As of today, I am a Hershey Park season pass holder. I love this park because it has a crap ton of variety in its rides. They vary from kiddie rides to adrenaline rushes like Storm Runner. Hershey has two “hyper coasters”. A Hyper-coaster is a roller coaster anywhere from 200-299 feet. The one people probably immediately think of is SkyRush. SkyRush is balls-to-the-wall, pedal-to-the-metal from start to finish. Hell, even its lift hill uses a cable to rocket you 200 feet up in about 10 seconds. It then flies down a 200 foot drop and reaches 75 mph and does not slow down until the end of the ride one minute later.
Hershey’s other Hyper coaster just debuted last year. It is called Candymonium. Candymonium is taller, longer, and (barely) faster than SkyRush. BUT Candymonium is, I guess tamer is the right word, than SkyRush. Both are phenomenal rides, so today I am going to put them head-to-head against each other in my first ever “Coaster Fight”.
Now these are my own opinions. People argue until they are blue in the face which ride is better. The coaster enthusiasts prefer SkyRush a lot of the time, and the general public, everyday people, et cetera, are gonna probably prefer Candymonium. Why is this? Well this brings me to my first category:
Intensity. Oh, and one other thing I want to mention before I go any further. I know some channels on YouTube (looking at you, Coaster Studios) do coaster fights, or at least used to. This is different. I am not going to elect a “winner” because I feel that would rile people up no matter what. So I am just going to give my opinion and not rely so much on statistics. But back to intensity. Hands down, I have to give this round to SkyRush, no contest. Candymonium is graceful and long and enjoyable. SkyRush is just flat-out intense. SkyRush is a prime example of “Short but Sweet”. People have been close to passing out on SkyRush. From what I know it has never happened, but a few times on the ride, yeah, I lost my vision for a few seconds. SkyRush’s official intensity is 5 positive G’s. What that means is, it exerts 5 times the amount of energy on you than just standing. So let’s say you weigh 100 pounds. Well if you ride SkyRush, it’d be the equivalent of 500 pounds on you. It’s crazy! Candymonium is not nearly that bad.
The next category is ride duration, aka how long the ride lasts. I know I just said statistics would not really impact the so-called “scores” but this is the one exception. SkyRush is about a minute in length from the bottom of the first hill to the final brakes. And while SkyRush is so fast, so intense,…it feels short. It’s enjoyable, but it just feels like a short ride. SkyRush is 3,600 feet long but hauls through that track so fast it’s over by the time you realize how fast you are going.
Candymonium on the other hand? Candymonium is Hershey’s tallest, longest, and fastest ride. It is 210 feet tall (10 feet taller than SkyRush), 76 miles per hour (1 mph faster than SkyRush), 4,636 feet long, and lasts (according to Hershey) 2 minutes, 25 seconds. Now that last statistic does include the lift hill, which takes a little longer to get to the top, but Candymonium actually feels considerably longer than SkyRush. So for that reason, I am giving this round to Candymonium.
The next category is the restraints. If you know anything about these two rides, you can probably guess which will win this one. SkyRush and Candymonium both have lap bars (no shoulder harnesses) but they are considerably different. Candymonium has regular lap bars with a seat belt attached. SkyRush has a lap bar that pulls down over your head and will squeeze the life out of your legs. Actually, SkyRush is known in our industry by the moniker “ThyCrush” just for that reason. Yeah, your legs will absolutely have red marks and be numb by the end of this ride. Plus it takes forever to load! To give you a visualization, I attached photos of SkyRush and Candymonium restraints. SkyRush is the top one.
So yeah…the undisputed winner here is Candymonium. It’s just more comfortable than SkyRush.
The next and final category is the “Fun” factor. As I said, this is the most difficult one to judge. I’m screwed either way. I am going to catch flak from both sides no matter what. But again, stats and everything else aside, this is MY opinion. You are entitled to your own. Both these coasters are fantastic rides! SkyRush and Candymonium are similar but extremely different. They are both Hyper coasters and they both go around the same speed. You’re not gonna notice that Candymonium goes one mph faster. It’s irrelevant. SkyRush is insane from start to finish and feels like it is trying to kill you with its intensity. I think it is the intensity that scares a lot of people away from riding SkyRush. However, the average person LOVES Candymonium. Why? Candymonium is made by a different manufacturer (B&M) who are known for their intense but smooth and fun rides. SkyRush was made by Intamin. Intamin is probably the best steel coaster manufacturer in the business. Most of their rides are known to be fast-paced, smooth, intense, and fun. B&M Hyper coasters are known for their long durations and being some of the best out there. They are more “graceful” than other manufacturers, like Intamin. SkyRush, as I said, tries to throw you out of the ride and to the cosmos with its strong and, frankly, violent airtime. (Airtime is when you get lifted or thrown out of your seat for a few seconds.) There are two types of airtime: Floater and Ejector. Floater airtime is what a B&M Hyper coaster is known for. It is fun but you still feel safe and secure. Ejector airtime, like SkyRush, is a lot scarier for a lot of people. You feel like you need to hang onto the restraint to keep you in, and even then you think “I’m going to die!” On SkyRush there is NO floater airtime. It’s all ejector the whole ride. Candymonium is the exact opposite. Candymonium is all floater airtime. It is fun, but again, you know you are safe on the ride. Candymonium is essentially one airtime hill after another. It is bliss! A coaster enthusiast like myself, loves any type of airtime but us adrenaline and thrill junkies live for ejector air. But I think SkyRush is a little bumpy at times. For airtime, SkyRush by pure “OMFG! I SEE GOD!” factor wins. But I prefer Candymonium for the “fun” factor over SkyRush. It is just more enjoyable than SkyRush and the reride factor, –AGAIN, IN MY OPINION!-is higher. I rode Candymonium about 5 times on its opening day on July 3, 2020. That is for a few reasons. It is smooth, Hershey had limited capacity due to Covid, and the line never got over 40 minutes. Which for a major roller coaster and theme park on opening day to have that little a wait all day, is unheard of! SkyRush I rode only 2-3 times. Its line was actually longer and, in the end, Candymonium made me want to come back to ride again and again and again. So Candymonium wins the fun category, but barely.
Now before anyone comes after me in the comments, I adore both these coasters! SkyRush is the craziest ride I have ever ridden (so far) and Candymonium is probably in my Top Ten for favorite coasters I have ridden. I cannot get enough if either of these rides! Hershey has an amazing 1-2 punch with both these coasters! Plus they have 12 others, so if you visit do NOT feel relegated to riding just these two, even if they are the “best”. Again, the reason the word best is in quotes is because it is so challenging to come up with an official list of “best” Hershey coasters. Ask anyone who has ridden all the coasters at Hershey what their favorite coasters are in order. All of them will tell you a different ranking. That’s what is so great about this park! In a positive way, it divides people. That, in turn, gets people to try new rides. That increases attendance. So Hershey is a marketing genius by varying their rides so much! Kudos!
I know this was a long post. Believe me, it felt long typing it up. But to conclude, there is no clear-cut “better” ride between SkyRush and Candymonium. Even though I awarded more categories to Candymonium, it and SkyRush are like night and day. Two totally different rides. SkyRush does some things better than Candymonium and Candymonium does some things better than SkyRush. It’s damn near impossible to compare the two and give a better winner. Have you ridden either of these? Which do you prefer? Let me know in the comments below and thanks for coming along with me on this long ride!