Since it's a free admission, pay as you go event, we decided just to get wristbands for the kids, and the adults would buy tickets for limited riding. I had a book from a previous event that they accepted, so we didn't have to buy that many anyway. Although the temps were expected to remain in the 30s, we knew from experience how cold it could get in the park after 3-4 hours. We were all multi-layered for the evening.
The parking lot wasn't too crowded, but it seemed like most of the people who were there were concentrated around the Carousel. We thought we'd get the kids a quick ride on Balloon Flite, but it turned out they're both way too tall for it. I didn't realize it's a very different ride from the one at Knoebels and really is a kiddie ride.
The kids hopped on the carousel, which despite all the people standing around didn't have much of a line at all. I guess most were spectators watching their kids or grandkids. While they were doing that, I watched part of the light show on the "Kissmas" Tree, which was located at the far end of Founder's Circle this season.
I think this is a good move, because in previous years it was located in Comet Hollow, when nothing else was open down there, or over by the Sidewinder. This is the first time in about 8 trips I actually got to see the tree. The only downer is that they turn off the Christmas music on the carousel organ for the songs accompanying the Kissmas tree show.
Next we grabbed a ride on Skyview. The line filled the queue, but it did move quickly. You get a nice view of all the lights and attractions throughout the park. It got a little chilly when they had to stop the ride briefly while we were suspended over the creek. I was reaching under the lapbar to get gloves out of my pockets.
After that, we headed down to Comet Hollow, where we noticed a lot more in the way of lights and decorations this year. They had a row of live trees along the queue for Comet with the rootballs wrapped up to look like Kisses. The kids rode the Wave Swinger, two rides on the Fun Slide, which was moved next to the Paddleboat Cafe for the event, and the Tilt-a-whirl, which was probably the longest line of the night.
They talked me into going on the Swinger again with them... but this year I was prepared with balaclava AND 180s earmuffs. That thing was running so fast, I noticed a lot of the chairs were turned sideways. The wind chill had to be below 0. When we got off the ride, my brother and sister-in-law were waiting with large cups of hot chocolate that were greatly appreciated.
We took the "back" way up to Santa Claus Lane (Minetown) past the dormant SDL, Coalcracker Flume and Great Bear). Since we had 5 partially full cups we weren't about to waste, I offered to guard the drinks while the kids rode the Turnpike Cars and the other two adults rode the Kissing Tower. Then I took on the kids on the Tower two rides later. I never miss this ride when I'm at the park during Christmas. Not only do you see all the lights in the park but also many around the town itself, particularly the hotel on the hill.
By that time, we figured we had time for one or maybe two rides, so it was over the bridge toward the Monorail. I can report that the exterior of the Sally ride is almost complete. There are just a few panels of metal siding to be added at the rearof the building, and the facade is sheathed. It's a pretty deep building, so it shouldn't be a short ride.
By the time we got off the monorail, it was after 9:00 and just about every other ride was closed. So we headed out, stopping at the Santa Claus shoppe and the Chocolate House along the way.
Since closing the park wasn't enough, we decided to be one of the last cars through Sweet Lights as well. That's a great display located over the hill behind the Hotel Hershey. It seems a little pricey at $20 per carload, but it was a 30-35 minute drive with a lot of neat animated and still displays. Made a nice ending to the 2005 season.
I also didn't realize that the Sweet Lights took so long to go through (I figured it took 10 to 15 minutes at the most). If I end up going in the next few years, I'll definetly considering trying it.
There really is a lot to see, and you have to go pretty slow to take it all in, or sometimes to guess what the display is. They also have neat little things like counting how many times you see Rudolph throughout the trip that the kids get into. And some displays you'd only see at an amusement park light show, like Santa on Storm Runner or the reindeer on a log flume.
Nice TR of your trip though.
Actually I have no idea who you are or what you look like. Let's see, I don't think I made any loud comments about anyone in the park that night, so I don't think I would have insulted you at all. Oh wait, there was one stroller comment, and those people who thought they were going to save a bunch of seats on the Kissing Tower for the rest of their party. Where's that rolling eyes emoticon when you need one?
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