Hersheypark in the Dark, 10/30

Associated parks:

Deciding to take one last trip to a park this season, it was between Dorney, Hershey and Great Adventure. I was just at Dorney 6 weeks ago, I thought Great Adventure would be way too crowded (and reading reports of how crowded it was I think I made the right choice not to go) so I decided to go to Hershey.

I got to the park a little bit after 2, when the park opened. I went to a ticket booth in Music Box Way (free admission, it was either pay as you go or buy a wristband for unlimited rides for $24, I chose the wristband).

I then went to Pioneer Frontier to try to get on Sidewinder. It was closed so I headed to the Trailblazer. 1 train running but the station had about 10 people in it so it really didn't matter. Same ride as always, tame but still fun.

Next I headed to Great Bear. Other than the front row, basically every row was a 1 train wait thanks to 2 trains running. I chose row 7. I love that helix after the lift hill but for some reason I didn't enjoy the ride as much as I did last time (my first time riding was in the summer). I think it's because the ride seems so short compared to Talon which I think is now my #1 invert. I still liked the ride a lot and without a wait I got back in line again for another 1 train wait in row 5. After that we did both the antique cars and sports cars. Every time I am at Hershey, the queues for these are full but today for the antique cars no one was in line and for the sports cars only 2 people were in line. Next up was the Kissing Tower which was closed last visit. It was running better than the last time I was on it because it rotated (last time I was on it was 2004 and there was a sign up saying it wasn't able to rotate anymore due to a new program).

Some others wanted to play skill games in Minetown, so I took the opportunity to get another Great Bear ride, this time I only waited about 20 seconds!

Seeing as we only had a limited time in the park (had to leave by 6:30 p.m.) we decided to go to another section of the box. We then went to Fender Bender in Music Box Way. Like the cars in Minetown, it always seems like these bumper cars have a long wait. We go to the line and there is no one in line at all! It took a while for the ride to start because they needed to get more people on the ride but it wasn't too bad. The cars were really slow though which was kind of dissapointing.

Next we went back into Midway America. I saw Wild Mouse had about a 15 minute wait which I didn't feel like waiting in so I skipped it. Wildcat appeared to be running with trains 2/3 full so I figured it was a walk on. It turns out they had the middle 1/3 of each train chained off which turned what would have been a 1 or 2 train wait into a close to 10 minute wait. While in line I heard comments such as "Oh, that section must be closed to balance the train or else the train would tip over." The worst part was other people believed it and got scared. I think it was because they had a limited staff and it was easier for them to not load the full train.

Went to the Merry Dip Fun Slides quickly with a 5 minute wait. Not much to say about it other than it's not as fun as the giant slides at Dutch Wonderland or Morey's Piers in Wildwood.

Next up was the Whip which was just a wait for the next cycle. Still my favorite flat and a great ride (not sure if I like Hershey's or Dorney's more).

Since I was right there, Lightning Racers were next. I chose Lightning because last trip I was on Thunder (and lost). There was only 1 train running on each side which I wasn't expecting but there was only a 2 train wait so it wasn't a big deal. Last time I sat in the front seat but I sat in the middle of the train this time and actually think it's better not to sit in the front. I think you get a better view of the racing if you don't sit in the front and the ride seemed more fun becing able to see the dueling and racing between the 2 trains. My train won, but barely.

We then went back into Pioneer Frontier and did the train ride which had a few props for Halloween with ghosts in some of the buildings and a headless horseman on some grass near the tracks. No wait for the ride.

We then went to the monorail which was about a 10 minute wait due to them only running 1 train. It was neat to take a night ride on the monorail since I usually don't go on the ride at night.

It was almost 6:00 at this point and I still had to get to Comet and Sooperdooperlooper. Comet's line was to the ramp (1/2 full) out of the station. The sign said 30 minutes when queue is full and since there are 5 switchbacks and the ramp, I figured it would be a 5 minute wait. It was really a 10 minute wait, not too bad but I was surprised that since other coasters had such short waits. But I guess it's because Comet is the 1st coaster you see once you walk in Founder's Circle so everyone goes to it first if they don't run to Storm Runner. 2 trains were running thankfully. Unfortunately, the trims were on more than they were during my visit in the summer which slowed down the train during the 2nd half of the ride but I still really like the ride and I still consider it my #1 wooden coaster.

I had about 10 minutes to get to Sooperdooperlooper, ride it and meet up in Founder's Circle so luckily Sooperdooperlooper had an empty station except at the front of the train as usual (unless they are running 1 train) and I walked right to the back row for a ride. This was my 1st looping coaster and I still think it's a great ride. I forgot how forcefull the loop was especially after going on Great Bear earlier. I definetly prefer the loop on Sooperdooperlooper.

At that point it was time to leave with a quick stop at Chocolate World for the dark ride tour.

Overall, I have never seen the park so empty before and I was kind of surprised crowds didn't pick up while I was there considering it's the last day of coasters opearting at the park this year and since it was Halloween weekend, I thought it would be a lot more crowded. I guess people either went to haunted houses/attractions or wanted to go to a park like Dorney or Great Adventure where they actually have Halloween walk throughs or mazes unlike Hershey who just has some minimal Halloween decorations and themeing up.

It was a great trip to the park and a great way to finish my coaster season.

Nice TR. I was this close |<->| to going on Sunday evening, but never got motivated enough to go. Now I'm sorry I didn't hearing about all those short lines. We must be spoiled when we don't want to wait in line for 15 minutes!

I agree with you about the Wildcat. I guess they figure without a crowd they won't be sending out full trains, and most people head to the front or back anyway.

No rides on SR?

The funny thing is, on the 15th, 22nd and 23rd I was at GIANT center for hockey games, but didn't get to the park.

We even had 6 free passes for the park good from opening until July 4 from hockey promotions that we did not even use.

We didn't get to Hershey at all this summer... first time that happened since 1998. Oh well... always next year. I mean where else will you be able to see Peanut Butter Cups race?

RatherGoodBear said:
Nice TR. I was this close |<->| to going on Sunday evening, but never got motivated enough to go. Now I'm sorry I didn't hearing about all those short lines. We must be spoiled when we don't want to wait in line for 15 minutes!

I agree with you about the Wildcat. I guess they figure without a crowd they won't be sending out full trains, and most people head to the front or back anyway.

No rides on SR?

I agree about the lines. After going to parks this year without lines (Morey's Piers, Dorney and Hershey), I have trouble wanting to wait more than 10 minutes for any ride. I really don't know what I would do at a park like Great Adventure where I hear people saying even with a Q-Bot the waits can be 20 minutes or longer (last time I was there was 3 years ago and I only did the smaller coasters like Skull Mountain and Rolling Thunder which didn't have bad lines).

No rides on Storm Runner for me. Before the end of the summer I had never been on any coaster more intense than Loch Ness Monster so in the past 2 months I just started to go on bigger rides like Great Bear, Talon, Hydra and Great Nor'Easter. I still am not sure about Storm Runner, especially the launch. I'm hoping next year I'll be ready for it. Maybe I should have tried it though since it would have been a good time considering the line wasn't even out of the station. *** Edited 11/2/2005 8:01:03 PM UTC by YoshiFan***

YoshiFan said:

Maybe I should have tried it though since it would have been a good time considering the line wasn't even out of the station. *** Edited 11/2/2005 8:01:03 PM UTC by YoshiFan***

I really didn't need to hear that.

RatherGoodBear, I will add insult to injury here because I had meant to enlighten the buzzers about this last day of the season opportunity at Hershey, but this is a good thing so you know for next year. The key is it was a very nice day so you can expect similar crowds in the future. Yes, my goal of finally dieharding Stormrunner at night came true. We got about 11 nightrides in (we could have had 30), still while hitting everything else in the park. And that was leaving 45 minutes before closing with the station virtually empty, AND WITH TWO TRAINS!!! We had a long drive but the park was open till 10 too. SR had two trains all night, waiting only 2 or 3 trains at the most at any point. We really kicked it into high gear from about 5:00 on, Wildcat was a walkon, Great Bear was a walkon shortly thereafter, Lightning Racer was a walkon or one train wait. In fact, the whole time I kept thinking, wow, they're running two trains on SR and GB when they certainly didn't need to. Thumbs up Hershey, that's the way it should be :) Actually, a rather unique experience was happening too. Starting around 8:30-45 on SR, they closed off the last two cars, I guess to ensure the train makes it over like with Dragster. So, what was happening is for some reason, we were hanging up there for a little longer anyway. I don't know how the system was adjusting, it was a lighter train, but we were getting a nice view atop the top hat for a noticably longer period of time, a full second maybe, I don't know, but it was great. And a weather phenomenon was experienced atop the top hat too. To best be described as a chocolate cloud or chocolate storm cloud. You got up there, went through a strong cloud of chocolate and smelled nothing the rest of the ride. Amazing :)

I had some amazing rides on SR last year during HPITD. There was a band of fog maybe around 50 feet thick that had settled above the creek. So when the ride launched, it was clear, then you went through the fog up the top hat, but it was clear again at the top, then back through the fog we went. The wildest part was the snake dive or whatever it's called. Spinning straight down into the fog-- that was totally crazy.

When I was there two weeks ago, I watched a number of launches, but didn't get to ride. The trains were full, but it looked to me like they were just hanging for a split second at the top.

We too were going to hit up the park Sunday night but got stuck in nasty traffic coming up 95 from visiting BGW and PKD on Sat. and Sun. and didn't make it back to central PA until much later than we thought. It pains me to hear about such small wait times.;) We still have yet to check out the park at Halloween. Oh well, I guess next year.
That's amazing to hear about the fog. I thought the chocolate smell phenomenon was particularly interesting because I have been to the park a million times, smelling the chocolate at times but Sunday, I didn't smell it except atop SR's top hat, which makes absolutely no sense except for the altitude. It was also fun being hopeful and picking out potential layouts for an '07 Hyper. I just have been stuck on the fact that this is the perfect ride for Hershey, especially with their family thrillride attempts, if there is such a thing. I wouldn't even expect a 200-footer. I guess the thing would snake around Midway America but I keep thinking they'll ruin the old-fashioned skyline they've created out there. My friend disagrees! We'll see.

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