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Hersheypark (HP) Discussion Thread

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Sorry for the double post, while on Hersheypark Dr Friday I noticed along the fence behind the Whip there are a few Blue "X's" and what appeared to be a couple stakes. Will certainly get photos if I head to the park this week.

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"Where red, white & blue deck the halls, my full house will fall."


"Red, white & blue deck the halls" = Midway America section of the park?

"My full house will fall" = House meaning a building (dark attraction) of some sort?

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The full house clue makes me think giant ferris wheel. Four of a kind beats a full house, and this would make four of them in the United States. after Vegas, Orlando, and New York. And London, represented by the queen, kind of has the original. Seems really expensive, but it is a new take on an old boardwalk classic.

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So I think there's about a 65% chance I've got this thing nailed, but a 35% chance that I am but an unwitting pawn being manipulated by forces that my puny brain could never begin to understand. My theory is that Hershey is building a 2015 version of Spokane's 20th Century Natatorium Park, and I submit the following arguments:



Natatorium Park, which I had never heard of before yesterday but can be easily Googled or Binged or asked of Jeeves, was apparently a charming old time place - rides, massive pool, miniature train, BASEBALL!!! The place was the shizzle for the first half of the 20th century, and dovetails seamlessly into every communication Hershey has produced regarding the project so far. But it's evidence you want.


This link will take you to the original story that Mr. Alvey posted a link to by Barbara Miller of the Harrisburg Patriot-News in which she mentions that Hershey Entertainment & Resort had applied for a storm water permit related to construction for Attraction 2015. If one were so inclined, one could search for the minutes for the April 23 Dauphin County Board of Governors Legislative Meeting minutes and see that same information. I checked it out on the DEP's e-facts search engine - it's just storage tank license renewals, nothing to be learned there. But she fails to mention two more interesting nuggets from the April 9 minutes (also one search away):


1. The Hershey Company has applied for permits to reduce the number of storm water outfalls discharging into Spring Creek from 13 to 2. So pretend you're one of the two remaining outfalls for a minute. Remember all that water that the thirteen of you were carrying? Well we're gonna have the two of you get that now. Okay, buh-bye. Come on, even Masaaki Imai and Tony Robbins are like, I think those two could use a little back up right now. That kind of change is indicative of either a system wide shutdown or a system wide overhaul people, and I think we can safely eliminate the former, so let's go with overhaul and move on.


2. Hershey Entertainment & Resort Company is applying for a storm water permit associated with the replacement of indoor and outdoor pool facilities and with proposed modern natatorium facility within same footprint. Hmm. Well in the literal sense natatorium usually means a swimming competition facility and this doesn't necessarily mean Hershey Park. Let's search for properties of Hershey Entertainment and Resort Company, several have indoor and outdoor pools, but why would you put a natatorium at any of them? You see those at universities and city centers, not luxury hotels.


Okay my friend my google, I need you on this one, give me a list of Hershey Entertainment and Resort properties with indoor and outdoor pools. There appear to be two, The Hotel Hershey, and the Hershey Lodge, and this is where we go down the rabbit hole.


Search for "hershey lodge" + "natatorium" and you get some peculiar results. A tiny blurb from some paper called the Palmayra Sun reporting that a natatorium has been approved for construction at the Hershey Lodge - is this newspaper a real thing? It's a pay site although there doesn't appear to be any more beyond the pay wall than the two sentences the public can read. You'd think this would be big news, and there's not a word from the region's primary paper the Patriot News, who would have a story if the Hershey Lodge were constructing a new storage shed. But then look at the next result - the natatorium at The Hershey Lodge is confirmed by a pdf summary of monthly zoning reviews for Dauphin county posted to a government website - or is it?


I bought it at first, too, but look closer. What exactly is a "Monthly Reviews Report?" A slightly misnamed, so as not to be accidentally mistaken for something real, kind of report, that's what it is. Search for "Monthly Reviews Report" - nothing but the five fakes they've posted for the past few months and some random other results. Now search "Monthly Review Report" - 739,000 results. Wouldn't want your phonies getting mixed up with those legit ones now would you? Oh and one more thing, look closely at the url: tcrpc-pa.org/Dauphin-County. This url is cleverly crafted to look like a government website but it is not. This document is a phony, and someone is clearly in the business of the subtle distribution of misinformation pertaining to the construction of the new attraction at Hershey Park. This permit that was filed re: indoor/outdoor pool facilites, etc. is about Hershey Park and that's why all the secrecy.


So now what? Nobody I've talked to at the Hershey Lodge knows anything about any pending changes to any of their pool facilities. I haven't talked to the DEP about the real permits of importance - yet. I stumbled on the park in Spokane last night, I believe through a google suggested search when I had typed in natatorium and paused to think. I stopped in the middle of whatever I was saying to my fiance and said, never mind, I know I just found it.

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Wouldn't want your phonies getting mixed up with those legit ones now would you? Oh and one more thing, look closely at the url: tcrpc-pa.org/Dauphin-County. This url is cleverly crafted to look like a government website but it is not.




All governments in the U.S. are allowed to apply for delegations in gov, such as atlantaga.gov for the city of Atlanta, loudoun.gov for the county of Loudoun, Virginia and georgia.gov for the U.S. state of Georgia. This was not always true; under an earlier policy, only federal agencies were allowed to use the domain, and agencies beneath cabinet level were required to use subdomains of their parent agency. There is a lack of consistency in addresses of state and local government sites, with some using gov, some us, some using both (the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania uses www.pa.gov, www.pennsylvania.gov and www.state.pa.us for the same web site) and still others in com, org or other TLDs.


My local county uses a .org. While the neighboring city has a .gov address, my city has a .com. Hershey did not pay someone to create a fake Dauphin County website containing tons of official looking documentation, forms to fill out, and all the rest. After all, if that's fake, where's the real one?


Also, why build a copy of an long dead (closed almost 50 years!) amusement park in Western Washington in Hershey, PA?

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I keep thinking they are either moving the Wild Mouse and putting it indoors with themeing, or getting rid of the old one and putting in a spinning one indoors. They would use the space formerly taken for more Boardwalk expansion.




this makes the absolute most sense.

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My local county uses a .org. While the neighboring city has a .gov address, my city has a .com. Hershey did not pay someone to create a fake Dauphin County website containing tons of official looking documentation, forms to fill out, and all the rest. After all, if that's fake, where's the real one?





Also, why build a copy of an long dead (closed almost 50 years!) amusement park in Western Washington in Hershey, PA?


I did say a 2015 version - meaning features that people want right now, not ones they wanted a hundred years ago. I guess I'll be more clear next time. A copy would be ridiculous, nobody would want to go to that!

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Trip report.


We arrived Sunday July 13th to take advantage of the Hersheypark Preview feature. Basically you show up at 7:30 PM and pay for parking and go into the park -- they check off on your ticket that you were there for preview, and then the next AM, you show the parking people your paid parking from the previous evening and your ticket showing use for preview, and they let you park again with no additional charge. 2 1/2 extra hours at night, at no additional cost, pretty cool.


As per recommendations, we headed to The Hollow. Comet had a bit of a line so we skipped it, hit Skyrush, Looper and Great Bear. We walked over to Storm Runner but there was a little rain and they shut down. To make a long story short, we migrated past Farenheit, Wildcat, Wild Mouse, then Lightning Racer, all closed. It then started to pour, and a violent lightning storm ensued, and so we tried to leave... difficult. We probably made it out of the park around 9:30, storm still happening, hit Chocolate World, and called it a night. Lots of work for three rides, but conversely we did get a really good idea of how the park was laid out.


BTW, the park maps are terrible -- no ride names on the map, just numbers...


Monday July 14th, we arrived early, got in quickly, went to Farenheit, and it was closed. Grrr! I have to say that's my biggest pet peeve, walking into a park and having a ride down.


Anyhow, we went to Storm Runner, got several rides in, came across Farenheit which was now up, waited probably 20 minutes, perhaps 30, rode it, headed to the back of the park, Wildcat, Wild Mouse, Lightning Racer. Started back towards the front, stopping at Wildcat, then Farenheit, then Great Bear, then down into The Hollow, did all of those, then headed back up, Great Bear, Storm Runner, Farenheit again, you get the idea. Crowds were reasonable if you did some zigging i.e. if you saw a line, you skipped that ride, hit something else, likely 20 minutes later you'd come back and there'd be very little line.


Around 5 PM there was a huge rainstorm. It looked pretty grim. I made my son wait by the Comet with me for a couple of hours and slowly the rain went away... once the coasters opened back up at 7:30 or so there were no lines at all, so there was a payoff, I guess, as we probably got more rides in that last 2 1/2 hours with the no crowds than we would have had in 4 1/2 hours with the moderate crowds.


Peeves, and then reviews...


They were doing a Christmas in July marketing thing, and really this just meant that we got absolutely horrible Christmas music piped into the park all day and all night... it was maddening, actually.


I understand the concern about lightning but I have never seen a park close down all coasters and basically all the other significant rides too just because of rain. This was also maddening. It was also inconsistent -- some coasters would shut down immediately, others would keep running for a bit, some would open a bit earlier, some later, and there seemed to be no rhyme or reason except possibly just which ones had operators there more quickly than others. I could see people who weren't willing to wait out that 150 minutes of rain being pretty irritated... if you had young kids in your group, that period would be impossible.


It did seem that the forecasts of thunderstorms for Monday (which never really materialized) kept the locals away.




Comet. Meh. I wanted to like this coaster, and remembered liking it when I rode it in the past, but it suffers from poor maintenance. Not impressed. Too bad.


Lightning Racer. Decent. I love the ride visually. It's also well built and so while it suffers from poor maintenance, that doesn't ruin the ride that much because the turns seem to be banked well and the structure is nice and strong. Never any lines to speak of... maybe a two train wait.


Wildcat. Probably my favorite woodie in the park. Yes, it is rough, and has design flaws. The turns aren't banked enough in a couple of spots, so the track has come out of gauge, and it seems likely that the structure isn't strong enough in some spots as well. I am rating this highly mostly because of what it could be if it was maintained properly and had some repairs done.


I gotta say that a three woodie park could be outstanding, and it's ridiculous that these rides are in as bad of shape as they are. Given the designs and current shape, Lightning Racer is probably the best ride for the woodies, but that's because Comet and Wildcat need the TLC the worst. I suspect Wildcat would be right up my alley if it was in better shape.


Wild Mouse. Nothing special.


Did not ride Trailblazer, Cocoa Cruiser, Sidewinder.


Storm Runner. Loved it. Unique.


Skyrush. Cool ride. The restraints are problematic. It's clear the general public doesn't like the ride, basically the only ongoing common negative comments I heard all day regarding coasters from the GP were for this ride, complaining about leg pain. I found the ride painful with rerides... we probably got six to eight rides on it, and could have had many more but my son refused to ride it any more... and secretly I was kind of relieved when he refused to ride it more LOL.


Sooperdooperlooper. Semi historic, and I love Schwarzkopf coasters, but I agree with others when they say that the design is kind of boring. Worth a couple of rides.


Farenheit. Unique coaster, not all that exciting of a ride, IMHO. The back is probably the best on this one, as you get some interesting airtime as you get pulled over the top of the lift hill. The short trains means the ride doesn't have that sense of momentum or force that you would normally get on a ride this size.


Great Bear. Saving the best for last... this is one of the better inverted B&M that I've been on, and possibly the best. I think the elements are well spaced and timed and the layout is somewhat unpredictable.


I cannot recall precisely when I was last at Hersheypark, but it's been a while, and although there are newer coasters that I'm not entirely enamored with, it's clear that the four or so new coasters takes the park from being something that is easily doable in a half day and makes the park a full day park. So in that sense, they were a great investment... and presumably different people will like different ones, at least to some extent. It felt to me that they've got a really nice range of coasters and overall it's a very unique park as a result. The three woodies are quite different from one another, Storm Runner isn't really like anything else anywhere, same with Skyrush, same with Fahrenheit, and Great Bear is one of the best inverted B&M, I think.


I was pleasantly surprised overall with the park -- I think my last time there, they had Roller Soaker, but did not have Fahrenheit, Skyrush or Storm Runner -- that visit it was also super crowded and very hot. I think we left in the mid afternoon (4 PM or so) when the heat and crowds got unbearable. The coaster lineup is much better now, and we got lucky with the crowds and the weather.


Hersheypark stood up well in comparison with SFGAdv which we had done just a couple days prior... there's no Kingda Ka or El Toro, but there is a nice variety of strong thrill rides.


Anyhow, sorry for the length, I type fast and edit slow

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^ that's. . . odd.


we were there first week in June, and it was terrible rainy weather both days we were there (hint, if you stay on property - Hershey Lodge, Hershey Hotel, or the campsite, the preview night is 3 1/2 hours (you get in at 6:30) and you also get in an hour early on the day of your main visit).


anyways, we were there during a lot of rain, and EVERYTHING ran. They did not shut down coasters unless there was thunder heard or lightning spotted -- something we were told at Hershey Lodge, and reiterated by ride-ops when it started to rain when we were boarding coasters.


so that's odd they shut down coasters on you just because of rain.



(and I had the same complaints in my trip report about the HersheyPark maps. . we had to keep asking employees for directions)

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so that's odd they shut down coasters on you just because of rain.


Yep. Very odd. The Sunday night thing was understandable as you could see lightning in the far distance, and rain arrived with lightning, but Monday it was only rain, never lightning, never thunder, and they had every significant ride closed for over two hours. The guy running one of the game concessions -- where we sheltered -- kept saying that he thought they'd reopen things soon... but he must have said that every 15 minutes for an hour or so... the main storm was done within 90 minutes, and they didn't reopen things until the rain had completely stopped, which was easily another hour. Aggravating!


In contrast, the Wave Swinger near us ran through the entire rainstorm, pretty much, and had a group of soaked teenagers who kept riding it over and over...

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