Over-the-top milkshakes have been a trend in the foodie world for years — with many willing to pony up big bucks for a taste of pure sugary perfection.
Enter Hersheypark, a theme park located in Hershey, Pa., and the source of many a sweet tooth. Hersheypark serves as the epicenter of the sugar-laden town, celebrating the famous milk chocolate bar 365 days a year. The award-winning theme park, created by chocolate maven Milton S. Hershey, is home to family-friendly attractions and globally-recognized roller coasters, but it’s a milkshake served within its gates that’s garnered a near cult-like following.
Hersheypark’s King Size Shakes have become a staple of any visit to the theme park. And, while the destination has a cornucopia of other delicious delights — like Pennsylvania-born whoopie pies and irresistible Dutch-style pretzels — they’re the one treat that continually draw crowds. In both appearance and sheer size, King Size Shakes appear to be straight out of the whimsical world of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.
What is a King Size Shake?
“King Size Shakes start with 28 ounces of rich milkshake in a mug with a delicious drizzle, chocolate covered pretzels and creative topper,” shares Hersheypark’s Olivia Haist, director of food and beverage operations at the theme park. “We often experiment with lots of different King Size Shakes, throwing a fun curveball into every season.”
The King Size Shake is Haist’s brainchild. The culinary creative has been deemed “the milkshake maven” by her team. Haist’s passion for Hersheypark treats is long-lived: She started with the company in 2005 as a teen and worked her way up to her current role. Only the second female to work as the park’s food and beverage director, she’s currently part of Hersheypark’s first all-female leadership team.
Theme park admission is required to try these beastly, mouth-watering creations: King Size Shakes are available exclusively from the park’s Simply Chocolate, a food stand devoted to all things ice cream. Because of the shakes’ over-the-top nature, they’re not only delicious but extremely photogenic — and a fan favorite on Instagram and TikTok.
King Size Shakes debuted at the theme park in 2016 and won an industry award their very first year in existence. Priced at $16.95, the shakes are available in a variety of flavors, like chocolate, peanut butter and vanilla. While the price sounds staggering, they’re a treat designed to be shared: These massive concoctions are topped with everything from cookies and cupcakes to pie slices and chocolate-covered pretzels — because more chocolate is always a good thing.
Seasonal varieties are often created for limited releases, like frozen hot chocolate with a marshmallow tree for Christmas and the fall-favorite topper of a pumpkin roll pastry. Hersheypark has even been known to create specialty versions that celebrate specific attractions within the park.
Hersheypark is currently celebrating spooky season with the seasonal Ghostly King Size Shake and Monster King Size Shake. Both are available at the park’s seasonal events, Hersheypark Halloween and its first ever immersive haunt experience, Dark Nights. These wildly inventive creations may be the most visually stunning yet, topped with treats like chocolate covered tombstones and adorable ghouls.
In 2021 alone, Hersheypark sold nearly half a million ounces of these now-famous milkshakes. By early 2023 it’s projected to hit nearly 100,000 King Size Shakes sold.
This only-in-Hersheypark treat is a direct collaboration between the Hershey Entertainment and Resorts culinary team and the brilliant minds of The Sweeterie, Hersheypark’s on-site confectionery kitchen, which continues to push the envelope every season, one-upping its previous creations.
But what does one do if a trip to Pennsylvania isn’t in their immediate future? With guidance from Hersheypark’s culinary team, I decided to give King Size Shakes a try at home.
The shake was not only super easy to make but also fun — albeit a bit messy. I loved the ability to customize the flavors and create a creamy shake that was to my preferred taste profile. The best part? I was able to use ingredients I already had in my fridge and pantry.
In my recreation, I drizzled the cup with Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate Syrup. For the blend, I used an espresso ice cream and almond milk, which became a creamy consistency once put together in my blender. I finished it off with a classic Hershey’s chocolate bar, Reese’s pieces and some marshmallows.
The verdict? Absolutely delicious and a perfect treat for at-home movie nights or entertaining friends.
Hersheypark’s Signature King Size Shake
Courtesy of Hersheypark
Crushed items of choice, like nuts or candy
Drizzle of choice, like Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup
Preferred ice cream flavor
Chocolate covered pretzel rods
Favorite Hershey’s candy, like Reese’s pieces
1. Rim any glass with a frosting and roll in your items of choice.
2. Add a drizzle of choice around the inside of the cup (our favorite is Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup).
3. Blend up your favorite ice cream with some milk to make a creamy shake.
4. Pour your shake in your glass and top with whipped cream.
5. Add some chocolate covered pretzel rods and a straw as a way to hold up your topper.
6. Finally, top it with your favorite Hershey’s candy or a homemade treat.
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