Gonna take a scent-imental journey
The Great Candy Expedition to open at Hershey’s Chocolate World
Sure, roller coasters and other great rides beckon at Hersheypark. But folks also flock to Hershey, Pennsylvania because it is home to some of the world’s most iconic candy brands. The smell of chocolate and roasted peanuts (because the company makes Reese’s products there) waft in the air, and the streetlights look like Hershey’s Kisses.
Just outside the gates of the park, Chocolate World celebrates all things Hershey with a massive store, eateries (which, of course, include sweets), and a number of engaging attractions. It’s like a micro indoor theme park in its own right. Chocolate World is marking its 50th anniversary this year and will be introducing the Great Candy Expedition as part of the half-century commemoration. Set to open on May 19, the interactive theater experience will use projection technology, wraparound screens, and multi-sensory effects–yes, taste and smell will come into play–to take guests on a tour through assorted candy realms.
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Designed as a train excursion, the adventure will begin in a 1920s-era station complete with a mechanical departure board and period architecture. According to Hershey, guests will be given a sample ingredient, such as the filling from Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, to nosh on during the pre-show.
The theater will be outfitted with floor-to-ceiling screens and what appear to be dimensional surfaces that will span 270 degrees. Projected 4K media will take the audience, which according to the storyline will be aboard the Hersheyland Express, to six destinations. Each will be themed to a different candy brand, such as Kit Kat Timbers and Twizzlers Forest. Guests will be able to help determine the order in which they visit the spots by using voting devices embedded in the armrests. Rounding out the sensory onslaught, there will be wind effects, tricked out seats that will vibrate, and candy-specific scents that will be pumped into the theater.
The Great Candy Expedition sounds like it may be a bit similar to the DreamWorks Theatre at Universal Studios Hollywood. That attraction also incorporates massive, wraparound screens and uses projection mapping and effects to send guests off on a Kung Fu Panda getaway.
The new attraction, like everything at Chocolate World, is a blatant advertisement for Hershey products. But visitors expect that going in. (Then again, the IP-driven attractions at the Disney and Universal parks feed into the corporate synergy at the media companies.)
Tickets will cost $19.95 per person. It’s likely that they will be bundled with additional Chocolate World attractions at a reduced price. Among other offerings are Hershey’s Chocolate Tour, which is a complimentary dark ride that takes passengers on a simulated look behind the scenes of the chocolate-making process; Hershey’s Unwrapped, a 30-minute show about chocolate tasting; Create Your Own Candy Bar, a hands-on experience that lets guests, well, create an actual, edible candy bar; and Hershey Trolley Works, a guided tour through the famous town.
As with most of the attractions at Chocolate World, the Great Candy Expedition will conclude with a “complimentary” handout of treats such as Almond Joy bars and Jolly Rancher candies. Chocolate World will be hosting its 50th birthday bash on June 30.
The adjacent Hersheypark will be debuting Wildcat’s Revenge, an RMC wooden-steel hybrid IBox makeover of its wooden coaster, Wildcat, later this summer.
Have you been to Hershey’s Chocolate World? What attractions did you experience there? What do you think about the Great Candy Expedition?