Hersheypark...in the Dark

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Wednesday, October 20, 2004 12:09 AM
Made the short excursion down to Hershey Saturday afternoon/night. Just hope this report isn't longer. It was my first trip there for a Halloween event, although we went just to ride, not to go to Haunted Harvest.

The group included my brother, his two kids, his wife, and mother-in-law, which meant more "family" rides/ not exclusively coasters (so I didn't get to ride every open coaster in the park)

The temp was in the mid-upper 50s Saturday afternoon, with a 30% chance of showers, so we all know what that means. We hit a brief downpour along I-78, but luckily that was it for any precip. except for a quick shower in the park.

The first order of business when arriving at the park at 5PM was heading to Chocolate World to grab trick-or-treat bags for the kids. Next we bought wristbands-- for $21, you definitely get your money's worth if the crowds are like they were on Saturday. Mixed crowd, a lot of families with younger kids, so the lines for the coasters really weren't very long at all.

First ride was the Giant Wheel. What will probably be my last ride on it was a great one. We had to be aloft for almost 20 minutes until they finally had enough people to fully load the other side. Next we went down to Comet Hollow. The 8-year old wanted to ride SDL and the Comet, while her 12-year old brother doesn't like coasters at all.

So while my brother and niece went over to the Looper, I took the nephew onto Wave Swinger. This is the only swinger I've been on that goes clockwise, not that I've been on that many, and the seats are low enough that you don't need to hop up into them. But boy, do I need to drop a few lbs. For some reason, my niece didn't like the Looper that night, even though she had ridden it last year, but during the day. I thought she might be ready to try Great Bear, but maybe next year.

The nephew (hates coasters, loves anything that spins) went over to the Tilt-a-Whirl next while we took the niece onto Comet. Interesting sideline here: while waiting in line, we were asked to fill out a survey by some kids from U of Penn, I think. They were asking about the feasibility of a cell phone like device that could be rented that would allow people to download games or park information, or contact other people in their party while waiting in queues. Personally, I don't see much use for this since most people carry cell phones or 2-ways anyway. Does anyone else see value in it?

The Comet gave a really fun, smooth ride. The one gripe I do have is the restraints and the excessively long load time for each train. The part of the belt on the outside of the seat is too short, IMO. It barely comes up above the thigh making it quite unwieldy to buckle normally, and even worse with people wearing long pants and coats. At any rate, each train had a long wait at the end of the ride till the next train was loaded and dispatched. Does this coaster really need seat dividers, a lap bar AND seat belts?

Anyway, I digress. Next came 2 loops on Skyview with the non-coaster rider. The ride did have a few stops and starts, mainly because of parents trying to situate their costumed younguns in the cars. We did get a great view of Great Bear coming out of the Immelman right in front of us though.

Next we headed to Pioneer Frontier for the Trick-or-Treat trail. The trail was behind the Canyon River ride. I walked along with the kids just to make sure they behaved and didn't eat all the candy they got before we met up again with their parents. After that, we decided to take in Midway America. First up was the Wild Mouse with the 2 kids, my brother and me. I just can't figure out why the 12-year old loves the Wild Mouse (he rode 3 times) but won't go on any other coaster. Would make my life a lot easier. Again, the line was relatively short. The Mouse isn't my favorite, but it was a good ride.

Next up was the Wildcat. The line was barely to the bottom of the ramp. It was weird being able to run right through the entire queue. We ended up in the back seat, since the last four seats all had a two train wait. The Cat was running two trains, and the ride was really fast and surprisingly smooth. Maybe it was the cooler air. The 8-year old thought it rocked. So did I.

After a ride on the Whip (glad they built a new one, but just not as much fun as Knoebels', I think the straightaway is too short), and an unbelievably long wait for the kids on the Fun Slide, I took the niece over to Lightning Racer. LR was running only one train, but the wait was only about 3-4 rides. Maybe one or two more for the front and back seats. We rode both sides, winning both times (YAY!) and the rides were fantastic. But then again, LR has never disappointed.

We decided to take a ride on the Dry Gulch RR so everyone could ride to end the night. But when the train passed Storm Runner and I saw a really short line, I decided I wasn't missing that chance, so I convinced my brother to try it out. The line was only as long as part of the first queue beyond the stairway into the station. This was the first time I ever rode SR at night. The view of the lights coming down from the top hat is amazing, not that you get to enjoy it for too long. The snake dive is also an awesome element. I just wish I could have ridden a few more times.

The only way to top that off is with some Hershey's hot chocolate for the walk back to the exit.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2004 12:55 AM
Did you do the new haunted harvest thingy?

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Wednesday, October 20, 2004 1:11 AM

It was my first trip there for a Halloween event, although we went just to ride, not to go to Haunted Harvest.

I'm guessing that he didn't ;)

I thought that I heard that only one of the GCI's would be open for this event. Nice to know they are both open.

Wow, SR in the dark sounds nice...I'll have to try that sometime.

Strange about the 12 y/o and the mouse. HP's mouse is so forceful. Mice coasters don't look as intimidating as other coasters and maybe that has something to do with it.

I wish my 7 y/o nephue liked coasters; he would make a good ride partner.

Nice TR :)

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Wednesday, October 20, 2004 1:13 AM
"not to go to Haunted Harvest" I would say no ... read before you post ...

Glad to hear a report from this event. I'm really hoping to make it out to Hershey before the end of the season again - I need to hit Storm Runner again, it's grating me like a bad itch ;) Sounds like it's a good scene over there - must be gorgeous with all the trees in the park in their fall splendor.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2004 2:15 PM
Nope, crashmando, didn't do the Harvest thing. I forgot to mention that it's located over in the Tidal Force catering area, tucked behind Wildcat. It would have been $33 for the combination-- in case you're interested. They bill it being for adults and teens, so we couldn't have taken the kids or left them alone outside. The younger one hates Knoebel's Haunted Mansion anyway.

I also noticed they shine lights of different colors onto the Top Hat of SR, not in any pattern, but it does seem to go all white right as the train is launched. I don't know if that's intended, or if it just happened that way when I noticed. That is kind of a neat effect.

I just might have to free up one more night before the month is over.

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