Sweet!!! The number of times this pun was used by my children at the Hersheypark in central Pennsylvania probably would have annoyed me if I wasn’t thinking the same thing.
For our first day of Spring break, we headed west to seek thrills in spite of the spring chill in the air. In the party were children ages 13-20, a brave adult, and a designated bag/water bottle holder. The mission: try as many rides and activities as possible in a single day. The fuel: Hershey’s candy. The competition: Six Flags and Dorney Park. Teenagers and 40-somethings: let’s get ready to rumble!
We arrived at 10 a.m. parked, and headed to take the Hershey factory tour. It took 15 minutes and moved fairly efficiently. The thorough details and production value exceeded my impressions for a tour.
Then we headed over to the entrance of the park. The lines were very long, but unlike our experience at other amusement parks, security moved us right through! We were in the park by 11:00 at opening.
We hustled over the tallest and fastest ride, Candymonium. In spite of a cloud cover and 15 mile per hour winds (no threat of thunder) the ride kept on going. Other parks we have been in shut things down at five to ten mile per hour winds. The ride received rave reviews from the crowd. Smooth, nice drops twists and turns. A bit more than you would find at Disney.
Having tackled the longest line in the park at sixty minutes, I headed for the second longest: Chick-Fil-A. The fact that I can get something other than traditional amusement park food was awesome for our party’s dietary wants. The rest of the crew went on the traditional Claw and the Pirate ship rides while I battled for grilled chicken and Cobb salads. Chick-Fil-A was just one of many great food choices available at the park, which includes Simply Chocolate, Philly cheesesteak Co., and The Chocolatier Restaurant, just to name a few.
Properly nourished, we continued onward. The next adventure was Fahrenheit 97 Degrees and Dropping. A coaster that starts with a straight up and over. A couple of our party did not have a positive attitude about the ten-second directly vertical climb, but their concerns were eliminated as they enjoyed the experience after all.
For a bit of a break and a quieter moment during the day, the ZooAmerica turned out to be a nice escape. The design puts patrons quite near the animals, and the design of the habitats is such that the animals can be viewed from various angles so the usual question, “Where is the bear mommy?” Does not ruin the spirits of young explorers. I sat down and relaxed on a park bench fifteen feet from two bald eagles for about 15 minutes and just watched them move about their habit. I also learned that porcupines sleep in trees. Who knew?
Next came the Jolly Rancher ReMix. One thing I noticed and appreciated at the park was the inclusivity of younger siblings. Right next to many of the rides was a smaller version with a similar name. A couple examples, Mix’d presented by Jolly Rancher (a child version of the ride) is right next to Jolly Rancher Remix. There are four different heights and speed of the drop between the Triple tower and its little sibling right next to the big versions. This allows parents to stick together in an area which each child can choose their own level of adventure.
The Jolly Rancher Fog smell of the Remix was a fun addition to a fairly straightforward coaster. Little details such as this matter. After Memorial Day, I expect the lines will decrease as many of the other rides open up and non-holiday foot traffic makes the park even more enticing. We would definitely consider getting season passes!
Being in the park on Good Friday was quite busy, but nothing more than a normal park day in Florida. The park was clean, as were the restrooms and there was plenty of seating to rest. This was all done without employees being overt or trying to be noticed for doing their jobs. They were courteous, yet the emphasis of management seemed to be on effectively running the park to provide patrons the most opportunities during their stay.
For the greater New Jersey/Pennsylvania region, Hersheypark has offered us a higher quality experience than our most recent trips to the various Six Flags and Dorney Parks. We highly recommend bringing your family here for their own Hersheypark adventure!
If you’d like to save some money, prepay for your tickets and parking. You will save about 20% on parking and about 30% on each ticket. For those who cannot get enough excitement in one trip, season tickets are discounted through April 30! New attractions are arriving this summer, as well as their oh-so-popular water park, which opens for the season on May 25th.. This year, the park is open more days than ever, as they will be opened every weekend from April 1st through the end of 2023, with a combination of earlier opens and later nights for guest flexibility. Plan ahead for even more fun with Hersheypark Halloween beginning September 15th-October 29th, and, of course, holiday activities with Hersheypark Christmas Candylane and Hershey Sweet Lights drive-through beginning November 10th. It’s going to be another amazing season!
*we were invited to facilitate a feature, all opinions are our own*