Tips for Choco-Lot Fun @ Hershey Park
After more trips to Hersheypark than I can count, I’ve learned a bit along the way. I’m about to impart some of that hard-earned wisdom to you. Don’t worry, I’m going to try my best to stay away from the worn-out tips like “start at the back of the park” or “get there early”. Wait, I lied. I’m going to start with “get there early”. It’s actually the most important tip which will save you time and get you in the seat of more rides, more often. That’s just the beginning of your day. Shortcuts, discounts, and recommendations will follow.
1. Get there early. This goes for pretty much every amusement park and many other popular places that get crowded. Someone once told me that on a busy day at an amusement park, for every minute you get there after the gates open, you’ll spend an additional five minutes waiting in line. Using that theory, arriving 30 minutes after opening would equal an extra two and a half hours in line during your day. Wow!
2. Take the secret shortcut. This “secret” path is actually on the park map, though it seems hidden and infrequently used. Taking this path can save a bunch of time and avoids a couple of those Hersheypark hills (aka my summer cardio workout). After entering through the front gate, hang a right at the stroller rental. You’ll be rewarded by a beautiful view of Spring Creek and Skyrush. This path is essential at park opening, as you quickly part from the crowd walking to Founder’s Way and arrive in The Hollow by Skyrush and sooperdooperLooper much faster.
3. Avoid the lines. Some rides seem to rarely have wait times, so save them to ride when the park is busy. First and foremost, Lightning Racer. A great roller coaster, but high capacity (two trains run at the same time!) and at the back of the park. Ride this coaster when the queues for the others are long. More rides that don’t have a line unless the park is swamped: Kissing Tower, pretty much any kiddie ride, Reese’s Xtreme Cup Challenge, and the monorail. In contrast, these rides usually have a wait: Fahrenheit, Laff Trakk, Comet, The Claw, and Great Bear. If you see these queues empty or the app (see the next tip) has a short wait time listed for one of these, head there, quickly!
4. Use the Mobile App. Not only are the ride wait times listed and updated frequently, but you can also set alerts through the app for when wait times go under a certain threshold. The app also has a list of rides filtered by height category, park and Chocolate World hours, and a list of any rides that may be closed on that particular day.
5. Get to the Boardwalk early. If you’re planning to go to the Boardwalk (water park) on a hot day, go there first. In previous years, I’ve found that the water ride lines tend to be much shorter or non-existent during the first hour or two of the day. Note that Hersheypark’s two new attractions for the 2018 season are water rides located in the Boardwalk. With the excitement to try them, the crowd levels may be higher than previous years.
6. Stay cool. We enjoy cooling off during a hot day at the park in the Overlook Arcade and Food Court in Kissing Tower Hill. For parents with infants, there is an air-conditioned nursing/changing room in Pioneer Frontier.
7. Benefit from the perks of staying overnight. Making a weekend of it? Consider an overnight stay at one of the Official Resorts of Hersheypark. Special perks and ticket packages are available for their guests.
8. Become a season passholder. If you’re planning more than two trips to Hersheypark this season, you may want to consider a season pass. In addition to unlimited admission during all four seasons of fun at Hersheypark, passholders also enjoy free parking, merchandise discounts, exclusive season passholder events, and year-round visits to ZooAmerica.
9. Consider purchasing a dining or drink program. If you’re a season passholder, you can add a one-time fee dining plan to your pass and use it during the entire summer season for two meals a day. If you’re a once-a-year visitor, an all-day dining or drink deal may save you money.
10. Pick the best day to go. As far as I know, crowd prediction calendars like there are for Disney, do not exist for Hersheypark. So, with no official data to support this, here are your best bets for lower crowds: choose cloudy days over sunny days, watch the Hersheypark Stadium and Giant Center schedules for events which can increase attendance. Sundays are better than Saturdays, though the middle of the week is the best time to go. May and June are great months to visit, however kids’ field trips will be in full swing. If you’re not tied to a school schedule, the best bet is the last week or so in August, after schools start for the year.
Follow these tips, and you’re bound to be Hersheypark happier!
By: Karen Bumbaugh, from Been There Done That With Kids