Well, they finally made it. After several weeks of wondering if they’d be able to open at all, Hershey unveiled the brand new expansion we’ve been anticipating for so long. And who was worried? It was only the largest expansion project in park history, adding twenty-three acres and clocking in at $150 million. It’s a shame the virus situation poured a bit of cold water on their plans, but in spite of all that, the net result is just as spectacular.
The grand Hershey’s Chocolatetown sign welcomes you to the spacious new themed area. Major retail and dining opportunities are located just outside the park gate, providing a year-round experience. Brick is everywhere, the architectural design paying tribute to historical downtown Hershey, with lots of details borrowed from the old chocolate factory and other buildings. The embedded compass, just in front of the park entrance, features brass plaques full of history.
The transition into the park reveals a breathtaking view of the new B&M coaster Candymonium, its station building fitting in perfectly with the Chocolatetown architecture. The candy-colored trains pass numerous times over the meandering Spring Creek, finally roaring around the soon-to-be-completed Kisses Fountain before heading into the unique dipping brake run. Just to the left is the new home for the park’s classic Philadelphia Toboggan Company Carrousel (#47 built in 1919); the lighting package is simply stunning at night, and the new location is not that far from its original placement oh so many years ago (about where the new Kisses Fountain is now located).
The new area is vast, the idea being to correct the bottlenecks that plagued the old Tudor entrance. With plenty of acreage, there’s room to explore and roam around, enjoying the fountain, coaster, Starbucks, shopping, and Hyperdeck VR.
Hershey’s Chocolatetown is an impressive upgrade for the grand old park. Although I confess missing the old Tudor pathway up to the front gate, the new arrival experience, architecture, ample space, and new vistas will serve the park well for many decades to come. Now maybe a vintage milk delivery truck parked along the way?