Saturday, June 27, 2009

Hershey Park in Hershey, PA

Adventure #1 for the Summer Adventure Challenge

the story, as I remember :)

*We got there just after it opened but with our huge group, it took forever to actually get in the gates

*even with my $12 off per adult coupon (yes, Sheely was considered an adult!!) it still cost me $140 to get in with my kids. WOW. That's a lot of dollars.

*I made both of my boys wear red AND they had wristbands there where you could write your cellphone number and put them on your kids so they could call you if your kids get lost. I find this a fantastic idea, since I've just been writing my cell number on my kids' hands for years!

*I chose not to drag around my expensive camera - so my pictures turned out kinda lame, but that's what I get. I knew there would be much chucking of the backpack and I didn't want it to
get trashed (I was right, lots of chucking of the bag)

*we convinced my mom to rent one of those awesome electric wheelchairs - and thank heavens, that is a hilly park! it would've been a nightmare on her crutches!

*as soon as we got to the first set of "kiddie" rides, I realized my problem: I had no husband and two big kids and one little kid. I had not thought logistically about how to help everyone get what they needed (i.e. - big rides for big kids, little rides for the Tuft). I started feeling really stressed next to the little dragon ride when my sister Erin hooked up Sheely with Chris and off they went to the huge roller coasters and Xavier was content to stay and do some younger stuff with Tuft. Sigh of relief

*Jordan and I took Emma and Xavey on a spaceship ride that went up pretty high, they liked that

*So many rides for little kids! That was fun - Preston was so thrilled to run from one to the other and back again, OVER AND OVER. His favorites: the Ladybug, the little swings, the little pirate ship, but especially the little kid SCRAMBLER - LOVED it and begged for us to keep walking back over there :) On the ladybug you just keep going around in a loop but there are a couple little bumps along the way, and every time we'd hit a bump, Preston would do his closed-eyes-manic-laugh that slays me.*It got really hot but not really humid, so if you stood in the shade, it was quite pleasant

*Two hours after getting in there, we left again to have a peaceful picnic lunch outside, and after food, bathroom, and more sunscreen, we were ready to head out again

*half way through the day, Chris brought to my attention to the fact that Xavey's shoe broke, like, the entire sole was almost completely detached, fun huh? He was really patient with it, since I was not about to buy some Hershey Park shoes - he just flapped around with it the entire day!*Until about 3pm, I hadn't been on a single adult ride, it was just the way it went. I wasn't feeling frustrated, just a bit bummed, but when we found a shady spot with three great kid rides and a few bigger adult rides nearby, it worked out for me to go on one by myself and one with Lauren before she had to leave, so that was fun - thanks to all my helpful family that made that possible

*it was really fun to see Preston hanging out with his littler cousins - especially the ones closest to his age. He usually just sticks with his big brother, but when Jordan and Chris had both my big kids off on big rides, Preston was so cute with the younger ones, I really liked that

*Emma spiked a fever and Mary was lethargic too, so after lunch Erin ended up renting a double stroller, which worked out awesome and the nice first aid people gave Emma some motrin (after she took a long nap) which perked her right up*Sheely really liked taking Ava on the Frog Hopper over and over more

*around 5, my sisters with really little kids were ready to crash, so we headed to the front of the park for dinner together. We just lucked out that we picked a restaurant where the seats are right in front of a drum show performance. Xavier was SO INTO it, he stood there like a statue and watched the whole thing! Then, when they started doing the limbo, he totally joined in :) THRILLED this mama, let me tell you! I got some video of that, I have no idea if I'll ever get around to posting it :)*Also, Xavey was so cute and helpful with Alex, he wanted to sit by her at dinner

*Since Erin's kids seemed to be good to go, she and I stayed after everyone else left! This was the season of "divide and conquer." To start off, Erin took Emma, Sheely and Xavier on the Comet, a pretty fun wooden roller coaster. While she did that, I took Preston and Mary on the Tilt a Whirl. Then we swapped kids again and I took Sheely and Xavier on the Super Looper something or another roller coaster (Xavey LOVED going upside down!!). Then we just kept swapping in such a fashion so that Erin and I both got to actually go on all the roller coasters! How is THAT for finally getting your moneys worth? My favorite roller coaster was probably the Wildcat - CRAZY PSYCHO fast and long wooden roller coaster. Preston told me that his favorite part with the big ferris wheel with me. I loved that too - the view was incredible! So strange to have big huge amusement park and then farmland :) Sheely loved the Mouse Trap, which I hated because I always think I am going to fly right off that horrible thing. Xavey loved The Claw, which is what we went on last.

*Sheely harassed me about treats for a long time until I finally said - at 7pm, it's treat time - one treat for everyone, talk to me about it before then and NO TREAT FOR YOU :)

*Tufty wanted ice cream (a cone, with sprinkles, of course). When we got there, I saw they made blizzard type confectionery delights so I ordered myself a peanut butter cup one. THE MINUTE that they handed me his cone, he had to go #2 - STAT. OF COURSE. So he did the twinkle dance while I paid and waited to grab my cup and then we sprinted all the way up the hill to the bathroom. Phew, we barely made it. Then I could get Sheely and Xavey their ICEE things and everyone could have treat happiness.

*THEN, more and more and more rides. Rides everywhere and with no waiting and SO MUCH FUN. I am just such a huge fan of the fast roller coasters that it thrills me that at least two of my children are right by my side in that love. This park really does have some good coasters.

*At the end of the day, Erin and I took turns going solo on the wildest rollercoaster of all - the storm chaser or something. It's one that goes from 0-60 in 1 second or something - HOLY COW that ride took my breath away it was so fast! I'm glad I told Sheely she wasn't allowed (even though she was tall enough). It was on the verge of scary for me! While Erin got her turn, Sheely took Xavier Preston and Emma on the frog hopper (a little free fall for kids) over and over and over. They would go on it, laugh hysterically, then run around and get on again - for at least the 20 minutes that I was in charge of them.

*The final ride (after yet ANOTHER sprint to the bathroom for someone) was the aforementioned Claw ride. Picture one of those giant pirate ship type rides that swing like a pendulum back and forth until they are pretty much vertical, but instead of a ship, you're sitting in a big circle in chairs where your feet dangle down and it spins you around WHILE you swing back and forth. WOWEE WOW. We just barely didn't make it on, so we stood in front and watched the one before us go. I could see Sheely and Xavey getting nervous, but they stood their ground and we all had a good laugh when BOTH of some one's flip flops flew off the ride and into the woods beyond the fence :)

*As we got settled into our seats, I asked Xavey if he wanted me to keep my hand on his knee. He said, "yes, so I don't fly away like a lost flip flop." and gave me that silly Xavey smile. I love that boy. We LOVED the ride - Sheely told me she was going to close her eyes the whole time, but she never did once, we laughed our guts out and screamed and while we were riding, the whistle blew for the park to close. A perfect way to close out the day.

*On the walk back, my boys held my hands. Sheely said a spontaneous, "THANKS MOM!!" and Xavey said, "This was a GREAT day." Sounds silly, but those words are what really made the 12 hours and $140 dollars worth it.

*both boys fell asleep, heads leaning against each other, on the tram

*arrived back at the caboose at 11:30, got everyone in bed and took a shower before soothing my poor blistered feet. An incredible and overwhelming and riotous day with my sweet children. Can I recommend Hershey Park? ABSOLUTELY. Wonderfully clean. Great rides. Lots for all ages. It was expensive, but as I've looked around, it seems to be comparable to other big amusement parks. Plus, there are giant chocolate bars that walk around and take pictures with you. It's a winner in my book.


Jenny said...

What a timely review! I'm going there on Tuesday!

Food Loving Hubby said...

If you are close enough to go 2 or more times a year, I highly recommend season passes. They get you free parking and 15% off of all purchases in the park.

Glad to hear you had a good time and this is a great review! My family considers Hershey our home park.