Visiting Hershey Park, Pennsylvania – Find Out the Ins and Outs

The only true way for me to get my kids psyched and excited about going to Pennsylvania was the promise of spending an entire day at Hershey Amusement Park .  At this point the words ‘Amusement park or Theme park‘ are used as currency in my house for joining in on any trip. And it worked like a charm for this one as well.

Hershey Park PA USA

Recommendations for Your Visit to Hershey Park, Pennsylvania

I’ll be honest with you, we never travel to amusement parks during the high season or weekends. Somehow, for this particular trip we went to Hershey during one of the highest season days, on a Saturday and when it was super hot. With all these elements in front of us, we expected a day with way too many people and seriously painful lines.

However, if you know the Ins and Outs you can avoid a lot of the discomfort. And I am here to help with just that:

1. If you get to Hershey the night before early enough, you can buy tickets after 6 pm that will also give you free access to the park the next day.  This is also probably the best way to see the park without the insane crowds that arrive in the morning. We didn’t know this until we arrived the next day and found out you can do this.

transformers - Hershey Park PA USA

2. Download the app – this is huge! Hershey Park has a great app which has all the rides on it. However, the best part is that it also shows you the wait times for most of the rides. BTW, there is free wifi all throughout the park.

3. Fast Track Pass – This is a bit pricey, it’s $50 per pass per person. However, you get access to nine of the best roller-coasters in the park. And let me tell you – on a day like we were there the wait is literally anywhere from 1.5 hours to 2 hours. It is sooooo worth it if you’re kids are roller-coaster junkies, like my oldest boy and my brother and his girlfriend.

uncle and nephew fun - Hershey Park PA USA

How-to’s of using the Fast Track Pass:

  • You can’t buy them online or at the admission desks. You have to go to guest services which is inside the park
  • They only have a certain amount per day, so the earlier you get there the better.
  • If you do the 6 pm arrival the night before, you can buy them for the following day
  • Anyone can use it, it’s not only for the person who purchased them
  • The roller-coasters have a schedule of when you can visit. You can’t go before they are scheduled, but you can visit any of the roller-coasters once they are open for the pass

roller coaster - Hershey Park PA USA

  • You can only do one roller-coaster per pass.  Meaning – you can’t go on the same coaster two times in the same day.
  • At most you will wait seven minutes, usually it’s as little as three
  • Make sure you measure the kids before the investment. Not all coasters are for everyone’s height. Luckily my son was able to do seven. (which was plenty – he was actually and officially roller-coastered out! by the end of the day) But it would be a shame if your kids can only go on a couple of them.

measuring kids - Hershey Park Pennsylvania

4. So I bet you’re wondering – what if I have little kids, the fast track passes are useless. You don’t get them for this age. We had a four year old and I was thinking the same thing. If any one can’t handle the waits, it’s the little ones.

No worries.

It’s not that easy. And I have to say we learned the hard way, but we did learn quickly.

Here’s the scope. When everyone arrives, they follow along with the map and of course everyone is going to start at the beginning. The first ride we waited around thirty minutes. It was horrible, the sun was burning us, my four year old was so cranky.

kiddie ride - Hershey Park PA USA

So, what I figured out is go to the end of the park. Start from there. And once we did that it was amazing. The lines for his height category were super fast. And to my sheer surprise there were tons of rides for him. They even have a two roller-coasters that are for four year olds. No joke, they were so fun that even my ten year old – who is a roller-coaster snob loved them.

Cocoa cruiser - Hershey Park PA USA

History of Hershey Park

  • The history of Hershey Park begins with the founding of the town of Hershey in 1903.

  • The original park was a simple nature park.

  • People began visiting the grounds of the future park in 1904 and 1905, while the park’s first pavilion was built in the fall of 1905.

  • The park formally opened on May 30, 1906 as Hershey Park.

  • A trolley was instituted in the place, as well as the Park’s first ride in 1908: a used carrousel.

  • The park slowly added rides until 1923, when the first roller coaster, Wild Cat, was built.

the wildcat roller-coaster - Hershey Park PA USA

  • A small Ferris wheel and the Airplane Swing were the first two kiddie rides added to the park, both in 1926.

flying high - Hershey Park PA USA

  • In 1943, Hershey Park remained closed for almost the entire season due to the gas shortages related to the war.

  • The park was redeveloped into Hershey Park in 1970. It expanded over 110 acres.

  • The park was gated in 1971, and a one-price admission plan was started. The initial price for the one-price admission plan was $3.50 for “adults”; $1.75 for “juniors”; Children ages 4 and under entered for free.

  • After the addition of Sooper Dooper Looper in 1977, the growth of the park began to slow down

  • In 1985 and 1986, the park did not install any rides, because Hershey Entertainment & Resorts chose to invest in hotel properties.

  • Once Hershey Entertainment & Resorts got the hotel investments behind them, they were able to focus on investing in the park. A new themed area was opened, marking the first significant expansion of the park’s foot print: Pioneer Frontier.

  • The year 2000 brought the biggest roller coaster of Midway America – Lightning Racer.

  • In 2007, Hershey Park celebrated its 100th anniversary.

  • On August 2, 2011, Hershey Park announced their 12th roller coaster, Skyrush opening May 2012

trailblazer - live action - Hershey Park PA USA

Information for Hershey Park

Address: 100 W. Hersheypark Drive, Hershey, PA 17033

Phone: 1-800-HERSHEY

Hours: 10:00am to 10:00pm

Map 

Prices:

  • REGULAR ADMISSION

Regular (ages 9-54) $59.95

Junior (ages 3-8) $37.95

Senior (ages 55-69) $37.95

Senior Plus (ages 70+) $23.95

Children under 2 – FREE

  • RIDE, DINE AND PLAY PACK – Available online only – Package includes 1 Summer Admission Ticket, 1 meal ticket voucher, 1 single game voucher

Regular (ages 9-54) $64.15

Junior (ages 3-8) $37.95

Senior (ages 55-69) $37.95

Senior Plus (ages 70+) $23.95

Children under 2 – FREE

  • 2 DAY ADMISSION

Regular (ages 9-54) $77

Junior (ages 3-8) $59

Senior (ages 55-69) $59

Children under 2 – FREE

  • 3 DAY ADMISSION

Regular (ages 9-54) $107

Junior (ages 3-8) $85

Senior (ages 55-69) $85

Children under 2 – FREE

  • SUNSET ADMISSION – Save on admission when you come later in the day. View Sunset hours.

Regular (ages 9-54) $28.95

Junior (ages 3-8) $24.95

Senior (ages 55-69) $24.95

Senior Plus (ages 70+) $17.10

Children under 2 – FREE

  • SUNSET PACK

Available online only – Package includes 1 Sunset Admission Ticket, 1 snack voucher, 1 single game voucher

Regular (ages 9-54) $30

  • COMBO TICKET WITH DUTCH WONDERLAND – Make your summer twice as nice by visiting Hersheypark and nearby Dutch Wonderland for one great combo price!

Regular (ages 9-54) $80.65

Junior (ages 3-8) $66.65

Senior (ages 55-69) $63-65

Senior Plus (ages 70+) $63.65

Children under 2 – FREE

 

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About Marina Kuperman Villatoro

Marina Kuperman Villatoro CEO of TravelExperta.com, a travel resource site to inspire families to travel with kids of all ages. Marina has been an expat 10+ years in Central America raising 2 boys in a multicultural, trilingual household. She travels all over the world with her family to give first hand experiences of where to eat, stay and play with kids. Needless to say, it’s never boring! Join Marina on Facebook and Twitter for more unique and boutique family travel!

2 Responses to Visiting Hershey Park, Pennsylvania – Find Out the Ins and Outs

  1. Looks like a ton of fun! Very interesting to read about how it started and got to where it is today. Thanks for sharing your insider info!
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