We were hosted by Hershey Park and received accommodations at Hershey Lodge. All of the opinions are my own.
There is plenty to do at Hershey with older kids and thrill-seekers. They have 15 roller coasters, and they are building another one which will be the longest and fastest in America! With kids under five, we found plenty to enjoy.
Our kids loved the park and loved the resort too. We stayed overnight for one night and made the most of our two days, especially since we stayed at the Hershey Lodge (more on that in a bit).
This weekend, my family took a mini-vacation to the sweetest place on Earth: Hershey Park. Our oldest just graduated from preschool, and we surprised her with a weekend trip to Hershey. She would be super excited to stay at the hotel around the corner because it has an indoor pool.
However, you should have seen her face when we told her we were going to a candy-themed amusement park and staying at a hotel (sho-tell as she calls them) that has an indoor WATERPARK. She reached a new decibel screaming with that much excitement.
Three things that are absolutely necessary to pack for Hershey Park with Kids Under Five
To double stroller or not double stroller: that’s always the question. We’ve got a five-year-old who is totally capable of walking. We also have that same five-year-old who will decidedly go limp and claim she is too exhausted to walk another step.
As the family’s sherpa, I always push for a double stroller. Being able to not carry EVERYTHING including children is always worth the risk of something not being double-stroller friendly. As it turns out, Hershey Park is very stroller-friendly to the point that the shuttles store the strollers for you to and from the park.
This is huge, considering the pain in the neck it was to shlep our double stroller on and off the shuttle at a certain other amusement park. Even if you think you’re past the stroller phase, a stroller comes in handy for days at an amusement park. They are so much easier than wagons.
I also highly recommend bringing wipes to Hershey park (even if you technically don’t need them anymore). My kids have the uncanny ability to get horrifyingly messy and sticky in any situation. Seriously, this is my daughter after the little snack-sized Hershey Bar they give you after the Chocolate World Tour.
There was a lot of candy this weekend. There was also plenty of ketchup and fries, cheese, condiments, and more candy. Napkins are plentiful, of course, but wipes are a million times easier--especially if the kids are sticky. Just like you buy baby powder for the beach, buy wipes for amusement parks (especially candy-themed ones).
The final thing you need, even if you think you’re past it, is a change of clothes. We are pretty casual people when packing diaper bags. We are the parents scrounging through the trunk trying to find a rogue diaper or wipes. A change of clothes is never really on our mind, especially with our oldest. Not when it comes to HersheyPark with kids under five. My kids love getting soaking wet and are messy as heck.
Again, here’s another picture of my daughter from our first day:
Between the water park, the log flumes, and all the chocolate snacks along the way, you’ll need an extra outfit for everyone. For our girls, we keep it simple and bring dresses like these from Primary because a dress is a million times easier to get on and off a sticky or soaking wet child than shorts and t-shirts.
We also came prepared with Puddle Jumpers and towels with the full anticipation of the kids playing in the water.
The Five Year Old’s Favorites
I asked my oldest what her favorite things were about Hershey Park and she excitedly told me, "Waterslides and rollercoasters."
Hershey Water Works
The waterslides my daughter is referring to were the ones found on the Hershey Lodge Property at Hershey Water Works. Man, was this place cool? My kids are easily impressed. They love a tiny basement pool in a budget hotel. This is not that. This was a full-on waterpark with a big sandcastle splash area for little kids.
It also had a baby pool with spray features and a “big kid pool." Our daughter loved Reese’s lily pad obstacle course: Reese’s Water Walk, and the “coolest, most fun, and awesome” water slides that go out of the building and back in--the Twizzler Twists.
You could have easily spent a full day at Water Works. Our first day, we took an afternoon break for my youngest’s nap, and I took my oldest to Water Works. On our second day at Hershey, we went to Hershey World after breakfast and hung out by the pool until we were ready to head home well past lunchtime. My daughters loved this.
It was great because there was just so much to do and keep them busy. My oldest and I went down the Twizzler slides at least 30 times. I helped her cross the Reese’s Water Walk another dozen or so times. Slides and obstacles courses never get old for five-year-olds.
We were totally okay with this because everyone was happy. It wasn’t crazy crowded, it wasn’t freezing, and it was all included in our stay. I 100% would do it again: a cool indoor pool makes a vacation for kids.
My five-year-old is a Reese’s cup in height. If you’ve never been, Hershey Park sizes all of the rides based on candy. You can actually get an official park measurement complete with a wrist band so your five-year-old can proudly (and a little smugly) tell every worker she doesn’t need to be measured because she’s a Reese’s (42”-48”).
A Reese’s height can get you on five roller coasters and two log flumes: Cocoa Cruiser, Comet, Laff Trakk, Sooper Dooper Looper, Trailblazer, Coal Cracker, and Tidal Force. Her two favorites of the trip were the Sooper Dooper Looper and the Comet.
My oldest is a daredevil and loves roller coasters. The Sooper Dooper Looper was the first “big kid” ride she went on at Hershey and the first upside-down roller coaster she’s ever been on.
While she grew a little nervous during the less than ten-minute wait in line, by the time we got to the front she was not only excited, but she was adamant about sitting in the front. SHE LOVED IT.
We left the coaster with her saying how proud she was of herself and me for being brave. We went on this coaster at least 6 more times, and each time, she said how proud she was of the both of us.
My Two-Year-Old’s Favorite
While my two-year-old loved the rides and loved Water Works, she loved the food most of all. From check-in at Hershey Lodge, you realize this will be a chocolate lover’s dream. Our youngest literally does a happy dance when she gets chocolate, and boy did she do a lot of dancing. Chocolate at check-in, chocolate ice cream, chocolate at the end of the Chocolate World Tour, s'mores at Chocolate World, and chocolate chip pancakes from the buffet at Fire and Grain in Hershey Lodge were just some of the many instances of happy dance-inducing treats we got this weekend.
The only time chocolate wasn’t her favorite was the actual characters. She appreciated them, but from a distance.
Honestly, if we just let this one lounge in the bed at the Hershey Lodge with a few candy bars, she would have loved every second of our vacation.
Sweetest Place on Earth for the Sweetest Kids on Earth
Going to Hershey Park with Kids Under Five can be daunting because going anywhere with kids under five can be daunting. If you do plan on going to Hershey Park with kids under five, you’ll have a blast! My kids loved every second of it. It could be the sugar, but they were buzzing with excitement every waking minute we were there. Hershey Park is only 2 hours from Philly, which is a great weekend getaway, especially if you time it right with naps. If you haven’t been to Hershey since you were a kid, so much has changed, but the magic of going to a candy-themed amusement park is still every bit as magical as you remember; seeing your kids experience that magic is even better.