by Danny Miller
Well it has yet to be confirmed, but all signs are pointing to Hersheypark removing the Roller Soaker roller coaster after this season. A co-worker of mine attended the “Rush The Sky” event at the park a few weeks ago, and a worker at the park mentioned that the number of coasters at the park would be changing come 2013.
Over the last few days, many have noticed that Roller Soaker is actually listed for sale, so it is likely that it is indeed being removed. While it will bring the park’s coaster count back down to eleven, it in my opinion is a smart move for the park.
Hersheypark’s Boardwalk is a fairly new water park, and it has not seen many changes since it opened back in 2007, the only additions being small ones in 2009. The water park is really due for a nice expansion, and although Roller Soaker does fit in to the water theme, the plot of land it sits on offers some great space to do something special for the Boardwalk.
Roller Soaker is a very fun coaster thanks to the interactive water guns, jets, geysers, cannons, and the tanks of water that riders can drop on the guests below. It is a unique ride if nothing else, with very few like it in existence today.
The problem from a business stand point however, is that the ride suffers from extremely low capacity. A few hundred people riding per hour would be generous assuming the ride is being loaded and unloaded quickly, which is not always the case.
I have only ridden the ride once despite having been to Hersheypark more than 5 times over the passed three seasons. That one time, we waited nearly an hour to ride, and while it was certainly fun and exciting once on the ride, it is not something I will continue to do if it costs me over an hour per visit.
I believe it is more of the “we can do a lot more here” approach than the “this is a bad ride” thinking, but that is the correct thing to do in this situation. The water park is very successful, especially in the hotter summer months, and even in the colder months when the park is open for Halloween, Christmas, and early spring, Roller Soaker isn’t a ride that runs with the water features anyway, rendering it simply a low capacity ride that builds a long line quickly if it even runs.
All in all, I will be sad to see it go even though I am not much of a water park person, but from a business stand point it makes all the sense in the world, and let’s hope that what the park does to replace it can be just as fun without the long lines. Thanks for the memories Roller Soaker. You truly were a special and unique ride.