I was finally able to get to Hersheypark this season. Parking is free with a season pass and they have a season passholder lot close to the entrance which is nice. I thought the season pass processing center would be near the entrance but it is on a path near the parking lot. The problem with that is the sign saying Season Pass Office is facing the other direction and you wouldn't see it walking from the lot to the park entrance. The processing center only had 4 or 5 windows with 2 open. That wasn't a problem but I can see long lines on a weekend early in the season.
I have been to Great Adventure many times on a Friday in May in past years and although there were school groups mostly from Physics Day and Music In The Parks, crowds have been low and by the late afternoon, most of the school groups leave and the rides are walk ons the last few hours the park is open. I was not expecting to see a few hundred buses in the lot and everywhere you looked were kids on school trips, mostly from Music in the Parks and the wait time app was not looking good with the major rides having up to 75 to 90 minute waits. It was probably the 2nd most crowded I have ever seen the park, the most crowded being the Saturday before Easter in 2006 when rides like Storm Runner had a full queue and used an overflow queue.
sooperdooperlooper had apparently just reopened after a breakdown and I was able to ride with a station wait. It's not intense or extreme but is an overall fun coaster. I really like the circular loop of Schwarzkopf coasters compared to the clothoid loop other coaster types have.
Skyrush had a reported 75 minute wait so it would have to wait for later.
Reese's Extreme Cup Challenge had a short line and no one in the single rider line. It's probably my 2nd least favorite interactive dark ride (my least favorite was the horrible Zamperla ride at Gillian's Wonderland Pier in Ocean City) and the vehicles move so fast it is difficult to hit a lot of the targets especially with 7 other people aiming for the same targets at the same time.
The app said Fahrenheit was a 90 minute wait and there is no way I was willing to wait that long for any coaster, let alone a coaster I have ridden before.
Walking past Laff Trakk, that too had a reported 75 minute wait and the outside queue was around 2/3 full so I skipped it. I'll have to try to visit on another day when it isn't so crowded to get the credit.
Lightning Racer was around 20 minutes. All 4 trains were running and the line moves fast. I really like this coaster with the dueling of the trains and the twisted layout and that it is mostly smooth for a wooden coaster. I rode Thunder first, then Lightning and seeing which train gets to the finish line first is fun.
Wildcat was around 30 minutes. I last rode this coaster in 2010 and remember it being rough even with the Millennium Flyer trains. It wasn't as bad as I had remembered although not as smooth as Lightning Racer and nowhere near as horrible as Gwazi was.
The monorail had no wait so I went there next just to take an overhead tour of the park.
Lines weren't getting any shorter so I thought I would try Storm Runner. It was "only" a 45 minute wait. The new restraints are great and much more comfortable compared to the older ones. Storm Runner is a great coaster and my favorite of the 3 Intamin rocket coasters I have ridden and I like how there is more to it than just a top hat like Top Thrill Dragster or the top hat and hill like Kingda Ka.
I haven't ridden a regular boomerang since my trip to Lake Compounce in 2010. I generally would skip them unless it is a new credit since they aren't that great and can be painful. The new Vekoma trains and vest restraints on Sidewinder are much better than the old Arrow trains and horsecollar restraints. With the new restraints it would probably be a coaster I would ride once or twice a year with a short wait since I still am not much of a fan of going backwards on coasters.
Trailblazer was next with about a 15 minute wait. It's an ok coaster and a good starter coaster for kids who want to try something other than a kiddie coaster but Runaway Mine Train is much better. I'm glad it has individual lap bars like Runaway Mine Train since riding Cedar Creek Mine Ride last year reminded me of how bad the old shared lap bars were.
The Kissing Tower had no wait and it's fun to be at the top of the tower rotating around the park and watching the coasters and other rides running.
Line were starting to get a little shorter and Great Bear was next. The app said it was a 45 minute wait and with fast dispatches it ended up being just over 30 minutes. I like how this coaster is so different compared to other B&M inverts with the helix before the first drop and how it feels like the ride doesn't slow down much. The straightaway between the loop and the immelmann is great moving so fast through that section of track. The only negative is that the train is still moving so fast when it hits the brake run that it feels like there should be more to the ride but I guess it is understandable why there isn't given how they had to fit the ride in the area.
Comet had around a 25 minute line. It is still my favorite of the 3 wooden coasters in the park. It was nice to be able to ride a coaster with buzz bars again after losing them on Thunderhawk at Dorney. It's another coaster that that intense and like sooperdooperlooper, just a fun coaster.
Skyrush was the last ride of the day. I really didn't like the ride much the first and only time I rode the coaster in 2013 and wanted to give it another chance. Unfortunately, my opinion of it didn't change. It's a little too out of control for me and the restraints are just too uncomfortable for me to enjoy the ride. It is probably my least favorite hypercoaster that I have ridden and a coaster I only plan to ride a few times each season.
I never got back to Fahrenheit or Laff Trakk because the lines were still long according to the app even near closing. Instead I went to Chocolate World to try the new Factory Tour dark ride. It was a walk on and although some of the updates were nice, it was a little disappointing to see yet another dark ride using more screens instead of show scenes for parts of the ride. Chocolate World was extremely crowded. The line at the cash registers went back and forth multiple times and then went back another 25 feet past the regular line area. It was probably at least 45 minutes to check out.
This is my first year having a season pass to the park and I hope to return again soon, next time on a less crowded day.