Sean: Time for park 4 on our trip around the Northeast! Perhaps my favorite regional park I’ve ever visited, though it may very well be considered a destination park… HERSHEYPARK! I had expectations, quite a few of them, and they were all exceeded. What a fun park with an abnormally solid lineup of coasters that are all unique in their own way! Let’s venture to the ‘sweetest place on earth’!
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After a rather fascinating, and quite frankly disappointing time a Dorney Park, we decided to check out Hersheypark the evening prior to our planned visit, for their preview nights! Hersheypark offers every guest with a ticket for single-day admission to visit the park the evening prior for the last 3 hours of operations! Let’s appreciate Hersheypark’s beautiful entrance, their bavarian styled version of a Downtown Disney/City Walk.
Instead of taking the traditional route through the park, we took a sharp right after the strollers to get to Skyrush quickly. Besides the lake-hugging pathway just offers amazing views of what is one of my all-time favorite coasters. A perfect foreshadowing of what was yet to come.
We hopped right in line for the 200 feet tall yellow beast, and I was just amazed. Alex had ridden Skyrush before and gave me fair warnings for how intense it would be, but nothing prepared me for the sheer intensity and ejector found on Skyrush‘ winged seats.
The ejector through Skyrush‘ tame-looking layout can be experienced vertical and lateral as some of the ride’s quick turns and transitions really throw you out of your seat. Skyrush isn’t terribly long, with a total length of 3,600 feet, but that’s more than enough as the experience is just too intense for many!
Another ride we decided was a must for my first few hours there, was Fahrenheit. Another Intamin coaster! This is one of Intamin’s most unique coasters and really feels like their spin on a Eurofighter.
Another ride I wanted to knock out during the evening preview was the legendary Storm Runner! Which is just an incredible ride. From the moment you take of to the moment you hit the brakes it does more than any other Intamin Accelerator Coaster out there! More on Storm Runner later in the report!
The cool thing about walking around Hersheypark at night, is the fact that you get to walk through the dark Boardwalk (Water Park) to get to Lightning Racers! One of my favorite wooden coasters ever! GCI amazingness while adding tremendous satisfaction and action with the racing aspect!
We finished the first evening at the park with Laff Trakk, the park’s new indoor Maurer spinning coaster. This ride is known to get quite a line so I was glad we were able to knock it out the night before our daytime visit. Luckily we’re both tall dudes and we got our own car, meaning we spun like crazy. The theming inside is a blacklight fun house. It’s awesome, but not as immersive as I anticipated. Though this is a very neat ride, it is very forgettable for me among the rest of the park’s fantastic attraction!
TIME FOR DAY 2! We started our day with Fahrenheit, seen in the back, just to ride it before the line got very long. Unfortunately Fahrenheit just didn’t ‘Wow’ me, and that’s because it is clearly the weakest of the Intamin holy trinity. Mind you that the ride is still fantastic, but this park just happens to have some of the World’s very best Intamin coasters! After riding Fahrenheit we decided to hit up some new coasters that we didn’t ride the night before, such as Wild Mouse. Which is just a standard continuous-boarding Mack wild mouse coaster that ran particularly well and untrimmed. One of the better mice I’ve ridden in the US!
The Boardwalk also features an array of raft slides with bowls and regular pool-splash outs! Note the classic fairground slides that Hersheypark has had for ages are still around and fit perfectly between Laff Trakk and Wild Cat. Wild Cat is the park’s original GCI Wooden coaster that has a classic twister layout and was retrofitted with Millennium Flyers a few years back, the ride sadly vibrated a ton and ran rough, but luckily the park has several better woodies to enjoy!
The Boardwalk also features several splash pads, as well as the station of Roller-Soaker, which just looked horrendous. Though the station sat empty for 5 years, it looks well and not out of place. Hersheypark is reusing it in 2018 for their Flying Saucer Hydro Magnetic Water Coaster next year, named Breakers Edge. The park is also adding a much more impressive waterslide addition next year, the World’s largest mat-racing slide named Whitecap Racer! Read more about Hersheypark’s 2018 additions here!
The middle of the Boardwalk is actually the park’s tallest water ride, Tidal Force, which can be accessed from the dry park, and water park, and is the only non-Boardwalk attraction that allows guests to ride without shoes and in swim wear. Fair warning, this ride gets you incredibly soaked.
Let’s talk some more about Lightning Racer! This high-energy racing coster from GCI opened in 2000 but runs as if it opened two years ago. It is incredibly smooth, has an impressively long layout that allows for racing elements in all sorts of directions while still feeling like a compact GCI wooden coaster. We rode this ride several times on both the Lightning and Thunder side and I am just very impressed with the execution of this ride. I highly advise every reader that gets a chance to visit Hersheypark to make sure to ride both sides, try the front and back (back arguably being better for the views of the racing).
Lightning Racer actually is almost 4,000 feet long on both sides and is a 2:20 minute ride time, which is actually fantastic. It was just much longer and better than I anticipated, and I had pretty high expectations already. I’m excited to go back to the Efteling in the Netherlands soon with Alex, to ride Joris en de Draak, which is a smaller compact GCI racing wooden coaster!
But before we get to that side of the park, we’re going to ride one of my favorite Vekoma Boomerangs EVER… SIDEWINDER! This well-maintained Boomerang doesn’t only have a sleek color scheme, but it also happens to feature the lovely MK1212 trains with vest restraints, and magnetic braking. Which is super unique!
The park also features a good selection of classic flat rides, some of our favorites include flying scooters! Unlike the classic ones at Knoebels, these were actually open! 😀
AND THEY HAD A FERRIS WHEEL! Which I usually wouldn’t care for as much, but in the relatively flat landscape of the park, it actually provided an awesome view of the park. And a cool view of Alex, of course.
TIME FOR COAL CRACKER! Look at that brand new drop that the park put in this year! After riding Jet Stream almost weekly at Six Flags Magic Mountain for years, it was such a delight to ride an Arrow Hydro Flume that was well maintained and still features the airtime hill at the bottom of the drop. Which seriously threw me out of my seat. An amazing Hersheypark ride that you can not miss!
The ride starts off with a tiny little helix before the first drop which is surprisingly intense, and then drops into the vertical loop, and then the Immelman. Which is followed by a Zero-G-Roll, a quick flat turn, and then several impressive swoops over the creek before hitting a fast transition into the corkscrew!
One of the reasons I just LOVE Hersheypark is because of its many unique coasters, and Great Bear is no exception. This is definitely among my top 3 favorite inverted coasters. It doesn’t do terribly much, but everything it does, it does perfectly. Another amazing coaster.
Now the New Revolution relaunch of Six Flags Magic Mountain’s Revolution was great, but the trains on SooperDooperLooper are just much better. The ride layout is weaker, but it’s a cute scenic smaller version of Revolution, which is just near-perfect in many ways!
Ready for more Six Flags Magic Mountain references? Okay, you better be cause Hersheypark’s monorail runs… the Six Flags Magic Mountain Metro trains! The monorail takes you around the park, as well as ZooAmerica, and offers amazing views of some of the rides, particularly of Storm Runner! The ride has an amazing 80s feel to it.
Next up! A super unique new-for-2017 experience, BBLZ! A weird, but totally awesome beverage place with a modern look and weird sweet sodas mixed with candy. I honestly don’t even know how to explain it. Let’s have a look!
Right near those awesome geese we find an amazing Arrow minetrain, that runs incredibly well for its age, and looks much newer than it is… Trailblazer! It is actually quite short, but what it does, it does well and it is beautifully situated.
The ride’s infamous element is the Flying Snake Dive, which is just incredible. There is insane ejector airtime going into it, the roll is very smooth with the new restraints, the actual dive is just quick, snappy and intense. Lovely.
The actual launch is similar to Xcelerator, except a little weaker. It definitely runs better at night than during the day. The Top Hat element is lovely nonetheless, as the ascent is a 90′ degree twist up, and a straight drop down into a valley, making the descent longer than the ascent.
The Cobra Loop (not to be mistaken with a Cobra Roll!) is the second element on the coaster and is pretty much a giant Immleman inversion with super-odd banking on the way down. For a coaster this advanced with a layout this amazing, that just stood out for being odd. It has its charm!
We rode Skyrush quite a few times. The most of any ride there, and that’s simply because of how amazingly intense it is. It is so intense that the majority of the park’s visitors don’t seem to enjoy riding it. The legendary “Thighcrush” nickname is not a joke, as this ride’s forces will staple your legs.
But the last coaster to discuss is one of the park’s oldest coasters: THE COMET! A great 6-seater PTC train rolls along this classic tri-turnaround wooden coaster with plenty of small hills. I didn’t expect all that much from the ride, but there’s actually quite some air and funkiness to this old coaster! In fact I even lost my sunglasses on this ride.
Thank you Hersheypark for being so awesome, in fact one of my all-time favorite theme parks, period. Join Alex and I on more adventures around the Northeast and California in a bunch of reports being launched soon. <3
Thank you for following along with California Coaster Kings & Cabin Crew Coaster Kings‘ latest adventure: An American Northeast trip through Maryland, East Pennsylvania, Up-state New York, and Ontario, Canada!
Here’s the park’s we’ve visited and will launch reports for! The names will become links as soon as they are live!
- Adventure Park USA – Part 1
- Knoebels – Part 2
- Dorney Park – Part 3
- Hershey Park – Part 4
- Dutch Wonderland – Part 5
- Seabreeze Amusement Park – Part 6
- Darien Lake – Part 7
- Fantasy Island – Part 8
- Canada’s Wonderland – Part 9
- Marineland Canada – Part 10