Published: July 25, 2013 at 9:03 PMHersheypark is a very nice park, one of better really, but when we visit it is all about The Great American Chocolate Ride. It is like a long lost spiritual cousin to an old EPCOT attraction that somehow lives on. The recent refurbishment added some sparkle and shine but the old-fashioned spirit lives on. We love it.
Published: July 25, 2013 at 10:50 PMMy PA based family has a tradition of a yearly afternoon trip to Herseys Chocolate World. Only once have been to Herseypark
Published: July 25, 2013 at 11:01 PMJust to respond to your opening comments about what people imagine Hersheypark to be like--growing up in the 1970s, I read in some magazine that the town of Hershey, PA had giant Hershey Kiss-shaped street lamps in the city, and a chocolate factory and an amusement park owned by the chocolate company. Back then I probably imagined something like Willy Wonka's chocolate factory, but from reading this website over the years, I think I expected a generic amusement park like a Six Flags.
Published: July 26, 2013 at 1:02 AMThank you for the learned discussion about the difference between an iron park and a theme park. These days, I'm only interested in the latter, and Chocolate World is much more appealing than Hershey Park. I remember going when I was a kid, and even then enjoyed the Chocolate World so much more than the iron park.
Published: July 26, 2013 at 2:30 AMI went the day after Christmas in 1999 and it's more or less the same. The walk around characters are interesting, the dark ride amusing, and the store was expansive. It's no replacement for a thrill park but it makes a nice diversion and the new attractions seem to flesh out the experience a bit more.
Published: July 26, 2013 at 4:32 AMAnd to confuse you even more, there is "The Hershey Story" in downtown Hershey that is owned by The M.S. Hershey Foundation. http://www.hersheystory.org/
This has a museum, hands-on classes at the Chocolate Lab, and a cafe, where you can buy a sampler to taste chocolate from different countries.
Published: July 26, 2013 at 7:30 AMI don't know, I like the cows. It makes the attraction more accessible to kids, especially the ones that would rather just get off to grab that free piece of candy at the exit.
I've run into the same connundrum as Robert. We'll spend much of the day in Hersheypark, and have already spent money on park admission and/or concert tickets. We'll visit Chocolate World on our way out, and it's just not worth it to spend more money for their add-on attractions. Not only that, but we're typically pretty tired after a day walking around Hersheypark (rather hilly on the east side of the park), so we don't feel like doing the other Chocolate World attractions, especially since they cost more money. We're pretty happy soaking in the air conditioned dark ride, grabbing a freebie on the way off the ride, and walking around the store before driving home (nearly 3 hours for us).
Published: July 26, 2013 at 7:36 AMDon't dis the cows, Mike. :)
Published: July 26, 2013 at 9:05 AMWe've made an annual visit to Hersheypark ever since moving within driving distance. I love the park for it's rides. And, though it doesn't have the most thorough theming, something that was not mentioned in yesterday's or today's article was the street shows. These are great, themed shows mainly aimed at kids but are enjoyable for adults, too. We always make time to stop and see them.
Published: July 26, 2013 at 10:09 AMWhat a shame you didn't want to do the entire Chocolate World experience, Robert!
Published: July 26, 2013 at 10:14 AMAh, I forgot to mention: my family and I stayed at the Hotel Hershey, which was the perfect complement for our visit. Beautiful, not so expensive (considering the luxuries), with treats as "chocolate bars for every guest when you check in" and Kisses, Kisses and more Kisses on the restaurants, inside the room, etc, I definitely recommend it!!
Published: July 26, 2013 at 12:35 PMI think a key difference is also how memorable the experience is. When you went over your Hersheypark trip report, I had quite a few, 'oh yeah, I remember that one' moments. But they were modest memories. I could, however, draw the floor plan of Hershey's Chocolate World and remember tons of details. And that's what builds a brand long-term (and I went home and bought the stock too).
You did miss out on the Trolley and the Museum portions. The trolley guides are Tokyo Disneyland quality and the museum was pretty interesting. It can't keep up with the speed of the amusement park, but Chocolate World is a great time.
Published: July 26, 2013 at 4:38 PMIt's a real shame that your wife and kids like Chocolate World better than Hersheypark. Don't get me wrong, no trip to Hersheypark is complete without a ride on the Chocolate Tour (not to mention buying a few fresh-baked chocolate and/or peanut butter chip cookies), but Hersheypark is one of my two favorite seasonal parks (along with BGW). It's so much nicer (and cleaner) than any of the Cedar Fair or Six Flags parks. I have gone to a bunch of parks by myself, but I'd never go to Hershey alone. It's got such a family atmosphere, that I'd miss having friends with me.
Published: July 26, 2013 at 8:57 PMI've never done the full Chocolate World experience either, but I've done the free ride many many MANY times and the movie a few times. The movie, while cheesy, is good enough to be worth the $8 for someone like yourself. You probably should have done it.