Hersheypark: A Disney Fan's First Impressions - PassPorter.com
Award-winning travel guidebooks

   guidebooks   |   news   |   podcasts   |   boards   |   blog   |   worksheets   |   photos   |   articles   |   updates   |   register   |  

Article Tools
Print Article
Download PDF
View Photos

Hersheypark: A Disney Fan's First Impressions

Photo illustrating U.S. Travel - General Travel
by Heidi Bamford, PassPorter Guest Contributor
Last modified 7/2/2009

PassPorter.com > Articles > U.S. Travel > General Travel  

My husband and I decided to take advantage of the long Memorial Day weekend to give our daughters a surprise treat -- a getaway to Hersheypark in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

We packed up the car and drove down on Saturday -- it's about a seven-hour-long car trip from our home in upstate New York. We spent Sunday at Hersheypark, and drove back home to Buffalo on Monday. Our grand scheme was centered on the fact that our girls deserved a break from their hard work at school, and the family could use the "together" time of being in a car, on the road, just the four of us -- to have that time to communicate that seems to be missing in the hectic schedule of the typical school/work/activities week. The trip turned out to be a fun adventure as well as a shot of hard reality; not all adventures go as planned or imagined!

Most of the time, our girls love a surprise. We had surprised them with small and large trips before, but this time, we fell down on the job. We forgot homework and travel books -- things I normally take care of, but this time let slip by; big mistake! I never realized how conscientious they were about homework, and iPods are not everything you need for a long car ride! Plus, we made the trip in our newer and smaller, more gas-efficient car. I think the old gas-guzzling van, even without air conditioning, would have made things easier. Or, maybe it is just that they are almost teenagers.

In any case, all being chocolate lovers, we had always wanted to check out Hersheypark. But we also had a time and budget constraint, so we stayed off-site at the nearby Best Western Inn Hershey and visited the local Giant supermarket where they were offering substantial park ticket discounts for the months of May and June. The ticket discounts were great -- the hotel was OK. The indoor pool was like a chlorine-scented fish bowl, and you had to pass through the corridor of smoking rooms to get to the non-smoking rooms. The free breakfast was a "free-for-all" kind of atmosphere, with one hapless staff member trying to keep the stampeding guests from destroying all the serving equipment in their efforts to down assorted cereals, waffles, sausages, juices, hot beverages, and more.

Photo illustrating U.S. Travel - General Travel
The Dry Gulch Railroad takes a pleasant turn around the park.

Upon arriving at the park, we anticipated long lines because of the holiday weekend, and we were right. But I think that the long lines could have been much shorter had Hershey management investigated what puts the magic in the Magic Kingdom -- it isn't just the whimsical decorations and lovable characters! As we wandered around from one area to another, I began to realize that I was studying the layout, attractions, and operation in comparison to Walt Disney World (WDW). Even though Hershey is not on the scale of a Disney World park, there do seem to be aspects of Disney management that other parks could benefit from.

The most obvious area is that of line management at various rides and attractions. The staff at Hershey Park, although just as friendly and helpful as those at WDW, did not seem to have the knack – or is it training – to minimize line buildup. We noticed that they did not ask people "how many" in their party – so ride seats would often be only half filled since there was no attempt to put smaller parties in to fill up empty seats. In fact, there were far fewer ride attendants at any one ride at Hershey than we have ever seen at WDW, one or two to Disney's usual four to six moving people through.

Another aspect of the lines for rides and attractions was that there was nothing to do but wait, and wait, and wait….no music, no displays of any kind to look at while standing there -- nothing but the people in front of and behind you. Now, I do admit, when lines at WDW are slow and you have to hear that music at Splash Mountain over and over again, you can get a bit uptight. But the almost complete absence of any kind of distraction from the tedium of standing in a line made waiting a very tiring ordeal for all of us. Those little details in design and presentation -- from the spare tires arranged as mouse ears on the floor of the garage at Goofy's Barnstormer, to the mechanical assembly line at Star Tours -- you are constantly engaged in some aspect of the attraction you are about to enter.

So, although the trip was not everything we had hoped it would be, it did turn out to be a fun adventure! Our soon-to-be-13-year-old got to ride a couple of horrifying roller coasters, and our 11-year-old got to overindulge in her favorite chocolate and arcade games. My husband and I got a getaway we could afford as well as a chance to catch up with our daughters on life as middle schoolers. And, although it is fun to check out other parks and destinations once in awhile, I'm always ready to return to my happy place, Walt Disney World!

[For another traveler's takes on Hersheypark, see Hersheypark, Pennsylvania: A Delicious Park for the Whole Family by Mary Kraemer]

The Whip is a Hershey Park original. It was reintroduced to Hershey Park in 1997.

About the Author:
Heidi Bamford recently contributed to PassPorter News with an article on the Disney Film Festival. She lives with her family in upstate New York.

Recent U.S. Travel Articles:
Honolulu and and Waikiki - Things to Do While Visiting Aulani last updated 04-30-2015
The Eastern Coast of Oahu, Hawaii - Things to Do While Visiting Aulani last updated 04-23-2015
The Pearl Harbor Memorial - Things to Do While Visiting Aulani last updated 04-16-2015
Kennedy Space Center - Things to Do Near Port Canaveral last updated 04-09-2015
The Bishop Museum in Oahu - Things to Do While Visiting Aulani last updated 04-09-2015

More Related Links:
Serendipity 3 in New York City - A Dining Review last updated 12/29/2008
Hong Kong Disneyland Celebrates - A New Year In A New Disney Park last updated 12/18/2008
Valencia, Spain - Travel Tips last updated 11/27/2008
Bellagio of Las Vegas - Simply Bellissimo! last updated 1/08/2009
Hever Castle - Kent, England last updated 1/15/2009

Reader Comments:

So what do you think? Click here to share your comments, feedback, and experiences on this article and topic!

(Note: You must be a member of our PassPorter Message Board Community to leave comments. Join today for free!)

Updated 7/2/2009 - Article #101 

Read additional articles from PassPorter.com

Subscribe to our free e-mail newsletter, PassPorter News, published for more than 58,000 opt-in subscribers worldwide. As an added bonus for subscribing, you will receive a 20% discount coupon for the PassPorter Store -- no catch!

E-mail Address:

First Name:

E-mail Format:
-Text/Don't Know  



We respect your privacy and never sell or rent our subscriber list. Subscribing will not result in more spam! We guarantee it.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Copyright 1999-2015
by PassPorter Travel Press, an imprint of MediaMarx, Inc.

Learn More With Our Award-Winning Guidebooks


RSS General PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel - Globetrotting: General Travel Planning
PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disn...
Planning a trip around the globe, or just away for the weekend? Ask questions and share experiences! Forum Sponsored by CruisingCo.com

Vegas Baby-packing light?
by Kelly66
4 Jul 2015 at 8:31pm
My husband and I get to go to Vegas! We are almost 50 years old. What kind of things can we do for free? We want to walk along the stip. Are there...
(click title above to view replies)

Orange County Convention Center Orlando Hotel Choice?
by KathyL
3 Jul 2015 at 8:25am
I am attending a conference at the Orange County Convention Center in November. The conference is taking place in the West Building. At this point,...
(click title above to view replies)

First trip to Hawaii...Aulani or other?
by thinkpink
26 Jun 2015 at 8:28pm
We need some advice on a trip to Hawaii. We have never been. Should we book a package deal? Try Aulani? Other advice? Thanks in advance!!
(click title above to view replies)

Dallas Texas - advice
by thinkpink
26 Jun 2015 at 8:27pm
I will be attending a conference in Dallas this July. I may take my dd12 with me and make the trip a fun girls trip. I need recommendations on what...
(click title above to view replies)

American Express Travelers Checks?
by Goofy'sGal
23 Jun 2015 at 5:59pm
We are traveling to Canada in early August (Montreal and Toronto area). It's been a while since I've been anywhere outside the US (although I love...
(click title above to view replies)

Amtrok IL to CO--first time
by MickeyRules
15 Jun 2015 at 11:31am
My son and I are headed out to CO and found it to be much cheaper taking the train. This will be my first long-distance train trip--and it's...
(click title above to view replies)

New Bus Service in Washington DC
by emtpej
12 Jun 2015 at 1:12pm
The DC Circulator is expanding service beginning 06/14/2015 to include a low-cost loop around the National Mall -- but it does not include Arlington...
(click title above to view replies)

Just got back from Aulani
by Tigger71
9 Jun 2015 at 6:30pm
I have just returned from our trip to Aulani where I stayed with my DM. It was truly a beautiful resort and we had a delightful time just the two of...
(click title above to view replies)

Total Visits: 6970

You've discovered a PassPorter's Club Concierge Tip!
Ting the bell to read your tip and save it in your Concierge Desk!

PassPorter ~ 1998-2015 ~ 17 Years of Making Dreams Come True!
Publishers of bestselling travel guidebooks and proud recipients of 13 national book awards
About PassPorter
About Us
Site Map
Privacy Policy
Images & Artwork
News & Updates
Message Boards
Concierge Desk
Books & E-Books
Customs Office
Register Books
Book Updates
Help & Info
Finding Answers to Questions
Help Desk
Using Your PassPorter Forum
Store Customer Service
E-Mail Us
Follow Us
PassPorter.com Front Page (Updated Daily!)
PassPorter Newsletter (weekly and free)
Latest Posts
YouTube Channel
Questions? Check our Site Map and visit our Help Desk to learn how to contact us online, by e-mail, and by phone.
Please feel free to link to this page so that other vacationers can find it.