Hershey’s Launch Coaster, Short but Memorable
As a big steel coaster fan, I was curious to see how good Storm Runner really was. Since it wasn’t there the last time I went to the park I figured a 2 hour trip to re-visit Hersheypark wouldn’t be a bad idea.

On this Intamin Accelerator Coaster, riders are launched from 0 to 72 mph in 2 seconds. The launch has a great viewing area where onlookers can wave at their friends and families aboard the ride. Launch coasters have been a great addition to the theme park landscape. They really bring some wonder and amazement to your average park goers. Immediately after the launch the train is shot up a 150′ (15 stories) hill. It’s shaped like an upside-down “u” and is known as a top hat. It’s purpose is to give riders a brief pop of airtime as they crest the hill.

The launch was fun, but not as amazing as advertised by others in the coaster enthusiasts community. I’ve probably been talking to too many Pennsylvanians. I prefer Volcano’s launch as it seems so raw and powerful. And I didn’t get any air in the back of the train on the top hat hill, but it was cool having a few seconds to look around. The steep drop on the other side was great. Thanks to a ravine below you drop down 180′ feet and then you enter the first of the three inversions (loops).

The first is a large looping maneuver known as an Immelmann. I like these inversions on B&M coasters, but this one was just so-so. Storm Runner really redeems itself with the next few elements. After the Immelmann the train climbs back up to about 100′ in the air where you perform an awesome zero-g roll. Aside from a brief feeling of weightlessness, you can see how high you are as the ground is far below. The roll is followed immediately by Storm Runner’s coup de grace. A unique inversion Intamin has dubbed the flying snake dive. It’s tough to describe and the feeling it gives is pretty disorienting. In a good way. It’s easily the highlight of the ride.

After it, you fly over a stream, go through a funky banked section and then hit the station brakes. So you’ve got a coaster with an exciting if not spectacular launch, a great drop, so-so inversion, great barrel roll, and a sick new inversion. I know Hershey is strapped for space, but at least a nice long helix or some bunny hills towards then end would really help balance out the ride. Lastly, it’s a great coaster for photo ops and has a unique layout. It’s not a bad ride by any means, but for me it’s not quite in the upper echelon. If I right away think of what could have made it better, I can’t give it a 9 or 10. Final Rating – 8.5 (Great-Approaching Excellent)

Check out this video of Hersheypark’s Storm Runner:

What’s Your Take?
What do you think of Storm Runner? Leave a comment below.

About The Author

Founder of CoasterCritic.com. My favorite coasters are B&M hypers and gigas. I'm also a huge fan of terrain roller coasters.

26 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    is storm runner for people who liked Great Bear but thought the Sooper Dooper Lopper was a rip off because it only had 1 loop?

  2. The Coaster Critic

    What were you doing in 1977? That's when Sooper Dooper Looper was built. Back then even one loop was a big deal, so it's not really fair to call it a rip off. Look at it as a piece of history, my friend.Anyway, while I love Stormrunner's loops I think its main attraction is the launch. So I would say Hershey installed Great Bear because they needed a large steel coaster and didn't have an inverted coaster, SRunner for its launch and now Fahreheit for its beyond 90 degree drop.Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Matthew

    hey coaster critic, is that snake dive the same thing as a dive loop. I think they look really alike. Well actally it kind looks like a dive loop but a corkscrew before it

  4. MarvelMaker

    I hate the last part of this ride when you are approaching the brakes, that weird curve. It's rough and annoying. But the launch is really fun. I can't wait to ride Volcano: The Blast Coaster on Monday.

  5. Matthew

    Man the inversions on this ride are so cool, I mean most of the launch coasters only have a couple of inversions, this one has such unique ones. The snake dive looks really cool.

  6. Mike

    April 25th my goal is to get on Stormrunner (if it's up and running!!!) last year it wasnt 🙁

  7. Prof. BAM

    When I was in Hersheypark in '06, I didn't have the time to ride it. I regret my mistake greatfully at not planning ahead. The Flying Snake Dive would have been awesome to go through. Other members of my party rode it several times, but I was too busy riding Lightning Racer all day. What a fool I was now that I look back on that day. I stayed at the hotel across the street from the Midway America section of the park, and every so often, I viewed Storm Runner cresting its top hat. My heart had sunk down. I haven't forgotten that mistake.

    • Mike

      u gotta make it back one day and do it! an interesting question i have is what are the various reasons rides break down and can you find out ahead of time if a ride is not going to be operating when you are going? Last time I was there it wasn't running. I have no idea why? I went last April and am going basically the same weekend as last year. The park is closed to the public so I'm nervous maybe that's why it wasn't running and it won't be running again ?

      • Quil

        errr… all of the question marks confuse me. i can`t tell if you mean what you mean or the opposite, both of which haven`t been identified.

      • Mike

        ok let me put it this way. Why do rides break down? Can you find out ahead of time if a ride will be operating on the day you visit the park? I didn't know why StormRunner was not in operation on 4/26/2009. The park was closed to the public that day. Can a roller coaster be inoperable because the park hasn't official opened to the public? I'm worried when I visit the park again StormRunner will not be operational?

        Hope that clears it up for you 😉

  8. Rollercoasterdude

    I have season passes to Hershey and only live about 90 miles away from it. We go up about 10 times a year. Don't worry, their rides, especially StormRunner are very rarely broken. And if they are, the fix them FAST. They have the chocolate Hershey money that repairs all the rides. It's a multi billion dollar business. They keep the park super clean and the rides are WELL mantained. Milton Hershey was smart when he founded the park 103 years ago. Come back and enjoy! You'll be glad u did!

    • Mike

      Thanks RCD! I plan on going back 4/25 this year. I live about 2 hours away and last year was my first time there. Stormrunner never got back up and running when I was there so that's why I am worried about that. Hopefully it was just something on that day last year. I'm not as stressed as before tho, thanks!

  9. TheRealRideWarrior

    I know last year (while testing i believe) a piece broke on Stormrunner that kept it closed for a while….to like memorial day. Only reason behind the closure was piece had to come directly from the intamin plant overseas.

    • Mike

      Thanks for that info. I also wonder what happens when a ride closes (i mean the details) and i didn't ask so that is cool to know.

  10. adavis

    Storm Runner was next, another fifteen and we were on, mysteriously the back cars on both coasters were not operating. No big deal. Yet. Storm Runner was fun, very forceful, similar to one one of the double-spire Intamin rides, nowhere near the force of one of their strata rides, obviously. Still, a good ride, with an awesome barrel roll and incredible unique element in the snake dive. I could have done without the headbanging pseudo trick track, but otherwise good stuff.

    • Quil

      I think i may have a soulution to your problem, (or a couple)

      1. never visit a park on a saterday, especialy if it`s nice out.

      2. Wensdays during the school year are very clear, most rides will probably be walk-ons.

      3. if you have kids, come on a cold sunday during the scool year.

      4. during the summer, go diuring the week, when most people are working, this will help if you have a weekend job, and if you dont, take the day off if you can.

      5. if you can`t, call in sick.(ocasssionaly)

      6. wake up early so you can get to the park when it opens, less people will be there, so you`ll be able to ride most of the good rides quickly.

      7. never ride the best rides during the day. ride the supbar/okay ones when the day is most bussy, ride the best rides at night,which both the line is shorter and the rideis funner.

      i hope what i said was useful, an will help people avoid long lines at theme parks.

  11. T-Bird

    I just visited HersheyPark for the first time May 21st. I always avoided it because I thought it was too small. I was disappointed at how many school groups were there on a Friday. I was so irritated. But by 4pm, the lines started getting much better. I should have bought a twilight ticket. Anyway, Storm Runner was my absolute favorite ride. I love launch coasters. I agree that it could have been longer, but they NEVER are. It always leaves you wanting more. And boy did I get more riding it four times that day. The front seat is absolutely the best!

  12. Paul A

    I loved this ride. The launch is great, and the multiple hills and inversions make it more than just about the launch. I really liked the first and second hills in this one. It sort of combines the thrill of a launch coaster like Kingda Ka (but is less intense because it's 72mph which is still plenty fast) with the smooth hills and inversions of more traditional steel coasters. I really enjoyed this coaster. Storm runner and Fahrenheit are my two favorites at Hersheypark. Great Bear and Lighting Racer were also up there 🙂

  13. Mark

    Storm Runner was much better than Xcelerator and Top Thrill Dragster. The other two have better launches but Storm Runner is a superior ride, for obvious reasons. The final inversion is spectacular.

  14. @mattmcirvin

    I still regret picking Fahrenheit instead of Storm Runner for my first ride when I visited Hersheypark last summer. Fahrenheit is not bad; it's a fine coaster, but the line I had to stand in to ride it was brutal, and it was a weekday (in August, granted). And between that and various misadventures, I never even got around to riding Storm Runner, which has a higher capacity and a better reputation with coaster fans.

    The next time I go back there (and there certainly will be a next time), Storm Runner and Lightning Racer are high on the wish list. Probably higher than Skyrush, which sounds like it has capacity problems too.

  15. ToxicQueen123

    Ummm… what would u rate storm runner as. I’m going to Hershey park soon and I have to ride it, but I’m really nervous and scared. Need your opinions BAD.

    • Joel

      8.5 out of 10. It’s right at the bottom of the review.

      Being nervous and scared is normal. Just maybe ride the smaller rides first if you can to work your way up. Have fun!


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