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Hersheypark (HP) Discussion Thread

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In pretty much all of my visits, I have never really experienced any "lengthy" lines that would necessitate a reason for any kind of pass. I am not sure about Saturdays in the summer as I tend to avoid parks at that time anyhow.


I went once on a weekday in August...never again. I really could have used some sort of pass that day.

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^^ and ^^^ maybe I go at the wrong times, but have always encountered lines for Comet, Storm Runner and Great Bear. The Lo-Q might not be necessary to get all the coasters done in one day, but allows for a much more relaxed day at any park.

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^^ and ^^^ maybe I go at the wrong times, but have always encountered lines for Comet, Storm Runner and Great Bear. The Lo-Q might not be necessary to get all the coasters done in one day, but allows for a much more relaxed day at any park.


Larry - when we were there on the East Coast tour in 2008 the lines were pretty long for everything. We has PLENTY of time in the park and morning AND night ERT, but during the day the lines got upwards of 45min - 1 hour for Superdooperlooper, Great Bear and the Racers...we didn't even go near Stormrunner and Fairenheit during the day.

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I tend to visit Hershey on a Sunday in April/May, on a weekday in June before schools are out for summer, and a Sunday during October. The only lines I tend to run in to are for Great Bear, Comet, and Fahrenheit. And for the most part, they're not overly bad.


These past couple years, I've flat-out refused to go in the middle of summer or on a weekend anytime that the waterpark is open. Hershey's gotten unbelievably crowded recently.

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New article posted:


On a cold autumn afternoon, a trio of men in white lab coats walked briskly through Hersheypark.

No one knows for sure who they were or who they actually worked for.

The only thing that this is known is where they were headed.

A few weeks earlier, several roller-coaster fanatics had started piecing together clues about Hersheypark’s new ride, code-named “Attraction 2012.”


On their website, keystonethrills.megabb.com, they poured over photos of strange survey markings that several of their members had noticed during visits during the summer.


The survey stakes appeared in an area of the park known as Comet Hollow and were the first clue that something big might be happening. The mystery deepened after park representatives presented initial planning documents — but few details — at a Derry Twp. meeting in August.


At the time, the park’s fans had more questions than answers, and every clue they gathered only seemed to lead to another dead end.


Three of the group’s members, Matt Meckley, Chris Cronrath and Alex Leair, decided a trip to the park was in order to continue their investigation.


They agreed online to meet at the fountain near the entrance to the park, near the statue of Milton Hershey, the park’s founder and namesake.


As they gathered to go on their first ride, the three men in lab coats cut through the crowd and approached them.


They identified themselves as employees of a roller-coaster think tank and asked Meckley, Cronrath and Lear a series of questions about various rides. After a few minutes, they handed the stunned fans a thick envelope and, as suddenly as they had appeared, the lab coat-clad men vanished into the crowd.


When the stunned enthusiasts opened up the envelope, they were greeted with a paper jigsaw puzzle.


They almost threw it away.


At first, they thought it was a flier or an advertisement. But then Cronrath saw a puzzle piece bearing the name “Ride Institute of Technology.”


None of them had heard of the institute.


When completed, the puzzle directed them to the Ride Institute of Technology’s website and bore a simple message for the trio: “see u in the spring ... game on!”


It was official: Hersheypark was up to something.


Park officials won’t answer that directly but acknowledge that they like to throw out teasers about big projects.


Now, four months later, the question remains: What?


A 12th roller coaster?


The Web page the three men were directed to appears innocuous enough: an image of the Ride Institute of Technology’s logo and a few paragraphs on the history of the research group.


The story ends with the promise of a major spring 2011 announcement and a link to an e-mail address.


There is no mention of Hersheypark or of Pennsylvania, for that matter.


But sandwiched inside, Meckley and his friends believe, are clues to what the park might be planning.


Take the logo — eleven white stars on a red shield, surrounding a griffin holding a 12th star, yellow in color.


It might not look like much, but Meckley points out several clues hidden in the image.


The 11 stars — Hersheypark has 11 roller coasters.


The 12th star might represent a 12th coaster.


The griffin depicted at the center could be The Griffon, a Busch Gardens “diving machine” constructed by Bolliger & Mabillard Consulting Engineers, a Swiss roller-coaster design firm.


Could Hershey be hinting at a B&M steel-frame diving coaster in Comet Hollow?


The idea makes coaster fans salivate. Diving coasters are characterized by high speeds, a 90-degree vertical drop and stadium-style seating. If Hersheypark were to construct one it would be only the third of its kind in the United States.


Meckley believes B&M might be involved, pointing to another clue in the final paragraph of the page.


“ ‘It’s been nearly 12 years since we’ve released a major new study...,’ “ Meckley read. “I’m thinking that phrase may be pointing to a possible B&M installation. ... When you break that down, it’s been 12 years since Great Bear was built. ... That was [the last coaster at Hersheypark designed] by B&M.”


Cronrath isn’t so certain.


Sure, he said, the story line on the Web page — about two scientists forming their own company — closely parallels B&M’s real-world history. But, he cautioned, “It could be a red herring.”


At first, the online community was worried the website itself might be a ruse, constructed by another fan to confuse the group. But an analysis of the programming code shows it is similar in style to the legitimate Hersheypark website.


There’s also the way that the ride institute appears to have located the three men during their trip to the park. The trio coordinated the trip via Facebook, with an open invitation for other people to come along.


A few days before they were to meet, an unknown individual using the moniker “Hersheypark fan” joined their group and asked where and when they would be gathering at the park. Cronrath said they later found out that the Facebook profile in question was registered using a Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Co. e-mail address.


They speculate that by using the persona, the park was able to pinpoint when they would arrive and were able to stage the ride institute’s question-and-answer session.


Tantalizingly, the only link away from the institute’s Web page is to e-mail an information address. Messages there are returned by an auto-response program, which states the group’s work requires the “use of an encryption key for all e-mail communications.”


That Cronrath said, has stumped everyone for the moment.


“I have no clue about the encryption key,” he said. “But I have a feeling that [the answer] is probably hidden in the text somewhere.”


There’s also one final clue hidden inside the Web page’s inner workings that points to Hersheypark.


It’s a line of programming code that for Hersheypark fanatics closes the door on any doubts they might have: code that reads: “PreProj: nAnT_L1v3s”


Could it be a cryptic reference to Nantimi, the near-legendary marketing game Hersheypark built around the 2007 announcement of its Fahrenheit coaster?


It’s not uncommon for amusement parks to play games with fans, often setting up fictitious websites or phony news reports to “leak” information.


On sites such as coasterbuzz.com, screamscape and thrillnetwork, roller-coaster fans pounce on the tiniest details, breaking them down to try and divine what various amusement parks are planning.


From the parks’ point of view, the secrecy isn’t just about driving buzz and keeping the faithful on the edge of their seats. Hersheypark said in a statement that like many businesses, the attractions industry competes for customers.


“As a result, we do our best to maintain any competitive advantage we can,” the park said.


And a major project, such as a coaster, can take up to five years to design and tweak before it is ready to be presented. In an industry that thrives on one-upsmanship, that makes secrecy a key component of a ride’s success.


But the park’s marketing team also seems to delight in developing elaborate marketing strategies to hook fans and build buzz ahead of major announcements.


Michael Hammer, who blogs about roller coasters on the amusement park industry website newsplusnotes.com, said Hersheypark demonstrated its cleverness during the campaign for its Fahrenheit coaster project, code-named Nantimi.


“Hersheypark definitely took it to the next level of viral marketing,” he said.


Nantimi was purported to be an Internet design company, linked to the then-unconfirmed Fahrenheit project. However, enthusiasts were quick to point out that Nantimi is an anagram of Intamin, one of the leading roller-coaster design firms in the world.


Hersheypark, through Nantimi, began leaving clues and puzzles across the Internet. It led fans to hidden photos and videos of the ride concept, code named “Tsunami.”


Fans, predictably, went crazy.


“They even involved theme park message boards as a way to stir interest, and I think it paid off well for them,” Hammer said. “It’s a cheap and relatively easy way to promote a new ride using the latest forms of social media.”


The park said Nantimi was it’s first real foray into viral marketing for an upcoming ride. It’s an idea that has evolved alongside the ever-expanding world of social media.


More and more, particularly in the last three years, amusement parks are engaging their fans and customers through social media.


Park officials, responding by e-mails, said that might come in the form of a game, a teaser campaign or simply an advanced or “exclusive” announcement of some exciting news.


“All of these strategies work to build loyalty, generate excitement and ultimately increase interest in visiting a park or attraction,” Hersheypark officials said.


Hersheypark appears to be building on the success of the Fahrenheit launch with Attraction 2012, leaking information about the project to its dedicated fans at Keystone Thrills to build excitement and buzz.


From there, the debate has spread to other industry websites, where everyone has his or her own ideas as to what Hersheypark is planning.


Most agree that it will be a roller coaster of some kind. Planning documents with Derry Twp. along with clues on the ride institute’s Web page seem to make that clear.


The debate among fans centers on the type of coaster and who will design it. Will it be a vertical-drop tower ride? Another Intamin-designed hypercoaster? Or, is B&M actually developing a new diving machine, like the Griffon, for the park?


For Meckley, Cronrath and company, spring can’t come soon enough.


Not only will it bring the start of another coaster season, but the park, through the Ride Institute of Technology, appears to have promised them some form of “major announcement.”


Roller-coaster pundits are trying to guess the next twist Hersheypark will introduce into the game:


Will the men in white lab coats make another appearance?


And what, exactly, is the purpose of the e-mail link on the Web page?


Until those questions are answered, the roller-coaster detectives at Keystone Thrills will stay glued to the edge of their seats — and keyboards — parsing and arguing over every minute detail that Hersheypark allows to leak.

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^Haha, I'll bet Hershey Park wrote that article.

LOL! Yeah the comments were interesting. My favorites were the ones where the posters tried to turn it into a political issue and assume that the park went to the newspaper to do the article. It was really interesting how much they shut up when I told them what really happened.

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Recently, there's been some talk about the station maybe being located at the current ring toss game next to Skyview and adjacent to Great Bear's immelmann loop. I thought this would be interesting to take my drawing and add the concept as a computer rendering.


I took my drawing and tried my best to apply the concept to it. I also drew in the small shack and fence (plus represented Creekside Catering in its current state) to the actual drawing and applied a computer rendering of my current ideas to what this thing may look like. Station would be where the ring toss game is currently located, and the queue would extend back on the former path that was removed to make way for Storm Runner. It would feature an I305-style lift hill to eliminate the use of supports in a majority of that area, plus possibly saving the Comet Hollow games building (or reducing it if needed), followed by a double out and back design between Creekside and Comet. This would also follow the two rows of stakes on the hillside alongside Park Blvd. The supports in the creek would represent what was approved at the zoning board hearing regarding 30-some supports in the water. The brakes would be designed similar to Storm Runner's at the end...angled but high enough to pass over Skyview and Comet.



The only flaw I could see with this is maybe extending the one overbanked turn down more towards Creekside Catering since they were digging down there and leveled off what they've done.

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That is the best rendering I've seen yet. I would love to ride something like that. The only thing I'd change would be to add a little more height to the rest of the ride, since I want this thing to have several BIG drops. And like you said, I hope it runs down past the current Creekside Catering.


I like the length of the ride in your drawing too. I have mentioned it here before, however. I don't think this thing will be very long, comparatively speaking to the length of other hypers. I hope I'm wrong, but Hershey's steels are all too short for me to really like them.


Well done though, and your pencil drawing looks great too.


Question... why did you pick blue with yellow supports? I keep picturing this thing in green with brown supports. Green because the park doesn't have a green coaster yet, and the green and brown will blend in with the surrounding environment best. I don't know.

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It's March and it is now time for March Sweetness:



It's March, which means that it's time for March Sweetness at hersheypark. It's a basketball competition betweeen the park's product characters and a contest rolled into one. Last year's winner was The Hershey Kiss. What will it be this year?


Also they are running a special on admission tickets: Recieve $20 off when you purchase a general admission ticket between March 1st to March 6th. $18 off March 7 to March 13, $16 off March 14 to March 20, and $14 off March 21 to March 31.


My money is on the Reese's.

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Interesting thing happened today. Early this afternoon I recieved a message in my inbox from someone at the Ride Institute (Tammy) asking if someone from Keystone Thrills would be interested in doing an interview with them. Matt (HPCrazy) and someone else from the site have recieved the same message. I replied back to Tammy and said that I'd be interested and I gave her the times that I'd be available. Supposedly not too long later (or while I was writing the message) I recieved another message saying that Dr. Andersson (who I was supposedly going to interview) replied back and said that she had to unexpectently had to leave the states and had to cancel.

Here's where it gets fun. She left a .pdf file in the message leading to this:

Ahhh, brings back fond memories. lol


As you can see, there is a hidden code in the letter and when together, it spells: /comDec.html


Looks like the end of a web address, doesn't it? Could it be another page to the RIT's website? Well, I typed in the address with the code above and it took me to the following page:


The page title has 11 slashes and 1 star (just like the griffin logo), and there's a password box. If you look at the random letters and numbers at the bottom of the page I took a guess and figured it was the password. Once entered, it took me to a new .pdf file page.

The following is something new that I don't remember seeing before in the Nantimi game: the use of a foreign language to hide clues and details.

With a little help from Google Translate I've managed to have decode the mesasge mostly. Here's what it says:


To: Exec Comm

Subject: DNF - Comp. Imagine Research Q1 2011

Memo: Increased risk of RIT (And, juil, Deck, Rose, et al) and associated partner organizations involved in "Project X" Regional Comp. set of interviews suggest online marketing activities initiated in April '11 to build further on the announcement phase in August '11. Councils

AFW, serious financial, strategic and market perception of risks to consider not react with similar

investments. -JvdV


Sounds like online marketing will start next month and it will build until the official announcement in August later this season. It also looks like the name Project X has now been thrown into the mix along with a new name: AFW (which has a picture of a globe as a watermark on the page and for some reason it's not showing up too well).



On the visual side of things, some black, plastic drainage pipes have shown up inside Creekside Catering (Me and a friend of mine decided to stop at CW for something to eat since we were in the area). The new gate was open and there was someone staffed inside the ticket booth next to it.

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That's the same message I received in my email...saw you pointed that out as well. I'm thinking that letter was already made out until one of us replied to the interview email. Once you did, they sent out the email with that letter attachment on it. Looks like the game is beginning again folks!

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Wow, Hershey is really determined to leave us in the dark as long as possible. Thanks for putting in the effort to decode that page. I love these guessing games, too bad I suck at them. I'm waiting for the announcement anxiously, as I'm considering a trip towards the end of the season. If the coaster sounds good, I'll have to put it off until 2012. I'm hoping for a B&M hyper, Hershey needs an airtime machine and another B&M, so that would work perfectly, and would nicely complement the rest of the lineup.

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I have no idea what this all means in terms of specifics. Dutch could mean Vekoma as mentioned a couple posts above, but that goes against the 212 foot number we've heard before. I can't see them going with Vekoma for a ride like that.

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^Maybe it will be themed to The Godfather...


Looking at the area for the lift and markers, there doesn't appear to be much room, especially for a hyper coaster. So if it is a hyper, I'm positive that the ride will take up more space. That being said, it might not be a hyper at all, and if that is all the space to be used, then maybe Hersheypark is building the first custom Mega-lite.

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Count me among those that think the viral marketing is obnoxious, and I wish we would all stop paying attention to it.


I personally wonder what has taken Hershey so long to hop aboard the hypercoaster train. Dorney's will be 15 years old when Attraction 2012 opens. Nitro will be 11. I've been waiting for a Hershey-hyper for over a decade. At this point for me, these games are really annoying.


If it's true that no announcement is coming until August, then that is just stupid. I'm not interested in playing any games or cracking codes this April - Spring was supposed to be a "joint announcement", right?. I'm not interested in looking at photographs of markings, or land clearings, or even footers all summer, with comments from the peanut gallery, speculating about what we're looking at, with no inside information at all.


Keystone Thrills guys, please don't take this the wrong way. I enjoy reading your site and following the goings ons in PA. But being the park's contact for the clues doesn't make you guys insiders, it makes you tools in HE&R's hands. They're making you feel like insiders, without giving you any more information than they're giving anyone else. You're supplying them with free marketing, and they are taking full advantage. If you're ok with that, that's your perogative. They might tell you you're getting paid in 'site hits', but it doesn't add up, and it certainly doesn't help that you post everything they give you here. Food for thought.


Regarding Attraction 2012, here's what's going to happen:


April comes with another clue or two. Then the park opens with teaser signs scattered throughout the park. You may even see a few "Pardon Our Mess" signs in Comet Hollow and near the park entrance. Land is cleared and footers are placed between now and the end of summer. The official announcement is made in August, just before demo starts on games buildings and the bathroom next to the Comet. Track starts to arrive in the September-October range, and is staged in the parking lot next to Chocolate World or in the old pool area next to the lighthouse. Vertical construction starts shortly after Halloween.


It's not hard to figure out what's happening or what's going to happen. I'm only interesting in knowing whether it's Intamin or B&M, and seeing the layout. Wake me up in August, I guess.


Don't get me wrong, I'm probably more excited about a hyper coming to Hersheypark than most everyone here. That does not mean, however, that I want to play their game. Sorry to spoil anyone's fun. Didn't mean to be that guy. If anyone disagrees with me, just ignore everything I said.

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