HERSHEYPARK 2009

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June 21, 2009
Hershey PA

Because we got back so late from NYC, we decided to sleep later and get to HERSHEYPARK around noon or a little later. On Sunday morning we got up, got ready, and headed 90 minutes to Hershey, PA. I’d actually been thru Hershey once, and drove by the park with my brother, but had never actually been to the park, so I was excited. The drive was longer that I’d have liked, but we stopped for food at Sheetz and then fueled up about 20 miles from Hershey.

It’s interesting to drive along the Pennsylvania countryside and see rolling hills, then see the park and the town in the distance. Hershey is a quaint little town, and I’d love to get the opportunity to go and walk around town in the future. Once we arrived and turned into the park, we drove around a good 15 minutes to try and find parking. The lot was FULL of cars. I know this park has a reputation of always being busy, but would that translate into long waits?

We walked by Chocolate World and Matt said if I wanted to do it we should do it now since it would likely be closed when we left, but I decided against it since I was itching to go into the park and start riding. I wanted to do Chocolate World, but it wasn’t the priority.

HERSHEYPARK 2009

The first thing I noticed about Hersheypark was that the entrance is very nice. It reminds me of Busch Gardens Williamsburg with the Tudor and trees and hilly terrain. Plus it smelled like chocolate which is always a plus. The park was packed. I expected the worst when it came to wait times, but the lines were never terribly bad. We toyed with riding Fahrenheit first but I was most looking forward to Storm Runner. Plus, Fahrenheit’s line was longer than we wanted to wait for at the moment, so we headed over to my first credit of the day.

WildcatWildcat had no real line and very little wait for the front row. They’d just gotten new trains for Wildcat and Matt said it wasn’t the same coaster. Sadly, that wasn’t a good thing. The layout for Wildcat was really nice looking and normally I love Millennium Flyer trains, but they seemed to have killed all of the airtime. The first drop was really good, but there just wasn’t any airtime on the ride at all. I was kind of disappointed, but I got over it. I was at HERSHEYPARK, afterall.

So we walked around the park, which was just getting more and more beautiful. There were live bands playing seemingly everywhere. I know during the course of the day I heard 3 or 4 different ones, including the quartet. We were close to the Mouse, which gets rave reviews, so we headed there next.

HERSHEYPARK 2009

Wild MouseThey pretty much run the ride without any brakes on the course. It was slightly better than Dorney Park’s, and this was the 2nd of 3 coasters with this layout I’d be riding on this trip. The drops were fun, the turns were forceful in a good way, and overall the ride was great. Once we stopped on the brake run outside of the station, however, we stopped moving all together. There was some issue and we were on the brake run for several minutes. I updated my Facebook status so that everyone knew (Marked Safe from Wild Mouse).

Once we were let off we walked around the park and then over to one of the coasters I was looking forward to the most. I really love launched coasters and this next coaster had a great reputation. We toyed with riding Fahrenheit but didn’t want to wait yet, so instead we headed over to get our launch on.

Storm RunnerThe line was deceptively longer than the wait was. We decided to ride in the front of the train. The dual loading station was efficient, but with only 2 trains running I’m not sure it added to the capacity. After rolling out to the launch and shifting back we were off. The launch was intense and the tophat had some nice airtime on top. Then you go through some of the most amazing elements on any coaster. The first inversion was smooth and fast. The 2nd and 3rd had great hang time and positive Gs  The roll at the top of the hill really freaked me out. The double up had some nice air, though not extremely violent. Storm Runner was a great ride. It just needed to be a lot longer.

HERSHEYPARK 2009

Matt wasn’t too keen on riding Sidewinder so headed over to the mine train next. Matt said it was rather boring so we decided to get it out of the way since it was convenient and the wait wasn’t very long.

TrailblazerThis was a typical mine train. Boring, slow, and typical. It’s in a highly wooded area and affords some nice views of Storm Runner, but it had very few other redeeming qualities. It did have a nice helix, though. I’m just not a fan of mine train coasters, and this one wasn’t anything special.

We walked down and around the creek towards Great Bear. I was looking forward to this as well as it had a distinctly different layout. This was the 2nd B&M invert of the trip, and I’d really liked Talon so I was hoping I wasn’t going to be disappointed in the Bear.

Great BearWe ended up waiting for the front of the train and I’m glad we did. The helix before the drop was really fun and the drop was great. After the loop I really enjoyed the black and yellow arrows painted on the ground as you speed by. Then, after two more rapid fire inversions, you swing around and fly by the creek before a corkscrew and more twists and turns take you back to the station. Great Bear was really fantastic and was likely my 2nd favorite coaster at the park. I’m surprised more people don’t rave about it.

HERSHEYPARK 2009

Matt likes SooperDooperLooper and told me that Kevin really likes it as well. He and Emily hadn’t arrived yet, but we still headed over to get a quick lap on it. I was hoping for a non neutered version of Revolution, and I’m always happy to add a Schwarzkopf to my list.

SooperDooperLooperThe lift was funky and the first drop was pretty amazing. But then Matt made a comment about how the rest of the ride was like a mine train, and he was right. The rest of the coaster was just twisty with no great drops and not much going on but meandering around the side of some hills. It’s a fun family coaster, but it’ was definitely not Schwarzkopf’s best work. I left unimpressed.

After SooperDooperLooper we headed over towards the Midway America section. I toyed with riding Roller Soaker then, but decided to wait. We headed on over to Lightning Racer next for a double shot of wooden coaster goodness.

Lightning RacerWe rode the left side first. The first drop was a lot of fun and overall the coaster had a pretty fine layout. The racing aspect was cool and they always seemed to race. The building with the sound effects was a decent addition and the last half of the coaster had some nice air and laterals. Once we got off we got right back in line for the right hand side. The lines weren’t long and again it was a nice ride with fun elements. Not the best by any means, but fun, and an impressive set of coasters to look at.

HERSHEYPARK 2009

By this point it was time to ride Fahrenheit so we got in line. Kev and Emily were almost there, so this would be enough time to let them get in and get settled into the park. This was the longest line we were in all day, but still it wasn’t much more than about 40 minutes. I passed some time shooting pictures.

FahrenheitThe vertical lift was much like Mystery Mine at Dollywood, but once you get pulled over the top the first drop was amazing. Every bit as good as Maverick at Cedar Point. The Norwegian Loop was interesting but there was air going into it, and the Cobra Roll was just kind of there. Then the rapid fire inversions that followed were smooth and fast, but didn’t do much. Then you twist and turn. Then you hit magic. The last hill before you turn to the brake run was violent and wonderful and full of ejector air. If there were more of this on the ride like there is on Maverick, I’d have really liked it. But alas, I wish I’d ridden this before Storm Runner because I was left somewhat disappointed.

By this point Emily and Kevin had arrived so we went to meet up with them and ride SooperDooperLooper once more. It was still pretty underwhelming to me, but Kevin liked it. Matt and I rode Great Bear again, and then hopped on the last woody I needed at Hershey while Kevin and Emily did other stuff.

CometMatt said it wasn’t the greatest ride but I liked Comet. It had some nice airtime on the out and back layout and the first drop was fun. Plus it wasn’t rough, and it’s a classic coaster. It’s in a nice part of the park too but, then, what part of the park isn’t nice? And the layout was fun. It could have been a bit more forceful, but overall it’s a solid old wooden coaster and I’d have liked to have ridden it in the dark.

HERSHEYPARK 2009

I got a bite to eat after we’d discussed leaving the park for a burger. Instead I had a fairly good steak sandwich that was a pretty decent size. Then we headed over to Sidewinder. Kevin was the only person brave enough to ride with me.

SidewinderWe rode in the back. This is a standard boomerang, and although the trains weren’t as nice as Carowind’s version (which has since changed), the ride wasn’t a headbanger and I enjoyed it. I love the drops on boomerang coasters because they seem so long and drawn out. In the end, this was another credit off the list.

Emily and Kevin were going to ride some other stuff while Matt and I were going to head over to Roller Soaker. Sadly, we arrived 5 minutes after closing, so I never got my credit. We did rush over to get another ride on Storm Runner, though, so I wasn’t sad for long. Then we went over and got one more ride on Great Bear. I really liked it and was happy that the line wasn’t long. We got in line for the dark ride and Kev and Em were behind us in line so after we rode we waited on them. After another dark ride on Looper, Matt and I headed to the log flume. This may be one of the best ever, because as a super flume, it had a hill after the big drop. The whole ride was nice, but the hill threw us both up onto our feet. Not quite as good as Dudley DoRight, but not far behind it. By this time it was dark and we decided to leave the park.

We walked around a bit with Kev and Emily and found our way to the front of the park. As we were leaving we made plans to meet them at a Sheetz up the road, but Chocolate World was still open and Matt suggested we go do the dark ride, so we did. It was informative and fun, and the free chocolate at the end made it worth listening to the cows sing. In the gift shop I got some chocolate Twizzlers before heading out.

HERSHEYPARK 2009

Once we got to the car there was a domestic issue with some people and Matt and I were generally afraid as one car almost hit us while speeding to turn around. I was afraid someone would start shooting as it really was getting that heated, so we quickly drove away and informed someone in parking who said that it had been reported already.

We found the Sheetz we were meeting the others at and got some food and sat and talked to Kev and Em for a bit before heading out. I made the mistake of paying at the pump with my card at Sheetz, but wouldn’t know how that was going to cost me till the next morning.

Once I got up the next day, I headed out to have lunch with Matt, but when I went to get money my ATM card kept rejecting my card. Sheetz had preauthorized a bunch of money since I payed at the pump. My original plan to go to Philly grinded to a halt. Instead I stayed in most of the day, surfed the net, and watched TV till Matt got off work. At least I was still going to Great Adventure on Tuesday.

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