Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Reesing it at Hershey Park

On Sunday, a group of us drove up to Hershey Park for the day. I've not been here for 10 years and was looking forward to the rides and especially the Reese's. We parked in the preferred parking, really close to the park, and almost ran through the gate, we were so excited. We also loved our greeting from the staff, "Have a sweet day!"
Chet and I really only had one goal, and that was to ride all the intense roller coasters, which on the website were given the ride rating of 'aggressive'. We were bouncing up and down with anticipation!
The first one was Fahrenheit.  I'd brought my small camera along with every intention of taking photos along the ride but soon realized that this wouldn't even be remotely possible. I whipped out my phone for a couple of snap shots of Manuel and myself and then made sure it was tucked away securely in my leg pocket. But, awesome news, the Hershey website has videos of all the rides so here's Fahrenheit, click here.
You can easily click at the top of the web page to view the other rides.
This was an excellent start to the day, the drop at the beginning of the ride had made us feel like we were going to fall out of our seats and we were thrown around a lot more than it appeared on the video. It was fast and thrilling, and we eagerly trotted to the other rides, Great Bear, Sidewinder, and Storm Runner, which actually made you ride the course backwards once you had done it forwards. Not all of us completed these rides, obviously not everyone has iron stomachs or are manic thrill chasers like some of us, but we could only go for so long because tummies were growling and even the excitement and adrenaline couldn't detract from the fact that we were starving. So we grabbed lunch, which wasn't particularly appetizing since we didn't have a chocolate desert, and then we strolled over to a water ride, Coal Cracker, hoping we wouldn't get soaked. Some of us had brought swim gear for the water world area but it really wasn't warm enough. The sun was great while it was out yet the shady areas were a little cool.
I used my phone quickly to snap a photo on this ride but then tucked it inside a zip lock back to keep it dry. I'd given up trying to take photos while on the coaster rides, there was so little time in which to take a quick snap and I was petrified of dropping my phone while we were thrown around the tracks.
I really wanted to do one of the old wooden roller coasters because I love the 'clackety clack' noise as you thunder round the course. I took a couple of shots as we slowly made our way up the hill but was very glad I put my phone away for the rest of the ride.
i had assumed that it would be rather tame but we were flung like rag dolls around this course and it was so bumpy that I thought my fillings would rattle out of my head on to the ground below. aptly named Wildcat, it was a great ride!
And then we elected to have a lazy ride on the chairs that moved slowly in a big circle over some of the grounds.
It was nice to just dangle our legs and chill for a while.
And then we found a Hershey Creamery. I ordered a Reese's blizzard style concoction with Reese's candies in chocolate ice cream. With my first mouthful I was instantly transported to heaven and floated in a chocolate candy coma for a while.
An interesting perspective in this photo since my cup was actually no bigger than Pete's! This was easily the best blizzard I'd ever had and made Dairy Queen's effort look like non starters. But alas, it was just too much. I could only eat half before I felt stuffed to the gills and almost with a tear in my eye I had to gently drop the remainder into a trash can, and then walk away quickly before I changed my mind and fished it back out again.
And so we found our way to what we regarded as the most thrilling ride, Skyrush. This puppy rolled around reaching 75 mph and climbing up to 200ft. Unfortunately the video makes it look a little lame as it doesn't capture the ultimate thrill that this ride featured. All of the other 'aggressive' rides had harnesses which pushed down on your chest, holding you secure. Skyrush only held you down across your lap. I was sitting on an outside seat too which meant I had no floor beneath me like the two inner seats, so as I rode my legs and upper body were swinging free. As we dropped from 200ft I was rendered mute, descending with an open mouth and a huge grin, and then the rest of ride was spent seriously wondering if I would be the one person to fall off the ride.Throughout I was alarmed at how many times the seat and my bum parted company. And apparently we experienced zero-G 5 times but I only vaguely recall that!
A photo as our ride ended.
This is how I must have looked during the highest drop in Hershey Park, convinced that I would fall out of my seat. An awesome, awesome ride, one of the best ever.
We didn't do Sooperdooperlooper which I wasn't bothered about. I remembered this from last time when it was brand new. It was OK, but not a thriller ride for me. And no one seemed bothered about Wild Mouse because it was a boneshaker. I had ridden this one before too so I didn't push for a partner this time. We had achieved our goal and were amazed at how quickly we had done it. There had been no lines for any of the rides, we had walked straight on to them, yet there were plenty of folks in the park. We couldn't work it out but didn't complain, it had been wonderful not standing for hours in queues. We'd read that when busy it wouldn't be unusual to queue for 1.5 hours at each ride.
We had a stroll around the zoo. I loved the picture above, on a mural of tiles created by local kids.
I only took a few photos, we didn't spend enough time here to really focus on the animals, which I was a little sad at this as I would have loved to spend more time watching the prairie dogs or the bears, but we were here for the rides and the chocolate so we carried on.
Quite often we would find ourselves jumping as a whoosh from a ride or suddenly erupting screams overhead would seem very close. The park has made use of every square foot and it was an interesting skyline with curving bending tracks undulating around us, supported by huge metal poles.
There were quite a few hardy people in the water park area but it still didn't seem warm enough for any of our crowd to be tempted. Chet said he'd schedule another visit just for the water park and water rides. We didn't get to go on the Ferris Wheel either. We had plans to ride it when it was dark but because there were no queues for any of the rides, we ridden all the ones we wanted and were pretty much done by around 2pm. It seemed a bit pointless to wait hours for dusk just so we could see the lights so after a group vote we decided to visit the main gift shop then head home.
It seemed some other folks were starting to wane too.
Isn't this cannibalism?
A few more photos and a ride on the carousel..
...and a hello to Mr Milton S.Hershey himself.
A great way to end the day, with a visit to the store with the most chocolate.
Time for one last chocolate fix so I went for my favorite Reese's again in milkshake form.It was so delicious that my cheeks hurt where I sucked it up the straw so hard without any breaks until it was gone. Chet had commented that he was going for another one before we left and I was sorely tempted to join him but managed to restrain myself. I walked around the store, picking up some treats for me and a couple for Joe at work. I ate the Hershey cereal bar on Monday, it was fabulously gorgeous, wish I'd bought more than one. The huge Reese's bar was something I'd not seen before, I couldn't stop that one jumping into my basket.
We left late afternoon, feeling tired, sick but happy. It had been a great day, full of noise, laughter, adrenaline, camaraderie and chocolate. It was a long journey home, and the last stretch on my own was hard, I was so tired. Yet as I drove up the hill late that night I was delighted to be greeted by millions of blinking stars in the Milky Way accompanied with a field of twinkling fireflies. What a wonderful sight to finish the day and I so wanted to sit and enjoy the display some more but bed beckoned. A soft pillow and two soft fluffy cats were held close as I quickly fell asleep.

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