Carousel at HersheyPark

Milton Hershey, like Walt Disney, was more than just a businessman. He was a man with a vision – a vision that incorporated much more than just producing and selling a product. Hershey invented his own town, complete with Chocolate Kiss-shaped street lamps. He invented his own school. And, of course, he invented his own theme park, built especially for the families of his employees. Long before Disneyland was a twinkle in Walt’s eye – in 1908 – Hershey had installed his first carousel.  And, by 1909, he’d installed his own scenic railway.

It shouldn’t be surprising, then, that Hersheypark has many of the best qualities of Disney parks – on a much smaller scale, and at a much lower price point.  At just 110 square acres, it’s a lower cost, more manageable experience that Disney fans are likely to love.

1. It’s all about the Founders and Their Visions

Milton Hershey

Both Hershey and Disney were Great Americans. Each founded a corporation that has become a legend. Each essentially invented a town (Hershey and Orlando).  Each envisioned and created a family-oriented amusement park with trimmings, which has far outlasted its creator. Each has his own museums dedicated to his life and work. Each provides extensive opportunities for young people.  Each has left an untarnished legacy of doing the right thing by the American people and their own employees.

2. Be “Edutained”

Chocolate World

Edutainment – education that’s fun – is part of both the Disney and the Hershey experience. You can learn all about animation, explore full scale art and history museums, or “meet” American presidents at Walt Disney World.  At Hersheypark, you can visit Chocolate World – a fun, engaging ride that’s really an educational introduction to the history and process of chocolate making. You travel to the rainforest to collect cocoa beans, watch and smell chocolate being processed, and then (of course) you’re treated to a fun-sized chocolate bar on your way out of the ride. Not surprisingly, you exit directly into a vast (and highly themed) chocolate and souvenir shop where you can also sip a chocolate soda or enjoy a chocolate sundae!

3. Enjoy a Truly Family-Oriented Park

Kissing Tower

Disney and Hershey shared a belief in the importance and power of the American family, and both men designed their parks with the entire family in mind. Like Walt Disney World (and unlike most typical amusement parks), Hersheypark offers a wide array of family-oriented experiences, rides, and venues that make it easy and pleasant to bring multiple generations to the park.

Entertainment is similar in style to the type you’d find on Main Street USA: All American barber shop groups, choral groups and bands from American high schools and colleges, country western acts, and more. Trees, gardens, and shady groves make it easy and pleasant to sit back, relax, and even allow the little ones to nap. A lake with live fish and birds offers a mellow place to hang out; you can even buy a handful of food for the fish and ducks. Rides like the Cocoa Cruiser and the Kissing Tower make it possible for very young children and older visitors alike to have mild fun on “grown up” rides.

4. Roller Coasters for Every Taste

The Comet Roller Coaster

Disney offers coasters for the timid, the curious, and the reckless. So does Hersheypark. The Trailblazer is a small, “pioneer” themed coaster that’s just right for the younger (or more nervous) rider.  For a Disney comparison, think Barnstormer.  The Comet is a world-class, old-fashioned wooden coaster – similar in intensity and style to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, but with less theming and more history. The Sooperdooperlooper and several other steel coasters offer even more intensity than Space Mountain, and are only for the truly fearless.

5. Climb Aboard a Train

Dry Gulch RailroadBoth Walt Disney and Milton Hershey were huge train fans. At Disney World, you can ride The Walt Disney World Railroad that takes you around a good portion of the Magic Kingdom; at Hershey Park you can experience the Dry Gulch Railroad. Both are low-key trips aboard a steam train; Disney’s train belches real steam, while Hershey’s is a true themed experience. Prefer a more modern, streamlined train experience? Both Disney and Hershey offer transportation via “futuristic” monorails!



I love that Hershey Park is within driving distance to many of us in Pennsylvania. I love that there is so much to see and do - at a reasonable cost. Everyone knows that Hershey Park offers deals and specials to many local businesses. I am just thrilled that Hershey Park has chosen to remain in Pennsylvania where it often has to close it's doors to the cold winters. WDW is nice..but that's a whole other level.. you have to drive or fly there which cost money, then lodge there, etc.
Milton Hershey was a visionary like Walt Disney, which is what I believe this article was about. I can see the similarities. I also believe that when I bite into a candy bar...it doesn't say Disney on it. I can appreciate the article. No negative feedback comparing the two parks please, just enjoy the article. You can agree to disagree--

I will agree with alot of the article and comparisons. Hersheypark is my homepark and we love it there. I've never been to a Disney park, and I'm sure HP doesn't compare, but HP IS way better for families than the bulk of the corporate themers like Six Flags and Cedar Fair. So much family activities and rides that most parks chain parks lack.

4 major coasters for kids 42" and under plus the kiddie coaster, so really 5. Can't find that anywhere else outside Disney to my knowledge.

Plus Zoo, Chocolote World and tons of scenic rides like Monorail, DGRR Train, Skyride, Turnpike cars, Kissing Tower and others.

While most corporate themers mainly care about extreme rides and kiddie areas so they can say they care about families, but really not much in between anymore. Seems like HP has a much different philosophy.

you forgot to mention that Hersheypark is closed much of the winter except for Halloween and Christmas Candylane. Having grown up in Hershey working there was something we all did in high school

Having lived an hour from HP most of my life, I couldn't disagree more. All of the similarities are because HP has started ripping off WDW--except all of the elements that they've copied look cheap by comparison. From character breakfasts to pin collecting, from the founders statue to the street entertainment, many of the same elements are there, but HP looks like a carnival next to WDW. The massive steel coasters looming all over the park destroy any asthetics that are there. We spent a total of 35 park days at WDW last year and I could have Spent twice as much time there. We went to HP for one day (for the first time in 15 years) and we got bored and left about half way through the day. My husband requested to never go back.

Hershey has a Monorail, Halloween and Christmas special events and more. I've lived within an hour of the Park most of my life.

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