Hersheypark Springtime In The Park, 4/15/06

Associated parks:
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Sunday, April 16, 2006 3:18 PM
Seeing that Hershey was offering $19.95 admission with a lot of the park being open, it seemed like a great deal especially because at the last minute they decided to open the Coal Cracker and some of Midway America (Wildcat and Wild Mouse and a few kiddie rides), so I decided to start off my 2006 coaster season with a trip to Hersheypark.

After stopping for lunch at McDonald's a few minutes away from the park (it was a good thing we ate out of the park because the few food places in the park that were open had huge lines), we got to the park at about 1:00.

First thing I see is Wildcat's train stuck on the lift hill, not a good sign. As we are driving to the parking area you can tell the park is going to be packed today because the lot looked almost full. Parking was only $6 which was a nice surprise considering I thought it would be closer to $10 (and $6 is seems like a bargain compared to a certain chain in the industry).

Getting to the ticket booths (no more free admission and pay as you go or wristbands), there were hundreds of people waiting to get their tickets which meant about a 20 minute wait just to get tickets.

Finally in the park, we decided to head to Midway America first. Shockingly on the way, I noticed that Tidal Force was open with 1 boat and barely a wait but I didn't want to get soaked so I skipped it. The Canyon River Rapids were closed but I was kind of hoping they could run the ride with the waterfalls turned off so you wouldn't get too wet and have it open. Rollersoaker was also closed. Would have been cool if they ran it even without the water since I don't think the line would be that bad without water (I have never been on it before because the line always looks to be 90 minutes or more and it's such a short ride). I walked by a closed Wildcat and Wild Mouse which had way too long of a line (at least 40 minutes). Since we were in the area, we went on the merry dip fun slides (those huge slides where you use a mat to slide). I actually got a little airtime on the slide.

After the slide, we went to the Whip which had about a 20 minute wait. Fun ride as always. I then saw Lightning Racer was running which I was surprised to see since it wasn't even on the updated list of rides being open. The line was about 35 minutes, but by the time I got off it was probably closer to 45 - 50 minutes because while I was in line towards the end, Lightning (Red) got stuck on the lift and people had to be evacuated off the ride). Thunder (Green) was still running but this brought a ride with 4 train operation down to 2 train operation. It was weird riding the ride without the racing with the other train and it kind of took away part of the fun factor but it was still a great ride. It seemed a little rougher than I remember but it wasn't that bad. Also, going up the lift hill, you could see the parts for the new waterpark area on the ground.

Leaving Midway America, I saw the Wildcat had reopened but the line was already past the ramp going into the station which meant a decent wait so I skipped it. The park just seemed more crowded than ever before, even the Claw had a full queue. We then went on the Dry Gulch Railroad and while on the ride saw Trailblazer's line was out of the station (something I have only seen once in the past 10 years), and Storm Runner had a completely full queue and Sidewinder looked to have about a 35 - 40 minute wait. We then headed to the Monorail which had about a 25 minute wait. We got some nice views of the park and Storm Runner. The Bumper Cars were next which had about a 20 minute wait. They take forever to load and the cars move very slowly but I liked the lap bars more than the standard seatbelts most bumper cars use.

Walking to Minetown, I overheard some people talking saying they waited 2 hours for Storm Runner. I wasn’t going to stand in line for 2 hours alone (no one else I was with goes on coasters except for the tame ones), so I figured I’ll ride it next time I am at Hershey this year.

We went over to the antique and sports cars and both lines were out of their queues into the midway. It looked to be at least a 30 – 45 minute wait each which wasn’t worth it to we skipped it. The Kissing Tower also was out of the queue into the midway but only half the queue was being used. The wait was about 20 minutes, and the views of the park were great. Seeing the parking lot from 250 feet high also showed that the lot was about 75% to 80% full.

After the Kissing Tower, I went over to Great Bear and saw the line was into the main switchbacks after the line turn around (kind of difficult to explain if you don’t know how the line is set up). It looked to be about 45 minutes or more so I figured I would try to ride it later. The Coal Cracker also had a full queue which was about a 40 minute wait. It’s a fun ride as always and I really like that bump after the drop that the Hydroflumes have. At this point, the line for Great Bear wasn’t as bad (only slightly in the switchbacks). The line ending up being 40 minutes. Great Bear is still one of my favorite coasters in the park. I really like that helix before the first drop and the part between the immleman and the zero g roll felt more forceful than I remember. My only complaint is that the ride just seems too short.

I was considering going on Sooperdooperlooper but the line was past the stairs and around one of the corners which is the longest I have ever seen the line even though they were running 2 trains today. The Comet’s line was about 25 minutes (they had an overflow queue set up but luckily that part of the line was empty). What was annoying about the line was that once you got up to the ramp and into the station, people didn’t realize that you could walk around the people in line for the middle. This caused some lines for rows to be completely empty (and trains being sent out without every row of the car with a rider(s) in it) while the switchbacks outside were almost full. Finally, some people realized this and they went to the empty rows and I followed them and also chose an empty row. The ride felt really smooth but unfortunately, those trim breaks right before the 2nd turn around really seemed to be on stronger than I remember which killed the momentum. I still really enjoyed the ride though.

We then decided to go to Chocolate World and check out the new factory tour darkride. Also, their new Resse’s Xtreme Cup Challenge was not opened yet but the outside looks complete except for the chains or rope in the queue outside not yet up (in the main park). Usually later in the day, the factory tour ride is a walk on but today not only was the entire queue full, but they made an overflow queue that took up a main portion of the Chocolate World lobby. The line took about 35 minutes. The new ride shared some parts with the old ride but they changed a lot of things around. Those singing cows are very annoying after a few minutes, especially because they are in more than part of the ride and are so loud that you can hear them even if you are 3 – 4 rooms away from where they are which causes you not to be able to hear the commentary about what is going on with the machinery you see in the room you are in. It’s not a bad ride but I prefer the older ride a lot more.

You could barely walk through the shopping area in Chocolate World because it was so crowded and it seemed like everyone was buying 5 bags of chocolate (it was a special of 5 bags for $10.95 instead of $2.99 a bag) among other things.

I knew the park wouldn’t be empty but I never expected it to be this crowded especially with the forced admission. I guess since it was basically half price admission (compared to the summer gate price) with over 80% of the rides open, it seemed like a good deal which brought in the crowds and the fact it was a nice day didn’t help either.

Something else I noticed was that the employees were mostly all very nice and friendly asking me questions like if I enjoyed coaster I was on after the train returned to the station.

Something else I noticed was that Hershey finally got a DDR machine. It’s in the arcade that’s shaped like a dome near the Claw. I didn’t play but it was nice to see they now have a machine since they have had Pump It Up for a while now.

Overall, I had a good visit at Hersheypark but I hope next time it isn’t as crowded.

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Sunday, April 16, 2006 5:31 PM
Wow, that sounds really crowded. I didn't think it would be that busy then. I was there the end of July with my mom for the evening, and it was basically dead. I think i'll go then lol.
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Sunday, April 16, 2006 9:25 PM
I got to the park about the same time as you. I seen the Wildcat stuck on the lift hill upon arrival. I had one goal when I went early in the day, and that was to take my daughter on her 1st rollercoaster ride. Yes she's over 36" and is now able to ride the Trailblazer. We waited about 25 minutes for a front seat ride.

I then took her to get on the carrousel, and then we went and rode the new ride at Chocolate world. We ended spending about 3 hours there to ride those 3 rides. We weren't rushing trying to get on everything, and we were stopping in the gift shops to see what new stuff we could find(didn't find anything that I wanted.)

I took my daughter to my parents, and my son and I returned to the park at about 7:45pm. Since the park closed at 9 our goal was to ride as many coasters as we could, and get in line for Storm Runner right before 9.

In an hour and 15 minute we rode in order the SooperdooperLooper(Comet's line was still too long,) the Great Bear, Sidewinder, Wild Mouse, Wildcat, and ended the night with a lap on Storm Runner.

I have learned that its better to avoid the crowds of the park during the day for Springtime in the park, and wait until the last hour or 2 to get there. Then everyone else that has been there all day are heading back home.

Storm Runner was the only significant line, and I am sure that if it had both trains running it wouldn't have been that long. We waited about an hour for that. Great Bear was about a 15 minute wait. The rest had a train or 2 wait.

I finally got my season pass, and now I am set for my many visits to Hershey.

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