Hersheypark, Hershey, Pennsylvania, USA
My family and I took our annual trip to Hersheypark yesterday. With it being late August, I was a little worried about crowds especially with bad operations on both trips in 2007 and 2008 but thankfully they weren't too bad.
The first ride of the day was Rollersoaker since we wanted to get it out of the way before it gets to be a horrible wait (more on that later). It was a little under 30 minutes. It's a fun ride but too short. Since we were in the Boardwalk we checked out the new lazy river with about a 20 minute wait. Although I liked how it was a long circuit, it wasn't that exciting with a few props that shoot water compared to the caves and mushroom fountains and water jets that almost form a tunnel the lazy rivers at Dorney have.
After that I wanted to ride Fahrenheit before the crowds got bad. It was around 25 minutes with 3 trains running and some stacking and double stacking. The corkscrews threw me into the restraint and I liked the little airtime hill at the end but like last year, I thought the ride was too short and too low of a capacity.
The Whip had a very short cycle and wasn't that intense, 1 cycle wait. Lightning Racers was running 2 trains on each side so it was only a 3 train wait on each side. Lightning seemed smoother than Thunder.
We stopped at the Dry Gulch Railroad next, only 1 train was running but we only had to wait for the train to arrive in the station. From the train I saw Sidewinder's line was right at the 20 minute sign. Not worth it especially after I rode Sea Serpent 4 times with no wait 3 weeks ago so I skipped it this trip.
Reese's Extreme Cup Challenge was around 20 minutes. I know it has the reputation of being a poor ride but considering it is the only interactive dark ride around, I still like to stop at it every visit.
Comet was also around 20 minutes. The trim didn't seem to be on which made the 2nd half of the ride seem faster. Still my favorite wooden coaster.
We went into Minetown next, stopped at the antique cars and Kissing Tower. Great Bear was around 25 minutes. I really like the helix before the drop and vertical loop and then right into the immelman but the ride just feels like it is lacking a proper ending. There was very little stacking which was a nice surprise. The Coal Cracker was 15 minutes, I forgot how they use both sides of the drop and the bump after the drop is something that makes the ride kind of unique (I know other Hydroflumes have them but there aren't many of them around).
Trailblazer was running 2 trains but the dispatches were very slow. I forgot how short the ride was and didn't remember their being a MCBR. Did the ride use to run 3 trains?
Storm Runner was only a little past the stairs and was around 20 minutes. Even though it has been my 3rd time on the ride, it all happens so fast that it is hard to take it all the elements in. I also didn't remember getting air time at the top hat before. I saw Fahrenheit had close to a 90 minute wait at this point so I wasn't going to get another chance to ride Fahrenheit this day.
We went back walking through the Boardwalk to see if Rollersoaker still had a short line. I was shocked to see the line almost to the entrance where it says it is a 2 1/2 hour wait from that point. The whole area was packed. The lazy river had a full queue and they even had some temporary overflow switchback set up. I heard people saying it was over an hour wait. It was the same with the wavepool. By the tornado slide there was a huge crowd of people. I saw this is a line just to get a tube and then you had to wait in the regular line on the stairs after that. People were also saying this was an hour wait. East Coast Waterworks even had a line to enter the structure and it looked like all the slides had very long lines. I guess with everyone in the Boardwalk, lines for the regular lines weren't so bad. They really need to add some more slides but I am afraid that it could mean getting rid of rides just how the rapids were taken out for the lazy river and wave pool. I am really glad Dorney has 2 lazy rivers and 2 wavepools to accomodate the crowds since if WWK got the kind of waits the Boardwalk attractions got, I would never go to WWK.
The monorail was also only running 1 train (I haven't seen it run both trains in a few visits) and it was a little under 30 minutes. I went to check out Sooperdooperlooper's line while everyone else went back to Reese's Extreme Cup Challenge. It was running 2 trains, which meant the line wasn't too bad. My past 2 trips had it running 1 train with long waits. The line was a little past the stairs but with 3 people checking restraints and no stupid seatbelts added, they were dispatching trains amazingly fast and it was only a 7 minute wait. The op at the control panel was getting everyone to clap and cheer as each train dispatched. They were the best crew I had seen all day.
I was really looking forward to SDL more than ever this year with Laser being removed from Dorney and it was nice to experience a Schwarzkopf loop again which is my favorite inversion. It isn't tall or fast, but just fun and is a coaster I would never get tired of. I also saw a few kids in the station apparently going on their first looping coaster and looking a little nervous. 10 years ago it was my first looping coaster and I was willing to give the ride a try since it only has 1 loop so I knew if I didn't like it, there were no more loops to worry about. It's a shame parks are removing and not building many rides with only 1 or 2 inversions as a good starter coaster with inversions. Since this is likely to be the only time I will get to the park this year I had to go around again for 1 more circuit.
We met up at Chocolate World and finished the day with the dark ride tour, which isn't that exciting anymore especially since the ride is worse after the rennovations.
Overall crowds were less than I was expecting and operations were a lot better than in past seasons. I still hate the Boardwalk but I guess if it keeps most of the crowd there, it is a good thing.
It doesn't sound like you enjoyed much from the day. That's too bad. If you only make one trip to the park a year, you might want to try to make it earlier in the season if possible. It might make for a better experience.
I still had fun at the park, I guess my past trips in 2006, 2007 and 2008 had so many problems that I kind of went to the park this year with bad expecations which didn't help. The Boardwalk also doesn't help I guess. I have just had so many negative feelings about it since it was announced and the removal of the rapids (which was one of our favorite rides in the park) made it worse.
We tried to go to the park on Easter Sunday in 2007, 2008 and this year but weather (cold and/or wind) kept us from going which I hear is a day that has very low crowds. I am hoping to go during the week in late May or early June next year and was at one point considering trying to go on a Friday night in October this year (since Great Adventure was empty on Friday nights last year) but I'm not sure if that is going ot happen or not.
Re-reading my report, I see it does sound kind of negative. I really enjoy the rides at the park, especially the coasters and how there is a large variety of rides for everyone in my family which is something parks like Great Adventure really lack, it's just a shame that so many past trips have been full of problems so even if the visit this year wasn't nearly as bad, they were still in my mind.
Hersheypark in the Dark in October can get to be pretty busy. I would bet you'd have some luck if you went during the extended weekends in September, say maybe on a Sunday.
It's too bad you've had such bad luck with the park. It's really a nice place. I hope you get to have a good trip soon. :)
I'll have to keep that in mind for next year about September, thanks for the suggestion.
I have had good trips to the park, Labor Day 2004, Hersheypark In The Dark in October 2005 (last day, park was empty) for example, but hopefully if future visits turn out to be better it will all balance out the last couple of trips with problems.
It's been my experience that on weekdays, they usually have only one vehicle running on the Dry Gulch and Monorail. I'm kind of surprised you mentioned SDL had two trains running. Consider that a bonus.
I'm thinking if you can do it, try to get to the park on Friday evenings during "In the Dark" or even Labor Day weekend. With much of PA's population going to high school football games on Fridays, the park may not be so full.
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