Guide & Tips for a Sweet Visit to Hersheypark

Hersheypark is the “sweetest place on earth” and it is important to plan before you arrive. In this post I am sharing my top Hersheypark tips and guide to help you plan your visit to the Hershey, PA amusement park.

We have been visiting the Hersheypark amusement park with our kids for years and always return because it is great for all ages.

If it is your first time or you visit every summer season this guide for Hersheypark will help you plan an awesome visit.

We learned a few new Hersheypark tips during our most recent visit, as well as took advantage of some tried and true park strategies that helped us have an amazing day at the park.

entrance to hersheypark
Entrance to Hersheypark

Things to Do Before Your Hersheypark Visit

Before you arrive make sure you purchase tickets and plan accommodations.

We have stayed at the three on-site Hersheypark resorts (Hershey Lodge, Hotel Hershey Resort, Hershey Campgrounds) and they each offer something special as well as perks for on-site guests.

There are also numerous budget friendly hotels around Hershey to stay at but during the summer months expect higher hotel costs at most accommodations.

Hersheypark resorts do offer early entry into the park and on-site transportation so be sure to weigh the pros and cons of the cost before booking.

Once you have your Hersheypark ticket and Hershey accommodations set up you are ready to start planning your day at the park.

hotel hershey room
Room at the Hotel Hershey

My Best Hersheypark Tip

My best Hersheypark tip is to plan a visit based on what you and your family want to do!

If you are visiting with little kids spend more time at the kiddie rides. If you are visiting with big kids you need to include the roller coasters in your visit.

Often I see people disappointed because they didn’t plan the trip based on their own needs. Use the tips and suggestions that work best for you and your family.

Overview of My Top Hersheypark Tips

  • Hersheypark is a cash less park. They only accept credit cards at the park. Guests can use cash to purchase Hershey cards to use around the park.
  • Check park hours before you arrive to plan your visit. Take advantage of Sweet Start and preview.
  • Check out the Hersheypark ride height for the attractions you want to ride before you head to the park to prepare kids for what they can and can’t ride.
  • Prioritize the rides you want to experience in the first two hours of park opening.
  • Try to ride Reese’s Cupfusion within an hour of park opening because it has a slow loading queue. It opened at 10:45 during our visit and can have very long wait times.
  • Not all attractions open with Sweet Start. On our visit Candymonium and the Hollow rides were open.
  • Ride the carousel at the front of the park. It was built in 1919 making it one of the oldest in the country. You can save this for later in the day.
  • Face your fears on Candymonium. It is the tallest, longest, and fastest ride at Hersheypark.

Tips for Hersheypark

Arrive 30 Minutes Before Park Open

Always arrive early when you visit a theme park. I suggest arriving at Hersheypark 30-45 minutes before the gates open.

This gives you time to park, walk to the gates, and be among the first people in the parks.

Being some of the first guests in the park will allow you to ride the most popular attractions, like Candymonium and Wildcats Revenge, without a long wait. As the day goes on the wait times will increase.

Wildcat’s Revenge which is located closer to the back of the park is a very popular roller coaster that will have long lines.

We always prioritize our favorite rides in the first few hours of park opening.

Upgrade Your Tickets to Include Fast Track

Fast Track at Hersheypark is the line skipping option available for an additional cost. This will drastically reduce your wait times but it is a pricey add-on. There are a few different options for skipping the lines at Hersheypark.

  • Hersheypark Fast Track: Skip line once per attraction. $50.00-$170.00 per person/per day
  • Hersheypark Fast Track Unlimited: Skip regular lines all day. $75.00-$225.00 per person/per day
  • Boardwalk Fast Track: $35.00-$50.00
  • Boardwalk Fast Track Unlimited: $45.00-$65.00
  • Fast Track + Boardwalk: $85.00-$220.00
  • Fast Track + Boardwalk Unlimited: $120.00-$290.00

The cost is in addition to your general park admission ticket. All guests in your party need to purchase this if they plan to use it. It can’t be shared among your group. Prices vary depending on crowds/day. (Prices as of June 2024)

Attractions Included on Hersheypark Fast Track:

  • Candymonium
  • Carrousel
  • Comet
  • Fahrenheit
  • Great Bear
  • Hershey Triple Tower
  • Jolly Rancher Remix
  • Laff Trakk
  • Lightning Racer,
  • Mix’d Flavored by Jolly Rancher
  • Reese’s Cupfusion
  • Skyrush
  • SooperdooperLooper
  • Storm Runner Trailblazer
  • Wild Mouse
  • Wildcat’s Revenge
  • Boardwalk Attractions: Breaker’s Edge, Whitecap Racers, Intercoastal Waterway

Fast Track at Hersheypark might not be part of your budget, but if it is it will save you a lot of time waiting for attractions.

It may not be worth the upgrade if you have younger kids that will not be riding the big coasters. Check the Hersheypark height requirements to see what attractions your kids can ride.

If you do not plan on purchasing Fast Track, I suggest arriving early and prioritizing the most popular attractions first thing in the morning.

Take Advantage of Free Extra Hours at Hersheypark

When visiting Hersheypark all tickets include the preview plan. This allows guests to enter the park 2-3 hours before park close and visit the full next day. If you are a hotel guest you get an extra hour. Exact times can be found here.

Guests staying at a Hersheypark resort also have access to Sweet Start. Sweet Start allows guests and annual pass holders access to the park an hour before official opening.

hersheypark tips kissing fountain
The Kissing Fountain at Hersheypark is a great photo-op.

Stay at an official Hersheypark Resort

We have stayed at all three of the official Hersheypark Resorts and each offers a different level of accommodations with a different budget.

The Hotel Hershey is a luxury resort, the Hershey Lodge is mid-range and great for families, and the Hershey Campgrounds are great if you want to retreat back to a quiet place after a long day at the parks.

When staying on-site guests have access to Sweet Start. Sweet Start is open to hotel guests and allows entry one hour before official park open.

We accomplished a lot during Sweet Start and it was really helpful in planning our day. We started with Candymonium, then did The Hollow rides, and moved on to Resse’s Cupfusion.

With Wildcat’s Revenge open I would do it after Candymonium and Resse’s Cupfusion, or first if you really want to ride. Resse’s Cupfusion line moves so slow so we like to get that done with minimal wait times.

Make Time for the Boardwalk Water Park

The Boardwalk Water Park is pretty big for a theme park. It could be it’s own park to be honest and you can spend a lot of time here.

We made the mistake of trying to get on the water rides after dinner on a Friday to use our preview plan and most lines were 45 minutes or more wait times. If you want to spend time in the water park it is best to do it as soon as it opens at 11:00am.

If you are staying on-site you can use your sweet start to get on a few dry attractions and then spend a few hours at the water park. There are large lockers that cost $25.00 for the day. Remember to pack towels too.

Use the Hersheypark App

Hersheypark doesn’t have paper park maps so having the Hersheypark mobile app on your phone before you arrive at the parks is a huge help. We used the free app to help navigate the park as well as check wait times during the day.

You can also use the app to see what time attractions open, find dining, and answer frequently asked questions.

hersheypark tips chocolatetown
Chocolatetown is at the entrance to Hersheypark.

Explore ZooAmerica

We always include a visit to ZooAmerica into our visit to Hersheypark. It is included in your ticket price when you visit the park. The Zoo features North American animals. It is a smaller zoo but can be a nice quiet break from the park.

There is an entrance to the zoo at the back of Hersheypark so guests can easily visit both.

Consider Adding an All-Day Dining Deal

The all-day dining deal costs $39.99 and can be used at different locations throughout the park. You can use it every 90 minutes and this can be a pretty good deal if you plan your day out. Most meal plan options include an entrée and a side.

Meet the Hersheypark Characters

You can’t visit Hersheypark without meeting some of the Hershey characters. Characters are located throughout the park and you will often find them walking around saying hello and posing for pictures.

characters at hersheypark during christmas
Characters at Hersheypark dress for seasonal events too!

Eat at Chickie’s and Pete’s

There are so many options for food at Hersheypark but our favorite are the Crab Fries at Chickie’s & Pete’s.

If you take anything from this article you need to try them. They come with a side of cheese dipping sauce and it is delicious. We ordered the family bucket and shared it for a snack.

Everyone loves it and you will not regret it! There are two locations at the park. They are Midway America located near the Boardwalk and Pioneer Frontier.

hersheypark tips crabfries
Our favorite snack at the park!

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Stop at Hershey Chocolate World for a Ride on The Hershey Factory Tour

Our visit to Hersheypark is never complete without a ride on The Hershey Factory Tour. This is a free ride located in Hershey’s Chocolate World, not Hersheypark, but they are at the same parking complex.

The Hershey’s Chocolate World ride is free and so much fun. There are also paid attractions inside Hershey Chocolate World that you may want to include in your visits.

Be sure to check the hours if you want to include this in your visit because they are different than the park.

Add a Family Photo Pass to Your Ticket

Consider adding a family photo pass to your ticket to capture all your ride photos and character meet and greets. This is a one time fee and includes a digital album you can download of all your photos. Learn more.

Upgrade to a Season Pass at Hersheypark

If you plan on visiting Hersheypark multiple times consider purchasing a season pass. Season pass holders get great perks like early entry, discounts, and it often pays for itself after 2-3 visits.

Make Reservations at The Chocolatier

The Chocolatier is a chocolate themed restaurant at Hersheypark. It is located at Chocolatetown.

You do not need a ticket to visit but you do need a reservation. Do not skip making a reservation if you want to go. It is always busy and you may not get a table.

It is not the most budget friendly spot but it is a fun dining experience. A lot of the dishes are infused with chocolate flavors and they are unique to the restaurant.

We tried the Ferris Wheel Sampler which included Hershey’s Chocolate Barbecue Chicken Wings, Crispy Mozzarella, Classic Chicken Tenders, Buffalo Chicken Dip, and Soft Pretzel Dippers. We ordered a flat bread pizza as well and shared this between the five of us.

hersheypark tips chocolatier ferris wheel
A visit to Hersheypark should include a meal at The Chocolatier. The sampler is one of our favorites.

Consider Visiting Hersheypark During the Seasonal Events

Hersheypark has two amazing seasonal events. The Dark Nights Hershey Halloween event and the Christmas at Hersheypark event are so much fun.

If you are considering a visit and want to avoid the summer crowds consider visiting during these events.

More Tips for Visiting Hersheypark

We like to be prepared for our day at the theme park with good athletic shoes for the girls and these athletic shoes for the boys. As well as hats, sunscreen, and refillable water bottles.

Pack sunscreen, hats and refillable water bottles. There is not a lot of shade at the park and you will be happy to have the coverage.

All day locker rentals are available at Hersheypark. Hersheypark is cashless so remember to have a credit card for lockers.

Plan on doing a lot of walking and be prepared! Hersheypark is huge. Wear comfortable shoes and prepare for a lot of walking. Including up and down hills.

We like to have good sneakers like these men’s sneakers for the boys. For my daughter and I the sneakers are great for the hilly terrain of the park. I love the colors available too!

I hope these tips help you plan your visit to Hersheypark. We love visiting and it is a great amusement park to experience.

Read Next: Fun Things to Do in Hershey PA with Kids

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