With Hershey's announcement today, it's only fitting to post the Hersheypark part of the trip right?Thanks to Andy, Brad, Elissa, Robb, Jared, Jack, Franklin, and Alex for some photos included below!
Day 9 - Hersheypark
Glowphest is a tough act to follow, but I knew Hershey had the tools to deliver: an Intamin airtime machine that I had been reading about for years, a dueling GCI, a unique Intamin launch coaster, another Intamin looper, a funky B&M, and yeah, you get it. They have tons of great coasters! Not to mention an impressive waterpark, a zoo section, and Chocolate World.
Getting into Hersheypark was like going through their showcase of accomplishments - it's pretty much a town. Oh wait, it *is* Hershey, Pennsylvania! There's the Hershey Theater, The Hershey Museum, The Hershey Stadium, Hershey Gardens, Hershey Country Club, Hotel Hershey - seriously go check out google maps, it's a big deal.
Thanks to Robb and Elissa, we were able to get the Sweet Start (early start) to the day, which helped us get to guest services without any lines to get our fast pass card. The park was nice enough to let us pick which section of the park to start so that we could schedule when we wanted to ride X when. Thanks, Hershey!
Our group picked the back of the park first because we didn't want to f*** around with Laff Trakk or the Wild Mouse since they would likely draw long lines. But we still had the Sweet Start to check out the Hollow area with Sooperdooper, SkyRush, and Comet.
Comet was the first ride of the day and was the perfect lead in coming from Knoebels - it's a wooden coaster with buzz bars! Franklin and I grabbed a seat towards the back and we had a great ride on this 1946 classic. I really enjoyed the layout going over the water and running around under Skyrush. Nothing offensive about this ride, just a really solid wooden coaster.
Next it was time for my first ride on Skyrush, but more importantly - payback time, Franklin! Yes. Alex, Colin, Jared, and I were not going to quickly forget the unacceptable amount of wetness we experienced the day before on Knoebel's log flume. It was a walk on so without giving any time to think, we briskly went to the back, and made sure Franklin was on the outside edge. Yeah, I sacrificed the outside seat on my first Skyrush ride
In impeccable timing, Andy was underneath the brake run to capture the sheer terror the outside wing Skyrush instilled in Franklin, haha. He swears he will not ride again. Justice served! I wanted another go for the wing seat before I gave my opinion, so everyone but Franklin went back around for another go.
Skyrush - It only took me one ride to figure out I just needed to scoot up in my seat a little to have the restraint resting on me in a more comfortable manner. I understand people's complaints, but hey 75% of us on the trip marathoned Skyrush for an hour
. That's all I have to say about how much the restraints effected my rides. This ride is wild and right up there with Twisted Timbers for most intense airtime. Skyrush's sustained airtime + the trains make it an INCREDIBLE ride! I absolutely LOVED the train design - so open. You feel so vulnerable as you're getting whipped around the track over the water. Skyrush is f***iing sooooo much fun and like Phoenix, takes time to ride with your hands up the whole way. You really have to get to know the layout a bit otherwise you will be tossed around like Betty White riding a mechanical bull.
I enjoyed the back right more than the back left - the left side was noticeably more violent in my opinion. I was able to get tons of front row rides during ERT since so many people were crowding the back and I can't decide if I liked the front or back better. The wing is all I need! Skyrush absolutely lives up to the hype - some love it, some can't handle it. Similar to other RMC's, I found it easier to ride the more I rode it. Get tolerant to those negative Gs!
Sandwiching the classics around the modern hit, next was SooperdooperLooper, the Schwarzkopf. This will be my least favorite Schwarzkopf, but it's still fun. It's just a tame ride and shorter than I anticipated. SDL definitely makes for a perfect first looping coaster for the smaller ones. So by the time we were done with the Hollow area, we had already checked off 3 coasters before the park opened! It was just about time to let the GP in so we headed over towards Laff Trakk to get that out of the way.
We had some time to kill before our first group of coasters were ready - for those of you who haven't used Hershey's Fast Track, they group a couple coasters in the same area together for you to ride in a 2 hour window. Then you can move on to the next section. What's a fantastic waste of time? The haysack carnival style Fun Slides of course!!! I love these slides and as a kid the big 20 lane wide 50 ft slide at Kings Island was my favorite ride. I really need to get to Europe for all the crazy slides over there. No, Alex/Jared/Michael/Colin did not join me, haha.
Laff Trakk - I'm really happy we only had to wait less than 10 minutes for this one. I was really excited to try a Maurer Söhne spinner since I had not been on that model before. I was even MORE excited to see as we were boarding Franklin's punishment would continue as his car was PERFECTLY unbalanced! Colin and I boarded behind his car and as we went up the lift I eagerly looked down expecting to see Franklin's car spinning out of control....but it was turning slower than a Cubs fan getting out of bed after the wildcard loss this morning. I think our car might have spun one complete rotation throughout the whole circuit? It might as well been a mouse. It was fun, there was a little bit of airtime, and I thought the design was neat.
We rode the mouse, it was a mouse.
Lightning Racer - GCI is pretty close to Hershey, right? I was wondering if that had a role in how well Lightning Racer is running. I feel like this is a crown jewel for them. The racing/dueling aspect of this ride worked out really well and I had a blast. I was anticipating a bit more airtime, but that's not the focus of this coaster. It was stunning at night with the tracer lights along every inch of the track. Loved the night rides on this GCI!
Wildcat - I was so ready to skip this. So ready. I really don't care about credit counts. But I guess it might not be around for much longer so... we rode it. We even waited for the front seat. I take back my macho jokes about riding it in the back seat pre-trip. That's not funny after riding Wildcat. This ride is pure hot steamy garbage. I've never had such a bad ride in the front seat of a coaster. It was painful and it sits nice and close to Zeus/Ninja/old Hurler/SoB as one of the worst roller coasters I've ever experienced. Next!
I waved at the boomerang as we walked right on by to Storm Runner. Sorry boomerang, haha. Albert rode the boomerang!!! How was it, Albert?!
Storm Runner - Now get ready....here we go. This coaster is soooo good! Fantastic launch, great air over the top hat, and then the flying snake dive has some surprising whip in the back/air going up into it in the front. The pictures don't do it justice. I would love to know how the planning for this ride went, it's just so weird and twisted. My only complaint is that they had the back 2 cars closed off for most of the day because the ops wanted to prevent rollbacks. Huh? I only got one back car ride and I favored it over the front, which is typically not the case for me!
We had reservations at the restaurant outside the park, so we headed out towards the front and hit up the Reese Cup Challenge. This ride surprised me in many ways - the animatronics, the hills, the team A vs team B aspect of the ride. I thought it was tons of fun! It was so wacky and bad it was amazing.
Chocolate World - Whewwwww talk about a long queue! I can't imagine how long the line can get on a busy weekend. The story was entertaining, but we were distracted by one woman trying to supervise 4 five year olds in the car in front of us. They were bouncing around, jumping and climbing on the side of the car I seriously thought they were going to fall out, haha.
The restaurant was a fine sit down spot that had a good selection of local beers and an American menu. Of course the desert menu was stacked, but I was full from a delicious tomato basil flat bread.
Back into the park, we took in the sky ride to get some views of all the geese and ducks hanging out in the creek; I mean Great Bear! and the other surrounding coasters! Another ride on Skyrush was necessary, and we went up the hill Coal Cracker and Great Bear, the last 2 big rides on our list.
Coal Cracker is a capacity monster and didn't have a line all day thanks to the surplus of boats. This flume won't get you wet unless you load up your boat with 5 adults. I think. It definitely takes an effort. It's a leisurely flume with a great drop + airtime pop. We rode this a bunch!
Great Bear - A solid B&M invert with a nontraditional layout. I really really loved the high speed turn around by Skyrush that threw you into this little squiggle/corkscrew combo. I don't really know how to explain it, but it was a memorable element to me. We would have gotten more rides in if the crew put some effort forward; the dispatches were dismal.
We checked out some more flats, the new trio of towers which were what you'd expect from the great folks at S&S, watched Storm Runner while having a beer at the Yeungling patio, rode the mine train, Storm Runner a few more time, Fahrenheit, Lightning Racers, and then more Coal Cracker/Skyrush before Skyrush ERT.
I forgot about Fahrenheit! This was, surprise, another great Intamin. Really enjoyed the different inversions and the airtime hills at the end were getting me hyped up for Maverick the next day. Alex and Jared did not have a good experience with the ops here; they were definitely training new members, but there's no excuse for slamming a restraint on someone's head and shrugging it off. He could go into more details on this one.
Jared had an amazing 4 flavor sampler from Rita's and they had some rare flavors - Kool Aid, Sweedish Fish, Watermelon, etc. We love Rita's!!!
Skyrush ERT was our final endurance test before Steel Vengeance the next 2 nights. Wow, Skyrush was fantastic. The crew was great and rode with us - no surprise they were just as excited/freaked out by Skyrush as all of us were. This coaster absolutely lives up to the intensity hype. I loved the seats and how free you are flying around over the water. It's shocking how quickly you're chucked over the hill and sent into the airtime abyss. The front wings and back right wing were my favorite and the middle non wing seats provided a slight break in intensity when I wanted to rest, haha.
What an amazing day at Hershey!