Little Johnny takes a trip to Hersheypark. 7-7-02

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Monday, July 8, 2002 5:22 PM

This trip report is not about me and my fun...

There is this boy I know. He is 12 years old and his name is Little Johnny. He is the best friend of my 4 year old nephue, Skylour (yes that's how you spell it) . I had heard his name a few times but I had Never met him until the one day he accompanied Skylour and myself to a family fun center.

I was supprised at how well they played together and how Little Johnny took care of Skylour. He and I started talking about roller coasters and it was then that I learned that this poor kid had never been to a big park with big coasters, just Lakemont Park and Delgrossos.

I decided to invite him to more of our little outings with Skylour. We went to Delgrossos, swimming at the lake and other fun activities. After getting to know Little Johnny durring our little outings, and discovering that he was a very likeable kid, I asked him if he would like to go to Hersheypark with me sometime.

On a side note-Lately I have been going to parks alone. I have a ton of friends but none of them are the least bit interested in Amusement parks. On these solo trips, I just go through the motions. Get to the park-Go to a ride- go to a few more rides-eat something-sit on a bench. I feel like a peep in Rollercoaster Tycoon. I love parks so much that I go alone and do the thing I am supposed to do and enloy it. That's how it has been recently; kind of like a zombie who instead of needing to eat brains, needs to ride rollercoasters. It has been fun but...

Okay, now that the backstory is out of the way-

I picked up LJ from his home at around 8AM. He was sporting his cool new neon red hair color that my sister applied to him a few days prior (I am slightly jelouse because I have plain ol' BROWN hair...but I have 3 earings). I took 22 from Altoona all the way into the Harrisburg area and after getting lost a few times, we made it to the parking lot entrance at about 11. The air was seemingly hazy but we later found out that it was smoke from a Canadian brush fire (how did it get all the way down here?).

My first amusement park lesson to LJ was that they want your money bad. I illustrated this by handing over the $6 parking charge.

We parked near tram stop 2 and took a pottie break. I have been impressed that a restroom is located right at the tram stop. It is such an ingenious idea to put one here, right after your long drive but before you even get on the tram.

The tram spieler was very friendly and informitive.

After haveing our back-packs inspected, We used the 50% cupons I got for a small problem on my last visit and only paid about $18 each. We found some lockers for our things and off we went.

We walked passed Comets entrance due to a long line. LJ looked up at Great bears massiveness, watched it a few times and with a big, frightened grin on his face said he wanted to ride it. While walking towards it we stopped at SuperDooperLooper. I thought it would be an excelent first looping roller coaster for him and would also be a great start to the day.

There was no line. LJ picked the back seat. This was his seat of choice on Zyclon at Delgrossos and became his favorite durring the wole day at Hershey. When He experienced his first loop on a coaster, he looked at me and yelled "AWESOME!".

By the end of the ride he couldn't wait to get on the Great Bear. I told him that it was even better than SDL so we allmost ran to it. Our sprint was interupted by a ride that was strange and new to LJ...the Coal Cracker.

"What's that?", he asked me.

I told him "Coal Cracker. It's a log flume tipe ride".

"We'll ride that after Great Bear", He proclaimed

While waiting in the 5 minute line for GB, He was in awe of Coal crackers drop into a splashy slow down. He asked more questions about CC then GB. This might have been his way of diverting his attention away from the scaryness of an impending ride on an inverted coaster.

I told him that we had to scream on GB and he agreed. I stopped screaming on coasters a long time ago because I have been on so many but I wanted him to feel comfortable screaming so I did it to. Durring our scream filled ride, I peeked around my sholder harness to get a look at his expression. I can best describe it as terror and bliss while at the same time screaming at the top of his lungs=O

If I go on any further with the details, I risk slopping up the point of this TR. We screamed and laughed all day long and into the night. We got both of our changes of clothes wet on water rides, because we were haveing so much fun that we didn't care. We had conversations with strangers about getting wet, Mellinium Force t-shirts, and brightly dyed hairstyles (about the neon red, Manic Panic hair-Everyone was either stareing at LJ or commenting on his hair. One older teenage girl almost kissed him while admireing his hair-hehehe).

The point is, we both had the best time ever at a park. I have been to dozens upon dozons of parks and he had only been to the little parks until HP. I now have a renewed love of amusement parks. I have re-discovered from this trip what I used to feel like as a kid who loved parks.

It reminded me of the first time I saw and rode an inverted coaster, log flume, whip, and others. My love for amusement parks is no longer stale and I didn't even know that it was stale until this trip. I have been reminded that it isn't always about who has the biggest coasters or who has the cleanest restrooms. It's about the feeling of being a kid again and respecting fond, old memories.

There is a lot of parks that can offer this kind of expierance. Yes, I think that it is importiant to look at the details of a trip, like cleanlyness, safety, and how the rides were mantianed, but it's also about the fun.

So for the manditory answers to trip report questions:

The restrooms were sparkling clean except for the secret, hidden one in the trailor behind the big tent-like resteraunt.

The parks walkways were very well swept. I didn't see a speck of trash anywhere.

The employees were overall good. Most of them were happy to be doing thier job. Kudos to the teen at the Ske-Ball game under the ferris wheel. A big "boo-hiss" at one of the ride opps at Wildcat for folding his arms and spitting on the platform.

The rides were running GREAT. They were intense and fast. The only ride closures were Coal Cracker and Roller Soaker for a short while in the evening. Other than that they were all open and running great.

The guest were very well behaved. I was pleasently supprised that no one cut in line in front of me ALL DAY. I have never seen this. I also heard very little foul language.

Hersheypark is truely a wonderful place. I have watched it grow from a small park to a big park in a matter of just a few years. I can't help but wonder what's up thier sleeve for the next few years but my buddy Little Johnny doesn't seem to care-he just wants to remember what they have now.

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KoRn is the Mellennium Force of ROCK

*** This post was edited by dexter on 7/8/2002. ***

*** This post was edited by dexter on 7/8/2002. ***

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Monday, July 8, 2002 5:46 PM
Dexter, thank you for this wonderful trip report and for bringing some human-ness and your newfound spark for life to this forum. Reading your story was comforting, calming, and reassuring. It is easy to get caught up in the coaster wars and commercialism. I had a similar "old-fashioned, be a kid again" experience at Lake Compounce, and it made me rethink the way I view my park visits. I will be visiting Hershey later in the summer and your story makes me look forward to it even more.

*** This post was edited by gardener14 on 7/8/2002. ***

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Wednesday, July 10, 2002 3:56 AM
Great TR. It was very nice of you to introduce LJ to a big park like Hershy. What's next? Kennywood? Maybe Cedar Point? I bet you can't wait to see his excitement on Millennium or the Phantom. It would be great if more people were as nice and spent time with children to have a little fun and keep them out of trouble. Great job.

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The worst day at Cedar Point is better than the best day at work.

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Wednesday, July 10, 2002 2:19 PM
Nice TR!

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-Sean Newman
88 coasters in Track Record!! Hypersonic XLC Coaster # 100 in July.
Nitro Laps:105
B+R Launches:28

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Wednesday, July 10, 2002 5:51 PM

CP ismyhome said: (topic is above)


Kennywood is next in a month or so. I do believe that people should spend time with kids and introduce them to positive activities such as coaster rideing. Strange thing is that he doesn't act like a little kid. He acts more like an adult than I do sometimes. I find it very funny when he does some little kid type thing, stops suddenly, and looks around to see if anyone saw him, like he's embarassed.

The thing I most enjoyed about this was that he had never been to a big park, was very interested in them, and had no way of getting there. I had the same problem when I was a kid. Maybe he'll turn out to be coaster crazy, like me. I can't wait to take him to CP next year!

If anyone knew of a kid such as LJ who was a family friend, and had no way to get to a park, I would hope that they would naturally just invite them along (but only if they meet the hight requirement for all of the rides LOL).

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-KoRn is the Millennium Force of ROCK-

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