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9 Hersheypark Tips From Someone Who Just Got Back

Today, I'm happy to have Linda from Is It Hot in Here? as a guest post on the blog. She's sharing her tips for making the most of Hersheypark. I've only visited once, but I remember it being full of fun rides and lots and lots of chocolate. Sounds like a win in my book!

Every year, my family makes a pilgrimage to Hersheypark, the theme park in Hershey, Pennsylvania run by the chocolate company of the same name. I know the place is a thinly-veiled mega-advertisement for “all products Hershey,” but it's also one of the cleanest, best-run theme parks you'll ever visit. My kids are growing up there in the sense that we've been there more than 9 times in 11 years. 

In fact, the one year we didn't go, they were sad and told me they'd missed it.  So it's become somewhat of a family tradition. Having just gotten back, I wanted to share some tips: 

1.     Download the free Hersheypark app from Google's Play Store. It's actually worth the effort just for the ride wait times and show times alone.   I referenced the app many times during the course of our trip, especially since my daughter loves the shows. 
2.     Before you go, Google “discount tickets for Hersheypark.”  My husband did and somehow got a deal through the Boy Scouts that saved us $20 per ticket.  One year, we scored a deal through some medical convention that saved us a bundle as well.  Promo codes for this park are pretty common and you just might find a good deal.
3.     Take a look at the Preview Plan for admission if you're going to be in Hershey for more than a day.  We were able to enter the park at 7:30 p.m., the kids did all the major rides which were NOT crowded, and then we went back to The Boardwalk the next day plus the kids did the major rides all over again.  By the time we left last night at 9:30 p.m., they were all “Hersheyed out” with no regrets over rides not ridden.
4.     Go during the week and earlier in the season, rather than later.  Eeven if you go now, there are misters throughout the park and shade is available, although you may have to suffer through the smell of cigarette smoke because much of the shade is in the Smokers' Section.  The fact that this park allows smoking and doesn't enforce the “no smoking” policy in most sections is the only thing that infuriates me about the venue. 
5.     Bring snacks.  Yes, there's a “no snack” policy, but Security checked out backpacks and didn't blink at eye at the Ziploc bags of crackers I'd brought in.  You're also allowed one sealed water bottle per person.
6.     Buy the Souvenir Cup and get refills.  When our water bottles were all gone, we purchased one of the cups and kept refilling it throughout the day with ice and water (free) plus a few iced teas for $.99 each.  We kept our family of four hydrated all day for about $15 total.
7.     See a show or two.  The LiveWire show was really good, even if the guitars did not have strings (supposedly there are guitar “solos.”).  The Slide Brigade, one of the traveling bands, was also great. If at all possible, SKIP the Character Quiz Show. I've seen dumb shows in my life, but that one was definitely the worst I have EVER seen. It was actually painful. 
8.     Do NOT buy Hershey's chocolate here or souvenirs here.  The chocolate is not discounted and you'll find fine Hershey merchandise at the nearby Walmart. 
9.     Don't mention souvenirs to the kids until the end of the day.  I made the mistake of telling my 8-year old that she was on a $5 budget and all I heard all day was, “When am I gonna get a souvenir?”  I should have known better. 

Anticipate that there will be meltdowns by various members of your party during the day. My daughter had several, my teenager had one or two, and by 6pm, I was in the midst of my own. It really surprised the kids when Mommy whined, “I wanna go hooooome!”  

But we did it.  We survived another pilgrimage to “The Sweetest Place On Earth.”  See you next year, Hershey!