I have been working on this post for a while, but I have finally been able to write it now. This past summer, I had a season pass to my local amusement park, Hershey Park. I have gone here for years, ever since I was little, but this was our first year going as annual pass holders. Since we had these, we went more frequently than usual and I was able to notice more of what happens in the park, what they added and that, surprisingly, there were quite a few similarities to Disney parks. Here is my list of some of the similarities I have seen:
Characters: While there are not princesses or Mickey Mouse at Hershey Park, there are interactive characters that you can meet, including some singers in shows and candy characters that will pose for pictures with you.
Country Name Tags: This has happened in the last few years, but on the bottom of the name tags that the workers wear is the name of the town or country they are from, like on the bottom of the Cast Member name tags in Disney.
Buses to Resorts: Another addition that has been fairly recent is the bus transportation to the two resorts and the campground directly to the park, smaller but much like the Disney Bus transportation.
Pin Trading: Yet another new feature at the park, just within the past year actually. The parks sell lanyards and they have about 20 or so total different pins that are for holidays, a couple rides and characters. Not nearly as elaborate as Disney pins, or much variety, but they are around the same price. The workers in the park all have lanyards as well and will trade with guests for different pins.
The Smell of Turkey Legs: Ok, odd similarity, I know, but this smell hits me every single time I go past this restaurant that is in the Pioneer Frontier area of the park. The restaurant is called Freeman's Texas BBQ and every time you walk down this hill from the roller coaster Storm Runner, you smell the sweet smell of Turkey Legs! I always am taken back to Frontierland when I smell this. Sidenote: We did try the turkey legs before and they are not a terrible substitute for Disney Turkey Legs, though they are smaller and have less meat. Disney still has the best by far though, of course.
Sneaky Queues: Some people may know what I am talking about with this, but others may need an explanation. You know how the Disney queues are designed so that you look like you are nearing the end, but then they take you into a whole separate room with 15 more switchbacks before you get to the end? I refer to these as sneaky queues and there are a few of these in Hershey as well.
Photographers: At the entrance of the park, there are photographers that will take your picture in front of a statue of Milton Hershey and you can pick it up at a special photo are later. Not as technical as the Photo Pass system with the portable cards, but still the same general idea.
Package Pick-Up: You are able to buy something in a store and have it sent to a store at the front of the park to pick up as you leave. As far as I know, they do not have the package service to send them back to the resort as Disney does, but they still have this convenient first part.
Similar Attractions: Roller Coasters aside, there are a couple specific rides in the park that remind me of Disney attractions. The first of which is the monorail, which is not a form of transportation as in Disney, but just a relaxing ride through the park and zoo to show off what there is to do. The other that comes to mind is Reese's Xtreme Cup Challenge, a ride that is similar to Buzz Lightyear in that you use lasers to hit targets to try to accumulate points.
If you have ever been to Hershey Park and have more to add to this list or you have any questions about Hershey, feel free to ask! Want to learn more about Hershey from a Disney-lovers prospective? Tune into Inside the Magic, episode 289, where host Ricky Brigante talks about his experience at Hershey, including a look at the resorts which I have never had the opportunity to experience.