Monday, July 25, 2011

Hersheypark Happy

I decided not to continue with the '30 days of writing' meme, at least for a while. So instead I'm going to talk about amusement parks. That's right, this blog has been hijacked and is now about roller coasters.

Last Friday was my husband's birthday. It wasn't just any birthday, either. One of the volunteers at my store asked me if it was a milestone occasion, which for most people means a birthday ending in a 0 or a 5. "It is," I replied, "but not the way you mean. It's a milestone for us because we're nerds."

"What do you mean?"

"He's turning 42."

Most of the people who follow this blog probably don't require an explanation, but if you've ever read (or seen the film version of) The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, you know that 42 is a very important number. If you haven't, I don't think I'm going to bother to try to explain, because it won't make any sense to you whatsoever. Kevin is now the answer to life, the universe, and everything. At least, that's what I'm maintaining.

So we went to Hersheypark for the day, because that's how he wanted to spend his birthday. I was hesitant, primarily on account of the incredibly high temperatures we were expected to (and did) have. It actually turned out to be a really great day, though, so I thought I'd share some stuff I learned with all of you.

1. When going to an amusement park, go on a stupidly hot day - and stay away from the water park area. This probably seems counterintuitive, but it honestly worked in our favor. By staying in the main portion of Hersheypark and not really going near the Boardwalk area they devised as a water park, we avoided the majority of the people. I think we had to wait in line for a whole two rides. Even the Coal Cracker, which is a log flume-esque water ride, had very few people ahead of us. Compare that to the last time we went to the park, when we stood in line for it for almost half an hour.

2. This is probably common knowledge, but if possible, go on a weekday instead of a weekend. Many parents work on weekdays and can't take their children til the weekend, thus reducing the number of people there.

3. If the park in question offers hospitality service, visit them first. Hersheypark now has a hospitality office just inside the park; when you enter the gate, go straight forward about thirty feet, and it's on your right. They offer discount deals on games and food, plus special packages for different groups or kids celebrating birthdays. We purchased the Dining Duo package, which included two entrees with sides, two snacks, and a refillable souvenir cup. We just kept filling and sharing the cup all day long (the first fill was free, refills were 99 cents each), which was much more cost-effective than repeatedly buying drinks. By itself, the souvenir cup is eight dollars. When we stopped for lunch, we each got chicken tenders and a side salad, which would have been $22. That's $30 already, and we hadn't even had our snacks yet. The Dining Duo package is only $29, so you can see that it was definitely worth doing.

4. Stay hydrated. This is obviously true on a hot day like when we were there, but it's true on other days too. Keep drinking. You lose a lot more fluids than you think you do. It's another reason why that souvenir cup is a pretty good investment; you don't necessarily need to pay for your refills, either, just fill it with cold water from the drinking fountain.

5. The other option regarding the water rides is to go on a good soaker early in the day, then spend the rest of the day air-drying. If at Hersheypark, the best soaker ride has got to be Tidal Force, which we did ride later in the day (it was one of the ones we had to stand in line for) and which got us hopelessly drenched to the point where Kevin's cell phone was unusable for a time. Lesson learned: rent a locker first.

Don't worry, the phone recovered once it dried out.

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