Surprise trip

After Molly’s karate tournament Saturday morning, we told the girls we had another activity. We had been debating making a trip to Hershey for their Christmas Candylane. When we saw that Saturday was set to be an unseasonably warm, beautiful day, we decided to surprise the girls with a trip. And I mean surprise. We told them we were going some place and it would be a long drive, but that was it. It wasn’t until they saw the Hershey Kiss shaped streetlights that they realized where we were going. As you can see from their faces, they were still in shock when we got to the entrance.

Hershey Park surprise

We got to Hershey Park not too long after the park opened at noon. It was pretty empty compared to what we’ve seen before, which was nice. Many of the rides are closed, but plenty are still open. And there’s a bunch of special Christmas stuff in addition to the usual attractions.

First stop - Skyview. This gave us a nice aerial view of the park to see where there was special Christmas stuff set up.


Leah kept me safe up high. My fear of heights has gotten worse as I’ve aged, so this ride was not necessarily the best choice for me.

My riding partner

Molly was the only one of us brave enough to try the Wave Swinger, but she quickly discovered it was too fast and high for her. So, she closed her eyes for much of it.

Too fast, too high

Molly and Leah then chose to ride the Sweet Swing. Always fun and not intense, which gave Molly’s nerves some time to settle. They liked it so much they rode it twice.

Sweet Swing

As usual, I am in charge of spinny rides, since Jen does not handle them well.


Most of the roller coasters were closed. The few that were open included 3 of the most intense ones, as well as the Cocoa Cruiser - the least intense one. Leah was willing to try the Cocoa Cruiser again, and seemed to enjoy it during the ride. Afterward, though, she said it was “freaky” and did not want to do it again.

Cocoa Cruiser

Here’s another shot of Leah on the Cocoa Cruiser. You can also just make out Molly a few cars behind us (she was riding with Jen).

Big sister in back

We went for a ride on the Monorail to see even more of the park.


There were lots of special Christmas-themed things to do (Santa, reindeer, ice skating, etc.), but we didn’t do many of them. We did go to the Music Box Theatre to see a performance of The Littlest Tree.

The Littlest Tree

We then headed over to The Hollow to watch NOEL, their light show with lights animated to music. We even saw some of our church friends there who had a similar idea. In fact, lots of people had a similar idea. The park was not crowded when we arrived, but by this point it was packed. Lines were long and crowds were huge. Also, we were hungry, and lots more planned beyond Hershey Park. So, we headed out of the park.

But we didn’t go far. We headed over to Chocolate World right outside the entrance. First, we got some dinner (including chocolate drizzled corn chips and pretzels). Then we got in line for the Chocolate Tour. We ended up waiting a long time as the place was packed and the ride broke down for a while. But the girls love this ride, so we waited our turn.

Chocolate World

The girls really do love seeing how chocolate is made.

Making chocolate

The initial impetus for going up was actually to see the Hershey Sweet Lights. The local place that does lights was not doing them this year, so we got our fix in Hershey. So, we drove over after our visit to Chocolate World. The line of cars was so long, it took well over an hour to get in to see the lights.

Sweet Lights

They even gave us some paper snowflake glasses. These look like old-school 3D glasses, but they instead make all lights look like snowflakes (even those on the cars in front of you).

Snowflake glasses

Molly was excited to see an owl.


Here’s the same owl in snow-D.

Snowflake owl

The lights took about an hour to drive through. Then it was finally time to head back home. The girls thankfully slept in the car. We got home about 12:10 with a car full of tired people. I think I’m still tired, but it really was a lot of fun. The girls claim it was the best day ever.

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