Pros:Chocolate, racer coaster
Cons:Long lines, no way to escape heat or rain
The Bottom Line: High priced park, wish they were more customer friendly
Hershey is expensive - from inflated hotel prices to parking, ticket, locker and food, you will hear kaching repeatedly and begin wondering when prices became so high. At the advice of the hotel, we purchased discount park tickets at Giants Grocery, saving $10 a ticket. Expect to spend another $12 to park your car and then take a tram in.
The layout is set up in a way you can walk to the park, chocolate world and Giants stadium from just about any parking spot. The gardens are across the street and the day we visited, uphill from the flood zone. So no, we didn't get to the gardens. We did visit Giants stadium, chocolate world and the park between 2 days though.
Giants stadium - clean, good security, no outside food or beverage (they mean this, people were asked to throw out water in 90 degree heat on entry), and a good seat from any spot. The stage is broadcast on 2 large sets on both sides, with great lighting. Nice.
Chocolate World - needs a capacity limit. We went around 9PM and the place was packed. The retail area was wall to wall people and I saw items there I've never seen locally available for purchase, so yeah, they could be holding out on you.
The Hershey history ride is free and honestly, cute for the kids with a pack of 3-4 chocolate drops on the way out. We dropped a ton of money in the retail area and their ice cream is phenomenal - gotta do the make your own thing, it's amazing.
Hershey Park - Need a capacity here too. It was 90 degrees with storms (not forecast), brewing. We got a small locker ($15) that allowed only one entry so if you have a crew that takes stuff in for later, you could run up $45+ in lockers. I'd suggest leaving items in your car, getting a hand stamp and bringing it back when needed - these lockers are so not worth it.
Coasters - this is all we ride so if you want reviews of kiddieland, just know that they have kiddie rides all over the freaking park. When our kids were younger I appreciated having kiddie attractions in one spot. Now I know why. The parents looked exhausted. Did I mention Hershey has hills and sporadic (like 6 blocks away), A/C gift shops? They do.
Skyrush - never again. Love airtime, not the feeling of being flung off the back of a coaster while the lapbar slammed my legs down. The restraints on this need updated. Everyone was yelling ow ow ow and all I heard was complaints about this ride through the park. The line was over an hour when we rode, no wait toward 8pm, I don't think people went back for a second ride. We didn't, kinda view this as an accident waiting to happen. I would not let small kids/younger teens ride. Didn't read reviews before going on - next time I will. jmho ride is not ready for prime time.
Stormrunner - Operators here are pretty lax and don't check restraints so check your own and scream, carry on if your bar does not lock. Mine did not lock and required an override. Decent coaster once we safely got launched though. I really don't get the single rider cut thing, this is bs. There were kids pushing their way into other lanes once you could board - HP could take a lesson from Cedar Point on how to properly board coasters.
Bear - love this. Feet flying, smooth, close to the water and a great breeze.
Racer- my favorite, a smooth wooden coaster. I could ride this all day. The parks other wooden coasters - not so much.
Food - Total rip extortion and not tasty, eat elsewhere. We did the BBQ, once. We left hungry and ate elsewhere. Also, if it's raining and people order popcorn/candy it is NOT far fetched to provide a bag to carry these items in so they don't get ruined.
Staff - We were backtalked by salesclerks on all the stuff they cannot do. How about the other way, and like maybe putting poncho's on sale throughout the park in case it rains so people don't have to walk blocks for a raincoat? Giving folks a bag for items without having to ask? Dunno, why - maybe they're treating badly by management? If they are, fire management and start over. I'm sure the park doesn't want low expectations customers (like me) saying their employees are rude when they could be following orders.
Overall - Nice park, didn't get to ride much as the lines were way too long and not enough cover to make the heat bearable. They closed rides at the first raindrop and given how many people were at the park - there didn't seem to be enough shelter for all in the rain. I have mixed feelings - we would have been able to get on more if the weather cooperated, but there aren't enough inside rides or things to do here. The whole operation stems from some rides, long lines, high priced everything once inside. If you can smuggle a picnic basket in at least you'll have food worth eating - go for it!
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