Friday, July 26, 2013

Flash Back Friday: Hershey Park 2012

Feeling "sweet" I thought I would FLASHBACK to our 2012 trip to the Sweetest Place on Earth; Hershey Park in Hershey PA. This was actually my fourth trip to Hershey in my lifetime, but it was the 2012 summer vacation request from the boys so we focused our family camping trip to Jellystone in Quarryville PA around a Trip to this Chocolate lovers Dream Park.
The first trip I took to Hershey I went with my best friend Linda when I was about 7-8 years old. Quite honestly I have little to no memory of that trip, but as it so happened my second and third trip was with that same bestie Linda, with our own little girls in 2006. Linda was her own daughters girl scout leader and the girl scout trip was to Hershey Park. She and Holly (another friend) we co-leaders of the troop and had bent the rules to allow my daughter and me to come with them. (My daughter is a year younger then Linda's daughter Amanda, and Holly's daughter Morgan, so she was not a part of their troop). The entire trip was through the Girl Scouts of America so the price for camping and the park was next to nothing. I was pumped. There were also activities which were included such as the Hershey 3-D experience, the laser light show and activities located at the campsite. We were in for an exciting full weekend of adventures. The first evening went well. We hit up chocolate world, rode the FREE making of the Hershey empire ride over and over and over. Free chocolate at the end too! Bought some chocolates in the gift store, participated in the baking of chocolates, rode a few rides, and watched the laser show. Back at camp that night, it RAINED, RAINED and RAINED some more. My daughter and I were free of wetness in our little two man tent nestled under a tree, up on a hill for the night, but the rest of the troop woke up in puddles, and most items were soaked! We attempted to weather through the storm, and headed to the park for another day of fun. First ride of the day was the Hershey 3-d experience, which I do believe has been removed from the park, but I am not positive. It was basically a 3-d movie all about chocolate, we must have rode the FREE Hershey ride a few more times, obtained some more chocolate and headed to the amusement park. It rained most of the day, and although the rides still ran, and my daughter and I were personally enjoying ourselves dry under our poncho's and grateful not to deal with crowds, when Linda announced that they were calling it a day, heading back to our wet camp sites to pack up and heading home. I'm not sure who suggested it, but we ask if we could get a raincheck, (I'm not even sure if they would still do it), and we all got FREE return admission tickets within the 2006 season! We missed out on some of the base camp Girl Scout activities leaving a day early and we got a hotel room on the way home. We had two total and all of us, (here had to be like 12 in total) slept in the two rooms. The girls in one room with Linda, and Holly, her youngest and my daughter shared the other. I'd say it worked out just fine.
The third trip was later the 2006 season, this time I brought my oldest and my youngest. My youngest was free (due to his age) so the only admission I had to pay for was for my son. Once again we went with Linda and several of the other girls, but I pretty much went off with my won kids. We again took the FREE ride and got some more FREE chocolate. My older children went on several of the rollercoasters, while Gavin (2 or 3, at the time) went on the children's rides.  I still remember going on the log flume ride. Gavin kept repeating "boat" and he was really enjoying the peaceful leisure along the water, until we went down the big hill. Poor kid, I am sure I have scared him for life. We also enjoyed the Zoo's of America which is included in the Park admission. The best part of the zoo was the prairie dogs, that kept poking their little heads up from their underground homes.
We all had a great time on that trip and there was no rain to speak of.
On our 2012 trip we planned two days at the park. The first day was spent at the FREE Chocolate World area of the park. I think we had to pay to park, but was offered a token to exit if we were just in the Chocolate world. I'm not 100% positive on that, but If your just passing through and you do not want to go to the theme park, but want to buy ANYTHING HERSHEY, and ride a FREE ride, I highly recommend at least going to Chocolate World. There are some attractions at Chocolate World you have to pay admission for, but there are lots of things to do for FREE!

Mr. Hershey's claim to chocolate fame is all in the COWS!!! The use of milk in the chocolate made his chocolate so creamy and yummy, the Hershey chocolates are known through out the world. Fun about the chocolate tour ride is you SMELL the chocolate as you ride the ride. YUM!
We decided to take the FREE ride a few times, before we purchased and took a trip on the Trolley ride.
The Trolley ride was recommended by Mary and it is a tour of the town of Hershey while being narrated by a duo of characters who present the life and times of   Mr. Hershey.

"The Hershey Story explores the rags to riches accomplishments of an American entrepreneur who used his personal wealth to enrich the lives of others. Hear never-before-shared stories of his innovation and determination. Find out how Mr. Hershey revolutionized the process of making milk chocolate. Discover how the Hershey Industrial School’s orphan boys became heirs to his fortune. ". I actually cut and paste this paragraph from the museum The Hershey Story; which we did not go to, but it explains his life in a nice few sentences. 
The Trolley ride presented in period clothing explains as it drives, the story of the Hershey enterprise. At each stop, a new character would arrive. (I am sure he was riding on the back of the trolley and changing before each stop) but the counterpart to the narrator would be at each location to further elaborate the story for each stop. Once he was a worker, an orphan boy, Mr. Hershey's mother and Mr. Hershey himself. At one point we all sung songs from the day. "Daisy Daisy, Give me your answer do, I'm half crazy all for the love of you" La La La on our bicycle built for two"
Boarding the trolley was the ticket taker.
Here are our two fun characters. They guy was so much fun, and he was funny too.
Mr. Hershey's home. The whole town is all about Hershey, and even the lamp posts are shaped like Hershey Kiss's.
Below is a picture of the old orphanage. It is something else today.
Mr. Hershey's dream was to develop a whole town for his Hershey factory workers, and many of the streets are named after this. There are lots of parks and things also named for Mr. Hershey.
The Trolley was fun for the most part, and it was interesting however, I don't think the boys were as excited about it, and it really wasn't that thrilling. I personally learned a lot about the life of this man, but I could have easily foregone this adventure for something else.
After the trolley tour, we headed to our hotel for the evening. After camping most of the week we were in need of a nice hotel.
This sign was on a billboard along the way, and my hubby and I spent a little time that evening at the ONLY thing around, and can you believe it, we found a CASINO!
 The following day we headed back to the town of Hershey and enjoyed the Theme Park. Quite honestly it is like most theme parks, and we enjoyed the several rides offered. As usual when we go to theme parks we were ready to hit everything hard maximizing our experience to the fullest. My husband and I are good rater of theme parks and on a scale of 1-10 we gave it an 8. Primarily the score was lower due to no fault of the park, although Mark felt the layout was a poor design and this is why he rated it lower, but the HEAT was what spoiled it for me. It was sooooo hot on the day we went that nothing seemed enjoyable. There is a lot of walking it seemed with spans of space between several of the rides. It was also difficult to determine where you gain access to and exit from several of the rides so we walked to an exit for a ride several times thinking we were heading onto the ride. Additionally the waterparks also not the parks fault were PACKED. I also did not like these designs as well. For all the space this park had when we were at the wave pool area, the chairs were lined up in rows so tightly you had to disturb people on either side to find a seat. Needless to say the water parks were our least favorite due to the crowds. The heat did keep people at those locations so the rest of the park including the Zoo's of America (included in your admission) was free of people, but the heat kept the animals away as well, and we saw very little.
The rides however, for the exception of the more popular rides (the rollercoasters; Storm Runner is one of the most popular) had little wait time. I only went on the wild mouse rollercoaster and one other that we did actually wait for quite awhile to get on. (They provided fans with sprays of water during this wait. I cannot remember which one it was however).
My personal favorites and the one we rode at least twice (quite possibly because their was air conditioning and NO lines) The kissing Tower, which is really not "a ride" but a tower that brings you up about the park and town giving you a panoramic view of everything. I got several pictures, but couldn't find them to show in here. Second was the Resees x-treem cup challenge. Also air conditioned and inside. Similar to the Toy Story Ranger ride in Disney, you and your partners battle against other cars at laser shooting candy bars. We went on this ride several times.
We were all hot and tired, irritated for the last part of the day and actually were all growling at one another having had enough. We skipped the laser light show and evening entertainment and headed back to our hotel. I think we would have had a much more enjoyable time if it wasn't so hot and crowded. I did enjoy the costumed candybars, but the boys would not pose for me.

Cooling off!!!
Overall it is a fun park packed with great rides and attractions. Downside to this trip was the heat, the crowds and the overall park layout. However, we did have a ton of fun!