Tuesday, November 14, 2017

A Review of Hershey Sweet Lights and Hershey's Chocolate World (part 2)

If you haven't had a chance, please check out Part 1 of my two part blog series, Christmas in Hershey.  In Part 1 I talked about Hershey Park's Christmas Candy Lane and The Hotel Hershey. Here in Part 2, I'll talk about Hershey Sweet Lights and Chocolate World, both of which I love. And please note, this is NOT a sponsored post. I did not receive ANYTHING from Hershey, its parks or resorts. I am just sharing my opinion with you, 'cause that's what I do! If you like my Hershey stuff (and I hope you do), be sure to check out my Hershey Insider Page for all of my Hershey posts.


What is Hershey Sweet Lights?

Hershey Sweet Lights is a drive-through light display, not far from Hersheypark itself.  If you decide to stay at The Hotel Hershey like we did, the display is located in the fields behind the hotel.  You can't walk there, but you can see parts of the display at night from certain rooms in the hotel, and it is a quick drive down the hill to attend.

The view of Sweet Lights from our hotel window at Hotel Hershey
What you'll see at Hershey Sweet Lights!  Count the Rudolphs!
Another shot of the displays at Hershey Sweet Lights

Your entrance fee ranges depending upon which evening you go, but it will cost you roughly $20-$25 per car. You'll get a small discount if you stay in one of the Hershey hotels (Hershey Lodge or Hotel Hershey). You can even purchase a package that includes popcorn or treats. They gave us free Hershey snowflake paper glasses, which we all thought were pretty cool.

They make lights turn into snowflakes when you look through them!

There are over 600 animated, lighted displays at Hershey Sweet Lights. Some of them are grouped together in themes (such as a fairy tale theme or the 12 Days of Christmas). If you visit the Hershey Sweet Lights web page, you can view a small preview video of the display.

Some of the displays at Hershey Sweet Lights appear to move, like this machine the elves are using!

You can make a fun evening of this- think pajamas, hot chocolate, cookies, Christmas carols!  You get the idea.



I have been to animated light displays before, but none quite like this one. Hershey tops my list for best light display, hands down!


We have visited this display more than once, and one evening we had horrible rain and fog.  The display was still amazing, even in the rain, so never fear if the weather is refusing to cooperate. Oh, and the whole thing took us roughly thirty or so minutes to drive through, but again, it all depends on how quickly you drive and how much you linger at each display (or how many cars are in front of you).

Chocolate World

I love, love, love Chocolate World.  Can I say it enough?  I have been there many different times of year and I just love everything about it.  First, let's just understand a few things:

  • Chocolate World and Hersheypark are two separate places but they stand next to each other.
  • Chocolate World is basically a representation of Hershey. There is a "factory tour" (not the real factory, but shows you the basic premise), and other attractions inside (which we'll get to in a minute)
  • Chocolate World is free to enter, and free to ride the factory tour. There are paid attractions inside, but you don't have to purchase anything if you don't want to (but I dare you to try!)
  • Chocolate World is open year round, whereas Hershey Park has seasonal hours.


The Factory Tour Ride at Chocolate World

The Chocolate World Factory Tour is awesome and free. They start you out by posing for a photo, but obviously this is not a requirement to buy (they offer two options for purchase at the end of the ride- a little souvenir book at a whopping $35, or a plain photo for $25). Note that you can also skip the photo entirely if you just ask (although on one crowded day they asked us to stand for the photo anyway, not exactly sure why. They said it helped them with crowd count).

Once you wind on down to the ride, you'll get inside a car (vehicle? It resembles an egg) that takes you through a make-believe version of a Hershey Factory, complete with all of your favorite Hershey candies, music, and pumped in chocolate scent.  These fabulous cows greet you as soon as you arrive.




This ride is completely free, and my son loves to get off the ride and get right back on to ride again when he is finished. And you usually get a free sample when the ride is over. Yummy!!

The Hershey Store

Be forewarned, the ride entrance is situated within the greatest souvenir shop (The Hershey Store) known to chocolate lovers.  It is one of my favorite souvenir shops (other than Disney World) and you'd best steer clear if you try to rush me through it (The Jersey Momma's Boy is not a shopper and hates souvenir shopping, and has thrown a few tantrums over my desire to peruse through this store, I assure you). There are often seasonal decorations or displays, like this Twizzler pharoah that we saw during one visit:

An Egyptian king made of Twizzlers!  I bow to you, my king!

And there's a candy machine where you can make your own mix of your favorite Hershey treats.

The Amazing Candy Machine lets you create your own mix!

The Food Court at Chocolate World

Beyond the Hershey Store is a food court.  You can get just about anything here- sandwiches, pizza, soup, chicken nuggets, etc. Every dessert you can imagine, and ice cream, too.  Some food is reasonably priced (like the pizza and breadsticks), and other choices will cost you (like the grilled chicken skewers). The food, honestly, has improved over the years, but it's food court food, so don't expect gourmet cuisine! On really busy days, the food court can also get really crowded and the tables can get dirty. We haven't quite figured out a way around this. If you're in Chocolate World, this is really the only place to eat so you're kind of stuck here!

Candy house in Chocolate World during the holidays!

A section beyond the food court is also completely devoted to Hershey Kisses, so don't miss that! It's right next to the ice cream. People often buy their goodies at the front of the store and then say, 'oh, I missed this whole section back here!' So don't forget your Kisses!

Oh, and another cool fact that most people miss- there is a tropical jungle display in the middle of the food court! If you look at the foliage in center court, you'll see a sign that explains what each of the plants are and how they help in the chocolate-making process. Pretty cool, right?


Paid Attractions

Chocolate World offers paid attractions, too.  You can purchase packages of items or purchase tickets to each attraction individually.  Again, you don't have to purchase anything if you don't want to. You can walk straight ahead to the factory tour or the store, if you choose.  Check their website for a detailed list of all of the attractions that they offer.


Create Your Own Chocolate Bar

In the many times we have been there, we loved the "Create Your Own" chocolate bar attraction (worth waiting for- a bit pricey but you do walk away with a one-of-a-kind, delicious chocolate bar of your own making).  Just note that each person who enters the experience must pay for and create their own bar (meaning, you can't just accompany your child as he/she makes one, and not make one yourself.  If you go in, you create!  You pay!).

You use a computer screen to choose what you want to put in your bar, and then you watch the entire thing being created on an assembly line.  This is a working food processing line so you have to wear hair nets and aprons!

There's my chocolate!

Your name appears on a little screen by your bar so you can follow it the whole way.


Then you get to design the label for your chocolate bar on another computer.  You pick up your bar when it's all done and they package it in your special wrapper and a tin box.



I must say, it is totally beautiful when finished, and tastes amazing because it's so fresh.  The only down side is having to wait too long to make it (especially if you're there on a crowded day), but I suppose you can't rush greatness!

The Trolley Ride

In the summer, we took the Trolley Tour and we enjoyed it immensely.  We were really impressed with the actors who served as tour guides on the trolley.  The trolley drives you through the town of Hershey and shows you all of Milton Hershey's original landmarks and important locations.  The actors on board assume the role(s) of different characters in Hershey's life.  There is singing involved, and trivia.  Oh and lots of chocolate!


The 4D Movie

There is a 4D movie that you can see, and I really recommend this one, as it's soooo cute!  4D means the movie is interactive- the characters on screen talk to the audience.  There are smells, vibrations and lights all pumped into the room during the movie to make for a really cool experience.  I won't give away the plot, but there are some colorful robots that my son loved.


We didn't find the movie scary or inappropriate at all, so as long as your little ones can sit through a 30 minute show and don't mind wearing 3D glasses, then you're set!

**Important to note is that if you talk to some of the hosts while you are waiting in the lobby (i.e. answer their questions and give them your name), they may include you in the actual show.  Don't worry, they won't pull you up on stage or anything, but the characters might call out your name or talk to you individually during the actual movie!  So don't be afraid to participate.

Other Chocolate World Attractions

There is also a chocolate tasting experience but we haven't tried it yet.  During this experience you can sample different types of chocolate (dark, milk, etc). We usually skip this one because we are already consuming so much chocolate on this trip that I can't imagine sitting down and eating even more (plus, The Jersey Momma's Boy is not a fan of dark chocolate).  But, you know, to each his own!

If you're interested in any of the other Hershey properties, please check out my related Hershey articles:

Christmas in Hershey - Christmas Candy Lane
Hershey Gardens
Hershey Story Museum
Hotel Hershey vs. Hershey Lodge - Which to Choose?
Hotel Hershey vs. Hershey Lodge - Which to Choose? (part 2)

Or just visit them all in one place on my Hershey Insider Page!


Jersey Momma Tips
  • Chocolate World can get very crowded, especially on weekends. If it's in your agenda to visit, I recommend going early.
  • It's okay to plan!  Check out the website in detail before you go so you know what to expect at Chocolate World.  It is easy to miss what's inside because it's a busy place.  There is a map on the website that you can go look at before you visit.
  • Check the website for discounts- sometimes they offer coupons for the store or food court
  • Chocolate World can be a little confusing inside.  When you walk in, the tour is straight ahead, as well as the store.  The food court is behind the store if you keep walking. Tickets for different events can be purchased at the kiosk in the main lobby (to the right of the entrance).  If you're confused, ask an employee for help- there are usually people walking around to assist you.
  • The Hershey characters do walk around for photo opportunities, so keep an eye out for them!
  • If you stay at one of the Hershey resorts, they sometimes offer you a free ticket to an attraction at Chocolate World, most likely the movie, but this might depend on the season and the other packages available at the time.
  • You do not have to pay to park at Chocolate World (if you are parking in the Hersheypark lot, you do pay a fee).  If you are a hotel guest, you can take a free shuttle to Hersheypark/Chocolate World and not have to worry about parking at all.
  • I implore you to eat what you like and sample everything.  If you go there worried about your weight or your figure or how many pounds you'll gain, you'll be missing out on the whole Hershey experience.  Just go and eat and enjoy!!!
  • Click here to visit the Chocolate World website, in case you missed my links above.

13 comments:

  1. Looks like you all had a great time.

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  2. Thanks Rebecca and Mary! I appreciate you stopping by to read my blog!

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  3. I like the second part even more! I love the photos of the lights.

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  4. Thanks so much! It helped us greatly.. We're going tomorrow:)

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  5. Thanks we are thinking of going the Monday after Christmas!!!

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    1. Enjoy!! It is such a fun place! I think we're over due for another visit, too! ;)

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  6. I am hoping to plan a trip for this coming year and I have a question about tickets...do you need a regular admission ticket to go to the park during the day or just the "Candy Cane Lane" ticket? Do you know if the Candy Cane Lane ticket also includes admission to ZooAmerica or should that be purchased separately as well?

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    1. Hi there! Your regular admission ticket IS the Candy Cane Lane ticket (or should I say, it includes Candy Cane Lane). That ticket also includes admission to ZooAmerica (there is an entrance to the zoo right within the park). If you want to visit Hershey Sweet Lights (the drive-through light display), that would be a separate purchase (although I'm sure you could find a package deal of some sort). I hope that helps!

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  7. Hi,

    First of all, thank you very much for the review.It's really helpful! We plan to have trip to have a trip there around Christmas this year. How many days do you think we should spend there to do all the attractions including chocolate world, theme park, garden, and museum. We have 2 kids, one is 5 and one is almost 2. We plan to stay in the hershey hotel, and do you know what is the discount for the tickets if you buy it from the hotel?

    Thank you,

    Chia-Li

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    1. Hi Chia-Li! Thank you for reading and commenting. We actually just returned from a trip to Hershey yesterday and it was so much fun. I know you're going to love it! So here's what I think- if you want to do all of those attractions, I recommend staying AT LEAST two nights. The Hotel Hershey gives you free passes to the Hershey Story Museum and Hershey Gardens, and you'll want to take advantage of that. You can actually spend a whole day at Chocolate World alone if you want to do a few of the attractions in there (movie, trolley ride, make your own chocolate, etc), so more than one night would make that easier. An ideal trip for me to hit all of those attractions would be a four day weekend, but we usually can't afford that. If you can swing it, do it! I can't remember what the exact discount was for park tickets at the hotel, but I think it came to a little over $40 for three tickets, if I remember correctly? It was a good deal. But there are also packages available at the hotel that will give you tickets/room/etc. all together, too. I hope that helps!

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