Hersheypark 2000

A very pregnant Debbi and I went to Hersheypark one Friday evening, having missed going during the 1st Annual Amusement Park Outing. We got there just in time to take advantage of the after 5 admission discount. Crowds were very light, the longest wait was about 10 minutes for the front seat of the Lightning Racer. The only thing adding to the wait between rides was the l o n g entry and exit queue lines for the coasters. Starting with the Comet, and for most every coaster in the park, the exit takes you seemingly miles from the entrance. Not a good design in my book. Other than that, we had a great time. Stayed until closing, and the Midway America section of the park (where Wildcat and Lightning Racer are) is amazingly beautiful at night. Reminded me of Lost Kennywood, or the way amusement parks of old were supposed to look at night - tracer lights everywhere!

Comet (Rating , 2 out of 4)

Great looking ride, nice PTC trains, some problems. The first and second drops are a lot of fun as the dip over the creek, but then there's a wicked long skid brake over the station turn, and the rest of the ride just sort of limps along with no real energy. There are a TON of rabbit hops and potential airtime on the rest of the ride, but the train is robbed of any speed by that brake. The layout of the entry and exit queues deserves some mention. Before there was flush loading of the Comet, you exited the ride about 30 feet from the entry. Now you exit the station out the back, ending up not even in Comet Hollow anymore, a long walk down the hill to get back to the ride. Lots of running around for repeat rides.

Going up the lift

1st drop over the creek

Coming out of
the heavily-braked
station turn

First glimpse of the
Comet from the midway

1st drop as seen
from the

Profile of the Comet
Hollow side from the
chair ride

Profile of the Midway
side from the Giant
Wheel. Great Bear
and the SooperDooperLooper
can be seen as well.

Sooperdooperlooper (Rating , 2 out of 4)

Heading into the loop
Kinda neat riding this a week after riding Revolution at Six Flags Magic Mountain, this being Schwarzkopf's follow-up to that ride and the second looping coaster in the US. Slooper starts off with the loop, where Revolution saves the loop for way later in the ride. The approach to the loop is very ramp-like, that is to say not steep. Not as long and shallow as Revolution's. The rest of the ride is kind of just cruising through the woods and a tunnel, not very interesting. At least Hersheypark gets credit for keeping the original configuration of the trains and not adding rediculous horse collars to them.

Great Bear (Rating , 3 out of 4)

Kind of a starter B&M. The helix off the lift is a lot of fun and unique, and there are the requisite loops, heartlines and immelman(?), but that's about it. The four inversions are spaced pretty far apart, and there's a lot of straightish track where nothing is going on. The end of Batman is every bit as intense as the first drop, but on Great Bear there's hundreds of feet of track leading up to the brake run that are nearly flat and straight. Makes a good introduction to a B&M inverted. Very ridable.

Great Bear as seen
from the lift of the Comet

1st drop into
the helix

Great Bear train
swoops out of
the immelman

Wildcat (Rating , 4 out of 4)

What can I say? This ride still delivers the goods. I rode it on its opening weekend, and it made my Top10 list right away. Having ridden it 4 years later, it still belongs on that list. Lots of air, surprise directional changes, unrelenting pace. A bit too rough and shaky in the back seat, but not unmanageable.

Looking back from the
Wildcat's lift hill

1st drop on the Wildcat

Lightning Racer (Rating , 4 out of 4)

WOW! Mike Boodley and Great Coasters International have done it again. This is an amazing ride, from the intricately twisted layout to the best production rolling stock, the GCI Millenium Flyers. While the ride itself is fantastic, with lots of air, wonderful banked turns and great duels, what really takes it over the top are its trains. Not only are they beautiful and comfortable, they track perfectly. Sitting in the back of the train and watching as they snake through the course is a sight to behold. Sitting anywhere in the train and feeling your single-seat car pivot underneath you is a new sensation.

GCI's Millenium
Flyers. A wonderful
return to coastering's

Going up the lift,
basically another
shot of the Millenium

Quick view from the

Looking back from
the lift. Gorgeous.

1st drop. Mmmm.

Heading into the
"waterfall" tunnel.

Going round one of
the highly banked turns

One of the several
dueling moments

At the finish line. Did
I mention that I like
the Millenium Flyers?

A quickie composite photo of Lightning Racer.

Wild Mouse (Rating , 4 out of 4)

If you like Wild Mice, particularly if you like em wild, get to Hersheypark this season before they castrate this thing. It's the wildest wild mouse I've been on, overall a really good ride. Fast, fast, fast.