Hersheypark, April 3 & 4

Tuesday, April 13, 2010 3:14 PM

This was our first amusement park with the little one (he was nearing 7 months old) and we did pretty much all the rides we could with him when we got in. Once that was done, it was time for me to introduce my wife to some coasters I've ridden before but she hadn't, then we'd tackle the big ones.

We hit Comet, and that was a good one. The last time I rode it was in the rain in 1997 and loved it. Yes, in the rain, they didn't close it down and let us ride several times without getting off. This time, though, we sat in front and she--not a fan of woodies--seemed to enjoy it a little. She was more freaked out over the airtime she got than anything else.

After Comet, we went to the first looping coaster on the east coast, Sooper Dooper Looper. It was tame by our standards but nice to ride an original, she welcomed her mom to the ride as well after we went.

Following Comet, we ventured up to Great Bear which is a much smoother ride than Alpengeist down at Busch Gardens. I would have ridden again had we not had to kid swap and it was starting to get dark.

We went right for Farenheit, I have a thing about those kind of roller coasters after riding Griffon, the ONLY rollercoaster to get to me involuntarily scream. Straight up on our backs, we felt we were going to fall off the ride, then over the crest. Upon looking down onto the tracks beneath us, we felt ourselves start to accelerate before we could completely see the tracks. It was a great ride all the way through and that first drop was fun. On waiting in line, I got to meet a fellow who'd started the day at Kings Dominion, apparently stopped at Six Flags in Maryland and capped the day off at Hersheypark. He was one of the first riders on Intimidator 305 so I used a quick few seconds to find out as much about the ride as possible (they had a single seat coming up on a ride and having ridden singles many times, like to fill in those seats). Violent was a keyword that popped out, but I still want to ride it.

Back to the hotel, then back out to the park on Sunday, much fewer people there and lines were almost non-existent. We ventured to Storm Runner (since I missed TTD at KD, this is the closest I'm getting to a ride like this any time soon) and rode that a couple of times. The wife dragged me to Sidewinder and I did not enjoy. We also hit up Farenheit again and the mine train coaster. That was a nice surprise, looked tame but wasn't. I want to ride again.

Then we hit the bigger woodies in the park, Wildcat and Lightning Racer. Inattentive staff on the Lightning Racer released the ride even though my wife's restraints weren't set. Thanks to those in line for helping us get the attention of the ride operators. We only rolled a couple of feet, but still, they should have noticed. Good rides, I still enjoy wooden coasters, and I think my wife is getting the hang of them, but we had to ride Farenheit a few more times before leaving.

The staff in the park was great, interacted with us and our son. The crew on Great Bear was having fun in their learning process with different ways of signaling the ride was ready. It was fun to watch enthusiasm from the young workers and basically doing a team building exercise at the same time. The tram workers however were gruff and the aforementioned workers on Lightning Racer really need to learn to pay attention or someone could get hurt.

In all the time I've been going to parks, it's the first time I've ever had a ride release without a restraint set and locked. We even encountered three happenings of this on other rides in the park.

Our next park is going to be Busch Gardens, but I'm going to try to find a way to sneak Kings Dominion into part of that. I'm not happy Big Bad Wolf is gone.

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010 7:15 PM

SportsAnnouncing, I was that guy that your talking about. Small world.

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Thursday, April 15, 2010 2:03 AM

Not surprising, Dave. You're all over like the proverbial horse stuff in the pasture. :)

Sports. I'm glad you mentioned your wife's mom was there. I was wondering what happened to the little one once you mentioned that you and your wife started riding coasters. :) Surprised about the restraint issue. That's not good. Also the tram operators. They're usually pretty friendly. Maybe it's just pre-opening jitters that will hopefully all be ironed out by opening weekend.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010 8:58 PM

I've never seen inattentive operators at Hershey. Quite the opposite in fact -- they usually check the restraints so many times that dispatches are ludicrously slow! (Great Bear, Wildcat, and last but certainly not least Comet, I'm looking in your direction...)

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Monday, April 26, 2010 1:06 PM

I couldn't agree more, Jim. Great Bear in particular seems to triple check every restraint, but with how slow they dispatch Comet, it's practically pointless to have the second train.

I'm sure it was a little unnerving to get dispatched with a raised lapbar. That happened to me once at Dorney.

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Monday, April 26, 2010 6:00 PM

Dorney I can believe. They once dispatched a Steel Force train while one was stuck on the MCBR. They stopped it before it reached the lift. I would hope that the system wouldn't have let if off the lift and their panic about it was just an attempt to avoid a lift evac... (I never did see how they got it off the MCBR, because it was almost closing time.)

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010 1:19 PM

What does MCBR mean? I'm kind of advanced in the lingo, but this one is escaping me.

We figured that we'd leave the little one to all the mom's getting off the trains ahead of us, then thought, hey let's bring her mom! Just kidding, we heard about baby swap and did that most of the time.

Great Bear's staff was awesome, they did all the checks, it was just the Lightning Racer that freaked both of us out. Her because she isn't steady on wooden coasters yet, me because of how great the staff inside the park had been.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010 2:04 PM

MCBR = midcourse brake run

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