HERSHEY, Pa. (WHTM) — Between April and December, Hersheypark is open and millions of guests come each year to ride some of the park’s fantastic coasters, thrill rides, and to enjoy the park’s other offerings.
But, between January and March, the park is closed. So, what happens during that time? Does the park just become vacant for three months? Or what happens during the overnight and early morning hours during daily operations. Is no one there at that time?
Well, not exactly.
During the offseason, the park is buzzing with activity to prepare for opening day in April.
All rides and attractions go under a three-month intense refurbishment to ensure the rides are in tip-top shape when the park reopens in April. This means trains come off coasters, rides get disassembled and the park itself gets spruced up. This means that over 200 full-time team members are on hand to help with the process.
The park states that all coasters require to track and roller coaster trains according to their respective manufacturers. For example, the manufacturer of Candymonium says that the wheels of the trains need to be replaced every five years. But in between that time, the team will clean inspect and measure the wheels to make sure they are the appropriate diameter, according to the park.
A few coasters in Hersheypark’s lineup have their maintenance areas next to the coaster station, allowing for easy access to repair or refurbishment. Skyrush is one of these coasters. During that coaster’s off-season, the park disassembles the ride’s queue line and puts the trains in that area. Some portions of Skyrush’s trains are taken to the larger maintenance shop for power washing and something called non-destructive testing.
A guest favorite, Great Bear, has its trains disassembled as well. Seats, seat belts, and harnesses are inspected and repaired. For this ride, the wheels and brakes need to be replaced every 3 years. Again, this is based on the manufacturer’s instructions.
Once all the coaster trains and the track are assembled and put back together, which the park says happens around mid-march, the ride begins to complete multiple test runs. These are outlined by the ride manufacturer. This is to make sure that the ride runs smoothly each and every cycle.
Once the park opens for the season, the maintenance does not stop.
Every early morning, the maintenance team ensures the ride is safe every day the park is open. Hersheypark says the process starts around 5 a.m. and can take up to 5 hours to complete. For example, on Skyrush, the park states one team member walks the track to check the supports and connecting bolts, while the other person checks the lift hill to make sure everything is in working order. Then, daily test runs can begin. The process is pretty much the same on all of Hersheypark’s coasters.
Now you know what happens at the park when you cannot enter it. It takes a whole army of people to keep the park as sweet as it is!