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.
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.
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.