Hershey, Pennsylvania, where Hershey chocolate is made, is somewhere I've wanted to visit since late 2006, when my family and I first moved to the US. Unfortunately, the long drive deterred us all, and no one wanted to plan the trip for the past 5+ years. I also decided that Hershey Chocolate is actually not tasty. The plain milk chocolate tastes waxy and expired to me, but others contently slobber it up. (I do enjoy some of their stuff (Heath bars... uh...that's it?) though.) Then again, I enjoy stale cornflakes.
This August, however, we squished 6 people into our non-SUV car and stumbled away to Hershey on the way to Pittsburg. Hershey is a confusing place. There's a hotel on a hill, a museum, an amusement park, a visitor's center (mainly dominated by the gift store), and a whole chunk of other entertainment (zoo, golf, spa, etc.). After getting out of the stuffy car in a huffy mood (carsickness never used to hit me until about a year ago), all I wanted to do was teleport right back home and sleep in air conditioning. In short, though, we went on the Hershey Chocolate Tour twice (the second time to get a better group picture because my mum wanted one...), bought around $50 of candy at the gift store, and then we split up and my mum and I went to The Hershey Story (the museum) while the other four went to the Hershey Park. Then we went to a diner and I realised that I hate diners and never want to go to one again.
Anyway! Chocolate World Tour!
This attraction basically has you sitting on a sled-type thing that sits on a moving floor that shuttles you around at about 0.5 m/s. As you move, you encounter ridiculously happy music coming ostensibly from three singing cows that smile and have make up and headbands and stuff. Boy are they delighted to get stuffed into cages, fed corn, and milked with plastic tubes *rolls eyes*. The lighting was really dim which made for really pathetic pictures, but at least you can see some of the machinery simulations that they have! None of it is real, of course, since I'm sure there would've been a mouse problem, and how many potential customers do you want to scare with that?
Every once in a while, there would be a TV screen with some clips of the factory. I briefly wondered whether they were from live cams, but then I figured that it didn't really matter, because in a factory, bars of chocolate look the same when they get made. I mean, that's what a factory is - creation of uniform products!
Overall, we started off with a bucket of cocoa beans and ended up with chocolate wrapped in packets looping around us. Then, there was a picture which my sister ruined (so we went on the tour again), and a very randomly placed section with glowing wallpaper and neon signs about Chicago and New York that, to me, was just a space filler, and at the end, an old man handed every person a little packet of Hershey Drops (which tasted like typical Hershey chocolate).
Then we checked out the gift store and I was slightly repulsed by all the things there...like candy-brand cushions, baby bibs, chocolate scented candles (sigh, we bought one of these for the souvenir cabinet), mounds of Twizzlers, and of course, shelves of chocolate candy, with all the regulars...Interestingly, the Hershey Kisses and other chocolates were mostly cheaper than ones sold at CVS, and possibly even Shoprite.