PA Vacation Part 2 - Hersheypark (Day 2)

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Tuesday, September 7, 2004 10:22 PM
Getting back to my PA vcacation out to Hershey, after going to the park
and using the preview 8/30, we actually went for the whole day 8/31.
Once again, the group was my wife Sarah, my 5 month old son Ian, and my
wife's sister Grace. With the three of us older riders, we could take
turns staying off the rides with the kid, and still get to ride
everything we wanted to.

The temperature on 8/31 was much better than the day before, and there
was a gentle breeze blowing all day. There was the threat of rain, but
a drop never fell. So it was a beautiful day to be at the park! The
crowds were once again very minimal, and the only waits were for the
front seat of the major coasters, and the Comet. For whatever reason,
that had a decent line when we were at that part of ther park. But it
was a great day for getting many rides in.

To keep from boring you with all the details I tend to put in TRs, I
will try to summarize my experience. We started the day in the Midway
America section of the park, and spent the entire morning there. It was
a great place to start, since it's at the back of the park and there was
hardly anybody there.

We started with the racing/dueling woodie Lightning Racer, which was an
awesome ride. It immediately jumped up to my #2 wood, right behind ST,
and right ahead of The Beast (keep in mind, I haven't ridden a lot of
the popular wooden coasters like Raven, Thunderhead, or Ghostrider). LR
was a great combination of speed, twists, airtime, and all around fun.
The fact that the ride offers so much outside of even the racing/dueling
facet of it, is amazing. What a great coaster! Hersheypark sure has a
winner on their hands with LR.

Wildcat was also a great wooden coaster, though it was certainly a
different ride experience. It was very intense, seeming like an out of
control experience. You are careening through the twisted course with
such a feeling of speed, yet, it does not feel overly rough. I really
liked the ride, though it was a little too intense for my wife. Still,
another great GCI coaster, the first by that magnificent manufacturer.

Wild Mouse was, well, a wild mouse coaster. It wasn't too different
than any other, except it seemed maybe a little faster, and more active
the second half of the ride.

It was nice to see The Whip there, and my wife and I rode it and
enjoyed it immensely. We also took a spin on Chaos, which we always
like wherever they are.

Roller Soaker would be great on a very hot day, in swimming attire, and
when you want to get wet. Seeing as how none of the above applied to my
wife and I when we rode it, we weren't crazy about it. However, it
certainly would have been better in a different setting. Also, we were
dumb enough not to realize you shouldn't sit in the front-facing part of
the car if you don't want to get wet. Oops!

Sidewinder was exactly what every other Vekoma Boomerang is: a bit jerky, but not a horrible ride. My sister in law had never ridden one before, and she was really excited about giving it a try. While she did get a little banged around, she liked the ride afterwards, and talked about how cool it was. My wife, who has ridden Vekoma Boomerangs before, wouldn't even ride it.

We rode Storm Runner a couple more times, waiting out a half hour breakdown one of the times. Loved the ride again, and then headed to Trailblazer. I don't know if it was because of sitting near the back, but I had a horrible ride on it, and almost got thrust over the side of the car at one point. It ended up being my least favorite coaster there at Hershey. But, my wife and sister thought it was fun when they rode in the front, so maybe it was just a bad ride for me.

A trip to Mine Town gave us the unexpected fun of Flying Falcon, which is a unique falt ride I'd never ridden before. When you're up at the top, spinning fast, and you look down, it can be quite freaky! Especially with no restraints in the vehicles themselves. But it was nice to ride. We rode Great Bear a couple more times, and then Coal Cracker, which was a decent, though unspectacular flume ride. I liked how it interacted with Great bear and Superdooperlooper though.

Sooperdooperlooper. Now that was an interesting ride. I read an article that talked about how it was so popular and scary when it first came out, and people had T-Shirts saying "I survived...." about it. Obviously, now it isn't much of a ride at all, compared with the coasters of today. However, it certainly had it's moments where it was decent, and is certainly better than some old loopers I've been on. Nonetheless, my wife didn't even want to give it a try, so juts Grace and I rode it.

Our last new coaster of the day was Comet, which had a decent line compared to most of the coasters that day. It was a nice ride though, and I particularly like the two drops over the river. That was a distinguishing touch on an otherwise traditional out and back coaster. We also noticed that the ride track looked uneven going up the lift hill, and the trains wobbled about going up. That was pretty wild!

Grace and I took one final ride on Storm Runner right as the park closed, and got a front row ride in the dark. As great as the previous rides on it were, that one was even better. It was such a rush to be flying through the course in the dark, and was a great way to end a great day!

Overall, I was very impressed with the park, and look forward to returning in a year or two. It really struck me as a great family park, and I look forward to bringing my son back when he gets older to enjoy the park. The staff there were all quite friendly, and it was a very attractive park as well. It has jumped up into my #2 favorite amusement park, though I feel that my #1, Cedar Point, could stand to learn a thing or two from HP.

HP's ride quality, both in coasters and flats, was quite impressive. I also thought their idea of putting kids rides all over the park, rather than having a specific kidddie area, was great as well. That way no matter where the kids are, they're never far from a ride they can ride.

It was definitely worth the trip out to Hershey (as well as the other great things to do there), and as I said before, I will certainly return. I'm sorry this is so long, but what can I say, I'm a writer! :) On our way back home to Michigan, we stopped by Kennywood for an evening of fun. I will write about that in my last TR from my trip.

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