We went to Hershey Park for Memorial Weekend on Saturday 5/29 and Sunday 5/30. We also visited Chocolate World Friday, 5/29. Expecting big crowds we bought Fast Track Unlimited passes for Saturday, but we probably could have gotten by just the same without them due to the cold, rainy weather. Oh well, couldn’t have predicted high 40s, low 50s in the last days of May in PA. It was my first trip back since Fahrenheit opened.
Here are my thoughts on the experience, we will start with the non-coaster stuff:
Food - This was a pretty big let down overall as we got some pretty terrible stuff, including desserts, in a park where we were expecting there to be some decent options. A rock hard funnel cake my wife bought was a particular lowlight. The rest was just okay, including those beautiful looking king sized milk shakes. The monkey bread was great though, for as long as I could tolerate the sweetness anyway.
Reese’s Cupfusion - I might have butchered that name, but I am talking about the shooter. We rode it a few times Saturday to warm up and it was fun, if not a little inessential.
General Park Condition - The park was in nice shape aesthetically. I also didn’t find it particularly hilly or difficult to navigate, but I read those complaints a few times before the visit so your mileage might vary.
Zoo America - I really, really enjoyed this little zoo focusing on North American animals. I could easily have watched the animals for hours. To me it is much more interesting to see wildlife from my region of the world than the same exotic big animals in every zoo, but I might be alone on this one. Again, it is small, but if I had it my way and was alone I could have spent half a day there easily.
Waterpark - This was supposed to open, but never did because of the cold weather. That call was a no brainer. It would have sat just as empty open.
Chocolate World - Everyone should swing by to check out the store and ride the free tour, but otherwise there isn’t much interesting here other than some overpriced upcharge attractions. We did the 4D movie, which might have been worth it, and the Reese’s Unleashed tasting, which 100% was basically flushing money down the toilet. It was bad.
Operations/Dispatch Times - I want to get this out of the way here so I don’t have to repeat it too many times. They were terrible across the board. Candymonium in particular with its ultra simple belt and clamshell restraints shouldn’t be taking 3-4 minutes per each train. I have no idea what was going on as the coasters all appeared fully staffed, surprisingly. It didn’t really hurt the weekend too much, but they did hold us up quite a bit. Hopefully the staff just needs to be broken in and it picks up through the summer.
Now, the coasters, alphabetically:
Candymonium - This thing was running amazingly well. The floater was ridiculous in the backseat, especially over the first hill where it was consistently the most sustained floater I have ever experienced when we were in the backseat. We got five rides on this and absolutely loved it. It was also a nice credit #150 for me. My only complaint would be that our first ride spoiled me on the wave turn as the trims hit too hard on the rest of our rides to get the awesome pop I got there on the first ride. Otherwise, it was B&M hyper heaven. Well, that and the operations. They put three trains on the track, but I don’t know why. It always ended up with two trains stacked and waiting for a couple minutes to get into the station. One train would have had the same capacity.
Comet - Poor old Comet doesn’t like the cold and was the big loser of the weekend for me relative to my expectations. I suspect this is still a great old ride and I remember loving it before, but it was just too slow to get any of the airtime that all those hills should have provided. It just didn't do anything at all on my ride this weekend. I chalk it up to the cold.
Fahrenheit - I don’t think Fahrenheit is aging well as it had a pretty intense rattle, but it was far from killing the ride. I really wish more of these were built. You can’t beat the vertical lift hill and beyond vertical drop, plus Intamin did the rest of the layout much better than any of the Eurofighters I have been on with similar starts. Very good ride.
Great Bear - I forgot how much of a weirdo, B&M invert Great Bear was with how they had to shoehorn it into an odd plot of land. This is an excellent ride with its intense, wippy transitions. If you ride towards the back you have no chance to see what is coming either which adds to the out of control feeling. Montu remains the king of the inverts I have experienced, but Great Bear is pretty comparable.
Laff Trakk - This little gem was an unexpected show stealer. We got two rides and this goes to show how well you can dress up a standard model if the park wants to. What a fun, delightful experience from the queue to the ride itself. Our spinning was beyond out of control on the first ride, which my wife and kid loved but I did not. On subsequent rides we balanced our weight in the car and that fixed that, for me anyway. Don’t skip Laff Trakk.
Lightning Racer - Closed all weekend. It tested Saturday, but never opened. There was a couple behind me in the Wildcat line talking about how it was because one of the sides kept overshooting the station and they were trying to fix that, but I have no idea if that was true.
Sidewinder - As president of my own imagination, I hereby demand, by executive order, that every Vekoma Boomerang must immediately be closed until the time comes where they can be retrofitted with the vest restraints. Then, and only then, can they reopen. Sidewinder was the first time I enjoyed a boomerang since I was a kid. What a difference those restraints make. Night and day.
Sky Rush - This was a tale of two rides for me. I wish I got a third, but I wasn’t able to with everything we had to fit into two days as it was a lower priority for the rest of my group. Skyrush only having one train to run didn’t help. I assumed the other train is broken because even the minor coasters ran two trains otherwise. The first ride I had was very janky and painful. The rattle was the worst I have experienced on a steel coaster and the first that ever bothered me at all. The crazy ejector was also painful on the legs due to the poor restraints. Yet, I still loved it. What an amazing layout. The experience overall reminded me of an even more exaggerated Superman from SFNE as that ride is also awesome but bothers my legs, but Skyrush was even better and bothered my legs even more. Then I got my second ride. No rattle, no pain in the legs from the airtime. I don’t know what changed, must have been my seat, but it went from a top 25 ride to me to easily a top 10 with that second ride. A rush indeed. It is worth noting that my thighs did not get crushed on either ride. The pain on the first ride came from flying up into them and I had room to do that the whole way.
Sooperdooperlooper - What an underrated relic. That drop into the loop is just awesome and the loop is even better. Then it meanders around as if it regrets doing its trick too early and now has no idea what to do, which is pretty funny to experience through a modern coaster nerd perspective. I hope it is around for a long, long time.
Storm Runner - As expected, closed all weekend with no sign of life. They are not in a hurry to bring Storm Runner back, unfortunately.
Trailblazer - This is what it is. It is a short, family mine train with an okay helix finale. It must be a great step up for young kids.
Wild Mouse - This also is what it is, but I enjoy these rides. This one was a bit painful on the sides ripping around those turns but it was good fun anyway. I don’t think anyone here needs me to describe a wild mouse for them otherwise.
Wildcat - I went into this with such ultra low expectations from both my memories and its reputation that it turned out sort of fine. I mean it is a bad ride, don’t get me wrong. It is rough, especially in its last section, and the layout isn’t interesting anyway, but I was expecting Predator at SFDL levels bad and it wasn’t there at least. So, that’s something.
All in all it was a very good weekend at Hershey Park, even if it wasn’t perfect. Hershey is just plain a good place to be if you love rollercoasters. Everyone should visit.