Better than chocolate might be a bit of a strong opener for what I’m about to share with you. I happen to like chocolate but I don’t love chocolate. It’s something many people (including my husband) can’t comprehend.
But I do love chocolate with other things, like chocolate and peanut butter. True story: Mr. Reese was inspired by Mr. Hershey and proposed a candy combining chocolate and peanut butter. Mr. Hershey was all like, no way, people don’t want to mix things with their chocolate. But eventually, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups went on to become the best selling candy bar in the United States.
Lest you worry, after spending the weekend in Hershey, PA and taking in the many, many things to see and do, I did have my fair share of chocolate. Chocolate martini, chocolate bread pudding, s’mores, and even bath products that were scented with chocolate mandarin.
But let’s be honest. I had one thing on my mind this past weekend and that was conquering the sooperdooperLooper, a roller coaster that has taunted me since my youth. What I didn’t expect was going from a casual roller coaster enjoyer to a full on coaster enthusiast. Here’s how it happened.
On Saturday, we met with Laura Woodburn, the self-proclaimed park nerd who is Director of Ride Operations at Hersheypark. Her goal was to introduce us to the latest and greatest coaster at the park, Laff Track, scheduled for a Memorial Day Weekend opening.
All I can tell you is that it’s an indoor coaster (meaning it’s open all year and in the rain!) with a throwback to funhouses. And if you want an insider look, here you go.
Yep, that’s about all we could see. We were having trouble believing the ride would be ready in just six weeks but Laura assured us that her baby is complete on the inside and they’re busy running tests to ensure it’s as safe as possible. After we talked about Laff Trakk, we ended up grilling her on virtually every single other coaster in the park. To say she’s an enthusiast would be an understatement and her enthusiasm was contagious.
After our session, we were turned loose (me and six other fabulous bloggers) for several hours to enjoy the park.
Since most of them had read my story of the sooperdooperLooper, they were bound and determined to ensure I was able to once and for all ride that coaster. But I had other coasters on my mind.
1. Lightning Racer
Since we were in the back of the park, we thought it made sense to start on this classic, wooden coaster with two racing tracks. It looked simple and subtle and we thought it was a great way to start the day. We even convinced our non-rollercoaster fans, Lindsay and Nickida, to ride it. I’m still not sure if they’ve forgiven us. Once we summited the first “big hill,” I thought wow, I wasn’t quite expecting this. And off we went for a long ride of dips, climbs, and turns. A little rickety, it was a good beginning.
I’m not sure what possessed me to actual summon up the courage to ride this coaster. It looks terrifying. It’s considered a “vertical lift inverted loop coaster” that takes you up 121 feet and then drops you at a 97 degree angle.
What got me is that we had a catered lunch right behind this coaster and I rarely heard anyone scream. It made me wonder if the riders had fainted or if they were simply having a good time. So without much thinking, five out of seven of us went on.
In my mind, this was the most frightening ride I could think of and while I was fearing cardiac arrest on that initial ascent, I was too busy laughing and enjoying the sensation to feel any fear. It was exhilarating!
I opted out of this one (we all did) not because we were frightened. How could we be after Fahrenheit? I just didn’t like the idea of going backwards. I was afraid it would make me nauseous. Another time perhaps.
This is a great family coaster – enough excitement for adults and still mild enough for kids. Or bloggers that don’t like coasters. If you’ve been to Walt Disney World, this coaster reminded me a bit of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
5. Great Bear
Looking for a different spin on the same old coasters? How about hanging down from the track? Great Bear is “an exhilarating, looping, inverted steel coaster.” Looked just fine to me.
Well, what I didn’t know before going on it, and it’s probably best that I didn’t, is that this coaster “starts by lifting you 90 feet off the ground. It will then speed up to 61 miles per hour as it rips down the tracks, through a loop then into an immelman – a loop that turns you out at the top and then drops you like a falling star! Then you will cross the sooperdooperLooper, and make an “S” turn before returning to earth.”
Whatever an “immelman” is, I LIKE IT. I felt like I was flying. And because I couldn’t see what was coming up, every turn, twist, and loop took me by surprised and instead of screaming, I laughed the entire time. It was amazing!
And finally, the coup de grace for the day. It was time to set history straight and actually survive this final coaster. Only one problem… it was closed.
I almost had a meltdown thinking that fate was somehow trying to intervene in all the wrong ways. But luckily, the technical issues were brief and before I knew it, six of us rode the coaster and six of us actually survived.
The funny thing is that this coaster was the tamest thing I rode all day! It’s good thing my mother was there to express her grave concern. I’d have never known what an inverted loop was!
Now, you’re probably wondering what the other seven things are that are better than chocolate. Well, it’s the other seven coasters, of course! My goal is to return to Hershey very, very soon to relive my adventures and continue my conquest.
Thanks to Hershey Entertainment & Resorts for sponsoring my weekend in Hershey, PA to experience so much of what the area has to offer. Expect to see more Hershey related posts to come and please leave me your questions!
I had such a great time with you ladies. Thanks for the extra push to get on the coasters. I had a blast and I can’t wait to do it again with you ladies
Next time, I’ll push you to ride even more!!! 🙂