Michelle Haseltine came to town to spend the day with my kids and me today. Isabelle met Michelle last year (NOTE: The last time Michelle visited it was after the snowstorm of 2016 that dumped almost three feet of snow on us. Funny how Michelle came to town a few days after this year’s blizzard!) and was excited she was coming back for a visit. As a result, Isabelle created a long list of things she wanted to do with Michelle today. Those things included lunch out, exploring the Hershey Story museum, going to Hersheypark (It doesn’t open until April.), visiting the Hotel Hershey, stopping into Chocolate World, and seeing the butterflies at Hershey Gardens. Michelle was only in town for a few hours so we picked three of the items of Isabelle’s list.
After lunch and a stop into the historic Hotel Hershey, the four of us drove to Chocolate World. If you’ve read this blog before (or are friends with me in real life), then you know Isabelle and I have been to Chocolate World over a hundred times. Seriously. (I took her there so she could go on the Hershey’s Chocolate Tour ride — which is free — after nearly every speech therapy visit for over two years!) Isabelle was excited to go on the ride, for which there was a short line. (She’s only been on it about 10-15 times since they renovated it last year!)
Everything was going along fine on the ride until we reached the packaging room. We were facing the mock Kisses packaging line when the ride came to a complete stop. In the 100+ times I’ve been on this ride, it has never stopped! Something was wrong.
Less than 30 seconds later, a voice came over the loud speaker to inform us the ride would not be continuing. We would be escorted off shortly.
Isabelle seemed uneasy. I tried to reassure her that everything was fine, but what did I know? Michelle sensed Isabelle’s unease, and — as the writer she is — grabbed a pen and some paper out of her bag and encouraged Isabelle to draw while we waited. And that’s exactly what Isabelle did.
Five minutes passed. Ari was wiggling in the Ergo carrier and Isabelle was getting restless. Finally, a teenager worker with a large flashlight came to our car and said, “You can follow me.”
And so we did. But not before Isabelle declared, “I still want chocolate.” (Ride-goers always receive a piece of candy at the end of the ride.)
We saw other people who had disembarked from their ride cars and followed the Chocolate World workers, all of whom were carrying search lights, to a back door. They lead us through the bowels of Chocolate World. Isabelle was annoyed she couldn’t finish out the ride like normal, but Michelle encouraged her to think about how we were on an adventure, seeing something most people have never gotten to see before. I, for one, was pretty excited for my new adventure!
“I hope there’s still chocolate at the end,” Isabelle told me, unconvinced that the back rooms were as cool as they were.
We wove our way through a few rooms and past lots of chocolate. Finally, we reached an exit door.
There were two adults standing by the exit door who seemed ethereal. Do you know what they were doing? Handing out small Hershey’s chocolate bars!