Thank you to Hershey for hosting my family this past weekend so I can share these Hersheypark Dark Nights FAQs with you. All opinions are 100% my own.
Happy Halloween season, friends! My family got in the spirit last weekend at Hersheypark Halloween. We’ve visited before during this season, but this year there is a huge new addition–Hersheypark Dark Nights has been added to the line-up of spooky fall fun! Read on for the scoop and tips for taking in the new experiences.
Hersheypark Dark Nights FAQs
First things first, what is Dark Nights? Three scare zones and four haunted houses make up this new attraction and are spread throughout the park. You need to wait in line and have wristbands to go into the haunted houses, but the scare zones are the areas outside of the houses (two of the houses are right beside each other, so they share a scare zone) anyone can walk through.
Is it still okay to visit with (younger) kids? Absolutely! All of what Hersheypark Halloween has always been known for–fun, festive decorations, the Trick or Treat trail, yummy seasonal treats, the Character Glow Dance Party and rides for all ages is still going strong! The scare zones are low on the scare factor with lots of fog, a few character actors and some spookier decor and music, but the zones are very clearly marked before you enter if you think they would be too much for your crew and would like to avoid.
Do you need separate tickets for Dark Nights? Yes, you need both the general admission ticket to Hersheypark and the separate ticket to enjoy Dark Nights. You can purchase Dark Nights tickets in the park or buy ahead of time online. I recommend buying online to save time at the park.
How do I redeem my tickets if I buy online? There are kiosks throughout the park, or after entering the park, past the Starbucks, you will see an HPGO booth. You can redeem your online tickets at the booth or kiosks for the wristbands you will need to enter the haunted houses. I recommend redeeming at the HPGO booth, as there are staff there available to assist you if needed.
Can I use my Dark Nights tickets with the Preview Plan? I love the Preview Plan! Included with all tickets, you are able to get into the park a bit before you visit the next day (see website for specific hours). You can use your Dark Nights tickets when you go the night before, but be aware that Dark Nights tickets are good for one day only. Meaning, if you redeem them when you go for the Preview Plan, you will not be able to use them the next day. You would have to buy a second set of Dark Nights tickets if you wanted to experience the haunted houses again.
When is Dark Nights open? The scare zones transform and the haunted houses open at 6pm every night.
Where are the haunted houses? Grab a map when you redeem your tickets and study it closely so you can walk directly to where you want to go. I’m including it here, or you can check out online. Briefly, the first house is in front of the Sooper Dooper Looper, the second is beside the Trailblazer, and the last two are just past Laff Trakk, at the back of the park.
Best strategy for seeing all of the houses? When we visited, the lines for the haunted houses were extremely long, with wait times of up to 45 minutes. People began queuing up over an hour before the houses opened. However, I do have two PRO TIPS. PRO TIP #1: get to the haunted house you want to first visit well before 6pm if you are there for the day, and if you are going with the Preview Plan, beeline there as soon as you get into the park. PRO TIP #2: bypass the two haunted houses towards the beginning of the park, and go to the two houses side-by-side in the back of the park. We visited with the Preview Plan, and upon seeing the long lines at the first two houses, we made our way to the back–one only had a 5 minute wait and the other was 10 minutes. If you head to back of park first and work forward, you may have a better shot at getting to visit all four houses.
Will I have time to do ride rides too? This is tricky, especially if you are only visiting for one night. As mentioned, the lines for the houses are long, and only open at 6pm. We did use the Preview Plan, but were headed to the Hershey Bears game the next night, so only had one chance to experience Dark Nights. We ended up compromising, not hitting all of the houses, but riding some of the lights-out rides we love every year (such a cool experience riding coasters in the dark!). PRO TIP: if you are visiting for two nights with the Preview Plan, I would do rides the first night (the lines were low because so many people were at the haunted houses!), then plan to queue up and settle in for some proper spooking with Dark Nights the second night.
What ages is Dark Nights appropriate for? The recommended age for the houses is 13. However, I am 43 and was entirely terrified, so I think this number is relative. 😉 My children were also terrified, but if your kids are of a stronger stock, they may enjoy the houses. The scare zones, however, were not scary at all for us. It was fun to walk through foggy spots and enjoy the mood of the season. If your young child is particularly frightful, you may want to avoid these zones, but I think passing through them would be fine for most families.
Does the Accessibility Pass work with Dark Nights? It does! We were unsure of this, but upon seeing the first long line to a haunted house, my husband asked. They give you a card with a return time, dependant on the length of the line, and you are able to return at that time and go through the fast pass lane.
Speaking of fast passes, can I get them for Dark Nights? You can! It’s an additional option you can pruchase when buying your Dark Nights tickets.
What am I missing, friends? What other questions do you have? If I don’t know, I can find out for you!
And if you’ve visited Hersheypark Dark Nights, please let us know your thoughts/tips! Here’s to enjoying a very spooky Hersheypark Halloween!
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