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Trip Report Hershey, PA - Mini-trip report with young kids

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We made our annual Memorial Day trip to Hershey this past weekend. Spectacular weather made it a very enjoyable time.

We stayed Friday night at the Sheraton Harrisburg using Starwood points. (Believe the cost would have been $179 if we paid.) If heading to that area you might find Harrisburg to be a good alternative if you have trouble finding something near Hershey at a reasonable price. Hotel was clean and well staffed with three people at the front desk when we arrived around 10:00 p.m.

On Saturday and Sunday night we stayed at the Hotel Hershey. We stayed last year at their newly constructed Woodside Cottages and for us the extra cost is worth it. Those rooms are larger and very quiet. Our kids brought their Scooters and could ride around safely on the sidewalks. You do pay a premium for these rooms but they are fairly spacious for four people and you have little risk of being woken by those passing your room.

We've stayed many times in the main part of the hotel. Room location is key. The rooms that face the front of the park on the East Side of the hotel overlook the service area. On a low floor you will be woken by garbage pick-ups early in the morning. We've stayed three times now in the Woodside Cottages and think they're worth the extra cost.

On Saturday we had lunch by their recently refurbished pool area. Pleasant enough considering you're paying a bit extra.

If heading for a long weekend to that hotel you can have a great day not heading to Hershey Park. Our kids were in and out of the pool. In between I tossed a baseball around we mine son. My kids rode their scooters around. We went down to the sports area where they have a bunch of different games and equipment out for your use. (We "played" tennis, horseshoes, and shuffleboard.)

We stayed at the pool until 6 then had dinner at Harvest, the restaurant they opened last year. A bit pricey but the food is very good. Plenty of kids options and a decent wine/drink list.

After dinner our kids skated for 45 minutes on the hotel's all-weather "ice" skating rink. A pretty good deal for a $3 skate rental. We did not rent bikes this time but have done that in the past. As I said, there is plenty to do if you want to avoid the park.

On Sunday and Monday we did hit Hershey Park. The cost of a 2-day ticket is worth it as the 2nd day works out to $31 for adults. (Note that Hershey Park does have a preview option which lets you go to the park for the last two hours with a full-day ticket for the next day. We didn't do that this time, but have in the past.)

If staying at a Hershey operated hotel the tickets from the hotel are the best priced option. If not staying elsewhere or coming for the day Giant Supermarkets sells discounted tickets.

If staying at one of the Hershey owned hotels it makes sense to take advantage of the early opening time of 9 for hotel guests. On both Sunday and Monday we went in early and were able to ride the Comet roller-coaster multiple times before the official opening. When the park opens at 10, they will also open up access to the rest of the park.

I strongly suggest if you plan on going to the waterpark section you do that early. We got there at 10 both days and were easily able find chairs, get a locker and hit several of the attractions before the crowds started getting big. (The Roller Coaster and the surf-rider will get long lines. Hit those first.)

On Sunday we left the water park by 2 when it started getting really crowded. On Monday it was far less crowded so we stayed at that part of the park until it closed at 6.

If going with young kids they will have a great time on the East Coast waterworks. Basically five stories of water guns, hoses, slides, buckets of water, and other fun stuff. The one imperative is to pick a meeting spot. We saw a few kids that were in tears because they couldn't find their parent. We let our kids run and go wherever they wanted. (My daughter went for the slides. My son had found spot where he could drop water buckets onto people on the slides.) My kids knew that either my wife or I would be at a set spot the entire time. ( Note there is only one exit should be easy to not have them leave.)

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