Dear reader, let me share with you some advice: If you want to go to Hershey World: DO NOT GO ON A SATURDAY AFTERNOON WHILE THE AMUSEMENT PARK IS OPEN.
The place was a teeming madhouse of humanity. The parking lot was crowded and we had to walk half a mile from our car. Once we got inside, the place was filled with cool stuff, but not-so-cool people rushing to get in our way.
Now, if you absolutely love Hershey’s chocolate, this is the place for you. For me, Boyer was a much bigger deal. Hershey’s chocolate, to me, was always just the default chocolate. It was nothing special, and since they shut down the factory in Hershey and moved all their production to Mexico it seems like the quality has slipped further from its less-than-spectacular norm.
Even with that, this is an impressive place. The displays are huge. They had “shopping experiences” where you could learn a sanitized history of the company or make your own candy bar, but we did not indulge in those. The lines were way too long. What they did have was a massive amount of merchandise–candy, shirts, caps, toys, magnets, gift boxes and bags that you fill yourself and a gigantic food court. The food court is there for the amusement park-goers, and looked to have pretty much the kind of food you’d expect at an amusement park food court.
There was every variety of Hershey’s candy for sale, and to sort of drive the point home that this was a corporate-branded store and not really a “Chocolate World,” they also sold the beef jerky, popcorn and other non-candy snack products that Hershey owns now.
To be honest, it felt a little insincere and overly-corporate. Hershey Pennsylvania is still the corporate headquarters for Hershey, but they no longer produce any candy there. We had been to Hershey’s Chocolate World stores in Chicago (now closed) and Times Square, and to be honest, those seemed like more fun, even though they only took up a fraction of the space. Those stores had piped in chocolate aroma. If they had that in Hershey you couldn’t smell it over all the sweaty people.
Don’t get me wrong. We had fun there, bought some cool stuff and enjoyed our visit, but we were also happy to get out and get a little peace and quiet when we were done. It wasn’t as much fun as the Boyer Candy Factory Outlet Store. It was bigger, but bigger is not always better.
I took a bunch of photos, so you can see for yourself. I didn’t get any pictures of the non-candy merchandise. That part of the store was so crowded that I couldn’t get my camera out comfortably. Late this afternoon I’ll bring you pictures of the toy show, but here’s our look at Hershey’s Chocolate World…
We leave you with one last look at the Hershey Trolley, in front of Hershey’s Chocolate World. It’s a pretty cool place, and probably at its most enjoyable if you visit on a weekday during the off-season.
Later today we’ll bring you photos of The Hershey Action Figure and Toy Show, and tomorrow expect a couple of bonus photo essays of other cool places we visited on our trip.