We’re still basting in this summer’s heat and basking in the glow of the new coasters and rides unleashed this year. But that hasn’t stopped theme parks, never shy about self-promotion, from already waxing enthusiastic about next year’s crop of thrill machines. Case in point: Hersheypark announced that Candymonium, a sleek new hypercoaster, would debut in summer 2020.
Located in Hershey, Pennsylvania, the factory town that is home to the Hershey company, Hersheypark has long embraced its ties to chocolate and the candy maker’s iconic brands. But it will go all in on the corporate synergy between the company and the park with Candymonium. (Kudos to the park for coming up with a great name that works on a number of levels.)
“We own being the sweetest place on earth,” says Quinn Bryner, director of public relations and strategy for Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company. “We want this to be the world’s sweetest coaster.”
Candymonium’s three contrasting trains will be themed to Hershey’s Kisses, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and Twizzlers and will reflect the colors of the respective brands. The track will be painted milk chocolate brown, and the loading station will immerse passengers in all things Hershey. For its finale, the coaster’s track will encircle a new Kisses-themed fountain.
“It’s the perfect combination of fun and chocolate,” Bryner says. “That’s the spirit we are hoping to capture.”
The coaster will be the star attraction of Chocolatetown, a $150-million expansion that represents the park’s largest capital investment to date. The new land and the towering coaster will greet guests at Hersheypark’s reconfigured front entrance.
In addition to being the “sweetest” coaster, Candymonium will break four records, albeit in-park records. The industry term, “hypercoaster,” is loosely defined as a roller coaster that climbs about 200 feet and is designed for speed and airtime, the sensation of rising out of a vehicle’s seat. It will not include any barrel rolls or other inversions.
The new ride will tackle a 210-foot lift hill, which will make it the tallest coaster in the park. Candymonium will best the current champ, Skyrush, which ascends 200 feet. At an attention-grabbing 76 mph, it will also be the fastest coaster, topping Skyrush by a mere 1 mph. With a track spanning 4,636 feet across seven acres and a ride time of 2 minutes and 26 seconds, Candymonium will take the prize as the park’s longest coaster as well.
Featuring an “out and back” layout, the coaster will race to about its halfway point and navigate a 123-degree hammerhead curve that will send it careening back to the station. Along the way, passengers will experience seven camelback hills that will deliver pronounced bouts of airtime. In total, the ride will feature 26 seconds of weightlessness and send passengers airborne more than any other coaster at the park. Ride enthusiasts (myself included) crave the giddy butterflies-in-your-stomach feeling. The coaster’s Swiss-based manufacturer, Bolliger & Mabillard (B&M), is renowned for its airtime-packed, ultra-smooth, extreme coasters. The design and stats for Candymonium appear to be similar to Mako, a B&M-built ride that opened at SeaWorld Orlando in 2016. That coaster ranks among the best in theme park-centric Florida.
Hersheypark claims that the new ride will be its 15th coaster. However, it includes Breakers Edge, a water coaster, in the total. No matter how the attractions are tallied, the park will be able to boast that it will have more coasters than any other park in the Northeast. It will also be tied for fifth place as the park with the most coasters in the world.
If the ride’s candy references make you hungry, you won’t have to go far to satisfy your craving. In addition to the coaster, Chocolatetown will welcome the park’s largest full-service restaurant. As you might expect, chocolate will figure prominently on the menu. The restaurant will include a bar and a second-story patio that will offer commanding views of Candymonium as well as the park‘s antique carousel. Hersheypark is moving its prancing steeds ride to a more prominent spot near the front gate.
The new 23-acre land will also offer an ice cream parlor. Bryner says that “ice cream-ologists” (is that even a thing?) will custom make exclusive sundaes and other treats that could only be found at Hersheypark. There will also be a scratch confectionary kitchen cranking out fudge and other sweet treats. And a Starbucks outpost will combine the chain’s trademark java with—you guessed it—chocolate.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a theme park if it didn’t try to sell you branded stuff. Chocolatetown will include a large flagship store as well as a few boutique shops.
The land will be designed in the architectural style of the 1930s. That will be in homage to the chocolate company’s founder and namesake, Milton Hershey. The enterprising pioneer originally built Hersheypark as a place for his factory workers to enjoy.
Candymonium and Chocolatetown will be opening at Hersheypark in 2020. You can check out computer renderings of what the new coaster and expansion will look like below.
A lifelong amusement park and theme park fanatic, Arthur Levine has been writing newspaper and magazine features about the industry he loves, as well as general travel articles, since 1992. He’s been the Theme Parks Expert at
(formerly About.com) since 2002, and is a regular contributor for USA Today. You can also find him at AboutThemeParks.