Laff Trakk Construction and Park Update: 3/26/15

With the building up and ride track installed, the next stage of theming being added to the building is starting to begin. The framework for what looks to be fake windows is starting to be added to the outside of Laff Trakk’s show building as well as some trim to the lower parts of the building. Catwalk and spiral stairwell pieces have shown up for the ride as well.

Elsewhere in the park, rides are slowly coming out of their winter slumber with Monorail, Skyrush, Storm Runner, Fahrenheit, Lightning Racer, Wildcat, Comet, and Trailblazer already testing. Wave Swinger and Ferris Wheel (it is missing it’s pinwheel lighting at the moment) look mostly put back together as well.

On a sidenote, it looks like Turnpike will be sharing their exit stairs as the Sportcars side seems to be missing with a railing going across from where it connected with the Antique side.

While searching around a little on the park’s website, it looks like there is some more info posted on the new menu items around the park. It is kind of hard to tell if the list is finished as Gourmet Grill, Country Grill, Pioneer Frontier Food Court, and just about all of Midway America is missing. There is a new location called Laff Trakk Beverage listed, which will sell  drinks, hot dogs, sausage sandwiches, and pretzels.

Overlook Food Court will be receiving a big change in food offerings it seems for this season with nine different concession locations within the building. The original items such as hot dogs, burgers, and pizza will be offered, but what is new is the addition of wings, three new types of mac & cheese, penne pasta (alfredo and marinara), soups, several types of salads and wraps!

Up in Craftbarn Kitchen in Founder’s Way, some similar changes are also being made at this venue as well with breaded mushrooms, zucchini, and pickle spears being added to the offerings. Classic mac and cheese was also added to the list for this location as well.

Nothing too major, but Decades looks like it will be offering waffle fries for this season.

The Outpost has been listed, but it is not really known where it will be in the Pioneer Frontier area. The menu for this new location will be buffalo chicken pizza, buffalo chicken sandwich, cheese pizza, chicken tenders, grilled veggie sandwich, salads, sesame-free hummus, soft pretzel bites, southwest chicken sandwich, and turkey burger.

Newly listed on the 2015 section of the park’s website, there will be two new entertainment shows coming to the park: Dance, Dance – Encore in the Music Box Theatre and Rollin’ Down the River in the Country Grill. Two in-park redemption areas for Season Passes will also be introduced as well at Fun in the Sun in the Boardwalk and the Hersheypark Business Center in Kissing Tower Hill.

Time for the photos:

The Ferris Wheel is back up in Midway America.

The Ferris Wheel is back up in Midway America.

Laff Trakk is starting to slowly blend in with Midway America.

Laff Trakk is starting to slowly blend in with Midway America.

Here is a close-up of some of the trim that was just added.

Here is a close-up of some of the trim that was just added.

I wonder if anything will be added on this side?

I wonder if anything will be added on this side?

Railings, stairs, and catwalks have arrived and are waiting to be added.

Railings, stairs, and catwalks have arrived and are waiting to be added.

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Looks like this will be a maintenance access road to replaced the one that was near the Midway Tent.

Looks like this will be a maintenance access road to replaced the one that was near the Midway Tent.

Spiral stairs.

Spiral stairs.

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Turnpike will be sharing a set of exit stairs this year.

Turnpike will be sharing a set of exit stairs this year.

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Work up at Chocolate World is progressing.

Work up at Chocolate World is progressing.

Chocolate House near the entrance received a new roof a few weeks ago.

Chocolate House near the entrance received a new roof a few weeks ago.

Thanks for reading!

-Chris C.

ACE’s East Coaster 2015 at Hersheypark Day #1

It may be the middle of winter, but the park season is slowly creeping up on us. During this time, the American Coaster Enthusiasts usually organize an event in several areas of the country for parks to discuss what they are adding for the season. In previous years one of these events called East Coaster was held at Dorney Park, but this year it is coming to the Sweetest Place on Earth: Hershey. My friend and co-worker has allowed me to come along and join in on the fun for the weekend.

For Friday (today), a tour of Hersheypark’s Service Center and a construction tour of Laff Trakk was on the schedule. The park’s Service Center was supposed to house space for the park to work on all the rides…when it was first built. Now that the park has pretty much doubled in size since the 1970’s, it now only has space for the park’s major attractions (coasters).

The Service Center houses several different areas from a parts inventory shop, machine shop, sign shop, non-deconstructive stress-testing area, wood shop, fiberglass area, to a car vehicle shop where work to the park’s trams, vehicles, and golf carts happen.

The shops are buzzing with activity this time of the year with maintenance employees everywhere working hard to get the attractions ready for the 2015 season.

Out in the park, we got to walk down to Laff Trakk and have a brief Q&A with Lisa Howard and Laura Woodburn, the park’s rides department managers on information about the ride.

  • As of right now, there is nothing certain yet on if Laff Trakk will be running for Christmas Candylane as they are trying to aim to open the ride for Memorial Day Weekend.
  • Upon entering the queue, which will be on or near where that path to the Midway Tent was, guests will enter into the indoor queue area (with the red roof) or to the right to the outdoor queue area in front of the building.  There will be a few fun house elements in the indoor queue area and possibly Laughing Sal.
  • The station will be something unique to the park as it will feature a separate unload area, a loading area as well as a second loading area specifically for ADA guests and it will be wheelchair accessible to the station.
  • The ride will operate 5 to 6 cars at a time and feature only a lapbar (no seatbelts).
  • The cars will be limited in how much they will spin (I think 30 rpm was said to be the max).
  • The test seat and control system arrived just the other day. Cars may arrive later in February.
  • The outside of the building will be painted, so don’t expect it to remain the current white color for long.

Be sure to check out some of the photos below for some behind-the-scenes photos of Hersheypark’s Service Center, Some new things being done in the park, and some Laff Trakk photos from inside the park. Be sure to share this update on Facebook and you may win an envelope of brochures/maps!

I want to thank my friend Will for letting me come along to the event, ACE, and Hersheypark for being great hosts.

Stay tuned for day two!

-Chris

The first area we saw was the machine shop where if a part needs to be made, they can do that here.

The first area we saw was the machine shop where if a part needs to be made, they can do that here.

The Waverider boards get some use in the winter time as well.

The Waverider boards get some use in the winter time as well.

If they have the part already in-stock, maintenance only needs to just come here to get it.

If they have the part already in-stock, maintenance only needs to just come here to get it.

Fahrenheit wheel bogeys sitting in front of the stress testing area.

Fahrenheit wheel bogeys sitting in front of the stress testing area.

Sides to Lightning Racer's trains are here as well.

Sides to Lightning Racer’s trains are here as well.

Most of this work is done behind that wall. You can see Skyrush bogeys sitting there as well.

Most of this work is done behind that wall. You can see Skyrush bogeys sitting there as well.

More Skyrush parts as well.

More Skyrush parts as well.

One of the things displayed is the top piece to Wave Swinger, which now has a new LED lighting package. Don't know if it will be like that on the rest of the ride, but if so, then it will be awesome!

One of the things displayed is the top piece to Wave Swinger, which now has a new LED lighting package. Don’t know if it will be like that on the rest of the ride, but if so, then it will be awesome!

Found Mini Train!

Found Mini Train!

It may be a few years old, but this is a map of the park.

It may be a few years old, but this is a map of the park.

Cozy GCI upholstery.

Cozy GCI upholstery.

Time to move on to the ride vehicles. Lightning Racer's are just bare frames right now.

Time to move on to the ride vehicles. Lightning Racer’s are just bare frames right now.

Maintenance is hard at work to get things ready for the spring.

Maintenance is hard at work to get things ready for the spring.

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These would be the cars for Comet from the underside.

These would be the cars for Comet from the underside.

The trains are made mostly out of fire-protected wood. They seem to be slowly making progress on reassembling them, which is a good sign!

The trains are made mostly out of fire-protected wood. They seem to be slowly making progress on reassembling them, which is a good sign!

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The Whip getting some TLC.

The Whip getting some TLC.

Here is what you need to put together a Philadelphia Toboggan Coaster train.

Here is what you need to put together a Philadelphia Toboggan Coaster train.

Fresh new lapbars ready to be installed.

Fresh new lapbars ready to be installed.

Over in Sidewinder's area, it looks like things are good to go. You can also see more wheel bogeys for Skyrush too.

Over in Sidewinder’s area, it looks like things are good to go. You can also see more wheel bogeys for Skyrush too.

Trailblazer meanwhile still has quite a bit to go.

Trailblazer meanwhile still has quite a bit to go.

Found some Wild Mouse cars.

Found some Wild Mouse cars.

Found the SooperdooperLooper cars.

Found the SooperdooperLooper cars.

New pumps for Coal Cracker.

New pumps for Coal Cracker.

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Looper's frame is put together, but the wheel bogeys are sitting off to the side.

Looper’s frame is put together, but the wheel bogeys are sitting off to the side.

The ultimate NoLimits2 gaming chair.

The ultimate NoLimits2 gaming chair.

Turnstyles.

Turnstyles.

Fahrenheit seems to be making progress with quite a bit together with these cars.

Fahrenheit seems to be making progress with quite a bit together with these cars.

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Here's the underside of a Fahrenheit car. You can tell where the drive tires make contact on the car.

Here’s the underside of a Fahrenheit car. You can tell where the drive tires make contact on the car.

Found a mystery box...

Found a mystery box…

Inside is just packing peanuts... and one Laff Trakk test seat.!Tilt-A-Whirl car not included.

Inside is just packing peanuts… and one Laff Trakk test seat.!Tilt-A-Whirl car not included.

Tons of Coal Cracker boats just chilling out.

Tons of Coal Cracker boats just chilling out.

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This one still needs some work done, according to the sheet on the nose of it.

This one still needs some work done, according to the sheet on the nose of it.

These containers are paint to touch-up the track and cars for Laff Trakk, once it starts being assembled.

These containers are paint to touch-up the track and cars for Laff Trakk, once it starts being assembled.

Having been in the Service Center back in 2009, it felt great to be able to go through again and check out what's changed.

Having been in the Service Center back in 2009, it felt great to be able to go through again and check out what’s changed.

The have kept Looper's original entrance sign! They plan on fixing it up again and possibly doing something with it again eventually.

The have kept Looper’s original entrance sign!
They plan on fixing it up again and possibly doing something with it again eventually.

The Carpenter shop also has some machinery to be able to bend the track rails for the park's wooden coasters.

The Carpenter shop also has some machinery to be able to bend the track rails for the park’s wooden coasters.

As always, the maintenance crew seem to have bit of character to them.

As always, the maintenance crew seem to have bit of character to them.

Same thing in the sign shop (I love the top one)!

Same thing in the sign shop (I love the top one)!

The sign shop is where much of the signs for the park, hotels, and other venues are made.

The sign shop is where much of the signs for the park, hotels, and other venues are made.

Thanks to Gary for giving an awesome tour of the Service Center!

Thanks to Gary for giving an awesome tour of the Service Center!

Much of the signage is designed using Adobe such as Photoshop, which is interesting.

Much of the signage is designed using Adobe such as Photoshop, which is interesting.

Much of the crew in here is busy year-round in here and if they have to replace a sign, they can easily get a replacement.

Much of the crew in here is busy year-round in here and if they have to replace a sign, they can easily get a replacement.

It was fun just seeing these signs and recognizing where they are from in the park!

It was fun just seeing these signs and recognizing where they are from in the park!

For example, this is a area flag from a directional sign from in the Boardwalk.

For example, this is a area flag from a directional sign from in the Boardwalk.

The Monorail sign is in for a touch-up.

The Monorail sign is in for a touch-up.

Roller Soaker

Roller Soaker

These signs look to be a work-in-progress.

These signs look to be a work-in-progress.

Now that we're done with a tour of the Service Center, time to check out the park and Laff Trakk!

Now that we’re done with a tour of the Service Center, time to check out the park and Laff Trakk!

While it was cold, it was still a nice day.

While it was cold, it was still a nice day.

Much of the shoveling is kept to a minimum just to allow access on the midways.

Much of the shoveling is kept to a minimum just to allow access on the midways.

You can start to see Laff Trakk heading down the hill to Tidal Force.

You can start to see Laff Trakk heading down the hill to Tidal Force.

Almost can't tell its winter from this photo.

Almost can’t tell its winter from this photo.

You can really start to see it heading up the hill next to Wildcat.

You can really start to see it heading up the hill next to Wildcat.

The Fun Slides will be coming back, but will have a new entrance.

The Fun Slides will be coming back, but will have a new entrance.

This red-roofed section will be the indoor queue for Laff Trakk.

This red-roofed section will be the indoor queue for Laff Trakk.

The Midway area looks pretty different compared to last year.

The Midway area looks pretty different compared to last year.

While down here, Laura, the director of rides, gave a pretty interesting Q&A session on information about the ride.

While down here, Laura, the director of rides, gave a pretty interesting Q&A session on information about the ride.

Since it was a hardhat area, we stayed up here.

Since it was a hardhat area, we stayed up here.

It is pretty hard not to see the building.

It is pretty hard not to see the building.

The indoor queue will feature some fun house elements in it.

The indoor queue will feature some fun house elements in it.

Out front will be the overflow queue.

Out front will be the overflow queue.

The entrance to the ride will be found right about here.

The entrance to the ride will be found right about here.

Now that the building is up, they can start putting up the ride and painting the outside.

Now that the building is up, they can start putting up the ride and painting the outside.

It was also fun seeing this section of the park in the winter as well.

It was also fun seeing this section of the park in the winter as well.

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!

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