I did not manage to get to last week’s game. Due to the occasion of my cousin’s wedding, we had house guests. The wedding was on Friday (and I promise to discuss weddings further in a future post) so Chuck was able to attend! My oldest little brother, Jon, and his wife stayed with us for the weekend. On Saturday, instead of venturing out to enjoy the foliage and watch Bloomsburg thrash Gannon, my brother and I spent the whole glorious day at Hershey Park.
This amusement park is home to some of my favorite memories. My first trip was with the Daisy Girl Scouts at the end of my kindergarten year. I almost died on the Comet, an old wooden roller coaster. My skinny little self held on to the lap bar for dear life on every camel hump- since then, they have added lap belts to this ride as well. One year my family went to the park and we ate concession food (a huge treat!) for lunch, paying for it with the change Mom collected from the laundry all year. Sometimes I went to the park with Aunt Mary, Mom’s baby sister. Once, Mom, Dad, and every single one of us kids wore a purple t-shirt so it was easy for us to find each other. Dad thinks it’s hilarious/practical to wear eye-catching clothing (like a neon yellow hat or shirt) at the park. He figures it’s the best way for everyone to find him again if we get separated. Really, it just made me grateful when Jon and I were permitted to roam the park on our own.
Jon is my oldest little brother, only 21 months younger than me. He and his wife live three and a half hours away so whenever they come up to visit family (most of my immediate and extended family lives in central PA), they bring the dog and stay in my guest room. My cats hate their canine “cousin” but otherwise it is always a fun time. Growing up, we were best buds. Now he is my favorite house guest and roller coaster partner.
Are you a roller coaster person? The most frustrating thing about visiting amusement parks, besides the long lines, is finding a riding partner who likes roller coasters.
After breakfast on Saturday morning, I dressed for the park and came downstairs to ask Jon if he was ready.
“I can wear my sandals?” he asked excitedly when he noticed my flippies. “I wasn’t sure.”
We grew up mostly barefoot, and both of us still prefer to be as shoeless as possible. Jon is a major MANdal proponent. His current mandals are Invisible Shoes (Huaraches), which are pretty darn cool.
Here is how to have an awesome day at Hershey Park with your brother instead of going to a football game:
- Have an awesome grandma who hooks you up with free tickets. Mine has a friend who works at the park. If you don’t have an awesome grandma, go to AAA or the grocery store to get discounted tickets.
- Get to the park on time. Arrive at or before 10am, when the park opens.
- Run or speedwalk or just match your brother’s loping pace to get to the rides with the longest lines. Dodge strollers. Circumvent families with children on leashes. I recommend you queue up for Fahrenheit first as the trains only hold 12 people at a time and the line is often loooong.
- Meet up with friends! My uncle just happened to bring his kids to the park on Saturday, too. Bumper cars are the best with a large group!
- People watch while you are waiting in line. I spotted a delicious pair of Amish teenagers in full rumspringa gear – English clothing with terrible bowl cut hair. My cousin Joelle is single so of course I tried to get her to exchange numbers with them. She was pretty sure they weren’t her type.
- Eat funnel cake. It’s no more expensive than any other funnel cake you would find at a fair or carnival. We had chocolate funnel cake with chocolate chips and chocolate syrup. Be jealous.
- Wait to ride the Comet until dark. It’s better at night, when they turn on the lights. Ride the Great Bear and the SkyRush during the day – the views are spectacular.
- Do not sit on your huaraches when you ride The Claw. They might fall out of the seat when your butt lifts up. True story.
- Bring a bottle of water. I threw a 32 oz. Fiji bottle in our backpack. The security guard who checks bags will hem and haw over the size, but the square bottle will confuse him. If he questions you, remind him that you only brought one water bottle into the park for two people. Also, it was just filled with filtered water from my tap. Don’t have a cow.
- The green car on the Lightning Racer roller coaster usually wins.
- Stay until the park closes.
- Pretend you are not exhausted and old. Then sleep all day on Sunday.
I got sick on Monday and had a horrendous head cold for a few days. Sudafed makes me totally hyper, so I went from being exhausted for two days to being mostly manic for two days. Feeling better now. Tonight is First Friday for Families at the LPL. See you there!