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2011 Hersheypark Trip Report and Review (Lengthy)

drachen drachen Profile

Posted:
11/23/11 at
2:58:34 PM

History

I grew up in the south-central Pennsylvania area. And so, as a fan, Hersheypark was one of two parks at which I “grew up”, the other being Morey’s Piers. There was a period of time during which I would visit the park over 20 times in a season. As a season pass holder, and on days when I had nothing better to do, I would make the short-drive to Hershey and spend some time, even if it was only an hour or two, in the park.

So, to say that I’m familiar with the place would be an understatement. I know just about every nook and cranny of the park. I guess I’m still relatively young, but I have vivid memories of Hersheypark, dating back to the late 80’s. I remember well what it used to be and know what it is now. That’s probably why this will be a bit lengthy. I apologize in advance.

Despite what I might have to say in this post, I want to say that I am still a big fan of the park, though I feel that it is a bit overrated by the enthusiast community. Hersheypark does a lot of things very well, but there is a lot that the current regime can improve upon.

Most Recent Visit

We still visit a few times a year, but I don’t go nearly like I used to. One of our yearly “must” visits is during Hersheypark In the Dark, which we did this year, and inspired this review. It not that they do a great job with Halloween, it’s just that we see it as one last time to visit the park before they close the big rides down for the winter.

Hersheypark In the Dark is geared more toward families than most of the larger theme parks. They really don’t go all out for Halloween. Decorations are sparse and the only really Halloween theming is changing some of the ride names.

Still, it’s an effective event, and it’s ideal for families who have younger children. They won’t be exposed to anything too scary at Hersheypark, with the exception of a closed Fahrenheit, which was the scariest thing I saw.

We went on a Friday evening, and that is easily the night to go (which also seems to be par for the course for any October-operating seasonal amusement park). The weather was cold, and the crowds were light. I love Hersheypark with minimal crowds.

As far as coasters go, (and I will rate them later) I was able to ride four in the two hours we spent there. There was a reason I rode the ones I did. I rode, in this order:

Sidewinder – I wanted to ride Sidewinder because it got new restraints this year. There was talk of it being a new train, but after seeing it up close and riding it, I’m not so sure that’s the case. I think the guts of the train are the same, and that the seats, restraints, fiberglass etc. are what’s new. Either way, the ride runs great, and there is now zero head-banging. It won’t make me ride Sidewinder more than I normally would, but it’s a welcomed change.

Storm Runner – I don’t particularly care for the complete Storm Runner experience, but I wanted to ride it that night because it had been over two years since I had last ridden it. I’ve found myself skipping it on most visits to Hersheypark. More on Storm Runner later.

sooperdooperLooper – This ride was #1 on my priority list that night. I just had to ride it one last time in its original form, if the rumors are true that it will be receiving new trains in 2012. Still runs great, and still a great night ride.

Comet – This ride was #2 on the priority list, as its landscape/visuals will be drastically changed next year. I don’t know how I feel about that. Comet is an all-time favorite ride for a number of reasons. Between SDL and Comet, I feel like I’m losing a bit of Hersheypark history next season.

The Park

Like I said before, Hersheypark does a lot of things very well. The park is gorgeous. They always have done a great job with their hardscaping and landscaping. In fact, I would rate theirs in the top 5 of the parks I’ve been too, right up there with, but not quite like that of BGW, BGT, and Holiday World.

Hersheypark is one of the cleanest parks I’ve been to. They do an excellent job there. From the paths, to the rides, to the eating areas, to the bathrooms, everything is very neat. You can tell they place great importance on cleanliness.

Right along with all of Hersheypark’s aesthetics, the place is magical at night. I wish it remained open to 11pm to enjoy it more. The tracing lights on the wooden coasters is absolutely gorgeous. Lightning Racer is a twisted maze of lights at night, and it’s quite a sight to behold.

The park has what I would rate as a ‘good’ collection of rides. There is more than enough for young children to do, in a number of different areas. However, they could use a few more flat rides, as I feel they lack in that department. It seems that most of the flat rides in the park are geared toward the younger crowd. They’ve lost some good flats over the years – ones that were never adequately replaced. I think the best flat ride there is your run-of-the-mill Chance Revolution, the Claw. Some of the non-coaster highlights are:

The Carrousel – Spelled with two ‘R’s’ for a reason, this thing is a beauty, complete with an old carousel organ. Hersheypark should be commended for maintaining this ride like they do.

Coal Cracker – This is one of my favorite log flumes out there, complete with a speed bump hill at the bottom of the large drop. One of the few flumes that you’ll catch air on.

Kissing Tower – A neatly-themed giant tower. The view from the top is great, as it is perched at the park’s highest point.

The Boardwalk

I’ve actually never set foot inside the Boardwalk, with the exception of walking through to get to Lightning Racer. I don’t have any immediate plans or desires to experience it either. I like water parks just fine, and this one looks to have a couple decent slides, but I just can’t bring myself to go in. I don’t make it to Hersheypark enough to want to “waste” time there. Some of you may have read my “discourses” on the Boardwalk on this board before. I’ll try to keep it to a mini-rant here.

Simply put, I’d rather ride the dry rides and enjoy the park. This water park really doesn’t appeal to me. I hate that the Boardwalk is placed where it is. They took all of the remaining free space they had inside the park and filled it with an inadequately designed water park.

It’s laid out so poorly, and the entire area is one giant mess. It’s far too small to handle the number of guests that Hersheypark brings in, and so navigating the place is a nightmare. In addition, the water park created a couple of dead ends for the rest of the park guests. Getting to Lightning Racer is a real hike now.

Where else do you have to wait two hours to go down a water slide? Or wait an hour to enter a water play structure and only get 10 minutes (or so) inside? Where else do you wait an hour to get into a lazy river and only get one lap? Where else do you wait an hour to get into the wave pool and have to leave once your 10-15 minute session in over? Well, that’s the Boardwalk on a typical summer day. Where’s the appeal there?

Also, because of its location, water park expansion will come only at the expense of other dry rides. Hersheypark lost one of the best rapids rides I’ve ridden because they had to expand the water park. The ferris wheel, Wild Mouse, and Sidewinder will likely be next to be removed or relocated, maybe as soon as 2013. Themed areas (Midway America and Pioneer Frontier) that once worked so well for the park have become remnants of what they once were with a water park (and its guests) creeping in on all sides.

Long story short… I’m not a fan.

Food

I can keep this portion brief. There are two words that describe Hersheypark’s food selection. Generic and overpriced.

It’s not uncommon for parks to gouge guests when it comes to food and drinks (Six Flags), but Hersheypark is right up there with them. To compound it, there isn’t anything particularly unique or good to even give the appearance of value.

I do buy food in the park every time I visit, and I’ve tried food from most of the food locations. The only food stands that were noteworthy were the barbeque joint across from Trailblazer, and Bricker’s Fries over by Lightning Racer – and those were both outside vendors.

Freeman’s Barbeque has been replaced by an in-house version, and it pales in comparison. It’s pretty bad actually. Bricker’s is still there and has become the only place I eat when I go. Fresh-cut fries are cooked in peanut oil like they should be. Their tenders are cooked in the same oil. For $10 you can get some tenders and more fries than you can probably eat, with a drink. I only hope that the park doesn’t end their agreement with them.

Charm

Occasionally you’ll hear online that Hersheypark has lost its charm in recent years, and that it feels very “corporate”. Well, I have to agree. I think there are good people at the management level at the park, even up to its most recent general manager who recently passed away.

Above that level at HE&R, I feel the decision makers are very out-of-touch with what makes a good amusement park. The concern, somewhat understandable, is about what will make money, and cost less in the short term. It seems that recent large decisions have been very short sighted, and that rides and expansions have been planned with the idea of saving money number one on their minds. It’s evident in the results.

The park used to have a lot of character – character that it is quickly losing. Midway America was a nice new area in the late 90’s and early part of the decade. Pioneer Frontier really had a nice western feel. Comet Hollow once had a classic amusement park ambiance.

Tudor Square (the main entrance) is one of the few areas that still has some of the “Hersheypark Charm”, though it too is beginning to lose it. Instead of keeping the Tudor theme, they’ve replaced the classical music with modern soft “crap”. Pippin’s restaurant is now Hersheypark Place (how original!). And let’s not forget the very classy Dunkin Donuts. Dunkin’ Donuts? Really?

I’ve actually never been a fan of the park’s layout. It’s a very long walk from the front gate to, say, Lightning Racer. It’s a very long and thin park. The layout has gotten worse in recent years with the addition of the water park, and with most of the action now happening in the Pioneer Frontier, Boardwalk, and Midway America areas of the park, I feel it is in the park’s best interest to relocate the main gate.

The current main gate area, Tudor Square is a real pinch point, especially with the security check points. It feels very tight down there, even on slow days.

In addition, immediately upon entering the park, you are greeted by a long steep hill. It doesn’t bother me much, but I think it bothers a lot of guests. Moving the main gate to the other side of Hersheypark Arena would eliminate that hill and create a wide-open, grand entrance to the park. The Carrousel and the Milton Hershey Statue can be relocated too.

2012

I’m excited for Skyrush, and it’s really neat to see it take shape via pictures online. I’ve been longing for the day in which Hersheypark had a megacoaster. That day will be here in 6 months or so. That is exciting for me, and will probably get me to the park in 2012 more than most years.

Oddly enough, I’m also very excited about the new path that will lead from the entrance, along the backside of Comet and into Comet Hollow. That will give a straight shot to my favorite area of the park and should provide great views of the new coaster.

Yet, I still have my reservations about this ride (which are already well-documented on this site) and about the changes coming to the park next year. Comet Hollow will look very different next year, and I’m afraid it will be stripped of the remaining charm that Great Bear left when it took a portion of it away in 1998.

My favorite ride at the park, the Comet, will look very different next year with a large lift hill crossing over its first and second drops, and crossing over its station. One of my favorite parts of the ride was the out and back section into what felt to be woods. That part will have a more open feel with Skyrush and a new walking path on the woods/pond side of the ride.

In addition, my second favorite ride at the park, sooperdooperLooper, will have new trains. Even if the new trains are an improvement, the ride will not have the classic Schwarzkopf feel that it’s always had. In fact, that classic Schwarzkopf feel is becoming harder to come by.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I like the new Comet Hollow in 2012. I’m also hoping that Skyrush gives one heck of a 30 second ride…

The Roller Coasters

Ranked in reverse order of best ride and not my favorite, which is actually a hard thing for me to do with this park, as there is a lot of nostalgia involved with a lot of these rides. Here goes nothing…

11) Sidewinder

Well, the new train is an improvement, but ultimately it’s a Vekoma Boomerang. I usually give it at least one ride every year. The line the night I was there, was actually relatively long, but it was worth the three train wait to experience the new train. The ride, like I said before, now has zero head-banging. In fact, it’s now a pretty comfortable ride.

10) Roller Soaker

This ride gets a lot of grief. I’m not sure why. It’s short, and you get soaked on it, so I can understand why it’s not appealing to everyone. But, I thought Roller Soaker was really fun each of the three or four times I rode it. It’s a nice, interactive family ride, and a good fit for this park. I just would never wait more than 20 minutes to ride it.

9) Trailblazer

One of the first steel coasters in the east, this ride has gone from a thrilling new experience to the park’s most family friendly ride in the park. My three year-old thinks it’s the greatest thing out there, and riding it with her scores Trailblazer extra points in my book.

8) Wild Mouse

I have yet to ride a better Wild Mouse than Hersheypark’s. Upon first riding it in 1999, I was so impressed with the way it ran that I emailed everyone I knew to tell them how great it was. It still runs the same, 12 years later, as it did when it was new.

7) sooperdooperLooper

I’ve already said a lot about this ride. For nostalgia reasons, I would rank this ride as my second favorite at the park, behind the Comet. I love the Looper. I love the quick dispatches. I love how it operates. I love the its hillside location along and over the creek. Like I said, I’m hoping the new trains don’t do too much to the ride experience. I was pretty sad when I got off Looper on this visit, knowing the ride won’t be the same.

6) Storm Runner

As mentioned, I’m not a huge Storm Runner fan. But objectively, it is a better ride than Looper. I just feel like it is such a tease. The launch and top hat are great. The Immelman and snake dive elements are fun. Then the ride jabs you in the jaw with an awkward turn and you hit the brakes. Storm Runner just doesn’t have an ending, and it always leaves a bit of a sour taste when I ride it.

Also, I think the loading station was pooly done. Maybe it’s just that the ride ops don’t move very quickly, but the line seems to crawl. It’s so slow that I don’t usually ride it if there is a line. Having ridden the much shorter Dragster in 2003, and seeing it run effectively (and quickly) with 6 trains, I was really surprised in 2004 to see Storm Runner with just two. I guess I’ve never gotten over that.

5) Great Bear

I like Great Bear, though it has its flaws too. Because of its location, its ending is a little lame. However, the beginning of the ride, though the third inversion, is one of the best for any B&M inverted coaster that I’ve ridden.

The turn before the first drop is a fantastic way to start a ride, and the first drop is wonderful. You get three powerful and effective inversions in succession and a nice pop of air as you turn behind the Looper.

I always found it odd that there was just a straight stretch of track leading into the last corkscrew. I've always wished it had a little Kumba-like hop there. After the fourth inversion, it just kinda’ meanders, losing speed as it hits the brakes. It almost feels like you don’t even need that first set of brakes.

I didn’t like how the ride impacted the once quaint and classy Comet Hollow when the ride opened. It was very loud and in-your-face. I’ve grown accustomed to having it there now.

4) Fahrenheit

The best steel coaster at Hersheypark, in my opinion. It too, though, has its flaws – a recurring theme with all of Hershey’s steel coasters.

First the positive. Fahrenheit has a great first drop, obviously. However, it’s the inversions and their execution that make this ride. The Norwegian loop is a U.S.-unique element that is really a lot of fun. It’s the best inversion out there, in my book. Upon exiting with a steep drop, you hit the cobra roll, which is the only element I would have changed, especially since you get some vibration upon exiting it. You already have the same element in the Sidewinder, so it’s a bit redundant. Something like the old Arrow boomerang element would have made this layout a perfect ten.

The final two corkscrews are fast and powerful, and the final two bunny hops are a ton of fun. Oh, and there are some pretty serious head-choppers throughout the entire ride. Fahrenheit is a lot of fun.

The bad? Again, it’s the station, along with the lift. It seems that because of self-imposed space limitations at Hersheypark, they went with a vertical lift, which is a bit of a nuisance. The vertical lift resulted in short trains, which resulted in poor capacity. Three trains is the right call for this ride, but the fact that they only seat 12 is just wrong for this size of a park. Fun ride though.

3) Comet

The first of three very good wooden coasters that reside at Hersheypark. Comet is the grandpa of the three, but still gives a great ride after over 60 years of operation.

Since the Comet still employs skid brakes, Hershey felt the need to trim the ride at the above-station turn, to slow its out and back finale. Word is that wet weather would cause stopping issues in the station. Take that for what it’s worth.

One thing I do know is that without that trim brake, this would be one of the best roller coasters in the world. The T-shaped layout is perfect for a wooden coaster. You get a large figure 8 style beginning with an out and back dogleg finale. The first drop is great, and the second one just rips you out of your seat in the back. In the front of the train, you get pushed out of your seat at the top of each ascent.

This ride is one of Herbert Schmeck’s best designs, and I love his coasters.

2) Lightning Racer

Some of you may be surprised to see Lightning Racer ranked behind Wildcat. I feel that both rides are spectacular, but I can’t help but think that on an individual ride basis, neither Lightning nor Thunder are better than Wildcat. For me, running them next to each other isn’t enough to close the gap.

Both Lightning and Thunder, on their own, are really fun rides, and even after 12 operating seasons, they are still eerily smooth. I don’t know if that’s due to Hersheypark’s maintenance team or if it’s the initial design of the ride that makes it more easy on the structure.

I think of Lightning Racer as a feat of engineering. It’s absolutely amazing to me that GCI could design two wooden coasters with such precision. In the right weather and operating conditions, weight really does decide the winner. They are designed that closely.

That would be easy if this ride was like the racers of years past – two identical rides built right next to each other. For all of the similarities between Thunder and Lightning, there are a lot of differences. The over/under, under/over section is just one of them, and it's just awesome.

I give Hersheypark and its late 1990’s decision makers a lot of credit for pulling the trigger on this ride. Wooden coasters are not nearly as marketable for parks as large steel coaters are. This ride was a gutsy, expensive call to make, and I think we’re all glad they made it. It’s the last Hersheypark addition that has fully impressed me.

1) Wildcat

Wildcat doesn’t ride like it used to. It’s rougher, for sure. But when I’m riding it, I swear I don’t even feel it. What I feel is a fast, powerful, air-filled ride. I rate Thuderhead above it (I think), and I haven’t ridden every GCI creation, but I think they have yet to top their original design.

Wildcat’s layout is far superior to Lightning Racer’s. It is one very twisted ride. I believe I heard somewhere that it crosses over and under itself 22 times. That’s incredible.

There is no downtime on Wildcat. It’s fast from start to finish. The first and second twisting drops feel steeper than they probably are. The second drop is followed by a nice floater hill, which is followed by a nice turn and an ejector hill. That hill is followed by a powerful left turn with a speed bump that you fly right over. You get one more nice drop into the 360 degree finale. Great ride, and very underrated by a coaster community that has become a bit soft over the years. (Yeah, I went there…)

I give Hersheypark a lot of credit for Wildcat too – for going with a new, unknown company to build a style of ride that the country hadn’t seen since the early part of the century. And in large part, it’s because of this ride’s success that we have so many other GCI masterpieces.

Sorry for the length of the review. Being as familiar with the park as I am, there is a lot that I take notice of as I visit the park, and I’ve certainly noticed some business models and trends over the years. Like I said in the beginning, I am a big fan of the park, but I’m more of a realist when it comes to how I view the park now.

* This Post Has Been Modified *

Re: 2011 Hersheypark Trip Report and Review (Lengthy) by Overbanked Overbanked Profile at 11/24/11 3:00:02 AM

Great throughly done TR! I love objective, and non-sugarcoated reports like this; Tell it like it is, I dig it! Sorry that Fahrenheit was down. I never been to Hershey yet, but just looking at Stormrunner POV's it does seem like a very big tease; It seems like the elements that it does have are very good, but the ending seems lackadaisical at best. Hey Drachen, do you know what kinda new trains SDL is gonna get? Again, great job on the TR.

* This Post Has Been Modified *

Re: 2011 Hersheypark Trip Report and Review (Lengthy) by Geauga_Dog Geauga_Dog Profile at 11/24/11 10:40:07 AM

Thanks for the report. Seems like Hershey has changed a bit since my visit in 2005. Based on your descriptions it has a hint of "Cedar Fair" with some of the changes they've made and the losing of atmosphere in the park. That's not good to hear.

I adore Hersheypark, my #2 favorite park, and I agree with your assessment of the Boardwalk. While I haven't seen it in person myself I do remember the large plot of land they had left to develop in the Midway America section and thought of the possibilites they could have done there. A drop tower (which the park still lacks) would have been a more solid addition than a crammed in waterpark.

G-Dog

Re: 2011 Hersheypark Trip Report and Review (Lengthy) by GoYanks34 GoYanks34 Profile at 11/26/11 7:43:43 PM

Well written and thought out TR!

I disagree with some of your comments (I LOVE Stormrunner and am not crazy about Fahrenheit) but to each his own. You know I have a thing for launches :~)

I think Hershey has a good amount of flats compared to other parks but I understand what you mean. It needs a Huss Frisbee or Drop Tower (as does SFGAdv) but I do like the nostalgia that the flats it has gives me. I also think while definitely overpriced, Hershey's food is better than most. Their buns/breads are so fresh and burgers are good. I can't tell you how many burgers I've thrown out over the years at parks because they were so nasty (SFGadv and KI come to mind).

Can't wait to try Sidewinder next year! I actually like boomerangs and ride it every time I go.

I agree about the water park too. The only purpose it serves is making the lines shorter during the hot days but I agree, I'd rather have more dry rides.

I'm looking forward to the changes Hershey is making but it's not my home park and I totally understand how you feel.

Jen

Re: 2011 Hersheypark Trip Report and Review (Lengthy) by ray_p ray_p Profile at 11/26/11 9:59:23 PM

Absolutely fantastic TR, thanks for taking the time to post it.

Nice to see someone else who thinks Wildcat is better than Lightning Racer. I haven't been to HP since 2004, but even with the PTC's on Wildcat, I thought it was the better ride. Of course, I'm also the same person who thinks Twister is better than Phoenix... so I'm not sure how valid my opinion is. ;)

The waterpark sounds like a mess, which is a shame as I thought that area of the park was already rather "unscenic".

Again, thanks for the great TR. I was actually sad when it ended!

Re: 2011 Hersheypark Trip Report and Review (Lengthy) by beastmaster beastmaster Profile at 11/27/11 7:07:10 AM

> Nice to see someone else who thinks Wildcat is better than
> Lightning Racer. I haven't been to HP since 2004, but even
> with the PTC's on Wildcat, I thought it was the better
> ride. Of course, I'm also the same person who thinks
> Twister is better than Phoenix... so I'm not sure how valid
> my opinion is. ;)

Although I disagree on the Wildcat vs. Lightning Racer debate (LR at night is one of my favorite ride experiences ever, and it's no slouch by daylight)..you are not alone on the second comparison, my friend. Your opinion is perfectly valid to me. Twister , IMO, is a far superior ride to its neighbor.

Wonder where Flying Turns will settle in when it comes to the "Best Coaster At Knoebels" question.

Heck, I'm still disappointed they got rid of High Speed Thrill Coaster!! I haven't been on Kozmo's Kurves yet :(

Mike

Re: 2011 Hersheypark Trip Report and Review (Lengthy) by kdleader kdleader Profile at 11/27/11 11:33:16 AM

Excellent job on your review. As a season pass holder since 2000 I can agree with all that you have stated. I made a few visits in the 80/90 decades but have little memory of those.

We were probably there on the same Friday as Fahrenheit was down on one of the Fridays I visited (Oct 21 & 28). Tonight I'll take advantage of the warm weather and take a trip to Candylane.

Kevin

Re: 2011 Hersheypark Trip Report and Review (Lengthy) by alpengeistno3 at 11/27/11 3:27:27 PM

Great detailed synopsis of Hershey. I am with you on Wildcat being superior to Lightning Racer. While a very good ride, Lightning Racer lacks "teeth". I prefer getting "clawed by the Cat".

Sidewinder is improved by the new train (the longer lines seem proof enough.) It's unfortunate because I don't plan to wait 30 mins for it again at the end of the night when the better coasters have lines of 10 mins or less.

I'm intrigued about this new train rumor for SDL. 1st I've heard of it. As long as they still have lapbars (I imagine it will be a real headbanger with OTSR's and seatbelts will slow down the quick loading process), I don't have a problem with it. Anyone know who is making the trains and what kind of restraints they will have.

I don't know when the trims were put in, but back when I rode Comet in the 80's, it had rained, but when the ride reopened, it was absolutely flying through the 2nd half. If the above station brakes were there, they were not effective after getting wet.

I haven't really noticed the Boardwalk bringing crowds away from the dry side of the park. In fact, it seems like it brings crowds in. Hour long waits for Comet and Great Bear were a lot more rare during the hot part of a Tuesday before the Boardwalk opened. It was a great business decision for Hershey, but sticking it in the middle of Midway America was a huge mistake unless their long term plan is to slowly eradicate more dry rides in favor of future expansion. Such a plan does not favor the long term existence of Sidewinder, or in a more extreme circumstance, Lightning Racer and Wildcat.

The loss of Freeman's BBQ is huge for Hershey's food service for me. The in-park replacement is a joke at best. All of that wood they have set up for show and they are cooking the meat on a metal range?!?!?! Next year may be the first time I eat outside the park.

Roller Soaker, while a nice concept with lots of interaction, is still a piss poor roller coaster. Amongst coaster enthusiasts, you shouldn't be surprised that many see it as that.

Fahrenheit's loading procedure bothers me a lot more than Storm Runner's. Hershey has a park of 2 train capacity coasters. So they get a chance to build one with 3 trains and what do they do? Make the trains 12 seats?!?! Even at full capacity, Fahrenheit has half the capacity of Great Bear and almost every other 2 train coaster in the park. Space may have been a concern, but to build a ride that doesn't meet the needs of the park in such a tight spot was just another mistake the Hershey made, ironically right next to their cramped in waterpark :)

Paul

Re: 2011 Hersheypark Trip Report and Review (Lengthy) by drachen drachen Profile at 11/27/11 10:08:42 PM

I appreciate all of the great responses and feedback. I will try to respond to each over the next few (busy) days...

> Great detailed synopsis of Hershey. I am with you on
> Wildcat being superior to Lightning Racer. While a very
> good ride, Lightning Racer lacks "teeth". I
> prefer getting "clawed by the Cat".

I'm actually surprised that there are more people out there that also feel Wildcat is a better ride than Lightning Racer. I'm glad to see that I'm not totally nuts...

I would challenge anyone who rides Wildcat again to try to put the roughness out of your mind. Ride toward the front (or even better, in the front) and focus on the layout as you ride and the forces it's exirting on you. It may change your perspective. The back's good too, but it's definitely more shaky.

> I'm intrigued about this new train rumor for SDL. 1st I've
> heard of it. As long as they still have lapbars (I imagine
> it will be a real headbanger with OTSR's and seatbelts will
> slow down the quick loading process), I don't have a
> problem with it. Anyone know who is making the trains and
> what kind of restraints they will have.

The new train is being provided by Gerstlaur and will have a lap restraint. Whether it comes down from overhead or from infront of the rider is unknown publicly. They are said to be similar to the Schwarzkopf train. Time will tell.

> I don't know when the trims were put in, but back when I
> rode Comet in the 80's, it had rained, but when the ride
> reopened, it was absolutely flying through the 2nd half. If
> the above station brakes were there, they were not
> effective after getting wet.

Post rain is always a great time to ride the Comet. You do get a better out and back run. But if the brake had no effect even on rainy days, they would use something else.

Just one time, I would like to ride it untrimmed, to see how it used to be. There were rumors a few years back that the skid brakes were going to be replaced by fins. I like skid brakes, but I guess if new brakes would allow for removal of the trim, I'd be all for it. They're doing great things with magnetic brakes on wooden coasters nowadays...

> It was a great business
> decision for Hershey, but sticking it in the middle of
> Midway America was a huge mistake unless their long term
> plan is to slowly eradicate more dry rides in favor of
> future expansion. Such a plan does not favor the long term
> existence of Sidewinder, or in a more extreme circumstance,
> Lightning Racer and Wildcat.

Attendance has been great since the Boardwalk opened. But the decision makers are probably too busy patting themselves on the back to notice that that whole side of their park is ruined, and has no future. Cooperate park.

I've said this before, but if the park could feasibly relocate Lightning Racer, I'm sure they would. I'd be in favor of it, to perhaps the other side of Wildcat.

> The loss of Freeman's BBQ is huge for Hershey's food
> service for me. The in-park replacement is a joke at best.
> All of that wood they have set up for show and they are
> cooking the meat on a metal range?!?!?! Next year may be
> the first time I eat outside the park.

Try Brickers. It's not fancy, but they are some of the best fries I've had.

> Roller Soaker, while a nice concept with lots of
> interaction, is still a piss poor roller coaster. Amongst
> coaster enthusiasts, you shouldn't be surprised that many
> see it as that.

It's not thrilling. It's not fast. It's not long. I can understand why coaster enthusiasts don't like it. But you can't discount the fun factor, and the GP eats it right up, as evident by the line in the summer.

> Fahrenheit's loading procedure bothers me a lot more than
> Storm Runner's. Hershey has a park of 2 train capacity
> coasters. So they get a chance to build one with 3 trains
> and what do they do? Make the trains 12 seats?!?! Even at
> full capacity, Fahrenheit has half the capacity of Great
> Bear and almost every other 2 train coaster in the park.
> Space may have been a concern, but to build a ride that
> doesn't meet the needs of the park in such a tight spot was
> just another mistake the Hershey made, ironically right
> next to their cramped in waterpark :)

Agreed. Post-lift though, I think it's the best steel coaster in the park. 12 seater trains has to do with the weight on the vertical lift. The vertical lift is a space saver.

I was impressed with the ride when Fahrenheit was announced, but I was shocked that its capacity was under 1000 pph, 850 to be exact. Just plain unacceptable at a park the size of Hersheypark.

Re: 2011 Hersheypark Trip Report and Review (Lengthy) by GoYanks34 GoYanks34 Profile at 11/28/11 12:09:42 PM

> I'm actually surprised that there are more people out there
> that also feel Wildcat is a better ride than Lightning
> Racer. I'm glad to see that I'm not totally nuts...

You are totally nuts but apparently others are too so at least you're not alone - LOL! Wildcat is one of my most hated coasters of all time and I love Lightning Racer.

> I would challenge anyone who rides Wildcat again to
> try to put the roughness out of your mind. Ride
> toward the front (or even better, in the front) and focus
> on the layout as you ride and the forces it's exirting on
> you. It may change your perspective. The back's good too,
> but it's definitely more shaky.

But that negates the point. Wildcat is one of my least favorites because it is so incredibly rough and uncomfortable to ride. You can't put that out of your mind when your getting banged up and bruised at every turn. It has no hills and just tosses you around like a rag doll. Not my cup of tea.

Jen

Re: 2011 Hersheypark Trip Report and Review (Lengthy) by looper77 at 11/28/11 8:11:35 PM

> Despite what I might have to say in this post, I want to
> say that I am still a big fan of the park, though I feel
> that it is a bit overrated by the enthusiast community.
> Hersheypark does a lot of things very well, but there is a
> lot that the current regime can improve upon.

I am also a big fan of the park and feel there is a great deal that they can improve upon, but disagree that the park is overrated. In terms of ride offerings, I guess I would give you that, but in terms of the overall experience, I feel very few parks come close. The cleanliness and friendliness of the employees is becoming rare in this industry, and is only matched by a few parks.

> The park has what I would rate as a ‘good’ collection
> of rides. There is more than enough for young children to
> do, in a number of different areas. However, they could use
> a few more flat rides, as I feel they lack in that
> department. It seems that most of the flat rides in the
> park are geared toward the younger crowd. They’ve lost
> some good flats over the years – ones that were never
> adequately replaced. I think the best flat ride there is
> your run-of-the-mill Chance Revolution, the Claw. Some of
> the non-coaster highlights are:

The park is in desperate need of flats. Where's the drop tower or modern flats like a Top Spin? Not to mention they removed the Conestoga and Timber Rattler. However, a huge park like Magic Mountain has become nothing but coasters with a handful of flats. Hershey has a better balance but it definitely needs work.

> The Boardwalk
The Boardwalk and the removal of Canyon River Rapids are probably the two greatest mistakes the park has made to date. The waterpark is land locked and now so is the park. I don't understand why they didn't come up with another solution. They could have even built it in the parking lot between the arena and stadium if they could get the golf course approval, but consuming all of the remaining free space in the park was insane.

Plus, they lost the opportunity to have a second gate (or technically a third if you count ZooAmerica).

> Food
My favorite thing to eat at the park was Freeman's so to hear that it's now gone is a shame.

> Charm
>It seems that
> recent large decisions have been very short sighted, and
> that rides and expansions have been planned with the idea
> of saving money number one on their minds. It’s evident
> in the results.

That's an understatement. The park is being ruined by people who either don't know the park or don't care as long as the crowds keep coming.

> 2012

> I’m excited for Skyrush, and it’s really neat to see it
> take shape via pictures online. I’ve been longing for the
> day in which Hersheypark had a megacoaster. That day will
> be here in 6 months or so. That is exciting for me, and
> will probably get me to the park in 2012 more than most
> years.

I am also excited for Skyrush. The construction pictures look great (especially because the park didn't do any high-quality renderings for the ride, there wasn't much to go on). I hate the fact that the lift hill is being built over the Comet. Comet Hollow should change it's name to Column Hollow. It's like walking though a forest of steel.

> I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I like the new Comet
> Hollow in 2012. I’m also hoping that Skyrush gives one
> heck of a 30 second ride…

As much as I love the Looper (hence my screen name) I even would have rather seen the Looper go, with Skyrush's station in its place for more room for a longer ride.

> The Roller Coasters

I haven't back to Hershey in a few years and haven't ridden Fahrenheit. I skipped Hershey on my last few coaster tours, something I would have never done in the past.

One reason was I was disappointed by the installation of Fahrenheit. It just didn't inspire me to visit. And another reason was the removal of Canyon River Rapids. I was so in shock by that stupid move that I just couldn't bring myself to go back and see it gone. It was my favorite rapids ride in the country.

> 2) Lightning Racer

> I give Hersheypark and its late 1990’s decision makers a
> lot of credit for pulling the trigger on this ride. Wooden
> coasters are not nearly as marketable for parks as large
> steel coaters are. This ride was a gutsy, expensive call to
> make, and I think we’re all glad they made it. It’s the
> last Hersheypark addition that has fully impressed me.

Hershey was on track to build a racing coaster since 1984. I was surprised that it ever saw the light of day, especially since the time from the installation of the Looper in 1977 to the next major coaster, the Wildcat in 1996, was a looong dry spell. And then as we all know, the spell was broken!

> 1) Wildcat

I love that you put Wildcat at number one. It and Storm Runner are my two favorite coasters at Hersheypark.

> Wildcat doesn’t ride like it used to. It’s rougher, for
> sure. But when I’m riding it, I swear I don’t even feel
> it. What I feel is a fast, powerful, air-filled ride. I
> rate Thuderhead above it (I think), and I haven’t ridden
> every GCI creation, but I think they have yet to top their
> original design.

I just don't see the Wildcat as rough. No offense to anyone, but it seems the coaster community is made up of a bunch of peaches because I always hear people complaining about bruises. I've been riding coasters for more than 35 years and have yet to get a bruise from a coaster.

> Wildcat’s layout is far superior to Lightning Racer’s.
> It is one very twisted ride. I believe I heard somewhere
> that it crosses over and under itself 22 times. That’s
> incredible.

The layout is almost impossible to figure out while you're riding it and I love that!

> There is no downtime on Wildcat. It’s fast from start to
> finish. The first and second twisting drops feel steeper
> than they probably are. The second drop is followed by a
> nice floater hill, which is followed by a nice turn and an
> ejector hill. That hill is followed by a powerful left turn
> with a speed bump that you fly right over. You get one more
> nice drop into the 360 degree finale. Great ride, and very
> underrated by a coaster community that has become a bit
> soft over the years. (Yeah, I went there…)

To me the pacing is excellent. It is what a wooden twister coaster should be. I would say that it is more "intense" than rough. As intense as say The Voyage or Legend. And I do think people have become very soft. Maybe people have become accustomed to the forceless B&Ms (which to me, once you've ridden one, you've ridden them all, but I digress...)

I look forward to seeing how the park develops in the future, especially with the rumored expansion into the old golf course once the Park Blvd relocation is complete. I would love it if they would come to their senses and move the water park over there.

Does anyone think the Arena will ever be torn down? I can't imagine seeing the park without it, but it's not really used anymore. It's sitting on prime real estate that would allow the to expand the park. If the arena were removed, maintenance building relocated, and eastern parking lot torn up, the park could expand into a complete circle, with possibly a new entrance.

I think that would be a better option than making an already complicated layout even more complicated by expanding west of Tudor Square/Rhineland.

Skyrush will get me back to my once favorite park in 2012.

Re: 2011 Hersheypark Trip Report and Review (Lengthy) by Overbanked Overbanked Profile at 11/28/11 9:03:03 PM

> And I do think people have become very
> soft. Maybe people have become accustomed to the forceless
> B&Ms (which to me, once you've ridden one, you've ridden
> them all, but I digress...)

Tell it like it is, I totally agree, once you've ridden one B&M coaster type, you've pretty much ridden them all. Although it seems like alot of older looping Beemers, or ones that are open year around (like Hulk) age very badly. Hulk is rougher (headbanging on OTHR's) than ever. B&M needs to take note as other coaster companies (like Gerstlauer, Vekoma) has taken very progressive steps to get rid of those archaic head-battering OTHR's. Sorry for going of course.

Re: 2011 Hersheypark Trip Report and Review (Lengthy) by drachen drachen Profile at 11/29/11 12:29:03 AM

> I am also a big fan of the park and feel there is a great
> deal that they can improve upon, but disagree that the park
> is overrated. In terms of ride offerings, I guess I would
> give you that, but in terms of the overall experience, I
> feel very few parks come close. The cleanliness and
> friendliness of the employees is becoming rare in this
> industry, and is only matched by a few parks.

If I had a top 10, Hersheypark would be in it. It just seems to me that in many circles, the park can do no wrong - when in fact they've done a lot wrong over the past 10 years or so. It coaster circles, people rave about the place when their roller coasters (steel) are just ok. I guess that's where I get my 'overrated' comment.

> The Boardwalk
> The Boardwalk and the removal of Canyon River Rapids are
> probably the two greatest mistakes the park has made to
> date. The waterpark is land locked and now so is the park.
> I don't understand why they didn't come up with another
> solution. They could have even built it in the parking lot
> between the arena and stadium if they could get the golf
> course approval, but consuming all of the remaining free
> space in the park was insane.

> Plus, they lost the opportunity to have a second gate (or
> technically a third if you count ZooAmerica).

Building the Boardwalk where they did was the easiest and least expensive way to do it. As a result, the water park is landlocked by a landlocked park. I'll never understand it.

> That's an understatement. The park is being ruined by
> people who either don't know the park or don't care as long
> as the crowds keep coming.

Corporate park. Corporate feel.

> I am also excited for Skyrush. The construction pictures
> look great (especially because the park didn't do any
> high-quality renderings for the ride, there wasn't much to
> go on). I hate the fact that the lift hill is being built
> over the Comet. Comet Hollow should change it's name to
> Column Hollow. It's like walking though a forest of steel.

Yeah, Great Bear killed the old Comet Hollow. We'll see what Skyrush does to it.

> As much as I love the Looper (hence my screen name) I even
> would have rather seen the Looper go, with Skyrush's
> station in its place for more room for a longer ride.

Blasphemy!

Hershey could have built a longer ride but the cost was already more than they were comfortable with at $25 million. The problem is that because of its location - a large portion of that price tag went to excavating and site prep.

> 2) Lightning Racer

> Hershey was on track to build a racing coaster since 1984.
> I was surprised that it ever saw the light of day,
> especially since the time from the installation of the
> Looper in 1977 to the next major coaster, the Wildcat in
> 1996, was a looong dry spell. And then as we all know, the
> spell was broken!

Franklin Shearer always wanted a racing wooden coaster - one of the Kings Island Racer breed. Well, he finally got it shortly before he retired, and the result is nothing short of spectacular and is far superior than any other racing coaster out there. Lightning Racer is worth the trip to Hershey itself. Yet, there is still a better roller coaster there...

> 1) Wildcat

> I love that you put Wildcat at number one. It and Storm
> Runner are my two favorite coasters at Hersheypark.

> I just don't see the Wildcat as rough.

I agree. It's no more rough that Knoebel's Twister. I would categorize Wildcat as agressive, and perhaps it's too aggressive for some. The front is much more tolerable (roughness-wise) than the back. But the back is a lot of fun.

> The layout is almost impossible to figure out while you're
> riding it and I love that!

> To me the pacing is excellent. It is what a wooden twister
> coaster should be. I would say that it is more
> "intense" than rough. As intense as say The
> Voyage or Legend.

I'm loving all of this Wildcat love. Glad to see it.

> I look forward to seeing how the park develops in the
> future, especially with the rumored expansion into the old
> golf course once the Park Blvd relocation is complete. I
> would love it if they would come to their senses and move
> the water park over there.

I can't imagine the water park would move. They would move Lightning Racer before that, as it would be easier and cheaper.

> Does anyone think the Arena will ever be torn down? I can't
> imagine seeing the park without it, but it's not really
> used anymore. It's sitting on prime real estate that would
> allow the to expand the park. If the arena were removed,
> maintenance building relocated, and eastern parking lot
> torn up, the park could expand into a complete circle, with
> possibly a new entrance.

> I think that would be a better option than making an
> already complicated layout even more complicated by
> expanding west of Tudor Square/Rhineland.

I agree here. The park cannot expand into the golf course before it expands into the parking lots adjacent to the park.

The arena will most likely not be removed, though I'm sure there are several decision makers who would love to see it gone. I can see it being incorporated into a new entrance, which is what the park needs now more than anything really.

> Skyrush will get me back to my once favorite park in 2012.

Looking forward to hearing what you think of the place now.

Re: 2011 Hersheypark Trip Report and Review (Lengthy) by looper77 at 12/1/11 5:58:32 PM

> If I had a top 10, Hersheypark would be in it. It just
> seems to me that in many circles, the park can do no wrong
> - when in fact they've done a lot wrong over the past 10
> years or so. It coaster circles, people rave about the
> place when their roller coasters (steel) are just ok. I
> guess that's where I get my 'overrated' comment.

The park is probably in my top 10 as well (as a park), but for the coasters, yes, I agree. The 2 newer wood coasters are great (Comet needs to lay off the brakes), but most of the steel coasters are sort of half-a$$ed. I love Storm Runner, although it runs out way too short. Great Bear has a great first half but a second half that seems like it was designed in Roller Coaster Tycoon on auto-complete.

> Building the Boardwalk where they did was the easiest and
> least expensive way to do it. As a result, the water park
> is landlocked by a landlocked park. I'll never understand
> it.

Very short-sighted.

> That's an understatement. The park is being ruined by
> people who either don't know the park or don't care as long
> as the crowds keep coming.

> Corporate park. Corporate feel.

Very sad how that feel has changed.

> As much as I love the Looper (hence my screen name) I even
> would have rather seen the Looper go, with Skyrush's
> station in its place for more room for a longer ride.

> Blasphemy!

Just a thought, I still get a kick out of it, and can't imagine it gone.

> Hershey could have built a longer ride but the cost was
> already more than they were comfortable with at $25
> million. The problem is that because of its location - a
> large portion of that price tag went to excavating and site
> prep.

Again, very short sighted. A taller, longer, air-time filled machine could have been built behind Wildcat and Fahrenheit, running from the Arena to the street and back, for the same amount of money. Or they could have put the station in Rhineland where Creekside Catering is located instead.

If they wanted new crowds in Comet Hollow, they should have built a long-awaited drop tower.

> I can't imagine the water park would move. They would move
> Lightning Racer before that, as it would be easier and
> cheaper.

Even though Wildcat is my favorite wood coaster in the park, if they ever removed Lightning Racer, I would be done with the place for good.

> I agree here. The park cannot expand into the golf course
> before it expands into the parking lots adjacent to the
> park.

> The arena will most likely not be removed, though I'm sure
> there are several decision makers who would love to see it
> gone. I can see it being incorporated into a new entrance,
> which is what the park needs now more than anything really.

The arena would make a grand entrance to the park. So much could be done with it in terms of adding all guest services literally under one roof, in addition to shops and restaurants. Maybe even move the monorail station inside the arena. The whole thing could be pretty cool if done right.

> Looking forward to hearing what you think of the place now.

I am really looking forward to going back. I think I will cry at the sight of the wave pool in the place of CRR though. ;-)

Re: 2011 Hersheypark Trip Report and Review (Lengthy) by GoYanks34 GoYanks34 Profile at 12/2/11 11:59:23 AM

> I just don't see the Wildcat as rough. No offense to
> anyone, but it seems the coaster community is made up of a
> bunch of peaches because I always hear people complaining
> about bruises. I've been riding coasters for more than 35
> years and have yet to get a bruise from a coaster.

Then you never rode the Viper at SFGAdv. I got a horrible bruise (and a nearly shattered kneecap) the first time I rode Superman at SFAm when the brakes were slammed on at the end - my knee went into the car in front of me HARD. I couldn't kneel on anything for days it hurt so bad. Did I ride it again? You bet! But I was aware of the ending and it was easily avoided on future runs. Any time I go to a park I always have bruises that pop up, most I don't even know where they came from so that has nothing to do with being a "peach". I have a hard time believing you have never gotten a bruise riding a roller coaster. I've gotten them on the inside of my arms just holding my hands in the air with OTSRs from the banging.

I don't like Wildcat because it does nothing for me. I HATE coasters with just a bunch of overbanked turns and no hills or launches. Now would I tolerate the roughness/aggressiveness if there were elements I liked? Of course but there aren't any. I rode the Viper all of the time b/c of that first drop, knowing damn well the top of my shoulders would be in serious pain the following day if the op pushed down too hard on the restraints, so it has nothing to do with being soft. Just not the type of coaster I like so anything negative about it will be amplified simply due to my feelings about it.

Jen

Re: 2011 Hersheypark Trip Report and Review (Lengthy) by looper77 at 12/2/11 10:45:17 PM

> Then you never rode the Viper at SFGAdv.

LOL! Yes, I have, and for me, it was one of those headache inducing coasters.

> I got a horrible bruise (and a nearly shattered kneecap) the first time I
> rode Superman at SFAm when the brakes were slammed on at
> the end - my knee went into the car in front of me HARD. I
> couldn't kneel on anything for days it hurt so bad. Did I
> ride it again? You bet! But I was aware of the ending and
> it was easily avoided on future runs. Any time I go to a
> park I always have bruises that pop up, most I don't even
> know where they came from so that has nothing to do with
> being a "peach".

I was joking, of course, because the only bruises I have ever had were on a piece of fruit.

> I have a hard time believing you have never gotten a bruise riding a roller >coaster. I've gotten them on the inside of my arms just holding my hands
> in the air with OTSRs from the banging.

I have gotten bruises as a kid from playing around, but never from a coaster (then or now)

> I don't like Wildcat because it does nothing for me. I HATE
> coasters with just a bunch of overbanked turns and no hills
> or launches. Now would I tolerate the
> roughness/aggressiveness if there were elements I liked? Of
> course but there aren't any. I rode the Viper all of the
> time b/c of that first drop, knowing damn well the top of
> my shoulders would be in serious pain the following day if
> the op pushed down too hard on the restraints, so it has
> nothing to do with being soft. Just not the type of coaster
> I like so anything negative about it will be amplified
> simply due to my feelings about it.

> Jen

I understand it's not your cup of tea, but I have noticed other enthusiasts commenting on other coasters (which may have the elements that you like in a coaster) and calling it "rough." There seems to be an over-emphasis on wanting coasters to be smooth, especially wooden ones. First one that comes to mind is Mean Streak. A lot of enthusiasts hate it. Again, I can understand not liking a coaster because it doesn't have the elements you like, but to me Mean Streak is too SLOW to be considered ROUGH. Over-braked, sluggish and boring maybe, but rough it ain't...

My example of rough would be the revered Coney Island Cyclone or the Lake Compounce Wildcat (which I think PAINFUL is a more accurate word).

Re: 2011 Hersheypark Trip Report and Review (Lengthy) by drachen drachen Profile at 12/2/11 11:03:17 PM

> If they wanted new crowds in Comet Hollow, they should have
> built a long-awaited drop tower.

Well, Skyrush will bring crowds over to Comet Hollow. If that was their objective, they will see it happen. Lightning Racer ridership will drop even further now, I would expect.

>>> I can't imagine the water park would move. They would move
>>> Lightning Racer before that, as it would be easier and
>>> cheaper.

> Even though Wildcat is my favorite wood coaster in the
> park, if they ever removed Lightning Racer, I would be done
> with the place for good.

Oh, I really don't think they'd ever get rid of Lightning Racer. I was just saying that if they could feasibly and cheaply move it to an expansion area (say, on the other side of Wildcat) they would. Then they could freely expand the water park.

> The arena would make a grand entrance to the park. So much
> could be done with it in terms of adding all guest services
> literally under one roof, in addition to shops and
> restaurants. Maybe even move the monorail station inside
> the arena. The whole thing could be pretty cool if done
> right.

I just picture that old Arena parking lot as a grand entrance to Hersheypark, complete with shops, restaurants and a large main gate. Inside the gate you are greeted by the Milton Hershey statue still standing in front of a relocated Carrousel and Carrousel Circle area.

Guests can enter and head straight to Minetown, right toward "Skyrush Hollow", or left to a much closer waterpark. It just makes too much sense. In addition, it would be out of the flood plain (see the pictures from September).

The old entrance area can be rethemed to "Old Hersheypark" complete with some classic amusement park rides, and maybe another wooden coaster down the road.

> I am really looking forward to going back. I think I will
> cry at the sight of the wave pool in the place of CRR
> though. ;-)

Let us all know when you come out. Perhaps there can be a URC Hersheypark get-together. I'd be game.

Re: 2011 Hersheypark Trip Report and Review (Lengthy) by beastmaster beastmaster Profile at 12/3/11 6:33:23 AM

> Let us all know when you come out. Perhaps there can be a
> URC Hersheypark get-together. I'd be game.
>
Count me in if that's on the table sometime.

Re: 2011 Hersheypark Trip Report and Review (Lengthy) by GoYanks34 GoYanks34 Profile at 12/3/11 7:21:21 AM

> I understand it's not your cup of tea, but I have noticed
> other enthusiasts commenting on other coasters (which may
> have the elements that you like in a coaster) and calling
> it "rough." There seems to be an over-emphasis on
> wanting coasters to be smooth, especially wooden ones.
> First one that comes to mind is Mean Streak. A lot of
> enthusiasts hate it. Again, I can understand not liking a
> coaster because it doesn't have the elements you like, but
> to me Mean Streak is too SLOW to be considered ROUGH.
> Over-braked, sluggish and boring maybe, but rough it
> ain't...

Funny that as much as I hate those types of coasters I actually didn't mind Mean Streak and I didn't think it was overly rough. I didn't love it but I didn't hate it either. I think it had something to do with all of the negative things I had heard about it before riding it made it seem better than it was. It really wasn't that bad IMO. Go figure....

When we make our URC trip to a park next year (time and place TBD) you'll have to join us so I can make sure you leave with some sort of bruise - that's really unfair! I MUST bruise like a peach afterall! :~)

Jen

Re: 2011 Hersheypark Trip Report and Review (Lengthy) by alpengeistno3 at 12/3/11 12:16:38 PM

> I understand it's not your cup of tea, but I have noticed
> other enthusiasts commenting on other coasters (which may
> have the elements that you like in a coaster) and calling
> it "rough." There seems to be an over-emphasis on
> wanting coasters to be smooth, especially wooden ones.
> First one that comes to mind is Mean Streak. A lot of
> enthusiasts hate it. Again, I can understand not liking a
> coaster because it doesn't have the elements you like, but
> to me Mean Streak is too SLOW to be considered ROUGH.
> Over-braked, sluggish and boring maybe, but rough it
> ain't...

> When we make our URC trip to a park next year (time and
> place TBD) you'll have to join us so I can make sure you
> leave with some sort of bruise - that's really unfair! I
> MUST bruise like a peach afterall! :~)

> Jen
>

Oh boy, Hershey trip with URCers? Count me in (if I am still in town. I go to visit mom in Virginia Beach during July and Hershey is a "bear" of a drive from there as opposed to just up the road from DC.)

Jen, me and you in the backseat of WildCat. I'll show you how to avoid getting "clawed up" by the 'Cat :)

Paul

Re: 2011 Hersheypark Trip Report and Review (Lengthy) by looper77 at 12/3/11 12:18:35 PM

> If they wanted new crowds in Comet Hollow, they should have
> built a long-awaited drop tower.

> Well, Skyrush will bring crowds over to Comet Hollow. If
> that was their objective, they will see it happen.
> Lightning Racer ridership will drop even further now, I
> would expect.

> >> I can't imagine the water park would move. They
> would move
> >> Lightning Racer before that, as it would be easier
> and
> >> cheaper.

> Even though Wildcat is my favorite wood coaster in the
> park, if they ever removed Lightning Racer, I would be done
> with the place for good.

> Oh, I really don't think they'd ever get rid of Lightning
> Racer. I was just saying that if they could feasibly and
> cheaply move it to an expansion area (say, on the other
> side of Wildcat) they would. Then they could freely expand
> the water park.

> The arena would make a grand entrance to the park. So much
> could be done with it in terms of adding all guest services
> literally under one roof, in addition to shops and
> restaurants. Maybe even move the monorail station inside
> the arena. The whole thing could be pretty cool if done
> right.

> I just picture that old Arena parking lot as a grand
> entrance to Hersheypark, complete with shops, restaurants
> and a large main gate. Inside the gate you are greeted by
> the Milton Hershey statue still standing in front of a
> relocated Carrousel and Carrousel Circle area.

> Guests can enter and head straight to Minetown, right
> toward "Skyrush Hollow", or left to a much closer
> waterpark. It just makes too much sense. In addition, it
> would be out of the flood plain (see the pictures from
> September).

> The old entrance area can be rethemed to "Old
> Hersheypark" complete with some classic amusement park
> rides, and maybe another wooden coaster down the road.

> I am really looking forward to going back. I think I will
> cry at the sight of the wave pool in the place of CRR
> though. ;-)

> Let us all know when you come out. Perhaps there can be a
> URC Hersheypark get-together. I'd be game.
>

Yeah, that would be cool, especially a trainload of Wildcat fans! ;-)

Re: 2011 Hersheypark Trip Report and Review (Lengthy) by looper77 at 12/3/11 12:22:13 PM

> When we make our URC trip to a park next year (time and
> place TBD) you'll have to join us so I can make sure you
> leave with some sort of bruise - that's really unfair! I
> MUST bruise like a peach afterall! :~)

> Jen
>

LOL!

How about we make the URC trip to Dorney instead of Hershey? :-P

Re: 2011 Hersheypark Trip Report and Review (Lengthy) by GoYanks34 GoYanks34 Profile at 12/3/11 5:40:20 PM

> When we make our URC trip to a park next year (time and
> place TBD) you'll have to join us so I can make sure you
> leave with some sort of bruise - that's really unfair! I
> MUST bruise like a peach afterall! :~)

> Jen
> > LOL!

> How about we make the URC trip to Dorney instead of
> Hershey? :-P

Sorry, I'll be busy that day! 8~)

Jen

Re: 2011 Hersheypark Trip Report and Review (Lengthy) by GoYanks34 GoYanks34 Profile at 12/3/11 5:44:24 PM

> Jen
> > Oh boy, Hershey trip with URCers? Count me in (if I am
> still in town. I go to visit mom in Virginia Beach during
> July and Hershey is a "bear" of a drive from
> there as opposed to just up the road from DC.)

> Jen, me and you in the backseat of WildCat. I'll show you
> how to avoid getting "clawed up" by the 'Cat :)

> Paul

As long as you don't force me on any kiddie coasters, LOL!

The date is open so if we all decide on Hershey it can be whenever everyone is available. I'm off on Mondays and Fridays but I can switch my day off with enough notice so I'm flexible. I'll start a new post in a few weeks on the topic. And if we go to Hershey we'll have a new coaster to ride too!

Jen

Re: 2011 Hersheypark Trip Report and Review (Lengthy) by beastmaster beastmaster Profile at 12/3/11 7:12:03 PM

>
> How about we make the URC trip to Dorney instead of
> Hershey? :-P

Yeah. That'll give me time to practice my (Ala Superintendent Chambers on the Simpsons) STINGERRRR!!!!

Either one's cool by me. Dorney's closer, but I like Hershey better. And in the battle of the new coasters, I'll take SkyRush (are they capitalizing the "R?") over a recycled GIB any old time.

Mike

Re: 2011 Hersheypark Trip Report and Review (Lengthy) by GoYanks34 GoYanks34 Profile at 12/3/11 7:16:10 PM

> > > How about we make the URC trip to Dorney instead
> of
> Hershey? :-P

> Yeah. That'll give me time to practice my (Ala
> Superintendent Chambers on the Simpsons) STINGERRRR!!!!

> Either one's cool by me. Dorney's closer, but I like
> Hershey better. And in the battle of the new coasters, I'll
> take SkyRush (are they capitalizing the "R?")
> over a recycled GIB any old time.

> Mike

I am seriously NOT going to Dorney. Not unless pigs are flying overhead and the devil is wearing a winter coat since hell froze over.

Jen

Re: 2011 Hersheypark Trip Report and Review (Lengthy) by looper77 at 12/3/11 7:18:47 PM

> > > How about we make the URC trip to Dorney instead
> of
> Hershey? :-P

> Yeah. That'll give me time to practice my (Ala
> Superintendent Chambers on the Simpsons) STINGERRRR!!!!

> Either one's cool by me. Dorney's closer, but I like
> Hershey better. And in the battle of the new coasters, I'll
> take SkyRush (are they capitalizing the "R?")
> over a recycled GIB any old time.

> Mike

I think Jen knew that I said that as a joke to tease her, as her Dorney Park trip report is one of the funniest things I have read on URC.

Re: 2011 Hersheypark Trip Report and Review (Lengthy) by GoYanks34 GoYanks34 Profile at 12/3/11 7:19:32 PM

> > How about we make the URC trip to Dorney instead
> of
> Hershey? :-P

> Yeah. That'll give me time to practice my (Ala
> Superintendent Chambers on the Simpsons) STINGERRRR!!!!

> Either one's cool by me. Dorney's closer, but I like
> Hershey better. And in the battle of the new coasters, I'll
> take SkyRush (are they capitalizing the "R?")
> over a recycled GIB any old time.

> Mike

> I think Jen knew that I said that as a joke to tease her,
> as her Dorney Park trip report is one of the funniest
> things I have read on URC.

Yes, I knew you were kidding but I don't think Mike did....

Jen

Re: 2011 Hersheypark Trip Report and Review (Lengthy) by beastmaster beastmaster Profile at 12/3/11 8:04:30 PM

^^ I kinda did.

Re: 2011 Hersheypark Trip Report and Review (Lengthy) by drachen drachen Profile at 12/3/11 11:35:11 PM

> Based on your descriptions it has a
> hint of "Cedar Fair" with some of the changes
> they've made and the losing of atmosphere in the park.
> That's not good to hear.

I would agree that there isn't a whole lot of charm at Cedar Fair's parks. I can understand the resentment that many locals feel toward Cedar Fair after they "Cedar Fair" their park.

I do, however, feel that Cedar Fair is pretty darn good at creating good, colorful, well-maintained, well-operated, clean parks with great selections of rides. The atmosphere at Cedar Fair parks is that of a fun amusement park, even if the charm the park once had is no longer there. They are better at it than Hershey is.

Charm is lost in both cases, which is a shame. But there are several Cedar Fair parks that I like better than Hersheypark.

Re: 2011 Hersheypark Trip Report and Review (Lengthy) by drachen drachen Profile at 12/3/11 11:51:44 PM

> Nice to see someone else who thinks Wildcat is better than
> Lightning Racer. I haven't been to HP since 2004, but even
> with the PTC's on Wildcat, I thought it was the better
> ride. Of course, I'm also the same person who thinks
> Twister is better than Phoenix... so I'm not sure how valid
> my opinion is. ;)

Again, great to see all of the Wildcat love. While I do love Twister, and think it's underrated by the coaster community, I will respectfully disagree that it is better than the Phoenix. For me, Phoenix is roller coaster perfection.

> The waterpark sounds like a mess, which is a shame as I
> thought that area of the park was already rather
> "unscenic".

There used to be three ways to get to Lightning Racer. Now, because of the waterpark, there is only one loooong route. It's a big mess, as I'm sure you'll notice whenever you make it back.

2012 may be a good year to do it. Two new coasters for you to try. I'd love to read what you think of the place 8 years later.

> Again, thanks for the great TR. I was actually sad when it
> ended!

Thanks!

* This Post Has Been Modified *

Re: 2011 Hersheypark Trip Report and Review (Lengthy) by drachen drachen Profile at 12/4/11 12:08:01 AM

> Then you never rode the Viper at SFGAdv.

> LOL! Yes, I have, and for me, it was one of those headache
> inducing coasters.

But like Jen said, that first drop was one of a kind. Fantastic, and well worth the shot to the jaw you took on the first inversion and the terribly shaky finale.

> I have gotten bruises as a kid from playing around, but
> never from a coaster (then or now)

I can't say I've ever been injured or even bruised by a roller coaster either...

> My example of rough would be the revered Coney Island
> Cyclone or the Lake Compounce Wildcat (which I think
> PAINFUL is a more accurate word).

...but there is one ride that truly kicked my butt. It was a back seat Coney Island Cyclone ride. My neck was a bit sore for a few days.

In fact, there are three brutal backseat coasters in that region. The Coney Island Cyclone, Lake Compounce Wildcat, and SFNE Cyclone. Those are rough rides, and comparing Wildcat to them would be unfair.

> I don't like Wildcat because it does nothing for me. I HATE
> coasters with just a bunch of overbanked turns and no hills
> or launches. > Jen

> I understand it's not your cup of tea, but I have noticed
> other enthusiasts commenting on other coasters (which may
> have the elements that you like in a coaster) and calling
> it "rough." There seems to be an over-emphasis on
> wanting coasters to be smooth, especially wooden ones.

Right. There is really no such thing as a smooth wooden coaster, though some are more tolerable than others. Wooden twisters tend to be worse than figure 8's or out and backs. But, it depends on a number of factors.

If you don't like the twister style of wooden coaster, that's totally understandable. But for those of us that do, there aren't many that are better than the Hersheypark Wildcat.

Re: 2011 Hersheypark Trip Report and Review (Lengthy) by frontrow frontrow Profile at 12/8/11 9:09:08 AM

Great TR. Back in the late 90's Wildcat was in my top 5 wooden coasters. Even in 2000 when LR was built, Wildcat was still running great. 5 or 6 years ago Wildcat was still tolerable in the front seat. Now it has become so rough that it's not that enjoyable. It's a shame because it has such a great layout. LR and The Comet seem to be getting better as they age. Storm Runner is still my favorite coaster at Hershey. I know it's a short ride, but I love every element from the launch to the brakes.

Re: 2011 Hersheypark Trip Report and Review (Lengthy) by hersheyworker hersheyworker Profile at 12/20/11 8:00:15 PM

Great TR, even though I believe Storm Runner is the best steel coaster in the park, but I do agree about Wildcat being better than Racer.

To whoever asked about the Arena ever being torn down, I doubt it for a couple of reasons:

-It's historic, Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points there and that has been the only time in the history of professional basketball where triple digits have been scored by one player.

-There are offices in the building (I know they could move them but still).

-They still hold hockey practices and other small events there.

Re: 2011 Hersheypark Trip Report and Review (Lengthy) by looper77 at 12/23/11 9:52:59 PM

> Great TR, even though I believe Storm Runner is the best
> steel coaster in the park, but I do agree about Wildcat
> being better than Racer.

> To whoever asked about the Arena ever being torn down, I
> doubt it for a couple of reasons:

> -It's historic, Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points there
> and that has been the only time in the history of
> professional basketball where triple digits have been
> scored by one player.

> -There are offices in the building (I know they could move
> them but still).

> -They still hold hockey practices and other small events
> there.

I think that if Yankee Stadium can be torn down, not to mention the other numerous stadiums across the country that have been replaced by newer ones, then certainly the Hersheypark Stadium can be torn down.

Personally, I love the architecture of the building, but I do think it is standing in the way of the park's logical path to expansion. It would make much more sense to expand the park on the site of the stadium and it's parking lot, than forming an odd stretch into the old golf course (which is where the water park should have been built in the first place).

Whether they could have had zoning approval to place the water park in the golf course, is another story. But since it seems as though the plan is to expand the park into the golf course by about 30 acres after the road re-alignment is complete, makes the current location of the Boardwalk seem even more like a horrible mistake.