2018 is shaping up to be an incredible year for many parks, and Hersheypark is no different. Unlike amusement parks like Cedar Point or Kings Dominion, where everyone knows what is coming (I hear a Richard Michael Crosby is moving in…), there is more mystery over Hersheypark’s 2018 addition. They’ve been teasing their plans for this addition through a series of five clues on their website. Let’s analyze them and crosscheck them with survey marker sightings to find out if we can decipher what’s coming next year!
“We’re adding more water to the Boardwalk”
The first clue clearly confirms that this new attraction will be going to the Boardwalk, Hersheypark’s included-admission water park!
“There is a light at the end of the tunnel”
The next clue means this attraction will have some type of enclosed section. This likely points to some type of water slide.
“It’s a race to the finish”
The 3rd clue points to a ride that races! It will involve more than one track, with riders traveling down them at the same time. This clue caused many people to think this new ride could be a Mat Racer slide (I think incorrectly, as I will explain later).
“This makes number fourteen”
Now this is interesting, as the number 14 has multiple meanings. This ride could be Hersheypark’s 14th roller coaster. Or it could be Hersheypark’s 14th water slide. Or, if they remove an attraction, it would be the Boardwalk’s 14th attraction.
“Get ready to double the fun”
The final clue implies that there will be two of whatever the attraction is. This means the race alluded to in the 3rd clue is only a 1 on 1, as opposed to a race with several people like on a Mat Racer.
A Pro Ride
Hersheypark didn’t just post clues on social media! They also sent out this intriguing paper to select park enthusiasts recently:
This paper means we are likely looking at a ride manufactured by ProSlide. ProSlide has installed all of Hersheypark’s water slides so there is a previous working relationship. I wonder if there’s a reason for that backwards “pro,” with the smaller almost q-looking “p”…
14 Is The Magic Number
When most people saw the fourth clue about the number fourteen, they thought of Hersheypark’s current coaster count: 13. So if the park adds a water coaster, that would theoretically bring them to 14. However, if it is a ProSlide water coaster, it will not be an actual roller coaster. They are technically just water slides that go uphill, ultimately only a “coaster” in name. However, as theme park marketers get more loose with labeling rides as coasters (see: Six Flags and Larson Loopers…) it becomes passable to fudge the rules of what a coaster is.
So it’s the 14th water slide, and the 14th “coaster.” And as you will see below, its location will be near the old Roller Soaker station. The arrival of this new ride could bring the removal of the Shoreline Sprayground, a little splash pad area. If that happens, this new ride would be the 14th Boardwalk attraction. So the number 14 is very ambiguous and has multiple meanings… much to the delight of the Hersheypark PR team, I’m sure!
Survey Markers Spotted
We know this new ride is going to the Boardwalk, but where in there is it going? There are actually many survey markers in the back of the water park. These markings indicate the new ride will be located near where the old Roller Soaker station (the large blue building) is and go over the lazy river. It might even re-use the old station! Here are some pictures of the survey markings.
Peeking through the fence right in front of Roller Soaker’s station
A cluster of markers. White flag on the far right means excavation, likely for a footer. Also, note the “PR1” and “PR2” in the foreground.
By the wave pool. Note the lettering on the manhole; I believe it says “PC1-9”.
Markers near the cabanas. A few of them might be removed for this new attraction.
Here’s a summarized map of all the survey markings I have seen:
Each dot represents a survey flag or marking. The red dots are for the ride, the white dots are for excavation, and the blue are for a water line. This isn’t all of the markings, but it is enough to give us an idea of what this attraction will be.
Some of the markings are painted on the ground and have the abbreviations “CC1”, “CC2”, “PR1”, “PR2” and “PC1-9.” I have not figured out what they mean, but I know they mean something; last year I spotted abbreviations for “tower base” (TB1, TB2, TB3) where this year’s new attraction, the Triple Towers, were installed.
One of the labeled markings. Any thoughts on what it could mean?
So… What Is It? (Speculation Ahead!)
First off, the placing of the markers tells us that the attraction will not be a straight line, or rectangular shape. In fact, you can even make out a likely path the ride will travel over the lazy river. This curve and the placement of other markers rules out the possibility of a Mat Racer slide complex or a pair of standalone drop pod Speed Slides, which have a straight ride path.
However, a water coaster or large, winding water slide could have such a curve. To me, the placement of the markers look more like a water coaster. There are many stakes close to the lazy river’s trough, but none inside of it. For a water coaster to fly over this area, they may need more supports than usual and weirder shaped supports. This would be similar to the B&M invert at the park, Great Bear, which flies over a creek and has odd support structures all outside of the water.
I’ve also heard rumors that Hersheypark staff were spotted observing ProSlide’s latest water coaster addition. Others claim to have overheard conversations where park staff talked about a large water coaster that would fly over everything. I give these rumors more credence because of the other facts we’ve discovered like the “pro” paper clue and the layout of the survey markers.
Credit ProSlide: A racing water coaster in China
So is it going to be a racing water coaster? Or will it be a pair of winding, racing water slides? Or will I be embarrassed and be completely wrong with my analysis? And what do those abbreviations on the ground mean? Share your thoughts below!
The best part? We don’t have to wait long to find out! Stay tuned on August 8th, as Hersheypark will reveal their plans for 2018!
What’s Your Take?
What do you think Hersheypark will build for the 2018 season? Would you like to see a racing water coaster? Leave a comment below.