As noted above with picture of the awesome snake, I visited Hershypark. Here is a trip report in roughly the order of what we rode.
Reese's Xtreme Cup Challenge - This is….a ride. I normally love interactive dark rides, but the heavy emphasis on advertising the candy, the extreme sports aesthetic, and the sloppy execution of the scenery and props being copy and pasted multiple times left me underwhelmed. Rating: Two Reese’s Pieces out of a whole bag.
Laff Trak - I would consider it my favorite ride of the park, if only because it ticks off so many check boxes of what I enjoy in a coaster. It has some really fun turns, great theming pieces, and is an indoor dark coaster. The dual sided nature of the ride means that you get a different experience depending on which side you sit on in a visual sense as well as motion. Rating: A whole bag of White Chocolate Raspberry Kisses.
Whip - This was a flat ride that I had never seen before which was extremely rudimentary but packed a decent punch when going around turns. The ride is consists of cars attached to a cable that is wrapped around two large wheels on two sides of the building in the rough shape of an oval. The cars are attached to the cable with springs and hydraulics. As the cars go around the turns, the cars fling out with centrifugal force similar to a scrambler. The mural on the wall reveals that it’s been there since the 1950s, which would explain it’s simple, but interesting retro design. Rating: A standard Kit-Katt Bar.
Wildcat - I thought this was a pretty fun coaster. It has a nice drop and turns throughout the ride. I hope InvadR turns out as fun as this. Rating: One of those really cool Kit-Katt Bars they make outside of the U.S.
Storm Runner - Another fun coaster. I liked the launch up and the inversions were pretty fast as well, which I like on coasters. The main complaint I had for this (and Skyrush as well) was that the headrests were pretty short, so it hurt to keep my head back against them during the launch and faster bits. Rating: 1 ½ Standard Resee’s Cups.
Great Bear - I really liked this, but I have never been on a B&M Invert that I haven’t liked. It has some nice speed despite it not being exceptionally tall, great inversions, and makes great use of the terrain. Rating: Two full Hershey Cookies and Cream bars.
Skyrush - I’m not a fan of coasters that are intense just for the sake of being intense (see i305) so this was something more up my alley. It was a fun layout and all, but the ejector air was a bit too much for my tastes. I do also like coasters that go over water a bit. Rating: The half of a Hershey bar left over after you and your friends make S’Mores.
Sooper Dooper Looper - An older, but still fun and solid coaster with a fun layout. Not much more to say about it. Rating: A bunch of those Hershey Miniatures that your office co-workers leave out.
Dry Gulch Railroad - I’ll get into this later but Hersheypark is a beautiful park with a certain charm that only independent parks are able to achieve. This not only shows you around a small section of the park, it ads some very rustic (yet still charming) animatronics as well. My favorite was the snake (pictured above) that comes down to the trans and blows air at riders, but there was some other animatronics and scenery that could easily fit inside some sort of haunted attraction for being macabre or violent. The frightening nature of these animatronics on what is supposed to be a family ride is a welcome change from the often sterile environments at parks that are parts of chains. In short, I loved this small little train ride. Rating: Imported Cadbury Caramel Chocolates.
Trailblazer - I love mine train coasters. This was a fun coaster and all, but the layout was underwhelming. Rating: Normal Hershey Kisses.
Comet - A great older woodie. Maintains a good speed and lots of bunny hops. Rating: Some Cadbury Creme Eggs
Fahrenheit and Lightning Racer were closed and we skipped Sidewinder because Boomerangs are kind of “Meh” to me and generally not worth the discomfort.
Chocolate World Ride - This ride is actually in the middle of renovation which caused the ride to be in this weird broken state. The animatronic cows are all gone (though they are apparently coming back in some form) and the audio dialog switches to different announcers randomly. The new effects are projections on the scenery that were not working either and it looks like the creepy anthropomorphic candy bar mascots are going to have roles. I see Disney level quality potential here, but I need to see the ride in its finished state first.
My big concern going into this visit was that the park would be saturated with product placement and beside one ride and the mascot characters, these fears did not come true. Hersheypark is a beautiful park that the owners clearly want to be its own thing. As mentioned above, not being part of a chain allows it to be a bit rough around the edges which allows for a certain rustic charm, which is unique for being a major theme park. The fact that the flat collection there are traveling carnival rides is neat and the coaster collection is a firm “solid” at the least.
If I had one complaint about the park, it would be the layout. The park feels like a long strip with no way to get between the two ends and the terrain, while beautiful, certainly does not help a bit with blind corners. If there was a quick way to get between places, it would be very helpful to the experience, but I can’t help but wonder if BGW has simply spoiled me in this aspect.
All in all, I certainly can’t wait for my next visit to this park. I loved my experience there and plan to get a Season Pass next year in hopes to visit more.
You didn't like Skyrush. You are not my friend, PK.
In all seriousness, great trip report! HP is my favorite park because of what you outlined at the end about its rustic feel. It's icing on the cake for me that I enjoy coasters like Skyrush and Stormrunner so much.
Fahrenheit - Probably would be my favorite Intamin if it wasn't for the vertical lift. Other than that, a well paced ride that doesn't get to fast going around turns or inversions like Intamin tends to get for my taste. Rating: One bag of Caramel Hugs
Lightning Racer - A very fun racer. Great fist drop and a super fast and twisty layout. Plus the small bonus of indicating what side won. Rating: A Hershy Smore snack bar.
There are some 7 or 8 BBLz to choose from, made from Pepsi soda products as a base and then topped with all kinds of fruity, sweet, and/or chocolaty confections. I had the ice cream sundae facsimile (I forget what it's called). The initial draw from the BBLz cup was all soda which slowly turned into a sugary vanilla and chocolate treat as I drank on. There was a piece of carmel on the straw which, y'know, is pretty badass even if I didn't like the drink. But I liked it anyway; it's good.
On one hand, the BBLz I tasted was nothing more than cola, chocolate syrup, and cake frosting (and ice)... However, if you like those things, then it's pretty good. Maybe not worth the seven dollars but good, nonetheless. It's also definitely a calorie/sugar bomb.
In the end, I can't complain too much. I also don't think BBLz is going to replace Sweet Frogs anytime soon. What I can complain about is the wait: I'd guestimate we stood in line for no less than 20 minutes and there were, at best, 10 people in front of us (does that sound about right, PK?). Once we were admitted from the waiting line to the BBLz creation service center (kind of like an even more shortbus'd Apple "Genius Bar") it was obvious the wait staff were either untrained or indifferent (possibly both). Watching our staff member help us was kind of painful - there's no way this process should be this slow. But she was nice so I guess I can justify waiting a half hour to get a seven dollar root beer float as long as the person giving it to me has a smile on their face.
But hey, whatever, my straw had a piece of carmel on it. So that's cool.
The zoo is awesome. Although there are only animals native to North America, they have a very wide variety of animals. The highlights for me are the reptiles and birds of prey, which are in abundance at the zoo. Their Magpies told us "Hello" when we stopped by, which was certainly a surprising experience.
The Chocolate World tour is complete. The cars now have screens in them which provide a more interactive experience. Syncing between the cars and the tour is still a bit rough.
The awesome snake in the first post of this thread? Gone. This reduces the park rating by 1/2 BBLz.