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Hersheypark (HP) Discussion Thread


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Having read a few reports (even reports as recent as last week), I was prepared to slog my way through a 12-hour day of standing in lines, hoping to perhaps at least get one ride on everything. Yet my experience there was quite different.

 

Storms were forecast, although that had been the case for a few days prior and none had shown. However, I think that played into what must have been a bummer day for Hersheypark, but an amazing day for me. During the time I was there (10am-5pm), the longest wait I had was for the front seat of Stormrunner—maybe 3 cycles? Every single ride was a walk-on for the entire day. The weather was fine (although muggy), the crowds were minimal and super friendly. The staff were amazing across the board, and the operations were flawless. Only Trailblazer and Flying Falcon were down.

 

Rather than give a play-by-play write up of the day (too many details), here are the crazy ride counts and few thoughts on each:

 

Skyrush (15 rides): First ride of the day, and the one everyone ran to. Fortunately, I got there fast as well and walked right on. I was genuinely anxious about this one as the lift hill is super imposing, and having just ridden El Toro a few days prior (and discovering that overly-aggressive airtime doesn’t do much for me), I braced myself. In fact, I found that I braced myself on this more than any other ride at the park—it felt like an endurance test. But what I found is that a single ride on this could leave a bad taste in one's mouth as it takes a few rides to learn what it’s going to do next and prepare for it. After a while (and so many rides later), I actually started to find it a tad dull.

 

I found the first drop to be okay, but nothing special to be honest. I’m no engineer, but the s-curve shape felt out of whack in that it doesn’t reach its highest degree of descent fast enough, and as soon as it does, it pulls right out. Consequenty, it reminded me of Perilous Plunge in that it feels more like you’re getting tipped forward and then back again really fast. I found this drop to be rough in that it forces you out of your seat and then slams you back in again without any real sense of descent that I get from other rides. After 15 rides, I thought the drop might “click” for me, but it didn’t—I just didn’t find it to be that effective.

 

The ejector air hills weren’t as uncomfortable as what I’d read—they’re similar to El Toro’s really. A tad too violent and aggressive; slightly less enjoyable than I’d hoped. The turns were generally quite rough (the ride is pretty bumpy depending on where you sit), and they bordered a little on grey-out intense. The other twisted flips it was doing were pretty mild really, except for that one direction change toward the end which, if you’re on a wing seat, you really feel intensely. The best part of the ride for me was that little camel hump at the end.

 

All in all, I liked it; but as with El Toro, I just found it aggressive and violent in a way that diminished the experience rather than adding to it. The line was consistently a walk-on, and the trains were only half filled for most of the day, so I got to ride in all different spots and positions. Riding in the back just made the first drop even more rough, and the front was cool, but I found the middle non-wing seats to provide the best overall ride. It’s an extreme spectacle of a coaster, but not quite as good as what I expected. 7/10.

 

Fahrenheit (6 rides): I’d read lot of negative things about this one and found the total opposite to be true. I rode it in all positions and it was consistently smooth with little / no rattling whatsoever. My first ride was on the back, and I found that the yank over the top detracted from the drop in a similar manner to Skyrush—just a violent push forward and then back again. The front seat made the world of difference for this part of the ride.

 

I loved the first element—especially the dive out of it. Boomerang / corkscrews were okay (I tend to dislike both of those elements in general), but the final camelback toward the end was excellent—comparable to the last hill of Skyrush as far as ejector air goes. Great ride—good intimidation factor with that lift, and just a well-sequenced affair throughout. Totally smooth, totally fun. 9/10.

 

Stormrunner (6 rides): I’d read nothing but good things about this, but I had mixed impressions. The front seemed to provide the best launch sensation, and there’s a great airtime moment right before it does that twist way up in the air (barrel role?). However, for non-front seats, I found it to be jarring and neck-rattling (although not as rough as Skyrush).

 

The launch is fantastic, but my main gripe is that what follows just feels so arbitrary and weird—like someone just spazzed out while designing it and nobody caught it. The elements were odd and it struck me that they could have done something more clever with that landscape. That last zig-zaggy slalom part (that I thought looked really cool), didn’t add much to the ride at all. So, definitely a good ride, but not without its problems. 7/10.

 

Sidewinder (1 ride): I’ve never liked these rides, and this one was no exception. I guess it had the advantage of the improved restraint system (less head banging?), but this design is such that it rattles you in other ways. Jarringly tight elements perfectly suited for rattling necks. Awful ride, but that’s the boomerang genre for you. 2/10.

 

Wildcat (4 rides): Bad. Surprisingly bad. Even though I really disliked this, I rode it back-to-back over two visits to it. I couldn’t decide what it was that made me dislike it so much: partly because it’s exceptionally rough, but also because I found it to be a totally mundane layout.

 

It seems to me that this was a coaster designed to look impressive, but as a result, it loses quite a bit of ride-ability. The long, graceful curved drops pretty much make up the whole ride, but as a result, it sat somewhere between meandering and confusing. Something to mix up the curves might have helped, but overall I found it quite dull and unpleasant and pointless. 4/10.

 

Wild Mouse (1 ride): Similar to Sidewinder, these things have a purpose, but that doesn’t make them great rides. A stock Wild Mouse that felt as though it was running a little more untrimmed than what these rides usually feel like. But as expected: uncomfortable, unpleasant, kind of funny, but totally un-reridable. One for the kids, I think. 3/10.

 

Lightning Racer (3 rides on each side): Complete contrast to Wildcat; I loved this one. Fantastic layout and interaction throughout, but also a lot of thoughtful sequencing of elements to make a really fantastic wooden coaster that both looks beautiful, but also rides really well. A great balance of form and function with excellent pacing and attention to the immersive interaction of the race. Clearly, more thought went into making this hit aesthetic targets while still making for a fun experience than Wildcat. Excellent! 8/10.

 

Great Bear (3 rides): I’m not the biggest B&M fan, but I do like to check out their custom stuff. Great pre-drop spin on this—really added to the opening anticipation. The drop didn’t do a whole lot for me, but it certainly served its purpose of getting the ride going. The flip-back loop thing was fun (although there was an awkward straight section just before it), and the loop / zero-g were standard B&M affairs. But after that, the ride felt somewhat thrown together in that the transitions up to and following the corkscrew element were weirdly awkward. So, great opening, followed by standard-fare B&M invert stuff, linked together with ambivalent sections that felt somewhere between attempts to work with that weird plot of land and the auto-complete feature on RCT3. 6/10.

 

Superdooperlooper (2 rides): I love Schwarzkopf passionately, but he totally phoned this design in. Boring pacing with a second half that felt as though he tacked the whole thing on just to meet length requirements or something. Even nostalgia couldn’t do much for this one. 4/10.

 

Comet (4 rides): A totally engaging layout with all the right drops and turns in all the right places. Nothing too intense, and not as rough as might be expected for a woody of its age. More of a testament of how to put together a great sequence of ride elements that compliment both the look and the ride experience itself. Old-school that shames the new-school (Wildcat, at least) quite strongly. Fun, easy to ride, and just generally enjoyable overall. 7/10.

 

I also rode:

 

The Whip—more about preservation than thrills, it’s nice to still see a few these hanging around.

Coal Cracker—one of those Arrow jet boat things but with a nice little launch from the drop at the end.

Frontier Flyers—these rides seem to get talked up around here quite a bit, but I don’t get the appeal.

Xtreme Cup Challenge—interesting track, but not a whole lot else going on. I think this went over my head.

 

So, the nature of my day might have played a role in my overview, but I found Hersheypark to be a fresh break from the bigger corporate chains. Beautifully presented with exceptional staff and operations alongside a fantastic selection of rides. Great park!

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^Strange that you found Storm Rubber rattly. I didn't get to ride the front and I thought it was really smooth. As to the layout, well, it's really short but I love it (and all of its funkiness). It's my second favourite ride, actually.

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I was at HP the past two days also. I didn't find the operations so great. I understand rides like Fahrenheit have to stack to a certain degree due to the design, but horrible stacking was everywhere, and it usually took a good few minutes of a train just sitting empty in the station for them to even open the loading gates. Not to mention the time it took to check restraints and dispatch. Luckily crowds were minimal so it didn't really matter, but on busier days lines would have been much longer than they should have.

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First time I have been to Hersheypark, so I took a lot of pics. I won't bore you by showing them all to you guys, but I thought I would share a few of my favorites I took. You might have seen many like these before...But still...You gotta love Hersheypark.

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Nice shot of The Wildcat from a distance.

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The view from the Kiss Tower was pretty awesome.

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Love how all the coaster just cross over each other like a tangled mess.

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Lightning Racer has got to be one of the best racing coasters I've ever rode.

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More LR love.

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Storm Runner has to be the most photogenic coaster in the park imo.

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Storm Runner is one hell of a ride.

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Got some pretty good looks from the flying falcon.

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Going down.

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Up and around.

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I call this the coaster lift to Heaven.

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One loop and it's Sooper Dooper.

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I don't think Great Bear ever slows down...Awesome coaster.

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Trailblazer was down all weekend. Is it still down, I don't know.

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Wild Mouse was wild.

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The Kissing Tower great for taking pics.

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Fahrenheit, Intamin goodness.

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The Boardwalk was fun...But I came for the coasters.

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Thanks Hersheypark for a great time.

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Nice pictures!

I don't think Great Bear ever slows down...Awesome coaster.

That's the thing! It's not my favourite invert and I'm not a big fan of the straight sections of track (not to mention the rather crappy ending) but (unlike some newer B&Ms) it has a great pacing and some nice gs making it a really solid ride. Plus you gotta love how loud it is!

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nice PIcs!

 

(we didn't take many in the park, because of the weather, and in the Kissing Tower, there were droplets interfering in the pics. . . so it's great to see such great pics!)

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Kind of a mini-tr here....I went to HP yesterday with a friend, and we pretty much spent the whole day there. The weather was just about perfect, but the downside was that the park was more crowded than I had seen it in a long time. Pretty much all the coasters had a 45+ minute wait, even Great Bear which has the best capacity of them all. Well, actually I don't know how long Lightning Racer's line was since we rode that first thing in the morning, before the park got really crowded, but once noon rolled around it seemed like the place filled up really quickly. We got a few rides on LR, which was running great. We passed on Wildcat, since the last time either of us had ridden it, it was pretty painful. We also passed on Fahrenheit, since the sun was hot and of course that has one of the longest, slowest un-shaded lines of any of the coasters, and besides, I'm not that crazy about it. We did manage to ride Sidewinder before noon, and we only waited maybe 15 minutes.

We got 2 rides on Storm Runner, one early on (about a 20 minute wait) and one later in the day when the crowds were bad. I rode Great Bear one time (waited probably 50 minutes) while my friend sat it out nursing sore feet, and later we rode SDL once, and the line was only about 25 minutes or so. We passed on the Comet, but we did ride Trailblazer later in the evening, and also the Wild Mouse, neither of which had much of a line despite the heavy crowds and the slow loading on the mouse.

 

And finally, as the day was drawing to a close, we decided to get a few rides on my all time fave Skyrush. Now this friend I brought with me was the same one who lost her expensive flip-flops on Skyrush last summer, and who also had the misfortune of sitting in a wing seat on the first ride. Needless to say, she was totally turned off towards it, but yesterday I finally got her to where she has a decent liking for the ride rather than loathing, even though Storm Runner is still her #1 in the park. She only rode towards the front in the middle seats, but I remember that it took me some time to move to the back and try the back wing seats. We split up and I got a couple of rides in the very back center seats (my favorite two seats), and then I took one ride in the notorious back right wing seat. Hands down that has to be perhaps one of the most ferocious rides one could ever experience on a coaster in that infamous seat! Let's put it this way - when I woke up this morning, I knew I had ridden in that seat! As for the rattle, I also notice that there is a bit of a rattle, especially towards the back (in any of the seats, but more so in the wing seats), but it isn't painful, and I don't think it is any worse than it was last year.

I have noticed one other thing that I think is unique to Skyrush - when going up the lift hill, about half-way up I kept noticing this sound that sounds for all the world like a bowling ball being rolled down an alley and striking pins - basically what you'd hear in a bowling alley. I don't recall hearing this on I-305 or Millennium Force, so as far as I know it might be unique to this coaster. Anyone else ever notice this?

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Interesting day at the park yesterday...

 

As part of my thesis project this year I completely relied on the Hersheypark smartphone app to get around. It was super-useful as a map and for information about shows, but for rides it was almost completely useless.

 

Wait times were grossly inaccurate across the board. Most of the time this actually ended up being a good thing - Skyrush, Fahrenheit and Great Bear all had 45-minute waits on the app but I ended up waiting for just under 30 minutes each - but it was still inaccurate. Even after those half-hour waits, the app still said 45-minutes. The wait times do update but they need to do it more frequently.

 

Also - there are some rides where Hersheypark seriously needs to get its operations together. The Hollow crews, Great Bear's crew and Fahrenheit's crew were good enough. But Lightning Racer's crew, at least around noon, was absolutely terrible with various practices leading to five-minute dispatches, along with one-train operation taking me almost twenty minutes to board the ride from stepping onto the main station platform. Wild Mouse was running with only two people per car on a bunch of occasions.

 

Also, I found FastTrack to be insanely poorly-implemented. The operators didn't seem to know how to handle it when there wasn't actually anyone using FastTrack. The Lightning Racer, Wildcat and Comet crews ALWAYS left those rows empty regardless of the queue, some of the other attractions filtered guests in from the row ahead - which meant that there was a "special" boarding gate that ran three times as fast as the others.

 

But, even with all this trouble, the trip was worth it because the sheer selection of different coasters in Hersheypark is fantastic, even compared to parks like Six Flags Magic Mountain and Cedar Point. Also, front-seat rides on Skyrush make me teary-eyed, they're so good...

 

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Yesterday i went to Hershey and probably had the most perfect day ever! It had slight chance of showers all day and not a single drop fell. I think the longest lines we waited for were Fahrenheit and Tidal Force (my friends wanted to do it, so i went with them) which were about 30 minute waits. I finally got to ride Skyrush!! Last time i went there in 2012, it opened the day after so you can imagine how pissed i was. I love it so much!! I actually like the restraints on it even though they do get somewhat tight, but it was definitely a more open feeling and ever hill makes you feel like you will fly out. So yeah it made my top ten without a doubt. Lastly after having a horrible experience at Six Flags on Friday (long story but it was all the staffs fault), Hershey fixed that by being extremely efficient, great staff, and great rides!

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Looks like what's coming in 2015 to Hersheypark will be announced sooner than later. From the park's Facebook :

There’s a new attraction coming to Hersheypark next summer! Stay tuned every Tuesday until our unveil August 12 for clues about this exciting addition. Also, register for a chance to win a 2015 Season Pass and be one of the first to ride the new attraction!10526097_10152585480234357_890522733789998205_n.jpg

 

The Hummelstown Sun:

A rep from Hersheypark came to the office today to tease the park's new-for-2015 attraction. She brought the card you see here along with a candy apple and a bag of popcorn. Let the speculation begin

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Yay speculation season! I can already bet everyone thinks RMC because of the "new spin on an old classic" but id be happy with a big drop tower. I think something to bring life to the far end of the park again is what we have in store!

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Actually the first thing that came to mind when I read "new spin on an old classic" was a kissing tower conversion into a drop tower, but I wouldn't mind a RMC wildcat treatment.

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Considering that this is a straight-up press release and not some convoluted stealth marketing campaign that has everyone guessing for months, I would say that this new attraction probably isn't a roller coaster.

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Considering that this is a straight-up press release and not some convoluted stealth marketing campaign that has everyone guessing for months, I would say that this new attraction probably isn't a roller coaster.

 

I think you're probably right that this won't be a major coaster but my argument against your statement would be that some large coasters don't even get hinted at until right before the announcement such as Goliath at SFGam.

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I think it's going to be something big, like a coaster, or a large thrill ride. I mean they are teasing this every week for 5 weeks. I would say that would bring lots of hype for something large!!!

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Considering that this is a straight-up press release and not some convoluted stealth marketing campaign that has everyone guessing for months, I would say that this new attraction probably isn't a roller coaster.

 

I think you're probably right that this won't be a major coaster but my argument against your statement would be that some large coasters don't even get hinted at until right before the announcement such as Goliath at SFGam.

 

With the last two coasters at Hersheypark having arguably the greatest viral marketing campaigns in the history of history, it would be very surprising if they didn't build on that tactic again for their next.

 

Too soon for a new coaster. Given the fortune teller and the phrase "a new spin on an old classic", my guess is Vekoma mad house. An indoor spinning wild mouse would be much more preferable though.

 

To be fair, it's only a year before the normal four-year schedule would have them getting one. I'm also not sure that Vekoma even builds madhouses anymore, or why Hersheypark would even consider buying one in this day and age.

 

I read the 'candy apple and a bag of popcorn' to be a hint at boardwalk food, and maybe the firework to be a hint at a launch. Put those together, and I'm guessing a ProSlide electromagnetic water slide - a new take on an old classic.

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