Being the adrenaline junkie that I am, I am always looking for a way to go faster or higher (in a safe way of course). Often times this release is found at an amusement park by getting on roller coaster. Last Friday I could think of no better way to celebrate America’s birthday, as well as my anniversary, than venturing to Hershey Park with Bride and getting on a few Roller Coasters to feel the excitement that each entails.
The only previous time I visited Hershey Park was in the 2003 with my family during a family vacation where we also visited Washington DC, Cooperstown, NY and Niagara Falls. I remember the park fondly and can remember having a great time during our visit there but I did not remember it as being a park with a lot of roller coasters or thrill rides. Since that visit HersheyPark added multiple world class roller coasters. Considering that my second visit would be very different than the first one. There would be many more exciting tides with high speeds, sharp turns, big hills and flips.
Below I will discuss the coasters that I rode during our visit and I divide them up into a simple 1-10 scale with each of five categories (speed (S), hills (H), loops (L), twists & turns (T), uniqueness/intensity (UI)) given a rating of 0-2 to come up with the final number. The way I think of them is as follows:
9-10: The perfect mix of the categories
7-8: Great in one or more of the five categories but lacking in others
5-6: Overall a good ride with a good amount of each category
3-4: Lacking in most categories but has a good amount of one
0-2: A disappointment. These rides were expected to be better and were missing many factors that make a great ride
Fahrenheit: This ride began with a unique feature. It began with a vertical lift hill to the first hill where the fall goes beyond 90 degrees. This feature alone warrants points in the uniqueness category. Unfortunately the ride was overall lacking in many of the other categories and despite a great start it quickly slowed to a manageable speed and despite the fact that it is a new coaster is was very shaky, so much so that it took away from the experience and the impact of the ride. OVERALL RATING:6 S:1 H:2 L:1 T:0 UI:2
Great Bear: I must admit that danglefeet roller coasters are one of my favorite types and Great Bear was one. This ride started from the very beginning with intensity as you flew down the twisting first hill and into loops, corkscrews and plenty of speed. Although I have been on plenty of similar types of coasters throughout the parks that I have visited this one still stood out as unique. I felt that this ride was much more compact than many coasters. I felt that the track was always close to other parts of the track yet the ride still was open enough to gain plenty of speed. OVERALL RATING:8 S:1 H:2 L:2 T:2 UI:1
Sky Rush: This is the highest and the fastest of all the roller coasters at Hershey Park. This ride is at the front of the park and was the first ride the Bride and I rode. This ride sets the tone front the beginning as you are lifted quickly up the first lift hill just to take a plunge over 200 feet reaching 75 MPH just during the first loop. This ride also has a great feature with the clamshell lap bar that gives you much more freedom as you sit, with plenty of protection. This ride takes advantage of this freedom by ending the ride with multiple quick hills that give you plenty of air time. As a huge fan of airtime on rides this part of the ride is always a highlight for me. OVERALL RATING:8 S:2 H:2 L:1 T:1 UI:2
SooperDooperLooper: This was the most unique ride in the park, not because of its height, or its makeup, but because of its age. It is the fir
st steel looping coaster on the east coast and you can tell the age as you look at the type of track and the design of the course. There are no large hill beyond the first hill and the ride shakes quite a bit but, much like a wooden coaster, it just give it personality. Surprisingly I enjoyed this ride a lot more than I thought I would. This ride was the one that Bride was excited to ride so I was happy to oblige her desires but I thought that it would not be one near one of my favorites. The uniqueness of this ride gives it a personality like no other steel coaster had at Hershey. OVERALL RATING:5 S:1 H:1 L:1 T:0 UI:2
Storm Runner: Personally this was my most enjoyable ride. It has many of the features that I enjoy. It starts with a launch that takes you from 0 to 72 MPH in just 2 SECONDS!!! This launch takes you directly into a vertical lift hill and immediately into a dive hill. This is followed by huge cobra loop, barrel rolls and a great snake dive. This coaster was one where I was always looking forward and seeing the next thrill coming up without time to react and although the ride is just as short as any other coaster, it packs a ton of excitement and intensity into that short period of time. The only thing that I can ask more of during this ride is air time. I felt that sometimes the ride was just going towards the next feature and not giving the riders time to enjoy the ride. OVERALL RATING:8 S:2 H:2 L:2 T:1 UI:1
WildCat: This was the only Wooden Coaster that we rode during the day. I am not the biggest fan of wooden coasters, although I love one that gives plenty of air time (the Screaming Eagle at Six Flags St. Louis comes to mind). This one was named after the original wooden coaster in the park, although it was built in the late 1990s. Like many wooden coasters it had a lot of character in the feel of the ride. Wooden coasters are always rough, and you must embrace that as part of the ride. This one did not have any unique characteristics that delineated it from many other coasters and I do not believe that this ride will stand out in my mind going forward. OVERALL RATING:3 S:1 H:1 L:0 T:1 UI:0