An Insider's Look at Off-Season Maintenance Efforts
What Happens to Hersheypark Attractions Each Winter?
Nine months out of the year, Hersheypark is bustling with families eager to experience the more than 70 attractions set on 121 beautiful acres. But during the winter, the amusement park might look like a snow-covered ghost town to the average passerby. This is because Hersheypark closes each year on January 2 and does not reopen until the first weekend of Springtime in the Park.
If you are wondering what happens to the 13 world-class roller coasters, more than 60 family-friendly and kiddie rides, and numerous water rides in The Boardwalk during the offseason, you might be surprised by the answer. It is a common misconception that things quiet down in Hershey, PA, as Old Man Winter arrives. The end of the Hersheypark operating season actually signals the start of the busiest time of year for the maintenance team. Hersheypark employs more than 200 full-time maintenance staff, including but not limited to electricians, mechanics, welders, carpenters and painters, who work behind-the-scenes through the winter to ensure that the millions of guests who visit the amusement park each year have a sweet and safe experience.
Starting in the New Year, the roller coasters are gently removed from their tracks using massive cranes and then transported to the Hersheypark Service Center. Inside, the coasters are disassembled, inspected and overhauled according to the manufacturer’s instructions. On a normal blustery day in mid-February, the mechanics are busy replacing nuts and bolts, the welders are rewelding the steel coaster frames, and the electricians are examining the ride controls. Once all of the repairs are made to the roller coasters, they are craned back onto their tracks inside Hersheypark in advance of spring, which is quite the sweet sight to see!
Throughout the winter, the other fun-filled rides are also stripped down to their frames. A visual inspection and various testing is conducted for maximum safety and compliance. Repairs are made on an as needed basis. One might see the Carrousel horses being painted, the Coal Cracker boat seats getting upholstered and a new undercarriage being built for the Dry Gulch Railroad. After each ride passes inspection, it is reassembled and brought back into Hersheypark.
Check out these behind-the-scenes photos from the Hersheypark Service Center.
The maintenance team plays such a critical role in ensuring the safety of our guests at all times. To learn more about the daily maintenance tasks completed during the offseason, stay tuned for our upcoming winter maintenance series. In the meantime, zoom on over to Hersheypark.com for the sweetest deal of the year.