Laff Trakk at Hersheypark is an indoor roller coaster that debuted back in 2015 at Hersheypark. The 13th coaster at the park was a spinning coaster manufactured by Maurer Söhne, which has identical twins at Lagoon in Salt Lake City, Utah and Waldameer in Erie, PA. What sets Laff Trakk apart is its setting–an indoor, glow-in-the-dark environment to further add to the disorientation and fun of the coaster.
A Modern Funhouse
You can find Laff Trakk in the back of the park, in the Midway America section. Hersheypark put a lot of money into not only enclosing Laff Trakk, but theming it too. In the end, this seemingly modest attraction cost $14 million! Some of that cost is merely from constructing the showbuilding for the ride, but not all of it. Laff Trakk was to be a funhouse for the 21st century. This was such a cool concept because, back in the day, Hersheypark operated a slew of old-school funhouses. With Laff Trakk, they were trying to harken back to those days.
At the entrance of the ride, you’re greeted by the venerable Laffin’ Sal figure–a throwback to the original Laffin’ Sal funhouse from the park’s early days. Although the first part of the queue is mostly switchback outside, once you go inside things get more fun. Next is a room lined with wonky mirrors on either side. As you walk through, the mirrors create distorted images of your body; super-long legs, enlarged heads, and elongated torsos are all over the place. It’s a cute distraction, and one that can entertain kids endlessly (I’ll admit, even me!).
Next up, you’re in a hallway leading towards the loading area. Here, there’s a cool blacklight effect that will illuminate every fiber on your brighter colored clothes. If your white shirt ain’t clean, people are gonna know! Soon, though, you’ll be at the loading area, which has a funky mural depicting “Laffin Sal’s House of Fun” on the opposite side. You can also see the Maurer spinning coaster cars moving through the station at this point–and see that there’s both front facing and backwards-facing seating. (I’ll describe the benefits of each later). Climb into the cars carefully, as the cars are rather tight to navigate when sitting down. They also have weird fitting lap bar restraints which may give you trouble–just a heads up!
SPOILER WARNING: If you’re like me and don’t like to spoil the layouts of indoor coasters or dark rides before riding, quickly scroll down to the end of the article (until I add a darned jump link). Because of the fact that there are glow-in-the-dark effects inside, the POV does reveal the ride’s layout.
The Ride Inside
After a quick dispatch, the cars take a sharp turn before going up the 51 foot lift hill. Looking up, you can see a massive cut-out of Laffin’ Sal, who’s mouth you are about to travel right through. (If you ride in the back, you’re greeted by a more sinister alternative which gave me a laugh). After a right turn and a brief straightaway, you fall down the curved main drop. The length of the drop and rise up to the next hill pretty much spans the layout.
A little block section, and you drop again towards a halfpipe element, which gives a very different experience depending on if you’re in the front or back. Another brief block section follows. Next you do a little drop turn before going into a trick-track element–which is unique given the spinning nature of the cars. After this is you pass through another tiny block section, before dropping into a helix near ground level and around some large scenery. After pulling out of the helix, you head into yet another small block section. A pair of turns and jaunty hills and you hit the final brake run.
Laff Trakk is hard to rate. Hersheypark did a lot to dress up what is ultimately an off-the-shelf ride with theming and a throwback vibe, and it certainly is better than its siblings. The glow-in-the-dark atmosphere is unique, there is scenery flying all around you during the ride, and (most of) the queue isn’t a bore to wait in.
The issue is that it doesn’t fully overcome the core problems a spinning coaster has–namely, capacity. Spinners are decently fun ride that usually have longer lines than they deserves, and that fact drives down their value. Laff Trakk is no different. I enjoy going on it, but most times at the park I would rather spend my time riding other, much better coasters with shorter waits such as Storm Runner or Skyrush than queue 40+ minutes for Laff Trakk.
If you can spare the time, I would suggest riding it, especially after you have eaten. If the queue time is going to be 30-45 minutes, might as well use the wait as time to digest your food. Regardless, it’s best to temper your expectations going in–Laff Trakk will be fun but likely won’t feel “worth the wait.”
Final Rating – 5.5 out of 10 (Slightly above Average)
I’d love to hear your thoughts on Laff Trakk. Have you ridden it? Do you agree it’s often not worth the wait? Would you roll the dice getting in line for a coaster right after eating if the line is supposed to be over 30 minutes? Comment below!
This was a part of our 12 Days of Coasters special! Every day from Christmas until January 5th, we gave away a roller coaster review for you to enjoy. You can check them all out here. We thank you for reading, hope you’ve had a merry holidays, and wish you a happy New Year!