I awoke early in the morning, as one does while camping. I’m not sure how or why this happens, but I can rise at 6 AM while camping and be perfectly rested. I took my time in the morning and went into the camp store when it opened for some coffee and souvenirs.
Souvenirs. I love these characters.
When the buses started running, I made my way there and was taken to the entrance. It began to sprinkle a bit, but nothing amounting to anything at all. So I took a seat under an umbrella and waited for it to open. I saw a few characters walk by, with their handlers holding umbrellas for them.
I got a mini parade before opening.
And I guess this is as good a place to say this as any: There’s a freaking huge rain cloud hanging out over Hersheypark that would last until about 3. Not a thunderstorm, just a rain cloud. Rain for half the day on a Monday no less. I have full reign of Hersheypark with NO. LINES. EVER.
I began the early entry going straight to Skyrush, and only then did I realize it doesn’t open in the rain. That does make sense, with as crazy as it is. Okay, I’ve got some other early entry rides and an hour to do them all. My first coaster of the day was Sooperdooperlooper. It’s really, really good. I will say that I preferred Revolution, with its loop at the end of the ride rather than the beginning. Revolution felt like it was building up to a grand finale, while SDL felt like it petered out at the end.
Next up was Comet, and holy crap did this ride blow away all expectations! I had heard good things, but I had no idea. I love this ride, and I went back immediately for a second lap. Brilliant layout, great sense of speed, good airtime, it’s got everything you would expect of a wooden coaster of that age and more.
Skyrush was down for rain.
First coaster of the day!
Entrance noted for later.
Beautiful little plaza here by the Kissing Tower.
Love the keystones!
Hershey's Tower was very fun.
Next I climbed up the hill to the new hotness, Hershey’s Triple Tower. This was my first opportunity to ride a combo tower, and it was absolutely great. I also rode the other two, and the Kisses Tower had the expected Doubleshot extreme airtime, but the Reese’s Tower had air as well, which I did not expect. Well done, Hershey! The idea sounded weird, but they pulled it off!
Only a few more minutes of ERT left, so I began to make my way toward the rope drop, but not before I stopped off at the Skyride.
Storm Runner cannot run in storms.
Bumper cars and skee ball
Well, I can't rush the sky, but I can still view it.
Once the rope dropped and the park was officially open, all ten of us guests ran for Laff Track. This was a great ride! I don’t normally like spinners at all, but for some reason this one was actually a lot of fun. I rode twice in a row, first going forward up the lift and then backward. If you only get one ride on this, try to go backward, there’s a nice surprise.
Park's open! Time to laff!
He he hee
Ha ha haa
Ho ho hoo
Well, while I’m back here, I might as well ride Lightning Racer again. To my surprise, they were actually running both sides! Just one train on each of course, but I’m impressed nonetheless. There is no way that the expected attendance today justifies this, but I am so glad they did. The ride wasn’t running as fast this morning, what with nearly empty trains, but it’s great nonetheless. Had to do both sides again.
I then went down to Trailblazer and noticed Storm Runner was ironically the other coaster not running in the rain. Everything else was open. Repeating just for emphasis: Everything but Storm Runner and Skyrush was running. This is so awesome. Trailblazer was okay; as previously mentioned, I’m always disappointed by every mine train I ride. There’s only one Thunderation.
Back up the hill now for Coal Cracker, Great Bear, and Kissing Tower. Coal Cracker was pretty great. Nothing like riding a log flume in the rain. Great Bear was even better than I expected. It’s not very intense, and the back half does feel a bit drawn out, but as much as people might say it does nothing in the second half, that’s just not true. It’s a fun ride, and since it isn’t very intense at all, it’s easy to ride several times in a row. I might have done that on about 3 separate occasions that day.
Okay, so that’s all of the coasters now. That didn’t take as long as I had expected. Um...lunch? I went out to the Hersheypark Place Restaurant for a chocolate burger. It was very good, as was the beer selection. Yes, I’m drinking alone at 11 AM. That’s the sort of thing normal, responsible people do on vacation.
Pretty good beer.
Great burger. They serve it to you sideways.
Now back in the park, I went to Reese’s Xtreme Cup Challenge. I looked all over the ride, but I never could find the missing E. The ride is a ton of fun, though, and you get a free peanut butter cup!
I went on the monorail next and got a nice scenic view of the park. I’ve actually never been on a monorail before (Disneyland’s was closed when I was there). It was really fun. I went from there to the train, which was pretty good too, but certainly not the best theme park train.
I'm a little nervous. I hear these things are awfully loud.
Genuine, bonafide, advertised, six-car monorail.
All right, great first monorail ride!
The famous Music Box Theatre
And now it's time for a ground-level train.
It was time to get to know Fahrenheit better. The only operating Intamin in the park had a 5 minute line practically all day. I rode this many, many times throughout the day.
No more fooling around with rides not made by Intamin.
Headed to the back now. Lightning Racer is so far from all the other awesome stuff at this park, but it's so worth the walk. Especially when I'm not waiting in any lines.
Lightning Racer is so good.
Yeah, that's right. BOTH TRAINS.
Tidal Force was next on the agenda. Yes, I was cold and wet already from the rain, so you’d think this would be one to skip. I do love this ride type, though, and it was tough to get any wetter really, so why not? It was fun.
Skloosh! Yeah, I did that.
After Tidal Force, I needed a place to sit and warm up, so I headed back up to Kissing Tower Hill, and where else but the beer garden? I got a pretzel at first, but it wasn’t that great, so I grabbed some crab fries from the nearby Chickie’s and Pete’s and took them back to the beer garden for some quiet and local brews. Really liked Yard’s.
I thought about getting some of that Bblz stuff, but it was the same price as a beer, so...
Yeah, beer. For some reason I took a photo of this pretzel from the beer garden and not the crab fries. No idea why.
Time for more Coal Cracker and more Great Bear! I headed down the hill for another spin on Superdooperlooper, then went up to the loop to get a photo. It was just then that I noticed…Skyrush was testing! Ah, yeah, this day was already running on all cylinders, and now it just hit the nitrous.
Holy crap, it's testing!
And Storm Runner's open now too! Best Day Ever!
The Claw was really great. Not as good as "it," but nothing is.
So much fun.
The rest of the day was a blur of a ton of Skyrush, Comet, Great Bear, Storm Runner, and Fahrenheit, with a brief stop in the back for a couple more laps on Lightning Racer. Hershey is an incredible park, with something for everybody. The rides are great, the atmosphere is great, the food is great, and not to mention CHOCOLATE EVERYWHERE. This is such a special park, and it sits proudly on my list of parks I would go back to right now, even if they added nothing else. And the very next day I found out they are doing very much the opposite of adding nothing else—that new water coaster looks amazing. I never went to the waterpark, or actually any waterparks on this trip, but it did look pretty good, and that will be a great addition to it. Kozmo threatened, er, I mean, strongly encouraged me to return to Knoebels soon or else, so I’m sure I’ll be back in this area before too long. Hershey will definitely be on the itinerary when I do.
This has been such a great day.
So much attention to guest experience. This photo right here pretty much sums up what Hersheypark is all about.
Bravo, Milton Hershey. I think you'd be proud of what this place has become.
That sounds like the greatest day ever. I say it all the time but Hershey is the best park I've ever been to. I've never been there during a crowded summer day, so that has a lot to do with it but goddamn I love this park so much and you made me want to go back so bad.
Awesome photos! Hershey is one of the more reliably-nice parks I've visited; I don't think I've ever had a bad time there, even when the park was crowded. The coaster collection was sneaky-good even before SkyRush, but now it's great. While the Intamin trio steals the headlines, I think Lightning Racer is one of the most underrated hands-up fun coasters out there. Glad you had a good time!
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