Hersheypark's Comet 1978 "remodeling"?

Friday, December 6, 2002 11:42 AM

According to the RCDB, Hersheypark's Comet was "Remodeled" in 1978. I heard about this somewhere else as well.

However, I can not find any details on this. Anyone have any information on what this "remodeling" consisted of?

I don't think it was anything major with the layout, etc as pics pre 1978 show basically the same coaster. I do know that at one point in time the exit used to drop out out of the station on the "corner" at the entrance of Comet Hollow, not on the back side of Carrousel Circle as it does now (however, I think I remember this from my visits there AFTER 1978). I also remember from my first visits (in the early 1970's) that the Comet was painted (or stained) a dark green (similar to Knoebels Phoenix).

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Friday, December 6, 2002 12:06 PM

I think in '78 they gave it a basic overhaul, paint and track and sturctural work. I do know at one time the trains were named Mork and Mindy that would fit into the late 70's timeframe. I was looking for my History of Hersheypark book but couldn't find it.

Isn't '78 when they turned Hersheypark into pay one price?

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Visits to Knoebels in 2002: 10 and PPP!

XBox Live Gamer tag: Coasterpunk

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Friday, December 6, 2002 1:49 PM
The exit was to the left of the initial brake run and down the ramp and out onto the hill leading into Comet Hollow. They'd unload the train and then run it down empty to be loaded. It was actually better that way than it is now. It was quicker and more efficient. I don't know why they changed it. (it was in the early 90's btw)

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Just when you think you have all the answers, I change the questions

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Monday, December 9, 2002 3:58 AM

I didn't recall the Mork's Comet and Mindy's Comet. I remember the Mork's Comet name... but I thought the other name was Halley's Comet. I do remember more recently that they were called Thunder and Lightning, until the construction of Lightning Racer, at wich time Comet's Trains were renamed (again) Mork's Comet and Halley's Comet.

Not sure when the admission went to POP (sometime in the 1970's, prior to 1978)... but I read where the original POP price was around $8. Back in the early 1970's I do know that they were using little wrist bands for "unlimited rides". (pieces of string with a metal "clip" to hold them together)

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Monday, December 9, 2002 5:01 AM

I know that the Comet's trains were replaced with new ones in 1996 (the same year that the Wildcat was built.) As far as I know, the new trains are pretty much the same as the old ones (three-bench cars, four cars per train, buzz bars), although I can't recall if the old trains had seatbelts. I think that one of the old trains was donated to ACE for the RC Museum.

The new exit ramp and one-stop load/unload came about in the mid-nineties, I believe... it could be the same year as the new trains but I'm not sure.

I'm not sure how many know of this, but according to Roller Coaster Fever (think of it as the Guide To Ride, but published in 1979 by a group not affiliated with ACE), the Comet was once on the endangered coasters list. Supposedly, Hershey wanted to demolish the coaster so that a new, larger one could be built in its place. Its obvious that Hershey reconsidered, but I always found it interesting that the park wanted to remove the ride, which was very highly rated in the late 1970s.

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-Rob
Don't forget to vote for your favorite steel coasters @ http://www.geocities.com/wcoasterpoll - the polls are open until December 15th!

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Monday, December 9, 2002 5:09 AM

Seat belts on the trains are new as of either 2000 or 2001.

If you read "Hersheypark: The Sweetness of Success" (by Charles Jacuques) you will see that the late 1960's and 1970's were times of great change for Hershey. There was even a time back in the 1960's where management said they were facing a decision... Modernize (since the theme park era was beginning) and revitalize (the park had fallen into some disrepair and had gained somewhat of a bad reputation) or close.

The artists concept for the master plan of the park (still on display at the Season Pass office) made back in the late 1960's early 1970's features a coaster that resembles the Comet's profile (minor artistry license taken... its a highly stylized artists concept painting) so at least at that time the plans were to still keep it. In that painting it is a dark color (wich would follow with the pre 1976 green).

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Kind of hard to take a post as objective if a park or coaster name is part of the "user name"

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Monday, December 9, 2002 12:42 PM

Rob Ascough said:

I think that one of the old trains was donated to ACE for the RC Museum.

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-Rob
Don't forget to vote for your favorite steel coasters @ http://www.geocities.com/wcoasterpoll - the polls are open until December 15th!



One of the pre-1996 cars is on display in the Hershey Museum housed in the old convention hall adjacent to Hersheypark's entrance.

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Monday, December 9, 2002 4:29 PM
The seatbelts weren't added until 2001 and the old trains were named Mork and Halley, Lighting and Thunder, and then back to Mork and Halley.
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Tuesday, December 10, 2002 4:01 AM

Nothing anyone else can help me with, but now I am trying to track down the years in which I missed going to Hershey. I think I missed 1973 through 1976.

I think I can remember going there in 1972 (I was only 7 at the time) because I think I remember some areas of the park still being cleaned up from Hurricane Agnes (June 1972). However, in those early trips, I do not remember the Carrousel being in Carrousel Circle... it was still in the old building along Spring Creek. Since it moved to its present location in the winter of '71-'72 (and missed damage or destruction in the June 72 flood) it would have to put that trip in 1971. I do remember the old entrance at the corner of the Arena (by Box Office #1), so if 1972 marked the opening of the current entrance, it must have been 1971. Come to think of it, it had to be 1971.... I can remember watching the Lost River... and that ran for the last time in June 1972 (a victim of Hurricane Agnes). The next time I there was in 1977 (first year of the Looper and the first time I saw the Comet painted white). Trips every year until 1988. Then missed 1989 - 1998. Of course, multiple trips each year since 1999.

The coaster car that was in Poser's window... Is my memory failing, or did they repaint that? When Wildcat made its debut, I remember a car (I don't remember the number of benches) in the window, but I could have sworn it was red with a white stripe. Is my memory failing, or did they repaint it to match the new colors on the Cat, or was this in fact a different coaster car?

Now I have to dig out my old pictures. Somewhere I have a picture taken by my grandparents decades ago... The old fountain at the park and another of the Comet's turn around at the dog leg section (with the dark green color). And that gets me to thinking of something else... She always said she can remember riding "the roller coaster at Hershey Park so many times that she got sick". I am wondering just which coaster she meant... Comet or Wild Cat? If she visited the park between the ages of 25 and 47, it would have been Wild Cat... and I have a hard time picturing my grand mother riding any coaster as a 48 year old woman or older (she was not that adventurous). Looking back, I wish I would have "interviewed" my grand parents about things like this while they were still alive. Wondering how much "family history" I am missing.

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Kind of hard to take a post as objective if a park or coaster name is part of the "user name"

*** This post was edited by SLFAKE on 12/10/2002. ***

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Tuesday, December 10, 2002 4:04 AM
The only place I ever read about the Comet's planned "replacement" was in Roller Coaster Fever. Come to think of it, no one that I have ever spoken to that had any "connections" with Hershey ever confirmed or denied that rumor, but the news was published in a coaster guidebook, of all places, so I believe that there could be some truth to it.

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-Rob
Don't forget to vote for your favorite steel coasters @ http://www.geocities.com/wcoasterpoll - the polls are open until December 15th!

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Wednesday, December 11, 2002 7:00 AM

Glad to know that my memory is not totally shot.

The "getting sick on the roller coaster" story is one of four I can remember from my family. My grandmother (b1898-d1989) and my father's cousin (b1920-d1993) told the story of how they were at Hershey Park one time and rented one of the row boats they used to have in Spring Creek. Someone did not know how to row and they just kept going around in circles. My father's cousin also told how he was "scared" of the "laughing lady" in front of the fun house (Laughing Sal?)... he also talked about what he called "the tunnel of love" (Old Mill / Lost River).

The odd thing is... I've had season hockey tickets from 1983 to the present... but I missed 11 years going to the park (1987-1998) even though we used to get free "1 day passes" with our season seats. Wound up giveing most of them away.

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Wednesday, December 11, 2002 7:49 AM

SLFAKE, we'll have to meet up at a Bears game somtime. Last year I went to about 10 games. This year I only got to the home opener so far. We'll get to more i'm sure.

Is the trafficand parking situation any better than opening night at Giant Center?

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Wednesday, December 11, 2002 8:00 AM

We have had no real problems with parking. However, we do have "preferred parking" (and have paid dealy for it $$$), so all we do is go through the parking "booths", handing our little pink ticket to them, and then drive around the complex until we come to the entrance for Preferred Parking. With out pink plackard hanging from the rear view mirror, it gets us into the lot right in front of the main enterance to the building (the lot named HERSHEY'S Chocolate). We are with in easy walking distance to the main entrance.

Once at the doors of the building, things are a lot more civilized than they were on opening night.

Because we sit close to the entrance of the building and becuase we are parked so close, exiting after games is easy too because we beat most of the traffic. Traffic that we do hit flows very well too. After leaving the GIANT Center lots, you travel east, under Park Blvd and to the exit road east of the Stadium... then to the light onto Hersheypark Drive. Not that mass of confusion that we used to face exiting the Preferred Parking lot of HERSHEYPARK Arena. (I always compared that to a Roman chariot race... shades of Ben Hur and the chariot wheels slamming into each other as the cars would make the turn out of the Preferred lot onto the roadway that ran the length of the Stadium).

Only bad thing about the new location... Makes impromptu visits to Hersheypark in the Dark (in Oct) and Candylane (Nov-Dec) a little more difficult. Have to cross a foot bridge that crosses Park Blvd and walk the entire lot (or wait for a tram) to take you to the entrance of HERSHEYPARK. When the Bears played in HERSHEYPARK arena, it was very easy to get there early for the game and then simply walk "behind" the Arena and go into the park for an hour or two before game time.

The way it looks, the new entrance (off of Park Blvd) with the drive that takes you around the GIANT Center parking lots and then under Park Blvd to the main HERSHEYPARK lots will be the new main entrance for the park this up coming season. Not sure of the exit... they have used an alternate exit twice so far this season... go under Park Blvd, then turn right and go across the outer HERSHEYPARK parking lots and exit out into Park Blvd west of Chocolate World (the main exit they used in previous years for the park). Some of "those in the know" (like Comet Rider) may have the dirt on this... or else we can all wait until May to find out.

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Kind of hard to take a post as objective if a park or coaster name is part of the "user name"

*** This post was edited by SLFAKE on 12/11/2002. ***

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Wednesday, December 11, 2002 8:29 AM

I have had no problems with parking also at the Giant Center. I am in the same boat as SLFAKE with the preferred parking.

Last week, I took one of those walks from the employee gate at the park since I just got off work to the Giant Center over the bridge. Believe it or not, I made it there in ten minutes even with ice on the sidewalks.

You might not notice this, but nights where nothing is going on at the GC, the main entrance to the park is shut off. They bring you in the way that you go to get into the Giant Center. So this only looks like a sign of things to come next year entrance wise.

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Wednesday, December 11, 2002 9:48 AM
how are they going to do the entrance. I hope they don't get rid of the town entrance at the beginning.
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Wednesday, December 11, 2002 10:02 AM
i'm not exactly sure what they're gonna do with the entrance, but my guess is they are going to bring traffic off of hersheypark drive onto park blvd and bring it in through the giant center parking lots and over into the hersheypark lots.
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Wednesday, December 11, 2002 10:54 AM

From an observers point of view (no inside info, just what i've seen from my trips to GIANT Center)...

As SmurfRacer said, it appears that all traffic will have to turn off of Hersheypark Drive onto Park Blvd and then turn right after it passes GIANT Center. I believe there are a total of three lanes that cut off of Park Blvd and into the parking area around GIANT Center. By the looks of it, there is no way to enter the complex if you are travelling the opposite direction on Park Blvd (turning on to Park Blvd from Rt743 and driving past the "back" entrance to the parking areas around Chocolate world)... but since it was dark and snow on the ground when we looked, I could be wrong. There are two sets of "booths" not far after this "entrance". The first set sits a little to the right and the second set sits toward the left a little way past the first set. The all GIANT Center traffic is directed to the first (right) set. There are signs that say "GIANT Center traffic, keep right" and "HERSHEYPARK Traffic keep left" (and signs for Park Traffic direct you to the left set of booths).

The funny thing is that beyond the two sets of booths, the roadway again merges and, no matter which set of booths you enter through, you are back on the same road. Reason for this? It does give the option of using both sets of booths for one venu (Park or GIANT Center) if crowds are large. Just a guess, but I would sedond SmurfRacer's idea that all park traffic will use this entrance... through the gates, around the west side of GIANT Center, under Park Blvd, and then into the Park's lots. IF the lots around the park would ever get so full, and IF there is no event at GIANT Center, with this configuration it is possible that GIANT Center lots could also be used for Park parking (park in the lots, walk across the foot bridge, catch a tram)... but that is just a guess on my part.

sball03: "The town entrance at the beginning"... Do you mean Tudor Square and Rhineland? While the location of the 1971 entrance (near the monorail station... by the nort east corner of HERSHEYPARK Arena) is a more centralized area considering the way the park has grown since the 1980's. However, I really doubt if we would see a move of the entrance. For one thing, the current entrance is still "near" the parking lots. Secondly, it is a natural flow of traffic from the lots, past Chocolate world, and to the entrance. Third (and perhaps most important of all), if the entrance would be moved, the area of Rhineland and Tudor Square (and to a lesser degree, Carrousel Circle) would be isolated from the main flow of traffic in a "back" section of the park. Rhineland and Tudor Square have many shops... i.e. many sources of revenue. The ideal flow of people would is to pass by this area on their way into and out of the park so they will stop in and spend even more money.

Off topic, but yet on topic considering this thread started by talkign about the 1978 remodeling of the Comet. In the book "HERSHEYPARK: The Sweetness of Success" (Charles Jacques), it was stated that when Rhineland and Tudor Square were built back in the early 1970's, things ran way over budget. It said that many while many theme parks build their themed buildings like a Hollywood set (fals fronts, etc), the buildings in these areas were actually constructed in full (not just an interior with a false exterior in front), running that part of the project way over budget.

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Monday, December 16, 2002 6:25 PM
i noticed when i drove by tonight that the entrance is now closed up and there were bulldozers digging up the road.
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Friday, December 20, 2002 6:54 AM

Talking about remodeling and changes and the recently announced new attractions for 2003 (in News section), here is a question...

It has often been speculated what Hershey will do because the park is running out of room fast. Some have even specualted about the "removal" of HERSHEYPARK Arena. While that is not on the radar (at least not known to us outsiders), what about the "out door" ice rink... the one that sits between HERSHEYPARK Arena and the park? With the Arena serving as practice ice for the Bears (who mainly practiced at Twin Ponds in Harrisburg... but sometimes made use of the outside rink) now that GIANT Center is open, is it possible that we may see the removal of the outside rink in an attempt to add a little more room for the park?

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Friday, December 20, 2002 7:05 AM

Recently, didn't they add a trim brake before the out and back run? It seemed so slow, with no airtime. I remember a year or two ago it being a wild and out of control ride at the bunny hills. Unforunatly, it went from one of my favorite woodies to just an average one. But, the beginning of the Comet is still a great ride.

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