The day after Labor Day is a sad day for devoted amusement park fans. It’s the day when most parks north of Florida and east of California board up their doors, at least during the weekdays. It does however give me a chance to catch up on my writing. I finally have the opportunity to write my review of Hersheypark’s Skyrush!
Skyrush, Hersheypark’s third Intamin coaster debuted this year to great and not so great reviews. The main point that seems to have gotten a good bit of attention is the lap bars. It seems that many people have nicknamed the ride ThighCrush because of the pain felt from the lap bars. I have managed to ride the coaster 3 times, and in all three times my legs have come out unscathed. I’m a hefty guy so maybe the padding between the restraint and my bones has protected me.
As you head on the newly built path towards the coaster that is towering over the park you can hear an almost siren like sound as the coaster heads up the lift on an elevator style lift system. The ride then plummets 200 feet down an 85 degree drop and reaches a speed of approximately 75 miles an hour as the ride approaches its first curve. The ride then throws you through a series of small hills and highly banked turns before you hit the brake run at the end of the run.
My first ride on Skyrush happened in the middle of June. We waited about an hour to get onto the ride. Being a bigger rider I was worried that I may not fit under the lap bar. As we approached the station we learned the train has sensors that won’t allow the train to be dispatched if the lap bar is not down to a certain level (we also later learned that there is a seat out front to test if you will fit and is actually outfitted with the same sensor and a green light that comes on if you’re good to go). It was finally our time to board the train, we got in and the lap bar was pulled back and I fit. Now the pit in my stomach was just from the anticipation of the ride.
Once we boarded the non-winged seats in the middle of the train and were locked in the all clear was given. The dispatch buttons were hit we were off like a rocket. The speed of the train looked fast from the ground but felt so much faster on the ride. We crested the hill and as we were heading down that first drop we were out of our seats. It felt as though our butts did not return to the seat until we hit the brake run at the end of the ride.
The next two experiences I had been at a special ERT event where we got to ride with little to no wait. This was my chance to ride in the front winged seat and I was excited beyond belief. As soon as we hit the bottom of the first drop I realized I am not a fan of the winged seats. I knew from the previous ride that you were out of your seat but I felt like a rag doll being thrown around. The train was curving to the right and my body was still going left. It wasn’t a painful rag doll experience; just an “I’m not sure how my body is still on this train” kind of experience.
My final ride was another middle non-winged seat. This ride and the front seat ride were both in the dark. I wear glasses and obviously this is definitely one ride you can’t wear them on (do not take anything you value on this ride, it will be lost!) I’m almost blind without my glasses so when we hit the point where the train crosses under the track I began to come out of my seat and thought for sure I was going to smack my head on the track above.
After unloading from my last ride of the night I decided this ride is great, it’s intense and it scares me a little bit. Okay, okay it scares me a lot (which is rare because I was a ride operator many moons ago and know the safety mechanisms and the huge amount of attention to safety they put into the ride and it’s operation). I’d probably definitely go on it again but I don’t see myself wanting to wait for it.
On the negative side of things I only had one major complaint. This ride is squished in next to comet and they had very little plan in exit strategy. Riders have to unload from the train on the same side as riders waiting to board the train. This made the load/unload cycle take way longer than it should thereby increasing the wait time. I wish they would have found a way to get the train unloaded on the opposite side or made an exit station.
For more pictures be sure to visit http://supkophoto.smugmug.com/AmusementParks/Hersheypark