Night and Day at Hersheypark, June 9-10
Larry and I finished Dorney in mid-afternoon, so we hit the highway for the 90-minute drive to Hersheypark. Our plan was to buy our tickets for Sunday, do as many of the coasters as we could before the park closed at 10:00, then finish off and reride some stuff on Sunday. (Hershey will let you in the park at 7:15 or so if you buy a ticket that night. My thanks to Sensei Derek for cluing me into this little perk.)
Well, we got there a bit early, so we checked out Hershey's Chocolate World. This is essentially the "Word of Coke," only with chocolate (and admission is free). There is, of course, Hershey's chocolate out the yin-yang for sale, a rather Epcot-like dark ride about how chocolate is made, and the "Really Big 3D Show" (basically a 3D commercial for Hershey's that costs an extra $5.95).
Finally, our time came, and in we went. Hersheypark is one of the most beautiful parks I've ever visited (right up there with Euroburg). I particularly like how they've integrated the park's "Boardwalk" section with the water park--very cleverly done. And, unlike your average Cedar Fair park, Hershey's loves trees. There's a good selection for you flat-ride fans out there, and the Reese's Xtreme Cup Challenge is a surprisingly addictive shooting dark ride (at least we got a kick out of it).
We were really covering the theme-park spectrum this weekend: Hersheypark, the "destination" that you could easily spend a few days exploring; Dorney Park, the nice "daytrip" or local park; and Dutch Wonderland, the "roadside attraction" (or "tourist trap," depending on how you look at it).
Here are the coasters from best to worst. Note that there's only one really bad
one, at least to my mind.
--This awesome dueling woodie is my third favorite behind Balder and El Toro. It's fast and twisty, yet surprisingly smooth, and the "dueling" trains really add a whole other dimension to the ride. Not to be missed. (We were 3-1 last weekend--2 wins on "Lightning," 1 on "Thunder.")
--This is definitely the best of the launchers I've ridden. (I haven't been on TTD or Xcelerator, so please don't ask.
) I like that it has a few more tricks up its sleeve beyond the standard "high-hat" beginning. I'd take this one over Kingda Ka any day.
--An excellent B&M inverted, that flies through its course over the lake in Comet Hollow. It's intense, yet smooth and lots of fun.
--Another good stack of wood, even if it is a bit blown away by Lightning Racer. I understand that this beast used to be on the rough side, but I guess those new trains helped, because I didn't find it to be too rough at all--just lots of fun.
--Anton, the master of the vertical loop, strikes again! Yes, this isn't the biggest coaster I've ever ridden, but it is a lot of fun (which is the whole idea, right?). I like how the lifthill starts out slowly, then shifts into to high gear to hurtle you over the top.
--I've heard some complaints about this old woodie, but I liked it--good, old-school fun.
--This is a better-than-average steel mouse for two reasons: 1) It's built on top of a hill, which also heightens the thrill, and 2) it isn't braked much at all. One of the best of its kind, I think.
--Not a big thrill machine, but that's not the idea, is it? We hit this one early on Sunday morning to get the credit and minimize the level of wetness (which still went beyond "acceptable"). It's even more fun to cut loose on other riders with the water cannons.
--Yup! It's a standard-issue Arrow mine train. As family coasters go, it's OK (but I think Carowinds has a better one).
--I got two words for ya: Vekoma Boomerang. 'Nuff said on that.
On to the pics.