Hersheypark Trip Planning

At the end of June we visited Hersheypark for the first time. We’d previously done the Chocolate World portion of Hershey.

How the trip came about

They day after school let out last June we left for a big trip out West. The adventure took us through Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Utah and Colorado. We visited Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks as well as Fossil Butte and several hot springs. The year before that, we’d driven from Disneyland to the Grand Canyon, then on to the Four Corners and several national parks in Colorado. We originally thought we’d continue our out West pattern this summer and go from the Cascades in Washington to Yosemite in California. However, other trips and plans presented themselves, which left us with little time or money for that journey.

Still, the end of June found us wanting to go somewhere for a couple of nights. My original idea was Boston but my husband wasn’t sure he wanted to drive six hours just to stay for two nights. Then my planning became bogged down. Everything in a good location was really expensive and I didn’t have a handle on how best to approach our touring. I decided to shelve the Boston trip until a better opportunity presented itself.

Tired from the end of the school year, we fell back on an old favorite: Lancaster, PA. We visit Lancaster at least once a year. It’s close, has plenty to see/do/eat and the girls love the pool at the Doubletree. To mix it up a little we decided to “do Hershey” (but still stay in Lancaster for familiarity).

The decision is made and last minute planning begins

After a little searching I found a buy 2, get 1 free ticket offer. This seemed like the best price I could find after trying out other possible coupons and discounts.  (The offers on the Hershey site seem to rotate. However, once you buy the ticket, it’s good for the whole season. It probably makes sense to watch out for the deal that gives you the best value, lock it in and then use at your leisure.) The tickets for me, my husband and Sport came to about $44 each, with was within a few cents of Bean’s child price.

Adding to the value of the one day ticket is Hersheypark’s Preview Plan. It allows you to use your one day ticket the night before as well. With a 10 pm closing that meant we were able to enter the park at 7:30 pm.  In addition to the tickets I also added on 4 meal tickets. This was very easy to do-in fact I purchased the tickets and printed them right before we left that morning.

We decided to pass on the Fast Track option. At about $60 more a ticket, it was more than we wanted to spend to beat the lines. We hoped that our early to the park strategy would work as well in Hersheypark as it does in Disney.

Try a wedge salad…err, Shady Maple!

I’ve been wanted to try out Shady Maple Smorgasbord for a few years now.  My husband resisted. He thought it would somehow be more touristy than the other smorgasbord options in the Lancaster area. Then, a neighbor mentioned Shady Maple and all of a sudden he was willing to go. It was like the wedge salad episode on Modern Family (Claire repeatedly tells Phil to try a wedge salad. Then a co-worker recommends it and he orders it. He recommends it Claire and hilarity ensues.) 

Besides that, our only other must-do was Kitchen Kettle Village. Our last minute trip to Lancaster was ready to begin!

Read more about this trip:

Shady Maple Smorgasbord

Hersheypark Preview

Hershey Breakfast at the Park

Kitchen Kettle Village and root beer

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