Hersheypark in the Dark, 10/14/06 and Dorney Park 10/15/06

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After going to Springtime In the Park this year and dealing with horrible crowds and only getting 3 coaster rides in, I was looking forward to another trip this season. Parking was $6 which was a nice surprise since the posted signs said parking was $8. The lot wasn't that crowded but there was a huge line of cars to get into the park. I didn't like how the park doesn't open until 4:00 since the weather was cold and for the warmer part of the day they were closed.

The first ride was Reese's Xtreme Cup Challenge which I was looking forward to riding since Buzz Lightyear at WDW is one of my favorite rides. After hearing not so great reviews I wasn't sure what to expect. Overall, I thought it was a fun ride but it moved too fast and was over too quickly but it's nice to have a shooting dark ride in the area now and I would like to see other parks in the area get similar type rides.

After a ride on the Monorail, I went to Sidewinder which had a 10 minute wait. Not too rough but not as smooth as the boomerang at Morey's

Midway America was next and I really don't like how the water park seems to be in the middle of the area. It's probably going to be very congested in that area next year. I skipped Wild Mouse because it's so similar to the one at Dorney and I had a very limited amount of time in the park. Lightning Racers were only running 1 train on each side which was unfortunate because the line was around 25 minutes and probably would have been about 10 with 2 trains on each side running. I was on the Thunder side and lost (0 for 3 on Thunder, 1 for 1 on Lightning). After riding the Whip at Dorney so many times this year the Whip at Hershey seemed very tame and not that thrilling.

Before stopping for dinner, we went to the Dry Gulch Railroad which had a few Halloween props such as a headless horseman and the house that is normally part of the ride had some ghosts in it. While on the train, I noticed that Trailblazer only had 1 train running and the line was out of the station down the stairs.

We stopped at Subway for dinner and the prices didn't seem that unreasonable for park food, $4.49 for a 6" hoagie. I also noticed bottled drinks from the vending machine were $2.75 while still a high price is less than the $3.00 at Dorney and $3.50 at Great Adventure.

Minetown was the next area we went to and I went to Great Bear. I think the park needs to change a few things with the signs and test seat. I noticed the test seat was a regular sized seat yet row 5 of the train does have the larger seat. This makes the test seat almost useless because someone might not be able to fit in the test seat but still be able to ride in the larger seat. There is no indication they even have a larger seat except for a sign on a wall before you get into the station which isn't very noticeable. The problem with this is that most people don't realize this and then when someone can't fit into the regular seat, they have to release the restraints, have the person switch seats with whoever is in the larger seat (if they do not need the larger seat themselves) and have the entire row re-checked. It happened twice in less than 10 minutes (the line was barely out of the station). I wanted to ride in the front row but the line was at least 3 times as long as the other rows so I decided not to wait for the front. I really like that helix after the lift hill but it wasn't as great as a ride as I remembered it being after riding Talon so many times this year.

It was around 8:30 at this point and I decided to split up from my family and go ride Sooperdooperlooper and Comet while they went to the Antique and Sports cars and the Kissing Tower. I missed Sooperdooperlooper earlier this year so I was looking forward to riding it again. It was a walk on and as usual it was an amazing ride. Since the station was almost empty I asked if I could stay on and they said yes (are you listening Dorney?). I got 3 rides in less than 10 minutes and would have liked to have stayed on the train for the rest of the night but I had to get to the Comet. There was a 15 minute wait even though the line was only down the ramp and about 2/3 into the first switchback. I love this coaster and it's still my favorite wooden coaster in the park.

I met my family at Reese's Xtreme Cup Challenge and we went on again before heading over to Chocolate World for the factory tour dark ride. I still don't like the singing cows and prefer the old version.

Overall it was a nice trip with minimal lines for the most part.

Today, I decided to visit Dorney today since I had nothing better to do and knew the park would be dead so I could get lots of rides on all the coasters. This is the emptiest I have ever seen the park before. I had a solo ride on Dominator, after about 8 rides the operator asked if I was tired of riding over and over again and I said that with no line, I could ride all day. At one point, there were more ride ops in the station than people in line for Talon. Even the haunted houses had less than 10 people in line and the biggest surprise of all was having no one in line for Wild Mouse.

I didn't realize the Cedar Freek Cannonball doesn't have actors or fog on Sunday nights and most people got off the ride dissapointed because they also expected the actors to scare us. The props throughout the ride were good though.

I have said this before, but I just don't understand how the park can be so empty to the point where some queue lines are completely empty while most parks with Halloween attractions usually have hour or longer lines for the major rides and haunted houses.

I think Dorney could stand to improve their marketing of Halloweekends. I'd be willing to bet that most people in the Lehigh Valley have no clue the park is still open, let alone people in Philly and its burbs.

Another issue in PA is the kazillion other haunted houses, and Halloween attractions that aren't in parks. There are the private ones like Shocktoberfest and Jason's Woods. Then it seems like every volunteer fire company and non-profit is sponsoring a hay ride, corn maze or pumpkin patch. Maybe the parks have too much competition.

I was at Hershey tonight, Yoshi. Walk-ons and re-rides everywhere. Plus going on Friday or Sunday, there's a discount coupon you could use.

I have seen some commercials for Halloweekends but I think you are right that not enough people are aware of it.

I would have rather gone to Hershey on a Friday or Sunday, but yesterday was the only day my family could go (I have been trying to get there since the weekend after Labor Day and for various reasons we were never able to get to the park and wouldn't have had another chance to go the rest of the season). I didn't think the crowds were that bad that it would have stopped me from missing so many rides had we spent more than around 4 hours in the park.

Nice report! I am planning a visit to Hersheypark In The Dark this weekend and would like to know where I can pick up the discount coupons, since I don't have a season pass for that park.

Thanks in advance for any info.

Giant markets have tickets for $2 off any day

This coupon is $3 off for Friday and Sunday:


The savings are so small since the gate price is already reduced to $21.95 rather than the $40.95 summer rate. *** Edited 10/17/2006 1:38:08 AM UTC by YoshiFan***

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