Hersheypark (8/2) - close encounters of the hostile kind

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Thursday, August 3, 2006 5:31 PM
So I made it back out to Hersheypark again this year, and we had a wonderful time. The crowds were light, and Hersheypark was doing it's usual great job of running the place--such a quality experience. In my opinion, it's one of the best run non-Orlando parks on the East coast, if not the entire country.

I could go on longer about how much I like Hersheypark and how little I think of Six Flags, but I'll spare you that for now. I'm gonna just do the usual here and make a list :) I am glad that I switched from a SFGAdv trip to an HP trip, though.

--Hersheypark was running just about every ride that I saw. I don't think I noticed a single closed ride the entire day, except for 1 seat on Roller Soaker.

--They were running the coasters well. 2 trains on Comet, SDL, Great Bear, Storm Runner, and Wildcat; multiple cars on the Wild Mouse (which was running WILD as usual) & Roller Soaker; 1 train on each side of LR, which was definitely adequate for the crowd size, and 1 train on Sidewinder (duh) and Trailblazer.

--The longest wait of the day was for Roller Soaker, but that's understandable, as it was VERY hot. All the other coasters had short waits--the longest of which was probably Comet.

--Storm Runner was decent in the front; not as good in the middle. I still don't like the OSTRs much.

--Great Bear was running great as usual. It's still one of my favorites. And it's smooth. B&M seems to be losing their touch lately with some of their coasters (3 come to mind--Dominator, Hydra, and Talon), as they seem to noticeably ride the track roughly--in a bumpy sense. It seems worst on Hydra, which I don't really care much for. I don't notice this type of thing on Great Bear, BTR, or Alpengeist. Has anyone else noticed this, and whay could it be? I heard that Hydra was using a mixture of different types of wheels--is this all? I hope they go back to the old way of doing things, whatever the issue is.

--The 2007 construction is coming along nicely. They have a fair amount of the play structure assembled, but there is definitely a lot left to do on the whole project.

--I realized that you don't need headrests to ride SDL :)

--The caroussel is my fav ever, though that thing is crawling with spiders. They really should take care of this. What would it hurt to dust the ride every morning with a pole duster, and to spray the thing so insects don't take up residence?

--Decades is a great place to get burgers. Some of, if not the best, park burgers I've ever had, and you get to add the toppings yourself.

--Airtime-sucking brake is still on at the Comet :(

--Reece's Extreme Cup Challenge--I wasn't extremely impressed. They don't do a good enough job explaining what you have to do. I did MUCH better on the Scooby ride at PKD. My girlfriend was ticked that her gun didn't seem to be working right, and she only scored 1000. Our car scored 1/2 as much as the one in front of us. At least there are a LOT of targets, and the going up and down was cool, but it still wasn't extremely impressive to me.

--Sodas and water are cheaper than Six Flags by 25 cents, which is good to see.

--I'll mention this here: Hersheypark has the cleanest and best restrooms of any regional park in the mid-atlantic.

Ok, so you may be wondering about the title. I'll let you in on that here. While we were in line for Tidal Force, a group of 3 girls decide to cut the line and get right in front of us. Normally, I see people line cut past me, trying to get to someone they know further up the line. While this bugs me, I don't normally say anything directly to the offenders. But in this case, these girls blatently cut. And these were no ordinary girls--these were the urban, high school, attitude-touting, trash-talking, respect-lacking type. I tried to be civil and adult with them, and I still got dissed. My friends that were with me (my girlfriend and her 2 sisters) also were the victims of a racial verbal attack, as they are Puerto Rican. These kids REALLY needed to be put in their place. They even tried to get other people in line to cut in front of them to spite us, and they may not have even known the other people! My girlfriend told them that they had cut in front of us, and the others ended up not taking the ofenders up on their offer.

Thinking back, I wish I would have just told them right off the bat to not talk to my friends (to talk to me) and to get out of line, or else I would get out of line and go find a security guard or an employee. I'm glad that my GF's sisters were holding back some, because they could have lowered themselves to the level of these kids and made things worse.

Well, I thought about telling an employee about them, but I didn't want to risk something bad happening. With these types of people, you just don't know who all they are with, and to what extreme measures they would take to try and get back at you. Well, too late for NOT telling, as my friend already was saying something to an employee. Now, if I were to fault HP for anything, it would be for a lack of dealing with this issue better. The line jumpers ended up getting on the boat before us, and I'm not sure if anything ever happened to them from a security standpoint.

Anyway, we still had a great time at HP, and this gave us something to joke around about. HP just so much rocks as a park. Shapiro should look at this place instead of Disney and see how a regional park can be run. *** Edited 8/3/2006 10:01:59 PM UTC by rablat5***

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Thursday, August 3, 2006 6:11 PM
I think Six Flags handles line cutting just like Hershey did. Maybe Shapiro is taking a look? ;)
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Friday, August 4, 2006 1:30 AM
At least Hershey is still staying open past 9:00. ;)
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Friday, August 4, 2006 2:07 AM
True, RGB, true. :)

Then again, it's seem to be another case of 'selective memory' against SF. (what else is new?)

Cedar Point cut weekday hours back this year as did the Paramount parks. (Carowinds was only open until 8pm this summer and PKD closed up at 9pm)

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Friday, August 4, 2006 2:37 AM
You mentioned it first. I just pointed out one difference between HP and SF. Although I am a bit dismayed that Hershey's food prices seem to be heading toward the stratospheric range. (That Red Robin on the corner is looking better and better).

Besides, ragging on SF and its fanboys and gals is one of my favorite pasttimes.

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Friday, August 4, 2006 3:25 AM
I worded that poorly. I didn't mean 'selective memory' with you in particular. But we have such a love thing going and I love the SF talk with you more than anyone. (and I do mean that sincerely)

SF caught a lot of crap from a lot of people on a lot of forums for annoucing cutbacks in hours when the other chains just quietly did it before the season started. It just makes me wonder sometimes.

...and the original post took it to SF territory before I did. :)

I do think there's a lot of double standards there and I can even accept that one gets the reputation one earns and I even get that the parks aren't exactly great. But we did just have a changing of the guard and I'm at least willing to give it a chance. (it doesn't hurt that I like what I hear out of the new guys, I put my faith in it not being empty promises)

Hell, I bashed SF right along with everybody for many moons (the posts are here for anyone wanting to find them) and my very first SF experience resulted in this TR in 2001 - when, go figure, I was accused of being a SF hater and 'having an agenda' against SF. So much animosity over my bashing SFWOA that the thread closed - who'd have known at the time that the park really was so bad that SF would be run out of town in just 4 years. The best part is that at the time I was barely an enthusiast and that I'd just found this site 2 months prior. Those opinions are as true, honest and 'GP' as you'll ever see in written word from me.

Since then I've visited 7 SF parks and had visits ranging from downright horrible (SFGAdv in 2002 where we bailed after just 4 hours because it sucked so much ass - and that resulted in the whole Nyquil/Nitro thing) to trips to perennially 'bad' places like SFMM in 2003 where I saw all 15 (at the time) coasters open and operating multiple trains in most cases and wasn't 'ascared of all the gangs' running about.

I just calls 'em likes I sees 'em. And you'll rarely find me praising SF operations, but I do agree 100% with their busniess practices. I'll defend Q-bot and their general pricing approach to the end. It makes sense to me.

Speaking of which, it's interesting to hear you say that Hershey prices are rising. It really is the way things are going to be. The game is changing. I think enthusiasts are going to have to learn to deal or opt for cheaper alternatives long before things level out. (but then again, what do I know?)

But I digress. I guess my point is that I think I'm as far from an SF fanboy as can be. An SF 'art of business' fanboy maybe (the new SF, that is). More precisely, a Mark Shapiro fanboy. :)

If you want me to get into park fanboy-ism, talk Dorney. I love the place while the general consensus seems to be a resounding, "Meh."

*** Edited 8/4/2006 3:33:02 PM UTC by Lord Gonchar***

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Friday, August 4, 2006 11:22 AM
Hershey food prices are really no worse than the average Cedar Fair, SF, Paramount, or Busch prices. In fact, their sodas and bottled water are less than SF & Paramount (not sure about CF or Busch, but they are probably at least equal with them). And the Dippin' Dots aren't bad for a big park, either -- $3.75 for a small -- whereas at SFGAm (one of the better SF parks), it's $4.99 for the same size.

Anyway, perhaps HP didn't handle the line jumping issue in the best way, but overall, the park is SO much better run, and almost all of the rides were running. It's very clean and well-kept. I just really like the place, and it's such a better deal and experience than some of the SF parks, such at SFGAdv and SFA (the 2 closest ones). I think they deserve the good press, and SF shouldn't be getting too many praises until they seriously get their act together. SFGAdv is doing fairly bad this year with getting some of their rides running, and the prices seriously went up. I'm not down with that.

I know LG agrees with their business model and Shapiro, and I may, too--but only to a certain extent. I almost detest Flash Pass as it's currently run, and I still don't think they should have increased prices the way they did. Improve the product first--then you'll have more justification for the price increases.

If you want to sing Dorney's praises, put me in that bandwagon, too. HP & DP are 2 of my favorite parks. Sure, they don't offer the coaster selection that SFGAdv does, but the experience is definitely better, and those guys know how to run parks. *** Edited 8/4/2006 3:24:22 PM UTC by rablat5***

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Friday, August 4, 2006 6:29 PM
I'm betting the price for Hershey goes way up next year to cover the cost of the waterpark. Either that, or you'll see it in other places like parking (holding at $8, right?) and food prices which are already high. My biggest disappointment with HP in the food department is when they changed the pizza place out down by Tidal Force. I ran across an old email I sent to someone where I mentioned how much the new pizza place sucked. I hope it's gotten better since the last time I had it (two years ago). It used to be Mama Illardo's and then they changed it.

Anyway, looking forward to our visit this Wednesday. I do agree that HP is run right, but as far as DP, I wouldn't agree as much. They take FOREVER to load some of the flatrides such as the Hawk 48, Revolution, and Enterprise.

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Saturday, August 5, 2006 1:45 AM
I don't think it's so much an issue of a double standard as it is changing the rules in the middle of the game.

I don't know what the other parks/chains had done with shortening their hours, but if it had been done since the beginning of the season, been posted on the park maps, websites, etc., people might not have been happy, but at least they knew what the hours were. Let's not forget that CP also reduced its admission by 5 dollars.

In SF's case, someone who had already been at a park earlier in the season would suddenly find out the park was closing an hour earlier. I know I've never checked out any park's website for any changes in hours once I had been there, I'd look at the map from my last trip. (Yes I save them.)

Again, it's the perception of value. CP may cut back an hour a day, but they also reduced the admission by 5 dollars, so people might be OK with that. SF is closing an hour earlier than they did last year, but charging more to get in.

To me, it's like when a half gallon of ice cream became a 56 ounce carton that was somehow the same size, but sold for the same price. I figured I wasn't getting the same value I was before, so I started buying the cheap-ass brands that were still half gallon containers, and found out the stuff wasn't that much different from the other brands. Maybe I just convinced myself of that, but guess who's getting my money?

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Wednesday, August 9, 2006 3:09 AM
Heh heh... spiders must love amusement parks.

Waldameer in Erie had more baby tarantulas dangling from every fixed structure than anyplace I have ever seen. Brown, furry things with webs the size of tents, I tell ya...... :O

The ride op on the Comet had one come down onto his shoulder and he poked it in the butt and it scooted back up it's web.....

Anyone with spider phobia would have been immune by the end of the day. And the park is remarkably clean, so it has nothing to do with untidyness......

Another real trip was watching the lemonade stand employees and the bees at Conneaut... they weren't even phased by them.

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