Welcome back to my faithful pinch hitter, Elizabeth!
ELIZABETH: So – we’re going to discuss Hershey Park?
JENN: Yup! Because Disney people tend to be somewhat curious about other parks.
ELIZABETH: What! But how could any other place measure up?
JENN: It couldn’t. We just want to feel smugly superior. Also, roller coasters.
ELIZABETH: Ah, right. I will say that Walt Disney World could do with a few more roller coasters, but that’s personal preference.
JENN: Disney coasters are awesome, but they’re not exactly pushing the boundaries of what the human body can handle.
ELIZABETH: No – all that family friendliness, I suppose.
JENN: But first, some background! Elizabeth’s mom’s company holds an employee appreciation day at Hershey Park every year, and friends of the family are allowed to purchase discounted tickets. Naturally, I glom on to this any year I have the day free. And this year I did!
ELIZABETH: 🙂 It’s a good deal!
JENN: This year was my first time since… 2010, I think?
ELIZABETH: I think so, because I didn’t go last year, and you didn’t go the year before that. It was tragic, especially since that was the ONE YEAR I actually got everyone there before the park opened. And they were all complaining at me, and I was like, “Jenn would understand!!!” 🙁
JENN: I totally would. ALL THE TIME ROPE DROP!
I don’t think we need to do a full on trip report, since it was just one day and not a particularly complicated one at that, but there are some interesting things about Hershey I think are worth discussion.
ELIZABETH: Where should we start?
JENN: We’ve been going there for many years – since our middle school orchestra trips – and one thing I find interesting is about the subtle shift in ride type vs. ambiance. The ambiance, I think, has mostly stayed the same, while the rides have gotten more and more scary intense.
ELIZABETH: And I’ve been going even longer: i used to go as a small child because my grandfather’s company had THEIR picnics there. They have definitely emphasized thrill rides more and more.
JENN: This might have been less obvious if the water park portion of the park had been open, but as it was there was little of note to ride that wasn’t a coaster. The Reese’s Xtreme Cup Challenge (a Buzz Lightyear-ish target game dark ride) and a couple basic boardwalk-type rides.
ELIZABETH: How many coasters are there now? Seems like they open a new one every year (not that I’m complaining).
JENN: A lot. Ten, maybe.
ELIZABETH: Yeah. And there are a few kiddie rides and things like the monorail and the kissing tower, but they’re all significantly older than the new rides.
JENN: Definitely. Newness is directly correlated to scariness. I went on two new-ish coasters I’d never ridden before – Fahrenheit and Skyrush – and they were NOT KIDDING AROUND.
ELIZABETH: Especially Skyrush. I finally found my roller coaster match.
JENN: I personally found Fahrenheit to be the more intense of the two, but this might be a good time to mention your Skyrush experience…
ELIZABETH: Ah, yes.
So there are 4 seats across each row. The middle two have foot rests and, being closer to the track, experience the turns less sharply, I suppose. The outside seats (where I sat) allow your feet to dangle and apparently provide extra thrills. Also, the lap restraints don’t include a shoulder component, regardless of where you sit, which adds to the feeling of insecurity.
Anyway, I felt like my head was whipping around for the whole ride, and ended up holding myself back in the seat as hard as possible, without opening my eyes.
JENN: The park also spouts a series of dire warnings leading up to the ride, both in the signs and the announcements. I generally ignore signs, because EVERYTHING has a warning sign, but when they said top speeds would be around 70 mph, I briefly considered asking to be let off. Not because I haven’t gone 70 mph plenty of times, but because I’ve never done so on a coaster with a traditional drop. They’ve all been launch coasters.
ELIZABETH: Yeah! You definitely feel a lot of weightlessness on that one. Not that I was paying attention to much other than my inner voice saying “LET ME OFF!”
JENN: I quelled my fear with the logical reasoning that the two experiences are essentially the same; all that’s changing is the axis. But for a moment I finally understood how Moon feels when we first drag her onto a new thrill ride.
ELIZABETH: Yeah. Poor thing.
I think I might want to ride it again, but in the middle seats, because GOOD GOD.
JENN: I actually wound up really enjoying the experience – possibly because it wasn’t as terrifying as I expected? – but I do need to try an outside seat like you had. We’ll just have to switch.
ELIZABETH: The other interesting thing about Skyrush was that it didn’t go upside down. And they lift you up at an almost 90 degree angle.
JENN: But they really speed you on up the hill, so at least the suspense is minimized.
ELIZABETH: Let’s see, what else about Hershey Park? They have a zoo!
JENN: You get free admission to the adjacent ZooAmerica, which features all North American animals. Just get your hand stamped, walk across a bridge, and there you are.
ELIZABETH: They have wolves! Who seemed very unimpressed with the whole thing
JENN: I rather liked the bears. Black bears are adorable.
ELIZABETH: They are! And we were able to get good views of some bobcats and lynxes, who had the right idea about the day and were napping. It should not be that hot in October.
JENN: It was REALLY warm for awhile there.
Now, about Chocolate World, just outside the main gate. The tour dark ride is free, and there are a couple other experiences like a movie and chocolate tasting that we haven’t tried because they aren’t free. There’s also, of course, lots of chocolate in various forms.
ELIZABETH: Mmmmm, chocolate.
JENN: For those of you who have only recently ridden the Chocolate Tour dark ride, please believe me: THE SINGING COWS WEREN’T ALWAYS THERE.
ELIZABETH: And the roasting demonstration used to actually be uncomfortably hot, as I remember. But you still get a free chocolate sample at the end!
JENN: And that’s what counts! We got a tiny sample package of Rolos this time around. But of course, the most important part of Chocolate World is dessert.
ELIZABETH: There are so many to chose from!
JENN: I was wildly tempted by all the baked goods they offered in the cafe area (FROSTING), but a milkshake had been calling my name all week. I ate a salad specifically so that I would suffer minimal guilt when killing a magnificent chocolate peanut butter shake.
ELIZABETH: And it was pretty magnificent. A little pricy, but it’s actually good that they keep them kinda small since they’re incredibly filling.
JENN: Yeah, I wasn’t hungry again for another six hours or so. And for me, that’s unheard of!
ELIZABETH: LOL, yes, it could have been a meal unto itself.
JENN: So, Hershey Park takeaways:
ELIZABETH: Go through the Chocolate World ride!
JENN: If you’re uncertain about Skyrush, sit in the middle the first time around. In fact, maybe don’t go if you don’t like strong roller coasters. Poor Megan got all freaked out on The Great Bear and ended up sitting out a bunch of rides. (But ignore her; The Great Bear is AWESOME. Try it!)
ELIZABETH: Yeah, but even then, there are some tamer roller coasters and the water rides would have been fun if they were open.
JENN: So check the schedules!
ELIZABETH: Yep! I think they close in September some time
JENN: And get a milkshake. They’re delicious.
JENN: As always, dear Elisabet, thank you for your gracious blogging assistance!
ELIZABETH: *bows* No problem!
JENN: I hope you’ll come back for a post-Busch Gardens Williamsburg/Howl-O-Scream breakdown?
ELIZABETH: That should be doable. 🙂
JENN: You can share in my triumph or… not… depending on whether or not I brave a haunted house. (I’m just saying, don’t put down money on it…)
ELIZABETH: Haha, I won’t. We’ll see – they’re not my favorite either. Not that I get really scared, exactly, just that I enjoy most other rides a lot more.
JENN: I DO get scared. I assume. I’ve always been too scared to attempt a real haunted house, and therefore can’t be sure how much more scared I get inside them. But we’ve been watching a lot of horror movies lately, so… we shall see! NEXT TIME!
Have you ever been to Hershey Park? What are your thoughts? Did you ride Skyrush? Did you… drink a milkshake?!
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