Hersheypark - Photo Journal
Hershey, Pennsylvania – Thursday, July 19th, 2012
The candy bar height check markers are a sure sign that I'm at Hersheypark.
Hersheypark might not be my favorite park in Pennsylvania but it's certainly a huge draw whenever I'm in the area.
Tudor Square is Hersheypark's British-inspired entry themed midway, slightly unusual in that it's located outside the main entry gates. Beyond it are two more themed entry pathways, Rhineland and Founder's Circle, before you get to the park proper and have any choice over which direction to go. Hersheypark certainly likes making a long-winded opening statement.
Hersheypark is simultaneously very typical for a regional American theme park, yet also a bit of an outlier, as the largest and arguably most successful independent theme park in the United States. They borrow liberally from the design philosophies of Disney, Busch Gardens, and even Six Flags.
Crowds form as they wait for the gates to drop. I have to think this is somewhat counter-productive for them. Why not let the crowds in a half hour earlier and hold them at the end of Founder's Circle? Seems it would ease the bottleneck and encourage more perusal of their many boutique shops along the entry pathways.
Last time I was at Hersheypark was 2008, and before that was 2004. Maybe I'm just on a four-year cycle with this park, but there does seem to be some statistically significant relationship between me visiting Hershey, Pennsylvania, and this park debuting a massive Intamin steel coaster in a given year.
Hersheypark's owner, the Hershey Entertainment Company, is a separate entity from the Hershey Chocolate Company, which I think is partly why the Hershey chocolate theme is somewhat limited inside the park. I do wonder how many families arrive and are disappointed by the relative lack of chocolate references in park; they only just added the Reese's Xtreme Cup Challenge in 2006 to meet some of those guest expectations.
The Hershey Shoppe is one of the park's most popular gift shops, one of the only places in-park where Hershey chocolate is sold.
Hersheypark's PTC carousel, built in 1919, and brought to the park in 1944. I rarely ride them, but I do appreciate whenever a park maintains one.
Do you remember that time in 2005 when Hersheypark decided they were going to build that weird 4D vertical zigzag coaster called Turbulence right next to this carousel, but then after plans were announced and ground broken they abruptly canceled it after the manufacturer couldn't keep the agreed-upon price? A weird, almost forgettable footnote in the park's history today, one I think may have been for the best although I do somewhat lament the demise of the double giant wheel.
If you know how to plan a day at the park then you know that Fahrenheit is the ride you want to hit first thing in the morning, being both low capacity and far enough back in the park that the crowds don't show up for the first half hour.
It's possible to get 2-3 good rides on Fahrenheit in the first half hour the park is open. I went for four, and I kinda regretted waiting out the last one (a good twenty minutes), but it's Fahrenheit, and four rides in a day is always worth it.
With the stubby three car trains, front row is where I want to be.
Fahrenheit has an odd layout that's simultaneously eccentric and conservative. As far as multiloopers go I might prefer it over a six-looping B&M sitdown coaster at the same price tag, although the low capacity is a handicap in giving it a too enthusiastic review.
Vertical lift hills and drops are soooo 2008.
Fahrenheit utilizes double chain lifts to hoist it up the 121 foot vertical lift hill. The second chain lift is just a redundant safety feature since it lacks traditional anti-rollbacks; in case of an E-stop they have to lower the cars backwards to a level position to evacuate.
Cresting the top of such a sharp pinnacle with a 97 degree plunge on the other side is a nice moment of drama.
First up in the element line-up is the Norwegian loop, so-called because the first (and still only other) one of its kind is in Norway.
The combination of the slight counter-rotation at the top of the first inversion, and the intense ejector airtime leaving the second inversion, make the Norwegian loop the best part of the entire ride. Unfortunately the cobra roll that follows is a bit of a snooze by immediate comparison.
Fahrenheit is a nice combination of inversions and negative G-forces, so I can see the appeal it has for some.
Fahrenheit features a double corkscrew as its final two inversions, a maneuver we've not needed since the days of Arrow Dynamics, yet it actually kinda works in this context. The high speed turns and airtime hill is a nice, fast-paced palate cleanser to end the ride.
With twelve-passenger trains dispatching no more frequently than every 90 seconds, the last place you want to find yourself is at the far end of one of these. I really lament the trend (starting around 2003 I think?) that high-profile, low-capacity coasters came in vogue. Launches, vertical drops and the like just ruin a train's length...
See the bottom instruction box; I'm not sure if the difference is as much between "correct" and "incorrect" as it is between "svelte" and "fat".
Fahrenheit prepares for another ride.
Can we agree that "Fahrenheit" is the result of a 10 minute brainstorming session of the park's marketing department whose only directive was to sell the 97 degree drop. I can't imagine how many "Celsius" and "Kelvin" parody coasters it's inspired in NoLimits and RollerCoaster Tycoon.
I appreciate it, yet it fails to excite me in the same way as some other Intamin coasters do, including those in the same park. Speaking of which...