One of our favorite places to go for some family fun time is Hersheypark in Hershey, Pennsylvania. We happily made our return a little over a week ago after an 18 month hiatus due to the pandemic. While they did open last summer, we opted to stay on the more cautious side and chose to sit last year out. During that time a new area of the park called Chocolatetown was due to open – while we were disappointed to miss the inaugural year, it did not take away from the excitement of finally getting to see it this year.
The new area features the renovated and relocated classic carousel, a brand new rollercoaster and several new shops and eating options. Chocolatetown is also the new entry point to the park and while our nostalgic side does miss the old entrance a bit, I have to say what they have created offers much better traffic flow and is very visually appealing.
Now let’s get down to what is at the heart of our whole blog – food talk! The new addition brought along with it many fun new food and beverage choices. I’d like to share some of our discoveries with you.
On our first day at the park we needed a break from the heat so we headed over to Chocolatetown for a little indoor rest and a snack. At Milton’s Ice Cream Parlor we discovered there was a second line where you could purchase a few food and snack choices other than ice cream. We decided to share a family bucket of fries.
This fun new discovery came with fries in four shapes: Waffle, curly, one that was like a scoop and tater tots. Along with the bucket came your choice of three dipping sauces. There were several to choose from and we went with cheddar, barbecue and a spicy mole sauce. I’m not the biggest mole sauce fan, but this one had a spicy and smoky flavor that was very interesting and I actually enjoyed it.
One evening for dinner we decided to check out the new restaurant The Chocolatier. It was on the second floor and offered a view of the new Candymonium rollercoaster while eating. The décor was simple and nice – there was even a row of booths made to look like a train on a rollercoaster! The restaurant offered a variety of menu items from sandwiches and salads to more elevated hot entrees.
We all enjoyed our meals, but we had two stand out favorite items. One was an appetizer of pretzel bites served with a grainy mustard and a cheese sauce and the other was a new drink, a S’mores martini. My wife loved the martini complete with graham cracker crumbs on the rim and a toasted marshmallow for garnish. It was a touch on the sweeter side, but I also found it to be a fun and enjoyable drink. My son also reported back that his drink – chocolate milk topped with whipped cream in a glass lined with chocolate syrup – was the best chocolate milk ever!
Later, while my wife was helping our son get onto one of the rides, I turned around and noticed a new food truck on the other side of the path. Before making our trip I read that they now have mini donut stands throughout the park and suddenly, there was one right in front of me! The stand offered a variety of sizes from a half dozen up to a bucket with two dozen. You also had a choice of varieties like powdered, cinnamon and sugar, vanilla glaze and chocolate glaze. If you were so inclined, you could also add a sweet dipping sauce.
In order to get a good taste of the donut itself, I opted for the more simple variety of cinnamon and sugar with no dipping sauce. I knew this variety would also go over well with my family when I surprised them with the treat when they were done with the ride. We all grabbed one and simultaneously took a bite and had the same reaction…. “Mmmmmm!” They were fresh, warm and delicious and definitely a treat we will enjoy again during future visits.
With two days left on our vacation, we decided it was time to try one more new treat. Milton’s Ice Cream Parlor is a new addition this year and although we’ve had ice cream from other stands in the park over the years, this new shop offers a whole different variety of flavors and toppings served up in an old fashioned ice cream parlor setting. The attention to detail in the décor really did give you a feeling of what it was like to go out for ice cream in Milton Hershey’s day!
There were so many fun flavors to choose from. We each decided to have a medium sized cup which gave you two flavor choices and one topping. I went with toasted marshmallow and graham cracker topped with Whoppers candy. My wife chose toasted marshmallow and birthday cake topped with Kit Kat and my son picked birthday cake and mint chocolate chip topped with Reese’s Pieces. The flavors were right on point and we all enjoyed our ice cream break. For our family, the new ice cream parlor was a hit!
Often on very hot days when we get to the park for opening, we will leave just before dinner and spend the evening back at the hotel eating dinner poolside at the more recently built Water Works pool facility. The lodge has a nice little food stand right there with simple menu choices like burgers, sandwiches, salads and such. It’s a great way to enjoy dinner and cool down from a hot day at the park while you eat. They also serve some fun cold beverages just for the adults to further help them cool down!
We truly enjoyed our journey complete with amazing weather, entertainment, many fun new food choices since our last visit to Hershey and above all, some much needed quality family time away together after a very long year at home. We were so grateful to have had the chance to go out into a world that felt a bit more like the one we knew before the pandemic started – it truly makes you appreciate the simple joys in life in a whole new way.