The trip to return the rental car was an adventure as it didn’t go as smooth as I’d like
. Since rental cars were so expensive in these parts it was not worth it to pay an extra day just to have it setting in a parking lot as we had no plans to leave the Hershey property. The nearest Budget rental car drop off was 12 miles away in a town called Middletown, somewhere between (or next to) Hershey and Harrisburg. My first problem was the GPS I was using couldn’t find the address since it was on some sort of highway and my GPS needed the precise name for the street. The GPS was sending me 20 some miles the wrong way. So I decided to call the rental car place and get directions. Guess what? The lady at the Budget rental car had no clue how to get from the Hotel Hershey to her shop (Huh? Is she in the wrong line of work or what? – not being able to provide visitors directions to her car rental location!) I was on my own. Well, the planner in me came out and luckily I did have a clue of the general location since I did my research when I reserved the car. The highway signs helped to get me to the town and then I found the highway and finally the location. Unfortunately, the delay trying to find the location cost me precious time returning the car on time. I checked in at exactly 10:46am, one whole minute past the 30 minute “window” to avoid a fee. Well, the lady who didn’t know directions also didn’t seem the bit concerned that because of one minute and her lack of help to get me there, her computer was charging me an extra $109.00 (no that’s not a wrong figure). Obviously this lady is not in the customer service business. So out came my trusty phone and with the Budget car rental customer service number handy I calmly talked away that fee with a much more accommodating phone rep. After a quick taxi ride back to the hotel I was in the hotel room just before 11:30am.
While I was on the golf course and going through rental car drama, Laneshia and the kids did their own thing this morning as well
. Today was spa day for Laneshia who was set for a 9am appointment for a “Chocolate Sugar Scrub” and a “Chocolate Fondue Wrap”. Not soon after I returned to the room she came in from the Spa looking refreshed with a smile and a bag of extra spa supplies as well. Yep, with all the chocolate she was massaged with she came back smelling good and chocolaty. She called the treatment “relaxing”. Must be nice.
As for the morning for the kids, they enrolled in the Cocoa Kids Clubhouse from 9am through 1pm and they had the run of the place, free to do whatever activities they choose. I asked what they did for the 4 hours and the list of their activities included tennis, basketball, Wii, crafts and lunch. Jadin’s lunch was a grilled cheese sandwich while Aria had a hot dog. I’m sure it was good eating for them. When I picked them up at 1p in the clubroom they had beanbags spread out everywhere and some large 3 or 4 feet tall erector-set-looking pieces set up on the floor attempting to make a “fort.” They found another young friend who enrolled in the clubhouse that was also helping them. When I walked in they looked disappointed that 1pm had come so fast, so yes they had fun.
Next on the itinerary called for a trip to the HersheyPark amusement park
. But our busy week caught up to us and we all seemed exhausted so before heading out to the park we all seemed to feel the need to kick back in the room and relax. Laneshia, Aria and I all dozed off but I think Jadin played on his Nintendo the whole time (or maybe he caught a few winks, too). The sleep felt good as it was the first “nap” I’d had since we left Arlington. Ahh… refreshed and renewed. It was now time for the amusement park.
We hopped on the hotel shuttle for the amusement park around 4pm and prepared for the hot and humid day. HersheyPark is a neat amusement park filled with tons of rides, 11 rollercoasters (my favorite) and even a zoo called Zoo America. To top it off, the amusement park also had a waterpark inside – and in this heat, that was where we headed. I had the kids dress in their swimsuits as did I and our first stop was the wave pool. Others visiting had this smart idea too as the sitting area around the pool was packed and it took some searching to find Laneshia a spot in the shade to wait since she wasn’t getting in the water. The water definitely helped control the heat and the kids had a blast – they love swimming. We dried off while eating dinner then we changed into our regular clothes to hit the rides.
We spent the rest of the evening riding a few rides but not as many as Jadin would’ve liked
. The kids are getting more adventuresome when it comes to rides as they rode this rollercoaster called the WildMouse two times in a row with me. Jadin begged to go on a tall log-ride but Aria wasn’t having it and I didn’t want to get wet so he was left with disappointment. Laneshia is not a fan of wild rides but the Farris Wheel was just her speed so Aria and Jadin jumped on with her. That was too slow for me – I was looking for a fast, high ride so while they were getting on the Farris Wheel I walked down to the Fahrenheit, an awesome looking roller coaster that featured a 97 degree vertical drop (straight down!) and multiple twists and upside-down turns. The 25-minute wait was definitely worth it.
By the time I finished with the ride, Laneshia and the kids had walked back towards the entrance of the park and were eating. I went with Jadin to ride one more ride as he was hyped up to get on one last one, then we hit the souvenir shops and were in them right at closing time – 10pm.
Well, if you’ve been following us on this vacation, we’ve established a trend of closing down places and HersheyPark was no exception. We visited three souvenir shops as we slowly walked to the exit gates and by the time we were in the last shop, a line of security personnel were lined up outside having done a complete sweep of the park for remaining guests
. Guess who was in the last shop opened and part of the last group of folks to leave? You guessed it – us. Well to be technical, when we purchased our last souvenir items there were about five folks waiting to checkout still behind us, but still, amazing that with hundreds, maybe thousands of folks in the park that day we were just about the last to leave. The hotel shuttle was out front waiting for us as we boarded at 10:50pm.
Back in the hotel room the kids were still active but soon after her bath Aria crashed first hugging on two of her Hershey character stuffed dolls she got from the park. Jadin lasted 30 minutes longer before falling asleep watching TV with his glasses still on.
Since we were checking out of the Hotel in the morning, Laneshia organized and packed the bags tonight to avoid the time of doing in the morning. Good night from Hershey.
This morning I was up at the crack of dawn for a 7:10 tee time at the Hershey Links golf course. For some reason the alarm on my IPOD didn't go off, so by luck I happened to wake about 630am and made it just in time for the tee time as part of the "Nine by 9" golf package. The links course was slightly flat but had plenty tall grass and some water features which served as the hazards/course protection. Let’s just say I lost a few balls in the grass (OK, so I’m not Tiger Woods). I played behind a four-some which made it slow for me. Since I was a single player I had to spend time waiting for them to finish their hole. I finally gave up and skipped a hole and went around them to keep me on my schedule to get the rental car turned in by 10:15a (this time is important - you’ll read why next). All in all, it was a nice, beautiful course and it was early enough that I didn’t break much of a sweat in the heat.