Apr 192014
 
Say Hello to the new Sweet Swing in The Hollow

Say Hello to the new Sweet Swing in The Hollow

Normally Good Friday is the first day of Springtime in the Park so I always head there solo to take photos of the changes the park has undergone since December but this year I had already taken care of that so I didn’t really have to go but I went anyway. And not only did I go, I made my poor family go with me.  Never again.

This had to have been my worst trip to Hersheypark ever since December 2008 when everything was closed.  I knew we were in trouble when we got to the park and parking was the whole way up to Tram Stop 3 and Tram Stop 2 was open.  This day is always crowded, always.  Unless it is pouring.  I tell everyone to stay away on this day and I really need to listen to myself.

The thing is, the crowds weren’t the worst part of the trip – it was the staff at Hersheypark that really made this trip awful. Staffing was not optimal for the crowds, moods were unpleasant and the park just generally fell short of doing a good job keeping guests safe and the park clean.

Our first unpleasant staffing incident happened just inside the park. We had to wait ten minutes for someone to pay us any attention at the Official Measurement Station at Hospitality Services even though we were the ONLY people there and there were 6 staff members. I realize most of them couldn’t help us since they did vouchers etc., but neither of the two who were there to take care of us seemed to care we were there even though they looked directly at us a number of times.  After fifteen minutes we did finally leave with our wristbands. I almost left to go to the measurement station by the Carrousel but I’m glad I didn’t. It was closed.

We experienced some unpleasant ride situations where the attendants were ignoring safety policies left and right on the kiddie rides, in particular Traffic Jam.  One woman insisted she ride in the back of the purple car since it was the only one her son wanted and he wouldn’t ride without her.  The attendant said something to her but she talked him out of making her get out of the car and after one parent so that she wedged herself into the front seat of another car and when the ride started she fell off the seat and ended up walking her foot along with the ride till she could wedge herself back in.  Lawsuit waiting to happen there.  The sign on this ride clearly states adults may only ride in the fire engines, and only the back 2 seats of those.  Rules at the Carrousel were not being enforced either and I saw handheld infants not in the chariots plus a tandem rider (parent with child in front.) Both against the rules.  I don’t care much that people don’t know the rules or even that they try to break them, what bothers me is that the ride attendants don’t take their jobs seriously enough to enforce the rules to keep people safe.  That’s how people end up getting hurt and then the park gets a bad reputation.

Food situations weren’t much better.  One counter person and a line of twenty people for ice cream does not make for a good park experience for anyone and not having spoons really made it tough when you got your ice cream in a dish.  My son gave it his best though until we got to Overlook where they had some spoons.

Trash everywhere at Overlook and not a napkin in the place!

Trash everywhere at Overlook and not a napkin in the place!

Then there was the trash…. tons of it.  We ate at Overlook (formerly Minetown) to get my son out of the cold air and every trash can was overflowing.  There were no napkins anywhere.  I actually saw one of the team members take trays that were on top of the trash can above and walk them to another trash can which was equally as full and try to stuff the trash in just so he could take the trays.  Ew.

And then there was the beer.  I have no issues at all with people drinking beer in the park as long as they keep it away from the kids.  The rule is you keep the beer on the Overlook patio but nobody was watching last night and four adults (very adult, as in grandparents) brought their beers to the area where Convoy, Red Baron and Frog Hopper were.  Not only did they bring the beers but they set them down in flower pots, on curbs and on benches when they needed to help their little darlings onto a ride.  I saw one child grab for the beer in the flowerpot but luckily his mother caught him in time. If it was me I’d have dumped that beer for sure.  Beer does not belong in a children’s section unattended.  Alas there was no security to be seen all night to even help with the situation.  Normally you can’t walk five feet without tripping over a security team member but last night in our 3 hours there I saw one and it was on our way out.

Nice new decals on the Scrambler

Nice new decals on the Scrambler

There were a couple high points to the night. First, Scrambler is back online and looks to be all new or at least heavily refurbished.   I’m looking for some photos to compare if it is indeed the same ride – my hubby thinks not.  But I do know if you do a complete refurb it can seem like a whole new ride, mostly cause most of it is.

Second, the Sweet Swing is in place and operating as you can see in the opening photo.  If you wondered what a family swing is, well think a Frog Hopper only in a playground type big swing.  The two end seats can hold an adult.  It’s a small footprint ride that helps up the kiddie and family ride number in the park without adding much excitement, but the kids riding it seemed to like it so that is all that matters.

Other things I noticed, you can no longer take anything with you on Reeses Xtreme Cup.  They took my backpack from me and held it on the platform.  There have always been signs to this effect but they didn’t do it before so this was new to me.  Also the Filling Station is still boarded up.  And the Teacup platform is done to the concrete with the yellow safety line.

So…. I will NEVER take my family to Hersheypark on Good Friday again.  NEVER.  I should have followed my own advice from year’s past and stayed away.

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Apr 122014
 

How much does it cost to eat at Hersheypark?  This is a question a lot of people need to know the answer to.  Every year I take photos of menus at Hersheypark to help try to cover that question.  With over 70 different places to eat I can’t certainly get to them all, but here is a sampling to give you an idea.  You can check my Flickr account for even more menu photos (see the link on the left sidebar).

Wondering if a meal ticket will save you $?  Check my post on that topic here.

Funnelcake place in Midway America

Funnelcake place in Midway America

Kosher Mart, Founder's Way (not open past sundown on Friday or on Saturday)

Kosher Mart, Founder’s Way (not open past sundown on Friday or on Saturday)

Beverage Cart in Founder's Way

Beverage Cart in Founder’s Way

Simply Chocolate in Founder's Way

Simply Chocolate in Founder’s Way

 

S'more stand outside Craftbarn in Founder's Way

S’more stand outside Craftbarn in Founder’s Way

Prairie Dawgs in Pioneer Frontier

Prairie Dawgs in Pioneer Frontier

Subway in Midway America but all are priced the same, note the limited menu

Subway in Midway America but all are priced the same, note the limited menu

Spring Creek Smokehouse (most expensive counter service in the park)

Spring Creek Smokehouse (most expensive counter service in the park)

Famiglia in The Hollow, all locations have the same menu & prices

Famiglia in The Hollow, all locations have the same menu & prices

Comet Creamery (all Turkey Hill soft serves have the same prices/menu)

Comet Creamery (all Turkey Hill soft serve locations have the same prices/menu – there is a kids size not on the menu that is around $2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Apr 122014
 
New Ticketing Center - no ticket sales at front gate any longer

New Ticketing Services – no ticket sales at front gate any longer

Updated 4/13/14

Today was a beautiful day and I ended up being able to get to Hersheypark unexpectedly.  My main goal today was to take photos and keep an eye out for new things.  I have photos of all of these in my Flickr account (check the left sidebar for a link and look for a Springtime in the Park 2014 set), but there are too many new things to go over to include photos of them all. Here is a list of the high points from my trip in no particular order:

  • Trams are now picking people up and dropping them off on the opposite sides as in previous years.  The reason for this is the new Ticketing Services building.  They want to drop you off right in front of it.  See the next bullet.
  • Tickets are no longer sold at the front entrance gates to Hersheypark.  You now go to the Ticketing Services building at tram circle to purchase your tickets, exchange vouchers or get online ticket reprints if you lost them or ordered on your phone.  Folks in the know have been predicting a move of the main entrance to Hersheypark for years and this is the first step toward that transformation I bet.  Enjoy Tudor Square while you can, I doubt it’ll be around for too many more years in its current state.
  • Security guards have new uniforms this year – khaki pants and new shirts with SECURITY on the back.
Bye Bye Tiny Timbers, Hello Cocoa Cruiser

Bye Bye Tiny Timbers, Hello Cocoa Cruiser

  • Tiny Timbers is no more.  Cocoa Cruiser will be put in where it used to be. I doubt we’ll see a return of this ride, it was very slow loading and not all that exciting.
  • The Lost Children Caboose is no longer located behind the Music Box.  Don’t know where it is or if it will return. This is a classic piece of Hersheypark history. I’d hate to see it disappear.
  • A new stage has been put up where the Milkmen used to perform.  Pretty good size too.
  • Prairie Dogs now serves Dietz & Watson products and not corn dogs.  I was wrong about this, they do still have corn dogs!
  • The game coupon book says 2013-2014 on it and the coupons expire in July 2014.  I didn’t buy one because of this.
  • Founder’s Circle has been renamed Founder’s Way.
  • Minetown is no more, it has been renamed Overlook and Kissing Tower Hill.
  • New directional signs have been installed and they now show you the direction to the front gate!
  • New logos are in place for all park areas except for The Hollow which uses the logo from last year.
  • The Scrambler is missing completely. I’m sure it will return.
I think Temporarily Out of Service is an understatement in this case - it's just plain gone

I think Temporarily Out of Service is an understatement in this case – it’s just plain gone

  • The new Chickie’s & Pete’s is next to the Kettle Corn place near Tidal Force.
  • There is a new Frozen Yogurt place somewhere in Founder’s Way. I didn’t see it.
  • The Dietz & Watson Filling Station in The Hollow was completely unsigned and boarded up.
  • A new stone path is visible below SooperDooperLooper, not sure if it will be for public use or not.  Doesn’t really seem to go anywhere.
  • Spring Creek Smokehouse now serves Chili with Cheddar Cornbread.
  • More drink options are available in your refillable mug including Birch Beer and Sobe Life Water. Not all drinks are available at all locations.
Family Swing and Tea Cups coming soon to The Hollow

Family Sweet Swing and Tea Cups coming soon to The Hollow

  • The two new rides in The Hollow will be put side by side on a new concrete pad next to a new ring toss game across from the Comet.  The bowling game that was here has been moved near the bridge to the Looper.
  • I found two Canada Geese nests – one next to the bridge next to the bowling game above, another near the locks underneath Skyrush.
  • A second PLINKO game has been added in Pioneer Frontier.
  • The Claw was closed.
  • You can view the world’s largest bowl of applesauce (though it is empty now) where the S’mores stand used to be near the Flying Falcon.
  • Added 4/13/14 – if you use your season pass for food discounts this year be ready to hand it over.  The cashiers must scan it for you to get the discount.

That’s what I noticed in the two hours I was in the park. I’m sure I missed some things. If you noticed other items feel free to leave a comment.

 

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Apr 092014
 
Hersheypark's Boardwalk - safe water fun

Hersheypark’s Boardwalk – Closed during Springtime in the Park

Last Updated 4/19/14 to announce Scrambler is back and Sweet Swing is up and running.
 
Updated 4/15/14 to explain cold affected rides
Updated 4/12/14 – Scrambler and Claw were closed today.  Scrambler is completely missing and Tiny Timbers has been removed.

So there are a lot of rides open at Hersheypark during Springtime in the Park and you can find them listed here, but a more important list for families who have favorite rides is the one that shows what rides will NOT be open.  Most of them involve water or are new for 2014.  I’ve got them listed below:

 The Hollow

  • Sweet Swing – new for 2014, family swing ride  THIS RIDE IS OPEN AS OF 4/18/14!
  • Tea Cups – new for 2014, yep, just like Disney

Kissing Tower Hill

  • Coal Cracker

Founder’s Way

  • Cocoa Cruiser – new for 2014 family coaster
  • Tiny Timbers – this ride has been removed to make room for the Cocoa Cruiser

The Boardwalk

  • Entire area is Closed including Tidal Force  (Tidal Force did have water in it today 4/12 so if hot temps continue you *might* see it open the last weekend, don’t bank on it though)

What Rides are affected if it is cold?

Well, I’m checking the weather channel for the second weekend of Springtime in the Park and it appears night temps are going to be dipping kinda low.  It is worth mentioning that many of the roller coasters at Hersheypark are affected by cold temperatures and rain. (Which is also in the forecast for the weekend as of today 4/15.)

Hersheypark covers this information on their website here sort of, but it says the rides affected by temps are DARKER than the others on the pages here, but they all look the same to me.  Might be my browser, dunno.  But, a link I have from Halloween is still active showing the park’s information on cold sensitive rides.  Try clicking here.  The rides in yellow are cold sensitive.

Or you can look at my list of the big 13 cold sensitive rides taken from that Halloween listing:

  1. Comet
  2. Sooperdooperlooper
  3. Skyrush
  4. Flying Falcon
  5. Great Bear
  6. Kissing Tower
  7. Monorail
  8. Fahrenheit
  9. Storm Runner
  10. Sidewinder
  11. Lightening Racer
  12. Wildcat
  13. Wild Mouse
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