Hersheypark closing Wildcat, last rides July 31

Posted | Contributed by Jeff

From the official Hersheypark Facebook page:

Last to ride alert! 🚨 Wildcat will close Sunday, July 31 so be sure to visit this month for one final ride. Any suggestions on what we could do with 3,100 feet of wooden track?

Stay tuned for details later this year.

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Wow the first GCI back in the day it was great but it did quickly get overshadowed by its newer twin brother rather quickly.


2022 Trips: WDW, Sea World San Diego & Orlando, CP, KI, BGW, Bay Beach, Canobie Lake, Universal Orlando

Ok, I'll shoot. Any chance this is being RMC'd? Seems odd it'd close fairly mid-season if it was just a straight demolition.

Edit: I just saw the other thread that was started. Sounds about right.

Last edited by cmwein,

I just rode this for the first time last Saturday.

It was indeed on the rougher side, but the trains were in fabulous condition, and the seats were as soft and fluffy as any coaster I’ve ever ridden. That helped temper the roughness. That said, I rode it twice but had to honestly admit to my wife that the roughness was beyond her tolerance. I can imagine most folks riding and saying “never again”.

I found Wildcat to be a decent coaster, with fun unexpected elements, but I didn’t really get the “story” it was trying to tell.

Lightning Racer next door and Comet across the park appeal to me more and seem more sure of themselves.

I always hate to see a wooden coaster close, so hopefully the Iron Wildcat or whatever it morphs into will be fun.

Last edited by buckeye brad,

Iron Wildcat

Steel Wildcat

Wicked Wildcat

Twisted Wildcat

New Wildcat

I'm sad to lose the current Wildcat as I've really enjoyed it in the years since they went to the millennium flyer trains. I'm sure the RMC will be a big hit, though.

Here's hoping Hersheypark can lengthen their hours a bit next summer.


I remember riding that at the end of the night at Chocolate Buzz (or was it Hershey Buzz?). I thought it was a solid ride.

Vater's avatar

Despite the Flyers making the ride less rough, it was still pretty brutal. It was once a great coaster but I'll be happy to see a better version.

This is going to be interesting to watch over time. When you look back through history, the lifespan on a lot of wooden coasters was about 20 to 25 years, sometimes even shorter. (Crystal Beach cyclone met its demise at 21, etc.) We've now seen quite a few of the coasters from the late 80's being massively redone now. The late 90's and early 2000's saw a lot of new coasters, but they are not so new now 20 years later.

Interesting points Walt. There must have been a dozen wooden coasters built in the US just between 1998 and 2000. Some are long gone, some rough as can be, some in great shape.

I was delighted to ride Hershey Comet for the first time last weekend, and found it to be amazing cared for and smooth. The trainers looked brand new (I’m sure they are not), the beloved buzz bars, etc.

While I admit it’s not an aggressive layout, this 75 year old coaster ran better than any “not new” wood coaster I’ve ever ridden.

I wish every wooden coaster got this TLC treatment. It was an interesting contrast to Wildcat across the park. Though as I mentioned, at least Wildcats trains looked immaculate and felt quite comfortable.


Full Retrack >> Another RMC >> RRR.

I just hope RMC actually does something a bit more unique this time around. They seriously give off "Arrow Megalooper" vibes from the 80/90's in a way for me with elements being repetitive and a bit uninspired. I know that may be an unpopular opinion, but whatever.


Well Thunderhead can legally vote now, it’s still my favorite GCI and Dollywood has taken good care of it, still running great. I know it’s outside the time period but what KI did to the racer these past few years is nothing short of amazing. It’s running (and looking) like new.


2022 Trips: WDW, Sea World San Diego & Orlando, CP, KI, BGW, Bay Beach, Canobie Lake, Universal Orlando

kpjb's avatar

I've heard that about Thunderhead but when I was there in 2019 it was pretty brutal.

There's clearly something unique about Wildcat that makes it so bad. I loved that ride when it was new, but it's unrideable to me now. The MF trains helped a little.

Lightning Racer and Comet run very well at Hershey. So I don't think it's a maintenance problem or a manufacturer problem. Is it just the agressive design that hammers the track too much?


Hi

kpjb's avatar

cmwein:

Any chance this is being RMC'd?

Moving this over here for those that didn't see it in the closed thread.


Hi

kpjb:

Lightning Racer and Comet run very well at Hershey. So I don't think it's a maintenance problem or a manufacturer problem. Is it just the agressive design that hammers the track too much?

Bad news, Lightning Racer is starting to get pretty rough. I agree that something hasn't been right with Wildcat since it opened, but even an extremely well-built ride such as Lightning Racer isn't going to last forever if the park refuses to do any major track work.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but even when Hershey got rid of the PTCs on Wildcat, they never really did a full retrack to fix the years of PTC abuse. Small repairs, sure, but it really needed a full retrack to shine with the new trains.

Also believe the MF trains on Wildcat are heavier, so likely do a bit more wear and tear compared to typical GCI rides designed from the start with MF trains.


I believe 2019 is when DW retracked the first drop and turn, which made a huge difference.


2022 Trips: WDW, Sea World San Diego & Orlando, CP, KI, BGW, Bay Beach, Canobie Lake, Universal Orlando

Hmm, As a season pass member, I just received a free "Bring a friend for FREE" ticket that is valid until July 31, 2022. Coincidence? I think not. Great marketing. "Oh, I need to ride that coaster one more time before it is replaced."

Last edited by DoubleMeatTaco,

There is a decent sized list of rides that would get me to book a flight and go get some last rides if a closure announcement was made. HP Wildcat is not even close to that list. I'm all for this.

I might save the photograph from the FB page. It would forever remind me of how beautiful the ride is and how it represents the renaissance of the twister, or bobs style coaster. But that would be about it as I don’t care if I ever ride it again.
I remember an enthusiast event when the ride was new and how we couldn’t get enough of it. Funny how that happens. Is it that better designs come along? Is it that the park takes little investment in the time and money a wooden coaster requires in order to deliver a safe, comfortable, and consistent ride from season to season?
Anyway, rumors of Wildcat’s reworking have been around for years. Every time an RMC renovation is announced (I know this one isn’t yet, but I’d bet a dollar) I always hope they leave the basics of the ride alone. I don’t know why I believe things like footprint, length, and basic layout should remain as true as possible, (because it isn’t fair), but I do. Which means sometimes I’m disappointed (Georgia, New England) and sometimes I’m not (CP, KD).

This ride reminds me a lot of ROAR at Six Flags America. Why? Because they were both made by CGI, Hershey Park in 1996 and SF in 1998. I would love to see an RMC at Hershey Park. It is possible at Hershey, never going to happen at Six Flags America.

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