Our day at Hersheypark and 5 tips to make your visit great!
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Hersheypark provided us with tickets for our entry into the park so that I could provide this write up of our experience. As usual, all opinions and experiences are honest and our own. Hersheypark did not tell me what to write. hershey park family travel amusement park day trip family friendly amusement park travel east coast
We recently had the opportunity to visit the “Sweetest Place on Earth” – Hersheypark. Located in Hershey, PA, I’ve had many opportunities to visit Hershey Chocolate World, but hadn’t been to the amusement park in quite a few years so, when I got the chance to take the family, I jumped on the opportunity! As a follower of their facebook and instagram feeds, I could tell that they’d made many updates to the park since my last visit, so I was so excited to be able to visit and experience everything with my family.
Located about 2 hours away from my home in Cherry Hill, NJ, The Mister and I made plans to visit on a Saturday in June and made sure to leave bright and early so that we could be at the park shortly after opening. We wanted to get the most out of the day and there’s no better way to do than than to be at the park right at opening, right?!
When we arrived, we got through the parking booth pretty quickly. For the summer season, parking is $15, so be prepared to pay for parking each day that you plan on visiting Hersheypark. Cash, credit, and Hershey gift cards are accepted as payment. The parking lot is pretty big, so also be prepared to either wait for one of their trams or walk to the park entrance. From what I could tell, the trams did go through the turnstiles pretty quickly, but we ended up just walking to the entrance.
If you go to Hersheypark this season, you may be surprised to see that the entrance is very much under construction. It isn’t the prettiest, but that’s because Hersheypark is creating a whole new section of the park: Chocolatetown (scheduled to open in Summer 2020). Be sure to check their website on July 24, 2019 when they will be “unwrapping the unique theme and design of our tallest, fastest, longest, and sweetest coaster.” Pretty sweet, right?! (pun totally intended)
Anyways, back to our trip. We got through the park entrance and, while I couldn’t wait to get on rides, the boys couldn’t wait to eat and use the bathroom (#momlife, am I right?). Luckily, bathrooms are plentiful at Hersheypark so, while The Mister took care of the boys, I went on my phone and purchased all-day dining tickets and a refillable souvenir cup fo all of us. Currently $31.75 per person, their all-day dining deal lets ticket holders eat an entire meal (1 entree and 1 side) every 90 minutes at more than 10 locations throughout the park. For our family with constantly hungry boys, purchasing the all-day dining ticket was a no-brainer. The all-day drink cup is currently $16.75 and allows for drink refills every 10 minutes throughout the park. Not only does that include soft drinks, but also ICEEs…you guys, my boys were in HEAVEN with all these ICEE refills! In my mind, having this refillable cup allowed us all to have something other than water to drink and also provided a cold treat on a hot day – win win!
After we got our first meal and bathroom visits taken care of, it was time for some rides! While the water park was open, we chose to stick with dry rides for the day. Although my boys are pretty tall for their ages (5 & 7), I love that Hersheypark has over 20 rides that the littles can go on. Of those, the boys got to go on The Convoy, Balloon Flite, Frog Hopper, Mini Pirate, Mini-Himalaya, Minty Bees, Misfit Bug, Sweet Swing, Swing Thing, and Traffic Jam. While The Mister and I love going on rides with the boys, we totally appreciated that we could sit these rides out (a brief rest for us!) and watch the boys have fun. We were also pleasantly surprised that there was hardly any wait time for those rides – a definite plus when kids want to go on the rides as quickly as possible! As far as family rides, we all got to enjoy so many! The Kissing Tower was one of our favorites. While it’s a pretty mild ride (you sit down and then the circular “room” rotates as it goes up a tower), I always love doing a ride like this as one of the first when visiting an amusement park because it helps to give a basic lay of the land while giving you a birds-eye-view of all the surrounding rides. We also enjoyed going on the Pirate, Tea Cups, Twin Turnpike – Classic Cars, Cocoa Cruiser, Skyview, Ferris Wheeland Wave Swinger. Big Dude and I went on the Wild Mouse roller coaster and he LOVED it! He laughed and cheered the entire time we were on the ride and, right after we got off, declared that day as “the best day ever!” We REALLY wanted to go on the new Reese’s Cupfusion, but ran into a few issues – when we first arrived, there was a 3 hour wait (it’s a new ride, so the long wait did not surprise me). We decided to wait it out and go back when there was a shorter wait time (I would check the Hersheypark app every so often and could set alarms…more on that soon!). I saw the wait go from 3 hours, to 2 hours, and finally (after dinner) down to 1 hour. We went over to get in line and, within minutes, the ride had closed down because it was apparently broken. Little Dude was so upset because that was the main ride he wanted to go on, but we diverted his attention and was able to get him cheered up soon after. We’re hoping we can visit Hersheypark again soon so he can go on it!
In addition to all the rides, we also got to quickly enjoy ZooAmerica (since admission is included with your Hersheypark ticket) and watched their Our Friends from the Sea show. If we had more than one day at the park, we would’ve spent more time in ZooAmerica, but, since the boys wanted to do ALL the rides (or as many as possible!) we spent probably 30 minutes walking around looking at the various animals. The show was cute and more educational than I had anticipated – the boys walked out knowing lots about seals and sea lions!
Believe it or not, but we stayed at Hersheypark for the ENTIRE day! The park closed at 10pm that day and I never in my wildest dreams thought the boys would last that long. It wasn’t until someone asked me what time it was (while I was sitting on a bench waiting for the the boys to use the bathroom…again) that I realized it was 9:30pm and the park would be closing in just a half hour. What they say is true – time flies when you’re having fun!
We absolutely loved our day spent at Hersheypark! Honestly, I feel like there was so much to do that we definitely could’ve spent at least one more day in the park. We didn’t feel rushed during the day, but there’s so much to experience that an extra day or two certainly wouldn’t hurt.
Based on our experience, here are 5 suggestions that should help make your visit to Hersheypark great!
Purchase the All-Day Dining and Drink offers
Amusement park food and beverages are not cheap, so purchasing these offers will help you to get the most out of your day. I loved that Hersheypark included over 10 locations in which to dine, allowing us to try a variety of their foods. My favorite dining spot was Spring Creek Smokehouse where we enjoyed turkey legs, smoked brisket, and ribs. Everything was delicious and not your typical amusement park fare.
Wear Comfortable Shoes
Let’s face it, amusement parks are NOT the place for brand new shoes or heels. I recommend wearing a pair of comfortable sneakers (with socks!) or supportive sandals so that you can enjoy the park all day long with as little foot pain as possible.
Bring Water Bottles
With the exception of one sealed bottle of water per person, Hersheypark does not allow outside food or drink inside the parks. If you go on an especially warm day, that one bottle of water will get used up quickly. I always recommend bringing an empty, reusable water bottle to amusement parks – they can be refilled at water fountains or at soft drink stations (fill with water only – don’t be one of those sneaky people that fills it up with soda or juice) and will provide hydration for you throughout the day.
Download the Hersheypark App
Among many uses, the Hersheypark App has an interactive map (came in handy throughout the day!) and provides estimated wait times for a number of rides. Having access to the app was a huge help in allowing us to get the most out of or day at Hersheypark.
Take Photos of your Kids with their Size Candy Bar
Chances are, if you visit Hersheypark once, you’ll visit again. Before you know it, Hersheypark will be family tradition. Get a head start on preserving memories by having your kids stay by their “candy bar” at the entrance to the park. Not only do these candy bars help you to know which rides your kids can go on, but it’ll be sweet (get it?!) to look back and see how the kids have grown throughout their visits to Hersheypark.
Thank you SO MUCH to Hersheypark for hosting us for our day of family fun! We can’t wait to go back!
Have you been to Hersheypark before? If so, what was your favorite ride there?