September 28, 2011

Hershey Lodge in Hershey, PA

I’m going to blog about a place we go every year and has become a tradition for our family.  We haven’t been there yet in 2011 but I just confirmed our reservations.  It’s the Hershey Lodge in Hershey Pennsylvania (

I always reserve the Breakfast with Santa package.  It’s a 2-day/1-night package that includes deluxe accommodations, breakfast with Santa, and free admission passes to the Hershey Sweet Lights, Hershey Gardens, and the Hershey Story Museum.

I book the trip for a Saturday/Sunday stay about the first or second week in December.  I find this is the best time to get the children all gooned up for Santa.  We leave our house about 9:00 am packed with movies, snacks, and suitcases.  It’s roughly about a 2 hour drive from our house and it’s a fairly easy drive.  Whenever we arrive, they seem to always have something exciting going on for the kids.   The Lodge has the Hershey's Product Characters usually roaming around the main lobby area to greet the kids when we arrive and they have a cute kid’s reservation table set up so the kids can check themselves into the hotel.  

The entrance to the Lodge, I think, is gorgeous.  They always have it decorated so beautifully and they have a ginormous fireplace there that is so inviting.  The biggest thrill though is when the Hershey's Product Characters come out.  My children go crazy.  We usually see Hershey Kiss, Hershey Chocolate, Reeses, and Peppermint Patty, etc.  One thing I have learned though is don’t get the kids too gooned up for a particular character.  They do alternate and they are never the same characters twice (I learned that the hard way).

Once we have finished with the check-in process (at check-in they give each family member a standard sized Hershey Candy Bar – bonus!), we head to the room.  The Lodge is a very big complex so if you are adverse to walking a lot, make sure when you make reservations to ask for a room close to the Lobby.  The first time we went, I was unfamiliar with the Lodge and our room was very far away from all the action.  For us to get to the lobby, we had to walk outside to another building and then catch 2 elevators to get there.  Since it was December, it was tough manuvering the kids through the cold weather.  Since then, I have always requested a room close to the Lobby.  This solved that problem.

I find the rooms are always clean.  I’m not going to lie, I have stayed at nicer places but again the rooms are clean and definitely acceptable.  After we get situated, we put on our bathing suits and head to the indoor pool.  The pool is nothing fancy.  It’s pretty descent size and they do have a wadding pool and hot tub as well.  Next to the indoor pool is a game (arcade) room so we always hit that.  Again, nothing fancy but it does occupy the children for about 45 minutes (and they love it). 

For dinner, we usually hit the Bear’s Den.  It’s a sports bar in the Lodge and the food is good for adults and kids.  It’s definitely not fancy but it’s a good place to eat with children.  The Lodge has several other choices for breakfast, lunch and dinner and it has several little shops for coffees and quick snacks.  I find the prices are reasonable.

After dinner, we load up the car and head off to the Sweet Lights tour (  This is a drive-thru spectacular.  It’s a two mile display of beautiful Christmas lights and decorations.  It’s about a half an hour show and well worth it (remember it’s free too).  You can even listen to Christmas music from the tour’s simulcast radio station.

The Lodge always seems to have kid’s activities in the Lobby area.  Last year, we participated in the Hershey Scavenger Hunt.  We basically followed clues throughout the Lodge and it ended with a candy prize.  The kids loved it.  We also did Candy Bingo one night.  Tons of fun for the adults, kids not so much but remember they were only 8, 5, 4, 12 months old at the time of our last visit.

And now the best part, Breakfast with Santa.  They set up one of their many conference rooms for the buffet breakfast.  The room is filled with Holiday music and decorated so beautifully.  This truly is a magical moment.  They bring in the Hershey's Product Characters again to mingle with the children (and they do photo-ops).  After breakfast, Santa and Mrs. Claus come in.  The children (and me and Prince William) just love this part.  It just really brings the season alive. 

Santa sets up his area right near the beautifully decorated Christmas tree and Santa and Mrs. Claus start receiving visitors.  The line forms pretty quickly so we have learned to sit and wait until the line goes down before we get in line.  They provide paper and pencil before breakfast is over to let your children make a Christmas List so they can present it to the Claus’ when they get up there.  Surprisingly, the couple spends a descent amount of time with each child.  You get to do about a 3 minute picture-taking event with them.  At the end of the visit, they hand out a small gift for each child.  It’s just a magical time.

After breakfast, we hit the indoor pool one more time and then call it a vacation.  There are tons of places to hit on the way out of town for lunch/snacks (fast food and sit down).

PROS:   The magical aspect of this trip is what does it for me.  Our children are at the perfect age for this vacation.   With the kids’ activities that the Lodge provides, the indoor pool, the game room and the Hershey's Product Characters running around, there is definitely always something for us to do.  They also have an outdoor playground, basketball courts, and putt-putt golf (all free).  Weather permitting, it’s definitely something to do.  One year, it was nice enough to play putt-putt and we enjoyed it (and it’s free).  Above all else, the staff are great people and are always willing to help. 

CONS:   When you go to the Breakfast with Santa, the initial line does get pretty long.  We just decide to wait until it goes down a bit before getting in line.  Not a hassle, just something to remember.  Make sure you get a room close to the action as well.  As I said above, you can really do some walking if you are on one of the many wings.

OVERALL:  I recommend this trip 100%.  Nothing gets me into the holiday spirit like my children enjoying Santa and the magic that the holidays bring.  We look forward to this trip all year.

TOTAL COST:  The Breakfast with Santa package is $369.00 plus tax (remember that includes deluxe accommodations, a buffet for all 6 of us, and the free passes to Hershey Lights, Hershey Museum, and the Hershey Gardens).   The game room will run you about $20.00 (that’s for 3 kids to play about ½ hour).  We always let the kids get holiday souvenirs as well.  The entire Saturday/Sunday trip is right around $450.00.
If you go, tell us what you think


Princess Kate said...

Check out a promotional code I have placed under Savings From Me to You for Hershey Lodge in Hershey PA.

Princess Kate said...

The 2011 trip was fantastic (yet again). We kept our game plan the same and everything was perfect. I will say, it seemed way more crowded then previous years and it appeared the buffet was not as "plentiful" as in previous years. But all in all, a perfect trip. STILL HIGHLY RECOMEND IT!!!!

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