Hersheypark 9/2/2010- 97 degrees and not falling at all

Friday, September 3, 2010 9:29 PM

Since I had the time off, I figured I'd hit Hersheypark on a Thursday instead of waiting for the holiday weekend. School started on Monday, so I figured the park wouldn't be as crowded at least till later in the day. I wondered if staffing would be a problem at all or if certain rides might be closed.

I got to the park around 1:45. The parking lot was nowhere near full, but they did have cones out directing cars into the lot well before the stadium entrance. I entered where they directed, but drove across the lot to see if I could find a reasonably close spot. The entire section of the lot that runs next to the stadium was roped off as "preferred" parking today, but I was still able to snag a spot only 3 rows back and wouldn't need to use the tram.

Temps were in the 90s, so I hoped most of the people who were there were at the Boardwalk. That seemed to be the case as there weren't many people in line for anything from the gate through the carousel. I noticed the Carousel was playing what I recognized as the original theme for Three Stooges shorts (before 3 Blind Mice). I thought it was funny hearing it played by a band organ.

I saw that Comet had absolutely no line, so I had to go for it. The riders were mostly kids with a few adults, and the train wasn't full. The problem was it would take just as long to dispatch the train till the ops fastened the belts for all the unoccupied seats. They also have to hit the buzz bars about 12 times per train. I rode in the back seat, and the mid course was noticeably on. Not that bad a ride though.

Next was SDL. I walked through the long queue remembering a time when it would be full. I got to the station to see a train with only 4 occupants. I waved to the op and she opened the gates to let me hop into the back seat. I yelled thanks as I passed her and she yelled back welcome. Not the most spectacular ride, but fun as usual.

After that I walked up the hill toward Great Bear, and again there was no line. Walking toward the station, I was talking with a young guy who remarked how long the line usually was. I got to the station and saw only a 2 train wait for the front seat, so I decided to go for my first front row ride in years. The young guy moved up to the front, and two other people came in to fill the row. Since I usually choose the last row, it was totally different not seeing anything in front of us as we rode.

Needing a break from the heat, I walked through the shade to the Kissing Tower. It was just leaving as I got there, so I'd have to wait a cycle. I thought I would be the only rider, but a number of people walked over from the plaza as the ride returned. Nice views of the park and town. Again, a ride I only do once in a rare while.

I had done all this in about an hour, and was feeling a little hungry and a lot thirsty. Down the hill to the Texas BBQ I went. It looked at first like it was closed since I saw no sign of life. But finally I saw someone move behind the counter. I went for a turkey BBQ sub and some Texas tea. Just about then, a show was starting at the Country Grill, even though the food service was closed there. Nice country themed show with 4 couples singing and dancing, even though I'm not a big country fan. At least it gave me time to digest my food before hitting up the bigger coasters.

Went next to Storm Runner, which was only running the right side. First coaster not running two trains. Not that they needed to. The line didn't even fill the right half of the station. Rode next to last row with a guy from Philly whose family was evacauted from NC because of Earl, so they drove up to Hershey to get something out of their trip. Not a bad choice. Great ride, as always. The restraints have never bothered me.

Headed to Fahrenheit and was greeted by a totally empty queue being misted and fanned. Never thought I'd see that, because even when ST was a near walk on, Fahrenheit would have at least a half hour wait. See the pics I posted if you don't believe me! The wait was even shorter when I was asked to move up by several people wanting to ride together. Fun ride in row 5, even with the rattling in the cobra roll.

I wanted to do Lightning Racer next, but decided to go through the Boardwalk in hopes of getting some residual spray in the air. This is where most of the people were, even though it wasn't nearly as crowded as I'd seen earlier in the season. I'm not a waterpark person, but I like the way Hershey themed the Boardwalk and didn't just throw different attractions together.

LR was using only one train each side, with rows 5-8 chained off. There still wasn't much of a line with 32 people going out each time. Rode each side, lost both times. First time on Lightning, there were two young boys on the ride in front of me. They were telling people not to put their arms up and to duck down to reduce air flow. I was messing with them asking them to show me their technique so I knew what to do when it was my turn. Their train lost, and when they came back, I was teasing them, "Dudes, what happened? I think it was the people up front."

I soon found out why Lightning was losing all the time. I thought I heard Thunder release from the chain before Lightning did. I saw it for sure when I rode Thunder next. It still didn't help us. Although I did my part, we had no mass on our train. Two adult males, a tiny female, and 12 kids versus a trainload of linebackers. We were doomed from the start, even with a head start on the lift! Still a great ride.

Wasn't in the mood for either of the Wild animals, instead I bought a large lemonade and found a bench with some shade. The break rejuvenated me for more Fahrenheit. Again, no line, and this time they had rows 3 and 4 blocked off. Good move actually, since it allowed the ops to keep the restraints down on those seats and made dispatching quicker. They were using all 3 trains today too.

I saw there was a show at Music Box at 6:00, so with some time to spare I rode the Monorail, which I do almost every visit. I think I can recite the on-ride spiel at this point. Funny moment while waiting in line. Some teenage kid was telling his parents they needed to leave the park by 7, and "Hersheyland" (I think he meant Chocolate World) by 8, so he could be home in time to watch Jersey Shore. He never missed an episode. So THAT'S what's wrong with the youth of today.

Following the Monorail, I still had some time to kill before the show, so I bought a soft-serve cone at the Turkey Hill stand. Girl gave me a noticeably leaning cone. Took some doing, but I managed to finish without wearing any of it or having it end up on the pavement.

Rock the Jukebox was also an enjoyable show, and had the advantage of being able to use lighting and movable scenery. One criticism I have of both shows is at the end when they introduce the cast, they speak so quickly you don't know if they're saying Dan, Pam, Sam or what.

After the show, there was about an hour and a half till closing time, so I fit in a last row ride on Storm Runner, another last row ride on Fahrenheit (first time ever I rode more than once in one day), last row ride on Great Bear-- awesome to ascend the lift with a hot pink setting sun framed perfectly within the loop, wished I had a camera for that-- first row on Comet (much smoother ride in the front) and capped it off with a ride on Skyview.

The longest lines I faced all day were leaving the park, thanks in part to someone abandoning a rented stroller in front of one of the exit gates, and the Chocolate House, another mandatory stop for me. It turned out staffing wasn't a problem as everything was open. It looked like a few office people were manning some stands and rides, which helped things immensely. Chocolate World was still open and crowded at 8:30, so even exiting the parking lot wasn't so bad. Definitely won't hesitate to visit again during what might seem like an off week.

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Friday, September 3, 2010 9:52 PM

Sounds like a great trip. I would have never imagined that Fahrenheit would be a walk on let alone rows closed off.

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Friday, September 3, 2010 10:42 PM

Sounds like a good trip and all, but more importantly, did you get home in time for Jersey Shore? ;)

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Friday, September 3, 2010 10:52 PM

Your title makes me realize that I've never been to Hershey on a cool day. It seems like it's always hot.

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Saturday, September 4, 2010 8:08 PM

Yoshi, I was surprised too.

Vater, I'm so clueless when it comes to MTV, I thought Snooky was one of the guys.

Jeff, I believe it. I don't know if it's geography or what, but the part of the valley around Harrisburg can get as hot as Philly or DC on certain days. That's why I like to visit the park in May or September and October.

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Saturday, September 4, 2010 8:12 PM

RatherGoodBear said:
Vater, I'm so clueless when it comes to MTV, I thought Snooky was one of the guys.

I'm still not 100% convinced she isn't.

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Saturday, September 4, 2010 10:03 PM

Clearly not as clueless as I am, RGB. I just learned two things: Jersey Shore is on MTV, and there's someone named Snooky on it. Oh, and it's a girl. So three things.

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Sunday, September 5, 2010 1:27 AM

I remember when MTV was Music Television.

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Sunday, September 5, 2010 9:53 AM

...and not Mediocre Television. Nice TR. Love that park, definitely feel Storm Runner is the star for me.

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Sunday, September 5, 2010 1:18 PM

Storm Runner is still my favorite as well. I don't get the draw for Fahrenheit at all. In fact, when I was there last Sunday, Fahrenheit was down for the first couple of hours of the day and the line at Storm Runner was pretty long as a result. Once they opened Fahrenheit, the line there was about 30 minutes and Storm Runner was a walk onto the station platform.

That amazes me. I won't complain, though, since that's fewer people in front of me for Storm Runner. But I still think everyone else is just wrong. :)

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Sunday, September 5, 2010 6:26 PM

Anytime I've been at the park, except this last time of course, there are always a lot of people standing within earshot in the Fahrenheit queue who've never been on the ride before. While I was waiting for SR, there were 2 gals probably in their late teens or early 20s, and they thought the lift and drop on Fahrenheit were scarier than anything on Storm Runner.

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Sunday, September 5, 2010 7:19 PM

Maybe people find the vertical lift and beyond vertical drop scarier than a launch especially since more people have probably been on a launch coaster?

It's a tough decision for me which I like better, the one thing I don't like about Storm Runner (and Kingda Ka) is that the ride seems over way too fast.

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Sunday, September 5, 2010 10:27 PM

Yeah, Storm Runner is really short, but I never felt it was over too quickly. The string of elements on it is just so exhilarating.

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Sunday, September 5, 2010 10:54 PM

Jeff said:
I remember when MTV was Music Television.

I remember being slightly suspicious when they debuted "Remote Control". What? A whole half hour not featuring music videos?

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Monday, September 6, 2010 12:08 AM

I definitely find Fahrenheit to be the more unnerving of the two, but my love for Storm Runner hit opening year in 2004 and hasn't left since. For me, not only was it a great ride in general, but it really gave rocket coasters a whole new direction to go in. Instead of relying on the top hat as the signature maneuver, Storm Runner's is just an appetizer for the stuff coming later on.

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