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Sweet Changes Have Begun at Hersheypark
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Groundbreaking began during the winter of 2019 on Hershey’s new Chocolatetown, a sweet new development that is scheduled to open in the summer of 2020. The $150-million expansion project held its official groundbreaking ceremony January 9th. It’s the largest capital investment and expansion in the resort’s history. 

One of the changes will be a new primary entry for the park. The Chocolatetown entry will give season pass holders and guests staying at Hershey resort properties easier access to the park, and offer new spots to eat and shop. Also big: the park’s 15th roller coaster, which park officials are calling not just the newest but the longest and tallest.

To shape the new arrival area, the park will remove a number of Tudo Village buildings according to park spokesperson Quinn Bryner. 

Of the new dining, shopping, and play experiences, besides the planned roller coaster addition, the largest full-service restaurant, bar, and patio in the park will be located here. And the dining adventure will come with a view: open year ‘round, the restaurant and bar will include a second-story patio and bar. And the menu will be nothing if not innovative: there will be hints of chocolate throughout the dishes; plus craft cocktails, and the kind of stellar desserts one would expect from a restaurant with the Hershey pedigree. 

Also on tap: Scratch Kitchen, an ice cream parlor and confectionary. Here, guests will enjoy the services of personal ice cream-ologists providing exclusive ice cream creations. And the new confectionary will allow guests to watch candy makers creating the treats.

A new 2200-square-foot Starbucks will offer both indoor and outdoor seating. The largest kettle corn location in the theme park will also be positioned here.

As to the arrival area itself, the look will be shaped by a dramatic KISSES tiered water fountain; the park has released renderings of this new landmark. The new permanent gate will be moved forward “development will expand into the area formerly occupied by the Hersheypark swimming pool,” Bryner explains. 

In with the new – and the old – the park’s soon to turn 100-year-old carousel will be moved to this area of the park. 

Shoppers will enjoy the largest collection of Hersheypark merchandise in the park at a flagship store location also planned for the new Chocolatetown. At a planned 10,000 square feet, this will be retail experience like no other, with the largest collection of toys, apparel, and personalized souvenirs in the park. Many items sold will be exclusive to the park itself; park spokesmen also say the shopping experience will include interactive experiences.  

While the construction takes place this year, the rest of the park will be in full swing. For the 2019 season, the park entrance is moving to a temporary location, along with ticketing and guest services, some bathrooms and the area where visitors measure their height to determine which rides they’re safe to experience.

Enticing guests to  visit during construction are several special spring packages at the park, including accommodations, a full breakfast, and Hersheypark tickets for a family of four; an Easter package adds a special Easter Sunday breakfast. An accommodations and tickets package that runs from May to the end of September is also being offered; all are available at both Hershey Lodge and the Hotel Hershey.

May through September season passes are being offered at $156, $15 off regular pricing if purchased by January 31st. Regular single day tickets are $68.95 per adult, and $46.95 per child ages 3-8, and seniors ages 55 and above. Drink and dining plan add-ons are also available. The 11-acre waterpark, Hersheypark! The Boardwalk, is free with summer admission tickets and passes, as is the 200-adnimal ZooAmerica attraction. 

The HersheyPark in the Dark Halloween-season event and the winter holidays Christmas Candylane are also scheduled as usual. For February, also known as “Chocolate-Covered February,” Hershey’s Chocolate World will show off a new Chocolate Sculpture to be unveiled February 2nd. ZooAmerica offers a discounted $6 admission on Fridays and guests can watch zookeepers feed the animals chocolate themed treats on specific dates to be determined.

Once completed, Chocolatetown will offer an easy passage between Hersheypark and Hershey’s Chocolate World attraction.

Also new at the park: plans for a new ride called Reese's Cupfusion, which will open for the 2019 season. The interactive “dark game” ride will be centered around a mission to protect the Reese’s factory from rogue monsters and shield the Crystal Cup from theft. Commander Cup will lead patrol car riders through the attraction. They will be equipped with an amplifier that beams Reese's spirit in the direction of the invaders, preventing them from stealing the chocolate. 

The ride will allow guests to compete for high scores, ultimately earning a position into the ride’s Hall of Fame. The summer-debuting ride will be located in the Founder’s Way area of the park, and is described by VP of sports and attractions Kevin Stumpf as a “one of a kind gaming attraction” that merges a “love of chocolate and peanut butter with a dark ride experience and multi-level game player technology.” The attraction is planned to engage riders through sight, smell, touch, and sound. 

Hersheypark has been working hard on keeping the park fresh and sweet, recently debuting the Triple Tower – three free-fall drops designed to represent the company’s candies.

“We are incredibly excited to enter this next chapter in the rich history of Hersheypark,” John Lawn, president and CEO of Hershey Entertainment & Resorts, said in a statement. “Hershey's Chocolatetown will mark the true intersection where fun meets chocolate.

"Chocolatetown will be a place where chocolate-inspired attractions will transform the guest experience in new and engaging ways.”
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