Springtime in the Park sucked, no plainer way to say it than that. My buddy and I split from the wife and my daughter as we got through the gates at ten, and hustled on over to Fahrenheit. Got front row on the second train and rode that orange and blue beast for the first time. Very fun coaster, one of my favorite modern loopers ever, to be entirely honest. Got right back on, maybe a ten minute wait, and rode in the back. Awesome energy, even better than the front as far as really feeling a ride goes. Good coaster, short wait, we left. Big mistake.
Storm Runner was next, another fifteen and we were on, mysteriously the back cars on both coasters were not operating. No big deal. Yet. Storm Runner was fun, very forceful, similar to one one of the double-spire Intamin rides, nowhere near the force of one of their strata rides, obviously. Still, a good ride, with an awesome barrel roll and incredible unique element in the snake dive. I could have done without the headbanging pseudo trick track, but otherwise good stuff. We decided after SR it was time to meet up with the wife and kid again, further rides on SR and big orange could wait…or could they?
As we made our way back to the central hub of Hershey, we were dismayed to note that what had started out as a reasonably empty day was turning into a full on deluge of people. Like, thousands of them. The wife, kid, pal and I all booked it over to Sooperdooperlooper so my daughter could do her first looper, and honestly, first decent steel coaster. The ride was down, but even more troubling was the sight we saw as we walked to the looper, The Comet had acquired a line far exceeding its que. The four of us, even the youngest in our group exchanged a look. Hershey’s rather mundane woodie had a line that was at least two hours, minutes after SR was a near walk on. We waited for the necessary repairs to to SDL and and boarded the fifth or sixth train.
The daughter loved her first looper, and I had a nice time on the aged Schwarzkopf, especially next to my yipping six year old. The Comet was even busier as we passed it to head to Wildcat, Great Bear had yet to spin a train and the park was filling faster and more full than anything I’ve ever seen outside of Cedar Point on a Saturday. Only, not like that. This park was dead, and now was alive and teeming with rude, mouth breathing idiots all too welcome to jump a line, make disparaging comments about my looks, or just walk up and snap a picture of the freak. Let it be noted, the latter two I’m used to, though never in this frequency, but I’ve never borne witness to a such a hive mind mentality in an amusement park, not even Disney. These people rolled in like fat mountain locusts and worked from the front to the back of the park in a swarm, destroying the good times of all who were too slow to move ahead of their advance.
The Wildcat was fun, nowhere near the banger I’d heard it to be and Lightning Racer was fun as well, though I do feel the Wildcat to be a smidge underrated and Lightning Racer to be a bit over. Regardless, two fun woodies. At this point, the park was literally impenetrable with people. Surprisingly, this was also the point where Great Bear started to roar in the form of a few test runs. Intrigued, we crossed the park.
B&M Coasters, with the noted exception of flyers, tend to have an extremely high rider turnover ratio. So when we again split from the wife daughter team to que up for the lone B&M in the park, it was expected that the short line would lead to a quick ride. This was not to be. Numerous incidents of line jumping, some I caught, some I didn’t, extreme rudeness from other patrons of the park and then the real shocker, only one train was running. Just over an hour later, after waiting through just two lines of aluminum dividers we were able to ride Great Bear. Only not together.
I hopped through, tossed my sandals in the appropriate bin and saw the gate slam shut on my friend. We had both been dismayed to see Great Bear running only one train, but had been even more so to see it running with up to ten seats empty. Now we knew why, the ride ops cared so little to fill the trains that they were letting the gates shut before people could even get through to ride. A single rider line separates the men from the boys as far as parks go, and Hershey was so woeful as to not even let a ride fill when there were single riders whose turn was next.
We reconvened with the group, Great Bear ranked for me as better than Raptor, not as good as Batman. There are better inverts and there are worse, but I did dig this one. At this point however, the park had been fully taken over, it would have been hard to buy food, much less ride anything. Nine hours in a car each way and six hours into Hershey and we called it good. Great variety of rides, very good staff for the most part, and still one of the worst trips I’ve ever taken. As we left I checked Fahrenheit’s queue one last time, there was no way it was less than three hours.
What’s Your Take?
Did you go to Hersheypark’s Springtime in the Park or have you been to the park some other time? Leave a comment below. Images courtesy of Coaster Image.