Hersheypark Springtime in the Park Trip Report

Trip Reports

Springtime in the Park sucked, no plainer way to say it than that. My buddy and I split from the wife and my daughter as we got through the gates at ten, and hustled on over to Fahrenheit. Got front row on the second train and rode that orange and blue beast for the first time. Very fun coaster, one of my favorite modern loopers ever, to be entirely honest. Got right back on, maybe a ten minute wait, and rode in the back. Awesome energy, even better than the front as far as really feeling a ride goes. Good coaster, short wait, we left. Big mistake.

Storm Runner was next, another fifteen and we were on, mysteriously the back cars on both coasters were not operating. No big deal. Yet. Storm Runner was fun, very forceful, similar to one one of the double-spire Intamin rides, nowhere near the force of one of their strata rides, obviously. Still, a good ride, with an awesome barrel roll and incredible unique element in the snake dive. I could have done without the headbanging pseudo trick track, but otherwise good stuff. We decided after SR it was time to meet up with the wife and kid again, further rides on SR and big orange could wait…or could they?

As we made our way back to the central hub of Hershey, we were dismayed to note that what had started out as a reasonably empty day was turning into a full on deluge of people. Like, thousands of them. The wife, kid, pal and I all booked it over to Sooperdooperlooper so my daughter could do her first looper, and honestly, first decent steel coaster. The ride was down, but even more troubling was the sight we saw as we walked to the looper, The Comet had acquired a line far exceeding its que. The four of us, even the youngest in our group exchanged a look. Hershey’s rather mundane woodie had a line that was at least two hours, minutes after SR was a near walk on. We waited for the necessary repairs to to SDL and and boarded the fifth or sixth train.

The daughter loved her first looper, and I had a nice time on the aged Schwarzkopf, especially next to my yipping six year old. The Comet was even busier as we passed it to head to Wildcat, Great Bear had yet to spin a train and the park was filling faster and more full than anything I’ve ever seen outside of Cedar Point on a Saturday. Only, not like that. This park was dead, and now was alive and teeming with rude, mouth breathing idiots all too welcome to jump a line, make disparaging comments about my looks, or just walk up and snap a picture of the freak. Let it be noted, the latter two I’m used to, though never in this frequency, but I’ve never borne witness to a such a hive mind mentality in an amusement park, not even Disney. These people rolled in like fat mountain locusts and worked from the front to the back of the park in a swarm, destroying the good times of all who were too slow to move ahead of their advance.

The Wildcat was fun, nowhere near the banger I’d heard it to be and Lightning Racer was fun as well, though I do feel the Wildcat to be a smidge underrated and Lightning Racer to be a bit over. Regardless, two fun woodies. At this point, the park was literally impenetrable with people. Surprisingly, this was also the point where Great Bear started to roar in the form of a few test runs. Intrigued, we crossed the park.

B&M Coasters, with the noted exception of flyers, tend to have an extremely high rider turnover ratio. So when we again split from the wife daughter team to que up for the lone B&M in the park, it was expected that the short line would lead to a quick ride. This was not to be. Numerous incidents of line jumping, some I caught, some I didn’t, extreme rudeness from other patrons of the park and then the real shocker, only one train was running. Just over an hour later, after waiting through just two lines of aluminum dividers we were able to ride Great Bear. Only not together.

I hopped through, tossed my sandals in the appropriate bin and saw the gate slam shut on my friend. We had both been dismayed to see Great Bear running only one train, but had been even more so to see it running with up to ten seats empty. Now we knew why, the ride ops cared so little to fill the trains that they were letting the gates shut before people could even get through to ride. A single rider line separates the men from the boys as far as parks go, and Hershey was so woeful as to not even let a ride fill when there were single riders whose turn was next.

We reconvened with the group, Great Bear ranked for me as better than Raptor, not as good as Batman. There are better inverts and there are worse, but I did dig this one. At this point however, the park had been fully taken over, it would have been hard to buy food, much less ride anything. Nine hours in a car each way and six hours into Hershey and we called it good. Great variety of rides, very good staff for the most part, and still one of the worst trips I’ve ever taken. As we left I checked Fahrenheit’s queue one last time, there was no way it was less than three hours.


What’s Your Take?
Did you go to Hersheypark’s Springtime in the Park or have you been to the park some other time? Leave a comment below. Images courtesy of Coaster Image.

15 Comments

  1. I was at Kings Dominion today for Easter and it was my first visit there in over 20 years. i was excited to ride the coasters and the crowd wasn't huge but still sizable. Volcano was only running one train in the morning and it took a hour and a half to get on (this also included a technical difficulty). Anaconda, Backlot stunt coaster and Grizzly all went down at the sametime. I understand it's opening weekend but It was disappointing having rides have technical difficulties numerous times throughout the day. Also being a BGE passholder I have a whole new appreciation for that park. Very clean, mostly respectful people and a good environment. At KD there were plenty of rude people (and on Easter!) which is discouraging to see and hear. The park wasn't the cleanest with obscenities carved into the wood in the ques and what not. I did enjoy the day and rode 7 roller coasters I had never rode before. I was disappointed with Grizzly after years of hearing of it's greatness. Loved Volcano (my first launch). Loved Dominator (just another sweet B&M!). Loved Intimidator 305. Anaconda was a good old school steel coaster like Loch Ness at BGE.

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  2. uggh! When I was in Hershey back in the summer of '06, it was nowhere near as crowded as you said it was (granted it wasn't opening day). Up here in MN, I've been to Valleyfair! on opening day 5 or 6 times. SooperDooperLooper was the second ride I went on when I arrived in Pennsylvania around 5 o'clock that day. Doe Hershey Still give out caramel Reeses after the Hershey's extreme cup challenge ride? Best part of the day.

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    • They might give out those Reeses, they might not. I never got the chance to go on that particular ride because, no surprise, the lines were incredibly unforgiving. We did go on the World of Chocolate dark ride before the park opened, and they gave out mini York pattys at the end of it.

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  3. No they give out no candy at the end of the ride. I think they stopped doing that after the first season the ride was open. Aric, that's sad to hear about your experience at the park. I had a season pass last year and managed to get up there four times. I live about three hours from the park. Overall I like the park. I do agree with you on the line jumping and rudeness of people. I also don't understand why they run Great Bear like that. I saw a sign posted last season near the entrance that asked single riders to team up with someone to ride which made we wonder if they minded single riders and also why there wasn't a single rider que.

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  4. There were similarly ignored signs on both Wildcat and Lightning Racer. Other than us, I didn't see anyone utilizing the single rider line. Not as big of a deal on the woodies as on the B&M, in my experience a B&M is much more apt to utilize a single rider line because of the four across seating. Obviously Hershey's single rider signs are nowhere near as effective as a designated que, but when the signs are universally ignored by both the riders and the ride ops, it's clear that something is broken.

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  5. We live only 90 miles from Hershey Park. We have season passes. Everyone knows not to go there to Springtime in the Park. About 4 years ago, it was never packed, but we went last Springtime, and it was just as you said, "PACKED!" The best time to go is during mid week, but obviously you'all have a long haul.

    I love F. and S.R. the best.

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  6. Great trip report Aric. Even though you didn't have the best time it makes me want to get back to Hersheypark especially for Fahrenheit.

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    • Dude, I may have been gripey, but Fahrenheit alone was worth the trip. Big orange is one excellent coaster, even if you ignore the whole gimmick of the lift hill. Vertical lift aside, that was one smooth looper.

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      • Sorry to hear about your trip. A great time to go is mid may. Just went two days ago (on a wednesday) and the park was dead. Aside from a few Senior class trips there was no one in the park. Fahrenheit was the only wait at maybe 10 minutes at the most. Every other ride was a walk on. It is honestly the best day I've had at any park. I got 30 rides and that's the most i've had at any theme park in one day.

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        • i was there on easter sunday

          the first 3 hours were amazing because the place was empty. But then we were swarmed by people. i have never seen the park that busy. also im sorry about the rude treatment. that is very surprising. i expect better from my home park. and btw fahrenheit is great. Ride it at least once every 2 weeks.

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  7. I also went… and I agree with you fully. Those crowds were BRUTAL. Due to traffic, we wound up getting there about an hour later than we had planned, and the line just to get in was packed to the bone. I hate to admit it, but we wound up cheating by following a clear path to the bathroom to get ahead of 3/4 of the crowd. But it was really that bad. We had to wait an insane amount of time for every ride, especially the Great Bear. I found it absolutely ridiculous when I realized they were only running one train and the line was COMPLETELY full. I was standing in the sun for so long without a drink (because both of the vending machines were out of order and there was no lemonade guy), that I got cranky and started fussing and cussing due to their ignorance. How could they possibly only run one train?! I ended up confronting the ride op. and he said, "I don't know." Cool. I totally want to entrust you with my life.

    Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Hersheypark. But every time I've gone, even on MEMORIAL DAY, I have never seen it so crowded. I've NEVER waited in line for Stormrunner, due to its wonderful proximity to the brand-new Fahrenheit. Fortunately, there was no line for Lightning Racer, so we rode that a few times. But other than that… let's just say we waited an entire hour for the Tilt-a-Whirl. -_-

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    • But I must add, I still had an awesome time. My friends and I didn't mind much because we come from the middle of nowhere, so standing in line socializing to get on a thrilling coaster beats sitting around socializing and staring at the wall any day.

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  8. Hey man….We went Sun. afternoon, April 11th for the second weekend of Spring in the Park. We got up there around 2pm and left at 6pm. The lines during the 2nd Sunday were incredible. No wait at all! We have season passes and only live 90 minutes away., so we're lucky. Went to church and then hoped on I 81. We were able to do Farh; Stormrunner; Commit; Trailblazer; and SuperDooperLooper all within 4 hours.

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  9. im surprised you had that bad of a time. its always great when i go. you probably just went on a bad day. i recommend giving it another chance

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  10. STIP is always a busy weekend, especially when it falls on Easter weekend. This is due to a large "religious convention" taking place over 3 days in Hershey. As a local and season pass holder, we NEVER go to STIP. If you're not driving too far, the best time to go is the week before memorial day. The park's only open till 8; however, you can literally hit every ride in the park in under 3 hours.

    Reply

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