Hersheypark in the Dark, 10/17/10

Monday, October 18, 2010 8:33 PM

I really didn't think I was going to get to Hershey this year but I had a chance to go yesterday and my family and I decided to take the 1 3/4 hour drive to the park.

Parking was $7, a few dollars cheaper than the summer and the gate price was $26.95 ($24.95 with a $2 off printable coupon on Hershey's site). I thought that was a bargain since the summer and September gate price is $52.95 so for basically half price, all that is closed is the Coal Cracker, Tidal Force and Boardwalk.

It was sunny and around 70 so I was a little concerned about crowds especially because I always seem to go to Hershey when it is crowded and never have a chance to get a lot of rides in. Thankfully that never happened.

First ride of the day was the Comet. 10 minute wait for the last row. It was rougher than I remembered and although still a good ride, not as great as it should have been.

Reese's Extreme Cup Challenge was next and the wait was around 5 minutes. I think Ghost Hunt at Lake Compounce is a better ride but Reese's is still fun but the cars move kind of fast. We destroyed the other car, around 125,000 to 40,000.

The monorail was only running 1 train but it was a walk on and the train wasn't even full which I have never seen before. Instead of the usual narration they had Halloween music playing.

We stopped at Pirat, another walk on and walked by Fahrenheit. The worker at the entrance said it was 30 minutes so I skipped it for now and we went to Midway America.

My sister needed the Wild Mouse credit so we stopped there, a 10 minute wait. I hadn't ridden the coaster in 5 years and forgot how forceful the top part of the coaster is with minimal braking.

I hadn't ridden Wildcat in 3 years so we stopped there next. The middle 4 rows were chained off with 2 trains running but it was still a walk on. In 2007, I thought the Millennium Flyers were a slight improvement over the PTC's. This year the coaster seemed rougher than ever, so much that it gave me a headache and it took a while for the headache to go away. After that ride, it's now a coaster I will only ride once every few years.

We stopped at the Merry Dip Fun Slides and Whip, both walk ons and then went to the Ferris Wheel about a 10 minute wait.

Lightning Racers had both sides running with 1 train on each side and 3 rows closed off on each side. This meant all rows were a 2 - 3 train wait. I don't mind running 1 train on each side instead of 2 on a slow day but if they are only going to run 1 train, they should have all rows open. We went to Lightning first and lost and went to Thunder which won. Thunder was winning a lot today but I prefer the Lightning side since it seems a little smoother and I like the layout slightly better.

Walking back to Pioneer Frontier, Fahrenheit had a much shorter line, just a few feet past the stairs. It was around 15 minutes since only 2 trains were running which was the longest wait of the day. After 1 ride each season, I still feel the same way about the coaster as I did in 2008. It's a fun ride, but it seems like it should have had more to the ride, maybe a helix at the end or something between the cobra roll and first corkscrew.

We went to the Dry Gulch Railroad which was yet another walk on with 2 trains running. While on the train, I saw an awesome sight- Storm Runner with a station wait.

Before Storm Runner we stopped at Fender Bender which had no wait and while everyone else went to the Skyride I went to Storm Runner. The last 3 rows were chained off but most rows were a 1 - 2 train wait except the front and being a single rider, I was able to ride with another single rider 3 times having to walk around each time and got 3 rides in around 15 minutes. I forgot about getting a lot of air time in the top hat and riding it more than once this trip gave me a chance to really pay attention to each element instead of going through each element so quickly once a trip and being done with the ride with the usual 30+ minute wait it has. I would trade Kingda Ka for Storm Runner anyday.

I skipped Sidewinder even though the train was going out with empty rows since I didn't want to get another headache and it is the roughest of the 3 Boomerang coasters I have ridden.

I met my family at Trailblazer, 1 train was running but it was only a 1 train wait and were able to get a re-ride after that.

Great Bear also only had 1 train running but was a station wait and just over 10 minutes. I really like the helix before the drop and how the loop goes right into the immelman.

We went to the Antique and Sports Cars next and the queue for the Antique Cars was completely empty and the Sports Cars had about 5 people in line. I have seen the ride with both queues full but never empty before. We went to both sides and saw they updated the turnpike signs to look like real exit signs on the turnpike rather than just signs with the exit name and miles away like they used to have.

The Kissing Tower was a walk on and they also played Halloween music instead of the regular audio.

My sister was considering trying a looping coaster and Sooperdooperlooper seemed like the perfect coaster to try since it only has 1 loop. It was also my first looping coaster 11 years ago. We walked into an empty station except for 2 people waiting for the front but decided to wait 1 train for the front row since 2 trains were running. She liked the loop and the rest of the ride. I never thought I was going to get her to try a coaster with an inversion so I was really glad to see she liked the coaster and am hoping I can get her some more coasters with inversions next season. I went back for another ride this time in the last row. SDL is the perfect type of coaster to me. It's not that tall or fast but it is just a fun ride and Schwarzkopf loops are still my favorite inversion.

We stopped at the games area in Comet Hollow and played Bowler Roller and Skee Ball. Bowler Roller was only 25 cents a try. Most of the games throughout the park seemed cheaper than other parks.

I wanted to get another Comet ride so I stopped there on the way out. About half the rows were chained off but it was still a walk on, another first for me. This time I got a non wheel seat and it was more like I remembered it in past years, much smoother and another fun coaster. Unfortunately the brake on the turn around was on.

We left the park and went to Chocolate World to go on the factory tour dark ride which is always how we end a trip to Hershey.

It was great to go to the park with minimal waits and not dealing with many lines. I really don't care about the Boardwalk at all (there aren't enough slides and it is too crowded for me) so I think going in October with a lower admission price and low crowds is a good trade off for the Boardwalk and water rides being closed and hope to go again next October.

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Monday, October 18, 2010 11:28 PM

I always liked Hersheypark in the Dark. Nice crisp cool evening with minimal lines... unless you are there on a Saturday. Friday nights are not too bad... Sunday sounds like it is good too from your TR.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010 12:56 AM

How full was the parking lot? It sounds like the park wasn't that crowded since you didn't encounter long lines anywhere. The only time I can remember being there at HPITD when it was so empty was one night it was also near freezing. Sounds like you had a great day.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010 2:33 PM

Hershey is a gem of a park. No Great Bear (Or did I just skip over that)?

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010 10:44 PM

I rode Great Bear once since only 1 train was running

RatherGoodBear said:
How full was the parking lot? It sounds like the park wasn't that crowded since you didn't encounter long lines anywhere. The only time I can remember being there at HPITD when it was so empty was one night it was also near freezing. Sounds like you had a great day.

The first part of the lot maybe was 1/3 full, there couldn't have been more than a few thousand people in the park. In 2005 on the last Sunday it wasn't that crowded back when it was free admission with pay per ride or a wristband and I went on a Saturday in 2006 and it wasn't too crowded then either (but it was also cold out). I heard it got a lot more crowded since then so I was really surprised crowds were so low.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010 1:02 PM

While driving to GIANT Center on Saturday the 16th for the hockey game I looked at the parking lot for the park. It looked packed... including busses.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010 2:37 PM

Tekwardo said:
No Great Bear?

Nah, just a rather good one.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010 2:48 PM

LOL

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010 3:46 PM

^^WELL-played, sir... :)

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Saturday, October 23, 2010 10:54 PM

Arriving and leaving the hockey game tonight, the lot for Hersheypark looked PACKED.

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Sunday, October 24, 2010 1:10 AM

Raven-Phile said:

Tekwardo said:
No Great Bear?

Nah, just a rather good one.

But I hear he offers no value.

I would think that Saturdays would be the big days/nights. Fridays are still HS football nights, plus working families really would only get to spend a few hours in the park, maybe from 6 until 10 at the most. They might think they'd get more for their money going for 6-8 hours on a Saturday. Sunday late afternoon and evenings I would think would also be less crowded.

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Sunday, October 24, 2010 11:55 AM

RatherGoodBear said:

But I hear he offers no value.

That's not what I heard. I always enjoy me some RGB on CoasterBuzz. :)

I always have a problem with how busy Hersheypark is. I'll have to try to go on an October Friday sometime!

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Sunday, October 24, 2010 10:48 PM

I definitely think the warm, beautiful weather we've had for the past 3 weekends here in PA have drawn the crowds out to the parks. If the temps were only in the 50s, or if it were overcast, I doubt you'd see near as many people at either Hershey or Knoebels.

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