My HersheyPark Experience

As I write this, my cat Bella is clawing up my neck trying to stay on my shoulders. But that’s beside the point. Yesterday, April 10, 2021 was my first time to HersheyPark this year. Not only that, but it was my first time EVER as a Season Pass-holder. So how did my day hold up? Well, that’s what I am going to discuss in my post today.

With a Season Pass (depending on which one you get) you get Early Entry into the park. The park opened at 11am yesterday so, naturally, I assumed they would let the Pass-holders in at 10am. Um…not the case. Unbeknownst to me and some other Pass-holders, that perk only applies in the Summer season. As of today, it is Spring in the Park. So I had to wait until 11am with the rest of the regular ticket holders. Regardless, I still managed to have fun.

I guess yesterday was the first nice day Hershey had all operating season (opening day was last Saturday) and as a result, the park was pretty crowded. The wait times were a little weird, though. See, Candymonium, Hershey’s newest coaster, at opening, had maybe a 15 minute wait. Great Bear, the park’s popular inverted coaster (where your feet dangle) had a 10 minute wait. SkyRush, HersheyPark’s most intense coaster, was a total walk-on all day. All this sounds amazing, right? Wrong! Wildcat, the rough as Hell, “Someone call me a chiropractor” wooden coaster had an hour wait. Trailblazer, the mine ride, had a 1hr 15 minute wait. Comet, the classic wooden coaster everyone knows and loves, had a full queue all day. So as a result, I did not ride Wildcat, Wild Mouse, Comet, or maybe one of my favorite wood coasters, Lightning Racer. That was closed all day. So yeah…the not-as-popular coasters, minus Comet, became a pain in the ass to ride and the thrill rides were a breeze.

With the Season Pass, you get discounts on things including FREE MEALS! Well, not “free” per se, seeing as you have to pay extra for that perk. But I took advantage of that for lunch. I got Chickie and Pete’s and a beer FOR FREE! For dinner, I didn’t realize the place I ate at wasn’t included on the Dining Meal plan so I paid for that one. Also during the Summer season, Pass-holders get a free souvenir cup and refills. But, again, seeing as this is Spring, I did not get that…yet.

One ride I forgot to mention was the Hershey Triple Tower. This is a trio of drop towers varying in height. As a thrill seeker, naturally, I chose the tallest tower. That was maybe a 10-15 minute wait.

Going back to the rides I did manage to ride, I’d like to go into detail about my experiences on the rides. I rode Candymonium first, seeing as it is right at the Park entrance. Hershey got a $150 million expansion last year into 2021, and it looks FANTASTIC! The area is called ChocolateTown and the whole area smells like pure chocolate. It’s sensory overload…in the BEST way possible! Kudos to Hershey! Anyway, I got the backseat on Candymonium. That was by request. Due to Covid and social distancing, they were assigning seating on the roller coasters. They actually assigned me the third to last row, but let’s be real…who wants to sit in the middle on a roller coaster? You either want the front or the back. And with coasters that give a TON of airtime (where you are lifted out of your seat) you generally aim for the back. Not always, but generally.

After my “fun” ride, (there is a reason “fun” is in quotes), I headed over to SkyRush. I got a front row ride on this crazy ride, and it was AWESOME! SkyRush has 4 seats per row, but two of those seats sit out over the track, so there is nothing separating you from the track. It’s freaky going 75mph and having only a bar holding you in your seat. Having said that, the bar is uncomfortably tight and, if ridden multiple times, has been known to leave marks on people’s thighs. There is a reason the coaster community dubbed this ride “ThighCrush”. But that is a minor critique. SkyRush gives UNBELIEVABLE airtime (you feel like you are gonna die when you hit a hill, it’s that intense) in the front. The ride operators, props to them, did not “staple” me on any ride. Stapling is when they press the restraints really tight. But SkyRush is so intense, the ride will automatically do that anyway.

After that, I checked the wait for the first roller coaster to go upside down on the East Coast, SooperDooperLooper. It had a 50 minute wait, so I decided to pass and check back later. I headed over to Great Bear. After assuming I would get put in a row I didn’t want to sit in, to my surprise, the ride operator told me to “Just pick whatever row you want”. I was NOT about to argue! The Great Bear surprised me this time. I have ridden this thing many, many times. I almost greyed out on the first drop. I had NEVER felt the ride run that fast or intense! Actually, it was so intense, my mask almost flew off, and it was on tight!

After my ride on the Bear, I headed over to Fahrenheit, the park’s beyond vertical drop coaster. Fahrenheit has a vertical lift hill and a drop at a whopping 97 degrees! I suck at math and even I know that is really steep! It looks it, too. Oh, I actually lucked out on Fahrenheit. The wait was originally about 45 minutes. But after about 15 minutes of waiting, they needed a single rider for the front row. So I essentially skipped the entire line because I was there by myself. That was neat!

After Fahrenheit, I decided to hit up Laff Trak, the park’s indoor spinning coaster. This thing is cool! The ride is not lit by traditional lighting. No, the ride is themed to a nostalgic funhouse. So in line, they have a Laffin’ Sal figure, black lights, and probably my favorite part…the mirrors! They have funhouse mirrors to entertain you in line, and they are so fun! And that’s not even on the ride! The ride itself is a little tame, but the interior of the actual ride is phenomenal! The ride itself has black lights, cutouts of funhouse props, and a creepy laugh. Yeah, this thing is just plain fun! This was probably the second longest wait I had at about 50 minutes.

After my fun but creepy ride on Laff Trak, I headed over to Trailblazer. This ride is a family mine coaster, so it is nothing special. But I ride it every time I go to Hershey for one reason: nostalgia. Trailblazer is the first roller coaster I remember riding, so it holds a special place in my heart. I enjoyed my front row ride, don’t get me wrong, but that line was abysmal! They only had one train on the track, so the line was over an hour. One hour, 10 minutes to be exact. Last time I visited Hershey, Trailblazer was a walk-on so I marathoned it. I rode it 8 times in different seats without leaving the car before anyone showed up. Unfortunately, not so this time. Granted, there were a lot of kids at the park, so that definitely played a factor.

After reliving my youth, I headed back towards the front of the park. SooperDooperLooper had a 20 minute wait, so I went on that. Again, in the front row. This coaster also has a special place in my heart. It was my first looping roller coaster. Actually, for a lot of somewhat locals, I am sure it was theirs, too. The loop is forceful, but the rest of the ride is just kind of “there”.

After SDL, I decided to give ThighCrush—I mean, SkyRush—a ride in the back. Oh my dear sweet Jesus! If you thought this ride was insane in the front, ride in the back! It makes the front look like a leisurely walk in the park. With those restraints and the amount of airtime and the maximum G-forces, this backseat ride is my favorite spot to ride! It feels like the ride is trying to rip you in half, it throws you around so much! You’re not a human at that point, you’re a freaking rag doll at the mercy of this ride!

At this point, it was nearing closing time. I decided to get one last ride on Candymonium, since it is right at the entrance to the park. I asked for the front, but they said it was full, so I chose the back row again. Remember how earlier, I put the word “fun” in quotes? Here’s the reason. Roller coasters speed up as the day goes on. So when I rode first thing, it hadn’t really warmed up yet. At sunset (7pm), the ride was fully warmed up and hauling! It was a lot better than my morning ride, but both times I enjoyed my rides.

After my ride, I left the park since it was closing. But Hershey’s Chocolate World was open until 8pm, so I had another hour to enjoy the surroundings. Chocolate World is essentially a gigantic gift shop. So I did not buy anything. The real reason I went in there is because they have a tame ride that shows you how Hershey makes it’s chocolate. The ride had NO wait so I did it twice. As an added bonus, at the end of the ride, they give you a FREE bite size chocolate bar. I mean, who would pass that up?!

At that point, my Mom and Aunt were there, so I left and went home. I was dead tired, but weirdly energized. As I have a Season Pass, I am going back in two weeks for Passholder Night. That should be fun!

Oh, before I go, there is one more aspect of HersheyPark I want to talk about. That is their King Size Milkshakes. These things are AMAZING! They are HUGE milkshakes made by the employees themselves and Oh My God! They are enormous! Not to mention good, too. I attached a photo of the shakes below. They are a little expensive at about $15 per drink, but in my opinion, are SO WORTH IT! Keep in mind, this is not my photo. It’s off the Internet.

So the Sweetest Place on Earth is indeed, well, SWEET! I love every aspect of HersheyPark and cannot wait to visit it many more times this year! Let me know what you think.

Best, Tom

Author: AuTom Spectrum Blog

I have Autism and am a self-advocate and public speaker. On the side I do stand-up comedy. I live in Baltimore County and have an AMAZING girlfriend

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