We visited Hershey’s Chocolate World today. I mean…. we’re in Hershey, PA…. we HAD to go to Chocolate World, right?!
Now don’t confuse Chocolate World with ChocolatePark…. I know, I know… ChocolatePark is an amusement park (think Six Flags) while Chocolate World is…. well…. maybe a really small amusement park?
There’s the Hershey Chocolate Tour which is free. When we started on the tour I thought it was going to be a really awful walking tour, but the walking part was actually the ‘holding area’ for the line…. if there had been a line… which there wasn’t today. You weave though the ‘people corrals’ and there are all these facts about Milton Hershey and how chocolate is produced. And the whole time they’re pumping in the smell of chocolate. We got stuck behind this guy who wanted to stop and read every sign on the wall and take a picture of each one…. OMG! Keep walking, pal! At the end of the line there’s a… cocoa bean? I think it’s supposed to be a cocoa bean… boat thingie and we climbed in the bean and toured the chocolate making process… from animated cows that sing… to the Hershey factory where Hershey Bar and Kiss finish off the tour. It’s cute…. nothing mind blowing, but cute enough… especially since it was free. As we exited the ride we were each given a mini Hershey’s bar.
We bought tickets for the 4D Mystery, Create Your Own Chocolate Bar and the Chocolate Tasting Experience. (We saved $11 purchasing them together as Adventure Package 2) – $28.00
The 4D Mystery was one of those things where you wear 3D glasses to watch an animated movie and then there are smells piped in and water (why?!) sprinkled from the ceiling. I wouldn’t recommend it for grown-ups. If you’re bringing a kid, okay, but I’d say it’s for the 12 and under crowed. I will admit our showing was strangely (accidentally) entertaining. We had a school taking a class field trip today (gods help us!)… 3rd graders… This is one of those shows where at the beginning while everyone is getting seated the animated character on the screen interacts with the crowd. It talks and asks questions and responds… it’s a neat trick. So at the end of the movie the bad guy has been captured and Hershey Bar comes back on the screen and asks what should be done with the bad guy… he’s asking for a punishment or maybe give him a second chance… forgive him… something like that.
Hershey: What should we do about Dr VonSauer, kids?
Kids: (screaming) EAT HIM!
Whoa, what?! Even Hershey seemed shocked.
Hershey: Um, no… we don’t eat people here.
Kids: (chanting) EAT HIM! EAT HIM!
Hershey: This isn’t Lord of the Flies! We’re not going to eat him. How about we give him a second chance?
Kids: (still chanting) EAT HIM!
Hershey: (stares blankly at the crowd) Okay! A second chance it is!
Kids: (still chanting)
Video resumes…. no cannibalism…. second chances given.
I don’t know what they’re teaching at that school, but I was starting to get pretty nervous sitting there surrounded by 100 screaming, chanting 3rd graders bent on cannibalism and revenge. Fortunately, we escaped and were rewarded with another bar of candy at the door.
The Chocolate Tasting Experience was a huge disappointment. This is geared towards the adults… kids would be bored outta their skulls. I was expecting to get a variety of chocolates and somewhere I’d read about a hot chocolate tasting, but apparently this wasn’t it. We were each given a little gift bag (that they wasted their money on because most people threw it away as they left) with four small chocolate bars inside. On the table was a placemat that listed the different flavors/notes that we might taste in the chocolates, a bottle of water to cleanse our palates between bites of chocolate, a cup of ground cacao nibs, a Hershey’s Kiss and a Wet Wipe.
The presentation was okay, but the ‘tasting’ was underwhelming. I certainly wouldn’t recommend spending $11 on four little bars of chocolate that you’re basically instructed to sniff and then let melt in your mouth.
We were also each given a certificate of completion at the end… which most people threw away. Big waste of money and paper.
I did actually enjoy the Create Your Own Chocolate Bar experience. ($20 for this event by itself)
It starts out with Hershey wasting a bunch of money and resources again… each of us were given a disposable hairnet and an apron… because we’d be in an actual factory kitchen…. everything was behind glass! We weren’t getting near anything that we could contaminate.
We went to a series of computer screens where we’d scan our ticket and then make our selections for our candy bar. Scanning the ticket kept your candy bar and personalized wrapper coded just for you. Which was cool.
We made our choice of white, milk or dark chocolate candy bar and then filling selections… I chose toffee bits and butterscotch chips in a dark chocolate candy bar with sprinkles. Then we got to watch the machine place our hollow chocolate bar on the conveyer belt… then the fillings were sprinkled inside…. then the whole thing was coated in milk chocolate. (So everybody actually ended up with a milk chocolate bar in the end… some just get a white or dark chocolate base under the milk chocolate.
While the chocolate is cooling we personalized our wrappers on another set of computer screens… then we shuffled back out to watch the cooled chocolate bars ride another conveyer to the packaging area. Our tickets are scanned one last time before the nice Hershey’s people packed the bars into a tin box and then the personalized wrapper.
In typical amusement park fashion, every attraction dumps you out in the shopping area. There were tons of Hershey’s candies and souvenirs available…. but I’d rather wait and buy clearanced Halloween candy… same stuff, way cheaper. There was also a huge food court, but we came after lunch and we were going back to Piazza Sorrentos for dinner so we didn’t bother with the food court.
Hershey’s Chocolate World was a fun way to spend an afternoon… I wouldn’t suggest making a special trip to Pennslyvania just to visit Chcolate World, but if you’re already staying at the Hotel (which I think you should) and visiting the Spa (which is a great reason the visit Pennsylvania all by itself), then sure, visit Chocolate World. It’s not Disney by any means, but it’s an enjoyable attraction.