When it gets new trains, a new station and a new lift hill speed. Can we count it as a new coaster?
I loved Skyrush like it was so I hope it does not get any major changes. I could see them slowing down the lift hill and try to add in an exit. However, I do not think any of those changes are major enough to change the ride experience.
William F. Simpson Jr. refused to reveal his favorite Hersheypark ride or Hershey candy. “I can’t play favorites,” he said. But, as the newly appointed chief executive officer of Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Co., Simpson can share some revelations. He steps into the position Jan. 1, replacing Ted Kleisner, who is retiring at the end of the year.
For starters, Simpson said in the near future visitors to Hersheypark can expect updates to the park’s water rides.
Early next year, two of the resort’s restaurants — The Hershey Grill at the Hershey Lodge and the Circular Dining Room at The Hotel Hershey — will be renovated and reopen under new concepts.
He is also anticipating a sold-out crowd to fill Hersheypark Stadium Jan. 20 for the 2013 Capital BlueCross AHL Outdoor Classic hockey game with the Hershey Bears and Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins.
“Obviously, the most important thing is to remain a premiere hospitality destination,” Simpson said. To do that, he said, the company will remain focused on its core hotels, restaurants, spas and entertainment adding updates and growing those existing businesses to keep things fresh for visitors.
Simpson is currently the company’s president & chief operating officer and will remain president. Kleisner will remain a member of the company’s board of directors.
Simpson started with Hershey Entertainment in 1996 when he came on board as general manager of the Hershey Lodge and oversaw the facility’s expansion in 1998.
In April 2002, he became vice president of the entertainment group overseeing the operation of Hersheypark Entertainment Complex. In April 2010, he was promoted to COO, followed by the role of president in November 2010.
He was appointed to the company’s board of directors in 2011.
Given the economic times, and the fact discretionary spending is down, Simpson said Hershey Entertainment, and its amusement park, are weathering the times. “The great news is while the industry in general was down double digits, we were down single digits. Yes, I think every business in America had some kind of set back,” he said.
This summer, roughly 2.5 million visitors entered Hersheypark’s gates, many to ride the latest thrill ride, the Skyrush roller coaster.
That number is on par with previous years, Simpson said, although he admits they expected a bit more of a boost from the launch of Skyrush. Three weeks of high heat in July didn’t bode well for business but visitors flooded the park in August, he said.
What’s next for Hersheypark? Simpson said guests are constantly being surveyed, and two things visitors say they want are more roller coasters and water rides. The Boardwalk has been a big success and, after launching Skyrush this year, the park will probably turn its attention to the water rides, he said.
As for the resorts, 7 percent of the park’s visitors stay at HERCO’s properties which top off at 1,000 rooms. The average length of stay is two days with most visitors coming from New Jersey/ New York and the Baltimore/Washington areas. “We are more of a get-away than a vacation destination,” he said.
Next year, guests will notice changes to two of the property’s restaurants. The Circular Dining Room will close in January for remodeling and reopen as the more casual “The Circular,” serving items such as steaks and grilled fish.
Milton S. Hershey built this prestigious, upscale restaurant in his signature hotel in the midst of the Great Depression. The decision to revamp the historic restaurant came about after working with consultants and looking at what similar hotels around the country are doing with their restaurants, Simpson said.
The trend is to get away from formality. The Circular Dining Room sees a steady business for breakfasts and brunch but dinner has remained soft as guests no longer want to invest 2½ hours on a meal, Simpson added.
In addition, the Hershey Grill at the Lodge will be revamped into a diner/bistro and will add breakfast. It will feature an open kitchen, stainless steel and a higher energy atmosphere.
“Our guests’ interests and demands change every day. The market is constantly moving and we have to keep up with it. What is great today is passe in two years. We can’t get ahead of it. We just try and stay on top of it,” Simpson said.
As for the Outdoor Classic, Simpson said they are gearing up for the outdoor hockey event after the holiday. He’s not sure what to expect as far as the pace of ticket sales but is expecting a sold out crowd to fill Hersheypark Stadium.
Overall, Simpson said he will continue to guide Hershey Entertainment in what it does best.
“We need a compelling reason to make people come here. If we remind people of who we are and what we stand for, that’s a good reason. We are easy to get to and they know what to expect from us. There’s great loyalty to the Hershey brand,” he said.
Change the scheme, Alter the mood! Electrify the boys and girls if you would be so kind!
^HP is definitely looking into trying to expand into the golf course, as was said during the New Hotness behind the scenes tour. The main problem is that they have to reroute Park Boulevard (the road that goes behind Skyrush, Comet and SDL) or make a pedestrian bridge around the existing road. It's definitely possible, but it won't exactly be cheap. My solution would be to widen the path between the chocolate shop and Skyrush a bit, move the Creekside Catering to the golf course, and use that newly freed up space to make a pedestrian bridge over Park Avenue with helical ramps which would be covered with giant Hershey's Kiss shaped roofs. Since the ramp wouldn't take up all of Creekside Catering's current land plot, we could also use the remaining area to put in either a couple of shops or a small flat ride or two.
Doubt they would move the entire water park to another area of the park grounds because of the recently added lazy river and wave pool. Hershey spent a lot of money on removing the rapids ride to add those permanently based attractions.
Looks like there could be water park expansion room towards Wildcat, but they would have to relocate the Merry Merry Dip Fun slides and the pavilion. Perhaps the slides could go over to Comet Hollow and the pavilion over in the old golf course area?
I didn't know they relocated Storm Runner over the top of the ferris wheel!
I am excited for them to add to the water rides. I am huge water park enthusiast and I think their water park is pretty mediocre. Every time I go I do not spend much time there because its always so crowded - even during the week. But this is my experience and perhaps I went on bad days.
I may not know everything about coasters... what I do know is they are my life... Home park: Six Flags America Favorite park overall: All Walt Disney World Parks Favorite Steels: Maverick, Millennium Force, Sky Rush, Talon, Poltergeist, I-305 Favorite Woodies: Iron Rattler, Phoenix, Roar, El Toro, Jack Rabbit, Thunderbolt, The Raven, The Legend TPR Trips: Northeast 2011, LeviaTHON 2012
These pages are in no way affiliated with nor endorsed by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Cedar Fair, Legoland, Merlin Entertainment, Blackstone, Tussaud's Group, Six Flags, Universal Theme Parks, the Walt Disney Company or any other theme park company.
photos and videos on this website were taken with the permission of the park by
a professional ride photographer.
For yours and others safety, please do not attempt to take photos or videos at
parks without proper permission.
You need a sense of humor to view our site,
if you don't have a sense of humor, or are easily offended, please turn back
Most of the content on this forum is suitable for all ages. HOWEVER! There may be some content that would be considered rated "PG-13." Theme Park Review is NOT recommended for ages under 13 years of age.