Knoebels Impuse and Mid-Season Update: 6/20/14

It turns out that the middle of the season can also be the off-season for Knoebels as there is quite a bit of activity going on. Lets start small and build from there.

When the season first started Power Surge, 1001 Nacht, and Balloon Race were all closed and the last two were waiting on parts from Europe. Since then Power Surge were in pieces behind Skloosh and it’s foundation was being used as a stage. 1001 Nacht is still closed, but it looks like it is being extensively worked on with construction fences around it and equipment everywhere. Balloon Race has re-opened within the past few weeks though so there is some progress.

Over in the Americana section of the park, work on the new boat ride has begun and it is going in right next to the blacksmith.

Flying Turns is still going strong and still has long lines. Wait time signs are up and it is around a 45 minute wait from the entrance and 60 minutes if the line starts at the base of the third lift hill. Be aware that the park does close the line around an hour early before the park closing. The line was 45 minutes around that time last night and they ended up closing the entrance at around 9:15pm. If you want to ride it one last time before the end of the night, I recommend getting in line by at least 8:45pm.

A photo booth is going up in front of the station and with the TVs on inside while carpenters were hard at work setting up the building, it wouldn’t shock me if they were trying to get it up and running for this weekend. The camera location on the ride is right where the viewing area is towards the end of the ride.

Finally, it looks like surveying work is starting for Impulse, the park’s first major steel coaster since Whirlwind was added in the 1990’s. Markings and stakes are up surrounding the Bumper Boats, Boat Tag, and picnic areas and a drilling truck is parked in the lot.

That’s it for this update. I’ll be going back up in a few weeks so we’ll see if anything is different by then. I also plan on doing a week-long trip out-of-state as well so be sure to check out the Facebook and Twitter account for photos on where I go.

New Flying Turns merchandise! Aviator hat anyone?

Thanks for reading!

Chocolate World Construction Update: 5-6-14

With the summer season only days away from beginning, work over at Chocolate World appears to be slowly coming to a close. While the construction walls haven’t all come down yet, work on the other side of them seems to be just about finished.

Poor KitKat Andriod is now resting in the far corner of the Dessert Studio.

Poor KitKat Android is now resting in the far corner of the Dessert Studio.

The Dessert Studio still has the Tour Ride queue running through it, but once you enter the hallway, things change. Wooden floors have been added, the former rainforest area is now a level switchback queue area with brick walls and large windows overlooking the new retail area (that half is still blocked off).

The former fire exit hallway now has some new lighting and wooden flooring.

The former fire exit hallway now has some new lighting and wooden flooring.

Check out the spiffy new queue area! Looking sharp!

Check out the spiffy new queue area! Looking sharp!

Looks like there's not much left to do in the retail area.

Looks like there’s not much left to do in the retail area.

Here's a peek of the new entrance ramp.

Here’s a peek of the new entrance ramp.

The area across the hallway seems to be coming along nicely.

The area across the hallway seems to be coming along nicely.

Should be interesting to see what details will be added.

Should be interesting to see what details will be added.

Out with the old, crappy wooden railings from the 70's and in with the new, clean, metal ones.

Out with the old, crappy wooden railings from the 70’s and in with the new, clean, metal ones.

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A small section of the old mural is still there.

A small section of the old mural is still there.

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Many of the walls have been painted or are currently being painted and the only thing left from the original harbor mural are a few pelicans along a far-back wall.

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Can’t wait to see what details will be added to the queue as it already looks really nice so far.

Thanks for reading!

-Chris

Hersheypark 1996 Brochure

Congrats, you made it through yet another snowy and cold off-season and it is now time to start thinking about summer! While I will be busy this weekend, I won’t be able to provide an opening day trip report for Hersheypark. But that doesn’t mean that I won’t have anything to share for this weekend. Switchback Saturday anyone?

Let’s travel back to the year 1996 when the Spice Girls were slowly starting to climb the music charts, everyone was doing the Macarena, and Hersheypark opened their fifth roller coaster called Wildcat. With a height of 90 feet and being the first coaster built by the now-famous Great Coasters International, visitors were urged to “Test Drive the Wildcat”.

1996 was also the park's 90th season (the following year was the 90th anniversary.

1996 was also the park’s 90th season (the following year was the 90th anniversary.

The photo of Comet and Sooperdooperlooper shows no Great Bear and the dolphins are still in the Aquatheatre.

The photo of Comet and Sooperdooperlooper shows no Great Bear and the dolphins are still in the Aquatheatre.

A website address is now listed in the brochures. The Wayback Machine does have an archive of this webpage, but the earliest entry is from 1999: http://web.archive.org/web/19990203205509/http://www.800hershey.com/index.html

A website address is now listed in the brochures. The Wayback Machine does have an archive of this webpage, but the earliest entry is from 1999: Here

The other half of the brochure talks about other attractions around town and Milton Hershey's legacy.

The other half of the brochure talks about other attractions around town and Milton Hershey’s legacy.

$26.45 for general admission. Also, instead of all the rides opening at park opening, back then, rides opened a half hour after the main gate opened.

$26.45 for general admission. Also, instead of all the rides opening at park opening, back then, rides opened a half hour after the main gate opened.

Looks like The Hershey Lodge wasn't expanded quite yet.

Looks like The Hershey Lodge wasn’t expanded quite yet.

Looking ahead to next week, I will be headed east to Six Flags Great Adventure to check out Zoomanjaro and the former location of Rolling Thunder. Then I will be going up north to Knoebels to experience Flying Turns and check out the park.

Thanks for reading!

-Chris

Final Pre-Season Hersheypark Update April 10, 2014

In less than 48 hours from now, the 2014 theme park season will kick off in Pennsylvania. As the time counts down, testing is going on at a furious rate and this afternoon, it was quite evident. Kissing Tower, Skyrush, Comet, and Great Bear have been testing at a constant rate as well as a few numerous flat rides.

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In Tudor Square, the Ticketing Services building is finished and a queue line has been set up with one switch-back serving all the windows. Remember to get your tickets here instead of the Main Gate if you didn’t pre-purchase them.

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Cody tested out the line. Works well, no break downs as of yet. =)

Cody tested out the line. Works well, no break downs as of yet. =)

Just like on the former Group Sales building, it has an ATM.

Just like on the former Group Sales building, it has an ATM.

We kind of goofed around and took some photos of ourselves with the character figures.

We kind of goofed around and took some photos of ourselves with the character figures.

You're doing it wrong.

You’re doing it wrong.

Keeping the balance. =)

Keeping the balance. =)

So who is photo-bombing who?

Who is trying to photo-bomb who?

Peeking into Hersheypark Memories, the merchandise has been set up and it looks like there some new offerings for this season.

New 2014 pins and keychains below them.

New 2014 pins and key chains below them.

$24.95 for all three characters.

$24.99 for all three characters.

The souvenir selection this year seems colorful.

The souvenir selection this year seems colorful.

One thing that I’ve noticed, but didn’t snap a photo because of driving, is that Lightning Racer will feature a new kind of lapbar that has been used on a couple of the newer GCI coasters. These conform more to the shape of the rider with the bottom portion of the bar being curved.

Other than the sign in front of the Main Gate being different, the rest of Tudor Square is pretty much the same.

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Woo hoo.

Woo hoo.

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I unfortunately won’t be able to get an opening day trip report this weekend as I will be quite busy. To make up for it, I’ll post something interesting on Saturday for you guys!

Thanks for reading!

-Chris

Springtime Hersheypark Update April 4, 2014

Spring is in the air and with almost exactly one week left until opening at Hersheypark, things are starting to come together. Rides are testing, finishing touches are being added and a lot of spring cleaning is going on. Here is a list on the happenings:

-Skyrush’s motor is being pressure-washed and one train is sitting inside the station.

-Much of the construction equipment is starting to leave Tudor Square.

- New directional signage has already gone up and if you didn’t see my post on Facebook earlier this week, Music Box Way and Founder’s Circle will be merged together to create Founder’s Way and Minetown will now be called Kissing Tower Hill with the food venues being called The Overlook Food Court.

-Similar to what Skyrush has, a ride photo camera support has been erected in between Sooperdooperlooper’s first drop and immediately right after Great Bear’s corkscrew. I don’t want to assume anything yet, but I’m guessing that it could either be just for Great Bear or there could be one camera for Great Bear and one for Sooperdooperlooper. Judging from how the brackets look like they are positioned, there’s a good possibility for the latter.

-A small building with a dark greenish-brown roof has gone up just next to Wave Swinger’s exit. Given the number of things going on in The Hollow at the moment, it could be a number of things. Again, not going to assume, but it could be a new game since the older games building was taken out, photo booth for Looper if that camera tower possibility does pan out, or it could be something completely different from those.

-Some testing has been going on around the park. I could hear Dry Gulch’s whistle, saw the Monorail drive past, and Lightning Racer was dueling the other day.

I’ll try to get one more update in before opening day, but we’ll see.

Looking into the future, I am going to be doing a Six Flags Great Adventure trip in a few weeks, so I’ll get a Zoomanjaro construction update while I’m there!

-Chris

Lucky!

Lucky!

New pavement is currently going in along the tram path.

New pavement is currently going in along the tram path.

Tea Cup time?

Tea Cup time?

New directional signage is already up.

New directional signage is already up.

Logo design for Kissing Tower Hill.

Logo design for Kissing Tower Hill.

A camera tower has gone up in between Great Bear and Sooperdooperlooper.

A camera tower has gone up in between Great Bear and Sooperdooperlooper.

Top  camera bracket.

Top camera bracket.

Bottom camera bracket.

Bottom camera bracket.

This little building has gone up recently.

This little building has gone up recently.

Whatever it could be used for, it probably will be very handy to have.

Whatever it could be used for, it probably will be very handy to have.

The Monorail along with several other rides were testing.

The Monorail along with several other rides were testing.

One of Skyrush's trains is currently sitting in the station.

One of Skyrush’s trains is currently sitting in the station.

Done. Registers have already been mostly installed.

Done. Registers have already been mostly installed.

The sponsors list has been moved to a more visible location on the main path to the entrance.

The sponsors list has been moved to a more visible location on the main path to the entrance.

The entrance is starting to look more colorful again.

The entrance is starting to look more colorful again.

The character statues are back out and ready for a new season.

The character statues are back out and ready for a new season.

Looks like it is going to be a great season for the park.

Looks like it is going to be a great season for the park.

Thanks for reading!

Thanks for reading!

Throwback Thursday: Hersheypark 1980 Map/Brochure

Here is a pretty interesting find and something that I’ve been itching to share. I always find theme park history to be quite interesting as they usually are ever-changing with something being added just about every year. Park maps and other souvenirs act somewhat as preservers of those times and what I have for this Throwback Thursday is especially that.

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1980 was a year that brought two new attractions to Hersheypark: Pirat(e) and Cyclops as well as the Sooperdooperlooper celebrating it’s third birthday. The park only had three roller coasters in all, went no farther back than the Dry Gulch Railroad (which only was half the size of what it was today), and featured a petting zoo on top of ZooAmerica, which has already been open for two years since this time. This map doesn’t go into great detail on every single attraction, building, or ride, but it kind of gave the guest the idea of the layout.

1544326_10202754243470709_108681889_nSome of the Guest Information policies haven’t changed much over the years; just with more being added on due to the change of times.

1601023_10202754243670714_491166757_nOld advertisements like these are always interesting to read years later. A $1,000 scholarship back then probably would take a big chunk out of college tuition. Today, it barely does much. As for encyclopedias, they are slowly becoming the way of the dinosaurs (if not already!).

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Quite a few resident shows happening back in 1980. Sea lions AND Dolphins called the Aquatheatre home back then. Dolphins ceased being used in the early to mid. 2000s. Dance, Dance, Dance was a show that was a tradition and continued on for quite a bit. The Hound Dog Jamboree was show that featured animatronic dogs playing some country music. Lastly, the Fest Haus (where Minetown Restaurant is today) seems to have featured some classic Pa Dutch folk-dancing. The park didn’t really seem to have a Summer Concert Series, but the did have a few special shows in May such as the band Pentagon, which is actually scheduled to play at the park on Sunday, May 18th!

By the length of the schedule, the season for the park is much shorter than what it is currently as there is no Springtime, Halloween or Christmas event; Only the summer season from May 10th to September 28th.

A list of five restaurants in the park along with their food specialties is also given. Some of the offerings seem pretty good (especially the Fest Haus and Dutch Restaurant)!

I hope to do more of these Throwback brochures in the future as they are quite interesting to do!

-Chris

A Taste of Spring: Hersheypark, Zoo, and Chocolate World Off-Season Update 3/8/14

Been awhile since the last update, but to make up for it my friend Matt, who came up from Maryland, and I decided to check out Chocolate World, walk up to ZooAmerica, walk around the rest of the perimeter of the park back to Chocolate World. The warm weather offered a small taste of spring, but we still have a few weeks left in the off-season until the park opens. Here is a summary on what we saw:

Chocolate World:

-Much of the former queue line is torn up, but it looks like the new entrance and exit are starting to come together.

Hersheypark:

- The Ticketing building in Tram Circle is progressing. There are stacks of bricks sitting next to the construction area.

- Tudor Square’s restroom building is still being worked on.

- The older Hollow Games building is gone.

- Coal Cracker’s 2nd lift is the rehab section of the year.

- One of the Monorail’s trains is parked next to the ride’s storage building with a new paint job. No deals are visible on the exterior of the train.

- Parts of the old Six Flags Magic Mountain Metro trains are sitting in the area between Roller Soaker’s station and the fence.

ZooAmerica: (I haven’t been here for a few months so some of the improvements may not be recent, but they are more or less a year new).

- A cottonmouth snake is now on display in the Southern Swamps building.

- The prairie dogs are now out and had to contend to a squirrel trying to eat their food.

- A Black-billed magpie exhibit has been built near the elk and Watering Hole.

- Buddy, the pronghorn, who has arrived at the zoo a few months ago, is located in the former bison enclosure and seems to be pretty sociable.

Walls are starting to go up next to the entrance ramp.

Walls are starting to go up next to the entrance ramp.

The flooring tiles on the entrance stairs have been ripped up.

The flooring tiles on the entrance stairs have been ripped up.

As of right now, this room and the space at the top of the stairs to the ride form an L-shape.

As of right now, this room and the space at the top of the stairs to the ride form an L-shape.

The area at the top of the ride stairs now has walls.

The area at the top of the ride stairs now has walls.

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There is an opening at the top of the entrance stairs going to the top of the former exit.

There is an opening at the top of the entrance stairs going to the top of the former exit.

Looks like things are progressing nicely. I am betting that the new retail area is in the far background, the possible new entrance ramp fro the ride in the center, and the new exit in the foreground.

Looks like things are progressing nicely. I am betting that the new retail area is in the far background, the possible new entrance ramp from the ride in the center, and the new exit in the foreground.

Nothing really new to see here, moving on.

Nothing really new to see here, moving on.

Naked Intamin Skyrush  trains: we need a censor bar on this somewhere.

Naked Intamin Skyrush trains: we need a censor bar on this somewhere.

The Hollow Games building is gone and ready for concrete and the two new rides.

The Hollow Games building is gone and ready for concrete and the two new rides.

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Coal Cracker rehab is progressing nicely.

Coal Cracker rehab is progressing nicely.

Here is a close-up of the top of the Kissing Tower.

Here is a close-up of the top of the Kissing Tower.

The tunnel under Park Blvd. is open, but people still seem to want to cross the road instead of using it.

The tunnel under Park Blvd. is open, but people still seem to want to cross the road instead of using it.

The cottonmouth exhibit.

The cottonmouth exhibit.

The bobcats are tuckered out.

The bobcats are tuckered out.

Same with the otters.

Same with the otters.

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The prairie dogs are out and have to deal with a visitor.

The prairie dogs are out and have to deal with a visitor.

They aren't too thrilled with the squirrel.

They aren’t too thrilled with the squirrel.

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A black-billed magpie exhibit has shown up near the Elk.

A black-billed magpie exhibit has shown up near the Elk.

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There is Buddy, the pronghorn.

There is Buddy, the pronghorn.

The Monorail is looking bright in it's new paintjob.

The Monorail is looking bright in it’s new paintjob.

On our walk back to Chocolate World, we walked up Trinidad Ave.

On our walk back to Chocolate World, we walked up Trinidad Ave.

Looks nice and spiffy.

Looks nice and spiffy.

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Walking farther down Park Blvd. we could see the former Magic Mountain monorail trains sitting in front of Roller Soaker's station.

Walking farther down Park Blvd. we could see the former Magic Mountain monorail trains sitting in front of Roller Soaker’s station.

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The red and yellow trains were here, but I didn't see the blue train.

The red and yellow trains were here, but I didn’t see the blue train.

A few sections of Lightning Racer have been re-tracked.

A few sections of Lightning Racer have been re-tracked.

About one more month until it opens for it 14th season (it feels like it didn't open too long ago!).

About one more month until it opens for it 14th season (it feels like it didn’t open too long ago!).

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About one more month to go until the end of the off-season (hopefully we don't get anymore snow!).

About one more month to go until the end of the off-season (hopefully we don’t get anymore snow!).

From the former Hershey Museum patio, it looks like work in Tudor Square is progressing.

From the former Hershey Museum patio, it looks like work in Tudor Square is progressing.

Here's something we discovered walking back to Chocolate World: Did you know that there are a line of one-time-use lockers on the path leading to the Season Pass Office? They cost $2 and only take quarters.

Here’s something we discovered walking back to Chocolate World: Did you know that there are a line of one-time-use lockers on the path leading to the Season Pass Office? They cost $2 and only take quarters.

That’s it for the update. I’ll probably do one or two more before the season-opener trip report. As for the website, I am making some good progress on constructing it as I am already up to approximately 20 photo galleries for parks such as Hersheypark, Knoebels, and Dorney Park with more to come. The Skyrush construction updates will not be included at this point, but don’t worry, I have something special planned for them!

Thanks for reading!

-Chris