Saturday, October 2, 2021

The Flowers Explore - Hershey's Chocolate World - Make Your Own Candy Bar

Today we're doing something awesome that the kids have been really looking forward to. We are going to be making our very own chocolate bar! They've been talking about all the different things they will add to their chocolate bar like cookies, candy, and other things. 

And it's not just us! We've got Rita, Ethan, and Aubrey here! Let's get started!

In a corner of Hershey's Chocolate World by the Hershey Kitchens is the Make Your Own Candy Bar area. 

Tickets for this experience are $26.95 each, and all guests who enter the attraction have to have a ticket. We can't just buy one for the kids and watch as they make it. 
When we bought tickets we signed up for a time, and they're not quite ready for us to line up yet. Alli let Aubrey sit on her lap while we waited. 

The worker swapped the velcro times and we lined right up!

First things first, we've got to get outfitted. 

That's better! And that's adorable! The kids get their own smaller aprons and we all get hairnets. 

Now we all can get dressed up! 

We make this look good, don't we? 

At the bottom of our tickets is a QR code. Everyone who is doing this gets their own ticket and their own unique QR code. 

After a little bit of spacing from the group in front of us, it was our time to go inside!

Just past the hallway are something like 6 different touch screens. 

Each is set up with a QR camera reader that you scan before you get started. Here is where you'll enter your name and email address.

The kids have been typing on their iPads for school long enough that they can easily type their names and interface with a touchscreen. 

Now it's time to really make our selections. 
One thing to note, the factory is extremely automated so we're not actually going to touch any chocolate or ingredients while we make our own candy bar. I think the apron and hairnet are most like a costume that we get to wear versus having any real practical purpose. 

She's got it down. Scan the QR code on her ticket to get started. 

There's 3 different choices for the base of the chocolate bar. Either Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, or White Chocolate. What that means I don't quite know yet. I went into this wanting to experience it fresh. 

There's 5 different "inclusions" that we can choose from today. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips, Butterscotch Chips, Sea Salt Caramel Chips, Heath Toffee Bits, and Pretzel Bits. So no cookies. I do wish there were a few more choices. For the "Fill Your Cup" Reese's station outside there's 13 different choices!
Ian is going for Chocolate Chips, Butterscotch Chips, and Heath Toffee Bits. 

The answer to "Do You Want Sprinkles?" is always YES right? 
Apparently that's only true for Ian, Alli, and myself. 

Thank you Alli! You're ready to go see your candy bar get made on the production floor!

Just behind the doors and we'll be in the factory. 

When you enter, a worker scans your QR code and you're on your way!

There's screens all along the line to show whose chocolate bar is in process at the moment. 

Behind the glass, there's three different stacks of what looks like chocolate trays. They are made of Milk, Dark, and White Chocolate. A pair of suction cups selects the appropriate bar and places it on a moving belt. 

That tray serves a purpose. It's there to catch all the goodies that you selected. As the bar travels down the belt, it shakes out your "toppings" and the tray catches them. 

There's 5 different stations and if you didn't request that particular topping it doesn't shake out. 

Alli is watching as her candy bar gets made. 

Working in the factory today. 

After the trays are filled with the toppings you wanted they move to the next stage. 

Each of the bars goes down the conveyer and through a waterfall of milk chocolate. 

So it doesn't matter if you requested a White Chocolate base or a Dark Chocolate base, everything gets covered in Milk Chocolate. 

One final step while the chocolate is still liquid. Sprinkles! A laser eye watches when your chocolate bar goes underneath. If you asked for sprinkles it'll shake out a few on top of the wet chocolate. 
Now it's time for a slow ride through the cooling tunnels. 

That'll give us time to design our very own label! There's a default option that makes your name the label, but there's lots more options and customizations you can choose too. 

There's maybe a hundred different clip-art style pieces you can pick, resize, rotate, and place anywhere on your chocolate bar's label. 

There it goes moving through the cooling tunnel. There's a glass window to watch it as it moves by. 

The screen keeps us updated with where each person's bar is and when it would be coming out of the cooling tunnel. 

Looks like everything is chilled and ready to box up!

Another slotted conveyer belt is waiting for the chocolate bar as soon as it comes out of the cooling tunnel. 

Somehow Ethan's bar got way ahead of ours, but everyone's candy bars are here. 

Next the automatic packager gets a box prepared. 

The box is opened and your bar is slid inside. A laser even etches your name onto the end of the box. 

After passing through a metal detector (standard for most food production factories) a worker matches your candy bar to the label you created. They scan your QR code one last time before handing over your chocolate bar. 
The Hershey ticketing website claims this is a 45 minute experience. From when we walked down that front hallway to enter our names until we were handed our chocolate bars, the timestamps on my photos say this took 25 minutes. If you want to include getting our aprons and hair nets, then it's a 35 minute experience. 

That's my very own custom candy bar and personalized label! There's even a little RV on the bottom of it. The bar is inside a metal tin with Hershey's stamped on it. 




The back of the wrapper also shows your name and the date you created it. 

Some people just can't wait to get home. 

The sides of each of the labels was personalized too. It shows who the bar belongs to, what the base bar is, and what inclusions the bar has. 

I love your candy bars kids!

After dinner they were excited to dig in!

Alli thinks she designed it well. She's loving her candy bar. 

So what do you take home from your $26.95 experience? The custom label, the metal tin, and an enclosed candy bar. 

The laser engraving on the side of the package. 

I zeroed out weight of the box. 171 grams is the weight of just the chocolate bar. That works out to 6 ounces which is about 4 regular size Hershey bars. 

Some people just don't particularly care for regular Hershey's Milk Chocolate. Theresa is one of those people. She chose a Dark Chocolate base but was disappointed to learn that everything then gets covered with Milk Chocolate in the end. 

After a few nibbles, here's why my Dark Chocolate base, Heath Toffee, Pretzel, and Sea Salt Caramel Chips bar looks like. 

In the end, the Make Your Own Candy Bar was a fun experience. I do wish it would have been a little more hands-on instead of automated. And I personally think it's overpriced for what it is, but Hershey might as well take what they can get from it. With 7 of us doing the experience though, that's nearly $200 of chocolate bars on that table. It's something to do once, but I can't see myself doing it again. 

I did think the whole visit to Hershey's Chocolate World was great. Seeing all the different candies, foods, and the free Chocolate Factory Tour was a great experience for this Hershey Chocolate Lover! 

Alli - hrhsy would tor - My favorite prt was getting free chocolate at the end of the making chocolate riyd. we wocht a chocolate movie. We mayd are own chocolate br. I have 2 favorite prts. my other favorite prt was macig my on chocolate br. 

Ian - Hershey Chocolate World - My favorite part was making my own chocolate bar! We got free chocolate after the cow ride! We did a three d chocolate movie! I want to come back here. 

2 comments:

  1. Everyone looked so professionally dressed with the hair nets and aprons! Too bad there wasn't more hands-on candy bar making but watching the automated assembly line was quite interesting. Fun to see what different favorites everyone picked for their candy bar (good idea to capture that label detail). Definitely a lot of sweets in each bite (Q: if one chose only 2 fillers instead of the max of 3, would there be more of those 2 fillings to equal 3?) Like those customized candy bar labels...so many different clip art options (you & Theresa thought alike by matching two items, RV & "Hershey's Chocolate World"!) Cute Jolly Rancher socks (I think I can guess why Alli picked hers :-) ) "Make your own candy bar" was a fun experience to do! EOM

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    1. From what we could tell, it didn't add any extra fillings if you only selected 2 items instead of 3. Aubrey got 2 items and it seemed to dispense the same amount.

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