World War II and Postwar America (1941-1950)
1941: Aerial Joy Ride is installed in Hersheypark. It previously operated at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York. This reused the original name for The Wild Cat roller coaster. Hersheypark contacted Philadelphia Toboggan Company (PTC) and wanted to install a Flying Turns roller coaster in the hollow area in between the area of The Bug and Mill Chute station and the Custer Car Ride. Planned to be installed in 1942, this was cancelled upon the United States entry into World War II after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7. This is the final season of operation for Bike Boats on Spring Creek, Giant Toboggan Slide at the pool, and Speedboat which ran on Swatara Creek.
1942: Hershey Park Zoo closes due to World War II. All rides in Hersheypark remain in the park since Hersheypark is unable to add new rides due to the war effort.
1943: Gasoline shortages causes the United States government to ban “pleasure driving” across the country. This meant that you could only drive if you had a legitimate reason, such as work. You were free to travel by any other means, as long as it didn’t use gasoline. Hersheypark remained open through the pleasure driving ban. Hershey Park Golf Course closed, and there were only a few shows at the Ballroom. The Hershey Bears considered relocating to Philadelphia, but decided to stay in Hershey and bear it out. (Note: The pun is intended.)
1944: Hersheypark acquires a PTC carrousel (#47), and lists the Dentzel carrousel for sale in a few July issues of Billboard Magazine.
1945: Carrousel, PTC #47, debuted. The Wild Cat runs its final ride on September 9. Also, Whoops is closed to make way for the roller coaster to replace Wild Cat. On October 14, Milton S. Hershey passes away.
1946: Comet, Hersheypark’s second PTC roller coaster, designed by Herbert P. Schmeck, opens on May 30. It is a double out and back coaster. Funland, placed on the hill near where Wild Cat’s station had been, opens to replace Whoops.
1947: The space vacated by Wild Cat’s station is used for Cuddle Up, another PTC ride.
1948: No significant changes are made.
1949: A new section of the park is created – Kiddieland. Two new kiddie rides are added, the Horse and Buggy and Lucas Motor Boat Ride. Hersheypark hosts Pennsylvania Dutch Days for the first time (in 1949 it was a single day).
1950: Hershey Park Zoo reopens for the first time since the end of World War II. Two Eli Bridge Ferris wheels are installed near the Whip and Skooters and are called the Twin Ferris Wheels. The Miniature Railroad is also truncated and a station built next to that.