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Photo TR: Dutch Hershey Weekend, June 10-11, 2022

Dutch Wonderland & Hershey Park!

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Well, here's a park you don't hear too much about on this site...

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...Dutch Wonderland, in Lancaster, PA!  Truth be told, aside from the obvious credit hunting, I also needed to go this park to process my Palace/Parques Reunidos platinum pass for my trips later this year to Kennywood, Idlewild, and their northeast parks.  My parents brought me here once as a small child (probably around 6 or 7 years old), and my only memory of the park is being scared to death of the animatronic crocodiles that popped out of the water on the lagoon boat ride.  I don't think they ever brought me back after that, and I can't recall if I ever rode the Sky Princess (what they called their wooden coaster back then).  Despite a solid woodie and the original Mad House, this is decidedly a kiddie park that adults won't find much to do at.  Anyway, on to the park!  That big purple dragon is Duke, the park's mascot, and heavily featured throughout the park.

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I absolutely love their height grading system.

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Just beyond their simple main gate...

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...lies the first ride you come across, a miniature train that dates to 1963.  Unfortunately gas powered, but what are you gonna do.

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They've got a classic skyride...

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...kiddie whip...

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..and mini-rotojets.

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This was one of the many, many show venues that the park has.

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They've also got a Chance Yo-Yo.

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And this!  The Dutch Wonderhouse; it is an in-house built Mad House from the 1960s, similar to the modern-day Houdini's Great Escape at the Six Flags parks.  As you can see, it is super, super tiny.  This was probably my most anticipated ride of the trip, but unfortunately was out of commission both today and when I swung by the park on my way home the next day.  Major bummer.

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Moving right along, they've got a tilt-a-whirl themed to turtles.

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A surprising find a kiddie park, a bar.  Standard amusement park beer prices (no beer jail!), and some food offerings.  I later had the cinnamon dessert pretzel, which while good, wasn't quite $10 good (with season pass discount).

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Back to more kid's rides...

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They've also got bumper cars, which are...

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...legit Lusse Scooters!  Sadly not run anywhere near as fast as those at Knoebel's, but it's the thought that counts, right?

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One of their more recent additions is the Exploration Island section...

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...which has some drive-'em cars and a on-rails boat ride...

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..a digging pit...

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..and some tiny Dinosaurs Alive-esque walk through.

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Here's the other end of the Sky Ride...

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...a modern kid's spin-and-bounce...

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...and finally a roller coaster!

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This was Joust, a mid-90's normal Chance kiddie coaster.  Adults can ride without kids.  Got 2 laps, but nothing to note (no air or laterals).  Always fun, though, when coasters are just sitting on concrete...

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Next up was the Sky Princess!...er, Kingdom Coaster.  I swear the old name was so much better.IMG_20220610_135143450.thumb.jpg.2fcc4f46f45bbf4de04a44eb20ca352d.jpg

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This is a 1992 CCI which runs PTC junior trains with buzz bars, though unfortunately also seat dividers and seat belts and clamp brakes.  I got two rides, one front and one back.  The back row has a surprising amount of laterals and 2 or 3 good pops of airtime.  The front row has about 6 pops of air and even better laterals than the back.  A solid ride!  7/10.  Amusingly, they don't do any kind of "all clear, dispatch!" spiel at any of the coasters here; once the restraints are checked, the trains just kinda roll out.

They've also got a small 1977 Arrow log flume, which was skipped due to time (this was the only ride in the park with a substantial line), though it didn't seem like people got too wet.

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Yet another two show venues...

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..some more kids' rides...

 

 

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...including a rare Chance Trabant....

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...an animatronic scene of Amish life...

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..and then it was finally time for their last credit, Merlin's Mayhem.IMG_20220610_142403251.thumb.jpg.70722d89df5f73f6b092292ed447934c.jpg

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Apparently, the storyline is that Merlin has lost Mayhem, his pet of some sort, and you're on a quest to find it?  I don't know, and the on-board audio didn't help (it seems to have cut out after the first main drop).  Anyway, this is a S&S family invert, and was quite mediocre.  I had a 7 minute wait for back row, and it was quite short, and it felt like the wheels were octagons.  Honestly the best part was the queue and the station. 5/10.  Here's some photos of the queue line and station:

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The back side of the queue doors, with a cool in-house opening mechanism.  Nerd shot?  Nerd shot.

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The obligatory carousel...IMG_20220610_143704039.thumb.jpg.5cf07a9921005918405c36853c31a3cd.jpg

...yet another show venue...

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..and some kiddie hand cars wrap out the list of rides here.

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They also have a monorail that runs the perimeter of the park.

Anyway, after hitting the three coasters, I hung around for a while hoping they would get the Dutch Wonderhouse operational, but it was not to be, and I continued on to Hersheypark.

Like I said at the start, this is a quaint little children's park with not a whole lot for adults to do.  I can't recommend stopping here unless you've got a Palace Platinum Pass, especially when the daily ticket price at the gate for an adult is $65(!).

I leave you with some pictures of the gift shop at the exit, with plenty of costume items for you little Knights and Princesses!  Sadly nothing adult sized. :(

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Up next, Hersheypark!

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Onto everyone's favorite candy-themed amusement park, Hersheypark!

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I got to the park around 5:40 PM for my "preview night," just enough time to get 2 of my 3 missing credits from this park.  While in line for the Wild Mouse, I noticed that Wildcat has a new(-er) sign than I remember:

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As for the Wild Mouse, I had an 18 minute wait for the back row, car to myself.  There were ZERO brake application during the initial back-and-forth part, leading to some insane laterals, and the final brakes didn't try to throw you out of the car. There were also like 5 cars out on the course at a time; this is how you run a Wild Mouse, Kings Dominion!  Anyway, probably the best wild mouse I've ever been on, but still a wild mouse...6/10.

Up next was Laff Trakk, which I had skipped on my previous visits in 2020 and 2017, as at the time I didn't do spinning coasters at all.  Now that I've realized they're not so bad, I had a credit to grab! Cute little cutout in the queue line...

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As for the ride itself, meh.  Had a 40 minute wait to start backwards. Still not a big fan of most spinning coasters, but this one was made better by getting paired with a 30-something year old woman who wouldn't stop screaming the entire ride.  4/10.

I got off Laff Trakk at like 6:56 (for a 7:00 closing), and tried to make my way over to Fahrenheit to get in a lap on my 2nd favorite coaster here before close, but it was not to be.  I arrived back at the park at around 10:40 for a 11:00 opening, and found this awaiting me:

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Eeesh.  Anyway, upon entry I bypassed Candymonium (I wasn't very impressed back when I first rode it in 2020), and made my way to my last missing credit from this park:  Cocoa Cruiser!  Yes, the kiddie coaster.  I had a two cycle wait for the back row.  Whatever, it's a kiddie coaster - nothing that notable.  4/10.

I then hopped on Fahrenheit, with a 15 minute for the back row.  Awesome ride as always (greyed out a little bit on the pretzel loop!), but starting to get a little rattle-y, and despite running only two trains, still stacked upon return for the station (this would be the theme of the day).  8/10.  Obligatory nerd shot:

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Next on the agenda was Lightning Racer (one train wait for back row on Thunder side, won the race).  Good enough, but has definitely started to develop Wildcat/Apocalypse syndrome and is getting a bit rough.  6/10.  Honestly hoping for it to be torn down in favor of a massive water park expansion, which this park desperately needs.

I took a detour through the Boardwalk, which was dead on this cool, overcast day, and noted that the lazy river has been added to Fast Track.  About damned time (cue my detractors who think I only care about the skip-the-line experience at parks. ;))

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Made my way over to the "new" area with the two Jolly Rancher rides:  Mix'd Flavored by Jolly Rancher and Jolly Rancher Remix.  Yes, these are the actual names of the rides.  Having been on plenty of boomerangs before, including this one, I skipped it, but I did wait 10 minutes for the Zamperla NebulaZ.

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This was my first time on one of these.  A Zamperla ride with uncomfortable seats, you don't say?  Meh...didn't really do anything for me; couple of nice bits of floater air at the top of the rotations, and a decently long enough cycle, but one-and-done.  6/10.

Next up was Storm Runner, which had been closed during my 2020 trip.

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20 minute wait for the front row; I really forgot how awesome this ride is.  It's no Top Thrill Dragster, sure, but neither is that ride anymore being closed indefinitely.  9/10.  While in the station, I noticed something on Trailblazer (which is closed and sectioned off):

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Is that possibly a magnetic brake?  One can only hope.

Anyway, I grabbed a side of mac & cheese from the smokehouse (delicious) and hiked up the hill to Great Bear.  35 minute wait for back row, left edge.  Great ride, but once again stacked on the brake run for 5 minutes.  8/10.

Afterwards, I made my back down the hill and into The Hollow, to be greeted by this at Comet:

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..and this at Super Dooper Looper:

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Both were showing 60 minute waits in the app, which I had noticed was optimistic on previous rides.  SkyRush was closed for rain, so I wandered over to a smoking zone (thank you, Hersheypark, for still providing these!) while I waited out the "storm."

I also grabbed this cool shot of the Wave Swinger, almost completely dismantled:

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After the mild rain had ceased, SkyRush opened back up and I got in line.  Had a 12 minute wait for the back row, left wing.  Such an awesome awesome ride, trying to kill you at every opportunity.  On my way up the lift hill, it started to rain again (they would shut down after I got off again), and the feeling of being pelted with raindrops while having your torso realigned was insane.  11/10.

SDL's line had died down a bit, so I hopped on (30 minute wait for front row).  Not sure when this happened, but all of the trim brakes along the course were either off or gone, leading to an awesomely fast ride.  See, Magic Mountain, it is possible to run a Schwarzkopf without being trimmed to death!  9/10.

Swinging past Comet again, finding a 45 minute wait, I started to make my way out of the park and grabbed a pretzel from the place by the carousel (also delicious), and then headed out and headed home.

All in all, it was a great day.  Hersheypark operations definitely leave something to be desired though.  It certainly wasn't a lack of staff (each coaster had one or two greeters and one or two groupers, in addition to station personnel), but for some reason every single coaster stacked on the brake run for anywhere from one to five minutes.  But still, despite this, it was a good day.  This really is a very nice park, with a good collection of top-tier coasters and a decently selection of mid-grade rides, and tons of shade, and I don't know why I don't come here more frequently.

Thanks for reading!

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I was just at Dutch wonderland and I thought Merlins Mayhem was really smooth and I really enjoyed its open comfortable trains. Surprised you thought it was on octagon wheels. I got to ride the wonder house and thought it was great fun. It was a simple double bench that could rock and the house spinning was a great illusion 

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22 hours ago, grsupercity said:

I was just at Dutch wonderland and I thought Merlins Mayhem was really smooth and I really enjoyed its open comfortable trains. Surprised you thought it was on octagon wheels. I got to ride the wonder house and thought it was great fun. It was a simple double bench that could rock and the house spinning was a great illusion 

Maybe it was just that particular car on the train.  Did you sit in the very back row?

And you're lucky about the Wonder House.  DW is less than an hour away so I plan on trying to get back up there to get on it before this pass expires at the end of the year.

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I went to Dutch Wonderland a few years ago by myself. As a solo white guy in his 40s, I felt positive park security was going to approach me and ask that I leave immediately.

Most uncomfortable I've ever been "credit whoring" 😩

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thanks for the report on Dutch Wonderland -  I've been wondering about this park, as we didn't even have it on our itinerary for our trip thru Penn. years ago.

while it absolutely is a kiddie park, looks like it would still be worth a visit just for the Jr. Woodie, the Carousel, and the tilt-a-whirl themed to Turtles (since my spouse and i have a running gag about turtle themed rides, ever since riding "the Turtle" at Kennywood way back when).

 

the grounds look lovely too, with lots of picture opportunities.

wow. .that's a heck of a gate price tho!   if ever make it back to Pennsylvania to hit parks, I guess they are counting on most "walk ups" to just get a pass good for the other parks too.

but thanks for sharing!

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@grsupercityMaybe that was the difference?  Either way, I'm glad you had an enjoyable ride haha!

@redfoot12I'm a nearly-40 individual and was male-presenting; I didn't experience any kinda feelings like that, but I can see where you're coming from.  That sucks.

@bert425It's an easy park to miss (just like Delgrosso's).  I live less than an hour away and haven't been there since I was a little kid.  The Sky Princess/Kingdom Coaster is definitely worth it, and I'd imagine the flats you mentioned and the Wonderhouse are as well, but yeah the daily price is just insane for an adult.  I'm not sure how many platinum pass sales they get; the next closest park in the chain is Idlewild which is a solid 3 hours away, but yeah the platinum pass is the only way to make this worth it (if and only if you're also hitting a bunch of other Palace parks the same year).

Finally, thank you so much to @robbalveyand/or @SharkTums for featuring this report on the main page of the site.  I don't think anything I've posted has ever been featured before, and it's an honor.  Thank you again!

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Great report and pictures. I used to visit Dutch Wonderland once every few years when I was a kid.  It's interesting to see what rides are still there or changed like the antique cars that used to be towards the front of the park near the monorail station.

The $65 price is really surprising. I know it's going to be more expensive compared to when I used to go there but it's really gone up a lot since then. I remember they used to offer a wrist band for unlimited rides or a gate price of around $10 and you got some punch card listed with all the rides listed. You got 5 rides included and then after that, there was a charge per ride, most under $1, some like Sky Princess were a little more and then you turned in the card at the exit and paid for anything past the 5 rides.

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