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Trip Report Confectionery Excursion - Our Easter Adventure at Hershey Park

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Pre-Trip
=====================
Home, lazy and out of shape we rested on our laurels after narrowly escaping the Mouth of the Mouse in our Disney Adventures (http://www.fodors.com/community/united-states/disneys-evil-empire-of-happy-endings.cfm). But as the glorified gladiators of yore, we cannot simply pick the fruits of our labor in eternal restfulness, but keep our skills honed sharp.

Hence we decided to take another training trip…to hone our skills… and this time try to conquer the elusive Easter Bunny. A colossal cony - hater of the noble dentist… an anti-dentite if you will…who through witchcraft and sorcery lays scrumptious chocolate eggs to entice small and gullible children into its lair of delicacies and rotten teeth.

We must be careful though; this elusive creature…enemy to all dentists…shows himself only once a year and swallows whole teenagers, wraps them in garments of fake fur, funny ears and warps their feeble minds to commit heinous acts of villainy…such as giving colorful chocolate eggs to little children.

Even though…this humongous hare does the impossible and make those teens shut-up…maybe the bunny is not so bad…?

Through keen intelligence, reconnaissance and reasoning we deducted that this creature…known as the Easter Bunny … shows himself on…Easter.

All those years of reading Arthur Conan Doyle are finally paying off… ..."when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains…” etc... I can't be expected to remember everything.

Now we have a time frame, but where such a charming beast of pure sorcery might appear?

At the chocolate capital of the world…?
The US…?
Pennsylvania…?
Hershey, PA on Easter – the sweetest place on earth.

We made reservations at an establishment which meet our standards

Not five stars…
Not six or seven stars…
But eight…EIGHT STARS!

I think it's probably a 16 stars establishment but they are too humble to admit it – so instead they call themselves the "Super 8 Motel”in Harrisburg.

With such humility one can only assume they are Amish…not part of the Hershey family…who named a whole town after…themselves.

DD(I’m five-years-old) is sharpening her wits and skills of deduction.
DS (twoN-Aay-half) is exercising the “Arms of the Amish” for any future entanglements we might find ourselves in.

The wife is excited about another adventure to breakup the humdrum of a dull life with two small kids…
Wait a second…how can life with two small kids be dull?
Have I been suckered into spending our hard earned money on frivolous incursions previously enjoyed only by the rich and privileged?

Never mind – "happy wife, happy life" is my motto.

And me – I’m just going along for the ride.

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    I, and two of my friends, were once forcibly removed from Chocolate World at Hershey Park by armed guards.

    Don't ever get out of your trolley inside the factory and rearrange the displays. There are surveillance cameras about.

    Thin

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    Friday - April 2
    ===============================
    We left as planned…maybe an hour later…but with two young kids we consider that "on time". DD(I’m five-years-old) regaled us with her plans to capture the elusive Easter Bunny for the first hour…taking a one second break every minute to breath. Afterwards she started to sing songs of glory…or was it “Days of the Week”…it was hard to tell because my ears were bleeding…however I was enjoying the painful, but blessed, silence.

    We arrived at our destination, the Super-8 Motel, checked in quickly and ate lunch at the Skyline Restaurant to the tune of about $40 (two entrees, one child entrée and some drinks). We skipped dessert because we were dieting and headed over to Hershey’s Chocolate World.

    The drive from the motel to Hershey Park is about 10 minutes.

    We decided to go to Chocolate World first because the kids really wanted to see the intricacies of a chocolate factory as well as the benevolence of Mr. Hershey and…who are we kidding – it was free.

    We started out at this huge tourist trap…where one can get adorned with merchandising logos while buying those delicious merchandise at twice the price. As I was saying, we started out by cementing our cover and getting the kids indoctrinated into the Hershey family by earning their trust and disguising themselves as…factory workers.

    Yes, the Hershey Kissworld where every kid gets a hat, a photo ID and sent to work on an assembly line packaging Hersey Kisses …PhotoTagAndKissesConvenientlyAvaiableForPurchase…

    The kids, troopers as they are, put on a brave face…little did they know that a short 200 years ago they’d probably be reporting to that job for a sweet 12 hour day.

    From there we went to familiarize ourselves with the inner workings of Hershey and took the factory tour. OK, a “factory” tour might be stretching it a bit since it’s neither a factor…nor a tour.

    Maybe that’s why Hershey changed the name to “Hershey’s Great American Chocolate Tour", but in the annals of uninformed tourists it will always stay the “factory tour”.

    Basically it’s a ride, which through the magic of animatronics explains to you how chocolate is made. Fake yet informative and interesting with a delicious sample at the end to refresh your mind from all you have learned.

    Now it was time for the Hershey trolley tour ($13 a person) which we all thought was very interesting. The trolley takes you around the chocolate town, stopping at strategic places to point out interesting tidbits about the town as well as Mr. Hershey’s life while passing out delectable treats.

    Of course, we were on the lookout for the Easter Bunny, but I couldn’t help but overhearing that Mr. Hershey’s first name was Milton.

    What?

    It was not Jebediah as I have been told numerous times by a reliable source…or was it Jebediah Springfield…?

    After the tour, which was accompanied in stereo by two babies proclaiming their dissatisfaction of our slow advancement on the Easter Bunny – we searched for the hare high and low all over Chocolate World Marketplace Shops – we even searched by the Reeses’s Race Car – to make ourselves inconspicuous we even ordered milk shakes – the length we’ll go for the betterment of humanity…

    We finally acknowledged our failure by going back to the motel, hatching a new plan in their in-door pool while ordering pizza from a local joint for dinner.

    Tomorrow is another day and we are bound to succeed in our quest….

    Pictures at: http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/laorfamily/15/1270484821/tpod.html#album

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    Saturday - April 3
    ==================================
    Waking up on the second glorious day…the sun is shining…the breakfast comes with the room…and we're sure that this will be the day will confront the Easter Bunny.

    Off we went to Hershey Park…not before stopping at Giant food store to buy our discount tickets…because we’re cheap that way.

    Several weeks before, while thinking ahead on our trip I wanted to pre-purchase tickets off the Internet…at full price of $52.95 per adult and $31.95 per child (as for the other ... he's not three yet).

    What stopped me…the ridiculous $5 "convenience fee".
    My understanding is that I make things convenient for them…so I have to pay.
    Ha?
    Plus...I hate fees...I fight them off whenever I can...I even have my own line to the cable and phone companies....
    So, I voted with my wallet and didn’t pre-purchase the tickets.

    Why am I telling all this?

    $52.95+$52.95+$31.95 $5 = $142.85

    Tickets at Giant which were discounted from…TWENTY FIVE BUCKS were $21.50 and one child for $14.00.
    A significant saving for me and a significant loss due to “greed factor”.

    If everything I heard about Mr. Hershey is true, I’m sure he is spinning in his grave at this outrageous con.

    But I digress….since the kids wake up at 6 AM anyway, we were early enough to grab a prime parking spot as well as tour Chocolate World one more time.

    Hershey Park was actually wonderful, since DD(I’m five-years-old) could go on the majority of the rides and DS(twoN-Aaaaa-half) could go on many.

    Our goal has been reached mid-day, when we saw the Easter Bunny standing by…the kiddie rides…oh, the horror. He was ogling with plastic eyes all those newly branded teeth, probably calculating how much chocolate it will take to ruin them all.

    We attacked swiftly and from all sides…but were delayed by the “balloon ride”.

    When we finished, we were told that the Easter Bunny mysteriously left.

    Could it be a coincidence?

    I think – not!

    The rest of the day was spent going on rides, standing in line (it seemed someone at corporate underestimated the crowds), getting some lunch at one of the many eateries, touring the zoo and …standing in line.

    As well as seeing humanity at its best and unfortunately…at its worst.

    Tired and happy we stumbled out holding our souvenir picture (our big purchase of the trip) and a huge bag of kettle corn ready to embark on our congratulatory feast at Pavone's– around $80 for the four of us, including beer for mom and dad.

    Pictures at: http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/laorfamily/15/1270572410/tpod.html#album

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    Sunday April 4 (Easter)
    ===========================
    Easter – what a wonderful spring day, a great breakfast and knowing we've done our bit to help the dental profession.

    Luckily, we brought Easter baskets, presents and Easter candy to …. Hershey?

    We set out to Lancaster County, bidding farewell to the adoring citizens of Hershey who lined the streets to bid us farewell…or were they just excited about the nice day…unfortunately there is no way to know.

    After about an hour’s drive, with no Dunkin’ Donuts insight to relieve our fruitless search for coffee we finally arrived at "The Amish Experience…to experience the Amish.

    Assuming we’ll be the only foolish customers at Easter we didn’t make reservations…but we weren’t the only fools…not even the first fools.

    “The Amish Experience" offers a variety of educational items for the inquisitive person – a movie, a tour of an Amish home (not in use, just a demo) and a two hour bus tour in the area.

    Knowing that DS(twoN-Aaaaa-half) wouldn’t make the two hours, we opted for the movie and the house tour. The movie was a bit scary for the kids, but the house tour was very interesting and enlightening.

    By the way, if you’d like the Amish to build your house for you, they’ll be happy to but the waiting list is several years.

    We entered “Plain and Fancy”, an Amish styled restaurant with excellent, traditional Amish food for our Easter brunch. We sat family style with a wonderful family of a mother and two sons from California who are on an East Coast college trip.

    DS(twoN-Aaaaa-half), who was sick decided before desert that it was a good time to…empty his stomach… but hey, now we’ll remember the trip forever.

    After the wonderful meal, by that time the restaurant was packed, we drove on a self guided…actually a GPS guided tour of Lancaster county, making our way back to the main road via the back roads…and back home.

    Pictures at: http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/laorfamily/15/1270658335/tpod.html#album

    ===============================
    FIN!

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    That's a refreshingly new approach to stars... 8* = motel 8 :))

    So your daughter has updated herself from 4-and-a-half to 5, and your son has picked up on the family tradition of 2-and-a-half? :)

    For me, Hershey's ruined forever - I had the misfortune to watch ThatWoman+8brats visiting this place :(

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