Christmas in Hershey: A Sweet Way to Kickoff Your Holiday Season

Posted on: November 29th, 2013 by
This post was sponsored by Hershey Entertainment & Resorts who provided me with admission to Hershey Park Christmas Candylane and admission to Hershey Sweet Lights for my family, as well as Chocolate Bucks to use for snacks in the park and other properties. We appreciate their support of Jersey Family Fun that allows us to share with families information about Hershey Parks hotels & destinations we think your family may enjoy for family vacations.


Read our 2015 updates to our Christmas in Hershey series here.

Hersheypark experiences



The AMTRAK Candylane Twilight Express was a favorite for my train loving boys.

The AMTRAK Candylane Twilight Express was a favorite for my train loving boys.


I can not say enough about how much I love Hershey!

We spent a lot of time there growing up, so being back at Hershey Park just makes me feel like a kid again. Surrounded by all of that chocolate, holiday decor, twinkling lights, festive music, and the smells of kettle corn and roasted nuts, it’s pretty much impossible to not get into the holiday spirit. In fact, I think a trip to celebrate Christmas in Hershey is a sweet way to kickoff your holiday season and get in the mood for all of the preparations to come.


There is so much to see and do, it’s really easy to fill up a weekend. We only stayed one night and I would definitely recommend considering at least a two night stay, especially if you have younger kids.


I recommend arriving in the Hershey Park area on a Friday to take advantage of the Preview Program. If you arrive 2.5 hours prior to the Hershey Park closing and buy your tickets for the next day, you can enter for FREE for the rest of that evening. If you already have your tickets you can show your ticket for free admission the night before your visit.


Check-in at the Hershey Lodge is at 4pm. So you could:

  • Arrive and check-in
  • Give the kids a chance to meet the characters right away in the main lobby.
  • Visit Kids Check-in where they will receive a Hershey Lodge lanyard with their name on it, a coloring activity book with crayons, and of course some chocolate!
  • Head to the park for a preview and take in all of the holiday lights throughout Christmas Candylane.
  • Then visit the park during the day the next day and Hershey Sweet Lights after dinner.
  • Make sure you save time in your schedule for Hershey Gardens and The Hershey Story, both of which are free if you stay at Hershey Lodge or The Hotel Hershey.


Meeting Frosty at Hersheypark Christmas Candylane.

Meeting Frosty at Hersheypark Christmas Candylane.


About Hersheypark Christmas Candylane

  • There are over 30 rides open at Hersheypark. Visit the website for a complete listing and make sure to Measure Up! at one of the measuring stations to know ahead of time what rides your kids can do. If your child is a Hershey Bar, 48″-54″, they can ride every ride that is open except the Mini-Scrambler.
  • Holiday shops have plenty of gifts and holiday decor so you can get a jump on your holiday shopping.
  • Admission is $12 for ages 3+. Children 2 and under are free.
  • Two and Three Day Flex plans are also available for $15.46 (2 day) or $20.90 (3 day).
  • Or a Ride, Dine, Play ticket which includes 1 meal ticket, game voucher, and 1 day admission for $22.
  • Parking is $8.00.


Snacks Inside Hershey Park’s Christmas Candylane

We also used our chocolate bucks to purchase Cinnamon Roasted Almonds ($5.50 a bag or 2 for $10) at the Nut Shop, as well as 2 souvenir cups full of yummy hot chocolate to warm us up. You can get refills at a reduced rate and also add on “The Works” of chocolate shavings and whipped cream for an additional charge.


Make sure you budget some money for snacks. The smells of Kettle Korn and other yummy treats are pretty hard to resist. Our total for one bag of nuts, 2 hot chocolates (1 had “The Works”) and one refill including tax was $20.75.


There’s even S’more Making in S’mores Galore!


Taking a break to warm up with some yummy hot chocolate and of course, a Hershey bar.

Taking a break to warm up with some yummy hot chocolate and of course, a Hershey bar. You do not want to know how much chocolate my kids consumed on Saturday.


Christmas Candylane Events and Attractions

Rudolph's Skating Pond

Rudolph’s Skating Pond

  • N.O.E.L., Nights of Extraordinary Lights
    • a light show featuring more than 125,000 lights synchronized to Christmas music.
    • There are 4 different shows beginning at 5pm with show times every half hour.
  • A Music Box Christmas Show (New for 2013) inside the Chevrolet Music Box Theatre.
    • Join the Jingle family as they celebrate the holiday traditions of the Christmas season.
  • Christmas Candylane Storytime
    • Presented by Capital BlueCross, a special holiday story and special character appearances every Saturday and Sunday through December 22nd at 3pm at the Chevrolet Music Box Theatre.


Santa's Reindeer!

Santa’s Reindeer!

  • Santa’s Reindeer Stables
    • Open daily in Pioneer Frontier Catering area of Hersheypark.
    • An employee from ZooAmerica told us how antlers are different then horns because they fall off each year and that Rudolph turns his nose on and off like a lightening bug (that’s why his nose wasn’t red).
    • My son decided he wants a reindeer as a pet.
  • Ice Skating (New for 2013) in Rudolph’s Skating Pond
    • There is a small, synthetic (plastic) ice skating area where you can rent skates for $2 each. Personal ice skates are not permitted.
  • Visits with Santa
    • There is a fee for Photos with Santa
  • Hersheypark Kissmas Tree

Hershey Park’s Christmas Candylane’s Hours

Friday: 5:00 pm- 10:00 pm
Saturday: 12:00 pm- 10:00 pm
Sunday: 12:00 pm- 9:00 pm

Select weekdays in December: 5:00pm-9:00pm (Check the website for exact dates and hours)

Tips for Enjoying Your Hershey Park Visit

  • Bundle up! It’s cold.
  • Plan a visit to Chocolate World in the middle of your day to warm up.
  • Lines were shorter on rides in the back of the park, near Santa’s Cottage or in Music Box Way.
  • Plan your visit to include a preview the night before, so you can experience everything the park has to offer in smaller segments, especially if you have younger kids who aren’t used to the cold.
  • Bring your stroller! There’s a lot of walking and rides and attractions are more spread out then in smaller amusement parks.
One of our favorite displays at Hershey Sweet Lights.

One of our favorite displays at Hershey Sweet Lights.

About Hershey Sweet Lights

Hershey Sweet Lights is a drive-through holiday lights display with over 600 animated light displays throughout 2 miles of wooded trails. Hershey Sweet Lights is located just minutes from Hersheypark between Route 39 and Sand Beach Road. From Hersheypark Drive, go north on Sand Beach Road for approximately 1/2 mile. Follow signs to Boathouse Road to Sweet Lights entrance.

Admission is $25 per car, unless you add on to your Christmas Candylane ticket. You can also purchase popcorn at the beginning of the light display.


What we loved about Hershey Sweet Lights

This was my husband’s favorite part of our trip for a few reasons.

  • We could drive through the display and stay warm inside our car, plus our 22 month old fell asleep before we even saw any lights. He needed a break!
  • We both loved the excitement of pointing out the different displays to our 3.5 year old. Some of our favorites included:
    • Twelve Days of Christmas
    • Elves Toy Factory
    • Winners from student display contest
    • Roller coasters and other familiar Hersheypark rides
  • Finding and counting the hidden Rudolph’s peeking out from behind the trees. Can you find all 32?
  • We were given two pairs of HoloSpex Glasses that turned the lights into snowflakes.
  • A portion of the entrance fee is donated to Children’s Miracle Network.
One of the many light displays, including familiar rides, at Hershey Sweet Lights.

One of the many light displays, including familiar rides, at Hershey Sweet Lights.

Tips for Saving on your Visit to Hersheypark Christmas Candylane and Hershey Sweet Lights

  • If you are planning to visit both Christmas Candylane and Hershey Sweet Lights you can add on a Hershey Sweet Lights ticket to your Candylane ticket for $18. Stop by Guest Services at the HersheyPark entrance to participate.
  • You can also purchase discount tickets to Hersheypark Christmas Candylane at the concierge desk at Hershey Resort Hotels, including the Hershey Lodge.
  • Or at select Giant Foods stores in the area.

View more Hershey Park & Christmas in Hershey photos of our visit in our Facebook Gallery.


Click over to see the rest of our Family Travel to Hersheypark series.

Hersheypark experiences

To arrange a feature on your location contact Jennifer Auer, Jersey Family Fun publisher.

In full disclosure, we received admission to Hersheypark Christmas Candylane and Hershey Sweet Lights in order to make this review possible. We also received $100 Chocolate Bucks that we used a portion of for snacks in the park. As always, our opinions are 100% our own and based on our experience. I really do love Hershey more than words can describe.

One thought on “Christmas in Hershey: A Sweet Way to Kickoff Your Holiday Season

  1. Carol chickelero says:

    Planning a trip for this Christmas .

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