After a quiet morning of sleeping in, we ate lunch and then went in search of chocolate. We came to the disillioning conclusion that the town of Hershey does not, in fact, smell like chocolate. At least not on this particular day. Maybe on a hot, sultry summer day. The closer we got to Chocolate World, though, the more palpable the aroma became. At last...we had arrived.
The once-heralded tour of the actual factory has now been replaced by a simulated factory tour just down the road...an Epcot-type musical ride charmingly narrated by three animated cows. I'm warning you now. If you go on this ride, you will be singing the song the rest of the day. Of course, it's worth it because...DUDE...they give you chocolate at the end of the ride! Sure, it's a miniature candy bar, but it's still chocolate. And just in case you'd like to have that snappy little tune ringing in your head for days, I found it online and I've included it for your enjoyment. You're welcome.
Oops...don't forget to pause the music player at the bottom
so you can truly enjoy this little ditty!
I suspect we don't get out nearly enough because all the kids...toddler to teens...thoroughly enjoyed themselves. We then subjected ourselves to all things chocolate. It was actually so overwhelming that I really wasn't tempted to buy much. Although I'm a chips and salsa girl. If I were set loose in a room full of all varieties of that, I might be tempted to bathe in the salsa. We did partake of the freshly-baked cookies...my deal-sniffing husband procurred a buy one-get one coupon on the internet...but we weren't complaining. I chose chocolate-chocolate-chocolate. Well, that probably wasn't the technical term, but it was all chocolate, baby. The girls went with the same...shocking. Wouldn't you know it, Mickey chose a sugar cookie with sprinkles. Whatever. Of course, when Caroline got her fill of the chocolate variety, she happily dove face first into his cookie that he decided he really didn't want.
Mickey was all about factory worker experience. He wore the hat, got his ID photo taken, and worked on the "line" for about a minute and a half. I suspect that the chocolate fumes got to us all because, before it was over, all seven of us donned goofy hats. I am really not a hat person, so I reluctantly agreed to wear one if they let me take pictures.
We were about to leave when the younger two asked if they could do the factory ride again. I half expected the older ones to protest ( I did get one tiny eyeroll out of Abby, mostly for dramatic effect ), but they willingly hopped aboard again. Maybe a little too willingly. I was happy to see them all having fun, though. What's not to like about cheesy animated singing cows? Wish I would have bought the photo of us at the end of the ride because it was hilarious.
Quick review for those of you interested in visiting Hershey...the tour is free, and so is the parking for the first two hours. After that, it's $10 and up. We scooted out of there just in time! The "factory experience" is free, also, unless you purchase a $10 package, which includes a company ID and a small plastic container of Hershey's Kisses. We bought one for Mickey because his picture turned out so cute, and he really wanted it. Caroline didn't even notice. They do have choices for actual food if you're there during mealtime. We didn't eat there so I'm not sure of the prices, but I read online that the food is good and includes healthy choices...probably to balance out all the sugar being consumed! And there are some reasonable souvenirs...we found a really nice ice cream scoop (that we needed anyway) and a deck of cards (our souvenir of choice) for a total of about $12. They had Christmas ornaments, too, and a few other things that I thought were reasonably priced. The amusement park looked pretty fun, but we didn't have an extra day.
We spent the rest of the afternoon driving around Hershey...past the actual factory and in search of parking sites that Jon had worked on last summer. We discovered a charming little park in town with a beautiful gazebo that would have made for great photos if it hadn't been pouring rain. Finally, the kids were starving, so we set the GPS for Fuddrucker's. We don't have one back home, so it's a treat when we travel. Make a note...the GPS directions for Fuddrucker's will take you in circles around the place, but never to the actual restaurant. We howled with laughter as the GPS started to take us in the opposite direction for the third time! We just got the GPS at Christmastime, and we've loved having it. It ended up being a valuable time-saver when negotiating New York City and then into Philadelphia, but not so much in this instance!
Dinner was, by the way, delicious! Most of us had burgers and fries, but Abby got the nachos. Made me almost wish I'd gotten them...seriously good, enough food for two and a great price!
Lots more photos...if you're interested, click here.