Behind the Scenes: Games Department at Hersheypark
I think when most people talk about Hersheypark they are thinking about the rides. In my family the first thing my sons, and now my grandsons, think of is the games. How many can we play? I want to win prizes!
With those statements echoing in my head, I reached out to Janice Kingsley, Hersheypark Director of Games. I will also add that Janice is a great friend! She began her Hersheypark career more than 25 years ago as a way to earn some extra money for a family vacation. Fast forward and she is going strong as the head of a department that includes five managers, four games technicians and 284 part time/seasonal employees.
I asked Janice some “behind-the-scenes” questions and I found the answers to be very interesting; I hope you will too.
Q: How many games are inside Hersheypark?
JK: The Hollow has nine games of skill. Midway America and Founders Way both have seven games of skill. Kissing Tower Hill have eight games of skill and one arcade and Pioneer Frontier also has an arcade as well as six games of skill.
Q: How do you determine what types of prizes you choose for Hersheypark?
JK: The plush Hershey Bar, Reese's, Kiss, Jolly Rancher, Twizzler and Ice Breaker characters are very popular with all the guests; they represent the Hershey candies. Our Team watches movie trailers at the Games trade shows we attend through the year and that is where we make plush toy decisions. The Team also looks for fashion color trends. Also popular are headphones, snapback hats, remote control cars and fleece blankets with college logos.
Q: How do you determine the sizes of prizes?
JK: I have a “choke tube” sitting on my desk. How it works is: you place the object in to the cylinder and if the object fits entirely within the cylinder, it fails the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission test and may pose a choking hazard to children under the age of three years. We keep this in mind when selecting prizes, especially for items we use at our redemption areas. For our games of skill the prizes range from four to 64 inches.
Q: What were some of the big hits from the 2015 season?
JK: Some of our biggest hits were the 64" Giant Bear, Hershey Characters plush, 50" Sun Bear, Minions and Pokemon characters.
Q: What you anticipate to be the big hit for the 2016 season?
JK: I think that Hershey characters will continue to be popular as well as Minions and Pokemon. Our race game on the Kissing Tower Hill is going to have Mario, Luigi and Donkey Kong. The movie "Secret Life of a Pet" got lots of good responses at our trade shows so we are going to bring in some of that merchandise this summer.
Q: How do you buy the prizes?
JK: We really need to place orders as early as possible for the merchandise to be at the Park prior to Springtime In The Park opening. Every fall we attend the Stuffed Toy Manufacturers Association Trade Expo in Las Vegas. During this show, 12 vendors display their entire line of products which consists of hundreds of toys. Games managers from across the country attend this Expo. All the Games Managers provide feedback to the vendors; that determines what the vendors will manufacture for the following season. The majority of our orders are completed as soon as we return from that Expo. In November we attend the International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions Annual Expo in Orlando, FL. It is during this Expo that we finalize logos and colors for the items we ordered from the Las Vegas show. In January we attend the Toy Fair in New York City to view what is new in the toy industry. In February we attend the East Coast Gift Expo in New Jersey where we will place redemption orders and Christmas and Halloween orders.
Q: Where are all the games prizes stored at Hersheypark?
JK: We store our basketballs and seasonal items (Halloween & Christmas) in the Hersheypark warehouse, which is off Park property. The merchandise we receive in boxes or in bags is inside the Park in several warehouses. Each of the games areas throughout the Park have small storage areas where we will store prizes for that day’s play.
Q: How often do you get prizes delivered?
JK: We get deliveries weekly, either a 20 foot or a 53 foot truck, each week from June through August.
For more information about Hersheypark, visit Hersheypark.com, follow Hersheypark on Facebook or #Hersheypark on Twitter and @Hersheypark on Instagram. If you would like to join the Hersheypark Team and work at the Park, visit Hersheypark.com/jobs.