Hersheypark, Hershey, Pennsylvania, USA
Weather: Cool, but sunny
From about 10am-2pm the park was dead. After that, Moderate-Busy. I found it strange how the crowds seemed to arrive very late. From working at a park, it reminded me of a Sunday crowd. However, the park filled like a Saturday by mid-afternoon. Chocolate World and their excuse for a Zoo served as a good break while crowds were at their peak.
Best of the rest kinds of coasters:
Sidewinder was my first experience with the new Vekoma trains, and I approve (8/10). Comet was running smooth with good pacing despite the trims, but the lack of air on a not-so-intense layout holds this one back on my list of favorite woodies (7/10). Wild Mouse redeems itself with some good head choppers, but the appeal of the sharp turns has worn off for me (5/10). Trailblazer, while short, wasn't too uneventful for a family coaster (5/10).
Wildcat is nowhere near as bad as some like to say. I remember the pain 10 years ago when I was 12 with the PTC trains, but today Wildcat stands as a very solid woodie. The first ride I took was on a 1/3 full train in cool temperatures, so it was a bit sluggish. However, later in the day when the train was full, and the coaster has some time to warm up, it was running great. Powerful, but not painful laterals, combined with great pacing for a wooden twister made for a very good ride. (8/10)
Lightning Racer needed time to warm up as well. Of course, the first ride was sluggish with maybe 6 people on the train, but somehow I had a rare Lightning victory. The second ride reminded me how much I loved this coaster several years ago. It's hard to describe what makes this such a great coaster, but the coaster has unique layout that is smooth, somewhat forceful, and very re-ride able. (9/10)
Sooperdooperlooper is one of those coasters that just puts a smile on my face. The vertical loop is one of the very best, and the helix at the end is a nice touch to cap it off. If I didn't know any better, I would have never picked up on the new trains. Gerstlauer got it right with these in which they preserved the original comfort with a modern design. Also, I love the orange color scheme. Not the fastest, most intense, or air-filled ride ever, but SDL has a special place on my list of personal favorites. (7/10)
Fahrenheit is very unique in which it combines the experiences of intensity, airtime, large inversions, and tight inversions. The 97 degree drop gives killer air, and the Norwegian loop is pure bliss. And of course it has a perfectly executed cobra roll which is one of my favorite inversions. The second half is fast, intense, and has a pop of great airtime for a compact looper. Great ride, but a couple smacks on the OTSR near the end, and the amount of vibration in a couple spots keeps this one peg below elite status. (9/10)
Great Bear was far more intense than I expected. Not Raptor or Batman clone intense, but much better than expected. The pre drop helix is not only unique, but much more forceful than it looks. The tight corkscrew by SDL is much underappreciated. Great Bear is a great ride that unfortunately ended with way too much gas in the tank. (9/10)
Storm Runner is, in my opinion, the best ride in the park. First ride was a walk-on, and the second time the wait was on the down-stairs into the station. I did not dare to see how the wait was once the park filled. Yes it's short, but what it does offer is great airtime, very high intensity, and comfort despite the hard OTSR. The launch feels as intense as TTD and the top hat has great airtime. Also, the vertical drop having no turn on the downside of the top hat was amazing. My favorite inversion was the heartline roll because I got a great pop of air into it, the slow speed it took through it, and the awesome pull-out on the flying snake dive. Also, pictures do not do this ride justice of how nicely it is nestled into the park. This is an elite coaster in my book (10/10).
Finally, my Skyrush experience. Before digging into the ride itself, there are a few things worth mentioning. Despite a full queue, the line moved better than expected when considering how poorly the station is set up. Hopefully, the trees grow in to ease the direct sun as well. The station is downright horrible. I understand the space constraint, but perhaps finding a way to empty the train on both ends of the station would ease the issue. Although, it was very tempting to walk up the lift as there was no barrier from the station platform. Now onto the ride experience. Airtime is the name of the game. The first drop had some of the most intense, ejector, and largest gap from butt-to-seat airtime I have experienced on any Intamin. The low turn following the drop was excellent as well. Each element was taken with great speed, and they were extremely forceful. There are a couple turns where I was on my side almost horizontally feeling as if I were about to be ejected into the creek (Outside seats give this feeling). All of this makes for one of the best rides ever, BUT. The restraints will turn your legs purple as they continuously push down and constrict. It wasn't just uncomfortable, it was painful. I can tolerate a several coasters people deem painful (i.e.: I love Darien Lake's Predator), but Skyrush was very uncomfortable. I handled the first drop and the turn following it, but after that the lapbar just keeps jamming lower and lower. About halfway through, the air was more painful than enjoyable, and the transitions weren't much better either with the restraints. This wasn't a one and be done spot of uncomfortable; it was a continuous pressure that intensified with airtime and laterals. The inside seats are somewhat better with the lapbar issue. Phew, that is Skyrush. Good ride, but dammit it hurts! So much potential! (8/10)
Since I am a lot more aware of a full park experience, compared to when I was 12, Hersheypark is beautiful. Yes, very hilly which may pose issues for some, but the park is plentiful with shade and the park is one awesome visual experience in itself. My favorite areas were around and under Storm Runner, the pathways under Great bear/SDL, and the pathway under Skyrush along the creek (This coaster is beautiful). Also, the track running lights on the woodies at night were just stunning. The employees are very friendly, but they just can't get to the level of efficiency of Cedar Fair. The Boardwalk looked nice empty, but I can see how the compact layout might pose crowding issues. Overall, with the solid collection of coasters and great atmosphere, Hersheypark is one of my favorites. Unfortunately, it has to be 5 hours away.Last edited by AJFelice, Tuesday, September 18, 2012 9:13 AM
Excellent trip report!
I wish that Intamin had figured out better restraints for Skyrush. I have said it ad nauseum, but Skyrush could easily be a top 10 coaster nationwide, but is close to ruined by the restraints. There are ways to avoid some of the pain, but none of them come close to taking away the severe discomfort. I can only ride this twice at the most per visit, and that's pushing it. Such a shame.Last edited by bunky666, Monday, September 17, 2012 11:04 PM
"Look at us spinning out in the madness of a roller coaster" - Dave Matthews Band
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