Dorney Park Vs Hersheypark

Coaster Round-Up

Dorney Park and Hersheypark are two of the biggest amusement parks in Pennsylvania and are both home to several world-class roller coasters and attractions. But these two parks provide very different experiences.

So I am going to compare these two amusement parks based on visits during the 2021 summer season. It will be divided into sections, focusing on the roller coasters, other attractions, food, theming, and overall park experience.

Roller Coasters

Roller Coaster Steel Force Dorney Park Amusement Park

The main attractions at both parks are their famous roller coasters. But they each have incredibly different collections of roller coasters.

Hersheypark has significantly more total roller coasters than Dorney Park, with 14 at Hershey compared to Dorney's 7.

Hershey also has the advantage in terms of wooden coasters. Dorney Park has a single wooden coaster in Thunderhawk that is likely the weakest major coaster in the park. Hersheypark has three wooden coasters, two of which are incredibly strong coasters. Lightning Racer and Comet are incredibly strong rides and even Wildcat, while rough, is a better overall experience than Thunderhawk.

What Dorney Park does have though is an incredibly top-heavy coaster lineup. Steel Force, Talon, Hydra The Revenge, and even Possessed are incredible coasters that are all incredibly strong rides.

Sooperdooperlooper Roller Coaster Station Hersheypark

But Hersheypark also has some incredible coasters. Candymonium is one of the best B&M hyper coasters. Storm Runner is one of the most unique launched roller coasters of its kind. Great Bear is a really unique experience, unlike any other inverted coaster.

Where Hersheypark's strength really is though, is in the middle, as it has a lot of mid-tier coasters that make the park a more full experience. Things like Laff Trak, Sooperdooperlooper, and even cloned roller coasters like Sidewinder and Wild Mouse. This just makes Hershey a better overall experience at least in terms of roller coasters.

Other Attractions

White Water Landing Lift Hill Water Ride Dorney Park

Both Hersheypark and Dorney Park each have a large collection of other attractions beyond their roller coasters.

Dorney Park has a collection of thrilling rides that are scattered throughout the park and are mostly lightly themed. There is a considerable number of them but none are really standout attractions.

Hersheypark meanwhile has the same style collection of thrilling flat rides, but it also has several highly themed rides. Rides like Reese's Cupfussion and the Skyview are wonderful and highly themed. If you include the chocolate factory ride just outside the park it only adds to the lineup of incredibly strong and themed rides throughout the park.

Hersheypark definitely has the edge in terms of overall attractions at the park.


Chickie and Pete's Crab Fries Dorney Park Amusement Park

Hersheypark and Dorney Park are both home to incredibly different food offerings.

In terms of permanent offerings, Dorney Park has your typical offerings for a theme park, with a collection of original offerings and local chains. If you are looking for any of your favorite theme park fried foods then you will find them here and they are all very good. Not standout but far from average.

Beyond that, the standout offerings are all typically found in the seasonal food offerings which are incredible. Whatever seasonal festival you visit during, those special booths are what you should make an attempt to enjoy on your visit.

Chicken and Waffles Meal Hersheypark

Hersheypark meanwhile does have some great food offerings. While many offerings are just typical theme park food, the newer restaurants in the park have marked a significant improvement in the quality of the food. Milton's and the Chocolatier are among the best theme park restaurants in recent memory.

The deserts are really what puts Hersheypark over the edge. As befitting a park with the Hershey name, this park is full of chocolate and all things sweet, and it would be difficult to find a dessert that is less than stellar in the park.


Hershey's Chocolatetown Entrance Sign Hersheypark

The theming is probably one of the biggest differences between the two parks.

Planet Snoopy Entrance Archway Dorney Park

Dorney Park focuses more on utilizing its natural setting rather than actual theming, and this works incredibly well for the park. There are some incredibly photogenic spots in this park, with the walkways around Thunderhawk and the area around Hydra The Revenge being two standout points. The park itself however really has no theming.

Hersheypark on the other hand is full of incredibly themed areas, and a few weaker spots. The park makes an effort to make a mass of coasters all fit together with each other and its hilly terrain.

Specific lands also are perfectly themed for the park, especially the still relatively new Chocolatetown area of the park. This places it just slightly above Dorney Park in terms of theming.

Overall Park Experience

The UpRights Dueling Pianos Dorney Park

Both parks have incredibly strong aspects to them in terms of their food, attractions, and theming in different ways, but their overall experience at the moment is incredibly different.

Dorney Park is full of live entertainment, seasonal festivals, and park hours-long enough to experience all the attractions, and crowds that even when busy is not overwhelming. Even while closed two days a week this summer, the park was easily manageable even on the weekend.

Hersheypark Amusement Park Entrance

Hersheypark meanwhile is an entirely different experience. The park was insanely overcrowded, and it was near impossible to get even most of the major attractions done in a day. Lines were insane for every attraction as well as food locations and even some shops a few hours after opening and remained that way until the all too early closing hour. While Skyrush was closed for my visit, I can't imagine it being open would have made much of a difference.

Hersheypark had short hours given the size of the park and little entertainment outside the attractions. This is strange as historically entertainment has been amazing at Hersheypark, and it may just be the residual impact of the pandemic, but it can't be denied.

Dorney Park at least for the moment has a better park experience overall.

Even so, both parks are incredible amusement parks featuring world-class attractions, and each are more than worth a visit.