For the past three years, my good friend A and her daughter have come up to visit Pennsylvania and we all go to an amusement park. The first year, we went to Dutch Wonderland in Lancaster, PA. Last year, we went to Hershey Park. A’s daughter loved it so much that we decided to go again this year.
This post isn’t going to be a review of every ride, or every food item, or every thing to do. This is going to be a realistic post about two women in their mid-30s visiting an extremely popular park on Labor Day in 91 degree heat with a seven year old.
First of all, let’s address tickets. The actual price of tickets varies but I think it’s usually around $65. You can get a discount through AAA, with a military ID, corporate discounts, or even coupons from Giant Supermarket. A got a corporate discount. She and her daughter did the twilight preview the night before (where you get access to the park for a few hours prior to it closing) and then the full day on Labor Day. I completely forgot to get my tickets in advance, so I popped into the line to buy tickets. While waiting, I logged onto the website and discovered a Labor Day sale. Before it was even my turn, I’d purchased tickets for $49 online, so I left the line and went in. My points here are: where there’s a will there’s a way, and one should never pay full price for Hershey.
Hershey designates rides based on height, distinguished by varying candies. As a 5’2″ adult, I fall into the Jolly Rancher category (barely). As a growing 7-year old, A’s little one was a Hershey Bar. This is a different category than last year, so she was able to ride a LOT of the rides this time. If you think that visiting with a child will hamper your ability to do roller coasters, you are wrong.
After doing some of the tamer rides (I was convinced to ride the swings and go on a log ride – twice!), we hit up the water park. Our little nugget played in the wave pool (which was SO. SUPER. PACKED. and smelled like sewage and feet) and then in the water playground. The playground area was very cool. Lots of interactive elements like fountains, water guns, and water wheels. And it didn’t smell like feet! Added bonus.
Before going, I’d read reviews and listicles about the new food options available at the park. The grilled cheese truck looked alright, and the taco truck was closed. Ultimately, our decisions about food were decided based on the lines. They got some fries and chicken fingers from Chickie & Pete’s, and I got a Veggie Delite from the adjoining Subway. Even though they had the shortest lines, we still waited a solid 20-30 minutes.
After that, we went on some more rides. The ferris wheel is always a favorite because it’s a little bit cooler and lets you sit for awhile. We also went on some tamer roller coasters, the Kissing Tower, and the classic cars.
Later in the afternoon, we hit up BBlz, which was touted as being a fun activity where you make your own soda concoction with crazy ingredients. Y’all, this was the most disappointing and ridiculous thing. First of all, you don’t make your own. You pick a flavor. Then you watch someone make it for you. It involves soda, some kind of candy addition (boba, poprocks, sprinkles), and then a ton of frosting. Yes, frosting. INSIDE THE BEVERAGE. Then they close up the little globular cup and put MORE FROSTING ON TOP. So inconvenient to drink on a 90 degree day. And, to make it even worse, the frosting dyes your skin. Green everywhere! In addition, the absurd amount of sugar renders it basically undrinkable. I hope they make this into something different soon.
Went on a couple more rides, did the log ride again. And then, on the way out, we hit up Simply Chocolate for the mega milkshake. We had the brownie cupcake one last year and have dreamed about it ever since. This year, we opted for the peanut butter version – chocolate milkshake, peanut butter sauce, mug rimmed with Nutella and Reese’s Pieces and PB cups, two chocolate-covered pretzel sticks, and two pieces of the best peanut butter cheesecake. Even between the three of us, we couldn’t finish it. The price of $13.99 may sound steep, but it was DEFINITELY worth it. I can’t wait to try another flavor next year!
Before heading to our cars, we stopped at Chocolate World for the Chocolate Tour. This ride is a delightful gem hidden inside what appears to be a giant gift shop. It’s free, it’s air conditioned, and it’s fun. You learn about the history of the Hershey company, and you learn how chocolate is made. There was almost no line when we went because most people go on it on the way IN to the park. It was super fun and a nice way to end the day.
Some additional notes:
- Bring a water bottle, and you can fill it up from fountains all day long.
- They have an app specific to the park. It was helpful to tell us estimated ride times so we could find some of the less-populated areas. However, the map was completely useless. Good luck navigating this park!
- Bring a towel if you’re going to do the water park. They do not offer towels.
- They have a photo package where, for $35.99, you can get digital prints of every ride photo, and any picture taken by a personal photographer is only an additional $5. I’m a big fan of these packages. I’ll do a post in the future about how I abused it at Universal Studios. If you like ride photos, do this.
- If you are a collector of smashed pennies, there are a TON of machines throughout the park.
- Bring sunscreen.
- Labor Day is not the right time to go to this park. It was SO. PACKED.
- If you wear a fanny pack, you don’t have to put your stuff in a locker when you go on rides (minus the super-crazy roller coasters).
All in all, another successful trip. Have you been to Hershey Park? What is your favorite ride?
See you next year, Hershey!