one of my favorite at Hershey.

Fahrenheit was the last of the two newer coasters I hadn't rode. The ride to me from the line looks rather stuffed into its footprint. The line was about an hour long. Getting aboard the train and going 90 degrees north is really pretty cool. The drop is perfect as well. However, I think cramming the inversions on top of one another really detract from potential on this ride. The main area where the inversions are slightly rough is the cobra roll. The train vibrates like crazy in there for whatever reason. The ending was really good with the bunny hop into the turn taken at a decent pace.

The wood coasters were beckoning. Lightning Racer was my favorite wooden coaster until I rode the Voyage. Now in terms of sheer fun still a completely great ride with its dueling trains and just great layout. I mean others that I have rode have since surpassed it as being better, but its still a solid roller coaster. Btw we lost on Lightning.

Wildcat, has gotten a pair of new trains since I last rode. Gone are the PTC's and in with Millennium Flyers. Wildcat has a few rough spots throughout its course, but its not horribly bad either.

Lastly, did a ride on Great Bear. It sported about a 45 minute wait. Great Bear I remember as not maybe being as intense as some other B&M inverts, but what I didn't remember was the first have being smooth and quite enjoyable. Sad part is, to me it loses its steam towards the end, ala Alpengeist, where it weaves its way back to the station minus the one wing over corkscrew before doing so.

All in all not a bad visit. It was extremely packed, as I would assume most people are getting a visit with their families before school starts. The water park is beautiful, which may need a few additions soon, it was extremely popular.

Lastly, going back to Skyrush would it be possible to add the soft strap shoulder harness to them, so it would reduce the violent lateral tossing? I mean that ride has unreal potential, but that scared the living crap out of me.

Resident Arrow Dynamics Whore

Carrie J.'s avatar

I'm not sure why the I305 harnesses aren't catching on for some of these newer coasters. I thought they were quite comfortable and would think they would work nicely on the likes of Skyrush. Anyone know why they aren't being used for other coasters yet?

"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

sirloindude's avatar

Part of me has to wonder if they would make SkyRush any more comfortable. That airtime is so vicious that it seems like more padding on the "lap bar" portion is the only way to solve the problem, although I found it much more comfortable this year anyway.

Now as for Storm Runner and especially Maverick...

13 Boomerang, 9 SLC, and 8 B-TR clones


Vater's avatar

I haven't ridden Skyrush, but I can't imagine more intense air than what El Toro offers, and I didn't get bruises from it. It seems like Intamin redesigns its restraints for the hell of it sometimes.

sirloindude's avatar

Well, I think SkyRush was in a unique situation of being a lap bar-laden wingrider. I'm pretty sure it was the only one built that way.

13 Boomerang, 9 SLC, and 8 B-TR clones


Vater's avatar

Right, but...

Oh, never mind. I forget this is the same company that built Shoot the Rapids.

Carrie J.'s avatar

Maybe Intamin designers have a giant wheel of restraints in their offices and they just spin it to determine which one should be used for a coaster.

"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

Vater's avatar

Ah...that would explain what happened to Hershey's Giant Wheel.

LostKause's avatar

The lap bars on Skyrush are terrible. The airtime on the ride is awesome, but because of the restraints, it feels like my femurs are going to snap in half. Also, a few of the turns are so quick and tight, my torso leaves the seat, my vertebrae twists unnaturally to the side, and my upper half is forced into the opposite direction as my lower half.

They even already supposedly fixed this rides seating once. I don't think it did any good. I rode it once last year and once this year, and didn't feel much of a difference.

I will probably not ride it any more, although Skyrush does seem really popular nonetheless.

rollergator's avatar

LostKause said:

it feels like my femurs are going to snap in half.

Violating the rule of quoting the person above me...but I think it's for good reason. Those who have not ridden SkyRush can simply not understand HOW "reasonable" that statement sounds to me.

I've seen people here and elsewhere say "I've ridden El Toro, SkyRush simply can't be that much more forceful" - they're flat-out WRONG. I love Toro to pieces...SkyRush threatens to break me in pieces. (Yes, it's an idle threat, I'm almost positive). But that is/was WAY too much force applied over way too small an area on the thighbone...as of my last rides. Doesn't sounds like "the fix" applied over last off-season made too much of a difference.

Vater's avatar

Is it really that much more forceful, or is it just that all the forces are concentrated on too small an area on the thighs? I just wonder if the difference in forces is minute, and just pronounced on Skyrush by the crappy restraints.

ApolloAndy's avatar

I'm sure the total force is about the same. The pressure felt significantly greater than any other ride I've been on because of the reduced area of contact.

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

I thought the turns were far worse when I was getting tossed nearly into the seat to my right. The airtime was forceful but I didn't mind it because it wasn't a sustained beating, like hill after hill.

They also don't make you wait on the break run with the restraints fully down any more as well. Which caused some problems when they popped up and tightened the slack on the belt which made it harder to get the belt unbuckled.

Resident Arrow Dynamics Whore

Carrie J.'s avatar

Vater said: Is it really that much more forceful, or is it just that all the forces are concentrated on too small an area on the thighs?

I don't really think it's more forceful than coasters like El Toro, Voyage, or I305. But those seats really make a difference in the experience of the force. I still contend that's the only issue they have. If they could find a fix that works for those restraints, they would have a complete winner on their hands.

"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

LostKause's avatar

I agree with Carrie except that they would need to have the seats wrap around the rides a little bit better too, so that my upper body would not be bending to the outside of the seat while my lower body is violently being forced into what seems like a 90° angle during the two abrupt and unnatural turns. As it is now, the seat-back is flat. I am imagining more of a bucket seat style.

Bobbie1951's avatar

This quote from Intamin's website struck me as interesting: The new Wing Coaster "Skyrush" won the Brass Ring Awards 2012 for Best New Product and is what every coaster fan has been waiting for: smoothness, exitement (sic), high-speed and breathtaking features combined with a new seating and restraint concept. New seating and restraint concept indeed! I doubt that they suspected how controversial it would be. I went to Hersheypark yesterday to celebrate my 62nd birthday, rode Skyrush twice and had no problem whatsoever with the restraints. First ride was front row right wing seat and second was 6th row right wing seat. On the second go round, my riding companion and I were not given a choice as to where to sit; a ride op told us to sit in the 6th row. Certainly I would prefer to choose my row and felt somewhat apprehensive as to how the restraints would be in the 6th row but they were fine; neither the guy with whom I was riding nor I experienced any discomfort. And I think that the ride would exert the same amount of force with any type of restraint due to the insane angles.

BTW, it was not the best day to visit Hershey. I had thought that the park would be less crowded on a weekday than on a weekend and was dead wrong. It was more crowded than it had ever been when I went on a Saturday. An hour and 15 minutes to get on Skyrush the 1st time (down to 20 the 2nd b/c the queue had diminished in length). Because Fahrenheit had an hour and 45 minute wait I never did get on it. Even Lightning Racer, which is usually a walk-on, had a wait of about 10 to 15 minutes.


The soft strap restraints on I-305 would (to me) be the only OTSR that could be comfortable on Skyrush, but there would be a few issues that they'd still have to fix:

1) The ejector air is truly that ridiculous. Each and every hill is like the last Toro hill. I would imagine that kind of pressure on your shoulders would be just as bad as the pressure in the thighs with the lapbars.

2) I don't know if anyone has ever noticed, but on I-305, those harnesses adjust like a typical sliding seatbelt. Combine the extreme ejector air with seatbelt style adjusting restraints, and I truly believe someone could get easily ejected from the ride as the seatbelts loosen.

3) I think the ride itself was built WRONG. Is it incredibly airtime filled and snappy? Yes. However, with a steep and tall lift hill like that, the rest of the elements are so packed together and small in comparison. I don't believe any magical feat of restraint design can fix that the lift hill is too large for the rest of the coaster to be comfortable.

"Look at us spinning out in the madness of a roller coaster" - Dave Matthews Band

I've marathoned El Toro before (7 rides in a row, 4 of which I didn't have to get out of the train because there wasn't a soul in line, as it was a may afternoon), and had absolutely no problem with pain in my thighs from the ejector air.

Last year we went to Hersey and after two rides on Skyrush, I could barely walk from the pain. The air on El Toro is without question more intense, but it's the specific spot that the restraints hit on my legs that really hurt.

I agree with LostKause when he mentions the raggedy ann doll being thrown around. At one point my upper body swung outside of the train and I almost smacked my arms on a tree as we headed towards the end of the course. It has the potential to be a top five coaster in the world if it wasn't so physically painful. Redesigned restraints are a must if I were to ride it again.

Rode Skyrush 3 times a few weeks back... no issue....(shrug)

Why (shrug) are you (shrug) shrugging? (shrugs again)

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