The 2012 season at Hersheypark is most definitely all about Skyrush, and rightfully so, but a fellow member of The Hollow also got some big time love this year, sooperdooperLooper.
With all the extra guests flowing through The Hollow this year the ride needed a bit of a spruce-up, but the park went a step further and did the classic coaster even better.
When you approach the ride you can tell that everything looks fresh, the station has all new paint, and there's new signs all over. Also, for the ride's 36th season Hersheypark has changed the signs back to the original spelling, which includes a lower case s and an upper case L - which means an awful lot to our own Sabrina, who championed this change for years!
The use of orange is also significant, as that was one of the ride's main colors when it originally opened, long before the blue and black color scheme used today.
In addition to the spiffy paint changes and overall refreshing of the ride, the sooperdooperLooper also received a pair of brand new trains, created for the park by Gerstlauer. Physically the trains closely resemble the previous Schwarzkopf set, but are indeed a totally updated model.
According to Gerstlauer "every train features newly designed seats, lap bars and new running wheels. The trains don’t only win riders over with their technical features but also with the new design. It retains the style of the original trains and gives the coaster a new look in addition."
New look indeed, the new trains are a screaming orange color, another wonderful throwback to when the ride first opened. Retro is so in right now.
Check out a great comparison shot of the old trains!
Probably most important is how the trains ride, and I'm happy to report that they provide a comfortable and smooth trip on the Looper's course. The first looping coaster on the East Coast is better than ever with the new rolling stock!
Sorry for the cell phone quality of these photos, but it was easier to use that just before loading the train. I wanted to grab a shot of the new seats, which include only lap bars as restraints. So wonderful that seat belts were not added with the new trains!
The molded seats and headrest are also great contributing factors to the improved rider experience. There's adequate leg room, though I'm not exceptionally tall, either.
We'll end with a shot of the Gerstlauer logo imprinted on the seat. A while ago there were some brief rumors that the sooperdooperLooper might be retired, so I can't commend Hersheypark enough on going the opposite direction and investing heavily in the ride! Here's to another 36 seasons!