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2023 Year In Review In Hershey, PA

A Look Back At An Exciting Year In The Sweetest Place On Earth

What a sweet year in Hershey, Pa. in 2023! From opening a new steel and wood hybrid coaster at Hersheypark to winning the Hershey Bears' 12th Calder Cup to opening a new restaurant and hosting some amazing concerts at our entertainment venues, here's a look back at some of our favorite moments in The Sweetest Place On Earth this year.

Wildcat's Revenge Opens at Hersheypark

Celebrated by coaster fans everywhere, Wildcat’s Revenge, the all-new steel and wood hybrid coaster at Hersheypark built by Rocky Mountain Construction (RMC), officially opened on June 2, 2023. The new hybrid coaster features many one-of-a-kind features, such as the World’s Largest Underflip as one of four inversions, a lift hill of 140 feet and a top speed of 62 miles per hour. Check out all of Wildcat's Revenge stats here.

Our guests are loving the first year of Wildcat's Revenge and we were honored to receive the Amusement Today Golden Ticket Award for Best New Roller Coaster of 2023. The coveted Golden Ticket Awards were established in 1998 and are the direct result of votes cast by more than 500 experienced travelers worldwide. This is the first Golden Ticket for Hersheypark! Wildcat's Revenge was also voted in the top 10  Best New Attractions by USA Today 10 Best. 

As one of 15 coasters at Hersheypark, the wood and steel hybrid joins one of the largest and most iconic coaster collections in the United States this summer, 100 years after the first Wild Cat ride debuted at the Park. The Wildcat has a unique history at Hersheypark with several nods to the very first coaster our founder Milton Hershey purchased. 

After its debut in June, guests could enjoy lights out on Wildcat's Revenge during the last hour of Hersheypark Halloween and a new red and green light package for Christmas Candylane. Did you get a chance to ride in 2023?

Hershey Bears Win 2023 Calder Cup Championship

In thrilling fashion, the Hershey Bears AHL hockey team won its 12th Calder Cup Championship on June 21, 2023. Mike Vecchione scored at 16:19 of overtime in Game 7 to lift the Hershey Bears to their first Calder Cup championship since 2010 and their league-leading 12th overall in a 3-2 overtime victory over the Coachella Valley Firebirds at Acrisure Arena.

After losing the opening two games of the Finals, the Bears reeled off three straight victories on home ice at GIANT Center before returning to California. Coachella Valley then forced the decisive Game 7 with a 5-2 win in Game 6; Hershey became just the fourth team in the history of the American Hockey League to rally from a 2-0 series deficit and eventually win the championship round.

But, the Hershey Bears were not the only winners. Our community members also won with the Calder Cup Community Challenge as the Bears received a $10,000 donation from the opposing team to the charity of their choice. The money was shared with three Hershey-based organizations that align with our philanthropic focuses: Cocoa Packs, Hershey Heroes Special Hockey and Hershey Food Bank & Community Outreach.

Following a spirited celebration at GIANT Center, the Calder Cup briefly made its way around town at the various favored hotspots of the players, before the players enjoyed their “Day with the Cup,” to celebrate their hard-earned achievements with family and friends. Check out some of the places the Cup has traveled this year.

Now, in their 2023-24 season, the Bears look to defend their Calder Cup title. They have opened the season as one of the circuit's best teams, so be sure to bring the whole family to cheer on the Chocolate and White to victory! For ticket information, upcoming promotions, and more information on the AHL's most historic team, visit HersheyBears.com.

The Hotel Hershey Celebrates 90th Anniversary

A proud tradition since 1933, The Hotel Hershey celebrated its 90th anniversary this year. At a time when the nation was gripped in the throes of the Great Depression, chocolate magnate Milton S. Hershey undertook the building of a magnificent hotel high atop the town of Hershey overlooking his chocolate factory. During construction, Mr. Hershey gave his architect a postcard showing the front view of a 30-room hotel he visited in the Mediterranean. The architect used the design to guide his creation of a 170-room hotel with a tower at either end, featuring a Spanish patio, tiled floors, a grand fountain and a dining room without corners. Learn more about the Hotel's history.

Today, the Hotel - now a 276-room property with 25,000 square feet of meeting space, three full-service restaurants and a spa offering signature chocolate treatments - is recognized as one of the finest Historic Hotels of America. The Hotel is known for its refined elegance, signature service and abundant amenities and is a longtime recipient of the Forbes Four-Star Award and the AAA Four-Diamond Award. 

The Hotel commemorated its milestone anniversary with special festivities for guests throughout Memorial Day weekend, including a special anniversary cocktail, commemorative anniversary retail, and honoring our legacy team members with anniversary cake and punch in our historic Fountain Lobby.

Tiny Home Built By MHS Students Arrives at Hersheypark Camping Resort

This summer, Hersheypark Camping Resort introduced a brand new accommodation for guests - a Tiny Home built entirely by talented Milton Hershey School (MHS) students. Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company is proud to honor our founder Milton S. Hershey's legacy and partner with MHS - his school for children in social and financial need - on opportunities like this to provide valuable career exploration, mentorship, and authentic work experiences.  

Construction of the Tiny Home was completed in March 2023 and was relocated from the MHS campus to its permanent location at the campground, where guests began staying this summer. The 250-square-foot loft-style Tiny Home is the perfect choice for campers looking for a modern and trendy experience. It sleeps up to five and is open year-round with indoor plumbing, electric, heat and air conditioning and more amenities.

This cozy abode is more than just a place to stay; it's a testament to the values of our shared founder, Mr. Hershey. We look forward to more guests enjoying the comfort and charm of our Tiny Home and joining us in celebrating our partnership and deep connection to MHS in 2024.

New Brunch Restaurant, STACKS, Opens at Hershey Lodge

With an all-day breakfast and lunch menu as iconic as the Hershey Smokestacks, Hershey Lodge opened a new brunch restaurant called STACKS this summer. Formerly the Hershey Grill, this new eatery serves up dishes stacked high with flavor and offers both indoor and outdoor patio seating - perfect for all seasons.

Since the restaurant's opening in the summer of 2023, guests have enjoyed signature dishes reimagined like Milton Hershey’s favorite dish, Chicken & Waffles, as well as Build-Your-Own Stacks of Vanilla Custard French Toast, Belgian Waffles or Buttermilk Pancakes with specialty toppings, a Double Decker BLT, Ultimate Grilled Cheese and more. A drink menu offers a variety of cocktails, mocktails, decadent hot chocolate and espressos, and a dessert menu features the popular Cinnamon Croissant Beignets.

Have you been to STACKS this year? Check out the menu, and plan your visit! It's open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily.

Hersheypark Stadium Summer Concert Series Welcomes 12 Shows

September marked the end of yet another unforgettable outdoor concert season in Hershey, Pa. With a little bit of something for all types of music fans, the 2023 Summer Concert Series at Hersheypark Stadium was one for the books! Rock fans enjoyed performances from Blink-182, Pantera, Guns N' Roses, Nickelback, Lynyrd Skynyrd with ZZ Top and Red Hot Chili Peppers. Country music lovers couldn't get enough of Zac Brown Band, Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, and Outlaw Music Festival with the legendary Willie Nelson. We can't forget about the fun and vibrant performances from Big Time Rush in July and The Chicks in August! 

As we reflect on an incredible 2023 concert season, we're already counting down the days until our can't-miss lineup of shows begins in May 2024 at the Stadium. 

Hershey Theatre Celebrates 90 Years of World-Class Entertainment

Located in downtown Hershey, Pa., the historic Hershey Theatre celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2023 with another year of show-stopping entertainmentThe magnificent venue was conceived by entrepreneur and philanthropist Milton S. Hershey in the early twentieth century. Lancaster architect C. Emlen Urban drew the plans for the Community Center Building in 1915; however, it was built between 1929 and 1933 as part of Hershey’s “Great Building Campaign” of the Great Depression. The campaign also produced landmarks like The Hotel Hershey, Hersheypark Arena and Hersheypark Stadium. From its inception, the theatre was designed to be a beautiful place for Central Pennsylvanians to gather and enjoy a wide assortment of entertainment. 

Hershey Theatre played host to a number of incredible talent in 2023, such as must-see comedians Jerry Seinfeld and Jay Leno, along with performances from the iconic Diana Ross, Alice Cooper and more. The 2023-24 Broadway Series kicked off in October with “MEAN GIRLS,” followed by “CHICAGO” and continues in the new year with "Jesus Christ Superstar” and “MAMMA MIA!” 

Hersheypark Halloween and Dark Nights Expand Offerings

This fall, Hersheypark expanded its Hersheypark Halloween seasonal event and Dark Nights immersive haunt experience with more days and hours, a new fifth haunted house, enhanced scares and exclusive food over seven weekends from Sept. 15 through Oct. 29, 2023.

New this season, every Hersheypark Halloween ticket included entrance to all five Dark Nights haunted houses and three Scare Zones featuring all-new and evolved stories, as well as 50 family-friendly attractions and thrilling coasters, with lights-out rides on the new Wildcat’s Revenge hybrid and other select coasters. More than 55 limited-time cocktails, treats and savory eats exclusive to Halloween were offered during the seasonal event.

Hersheypark Halloween with Dark Nights immersive haunt experience was named a top 10 winner in the USA TODAY 10Best Readers' Choice travel award contest for Best Theme Park Halloween Event in 2023. The seasonal event at the largest amusement park in Pennsylvania ranked #6 overall as we continue to invest in Halloween thrills.

The Spa At The Hotel Hershey Gets A New Look

The Spa At The Hotel Hershey, affectionately known as the Chocolate Spa, completed the first phase of a multi-phase, multi-year renovation project this fall to update and refresh the spa's offerings. The first phase of renovations included three new treatment rooms, a new sitting lounge, new spa equipment, furniture, flooring and wall coverings. The Spa continues to preserve its beauty and timeless elegance while making upgrades that help the Spa deliver on its promise to provide the best guest experience.

Still need to plan your spa day? Visitors to The Spa At The Hotel Hershey can experience signature chocolate treatments and rotating seasonal treatments inspired by the scents of the season.  Before, in between and after treatments, unwind in one of four relaxation lounges, enjoy sweet refreshments like hot cocoa and double chocolate chip muffins, or, sip on cocktails at The Oasis - a restaurant exclusively for spa guests. Along with the steam room and sauna, amenities such as the indoor pool, whirlpool, and fitness center with daily fitness classes are also available for guests to use.

Hersheypark Celebrates 40 Years of Christmas Candylane and 20 Years of Sweet Lights

For 40 years, Christmas Candylane has delighted guests with a unique blend of only-in-Hershey holiday experiences that include the most lights in Pennsylvania, the only place in the Northeast where guests can get an up-close look at all nine of Santa’s reindeer, unique seasonal ride offerings and signature hot chocolate. We love being a part of the holiday tradition of thousands of families!

Our reindeer continue to be a popular attraction as guests can learn more about them from our experts at ZooAmerica and Governor Shapiro joined us to certify them to fly for Christmas Eve! In addition to adding Widcat's Revenge to our holiday coaster line up, we expanded Treeville, added Holiday Spirit's Rooftop bar at The Chocolatier and delighted guests with sweet and savory holiday treats.

Hersheypark Christmas Candylane was once again named a winner in the USA TODAY 10Best Readers' Choice travel award contest for Best Theme Park Holiday Event in 2023! Christmas Candylane was voted #4 overall,  securing a coveted spot as one of the top 10 best theme park holiday events in the country.

Hershey Sweet Lights drive-through light experience also celebrated 20 years of operation in 2023. Guests drive through two miles of fields and wooded trails decorated with nearly 600 illuminated, animated displays created from about 2 million LED lights. Happy holidays from all of us at Hersheypark!


Hersheypark Earns 6 USA Today Readers' Choice Awards

Throughout 2023, Hersheypark received several USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards. Thanks to our loyal fans and team members for helping us achieve the following recognition, including three “Top 5” rankings: 

  • #1 Best Theme Park Hotel - The Hotel Hershey
  • #2 Best Theme Park Restaurant - The Chocolatier Bar + Patio
  • #4 Best Theme Park Holiday Event - Hersheypark Christmas Candylane
  • #6 Best Theme Park - Hersheypark
  • #6 Best Roller Coaster - Skyrush
  • #6 Best Theme Park Halloween Event - Hersheypark Halloween and Dark Nights

Hersheypark is thrilled to be nominated again by USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards, this time for Best New Theme Park Attraction for Wildcat’s Revenge! Stay tuned to see how we ranked in early January 2024.

We look forward to another year of making sweet memories with our guests in 2024! From all of us in The Sweetest Place On Earth, we wish you a Happy New Year!