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Hutch's Roller Coaster Road Trip - Part 12: Hersheypark

Antinos

Slut for Spinners
Social Media Team
Excellent stuff! It really was one hell of a trip, and it's great to reflect on it while reading your report!
 

Hixee

Flojector
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Some random disconnected thoughts:

This is a cracking photo. Top work @Titan on the snap, and good work @Hutch and @tomahawk on the front row expressions! Might pinch that for a social media post sometime... ;)

I really like the stormy photos, they look cool.

Glad you enjoyed your time on the Live - they're always such a blast and I'm very jealous.

Great to read such a good day at a park. Thanks for writing it all up!
 

Hutch

Active Member
Some random disconnected thoughts:


This is a cracking photo. Top work @Titan on the snap, and good work @Hutch and @tomahawk on the front row expressions! Might pinch that for a social media post sometime... ;)

I really like the stormy photos, they look cool.

Glad you enjoyed your time on the Live - they're always such a blast and I'm very jealous.

Great to read such a good day at a park. Thanks for writing it all up!
Glad you've enjoyed it all!

If you'd like I can forward you the files that Titan shared with me. Might be a good idea to run it by her first, but I'm sure she wouldn't mind as she had no problem with me using them.
 

Sky

Member
How dare you talk about our wait for Millie without mentioning the absolutely ridiculous Facebook Live video we did for the entire line!

In all seriousness, this report was great to read through. I've been checking the forum almost exclusively for your updates on here. All of the days of the Live were so amazing and I miss it nearly every day.
 

Hutch

Active Member
How dare you talk about our wait for Millie without mentioning the absolutely ridiculous Facebook Live video we did for the entire line!

In all seriousness, this report was great to read through. I've been checking the forum almost exclusively for your updates on here. All of the days of the Live were so amazing and I miss it nearly every day.
I'm gonna have to go back and watch that at some point. We all probably looked like fools, but we got so many laughs out of that and made the wait go by quick!
 

Hutch

Active Member
Part 10 - More Cedar Point
Wednesday, July 24th

I slept so well that when I woke up I kinda forgot I was away from home. Like where am I again? Oh that’s right.



I met back up with Titan shortly after 9 AM opening at the boardwalk park entrance. It was nice to still have a friend with me after everyone else departed.

I’d never parked in the main parking lot either so it was nice to get up close and personal with Gatekeeper.

















Under normal circumstances, the move would’ve been to get an early ride or two on Steel Vengeance and Maverick. But we were pretty satisfied with our ERT the night before so we thought we’d focus on other rides before they get too crowded. So we kicked things off with a couple rides on Millennium Force.



We did a front row ride to start, which is something I hadn’t done since I first visited Cedar Point back in 2012. Such a fun ride.

Valravn tends to have a messy queue all the time, so we got a ride on that towards the tail end of early entry.



The queue had extended down through the switchback area just before the stairs, but since Fast Lane can’t be used during early entry, it only took about 15 minutes. Yesterday it took over twice the time to get through that section.





















Titan really wanted to do Iron Dragon, so we figured it was best to get that over with now. Given the crowds, it probably would’ve gained a 20 min queue later in the day. It would’ve been lame if we had to wait that long for a family ride.



Iron Dragon is a relaxing ride. Swinging through the trees is actually pretty nice, and the helix over the pond is a fun finale.



At this point, our top priority for the day was to get on Top Thrill Dragster. We hadn’t seen it testing yet, and when we approached the ride we saw the trains hadn’t even been loaded onto the main track.



Rest assured the staff at the ride entrance informed that ride would open up soon. In the meantime we did a ride of Magnum XL-200. Man, I really want to like this ride but those valleys almost gave me another headache. Going in I actually considered doing a couple of rides but I couldn’t get myself to go again.



People had started lining up outside Dragster so we figured we’d do the same. We wanted to have a good spot when the ride opened, because if we didn’t, you know it’d immediately get a 90 minute queue. There were only about 50 people ahead of us, and pretty soon it started extending all the way down to Magnum.





Eventually Top Thrill Dragster started testing. I think they must’ve done about 12 cycles, so it definitely took some time. We ended up waiting around hour outside the entrance before they let everyone in.





We got pretty close to the station, and it only took about five trains of people before the damn thing broke down again. Of course.

We waited it out, and it took about another hour before they got it back running again. Honestly, I didn’t mind. I was still pretty tired that day so it was nice to just sit down and chill out for a bit. I even took a little nap!

Once the ride opened, it didn’t take too long for us to ride. For some reason they had blocked off the last few rows of each train, but I think they slowly opened them back up. Luckily the queue for the front row wasn’t too bad.



This was my first time riding front row of Dragster, and it didn’t disappoint. The launch is still the best one I’ve ever done and one of the best moments on any coaster ever. The positive g forces are ridiculous, but they don’t last long enough to be uncomfortable. The top hat doesn’t have the best airtime, but the view at the top and going down that spiral is something else.



So at around 2 hours of waiting, it was the longest I’ve ever queued for a coaster. Looking back, it was definitely the right move considering how the ride has been closed since then (definitely feel smug about that too!).

It was time grab something to eat. We got some cheap food toward the front of the park, taking the Sky Ride along the way.





















I would’ve loved to get a ride on Raptor, but the queue never dropped below 60 min over the two days I was there. It’s a solid ride, but it’s at the lower end of the B&M inverts I’ve done so I couldn’t warrant the wait.



It’s a lovely looking ride though.











After lunch we did Wicked Twister. This is another solid supporting coaster. The launches are fun, the twists have some cool laterals, and you get some solid floater at the top.



I wouldn’t be surprised to see this coaster go though. Out of all the coasters in the park, this one makes the most sense. It can open up some land by the boardwalk, and it would easily be one of the star attractions at one of the neglected Cedar Fair parks.





Gatekeeper had a pretty full queue so we went back across for a ride on Blue Streak. It was pretty shocking to see that this ride also had a full queue, but we still managed to get on in about 20 minutes.



It is awesome to see this ride still kicking, especially as the park’s only woodie. It offers some fun hills and bits of airtime. There are smoother woodies out there, but it’s in pretty great shape for something that was built in the ‘40s.

We went back to Gatekeeper where the queue died down to about half an hour. That’s still worth it for a ride this good.



I would’ve loved more rides on this, but the queues weren’t in our favor.

















And while we were there we took a spin on Windseeker. I love these rides so I always make sure to get a ride on one of them.



I think it was around 4 PM at this point, and my fatigue from the trip had peaked. I didn’t really need to ride much else, and I had a three hour drive to Waldameer that evening. But I also wanted to sit down and rest for a bit.

I went back to my car, grabbed my sunglasses and sandals, walked along the beach, and found a table to sit at just outside the hotel pool. I used another chair as a footrest and closed my eyes for 15 minutes.

In hindsight, I probably should’ve planned this out a little better. My feet were exhausted but I still ended up walking a lot more. In fact I was considering walking all the way up by Magnum’s turnaround to get some cool photos, but I couldn’t get myself to do that. Plus that would’ve taken an extra 45 min, given the pace I was walking. I suppose I could’ve napped in my car but that would’ve been boiling hot, so really this was the only decent place for a little rest outside the park.



Shortly afterward, I met back up with Titan to say goodbye, and hit the road by 5 PM. I departed later than I originally planned, but since I knew Waldameer was so easy I didn’t worry.

Cedar Point is awesome, but now that I've been a few times, the magic has kind of worn off. But that’s also down to the crowds that we endured. On both days, we ended up spending time wandering and trying to figure out what to do. We expect decent queues on all the big stuff, but seeing a lot of rides with queues that would otherwise be short waits was definitely off-putting. You’d think that stuff like Raptor, Valravn, Maverick, and now Vengeance would eat up the crowds and alleviate the other coasters, but no. Now you have stuff like Magnum, Gemini, Gatekeeper, and ****ing Blue Streak with filled queues. Obviously the Fast Lane is a huge problem, but I’m not sure what they can do to fix that. I supposed early entry and the nighttime ERT made up for it, but still.

Other than that, it’s still a fantastic park. You still have some of the best operations at any park. Paths are kept clean, plazas look nice, trees and gardens are sprinkled around, and of course you have the rides. It’s arguably the best selection of coasters you can have. Vengeance, Maverick, Millennium Force, and Top Thrill Dragster are world class. Then you have four rock solid B&Ms, a compact Intamin launcher, a fun racer, and a classic woodie. And Magnum, I guess, I know some people like that lol. But for real, when you have this many coasters, and 70% of them are rides I’d like to ride again, you know it’s good selection.

I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite park anymore (I’d give that reign to Dollywood), but it’s definitely still up there. I don’t know when I’ll return, but hopefully they’ll have their 500 ft T-Rex by the time I'm back!
 

Hutch

Active Member
Here's a nice short one so let's just get it up now.


Part 11 - Waldameer
Wednesday, July 24th


The drive to Waldameer was a simple three hours on the road. While I had already gotten pretty tired, driving was fine and I actually felt a bit better that evening. I did take an hour in between for some dinner and also tried to find some sunscreen and water.

Between my late departure from Cedar Point and my leisurely dinner break in the evening, I ended up with limited time for Waldameer. I arrived at the park at 9:15 PM, which only gave me 45 minutes until closing. While I knew it was plenty of time to get all the creds, I did still feel pretty rushed. Looking back, I probably should’ve left CP earlier. I did everything I wanted to do at Waldy but it would’ve been nice to have a bit more time.

Since I wasn't there long I didn't take many pictures, and it was also dark already so they didn’t turn out the best. I’ll chuck them in anyway.

I ended up spending $25 of Walley Points, which gave me a ride on the four creds plus two re-rides on Ravine Flyer II. I think I could’ve gotten an unlimited wristband for around $30, but I wasn't sure it was worth it with my limited time. Plus I wasn’t sure how I’d like RF II.

Anyway, I was in full cred mode at this point, so let’s start things off with the closest cred, Comet.



It’s a pretty standard junior woodie. It was definitely more interesting than Sea Dragon from the Columbus Zoo, but not as exciting as the Paramount junior woodies.

The rest of the creds were all sort of in the same area in the back of the park, so I figured it’d be fine at this point to go straight for the main event.



I went in with pretty modest expectations for Ravine Flyer II. I never imagined it would be any close to the quality of Voyage, and with comments about it getting rougher over the years, I was a little worried it wouldn’t be good.

For my first ride, I think I sat in the third or second to last car, not on a wheel seat. I wanted to be careful and see how rough it would be. Up the lift hill, down the drop and through the layout… holy **** this ride is awesome!



All my concerns going into the ride were gone. I didn’t find it rough at all, but it was definitely aggressive. I rode with some kid and I accidentally elbowed him in the head a couple times mid ride.

Pretty satisfied with after my first ride, I held off on re-rides until I got the other creds. I went over for Steel Dragon. I haven’t done too many spinners but I think I prefer these Maurer ones over Gerstlauer’s. This one has a pretty standard layout but it was really smooth and had some fun turns. Unfortunately it was hard to enjoy the ride because there were moths everywhere.

Went over to the other side of the park to get the last kiddie cred of the trip, Ravine Flyer 3. And it’s always kind of bothered me that’s it’s not called Ravine Flyer III. 🤣



I got a solo ride in the front row and the girl running the ride was definitely confused on why the **** I was there. Was kind of hoping she’d let me off after one ride but she sent me around twice. Thanks for that I guess.



Alright, I think I had about ten minutes left in the park which was more than enough time for a couple re rides on Ravine Flyer II. I tried out the very back row and it was even better. It was this ride where I realized this was better than Voyage. In fact it had sneaked it’s way into my Top 5. Yeah, it was that good.



The drops aren’t that steep, but the way it yanks you down you in the back is fantastic and the speed you gain is amazing. Even the drop by the turnaround after the bridge, which is much bigger than expected, is awesome.

The airtime hills at the bottom of the hill have some fantastic ejector, all taken at a wonderful pace. Sprinkle in some wild laterals and several tunnels, and gets ridiculous. A highlight for me was that one of the tunnels had a surprise bunny hop, which was just total bonkers.

The portion back up on the hill is a little slower, but the bunny hills still have some fun pops of airtime. But the ride still has some tricks up its sleeve: it banks you 90 degrees and dumps you back down the hill for some speed and laterals before climbing back up to the station.



I would’ve liked the try the front (probably would’ve for my first ride had it been empty), but the back was so good that I just stuck with that for my third ride.

I loved Ravine Flyer II, and it was easily the surprise hit of the trip. It certainly helped that I didn’t have high expectations and that I only did night rides. It’s probably not as good during the day, but I don’t care. I never rode it during the day so that shouldn’t matter. I do seem to rate it higher than most people, especially with it's placement above Voyage. But with Voyage it took me several rides and several years to love it, while RFII impressed me from the get-go. These night rides did make me really want to try Voyage at night though.

And with that it was time to head out. I don’t have a whole lot to say about Waldy, but it did seem like a nice little park and I enjoyed my time there. Closest thing I could compare it to would be Knoebels, but just smaller and maybe not as nicely put together. I will say that I easily preferred their Wally card over the ticket system at Knoebels. There’s much less faff with the card and you don’t have to fish through individual tickets.

I definitely want to go back at some point, solely for Ravine Flyer II and whore the **** out of it.

Alright, getting close to the end here. Just two more parks!
 

Antinos

Slut for Spinners
Social Media Team
For real?!

I guess Waldy is kind of like Knoebels...the trailer park version of Knoebels.
 

Hutch

Active Member
Hell yeah.

Like I said, part of it was expectations, part of it were the enhanced night rides. I do think that RFII had better airtime than Voyage, especially in the lower sections by the bridge. Voyage has the better pacing and more airtime, but I wouldn't say the airtime is Voyage's strong suit.

Ravine Flyer II is essentially a shorter version of Voyage, but honestly it's executed better for me.
 
Rain rides are interesting, but honestly it makes it hard to enjoy the ride. The raindrops hurt, so you focus on shielding your eyes rather than enjoying the airtime.
...which is why I always pack a pair of swimming goggles when doing a cred run.
 

Hutch

Active Member
Due to classes starting back up and my new apartment not having internet (yet), this got out way later than I'd like. Luckily there's only a couple parts left, but this is another long one.


Part 12 - Hersheypark
Thursday, July 25th


I had a five hour drive from my motel in northwest Pennsylvania (can’t remember exactly what town, but was 20 min from Erie) to Hersheypark. I had visited back in 2015 (yikes, already four years?!), so I was more than happy with showing up in the afternoon and staying till closing. I hit the road sometime after 8 AM and, with a lunch stop on the way, arrived before 2 PM.

Highlight of the drive was witnessing a little collision that occurred right behind me on the highway. Nobody got hurt as far as I could tell, both vehicles safely pulled over right afterward. It was just a little tap between a compact car and a dump truck at the end of a lane merge, but a scary situation nonetheless. I witnessed it all in my rearview mirror, and it all took place just a few car lengths behind me! Thankfully everyone seemed to be okay, and it did get my heartrate moving a little.

Anyway, Hersheypark. Obviously the path leading up to the entrance is big mess with all the Candymonium construction. The park actually formally announced the coaster the day prior, but the brake run had already been placed.















Exciting times of course, but not as exciting as this:



It’s been far too long.



I’m kind of annoyed that it’s taken me this long to return and ride this again, although who can I blame other than myself. Skyrush had been my favorite coaster for four years, and while I already stated that Steel Vengeance is my new favorite, I still wanted to see how Skyrush held up against everything else. I only had around 60-70 creds when I first rode Skyrush, and I’ve more or less tripled my coaster count, so who knows if it’s as good as I once thought.

There was a bit of a queue spilling out before the stairs, but it wasn’t too bad. I waited extra for the front row, taking about 30 minutes altogether. Left winged seat is the move, of course.



And it’s just as wild as I remember. Whenever I try to describe this ride to someone I always say “Imagine you’re riding the back of a wild bull but you can’t fall off.” That’s what this ride is. It tries to kill you. And I love it so much.

From the first drop to the final bunny hill, every single element has some sort of “WTF” moment of airtime. I’m not sure which moment is my favorite, but they’re all fantastic in their own right. And what a way to start. With the cable lift hauling the train’s ass up 200 ft, you’re flung over that first drop. And not a moment left to lose before it hurls you over the first airtime hill.



Height wise, everything else is hilariously too short to follow up the 200 ft drop, resulting in some incredible airtime moments up to -2 gs of insanity. I like how some of the hills are drawn out, giving you a chance to enjoy the airtime just a tad bit longer.

Some more pictures from later in the evening (they had the path by the pond closed off unfortunately… these will have to do):



Of all the airtime hills, this last one feels the strongest (even if theoretically the second air hill is the strongest with -2 gs).





If it wasn’t crazy enough, it gets even more ridiculous in the middle of the ride with mixtures of negatives and laterals. The seats and restraints leave you feeling so open that you get rag dolled around in every direction.





As for the restraints themselves, I don’t care. Yes, they are noticeable on the hills and brake run, but it fails to get in the way of the airtime.

I went back for a re-ride in the back row, this time getting on in only 10 minutes. I tried back row once on my last visit but wasn’t a fan. I just found it much more rattly. Well, this time it wasn’t a problem. I did notice a vibration in some of the turns (all of which have strong positive g’s btw), but it was fine. In fact, I actually ended up preferring the back row. It’s so much more intense, specifically the first drop and the twisted hills.

Alright, I’ll stop gushing over Skyrush for a sec. Let’s move onto other rides.

Considered the mine train but ultimately skipped it.







Most other rides seemed to have decent queues. Looking back, I don’t think any of them were really over 20 or 30 minutes (except a couple rides, but those were to be expected) , but it was hard to tell at the time. Pretty soon I wound up in the back of the park so I just sucked up the queue for Lightning Racer, which extended all the way out to the entrance.



It turns out that one of the sides was closed. Oh well. They were still running two trains on the one side so the queue moved along quite nicely.



It was still a solid ride nonetheless. It has a few pops or airtime here and there, but other than that doesn’t exactly do a whole lot. It’s really all about the interaction with the other train, which was obviously missing this time.



Because it was there, I almost did Wildcat, but the queue was too long to warrant a ride on that piece of ****. I really just wanted to prolong the inevitable Laff Trakk wait, which was a cred I missed last time I was here.



This was brand new last time I was here and had a consistent 90 minute wait. Honestly between a +1 or several rides on Skyrush over the same time, Skyrush won easily. But now that I’m back there’s no way I’m missing it again. Well it turned out to be about 45 minutes this time, but thankfully the entire queue was shaded or indoors.



It’s the exact same spinner model as the one at Waldy. This one is probably better because it’s indoors and has a bit of a theme, but unfortunately it wasn’t much darker than my ride on the other one. The glow-in-the-dark themed sets basically make the whole layout visible, so it’s not as exciting as you’d think. Still a decent ride, but just make everything pitch black and it’d be more fun. But hey! +1.



The wait for Fahrenheit is also generally a tricky one, not being much shorter than Laff Trakk’s. But that’s okay this time because the ride is good.





In fact it's better than I remember. On paper it’s just a standard looper with a Eurofighter style lift/drop, but the inversions flow really well and there’s a nice mix of forces and intensity. Nice big, swooping inversions in the beginning before moving onto the snappy stuff toward the end.





I rode in the front and the ride was very smooth. No qualms with the cobra roll either, likely due to the softer OTSRs (which were swapped since I was here last time).







The corkscrews are the best of the inversions here. Normally I wouldn’t find corkscrews the best elements on a ride but here they’re so quick, snappy, and smooth.





The airtime hill at the end is a highlight as well. Definitely some good ejector there, though it does kind of dig into your shoulders a little.





Excellent ride. I would’ve loved another ride on it later but the queue remained pretty hefty. A bit weird that there aren’t really any other Intamins like it. Guess that makes it more special.







The queue for Storm Runner wasn’t too bad, but the station was a bit of a disgrace.



You’d think the dual loading station would make dispatch times a little quicker, but they were only pumping out trains every five minutes. That combined with the cesspool of people crammed inside made things a little embarrassing for a park like this. Luckily, as the perks of being a single rider, I was able to find an odd group of people and minimize my wait time.





While Top Thrill Dragster is my favorite accelerator, Storm Runner is the easy runner up and one of the better accelerators altogether. And that’s all because it actually does stuff after the top hat.



And that’s not to say that the initial launch or top hat are bad. They’re standard material, but you can never go wrong with them. Especially with the top hat diving down even deeper than the initial ascension.







And the inversions are excellent too. The wonky immelmann has some good forces and the barrel roll and snake dive have some snappy airtime and transitions.





Fantastic ride, and easily still one of the bigger draws at the park.



I think I got some food after that. The highlight was the clerk forgetting to charge my water bottle, which I actually got quite excited about. We all know how expensive water bottles can be at theme parks, and I was able to get some refills at water fountains later on.



Great Bear was actually a lot more fun than I remembered.



I used to think it was one of the weaker inverts, but it rode very nicely this time. All the inversions were good, with the zero g and corkscrew being the highlights.







Bit of a weird layout as well. Helix at the very top, awkward straight section before the corkscrew, funky supports, and a classic RCT3 style “auto-complete” section.



Some pics from later in the evening:









I kinda wish I went for a reride, as the queue wasn’t too bad (around 20 minutes). Maybe if I got back to it earlier I would’ve, but at that point I was in the mood for you-know-what.



Did the Kissing Tower, which I hadn’t done previously. The views were great as expected, but the pictures didn’t come out as nicely thanks to the dirty windows. Well, here you go anyway.















Back on the ground... didn’t do this, no need really. But it looks nice I guess.



Went over to try out the Monorail or whatever it’s called. More photos then.













Turns out they have a zoo.



This was the one part of Storm Runner that I used to dislike. It had a bit of headbaning, but not any more with the new restraints. Without the discomfort, it provides some cool laterals.











The Monorail is really just all about the Storm Runner views.



Up next was a ride on SooperDooperLooper (tried to get it earlier but had a huge queue). Apparently I never got any photos of it so I’ll keep the thoughts brief. It’s a fun Schwarzy, but nothing special. Good loop, fun turns, tunnels, and drops. That’s about it.

It was around 8:45 at this point so the only thing left to do was more time with Big Sexy.



The sun had set at this point but it was still a little light out. But the queue was 15 minutes so by the time I got on it was nice and dark. :)



And I may have ridden it a dozen times in a row. :D

It’s just so good. The queue kept getting shorter and shorter too, eventually getting to walk ons. Pretty soon I made sure one of the ride ops was fine with me staying and finding an empty seat, so I went crazy. A few of the times I would be able to just snag a back row winged seat because it’d never be more than two or three people in that row. And back row on that first drop? Might be the most insane (and violent) part of the ride. You get artime cresting down but halfway down it really tries to send you out.

Earlier I had questioned whether to rank Lightning Rod above Skyrush, but these night rides kept Skyrush at No. 2 for me, but it couldn’t quite beat those Vengeance night rides. I do need some Lightning Rod night rides though, as I honestly feel like those could bring LR back up to No. 2 or even No. 1.

And back on the topic of the restraints… like I said, I don’t really mind them that much. I can keep my hands up on all the hills, although I did find myself bending my legs underneath the seat whenever there was airtime, which I guess made it better. In the past I have toyed with the idea of Skyrush with more comfortable restraints. But honestly, considering how highly I already rank the ride, new restraints just have no need for me. I’m sure most would disagree though, but I don’t care. :p



I kept riding until they kicked me and the other riders off, but I was a happy goon.

Hersheypark is great. Might be in my Top 5 parks, but I gotta check that list and see. Great coasters, great setting, great management. Only thing I don’t really like is the area toward the back with Lightning Racer and the water park. Compared to the hillside with all the trees, that area is a little bland. But I can’t wait to back again next year for Candymonium (and more Skyursh of course).

Ok, one more park left, and you know I saved the best park for last.
 

Hixee

Flojector
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Ah man, this brings back flashbacks to my Skyrush night rides a few years back. Similar situation where I ended up just lapping it for at least half an hour. Amazing.

I purposefully stayed in a hotel right down the road so I wouldn't have to rush anywhere (I'd driven out from Philly that morning). :p
 

Hutch

Active Member
I purposefully stayed in a hotel right down the road so I wouldn't have to rush anywhere (I'd driven out from Philly that morning). :p
That's basically what I aimed for on this trip. Kennywood was really the only day where I had to do a lot of driving in the evening, and that's because I was meeting with family. For everything else (at least when I was on my own), it made more sense to do most of the traveling in the morning. It really gives you more time to "relax" in the evening as well.
 
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