Hersheypark Happy (7/4/2004)-Long

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My girlfriend and I arrived at Hershey Park at about 9:17 am last Wednesday (8/4/2004). As the park had yet to open, we headed over to Chocolate World for a quick ride on the “Factory Tour” attraction thinking we would still be one of the first into the park. By the time we had left Chocolate World and got to the main gate, we knew that this was going to be a very crowded Wednesday. Masses upon masses of people patiently waited until 10:00 am when the park opened, and when it finally did, a good number of those people, including ourselves headed over towards Storm Runner.

As we approached the ride, watching it as we walked, we noticed that it hadn’t launched yet. Worried that the ride may be having mechanical difficulties, and dreading that it might be down all day, we pessimistically headed for the entrance. Right as we got about to “The Claw” we finally saw it launched and started jogging towards the new attraction.

We got to the entrance just as they opened the line so the wait was only about 20-25 minutes for the front seat. My first comment about this ride is how comfortable the restraints are. I’m a tall guy (6’2”) with fairly long legs and yet my shoulders never touched the top of the OTSR nor did my legs feel squashed. The unique lapbar/OTSR was effective, comfortable, and roomy enough to allow you to put your hands up no problem at all. The loading was quick and effective and in no time our ride was beginning.

The train pulled up onto the launch track to the sound of a beating heart played over the speaker system. To your right, you can look down on the crowds of people watching you, many with cameras and wide eyes waiting in almost as much anticipation as you for your train to launch. To your left a bit down the track you can see the unique on-ride-photo system. How is it so unique? Most rides use one camera that flashes once for every car on the train. This works just fine when the train is going 30 mph or so, but when the train is going 72 mph, the camera just can’t work that fast. Hershey overcame this by mounting five separate cameras that each point to one car at the end of the launch track that takes a pick of the entire train all at the same instance at the fastest part of the ride, very ingenious if you ask me. Anyways, and straight ahead, a view much like Xcelerator at Knott’s, only mirrored.

The train backs up a bit onto the catch, the fins drop, and in no time the train is accelerating to 72 mph. In no time, you’re up the tower and headed down the other side. I’m sure you’ve all heard stories and seen pictures of how the rest of the ride goes so I won’t bore you with details. I will let you know that in the front seat, you get three GREAT pops of air: one at the top of the first hill, one just before the zero-g roll, and one just before the break run. It’s smooth and quite and most of all exhilarating. A great ride all around and a great addition to the park.

From Storm Runner, we headed over to Lightning Racer. A complete walk on for most rows and a one-train wait for the front seat. They were loading only Thunder at this time but that was fine. Thunder won of course. By the time we got off, Lightning was loading so we took a quick ride on that as well. TO let you know how empty the ride was at this time, we were the ONLY two people on Lightning (front row) and there were only two people in the front row of Thunder. Provided for a VERY close race and Lightning winning by mere inches. The ride is as wonderful as it was opening day and a true testament to the abilities of those guys and girls that work over at GCI.

From Lightning Racer we headed over to Wild Mouse (Wildcat was still closed at this time for some reason). A five to ten minute wait at most, not much else to say. They seemed to be running the ride with much fewer cars than before. I saw at least 3 or 4 cars on the storage track.

From Wild Mouse we headed back towards Storm Runner, unfortunately the ride’s queue was overflowing into an overflow queue set up outside the entrance to the ride. We decided to skip it in hopes of coming back to a shorter line. We diverted to Trailblazer, which was a two-train wait. I still don’t understand why they only run one train on this ride. I’m pretty sure the second train has gone to the new individual lap bar modification; I guess they just feel there is no need to run the second train.

Next we headed to Great Bear. About a 30-minute wait for the front seat. No real surprises. Still a fun ride from the top of the lift hill through the corkscrew, still seems just a helix or two too short though. By the time we got off the line was filling 3/4th of the main queue house so we decided to skip a second ride. They have changed their photo system though. Before the cameras took a picture of every individual person on the ride. Now it just takes two pictures, one from the left focusing on the two left most people, and one from the right focusing on the two right most people.

By this time it was about 12:30 and time fro some grub. A bit of pizza, then a nice relaxing sit at the dolphin show and it was time for more coasters. Comet’s line was COMPLETELY full so we headed over to the Sooperdooperlooper. The line was surprisingly all the way down the stairs but moved at a reasonable pace and within 20-25 minutes we were in the front seat.

By this time it was time to get wet. Passing Storm Runner, which still had a huge line, we moved onto Roller Soaker. You know, one of the best parts about this ride is firing the geysers. I love having so much control over so much water and the ability to get people so wet. The line was about an hour long and very slow moving. Worst part was, when we finally did ride, we didn’t get hit by ANY geysers, though still got plenty soaked.

From there we headed to Tidal Force and then to Canyon River Rapids which both had lines of about an hour twenty minutes. By this time (about 5 pm) Wildcat had FINALLY opened with about a 25-minute wait for the front seat. From some reason this ride actually seemed smoother than I had remembered it in years past, very enjoyable.

From Wildcat we headed back towards Comet by way of “The Claw”, which unfortunately was still closed. Comet’s line was now much more manageable and in about 15 minutes we were enjoying the front seat. Almost a leisurely ride anymore though the brakes on the second turnaround really take away a lot of the air this ride once had.

Then the fun began, when our train rolled into the station the operator made an announcement “Ladies and Gentlemen, we will not be loading this train, Comet is now closed do to inclement weather conditions.” Funny though, it really didn’t look like storm. We figured if Comet was closed, most all other rides would be closed, so we headed for the stores at the front of the park. By this time they were making a general announcement over the parks speaker system “Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention please, Hersheypark is currently under a sever thunderstorm warning. We suggest for your safety that you seek shelter immediately and stay away from all metal objects.” Masses of people were exiting the park, but we decided to take our chances.

Fighting the crowds of people exiting the park, we headed for shelter as close to Storm Runner as we could find. We figured the storm wouldn’t last long and if we were near Storm Runner when it reopened, we could be one of the first on. We headed for the theater/snack shop place over by Trailblazer and got under shelter just as the rain started. Very windy and very hard rain accompanied by lots of thunder and lightning for about an hour then it started to clear up so we followed ion out plan and headed to Storm Runner. Unfortunately they weren’t allowing anyone near the ride. As the entrance is right next to the lift for Sidewinder, and there was still lightning, they felt it too dangerous to let anyone stay in the area. Plus they claimed that they couldn’t open it if, and I quote “there was a single drop of rain…could you imagine the effects of a drop of rain hitting an eye at 72 mph?”

So, we went for some Lightning Racer ice-cream (the best thing ever and as far as I know, now ONLY sold at the park) and by the time we got back, they were just reopening Storm Runner. Again, we waited about 20-25 minutes for the front seat and the ride was just as great.

By this time it was about 8pm so we headed back to Lightning Racer. Sadly they were only running one train on each side, but the line was still pretty short. Too long to wait for the front, but only a one train wait for the back on either side. We rode Lightning first, which seemed to have a little bit of shake to the ride. I’m guessing that’s why Thunder was consistently winning that night. Next we hit Thunder in the back. Got to love how pretty this ride looks at night.

Our plan was to ride “The Claw” before we left, but no, still closed.

-The park was wonderful: clean, great staff, smooth operations, and fast load times
-A bit of a bummer “The Claw” never opened
-Also a bit of a bummer Wildcat was down the first half of the day
-Storm Runner was running like a champ, though, with it’s only real down time, as far as I could tell, was when the storm shut down the ride
-I definitely left Hersheypark Happy, Hersheypark Glad

Thanks Hershey for another great day.

If you can't stand the heights, get out of the line.

Great TR!

I'm noticing a pattern from all the HP TRs, no one is unhappy, everyone always has a great day. Cheers to Hersheypark for great service all around!

I think that this years addition is going to make HP one of the best parks in the country. They have an almost perfect selection of rides and the staff is tops.

We need them to get some kind of drop ride, maybe a hypercoaster, and a waterpark (included OR seperate, doesn't matter to me), and HP will be the perfect park, imho.

Because there is so much to do at HP, I try not to go when the lines are as long as you described. However, one of the best things about the park is that they do not offer a "fastpass" system. Everyone waits their turn fair and square.

Great TR, Coaster Lover. Have you ever rode the claw? It's fantastic.

"We need them to get some kind of drop ride, maybe a hypercoaster, and a waterpark "

When I was there earlier in the season on the bus from the hershey lodge the driver actually said in the next 2-3 years the park is going to build a waterpark in a field behind chocalate world. I didnt know if it was true but i figured it was because the person seemed to know alot about hershey.

dexter said:
Have you ever rode the claw? It's fantastic.

Yes, I rode it during their Christmas event the year it opened. Fun ride indeed. It's no Delerium ala PKI, but it's still a lot of fun.

If you can't stand the heights, get out of the line.

You can take a pic at 100 mph of a whole train with one camera. Top Thrill Dragster does.

At least I think that's how it works. *** Edited 8/7/2004 7:36:54 AM UTC by Kyle Fobe***

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