Hersheypark unveils new roller coaster

By Ryan Mellon 11:44am, August 13, 2014
After a month-long series of riddle-like clues, Hersheypark announced Tuesday morning that it will add its 13th roller coaster, an indoor, funhouse-themed thrill ride called Laff Trakk, for its 2015 season.

The twisting, spinning ride will be located in the Midway America section of the park and will integrate the classic Hersheypark funhouse character Laffing Sal, a hall of mirrors, as well as effects that make you feel like you're falling through picture frames and traveling through a lighted tunnel.

In addition to lighting effects, the entire ride will be blacklighted and glowing. The ride, and part of the waiting area, also will be air-conditioned.

Hersheypark is calling it a "glow-coaster."

Kevin Stumpf, general manager of Hersheypark, said the biggest drop is about 50 feet and the ride will reach it's maximum speed around 45 mph.

In all, the ride will last about 70 seconds, Stumpf said.

The train cars for the ride will seat four people, two on each side with their backs to each other.

A pole in the center of each train will allow the car to spin around based on the weight of the riders.

Louis Alfieri, principal and chief creative officer for Raven Sun Creative, said the attraction was designed to give riders a different experience each time.

"Because of the way the coaster is layered and interwoven, we had to design everything with a 360-degree view," Alfieri said. "You'll see lots of classic, funhouse iconography: the rotating tunnel, the (Hershey) characters and the history of Hersheypark."

Alfieri said the new ride has a chance to create a legacy and be the model for similar rides to come.

To make room for the newest coaster, two kiddie rides, Granny Bugs and Pony Parade, will relocate and replace a food court across the midway.

Riders who are between Reese's Cup and Hershey bar height status, or 42- to 47-inches tall, can ride with an adult. Riders 48 inches and above can ride on their own.

"It's a family roller coaster," one official said at the announcement. "We wanted it to appeal to all generations of visitors."

Stumpf added that the ride, set to begin construction the day after Labor Day, should be finished in time for May 2015.

Park officials are planning for the ride to be open in the wintertime during Hersheypark's Christmas Candylane.

Ryan Mellon is a staff writer for LancasterOnline.com.

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