Trip to Pennsylvania
How to get the best out of Hershey and Dorney
I dont know a lot about these parks, outside of the major roller coasters. I am planning a three day trip, and was planning to go to Dorney Park for the first day and then Hershey for the second and third. I just want to know what are some of the best things about the parks, some of the not so great things; where to stay; is one day at dorney enough; is two days at hershey enough; what are the best places to eat, and anything else. Thanks.
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From Tim W
Posted October 26, 2009 at 6:42 PM
Well my advice would be i guess it depends. Im sure you will not be going to the water park. Its probably even closed already at dorney and hershey parks. You have to go to hersheys chocolate world. one of my personal favorites from the park. Tudor grill is really good foor at hershet park. Go on stormrunner and farenhheit. Best roller coasters in hershey park. I probably can't give as much insight to dorney since i havent been there in over 6 years.
I think the time your allowing is perfectly fine. I would suggest staying at the hershey lodge while in hershey park.
From Tim W
Posted October 27, 2009 at 3:29 AM
i hope you are planning next year at least for Hershey. at christmas no coasters in past years. also in last few years Gaint supermarkets in the area have had a good price on tickets
From Cole Ricks
Posted October 27, 2009 at 5:53 AM
I recently went to both parks and enjoyed them. To your questions, one day is plently at Dorney. Dorney is a nice park but not overly large. I'm sure it gets crowed during the peak of the season, but I went the week before Labor Day and walked on everything. They have five major coasters and the usual assortment of midway games and water rides, etc. There is no fastpass or appointment system. There are several chain hotels right across the street (literally, you can walk if you wanted) so a quick internet check and you will be fine as far as that goes. I stayed at the Howard Johnsons and that was fine although I felt it was a hair expensive for what I got.
Hershey IMO is one of the nicest parks in the country. You can expect lines and fairly long waits for the top rides. As was said previously don't miss F-H and Storm. Two days at Hershey should be a gracious plently of time for a nice, non rushed visit where you ride the top rides several times each. There are also several chain hotels within reasonable driving distance, I stayed at another HoJo on Chocolate Ave less than five min from the park. Also make time to drive through Hershey itself, it's a really cute town.
Sorry, I forgot to say the trip will be next year.
From Brandon S
Posted October 27, 2009 at 12:02 PM
Well, for Hersheypark make sure the forecast is good, because they will shut down rides if there are storms in the area, even if its not raining. Also, the day before your first full day at Hershey, I would take advantage of the Preview Day, which allows you to get in the park at 6 for free!
I don't know how busy Dorney can get, I went on a really slow day, but it is a nice park with a few great coasters and a few great flats. I've heard their waterpark is good, but I didn't go to it when I visited.
Well what days in the week are you going? For dorney, it doesn't matter too much. (I've been on a friday and a sunday in the past 2 years, and it's been almost a ghost town both times.) For Hershey, try to avoid saturdays, pretty much sundays, and also fridays as much as possible. Okay now for the other stuff
Dorney: You will be able to ride all 5 coasters plus some flat rides in 3 hours max, on any day of the week during the summer. As for specials on the rides:
Steel Force: A mediocre coaster, and a "meh" hyper coaster. Back has a lot of air time, but somewhat painful g's. the front has nice speed, but not as much airitme or g's. Still ride it.
Thunderhawk: Back is pretty painful, but front is kinda rough (not too bad) and has some unexpected airtime!
Possessed: I like the front, but the back is better, because the first launch isn't much, and when you stop on the back spike, you're almost 200 feet up, and stuck! The front is cool up the front spike, but I still like the back better! :D
Talon: Get back and very front! Intense g's in back, and the best by far in the front.
Hydra: In my opinion, best ride in the park, barely better than Talon. Get front! Back has some cool air time, too. Best part is the beginning! :D In the front, it's really slow, but in the back, it's over a little too quick for me.
Dominator: I loved the up side, and the down side is still a pretty awesome drop ride. Also, it really expands on just a drop! :D
Okay, I'll do hershey later. I have to go.
From Bob Miller
Posted October 28, 2009 at 10:36 AM
Tim, Eli will give you a great report on the coasters and other rides at Hershey, he always does an excellent job. On a side note, the park is usually crowded on Saturdays and Sundays from May till Septmber. One reason is because on those days they have Oldies concerts at their Amphitheater. It seats over 2000 guests and the shows are usually between 3-5pm and a second show around 7-8pm. It's mostly older people like me, but with more people out of the way, the park lines might thin some.
The non-Boardwalk area(water stuff only, wave pool ect.)will not open till May 30th, Pennslvania law I believe. It gets mighty cold up here at night, even up to mid to late June. That means the water temps get down right nasty. But my daughter and I braved many a cold start to our day of fun BURRRRRRRR. Of course that was before Boardwalk was around and we'd ride the other water rides.
And Eli, if I remember correctly (senior moments?) I was told that after both trains are loaded on Lightning Racers, that they're computer weighed so that they can be released at the correct time to make it a fair race. Don't know if it's true or not, but makes sense to me.
Also Tim, be prepared to walk up and down a lot of hills, that's what Hershey's built on. And I always love to get the soft served ice cream in Comet Hollow. Zachary and I didn't make it there this year to try out the wave pool, but I'll be getting us season passes for next year. Maybe we'll see each other, just look for an old man with a cane with an 11 year old boy in tow.
From Brandon S
Posted October 28, 2009 at 12:40 PM
^Oh yea the hills! Both Dorney and Hersheypark have some nice hills you have to walk up. And Eli, my opinion on Steel Force is a lot different. I thought it was a great ride and I prefer it to the B&M hypers.
Yeah brandon, opinions, opinions, everyone has their own! I might also feel that way about it because my home park has a much better hyper: Superman: Ride of Steel at SFA. Which B&M hypers have you ridden?
From Brandon S
Posted October 28, 2009 at 2:57 PM
I have ridden Diamondback, Behemoth, and Apollo's Chariot. Apollos Chariot is the best, and then Behemoth, and then Diamondback. My opiniions of course though.
Do Behemoth and Diamondback have as much air time as AC?
From Brandon S
Posted October 30, 2009 at 12:28 PM
They have more airtime, but I just think the overall ride that AC gives is better.
Gooooooood..... (guuuuuuud......) can't wait to ride diamondback next summer.... ;)
I just saw this post and wanted to mention if you are traveling to Hersheypark and want to ride coasters, try to do it after Memorial Day. The Boardwalk water section of the park opens Memorial Day weekend and we noticed last year that on weekdays after about noon the lines thinned out in most areas of the park because people had gone to get wet. Fahrenheit would be the exception, the only good time to ride that is first thing in the morning or last thing at night.
I have a lot of info on my blog about menus and food at Hersheypark, but our favorite place to eat is Shakey's not too far from Fahrenheit. They have sliders there and great milkshakes. Do not buy their fries though, go to Boardwalk for fries.
The soft serve ice cream is a good value and tasty in the park and there are 3 locations for it (by Reese's Extreme Cup, in Comet Hollow and near the Wildcat.) Depending on who's dipping you may get a huge cone.
If you are going to spend two days in the park, buy a souvenir cup and you will save a ton of money - plus you can get free water refills in that cup all day long. (Or you could last year...)
Definitely do Fahrenheit first, then I'd suggest Stormrunner, the Comet and the Great Bear to limit your lines as much as possible. If any of these is really busy early (which happens with the Comet since it is the closest coaster to the entrance) skip it and come back later. The other coasters you will have about the same wait no matter what time of day you go.
There is a Giant grocery store on Rte 39 about 5 minutes from the park and they have discount tickets. Hersheypark also offers a 2 day ticket and Sunset pricing so compare those before you travel.
They are offering discounts on single day tickets to be used in May/June through the end of March so if you are traveling in that time frame you might want to check out their website for that.
Hershey is great! Make sure you do everything you can, and make sure to stay after dark. You can easily put in an open to close day at Hershey and not cover everything. As far as Dorney goes, you might consider making a trip up to Knoebels instead if you've never been. Dorney has more coasters, but beyond that it's pretty lacking...typical Cedar Fair stuff. Knoebels is an amazing experience through and through. Great (cheap) food, awesome rides, and one of the best wooden coasters in the world, Phoenix. It's no wonder that Knoebels is always in the top five parks listed in the Golden Ticket awards.
John, thanks for the Knoebels mention, it's my home park, just 10 miles over the mountains. I don't think I've ever heard anyone say anything bad about the park and everyone loves the Phoenix.
On a sad note, Dick Knoebel lost his wonderful wife this past year. Her and Dick were the backbone of the park. And they were just honored by the Golden Ticket people for best owners of a park or something like that.
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