Laff Trakk Construction Update 8-28-14 to 9-7-14

Well it’s time to cover the construction of a brand-new ride coming to Hersheypark. Laff Trakk will be a 50 foot-tall indoor spinning roller coaster with glow effects built by Maurer Söhne. The building housing the coaster will be 75 feet tall (almost as tall as Lightning Racer) and located where the Miniature Train, Granny Bugs, and Pony Parade are located.
Construction has started the day after Labor Day with the buildings and rides being removed, the paths being ripped up, and construction walls put up.

This small kiddie area was added in 1997 when the Ferris Wheel, and Whip  were added. Miniature Train has been a ride that has been used seasonally for Christmas Candylane. Ganny Bugs came from Music Box Way and Pony Parade came from the Pioneer Frontier area.

This small kiddie area was added in 1997 when the Ferris Wheel, and Whip were added. Miniature Train has been a ride that has been used seasonally for Christmas Candylane. Ganny Bugs came from Music Box Way and Pony Parade came from the Pioneer Frontier area.

The Midway Tent was added in 1999 as part of the Hersheypark Fair expansion.

The Midway Tent was added in 1999 as part of the Hersheypark Fair expansion.

Since then, it has been used as a catering area and entertainment venue through the years.

Since then, it has been used as a catering area and entertainment venue through the years.

The building was also home to Tiger's Tail and Crazy Climber; two inflatable attractions.

The building was also home to Tiger’s Tail and Crazy Climber; two inflatable attractions.

Construction immediately began right after Labor Day with land clearing.

The sides of the tent were removed and a job trailer were added inside.

The sides of the tent were removed and a job trailer were added inside.

A construction wall has gone up from the FunSlides to Whip.

A construction wall has gone up from the FunSlides to Whip.

The entrance to the FunSlides were moved to the former exit near Wildcat.

The entrance to the FunSlides were moved to the former exit near Wildcat.

Much of the area was bulldozed and jack-hammered.

Much of the area was bulldozed and jack-hammered.

The path to the Midway Tent is still there for now.

The path to the Midway Tent is still there for now.

Pony Parade's footprint is broken up and ready to shipped off.

Pony Parade’s footprint is broken up and ready to shipped off.

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The sign has been added to the gate.

The sign has been added to the gate.

Here's a panorama.

Here’s a panorama.

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The removal of the trees opens up the area a little bit more.

The removal of the trees opens up the area a little bit more.

The buildings have been relocated to Racer's former queue to possibly be reused again next year.

The buildings have been relocated to Racer’s former queue to possibly be reused again next year.

The railings have also been placed over here as well.

The railings have also been placed over here as well.

As a temporary filler, Tiny Tracks has been brought out of storage and Granny Bugs have been moved to inside the Boardwalk until the end of Hersheypark in the Dark.

Utilizing the tube queue, Tiny Tracks is back and will be calling Coastline Plunge home for a few weeks.

Utilizing the tube queue, Tiny Tracks is back and will be calling Coastline Plunge home for a few weeks.

It has a smaller layout than when it was in Founder's Circle, but it should be a decent filler to take the place of Miniature Train.

It has a smaller layout than when it was in Founder’s Circle, but it should be a decent filler to take the place of Miniature Train.

On the plus side, it opens up the hill-less shortcut to get to Lightning Racer through the Boardwalk.

On the plus side, it opens up the hill-less shortcut to get to Lightning Racer through the Boardwalk.

Granny Bugs is over between Sandcastle Cove and Bayside Pier set up like it would be for Christmas Candylane. The path is closed off here so walking over to Rita's is out of thee question.

Granny Bugs is over between Sandcastle Cove and Bayside Pier set up like it would be for Christmas Candylane. The path is closed off here so walking over to Rita’s is out of thee question.

Thanks for reading!

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