Take the kids to an amusement park on a summer weekend? Are you crazy? Not all at. A trip to Hersheypark in Pennsylvania makes for the perfect two- or three-day getaway and, as seasoned veterans of Hershey, Pa., we have insider tips on not just surviving while visiting Hersheypark but thriving there!
In addition to helping your family enjoy all the fun, thrills and food with minimal hassles, we can help you possibly get in the gates for FREE. Scroll to the bottom for a chance to win an epic family four-pack of tickets to visit this summer or later in the year.
Tip #1. There’s a Hersheypark app for that!
Most people enter Hersheypark and start with the rides nearest to the entrance. Then, they either slowly work their way back or follow a rigid agenda that tries to squeeze everything into one day. Forget those approaches.
Surviving Hersheypark starts with the free and reasonably reliable Hersheypark mobile app. It enabled our family to strategize and maximize our fun time.
First, keep a loose agenda. Start by creating it based on park geography using the app’s online park map. Then drill into its useful tools, such as ride descriptions and minimum heights, then apply the app’s ultimate weapon — a “ride wait time” feature.
We’re always obsessed with the app during our visits. We kept a close eye for wait times under 20 minutes for our favorite attractions like Sooperdooperlooper, Breakers Edge Water Coaster and Candymonium. When we see those magic numbers, we take off!
Tip #2: Don’t let rain wash out your good times
Most families cringe when rain starts falling during their visit to Hersheypark. Not us.
Wait times are usually shortest when inclement weather hits. The crowds bolt indoors to shop and eat or leave to head home. That means more rides for us! We always come prepared with rain ponchos and relish having the park nearly to ourselves during showers.
Don’t like getting wet? You can still ride while escaping the rain on several indoor/covered rides: Reese’s Cupfusion, Laff Trakk, Kissing Tower, the carousel and bumper cars, for example. Or head over to Hershey’s Chocolate World for their free and entertaining chocolate factory tour ride.
Visiting Hersheypark Pro Tip: If the weather gets severe and causes the majority of major rides and attractions to close for a continuous 60 minutes, a voucher may be issued for a return visit for the current operating season.
Tip #3: Don’t miss Hersheypark’s Jolly Rancher rides
Everyone always wants to be in on what’s new and trending. Here are two bright additions to Hersheypark’s playscape.
Jolly Rancher Remix is one of 15 Hersheypark rollercoasters. Formerly known as the Sidewinder, this reimagined boomerang coaster takes thrill seekers on a “flavor ride.” Riders and their senses zoom forward and backwards on the same track, inverting six times in 90 seconds while jamming to sweet, catchy tunes. Jolly Rancher Remix features five randomized flavor rides, like Watermelon or Green Apple. Each features completely different music, lights and SCENTS as you blast through the “flavor tunnel.” You’ll definitely want to ride it a few times like we did to compare each immersive experience.
Mix’d Flavored By Jolly Rancher is steps away from Jolly Rancher Remix. Riders of this family attraction sit in one of the massive four arms and spin 360 degrees. The ride really shifts into gear when it mixes, lifts and drops, providing spectacular park views as you dodge the other riders. My 7-year-old couldn’t get enough of this ride!
While there, don’t miss the Frozen Spoon food truck next to Mix’d. It offers Jolly Rancher Grape, Green Apple, Cherry, and Blue Raspberry sorbets to help keep your family cool and refreshed.
Tip #4: New heights in amusement park food and treats
We don’t usually get excited about eating at a theme park. Hersheypark, though, elevates the whole experience. There are quality, name-brand options across the park. These include many of our favorites, such as Nathan’s Famous, Subway, Chick Fil-A and Moe’s Southwest Grill. The East Coast Mini Donuts are also unbelievable!
Additionally, we always carve time out for a family meal at The Chocolatier. This culinary destination features a restaurant, bar and an expansive second-floor, outdoor patio with spectacular views.
The largest restaurant in all Hershey, Pa., The Chocolatier features a diverse menu. We enjoyed nachos, chicken and waffles, flatbreads and a host of other unique dining options. Our best memories, however, are of their dreamy dessert menu. It includes Chocolate Fun-Due (like a chocolate fountain), The Chocolatier Cake and milkshakes.
Visiting Hersheypark Pro Tip: Make reservations at The Chocolatier in advance using the Open Table app or the restaurant website. Book as soon as you know the dates you’re visiting the park this summer because wait times can be long!
Visiting Hersheypark Pro Tip #2: Staying hydrated is important. You’re allowed to bring in your own sealed water bottles or empty bottles that can be refilled at various locations throughout the park.
Tip #5: “Sweet Start” — More rides, less waiting
An incredible bonus offered exclusively to guests at the official resorts of Hersheypark and some levels of season-pass holders is the “Sweet Start” option.
Sweet Start allows you to feel like a VIP. You can enter Hersheypark one hour before the general public and access several popular areas in the front half of the park including Candymonium, Skyrush, Comet and Sooperdooperlooper. This amazing perk enabled our family to go several times on rollercoasters that usually have long lines and wait times.
While Sweet Start is only for the rides in the front half of the park, it sets you up to be among the first ones on any of the rides in the back half once Hersheypark fully opens. That’s invaluable on busy summer days.
Lastly, if you come the day before your ticketed visit to the amusement park, “Preview Plan” allows you to enter Hersheypark three hours BEFORE closing that night. That’s three hours of bonus fun time to enjoy the rides and attractions.
Visiting Hersheypark Pro Tip: One of Hersheypark’s newer and most popular rides is Candymonium. Located in Hershey’s Chocolatetown, Candymonium is the park’s tallest, fastest, longest and sweetest rollercoaster. It has become our favorite thrill ride in all the land. With average wait times of an hour or more, Candymonium is easily one of the most popular rides in the entire park. Candymonium is included in Sweet Start, so make it your FIRST stop when the gates open. We’ve also found wait times for Candymonium dip in the late afternoon so that could be another window of opportunity to ride this impressive coaster.
Tip #6: Hit The Boardwalk waterpark when it opens
The lines for waterpark attractions are much more manageable when The Boardwalk first opens for the day. They are also much lighter on weekday visits, so skip weekends if you have the choice.
There’s something for everyone at The Boardwalk, but we recommend making a beeline for Breakers Edge Water Coaster. It’s an incredible ride and usually has the longest wait time. We usually hit it three times in a row before the crowds descend on this ultra-popular attraction.
Visiting Hersheypark Pro Tip: Shade is a rarity in The Boardwalk. Make sure to set up a home base under one of the canopied or umbrella areas when you first arrive. Those spots go quickly!
Tip #7: Don’t do everything in one day – stay overnight at an official park resort
Rather than drive three hours back to New York City after an action-packed day of thrills in Hersheypark, we stayed overnight at The Hotel Hershey — located directly across from the amusement and water parks. The Hotel Hershey, one of three official lodging sites, was as memorable of an experience as the park! The accommodations were luxurious and provided panoramic views of the rides and attractions.
Why is The Hotel Hershey so special?
- You receive Hershey Bars and have photo opportunities with some of the park mascots at check-in.
- Breathtaking, outdoor pool complex (there’s an indoor pool on the property, too) to cool off. Or sip frozen cocktails under a shady umbrella while watching your kids zip and zag through water slides in the pool.
- Roasting s’mores at a family-friendly fire pit EVERY evening.
- Loads of engaging activities throughout the day like making ice-cream sundaes, playing “glow golf” after dark and bingo where the prizes are full-size Hershey bars!
When you stay at an official Hersheypark Resort, you receive VIP perks like Sweet Start, Preview Plan, and free shuttle service to an exclusive drop-off location – just steps away from the front gate of Hersheypark.
Ticket giveaway for visiting Hersheypark
Want to win a family four-pack of tickets so you can visit Hersheypark? Enter below for a chance to win four general admission tickets this summer or later in the year for the park’s Halloween event, Dark Nights, or Christmas Candylane? Winning tickets will be sent via email.a Rafflecopter giveaway
- We’re giving away one family four-pack of 1-day ticket general admission to Hersheypark. (Each winner will receive four 1-day passes.)
- Contest runs July 26 through Aug 9, 2022.
- Entrants must be 18 years or older and residents of the United States.
- ONE winner will be chosen randomly using Rafflecopter after the entry period ends Aug. 9, 2022.
- Winner must follow Rafflecopter instructions for getting entries
- Winner must supply email address to receive four electronic tickets to Hersheypark 2022. Tickets are for one daily admission to Hersheypark. The tickets expire Jan. 1, 2023.
- Hersheypark charges a separate fee for parking, which is NOT included with these tickets. The winner will need to pay for parking if needed.
- City Dads Group is not responsible for lost or stolen tickets.
- Winner must respond to prize notification within 48 hours otherwise a new winner will be chosen.
Disclosure: Lance Somerfeld is a member of Hersheypark’s Sweetest Families Program. The program includes complimentary park passes and hotel accommodations for our family provided by the kind folks at Hershey’s Entertainment & Resorts. His thoughts and opinions are genuine and have not been influenced from the brand. All photos provided by Hersheypark.