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Yesterday my girlfriend and I decided to head up to Hersheypark to check out the Boardwalk (which Ive been criticizing since day 1 ), and more importantly to see how the Millenium Flyer trains ran on the Wildcat!

 

We left the York around 4 pm to get there in time for the Sunset plan, which is a good deal. $23 to get in the park from 5-10pm. Sadly.. that's the only good deal at the park anymore.

 

I haven't been too "Hersheypark happy" over the past few years. Maybe it's just me or maybe I spent too much time at Kennywood when I was living in Pittsburgh, but it to me the last few years HERCO has taken the parks traditional roots and have slammed every type of corporate sponsership and commercialization into the park and now it feels like a nice Six Flags or Cedar Fair park than the park I grew up with. I guess thats how it has to be.. but anwyays.. rant done!

 

So.. on the way up to Hershey we hit a massive DOWNPOUR. This would prove to be to our benefit because when we arrived at the park the coasters were shut down and there was a mass exodus of people exiting the park... I've never seen so many people at Hershey!! (but I also avoid Saturdays for the same reason)

 

We were going to check out the now rediculous Chocolate World tour, but all 10 million people exiting the park had the same idea so we went upstream towards the entrance, got our tickets, and went to the rides.

 

First up due to the storm was

 

Reese's Extreme Cup Challenge- 4/10- 30 min wait, 20 min downtime

Which was fine due to the rain and storm outside. This was my first time on this ride. Luckily the shooting takes your attention away from the cardboard cut out theming.. and the dip at the end was unexpected. But I wasn't overly impressed even with low expectations. Plus I was dying for Reese's and they didnt have any free candy at the end like I heard they used too!

 

Storm Runner- 7/10- 10 min, back seat

We got there right as the queue opened up from the storm. The first two test runs ALMOST rolled back. I have never seen it go up the tophat THAT slow. Storm Runner is a great ride but has alwatys been lacking something for me and is far from the best at the park IMO. It was running great though, decent launch, and smooth.

 

The Boardwalk-

We walked through the Boardwalk next. I'll say this.. it could've been WAY worse. I still think Hershey should have just invested in a separate waterpark, but it could've been worse. The theming is really well done, and the area looks great. Plus it does the most important thing.. getting people out of line for the coasters. However, the huge waterplay structure looks like a huge pile of Playskool puke.

 

Wildcat - 8/10- walk on, back row

Ahhh.. Millenium Flyer trains! Definately some good with the bad here! The ride is smoother and more out of the control than ever, which rocks! But the lapbars that have always sucked on Lightning Racer are even worse! There is no resistance to these things so you start off being stapled, and then throughout the ride you get some "hip fracture staple'age!!" It was bad enough that you almost fear the airtime! Great ride though and the trains are a huge improvement for the most part.

 

Lightning Racer - 7/10- walk on, front row

Lightning Racer was running great! This was one of the better rides Ive ever had on it. We only rode front row on Thunder but it was really moving! There was some kind of brake'age on the first dueling turnaround.. (after the tunnel).

 

Skeeball- 470 points! I love the Minetown 25 cent Skeeball... though the prizes suck and our falling apart Stewie that we won was given a new home in the Great Bear trash.

 

Dinner- $13 for two hamburgers (no fries), and a small drink. WHAT!?! I miss you Knoebels.

 

Great Bear- 7/10- 30 minutes, front row

Still a great coaster. Most rows were a 5 minute wait. The ride was running great and would be a top tier invert if it had an ending different than the "Autocomplete RCT ending finale"

 

Comet- 9/10- 35 minutes, back row

WOW! It was dark now and the ride warmed up, but this was the BEST ride I have ever had on the Comet. The first drop was still rough at the bottom but the rest of the ride was amazing! The second drop had some ejector air, the third had a nice pop, and the entire last half had some nice floating airtime which I have never had on the Comet. I hope it keeps up like this throughout the season and maybe it'll get some well deserved respect!

 

We then went back to the Wildcat for two more rides, both amazing, but both with massive staple'age. Then we finished off the night with a rather crappy fireworks show. There was no music, and all the lights in the park were still on for this, plus it was an extremely standard show.. I think I've seen the EXACT same show at the York Fairgrounds, and at other firework shows in the area... standard fireworks with the red white and blue finale. YAWN!

 

Anyways, all in all it was a great day at Hershey. I doubt I'll go to to the park much this year with a Six Flags season pass in hand (Hersheypark's SP this year is $130!!!!!), plus its my first summer not in FL for a few years so I have lots of parks I need to hit up. I'll post pictures soon, hopefully someone will have made it this far!!

 

Eric

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And last but not least, the Comet! The Comet was FLYING. Airtime was everywhere in the back row.. even throughout the back half. Easily regained its #1 at Hersheypark status :) Check it out at night if you go.

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I can ride any coaster, but if you get me on these things and I'm finished.

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Here's one for Derek.

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For all the lift hill enthusiasts out there.

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The Coal Cracker is still.. cracking.. coal..

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Storm Runner's "dump right" manuever into the RCT Autocomplete.

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What is that I see?! It's Storm Runner! THROUGH THE TREES!!!

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Now this was pretty cool. Its fun watching the kids fall off of the mats and get shot back up to the top by the current!

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Lightning Racer! Oh.. and the new "wave pool" for kids.

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The Wildcat! Always an awesome ride. The new trains solve the roughness problem, but the lap bars crush your pelvis. Owww.. I think I'd rather have the PTC's back.

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One of the best looking stations ever!

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I tried..

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Lightning Racer, still a great ride. Insanely smooth for a wooden coaster and running fast!

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More Ferris Wheel shots, looking towards Storm Runner and The Great Bear.

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Sponsored by Playskool!

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Funnel and Toilet Bowl.. The Toilet looked really slow and boring however.

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The funnel doesn't look too bad though.

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The huge and IMO hideous play structure in the new Boardwalk area.

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Everyone exiting from the coming storm.. works for us.. ;)

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But the lapbars that have always sucked on Lightning Racer are even worse! There is no resistance to these things so you start off being stapled, and then throughout the ride you get some "hip fracture staple'age!!" It was bad enough that you almost fear the airtime! Great ride though and the trains are a huge improvement for the most part.

Agreed. I absolutely love MF trains, but the only knock is that I have to hold the lap bar from cutting me in half sometimes. And it was never worse than on Wildcat for some reason. On my first ride, by the time we hit the brakes I was praying to be let loose.

 

Anyway, nice report. I made my first visit there this past wednesday, and I was pretty impressed with the place. I have no frame of reference for the "pre-coporate" days as you alluded to, but the park was clean, friendly, and had a pretty good collection of rides from what I saw. An overall nice day, despite some pretty sore feet when I left.

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Agreed. I absolutely love MF trains, but the only knock is that I have to hold the lap bar from cutting me in half sometimes. And it was never worse than on Wildcat for some reason. On my first ride, by the time we hit the brakes I was praying to be let loose.

 

We were too! On one ride the lap bar was jammed so far down into me I actually had an issue pushing it down in the station to release it! Ugh.

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I thought the wave pool was going to be a little bigger! That ain't a family attraction, it's a kiddie ride! Waverider, Coastline plunge, and ECWW looks cool though.

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I went to Hersheypark over Memorial Day Weekend and would've provided a Photo:TR myself but brilliantly forgot my SD chip at home. Hersheypark is no longer what I remember it being during the 1990's and even the early 2000's. It's lost all sort of theming and now suffers from Six Flags syndrome. Storm Runner is a great ride, Great Bear is an "okay" B&M, I'd take Batman the Ride over it any day. The nice thing about Hersheypark would have to be its woodie collection and that fact that the GCI woodies hang out in the less-crowded far rear of the park. In my opinion, the idea of having a water park in the middle of a no-longer theme park is awful. It's good for people like us who want coasters with little waits, but then you are forced to see people who never belong in bathing suits in bathing suits and even when little yield signs say "NO BATHING SUITS PERMITTED BEYOND THIS POINT," you still get wet coaster seats from wet butts. Not to mention, as with any water park, you still get that funny chlorine plus urine smell built up over time...it's nasty! It's only perk, it eats the crowds from the rest of the park. The little German themed entry way that used to really give this park its strongest form of theming now reeks of two things...corporate sponsorships (...like an out of place Dunkin Donuts) and Duloc.

 

 

"Please keep off of the grass, shine your shoes, wipe your...FACE."

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^LOL!! I love that line in Shrek!

 

What are you taking about? HP still mantains most of it's theming. Midway America, Pioneer Frontier and The Boardwalk still kept the area's mood. The only area I doubt is Minetown with The Kissing Tower, Great Bear, Twin Turnpike, and Flying Falcon being there.The park should've just kept the Kissing Tower and Turnpike in Tower Plaza instead of combining it.

 

The Bathing Suit rule is something that I agree that doesn't get followed or enforced, but you may get a few peeps who might want to change in their car. But becides that, who would want to ride Wildcat or Lightning Racer and get a soaked a$$?

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Maybe it's just me being over-spoiled by the theming at the "Disney Parks" that Hershey's theming just seems so off. Honestly though, Hersheypark used to really be themed more strongly. I've always classified theming in three categories from best to worst, Disney quality, Busch quality, and then Six Flags quality. Hershey used to fall between Busch and Six Flags but more towards the Busch end of the spectrum. From what I saw last weekend, Midway America really has no true theme, Storm Runner is kind of mishappedly placed in Pioneer Frontier along with the Frontier Flyers, etc. The only true themed areas today are the new Boardwalk and Tudor Square, and Tudor Square's quality and believeability has gone down the drains. To me, Herhsheypark is nothing more than an large amusement park, making it really no different than a nicer Six Flags offering.

 

And is it just me, or are Hershey ride-ops horrendously slow? Great Bear, all three days, would be still loading a train while the other train sat in the block breaks behind the station for 2-3 minutes. It should be a load and go set up, where once a train hits the breaks around the corner from the station another train is off and running.

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I agree with you Jack. Theming doesnt really bother me too much in a traditional park like Hersheypark, but I have definately noticed that the whole park is starting to blend together.

 

Operations when I was there were pretty good. The Great Bear and the Comet were the only two rides that had Six Flags quality ride ops. Everyone else seemed to be moving at a decent pace for a crazy Saturday.

 

Well usually after a few days I feel like going back up there to ride some coasters and what not, but for some reason Im not feeling any rush to go back up to Hersheypark. I think I'm just really turned off by how corporate and how stale the park is nowadays.. any other local Hershey people feel that way?

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I don't care about the ugliness of the themeing as long as the coasters are running.

 

I saw efficient operations on Stormrunner on Good Friday this year when it was so cold that they were trying to keep the wheels warmed up (they actually resorted to saying so to the public), but otherwise yeah, there's way too much train-stacking on almost everything. The worst operations seem to be on Comet for some reason that I'll never understand. The whole crew needs to drive up to Knoebels sometime to see how to run a coaster.

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