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

Over the years Hershey Entertainment & Resorts has provided Jersey Family Fun writers and their families with admission to Hershey Park Christmas Candylane and admission to Hershey Sweet Lights, 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.

Enjoy this article about our 2013 visit to Hershey Park’s Christmas Attractions, then head over to read about our 2017 visit here. We’ve updated that article with 2019 details!

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 Christmas in 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.

Hersheypark Christmas Candylane with Hershey Bar

Christmas in Hershey Itinerary

  • Arrive and check-in. Check-in at the Hershey Lodge is at 4 pm.
  • 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 Hersheypark 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.

Try these 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!

Reasons to visit Hersheypark Hershey mascot at Hersheypark

Christmas Candylane Events and Attractions

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 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 at Hersheypark Christmas Candylane,
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 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.
ice skating at Hersheypark's Rudolph's Skating Pond
Rudolph’s Skating Pond

Visits with Santa

  • There is a fee for photos with Santa

Hersheypark Kissmas Tree


Hershey Park’s Christmas Candylane’s Hours

Hersheypark Christmas Candylane is open weekends and select weekdays in December.


Tips for Enjoying Your Hersheypark 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 begins at $20 per car, unless you add it on to your Christmas Candylane ticket. You can also purchase popcorn at the beginning of the light display.

Learn more about the Hershey Sweet Lights in Hershey Sweet Lights ~ The Must Do Drive Thru During Your Hersheypark Christmas.

What we loved about Hershey Sweet Lights

This is everyone’s favorite part of our trip for a few reasons.

  • You can drive through the display and stay warm inside your car. The beauty of the lights and calmness of the drive can help babies and little ones wind down.
  • Enjoy the excitement of pointing out the different displays to your kids. 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?
  • Use the HoloSpex Glasses to turn 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.
  • Click over to learn about sweet places to stay near Hersheypark.

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.


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Carol chickelero

Wednesday 9th of November 2016

Planning a trip for this Christmas .

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