The first time was in 2006 and it was one of the first stops of a week-long rampage across the entire state of Pennsylvania. At that time, I described Hershey as the love child of Kings Dominion and Busch Gardens Williamsburg. I really loved it and had a great day there.
I went again last year and found that it was as if KD and BGW had divorced and now Hershey only saw BGW on weekends and holidays. I feel like I grump a lot about parks so I'll get that all out of the way before I share what I like about it.
Both food service places I visited were horrid. I don't think that's really Hershey's fault as much as it is society's though. People in service jobs, for the most part, just don't care anymore. They are all just watching the clock until it's time to collect their paycheck. People don't understand the value of working in a service job and how important it is for the success of the company. Lines moved slowly, expressionless faces slowly grabbed at my money leaving me feeling frustrated and cheated. If my coke costs $4, you really need to smile at me while you hand it to me. Imagine a world where people felt they were getting their money's worth at theme parks. It could happen. I have to keep believing that, anyway.
Fahrenheit, which was new to me on my last trip, was decent. But for as short as that ride is, the line should never have been over an hour long. The ride operators (and there were many of them) were so lazy it was infuriating. They were running three trains and far too many times there were two on the brakes and one on the lift. IT ONLY HAS TWELVE SEATS. HOW LONG CAN IT TAKE TO LOAD AND UNLOAD???? Ages, that's how long. Because no one in the station seemed particularly interested in dispatching trains. They moseyed around. They chatted with each other as they half-heartedly checked restraints. I wanted to kill them all by the time I got off.
The crew on Great Bear, however, were busting arse, weaving in and out of rows checking harnesses, averaging 70 second turnarounds. That's how to run a freaking coaster.
I really love all the woodies at Hershey. Wildcat is easily the weakest, even with the new trains. It wasn't as rough as it was with the PTCs, but it was still pretty rough. I LOVE Lightning Racer, both sides. And Comet is fantastic, though both times I have been, I can't get enough rides on it because it suffers from the same painfully slow operations as Fahrenheit. Last year, I feel like it was trimmed a little harder than it had been when I went before, but I could be wrong.
I wish I was more of a water park person, because their water park looks like loads of fun and I love how it's integrated with the rest of the park.
What I love about Hershey overall is that, as big as it is, it still has very much of a small park feel to me. Each area has a distinct atmosphere and there are some really nice quiet areas and secret-feeling pathways where you can effectively take a break for a bit. It also has a couple of those "step back in time" areas where it looks like the park hasn't changed in thirty years or so, which I LOVE.