The Lost Kause Hersheypark day trip

Wednesday, June 19, 2013 9:19 PM

I took my ol' buddy JD with me to Hersheypark last Monday. We got there at about 9:30 and stayed until the park closed at 10pm. we had a blast, mostly anyways...

Pros -
• Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Stand has YUMMY fries and a killer cheesesteak! Plus, the price was just as reasonable as if we were outside the park.

• I noticed friendly employees all day, for the most part. One games worker was "high-fiving" passing guests the whole time I was sitting on a nearby bench eating my frozen custard. I refrained, because of germs, and my reasonable fear of poophands.

• With exception to the water park, the park was not too unbearably busy. Rides were between walk-on and 20 minutes.

• The new locker system is awesome, yet pricy. (see Cons below.) They give you an RFID bracelet and you simply hold it up against the display and your locker pops open. No key to carry or number to remember. It was very convenient.

• The ride attendants were really hustling all day!

• FREE wi-fi throughout the park allowed me to get on my iPod and check the weather and stuff. This is a really big deal to me, because I don't like to carry around a cell phone. I wish other parks would do this.

Cons -
•Those awesome lockers were $15 and $20, depending on the size. That is ridiculous, in my opinion.

• Almost every ride in the park closed down for about two hours for some kind of invisible rain that seemed to be a hundred miles away on my radar app on my iPod. I have rode too many coasters to count in the rain in my lifetime to understand this as normal safe operating procedure. Even the waterpark closed down. Not a drop of rain was seen all day. There was no sign of the storm in the sky at all from anywhere in the park. Even a helicopter was flying around while the rides were closed, ignoring the danger of a storm that was not there. This happened my last visit there, except that it was almost all day. I think that the park is overly cautious with this.

• A cranky drink stand attendant yelled at me for pulling my own bottle of water out of the ice. He told me that he just fixed that display from the last time someone pulled a bottle out, and would instead get me one from the cooler. No big deal, I suppose, but his attitude was much different than all the other employees at the park.

• I can still call Skyrush "thighcrush." What a terrible ride. First of all, the lap bars still pinch my legs, and it is especially painful during the airtime, which should be my favorite parts of the ride.

Second, we sat in the brake run for what seemed like ages because of the terribly slow-loading, one-sided station.

Third of all, the sudden changes in direction still attempt to break me in half, causing the seat to pull out from behind my torso. My observations are that this could be easily fixed with seats that conform around the back and waist instead of the flat back they have now.

• While I can now see that the waterpark is awesome now that I have tried it, I have a few really big complaints about it. First of all, when it is very busy, you have to first wait in line to get a tube before you can go wait in line to go down a slide. This would be perfectly fair except that people were not giving up their tubes. They would climb out of the landing pool and keep their tube and walk right back in line for the slide. The wait for a tube was about an hour, from my calculations, and then the wait for a slide was close to the same. It was very frustrating.

Second, the wait for the lazy river was outrageous for such an attraction, maybe 25 minutes. When I got to the entrance of the pool, I realized that the attendants were allowing many of the tubes to pass the front of the line with no riders. They were loading people into the river very slowly, even though there were hundreds of empty tubes just floating by.

Third, and I really don't know how this could be improved without a lot of hard work and money, the concrete got so hot that I blistered the bottom of my feet running for shade. Next time I will not forget my water shoes.

• My fault here, but I missed Chocolate World (Chocolate tour) for the first time ever, darnit!

Overall -
We had a really great time! If they fixed just a few problems, changed their policy on closing the park for rain that never materializes, and possibly expanded their waterpark by twice as much somehow to alleviate the crowds, Hersheypark could easily be one of the best parks in the world.

Last edited by LostKause, Friday, June 21, 2013 1:44 AM
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Wednesday, June 19, 2013 9:29 PM

Quick questions:

Let me get this straight, an attendant has to load you onto your tube on the lazy river? WTF?

Thats a rule Ive never seen before, are people in PA so uncoordinated they can not master the jump and sit technique of getting on an inner tube. That makes no sense what so ever.

When does the waterpark open and how quickly does the waterpark fill up in the day? Ill be going there soon, and plan on using the preview option to get some coaster rides in the night before so I can split to the waterpark after required morning laps on Storm Rider and Fahrenheit. Should I forgo the Lightning Racer Marathon and go directly to the slides.

These awesome lockers, are they ones that you can use at multiple locations throughout the park or are you still tied to one area?

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013 9:43 PM

I don't know about using the lockers in multiple locations. I just kept my stuff in one and never moved to another.

The lazy river attendants were helping those who needed help into the tubes, but not everyone needed help. They neglected to tell or motion to people to come on in and get on an empty tube. I didn't wait. When it was my turn, my buddy and I just took the lead and got one and began my trip. They didn't say anything to us or even notice that we did, so I guess it was just fine. All they needed to do was tell people to go, but since they didn't, the line was extremely long.

I think that the waterpark opens when the park does. The park closed at 10, but the waterpark closed at 8. It was extremely busy all day, but it became busiest early afternoon.

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013 9:46 PM

Looks like I will be utilizing the Holiday World plan of attack then and going to the waterpark at opening. I hate waiting in long lines for slides. Thanks for the info.

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Thursday, June 20, 2013 12:04 AM

I don't understand the reasoning behind two separate lines for tubes, and I never did. It shouldn't be that hard to figure out a better system. I'm actually going to Wildwater for the first time in about 11 years next week, and I'm curious to see what they do there.

Hershey's very cautious with weather, yes. I was told lightning had struck about fifty miles away and that's why rides were shutting down. 50 miles!

Now that they have a locker system, did they remove the cubbies from the ride stations, or is that still an option?

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Thursday, June 20, 2013 12:04 AM

They probably keep a lifeguard at the entrance to the river just to make sure people enter and exit without incident one at a time. For safety. It's weird, at some parks there's a line for the river and everyone must enter and exit at one point yet others have multiple entrance and exit points. Some let you walk or swim without a tube. Some let you go around and around all day if you want. I guess it gets down to park operations and how they control and monitor the riders.

And Travis, maybe you got the locker thing all wrong. I haven't seen this new system at Hershey, but I'll assume there's various locker banks stationed throughout the park, maybe one at every major and the waterpark, right? So the wrist band sounds ideal- when you get to the ride you scan, stash your carryables in the locker and ride without worry. If you do this, say, fifteen times during your stay you've got a days worth of locker rentals at only a dollar a pop, which would be a bargain. And you dont have to worry about change or tokens or keys. But if you get one locker for all day and don't take advantage of the multiple locations then yes, it seems expensive.

SDC has similar lockers, but you pay a dollar every time you use it. A ticket is printed with a barcode that you have to hang on to to get your stuff back. When you get back you scan and the locker pops open. An advantage is you don't have to keep track of which locker you have. A disadvantage (for the park) would be those folks that lose their ticket on Outlaw Run when their shirt blows up.

Last edited by RCMAC, Thursday, June 20, 2013 12:12 AM
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Thursday, June 20, 2013 1:21 AM

Very nicely-organized and easy-to-read trip report, Travis.

Where'd you sit on your Skyrush ride, out of curiosity? I mentioned this before, but I felt some thigh crush in a back wing seat on my first ride last year. I waited for the front row, inner seat the next time. My focus changed from the restraints to enjoying the ride. Obviously everyone is different though, and maybe Skyrush isn't for you.

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Thursday, June 20, 2013 1:37 AM

I find that the wing seats are rougher, have more vibration, and in general hurt more. Towards the front of the train and the center seats seem to be better.

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Thursday, June 20, 2013 6:45 AM

Thanks for the tips LK! I'm slowly getting a better picture (and getting more excited) for my trip in July.

If you're going to be around that area the week of July 21st, give me a PM & we'll figure out a meet.

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Thursday, June 20, 2013 11:42 AM

bunky666 said:

Hershey's very cautious with weather, yes. I was told lightning had struck about fifty miles away and that's why rides were shutting down. 50 miles!

I totally believe you about that. It sounds just about right.

bunky666 also said:

Now that they have a locker system, did they remove the cubbies from the ride stations, or is that still an option?

The cubbies are still there on the coasters. All the lockers were replaced with new ones at their same location.

RCMAC said:

...at some parks there's a line for the river and everyone must enter and exit at one point yet others have multiple entrance and exit points. Some let you walk or swim without a tube. Some let you go around and around all day if you want....

Yea. It appeared to me that people could stay on and go around over and over if they wanted to. They did not allow people to go around without a tube or allow people to get off of their tube. The problem with loading into the pool was that as they were helping people who needed help to get onto their tube, they would not allow other people in line to go ahead and get on.

RCMAC also said:

And Travis, maybe you got the locker thing all wrong. I haven't seen this new system at Hershey, but I'll assume there's various locker banks stationed throughout the park, maybe one at every major (ride?) and the waterpark, right? So the wrist band sounds ideal- when you get to the ride you scan, stash your carryables in the locker and ride without worry. If you do this, say, fifteen times during your stay you've got a days worth of locker rentals at only a dollar a pop, which would be a bargain. And you dont have to worry about change or tokens or keys. But if you get one locker for all day and don't take advantage of the multiple locations then yes, it seems expensive.

The new lockers at Hersheypark were located at the same place that the old lockers were. They were just a replacement. I absolutely love your idea of using the RFID bracelet locker system at lockers located at every ride before you get in line. They could all be interconneted electronically, and would not allow you to stash your stuff until you picked up your stuff from the previous locker that you had used. I think there would have to be more to it than that even, because the lockers would somehow have to know if there were stuff in them, either by weighing the lockers or using some kind of detectors (like motion detectors?) to be able to tell if there were items in the lockers. That would be wort even more than $15.

Jeph said:

Very nicely-organized and easy-to-read trip report, Travis.

Thank you. I think that maybe more people will be willing to read it if it is easier to read.

Jeph also said:
Where'd you sit on your Skyrush ride, out of curiosity?

I rode it on an inside seat near the back last year, and found it unbearable. This year, I rode it on a wing seat near the back and once again found it unbearable.

Hopman said:

If you're going to be around that area the week of July 21st, give me a PM & we'll figure out a meet.

Sorry, Hopman. I live about 8 hours away from the park, so I will not be going back anytime soon. I traveled from Huntington, WV to Central PA to visit with friends and family for the week. Have fun though!

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Thursday, June 20, 2013 12:02 PM

LostKause said:

I think there would have to be more to it than that even, because the lockers would somehow have to know if there were stuff in them, either by weighing the lockers or using some kind of detectors (like motion detectors?) to be able to tell if there were items in the lockers. That would be wort even more than $15.



I think you'd just have to have a system where every time you open a locker you lost it. If you want to keep a locker at that same bank, you just rescan your wristband and get it back. If you don't, your wristband is cleared to scan elsewhere. I personally wouldn't have use for such a system, but I could see its value for others.

Last edited by Uncle Coaster, Thursday, June 20, 2013 12:04 PM
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Thursday, June 20, 2013 1:01 PM

It's okay. It's a shame because Hershey is almost EXACTLY the same distance between us!

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Thursday, June 20, 2013 2:35 PM

I half read the title and thought it said, "A Lost Kause Kristmas." I thought, "Kraus has a Christmas album?"

Karry on.

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Thursday, June 20, 2013 3:07 PM

Well, Travis, the system I'm thinking of would allow you to walk up to lockers outside the roller coaster and scan your bracelet. The door would pop open, you'd put your stuff in then go ride. When you wanted your refillable souvenir bottle and your phone back you'd scan your bracelet, that same door would pop open and off you'd go. Only one locker per bracelet at a time. I don't see the need to weigh anything.

And that would make it worth 15 bucks.

Oh wait. I see what you're saying. What if you wanted to access the same locker over and over? My system would require you to empty the locker and go for a new one each time, right? Hmmm... Maybe a screen should give you a "leave locker/keep locker option" .

Ok, now we're up to twenty bucks...

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Thursday, June 20, 2013 5:51 PM

RC, I do like that idea. It should be doable with current tech, and be a cool option.

How would you obtain thw RFID? Would you just buy it at Guesr services like you would any locker or stroler rental? Could you somehow intergrate virtual queue system into the same wristband?

another thing you would need to think about doing is have a reminder on the screen if the user goes to the wrong kiosk about "the current locker you are using is by {insert ride here}."

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Thursday, June 20, 2013 7:22 PM

Why don't we just go Universal and use your own finger? Include it in admission. Shoot, you could even call it free... ;~P

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Thursday, June 20, 2013 9:47 PM

Great trip report! I stopped using lockers some time ago. When I went to a theme park in late 2010 for the first time in 40 years, I didn't realize that you can't take a handbag or other items on a roller coaster so had to pay for a locker. After that, I invested in several pairs of cargo shorts and pants with multiple zipper pockets so that I could go to a park unencumbered and skip the locker.

As to Skyrush, differences of opinion are what make this interesting. I happen to love that ride and put it on my top 10 list. It's the most intense coaster I've ever ridden, pure and simple. I haven't had a problem with the restraints when I sat in a front row wing seat but did have a problem when I sat further back in the train. A woman sitting next to me on one ride had a solution that worked for her but not for me: she held onto the metal rails on the sides of her seat to counteract the pressure of the restraints. Sounded like a good idea but I was afraid that that would throw me off balance - and this coaster throws me enough off balance as is. Skyrush is supposed to be featured in Travel Channel's Insane Coaster Wars series this Sunday at 8:30pm ET. I just hope that they show it the way it really went down and not some fictitious version. (I was at the Travel Channel shoot and wrote a report of what actually happened.) Last Sunday the series featured I305 - which won the competition, yay! - and I can't say how accurate the show was because I wasn't there, but I did meet someone at a Nitro shoot who was on her way to Kings Dominion for the I305 shoot and she wasn't in it at all when the episode was televised. Travel Channel has a tendency to pre-select their own people to star in the show and give short shrift to the ACE members who show up for the event. Speaking of ACE and Hersheypark, our new regional representative gave us one day's notice to show up at Hersheypark at 7am on July 5 for a shoot of Fahrenheit. Even had I not been flying to Branson that day to ride Outlaw Run, I wouldn't have been able to do it on such short notice.

I feel the same way about park employees who want to give you the high-five but sometimes can't think of a graceful way to get out of it. They always do that on The Dark Knight at SFGA and I go along with it, figuring that I won't pick up germs as long as I wash my hands afterwards and don't touch any mucous membranes in the meantime.

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Friday, June 21, 2013 12:23 AM

Nice report.

The Boardwalk is just too crowded for it to be enjoyable. It's the only waterpark I have seen where they have a queue set up for the wavepool and last time I was there, there was a time limit for how long you could be in there (and the wait time was reported to be 45 minutes, I didn't wait). I prefer Wildwater Kingdom at Dorney where it can still get crowded but they have 2 lazy rivers and 2 wavepools so it spreads out the crowds more.

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Friday, June 21, 2013 1:35 AM

Bobbie1951, Exactly! I can't touch any part of my face until I wash my hands or use sanitizer. One way I have found to gracefully reject a hand slap is to offer a fist bump instead. I still don't allow the back of my hand to touch my face after one of those until I clean myself.

Gator, Universal's finger scanning thing is awesome! ...Awesome!

YoshiFan, I don't understand how anyone could enjoy a waterpark in which one just stands in the sun all day and gets a few rides on the slides and lazy river, and a few minutes in the wave pool. Perhaps Hershey should reconsider their entire waterpark design. It's terrible.

Jeff, you just gave me a really great idea for Khristmas presents this year. lol

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Friday, June 21, 2013 1:15 PM

I wouldn't want to high five a park employee either. Who knows how many people they have slapped hands with, or how often they wash their hands when doing it. I worked as a cashier at Meijer, and dealt with hundreds of people every day, and I was sick a lot. Mainly from women who bring in their snot nosed kids, wipe their boogers, than hand you their money, or checks. I was told the solution to that is to use hand sanitizer, and keep it near you. But, I don't think that's nearly enough.

As for the water park, I noticed some changes at MA too. Lockers are now $12.00, of which you get $6.00 worth of beagle bucks, or they offer you a really cheap sport mug, which you can fill with pop. I took the beagle bucks and used it to pay for my meal at family grill.

Another thing they are doing, is making people use different colored rafts for different slides. Blue if you want to use the lazy river or snake pit, and red if you want to ride on the other tube slides. I also noticed that they did not want you to remove your tube from the lazy river. It was the same as you said, lots of empty tubes in the river, though most were being used.

I also noticed a lack of employees watching the tubes. At the snake pit slides, people were leaving their tubes right in the water at the ride exit, and you had to climb over them to get out of the pool, in some places stacked 3 high! A couple ladies got angry watching their little kids climbing over the tubes, and began moving them away from the ride, and stacking them along the fence. I felt sorry for them, so I helped them with their stacking, and not one employee came to help. We must have stacked at least 60 tubes, 5 high in two rows up against the fence, and totally cleared out the ride exit.

I noticed a lot of people picking up things too, and cleaning dirty tables in the outdoor restaurants. Seems like that should be a job for the park. When I went into the family Grill, there was only a cashier and a server. But, I guess the sea gulls make good bussers, as they were going after anything that wasn't digested. Had a few Jim Carrey moments there.

DIE DEVIL BIRD!!!....and..."TAKE THAT YOU WICKED SPAWN OF SATAN!! lol.

Last edited by Timber-Rider, Friday, June 21, 2013 1:22 PM
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