Hersheypark was one of the last couple of major (10+ coasters) parks that I hadn’t visited in a while so it was time to make a trip and when some friends wanted to meet me there, it was a no brainer. The last time I visited was in 2005 at which point I was not tall enough to ride most of the big rides and too scared to ride them anyways so needless to say there were a lot of credits I still needed. I found a cheap flight into Newark and made the drive over to Hershey from Newark and got into the park around noon after getting my pass processed. The park was pretty crowded and it looked like we definitely were going to have to prioritize which rides we hit even if I wasn’t particularly worried since I was planning on coming back the next day.
The most intriguing coaster to me from a “I don’t know what to expect” perspective was definitely Fahrenheit. I remember watching its construction and doodling the ride logo in my notebooks when I was in school but over the years the ride has gotten a reputation for being rattly and generally not being a super great ride. But I’d always looked at the ride and thought it should ride better than its reputation. After putting it to the test, I think I was correct about this ride, it was a lot of fun! The first drop was awesome and gave a great bit of airtime. The rest of the inversions were fairly forceful. The most surprising part was the complete lack of meaningful rattling throughout the ride. Not sure if I rode the ride on a good day or in a good seat (second from the front) but I really enjoyed the experience. Not sure if it’d be the ride in the park I’d want to marathon since I like Skyrush and Candymonium more but I’d definitely lke to ride this again in my next visit to the park.
Unfortunately HP was only running one side of this ride (Thunder/Green) and so we didn’t get to experience the full Lightning Racer experience. But as far as the track we were on goes, it was much better than I remember from 2005! It was surprisingly smooth, moreso than other GCIs I remember and actually had some good airtime. It wasn’t nearly as good as the top tier GCIs like Goldstriker or Mystic Timbers but without it racing, I didn’t get the full experience so it’s not entirely fair to judge.
At this point there was no denying myself from the most anticipated coaster in the park: Skyrush. I’d been trying to not let myself get too hyped for a ride that is notorious for bad restraints (looking at you Superman @ SFNE) but not doing the best job at tempering that hype. Because besides the restraints this ride looked like my favorite kind of coaster: fast, full of airtime and throw you out of your seat intense. Well after waiting around 30 minutes, we headed straight to the back row where I took the left wing seat. I made sure to give myself a little room in the restraint where hopefully it wouldn’t cut off circulation to my legs. Well, I don’t think that I hyped this ride up enough, to be totally honest. This first ride I either got lucky or somehow rode the ride correctly but the restraint stayed at a comfortable level the entire ride and so I got all the upside of the coaster with none of the downside.
And what an upside it is! All of the airtime hills were among the most intense moments of airtime I’ve ever experienced to the point where I almost felt the instinctual need to hold on for dear life. And when I saw all of the airtime hills were that way, I mean all of them and actually so did the first drop. The rest of the non-airtime hill parts of the course were also awesome with me graying out on some of the more aggressive turns. As far as comparison goes, I think the comparison I made between Flying Aces and Skyrush was true with Skyrush being the more out of control version of Flying Aces. The non-inverting loop on Flying Aces was, in retrospect, a nice gimmick but I think I would’ve preferred a Skyrush style airtime hill. But however you slice it, Skyrush is an amazing ride and landed at #6 on my top 10 list.
I think my favorite part of Hersheypark is how rides tend to be shoehorned in around eachother and Great Bear is a great example of that since it sits mixed in with Sooperdooperlooper and the Coal Cracker log flume. That seems to be the reason for the strange layout. To the best of my knowledge it’s the only B&M invert (or only B&M period?) to have a strange pre-drop and the meandering end of the ride is interesting. Between those two bookends you get a fairly standard B&M invert with a loop, immelman and zero-g roll. This definitely sits toward the bottom of my list of B&M inverts since it lacks the intensity you find in a lot of the better ones but it still is definitely a good ride and a people eater as well!
Reese’s Cup Fusion
Sometimes at HP you can forget that you’re in a park owned by a chocolate company. Like, sure, the height indicators are all named after different candy and there’s an entire ride named Candymonium but once you get tall enough to not care about height and get past Candymonium, you’re left with food stands and walkaround characters being your only indicators. Well, that is, until you get to this ride which is themed to Reese’s agents taking on evil candy. This was the only non-roller coaster of the trip. After waiting in the very long, very slow line, we were treated to an excellent, very well done shooter ride. I thought the ride did a fantastic job of mixing screens and more physical sets. I also really enjoyed the candy smell that they pumped through the ride. This ride through I got 229k points.
At this point it was about 6:50pm when the park closed at 7pm. I personally would’ve been good hopping in line for Candymonium but it was showing as 45 minutes and the rest of the group didn’t want to wait that long which was completely fair. Since I was coming back the next day, it was no big deal for me too. We ended up heading over to the Hershey’s Factory where we did the tour dark ride and did a little shopping before leaving for the night.
The next day I had been planning on taking advantage of the Sweet Start early admission provided by my season pass but was disappointed to find out that it was only offered in the summer. Luckily I found that fact out before I left the hotel or I would’ve had plenty of time to wait before I got into the park at 11! So I ended up getting to the park right at opening and decided to head for the kiddy coaster so it would be a little less embarrassing to get the credit without having to wait in line with a bunch of small children.
It’s a kiddy coaster ¯\(ツ)/¯
After Cocoa Cruiser, I headed to the back of the park for a quick ride on Laff Track. Luckily I ended up beating most of the crowd to the ride and had only a couple train wait. I didn’t know going in that it was a Maurer spinning coaster but I came out feeling about it like I feel about all Maurer spinners, it was alright but not super impressive. At least this one had some interesting themeing and a cool moment going into the main show building and being surrounded by massive glow in the dark props. It actually reminded me a bunch of Tom and Jerry Swiss Cheese Spin (even though they’re made by different manufacturers) in that they both have wide open glow in the dark themeing elements on spinning coasters. Overall this is a ride I don’t feel the need to do again.
So I knew that I’d be close to 400 coming into the trip but didn’t do a particularly good job of sequencing it out or else I would’ve had Skyrush be 400. But after finishing our riding for the day on Saturday and checking my count I realized I was at 397 and would be hitting 400 the next day unless I deliberately avoided rides. Out of all of the open coasters I still needed to ride, only one was a real choice: Candymonium. I love B&M hypers and even though this one seems to get some more lackluster reviews, I was still greatly looking forward to riding it. Did it live up to the milestone I gave it? Yes! I thought it was one of the better B&M hypers and I actually rank it ahead of Mako but just behind Nitro. I loved the abundance of airtime hills and although I didn’t get a ton out of the more RMC inspired off axis hills, I thought the interaction with the Kiss fountain was a neat little touch. Is it the most intense ride ever? Absolutely not but these rides aren’t meant to be. Candymonium isn’t Skyrush but it’s great as it is and was a worthy #400.
Getting closer to finishing my full set of Arrow mine trains! This was a pretty forgettable one. Nothing particularly intense and no more Arrow sketchiness than normal. I was kinda surprised, though, going up the life hill and seeing a bunch of houses to my right. I think it’d be so cool to live right next to a park!
I usually tend to find myself pleasantly surprised by Boomerangs but not this one. I thought it was disorienting and painful, especially the cobra roll in the reverse direction. Rode it for the credit and never again will.
Since Sidewinder is right next to Storm Runner’s station, I couldn’t help but gaze in longingly. I knew that it would be closed going in so its closure wasn’t terrible (and was actually the reason I bought a season pass, since I knew that I’d need to come back to ride it) but it was still kinda disappointing to be so close to it but be unable to ride.
Reese’s Cup Fusion
Since I had a Fast Lane pass, figured I might as well get a ride and see if I could improve on my score. I didn’t and only got 225k this time around :(
These rides weren’t quite as amazing as my first go around since the restraints definitely were a lot more invasive and circulation cutting but they also weren’t as bad as I’d been fearing. I also tested the back left wing vs the back right wing and found that the back left wing felt slightly more intense. Not sure what it is but it’ll definitely be my go to seat headed forward!
And at that point I was already a little late for my drive back to Newark airport so I had to head out. I left pretty impressed with Hersheypark. It has a great ride collection, especially so when Storm Runner reopens and I love the infrastructure around the park (especially the chocolate factory and the Chocolate Town area). Like I mentioned I bought a season pass under the assumption that I’d make a trip back later this year to ride Storm Runner and I’m definitely looking forward to that ride!