I took the family on a sponsored mini vacation last weekend to visit Hershey Park, and we had so much fun stuffed into the two days we were there that one blog post alone is not enough to cover it. While actually going to the park to visit Christmas Candylane (the name of Hershey Park’s Christmas attraction) I thought it would be best to start out telling you about this experience because it was Keith and Jacob’s favorite part of the trip! I am sure Michael would have loved the trip as well if he had not fallen asleep after about three rides!
The rides at Hershey Park are all categorized by candy type as far as height requirements. We realized this while out front of the park taking the cute photo op with Candy statues. Michael ended up being a “miniature”, Jacob was a “Reece’s”, and Keith was a “Hershey’s”. Keith does not have my thrill seeking gene and doesn’t really like roller coasters so pretty much anything he went on Jacob was able to go on as well. Michael slept through all the rides, although he unknowingly went on a train ride, a monorail ride, and a ferris wheel. Thank Heavens for baby wearing!
It was unseasonably warm when we went, much like it has been all month in the New Jersey/Pennsylvania area. I was worried that the 55-60 degree temperatures would make the park more crowded than usual and force us to stand in long lines. Not true. We did not wait more than one ride each time we were in line, and we rode most rides the boys were able to ride. My mistake was not thinking we would get cold outside and forgetting the coats in the car. We all had hoodies and long sleeves and were not too cold until a few hours into the excursion and my hands began to freeze. The boys swore they were fine so we kept on but I really should have remembered to bring the coats in the park.
I went to Hershey Park once, not during Christmas, when I was my oldest son’s age so seeing him have so much fun brought back so many great memories. Often when we go to an amusement park or carnival, the boys can only ride totally different rides. Jacob can only do kiddie ones and Keith can only do the bigger kid ones, but at Hershey Park they were pretty much able to go on most of the same rides. There was the bumper cars which Jacob was too small for, but otherwise they were able to ride together. While of course not all of the rides were open, at least 30 of the kiddie rides were running as were quite a few teen/adult rides.
Even though it is winter there are a ton pf photo ops to be had, even before the millions of lights light up. We saw a few characters wandering around the park, although I have not one photo to show for it. Jacob is not a fan of characters; he ran from the human in a Milk Dud suit like the Milk Duds were brandishing a knife. Michael barely goes to people he does know, let alone a character so that left Keith who was more excited about the rides. At least I roped him into a photo at the hotel when a character was there. We even managed to relax and catch a Christmas Choir show while it was happening as we passed through. That was the perfect chance to sit and relax for a minute.
Many of the eating areas are closed, but shops are transformed into Christmas themed stores, and everything is decorated. You can even visit Santa and his reindeer, and have pictures with Santa (for a small fee). We skipped Santa since we saw him the night before, plus the baby was sleeping as I mentioned earlier. Mr. Sleepypants is also why we had to skip the ice skating as I could not skate to help the boys skate with a baby attached to me.
We arrived at the park around noon, and I was hoping we lasted enough to be able to see all the millions of lights that are throughout Christmas Candylane at Hershey Park. Unfortunately once the boys had tired themselves out around 4:30 it was not quite dark enough to see the lights lit up, but we were able to see a preview of it all, and we able to also see the lights from our room at the Hotel Hershey across the street. There are roughly 4 million lights throughout the park that sparkle at night and I can tell you that even from outside the park they are stunning. Next year we will head out to the park later just to see those lights!