By: Courtney Byrne
We just returned from our first Hersheypark Christmas experience. We had been to Hersheypark with the kids once before (see this post) and had always heard it’s a lot of fun at the holidays. We wanted to try something new this Christmas season and decided to check out all things Hersheypark Christmas: Candylane, Sweet Lights and the Hershey Lodge. We had the best time and it’s definitely something we’ll do again sometime. There are still a few weeks left to visit this holiday season, otherwise I’d recommend booking early for the best availability for next Christmas. Today I’m sharing our itinerary and some tips for visiting with kids. It really is the Sweetest Place on Earth!
How long should I go? We just did overnight. It’s only about 2 hours from our house so we left early Saturday morning and drove straight to the park. We visited Chocolate World first (it opens at 10AM) and had lunch there. Then we went right over to the park when it opened at 12pm. We left the park at 4:30pm and got to our car and over to Sweet Lights right at 5pm when it started. After that we got over to the Lodge for dinner and their holiday festivities. We spent Sunday AM at the Lodge’s waterpark and then headed home. There is plenty to do with a 2 night stay too and we certainly had a tight schedule to do it all in 1 night. The itinerary I’m sharing is for our overnight and if it looks too crazy busy for you/your family, add a 2nd night and spread out the activities.
Hersheypark Christmas Itinerary
First stop: Chocolate World. Chocolate World opens earlier than the park during the holiday season. It opens at 10AM and has all the fun you can find all year (the shopping, chocolate making, the tour) plus some fun holiday additions: see the Holiday Chocolate House, get a photo with Santa, decorate cookies & ornaments with Mrs. Claus (tickets required) and some days there’s a breakfast with Santa (tickets required). We walked around and then got lunch there before going into the park.
Second Stop: Hersheypark Candylane. It was so much fun going to Hersheypark in the winter. We had a nice day – cold enough to bundle up and add some hand warmers to the pockets but not so cold that we didn’t want to be outside on the rides. We thought we might only last a few hours and need a hotel break before Sweet Lights at night but we lasted from 12 until 4:30pm, no problem. We started out with our visit to see Santa’s Reindeer. This was a major highlight for us as we’ve been searching for a spot to see his reindeer for a few years. My kids loved that all of the reindeer where there, even Rudolph. This definitely got us all in the Christmas spirit.
Next to the reindeer there is ice skating (with skate rentals). We didn’t skate because the kids were really eager to get on the rides but it looks like fun. Next we started enjoying a day on the rides. We found that most of the rides for our little ones were open. Our oldest likes roller coasters and the ones we found to be open the day we were there were the Cocoa Cruiser, sooperdooperLooper® and Wild Mouse. Some weekends I think there are a few more open too (I believe it depends on the weather). In addition to lots of rides we enjoyed the games and hot chocolate. It was fun to play the games because the prizes were holiday themed too.
We walked over to see Santa but there was a really long wait and the kids hoped we might spot him at the Hershey Lodge later on vs waiting in line. So we enjoyed some more rides before it got dark and we headed out. Check the site for which rides will be open when you visit. Also to note – if you go on a really cold day: there are spots to warm up like the shows, an indoor character spot, shops and Santa’s workshop (where you see Santa).
Third Stop: Hershey Sweet Lights. We loved seeing the Hershey Sweet Lights. After a day of fun outdoors, it was really nice to sit in a cozy warm car to see Sweet Lights. The hours are from 5pm-10pm. We went right at 5pm when it started/started to get dark and we had no wait. We loved that you could tune your radio to a station with Christmas music that (we think) the lights were in sync too. Sweet Lights has over 600 illuminated, animated displays and it’s a 2 mile drive through wooded trails. Spending time as a family listening to Christmas tunes and looking at hundreds of Christmas lights sure puts you in the spirit. We especially enjoyed driving through the 12 Days of Christmas in lights.
Fourth Stop: The Hershey Lodge. We spent our night in Hershey at The Lodge. We stayed there on our last trip and really enjoyed it. We like the cozy lodge vibe, the spots to eat and, of course, Waterworks – the indoor pool & water park. The Hershey Lodge at Christmas is amazing. They take the cozy lodge vibe to a new level with all the decorations, hot chocolate, fires, roasting marshmallows, Christmas trees and the night we were there: Santa and Mrs. Claus! In addition to all of the Christmas fun, my kids really enjoyed playing bingo and the balloon artist that made really cool Christmas balloons (and Spiderman). We spent all of Sunday AM at Waterworks. We went right at 8am when it opened as pretty much had the place to ourselves for a while. It’s an absolute blast for all ages and after spending the previous day out in the cold, a morning in a warm pool, splashing around in swimsuits was a lot of fun.
We all really enjoyed our Hersheypark Christmas experience. We had tons of fun and left in the Christmas spirit! You can see more photos and videos on Instagram @travelwewill in the “Christmas Spots” highlight reel. Happy Holidays!
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