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Hersheypark (HP) Discussion Thread

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Well, I got to ride Skyrush three times yesterday. What an experience! Definitely my top steel now in spite of the pain you get from the lapbars, which I really didn't find to be much of a problem. By the way, the "noodles" are gone from the lap bars now. If the plastic portion of the bar was parallel with your legs rather than being at such an odd angle, I really don't think it would hurt at all. Maybe we'll see a change for next season.


I don't recall very well how comfortable SDL's old trains were, but I quite liked the new ones.

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So, yesterday since I just moved out to York I decided to take the rest of the day to chill and do Hershey today instead. In retrospect, it was the wrong move. To get to Hershey from where I'm at it's only a 30-40min ride (all highway driving), and I got there at about 3:15pm. I had only 40 bucks, so I couldn't afford a full day admission or parking, so I parked at that Red Robin by Lightning Racer that a member suggested yesterday, had an iced coffee from Dunkin' Donuts, and made the long walk over. About 20min later, I was at the entrance. I got in line for a ticket (I got to the window at 3:59 and the lady actually made me wait the extra minute to get the Sunset admission price...kinda ridiculous), and headed in. The walk to Skyrush is extremely quick via the newly built pathway, and pictures do NOT do this ride justice. From the pics I had seen the ride didn't look all that visually appealing, but in real life it is a beauty. It was the first time I saw the new style track Intamin has been using (as seen I305), and it really make their rides look more slick.


Now, this is where things turned the wrong way. I noticed while walking to the ride they were cycling an empty train, which didn't bother me as I figured they'd do a few test runs and open it back up. Wrong. When I got to the entrance, I was told that ALL coasters at Hershey would be down due to a thunderstorm warning. Now, I understand this rule, however the sun was shining with no clouds for miles. Now, in the horizon I noticed there was some dark clouds coming in, but it took those clouds about 50min before they even reached the park. From 4-6:30, all coasters were closed. The clouds produced a minimal amount of rain with no lightning, and there was little to no wind so the clouds just hung over the park seemingly forever. Finally, at 6:15ish, some rides began testing and opening, and by 6:45 all coasters in the Hollow EXCEPT Skyrush were running. Skyrush opened shortly after, cycled the first batch of riders that had been waiting in the station since it went down 3 hours prior, and I got right to the back row. I got the far right wing seat on that 2nd train, pulled down the lap bar, and was off...not. They released the restraints and directed me back into line, and they proceeded to close the ride for another 30min due to a slight drizzle. That stopped, they cycled both trains, I hopped on the train, and was off.


My experience was...slightly underwhelming.


Now, don't get me wrong, the ride has unbelievable airtime (comparable in strength to El Toro's camelbacks), AMAZING laterals that fling your upper body parallell to the track due to the incredible open-ness of the trains, and definitely packs a huge punch. However, it just felt like something was missing. It may have been the length of the ride, or how all the elements are pretty low to the ground (as a result the camelbacks don't give the crazy sustained ejector that Toro gives 2-3x), the restraints do get uncomfortable during the moments of ejector airtime...I don't know. My gut feeling is this is more of a front row ride (like Bizarro at SFNE), and maybe I was just expecting too much and wasn't in the greatest mood after 3.5 hours of waiting. I'd definitely put El Toro, Voyage (rode it in 2006 before it supposedly tore itself apart) and Bizarro at SFNE over it, and I feel that would be the case no matter what row I rode it in. The layout is just missing something. DEFINITELY one of the best coasters I have ever ridden, and likely one of the very best in the entire world. I need more rides on it before I come to an honest conclusion.


After my ride I had about 30min left before closing, so I rushed over to Storm Runner, which has always stoof as my favorite of the Intamin hydraulic coasters. It was a walkon and the ride was terrific as always. I will never understand how the launch feels so much more intense than Kingda Ka's. I suppose because the launch has one strong tug as opposed to 2-3 seperate tugs on Ka, but it always fascinated me. I had about 15min left, so I rushed over to Fahrenheit, which was the opportunity to grab another credit since my last visit to Hershey was back in 2007. It was a 10min wait, and I came off pretty impressed. It seems to get some hate among enthusiasts, but I found it to be enjoyable. The first drop is fun, and the inversions, while not intense, are very interesting the way they are banked and transition from one to another. The rattle in the cobra roll was pretty bad, though.


Overall, I accomplished what I set out to do, but the massive rain delay left a slightly sour taste in my mouth. Still, being so close to Hershey now, this will just be the first in many visits this summer to what is one of my favorite parks in the world.

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Hershey has a very advanced weather system, and they'll shut down all rides if lightning has struck within 15 miles of the park. Doesn't matter how slow the storm is moving. But I'm very sorry to hear that it screwed over your night!


Oh, and Storm Runner feels stronger than Kingda Ka because it is. KK actually does launch in one long stride, now that they've fixed their problems with the cable and after the lightning strike, but it accelerates at a slower rate than Storm Runner and you can certainly feel the difference!

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Got my first ride in the new SDL trains this past Wed morning. Very nice I must say.


I'll start with the little issues I saw. There is a rattle going up the lift hill, and a serious thud/chain slap when the chain dog releases from the train. That thud was there with the old trains too. It actually shakes the entire station down below. I can't remember it shaking like that before. It was only 1 train operation. There was a crew of 3 to 4 maintenance guys working/inspecting the other train. Not sure what the problem is. Any insider information out there?


Now to end on a high note. I rode 2 times in the front seat. The trains are very smooth, after you make it up the lift hill. They feel faster. There were 2 spots where I got a little air that I didn't ever remember feeling on the Looper before. It was very slight, but it was there. There is one spot after you pass through the center of the loop, but before the tunnel. Another is right before you get to the helix at the end. The magnetic mid-couse brakes don't stop you near as much as the old friction brakes did. The helix felt much faster and powerful too. The train is hauling at the end, but the magnetic brakes slow you down fast, but not like the old jerk-to-stop that was at the end previously. Great job Hershey!!

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Some advice for a 2nd time visitor.


The last I went to Hersheypark was 1998, the year of Great Bear. The lines back then were "bearable!"


I am planning a trip there on Friday June 22nd.


Any idea how crowds have been on Fridays? I am driving in from Ohio the day before and hitting Knoebels in the evening of the 21st. Just wanted some advice on what order I should hit the big coasters (SkyRush, Farenehit, Stormrunner). Are any of these walk-ons? Of course, I can always pick up their FastLane/FastPass (whatever it is called) but I'd rather save the $50 if I don't need to purchase it.



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You shouldn't have too many problems, but here's a general plan that I think should work best for you to get as many rides in as possible:


Head straight to Fahrenheit when the gates open, get your rides in there, then head over to Storm Runner and Sidewinder while you're in the area. Storm Runner isn't getting much of a line with Skyrush open that I've seen, but since it's there you might as well knock it out when you're doing Fahrenheit (which will get a very, very slow-moving and long line)! I would head back and hit the back of the park after that, so that's Lightning Racer, Wildcat, and Wild Mouse. You shouldn't have any waits for any of those things, just a few trains' worth here and there. I would head back up after that, cross under Storm Runner (ride it again if the line is short!), and make your way down the hill and back up the other side. Hit Trailblazer if you like. That'll put you in Minetown, where you can hit Great Bear (not a bad line with Skyrush open either), then SDL on your way around to Comet and Skyrush. Skyrush has a massive line in the morning, but if you hit it anytime after 2pm you're looking at a 10-30 minute wait (depending on crowds). When we were there on Sunday, we rode four times that afternoon, never waiting more than 20 minutes other than our wait for the front.


Basically, fight the urge to ride Skyrush and go do the rest of the park ahead of everyone else! It'll be worth it when you get to ride it as many times as you want later in the day.

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I was at the park on Wednesday and followed the recommended coaster plan for the most part. I can tell you that it is indeed good advice. I made the mistake of jumping in a 3/4 full queue at Skyrush around noon thinking it didn't look bad. After a 50 minute wait, the line looked like it was down to about 15-20 minutes. That's what I get for not listening!


I can tell you that the Skyrush queue is a great place for coaster lovers because in every direction you look you have some great coasters to watch spanning many decades of technology. The ride was exciting from the lift hill on, and certainly aggressive, but I don't think that it makes my top 10. At HP, I actually prefer Great Bear and Fahrenheit. I'll forgo a conclusion until I get 6 or 8 rides on Skyrush.


To me the travesty of Skyrush is the station. The poor ride ops are overwhelmed with trying to get all of the riders off of the train and out of the station while getting new riders onto the train. I rode in the next to last row and was stuck in the crowd slowly shuffling down the narrow aisle while eager riders were pushing through us trying to get to their seat. Fortunately this ride is in central PA; a station like this at SFGA or SFA would cause daily knife fights.

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^This just shows how badly designed the station is. 4D coasters and wing riders have the use the same unloading system, of doing so on the same side you board. However, on X2 and the wing riders, the air gates are set far enough back, so the gates can be opened immediately after the train stops. If HP really can't unload on that side of the station, that is fine, as long as they set the air gates on the loading side far enough back to allow plenty of space (which they didn't)


And to think I thought S:UF would be the lowest capacity ride of 2012!

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I do understand the reasons given for one-sided loading and unloading, but it still strikes me as odd that there wasn't some creative solution that wouldn't negatively impact another aspect of the coaster, station and park. It's not like these problems weren't predictable.

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According to actual G force limits, you have to be above -1.5 G's after 0.5 seconds. So my guess is that the airtime was just a little outside the legal limits, so they put the trims on so the ride will be just within legal airtime limits, meaning either it gets above -1.5 before the 0.5 second part, or it stays comfortably within the -1.4 range, as you can keep a ride at -1.4 for up to four seconds.


Just curious, but where do these "legal limits" you're talking about come from? Are they set by the park's insurance agency, state inspection agencies, ASTM, IAAPA, specific ride manufacturers or what? And who enforces compliance with the codes? I don't doubt your logic (it actually makes a lot of sense) I'm just interested because I've never heard of a singular organization that enforces the same set of regulations for all rides at all parks in the world.


Sorry I didn't answer, totally missed your post, and I only discovered it when I was looking through the older pages to see if HP could possibly have increased the station width by 5 or 10 feet to account for an exit path on the right side.


Got them from nolimits-exchange, which got it from Section 7 of ASTM Z9591Z, it's for any acceleration on the body including for roller coasters, but obviously not accounting for fighter pilots:



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I was at Camden Yards today to see the Phillies play the Orioles and there was a Hersheypark games area set up. There was a bean bag toss themed to the Boardwalk, a mini golf game and a test your strength game with the different levels with all the different heights of the coasters. The games earned tickets for a raffle for a 4 pack of tickets.


They also had some Hersheypark trivia with prizes, with the first person to raise their hand and answer correctly winning. Most of the questions were simple like what is the park's website, how far is the Hersheypark from the stadium (88 miles but they had it written on a dry erase board right next to the person running the trivia). One of the questions was what was the oldest ride in the park which I said was Comet since I was thinking coasters and not rides in general (someone else guessed SDL). The final question was name 5 coasters in the park, which I made up for getting the old ride question wrong. I won an aluminum water bottle with the park's logo on it which I then had to return to the car because it wasn't allowed to be brought into the stadium even though I had won the prize right outside where the turnstyles were.


Then during the game, in between an inning they showed a POV of Skyrush on one of the jumbo screens and asked everyone to raise their arms like they were riding the coaster and put videos of people in the stands on another screen above the POV.


I thought it was kind of cool they did all of that since the only thing I have seen at a Phillies home game is just Hershey and Dorney advertising on the screens in the stadium.

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Ok, thanks to a few rides on El Toro today, I can reveal the true reasons for the Skyrush safety bar woes.


Gather 'round at my feet.


The El Toro bar forms a fairly small U, and basically fasten you

in by your lap - your lower torso.. It's fairly comfortable and you can get some

good pull air. Strong ejector air forces you in by your lower torso (lap and gut),

which is fairly durable. These are good bars, but an obvious

trade off is that fatter riders cannot fit in, or if they do, are

painfully stapled in and can't breathe. I saw 2 larger

guests doing the walk of shame today, as El Toro couldn't launch with

their bar raised to their needed level.


I believe Skyrush was designed to accommodate larger riders. But

instead of being stapled by your lap and lower stomach (your center of

gravity), you are being stapled in by your thighs (lower center of

gravity). As a result, you are being thrown around more by your

thighs, and strong ejector air causes more force to be spread over

less area on your body - your thighs only instead of your torso.


This flies in the face of 80 or so years of coaster design, where the

focus of security has always been the torso, and on spreading contact area around more space.


In order to fit in more girth, they have created a painful security system

for everyone on this new ride.

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From Screamscape:


2012 - Skyrush - (6/11/12) According to a reader who visited Hersheypark, they too found the restraints on SkyRush a little painful on the legs. After the ride, they spoke with park reps about it and were told that Hersheypark had investigated the restraint system used on I305, but have decided to stick with a lapbar system. However… they also claimed that an Intamin rep had been out at the park over the past week to check on the ride and look into this issue, as they do not want to trim the ride’s speed. From what I’m led to understand, they believe that the lap bars can be adjusted to solve the problem, so lets look for this to happen later on this season.



Hopefully this happens do we can all move on and enjoy this coaster as the future top 5 steel coaster it is!

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^ I'm thinking your second answer is the correct one. It sounds like the park doesn't want to change anything about the ride itself, but rather will make adjustments to keep the lap bars in place for the duration of the ride.

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I'd imagine an extreme re-haul of the hydraulic system (and the wiring of the whole train, really) would be needed to add a feature like that. I would think they'd look into refitting the blue bars that hold the restraint to find a new angle first. (warning: I know nothing about anything)

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