Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sabrina's Brochure Spotlight: Hersheypark 1989

We're halfway through Hersheypark month here in SBS land. Is the glass half empty or half full? Then again, perhaps a more appropriate question would be whether these folks' clothes were half wet or half dry...

Anybody remember a certain little "dry" water slide complex known as the Frontier Chute-Out? Or has that fancy new Boardwalk area erased all memories of such inferior water attractions? In any event, the park patrons of 1989 weren't complaining. Water rides were all the rage back then, and Hersheypark responded by building Canyon River Rapids in 1987 and the Frontier Chute-Out in 1988. Unfortunately, as I'm sure you all know, neither one is still around. I can't say I miss the Chute-Out too much, but I was sad to see the Rapids go the way of the dinosaur.

But in the spirit of having a "glass half full" attitude, we still have the Coal Cracker! These folks didn't care one iota about the spiffy new "modern" water attractions on the other side of the park. They recognized a good old-fashioned log flume when they saw one! Here's hoping that we'll be able to enjoy this ride for many, MANY more decades. [*cough* Don't you DARE remove the Coal Cracker, Hersheypark! EVER!! *cough*]

Before we dive into the next couple sections, I'd like to beg your forgiveness for the broken up visuals. The thing is, Blogger doesn't play nice with tall images. It tends to condense them into a completely unrecognizable thumbprint of a size. So I've posted them in pieces for display purposes, but if you click on any of those pieces, you will get the full (though still smaller than the actual size) composite image.

Now that we've gotten that bit of housekeeping out of the way, let's explore why the Hersheypark of 1989 sounded like fun. This particular tag line didn't have nearly the staying power of "Hersheypark Happy", but you sure can't argue with it. Two primary reasons for that fun are pictured here, side by side: the Comet and the sooperdooperLooper. These two coasters were the biggest, baddest rides at Hersheypark in the '80s. (Can you imagine?!) Now you all know how much I love it when cheesy park t-shirt guy makes an appearance, so I had to chuckle at the double dose of cheesiness seated in the front car of the Comet. To Hershey's credit, at least there was no Photoshopping involved!

Following on the heels of its rebranding and growth spurt in the '70s, Hersheypark continued to expand throughout the '80s. The Wave Swinger, Cyclops, and Paddleboats (and obviously, Canyon River Rapids and Frontier Chute-Out) pictured in this spread were among the many new rides added during this decade. Conspicuously absent from all the "fun-filled" copy on these panels is any mention of the ride which made its debut in 1989. It was yet another water ride, a kiddie log flume called Tiny Timbers.

Much to the chagrin of central Pennsylvania's adrenaline junkies, Hersheypark's "wet spell" in the '80s contributed to a seemingly endless dry spell in coaster construction. Fourteen long years passed between the opening of the Looper in 1977 and the addition of Hershey's fourth coaster, Sidewinder, in 1991. (To add insult to injury, may I remind you that Sidewinder is a Vekoma Boomerang. Ouch, Hershey. Just...ouch.) Fortunately, they have more than made up for that deficit over the past 10 years--and I'll delve into that a bit further when I close out Hersheypark month next week!

One more fun fact before we move on: Although this brochure betrays no evidence of it, the sooperdooperLooper received a drastic new paint job for the 1989 season. Gone were the traditional orange and white hues, replaced by the now familiar shades of black and blue. I distinctly remember the shock of seeing this new color scheme for the first time. Call me a traditionalist, but I never have warmed up to it.

Anybody besides me feel like crying over the $17.95 admission fee of seasons past? Somtimes it just boggles the mind to look back at these old brochures and remember what a day at a theme park used to cost. Then my mom chimes in and tells me how it cost little more than pocket change for her to visit Hersheypark when she was a kid. But that's a "glass half empty" view of the industry, my friends! Just think of how much Hersheypark has added since 1989 to justify those rising prices. And if you're too tired to think about it, wait until next week and I'll show you!


Harry said...

I have seen this post in the past, which I thoroughly enjoy, by the way. I hadn't thought of this before, but I did just now. What does this price look like when it's adjusted for inflation for the time period this Spotlight was posted?

- $17.95 adjusted for 2010 inflation is $31.57.

- A ticket to Hersheypark in 2010 was $52.95.

The price difference:
- $21.38 in 2010 USD
- $12.16 in 1989 USD.