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The History of Wildcat at Hersheypark

Wildcat's Revenge Opens 100 Years After The First Wild Cat

Wildcat is back and seeking vengeance with the debut of our all-new Wildcat’s Revenge hybrid coaster! 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. 

Many people may not realize the unique history of the name “Wild Cat” at Hersheypark.  Check out the Hersheypark Wildcat timeline below:

Wild Cat (1923-1945)

The Wild Cat was purchased by founder Milton S. Hershey as the very first coaster at Hersheypark in 1923. Exactly 100 years later, Wildcat's Revenge reclaims the name and adds an all-new steel track with unique elements to the wooden framework for a one-of-a-kind thrilling ride experience found only at Hersheypark

Insider Tip: The hybrid coaster design was carefully chosen to offer something new while honoring the past. As guests enter the Midway America region of Hersheypark, they will be welcomed by a fully renovated coaster station with a design featuring low-pitched gables that harkens back to the iconic 1923 Wild Cat station. 

Here's more information about how our first coaster came to life:

  • Jan. 18, 1923 - New roller coaster, “Joy Ride”, is announced. Name later changed to Wild Cat as a gift to Milton Hershey in honor of the town’s 20th anniversary.
  • April 1923 - Hersheypark rents land to Philadelphia Toboggan Company who in turn build and operate Wild Cat.
  • Late April 1923 - Famous designer and future Philadelphia Toboggan Company president Herbert P. Schmeck begins work on Wild Cat, using laborers and carpenters from around the Harrisburg area.
  • June 16, 1923 - Wild Cat opens in tandem with the celebration of the 20th Anniversary celebration of Hershey.
  • Late May 1935 - Renovations by Philadelphia Toboggan Company and ride renamed to The Wild Cat. According to the Elizabethtown Chronicle the newly remodeled roller coaster included “dips made higher and curves banked more steeply in order to make more thrilling rides.”
  • Sep. 9, 1945 - Wild Cat closes to the public.

The Wildcat (1996-2022)

Wildcat at Hersheypark opened in 1996 and was the 5th coaster open at the park. Wildcat was 85 feet tall, reached speeds of 48 MPH and sent riders over hills, bumps and turns for 1 minute, 15 seconds. This was the first roller coaster designed and manufactured by Great Coasters International (GCI) and would be the first wooden roller coaster installed at Hersheypark since Comet in 1946.

Insider Tip: Wooden track from the GCI Wildcat hangs at the entrance to the 2023 Wildcat's Revenge

  • June 30, 1995 - Hersheypark announces the construction of a new roller coaster at the park, Wildcat
  • Aug. 1995 - Construction begins on Wildcat
  • May 25, 1996 - Hersheypark opens Wildcat, named in memory of the park’s first roller coaster, Wild Cat.
  • Mid March, 2013 - Hersheypark records the voicelines of Nick Pantalone, an attractions supervisor and team member, for Wildcat just days before his unfortunate passing. His voice is immortalized at Wildcat until its closing in 2022, and a plaque remains out front of the queue line in his memory.
  • July 8, 2022 - Hersheypark announces on social media that Wildcat will close on July 31. 
  • July 31, 2022 - Wildcat closed to the public, with a last walk through and ride afforded to the parents of Nick Pantalone, a former ride supervisor who had a deep love for the Wildcat.

Wildcat’s Revenge (2023-present)

Manufactured by Rocky Mountain Construction (RMC), Wildcat’s Revenge adds an all-new steel track with unique elements to the existing wooden framework for a one-of-a-kind thrilling ride experience found only at Hersheypark. The hybrid coaster features a 140-foot hill, maximum speeds of 62 miles per hour and four inversions, including the World’s Largest Underflip.  

The 2-minute and 36-second experience begins as riders climb a 140-foot hill, plunge into an 82-degree drop and hit a maximum speed of 62 miles per hour along 3,510 feet of red track on a black steel and wood structure. The pursuit continues as riders stalk their prey through four inversions, including the World’s Largest Underflip, an inversion that begins with an upward climb, followed by a counterclockwise 270° roll and a dive down towards the side. 

  • Nov. 2, 2022 - Hersheypark announces that Rocky Mountain Construction will be constructing Wildcat’s Revenge, the park’s first steel and wood hybrid coaster that would utilize existing structures and layouts from Wildcat.
  • Nov. 4, 2022 - The first pieces of track make their way to the construction site.
  • Nov. 9, 2022 - Wildcat’s Revenge has its first piece of track officially placed, marking the start of full time construction on the attraction.
  • Nov. 15, 2022 - Hersheypark unveils the design for the front of the new trains at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions. They are beautifully sculpted wildcat sculptures in silver, black and charcoal and widely popular at the event and over social media.
  • Jan. 21, 2023 - Hersheypark and RMC announce the completion of the underflip, marking a major milestone in the construction process.
  • April 17, 2023 - Wildcat’s Revenge lift hill is topped off.
  • May 18, 2023 - Wildcat’s Revenge train goes over the lift hill and makes its first full test run. 
  • May 19, 2023 - Opening Day of Wildcat’s Revenge is announced to the public, consensus is joy and excitement over the attraction being done much sooner than many expected.
  • June 2, 2023 - Wildcat’s Revenge opens to the public.

The chase of a lifetime begins June 2

Join us for the opening of our all-new wood and steel hybrid coaster with tickets to visit Hersheypark this summer. Save on 2023 tickets now when you purchase directly online. Start celebrating our 15th coaster with themed food and retail throughout the park and make sure you show us your excitement for Wildcat's Revenge by sharing your photos and videos with us on social media using #WildcatsRevenge and #HersheyparkHappy. See you this summer!