Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Next to last part of the PA trip report. We're nearly there!

Hershey: We were supposed to go to Hersheypark on Thursday morning, but I woke up feeling like crap. I went to breakfast and tried to get through it, but after a half a piece of toast it was obvious I wasn't going to be riding any roller coasters that day. A. took the kids out to play mini-golf and I went back to bed.

I woke up about 1 in the afternoon and felt quite a bit better. A. and the kids got back a while later and by late afternoon I felt well enough to suggest that we drive to Hershey and check out the Chocolate World area. We would go back to Hersheypark on Friday and then drive back to Philly for the ballgame that night.

Chocolate World was lots of fun. They had a 3D movie about Hershey, which included a live actor interacting with the on-screen characters and lots of "live" effects, like snow and streamers coming down at the end of the movie. It was really well done and a match for the 3D movies I have seen at Disney World. We also took the "factory tour", which is a ride that takes you through a representation of how chocolate is made (there isn't a public tour of the actual Hershey's factory). We got samples of Hershey products at the conclusion of both the movie and the ride.

We had dinner at the Kit Kat restaurant, which was pretty good. There was a nice surprise when the Hershey Kiss character showed up during dinner. It's the 100th anniversary of the introduction of the Kiss, and while the character posed for pictures with the kids in the restaurant at the time, his "assistant" handed out free cupcakes in celebration of the Kiss' "birthday". It was a nice bonus for us.

We rounded out the night with a trip through the giant Hershey souvenir shop and picked up some goodies. We all went to bed when we got back to the hotel in anticipation of a long day on Friday.

Morning came and we packed up the car and headed for Hersheypark. Now, maybe I have been spoiled by going to Disney all these years, but I wasn't all that impressed with Hersheypark. They had some fun rides, but we found the park very difficult to navigate. We sometimes had to walk all the way around a ride to find the entrance.

It was also very hot and very crowded. At Disney, with Fastpass and getting to the park early, I have a system to pretty much avoid long lines. I typically don't stand in a line more than 20 minutes, even during the busy Christmas vacation week. Hersheypark didn't open until 10 and there is no Fastpass, so lines for the more popular rides (especially water rides as the day got hotter) were impossible to avoid. We skipped a couple because we weren't willing to wait an hour to get on.

That said, we did have a good time. We went on a few roller coasters and a flume ride, which were fun. The kids rode a water slide by themselves, and they raved about that despite having to spend about 20 minutes in line. On a cooler, less crowded day, Hersheypark would be a lot of fun.

One thing I really did like about Hersheypark was their rating system for thrill rides. They went from a 1 (mild thrill ride) to 5 (aggressive thrill ride). I found I could handle the 4's comfortably. I got nauseous just looking at the 5's, so we stayed away from those. J. didn't meet the height requirement on some of them anyways, and R. wasn't interested.

Around 3:00 we made our way out of the park and headed for the Phillies game, which I'll talk about in the final part of this report.


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