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AIR

Jul 7, 2017
486
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Williamsburg VA
Not that the park necessarily needs this but I thought the idea was worth sharing:

A decent sized on-site hotel for Busch Gardens Williamsburg I've quickly decided to name the Old Country Hotel. Below are a few screen shots of the general idea and layout I have come up with. The site is situated along the parking lot entry road and US Route 60. The actual building itself utilizes the existing tram road landbridge to allow it to be built in the ravine area surrounded by trees. This allows guest rooms to be walking distance from the park entrance, and still have a quiet, secluded feeling in every room.

Hotel Overview.png

The hotel, which is built on the existing landbridge built for the tram road, is generally 60 feet wide and about 500 feet long. I am not sure how many rooms that can house. If the building were only 2 floors, it could be at least 200 rooms I assume. I would have to design an actual floorplan to be accurate with it. Below, is the footprint for the building and some surrounding infrastructure. The tram road would be relocated just adjacent to the entry road.

Hotel.png

Guests who wish to stay here would proceed through the main parking toll booths. There, they will receive a new tag for their vehicle allowing them to advance to preferred parking in England. Furthermore, this tag will allow them to move to the new parking lot for the hotel which is separated by a manned booth at the entrance of the lot. This lot is created from part of the existing England Lot and is separated with a new landscaped median and sidewalk. The parking lot consists of plenty of parking and access to a portico at the front of the building for luggage loading and unloading.

Parking Lot.png

Pictured below is how guests would enter and exit the park and hotel. Out of the main flow of people traffic, a short new path would connect the existing ticket plaza with the east wing of the new hotel. Of course, guests could also walk from the hotel, through the England Lot and across the bridge to access the park like now. However, this is likely quicker.

Ticket Plaza.png

If SeaWorld ever decided to build a hotel for the park, this seems like a pretty doable option to me, besides simply building an offsite hotel in the Scotland/Bavaria lots or elsewhere. This is how I would do it and, in my opinion, has opportunity to emphasize that old Busch Gardens character and architecture while also introducing a new experience to park guests immersing them into park.
 
The only issue I would see is that you would have to have some kind of automated booth for those who arrive at later hours, or outside of park operating hours. The toll plaza closes 2 hours prior to park closing, so you would need a separate lane of sorts, unless you wanted to have the hotel guests go the way the employees go, and get in that lot that way. But then you still have the booth that separates the England lot from the hotel lot, and that would also either need to be manned 24/7 or they have an automated booth for hours outside of park operation. I assume the hotel would function like most regular hotels. On days the park has less hours, maybe throw in a theater in there where they could put on old BGW shows at different times of year.
 
I guess the main questions revolve around non-peak season occupancy vs costs - I'd imagine if they build and package it right this would be near high occupancy during summer, HoS and CT weekends. However, would they plan on shuttering or drastically scaling down during non-peak seasons?

Also, would these plans include additional amenities to make it attractive to the largest possible audience?

While I like your scoped location and reasoning for it, I'm thinking they'd do better with a private indoor/outdoor pool/spa complex including a kids play area, plus some way to further reduce the walk to SS FoF for families with young kids (whom I'd imagine would be a huge opportunity segment).

I'd also think that if they were to operate as a year-round hotel, they may want to consider a method to allow hotel guests to easily get to it from 64 without always needing going through the park toll booths - therefore if someone were to use it for business travel during the week when the park isn't open, there's no awkward toll booth situation. Same goes for checking in after park hours.

Considering the families point again - if we ever see a SW separate gate park, adding a hotel into the mix (even as a second phase addition) would be more likely than adding as a standalone project.
 
Also thinking about the hotel, what kind of benefits would these guests receive by staying at the hotel? Things like a meal voucher for each day, early entry/late night rides, early access to reservations for Hideaway, etc.
Would incentivize people to stay there.
 
Also thinking about the hotel, what kind of benefits would these guests receive by staying at the hotel? Things like a meal voucher for each day, early entry/late night rides, early access to reservations for Hideaway, etc.
Would incentivize people to stay there.

Kinda what I was thinking when mentioning opportunity segments - I can't see too many locals wanting to stay when they're within an hour or two of driving. However, go to three hours or more and add a fussy toddler into the mix and having an on-site hotel may be worth it as long as it's not priced out of reach.
 
Also thinking about the hotel, what kind of benefits would these guests receive by staying at the hotel? Things like a meal voucher for each day, early entry/late night rides, early access to reservations for Hideaway, etc.
Would incentivize people to stay there.
I think the benefit/incentive you need isn’t with the park but Williamsburg itself. Some semblance of a night life. A deal with Kingsmill, Colonial Williamsburg, heck maybe even a boat charter. You need to give them something to do when they don’t want to be in the park.
 
I don't see SEAS desiring to build a hotel for a resort offering where part of the incentives package includes something they can't directly profit off of because they don't own it.

Best case scenario is that they'll offer a shuttle to DoG Street... But even then they may just convince the local transit authority to add a bus line instead (lower infrastructure costs and little to no operational costs).

If it were still AB pre-InBev, they'd probably continue packaging and promoting the KM resort.
 
Perhaps I just wish Kingsmill Resort was still a part of the AB entertainment complex here in Williamsburg. While the park is currently in no state that it was twenty years ago, I am haunted with the idea of BGW being a destination again and truly making Williamsburg a must visit town. The charm and history of the park and surrounding area is something I envision encompassing this concept. Before reading another one of my posts, I want to preface: I am very well aware of the state of the park right now and fully understand how outlandish a proposal like this would be in reality. I see it as a guest and as someone who is also a part of the company. Nonetheless, here are a few hours of thought put the best I can into words and pictures. I hope you can envision it similarly to the way I do.

My post above was too small a site to include any additional amenities for a hotel, which does seem necessary to create incentive to stay. Considering non-park amenities to include with a Busch Gardens onsite hotel, golf was one of the only things I could really think of. This town is very history and golf centered. Besides promoting Kingsmill Resort or surrounding hotels, this 30 acre site below, between the Kingsmill Woods Course and Rhine River, is part of Busch Gardens' land. It is just big enough to fit a very decent sized resort hotel complex.

Overview.png

The only way to access that land by road is from the Brewery Construction Road off of Route 60 which runs between Kingsmill Resort property. I've heard all kinds of rumors about why this land is untouched but don't really know anything for fact. Conceptually, if Busch Gardens wanted to get to this land, they could build a road off of the Brewery Road via a right of way easement through Kingsmill property. Or, below is an option to keep all development within BGW property:

(I've left 2' contours filter on some pictures to better understand the planning)

Hotel Entry.png

It is unconventional but, for a visual sake, I've decided to choose this option because it is entirely on BGW land. Guests wanting to access this road would either need to enter through Security Checkpoint booth at the employee entrance, then proceed all the way around the parking lots and take this exit off the park exit road across a bridge over the Rhine River. (great views of Apollo's Chariot drop #3 and Pantheon's top hat) This would take guests down a sweeping road toward the hotel through a unique 6 hole par 3 golf course. Kingsmill used to have a par 3 course on the James behind the conference center which was demolished in favor of building cottages and the River Pool for the Resort. I believe having something like this might be a Williamsburg attraction on its own. Below is an overview of the site with proposed development:

Hotel Plan.png

Here is a closer view of the area with very hilly terrain, making a challenging golf course with holes ranging from 70 yards to 140 yards and a practice chipping green. Each wing of the hotel is 300 feet long and 70 feet wide with a decently sized parking lot:

Hotel Resort Overview.png

Here is another view of the approach road and some of the holes on the golf course:

(I am certainly not a golf course designer but occasionally playing some I thought these would be fun to play.)

Approach Road.png

Behind the hotel are some more family oriented attractions such as an 18 hole putt-putt course and outdoor pool and indoor pool. There is also a spa within the hotel and a pair of tennis courts out back on some of the flatter ground. All of this is off of a large patio with firepits and some room for expansion: perhaps a bar, hot tub, firepits etc.

Hotel Complex.png

I feel like park benefits are a given for guests staying here. These could include a voucher for 1 free meal per guest per day of stay on BGW/WCUSA operating days, 1 free admission per day per guest to BGW/WCUSA on park operating days, free parking at BGW and WCUSA, complimentary shuttle to BGW and WCUSA during park operating hours.

As a side note, the rear side of the hotel faces straight toward the BGW Boneyard across the Rhine River. This would create a spectacular view for fireworks when they launch them from there in the Summer months.
 
This got my mind turning all sorts of ways.

The location would allow for an additional Rhine River Cruise boat dock to be added as a shuttle between the hotel and park. The only conflict I see here is that they would have to add an additional gate for guests to scan their tickets in prior to boarding as well as security (See Universal Studios boat docks for reference in regards to security). One boat could be dedicated for shuttle service (though would work better with 2 boats IMHO), and the other 2 could run the standard Rhine River Cruise route.

The above would be a conflict for later hours, as once the sun goes down, so do the boats. In which case, an additional shuttle, I would assume either a bus or tram service, would be needed. I find the bus option more likely, as the hotel guests would also like to visit WCUSA as well, and that would be a great way to get them there so they do not need to drive.

Also worth nothing, the access point for the hotel is via the exit road of the park. Guests that get off the interstate having to then get on route 60, and then drive through the parking lots to get to the hotel that was just a mere 200 feet away just a few minutes ago. Also, the bus/tram shuttles would also have to make this route as well. Personally, I would place the entrance/exit access so it can be accessed more directly, off route 60. So, instead of the road merging with the exit road, extend it so it has its own intersection to get on/off Route 60.

Additionally, what kind of theme(s) would you do for this hotel? Have each floor of each wing be themed to a different country maybe? Also, there would need to be a few more incentives for the winter months when there isn’t as much to do for guests wishing to visit the park. What else would you suggest as things to do at the hotel? I could see a small indoor waterpark, but realistically a themed dining experience (see Burgermeister’s Hideaway) would be a good fit here too. Another incentive, in my opinion, would be some kind of resort guest-exclusive show in a theater (though you could pay extra if you're interested in the show).

Any other ideas?
 
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Also worth nothing, the access point for the hotel is via the exit road of the park. Guests that get off the interstate having to then get on route 60, and then drive through the parking lots to get to the hotel that was just a mere 200 feet away just a few minutes ago. Also, the bus/tram shuttles would also have to make this route as well. Personally, I would place the entrance/exit access so it can be accessed more directly, off route 60. So, instead of the road merging with the exit road, extend it so it has its own intersection to get on/off Route 60.

Additionally, what kind of theme(s) would you do for this hotel? Have each floor of each wing be themed to a different country maybe? Also, there would need to be a few more incentives for the winter months when there isn’t as much to do for guests wishing to visit the park. What else would you suggest as things to do at the hotel? I could see a small indoor waterpark, but realistically a themed dining experience (see Burgermeister’s Hideaway) would be a good fit here too. Another incentive, in my opinion, would be some kind of resort guest-exclusive show in a theater (though you could pay extra if you're interested in the show).

Any other ideas?

I really like these ideas. A restaurant of sorts would be available year round and I like the idea of theming a floor of each wing to the different park countries of England, France, Germany and Italy.

I would've made the road intersect with Rt. 60 directly but the terrain is a steep drop-off towards the property line. Not being a civil engineer or professional planner, I'm not sure how you could design a new intersection in that area with the already existing interchange.

To create a separate entrance from the park entirely and still reach that land, I think the Brewery Road would be the best option. But then a new security gate would have to be built for Kingsmill as then that road would be public.
 
I would've made the road intersect with Rt. 60 directly but the terrain is a steep drop-off towards the property line.
Ah okay. Makes sense. Maybe, instead of the intersection came up with, have it line up perpendicular to the entry and exit roads? Then create an intersection from that. It allows guests of the hotel to get in outside of operating hours (circled in red):



AE5FF2D1-04AD-46EE-86FD-2E3122F8993A.jpeg
If you were able to, you could possibly widen this intersection to allow hotel traffic through this opening, with hotel-only lanes. Just a thought.
 
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Perhaps I just wish Kingsmill Resort was still a part of the AB entertainment complex here in Williamsburg. While the park is currently in no state that it was twenty years ago, I am haunted with the idea of BGW being a destination again and truly making Williamsburg a must visit town. The charm and history of the park and surrounding area is something I envision encompassing this concept. Before reading another one of my posts, I want to preface: I am very well aware of the state of the park right now and fully understand how outlandish a proposal like this would be in reality. I see it as a guest and as someone who is also a part of the company. Nonetheless, here are a few hours of thought put the best I can into words and pictures. I hope you can envision it similarly to the way I do.

My post above was too small a site to include any additional amenities for a hotel, which does seem necessary to create incentive to stay. Considering non-park amenities to include with a Busch Gardens onsite hotel, golf was one of the only things I could really think of. This town is very history and golf centered. Besides promoting Kingsmill Resort or surrounding hotels, this 30 acre site below, between the Kingsmill Woods Course and Rhine River, is part of Busch Gardens' land. It is just big enough to fit a very decent sized resort hotel complex.

View attachment 28538

The only way to access that land by road is from the Brewery Construction Road off of Route 60 which runs between Kingsmill Resort property. I've heard all kinds of rumors about why this land is untouched but don't really know anything for fact. Conceptually, if Busch Gardens wanted to get to this land, they could build a road off of the Brewery Road via a right of way easement through Kingsmill property. Or, below is an option to keep all development within BGW property:

(I've left 2' contours filter on some pictures to better understand the planning)

View attachment 28539

It is unconventional but, for a visual sake, I've decided to choose this option because it is entirely on BGW land. Guests wanting to access this road would either need to enter through Security Checkpoint booth at the employee entrance, then proceed all the way around the parking lots and take this exit off the park exit road across a bridge over the Rhine River. (great views of Apollo's Chariot drop #3 and Pantheon's top hat) This would take guests down a sweeping road toward the hotel through a unique 6 hole par 3 golf course. Kingsmill used to have a par 3 course on the James behind the conference center which was demolished in favor of building cottages and the River Pool for the Resort. I believe having something like this might be a Williamsburg attraction on its own. Below is an overview of the site with proposed development:

View attachment 28541

Here is a closer view of the area with very hilly terrain, making a challenging golf course with holes ranging from 70 yards to 140 yards and a practice chipping green. Each wing of the hotel is 300 feet long and 70 feet wide with a decently sized parking lot:

View attachment 28540

Here is another view of the approach road and some of the holes on the golf course:

(I am certainly not a golf course designer but occasionally playing some I thought these would be fun to play.)

View attachment 28542

Behind the hotel are some more family oriented attractions such as an 18 hole putt-putt course and outdoor pool and indoor pool. There is also a spa within the hotel and a pair of tennis courts out back on some of the flatter ground. All of this is off of a large patio with firepits and some room for expansion: perhaps a bar, hot tub, firepits etc.

View attachment 28543

I feel like park benefits are a given for guests staying here. These could include a voucher for 1 free meal per guest per day of stay on BGW/WCUSA operating days, 1 free admission per day per guest to BGW/WCUSA on park operating days, free parking at BGW and WCUSA, complimentary shuttle to BGW and WCUSA during park operating hours.

As a side note, the rear side of the hotel faces straight toward the BGW Boneyard across the Rhine River. This would create a spectacular view for fireworks when they launch them from there in the Summer months.
I really feel like this idea could have legs now with SEAS announcing in the earnings call that they plan to have at least 2 hotels built by 2026. I could really see it for BGW and SWO. Both parks have the land in or adjacent to the park and both parks are a destination. I’ve seen a lot of speculation on BGT getting it, but there’s just so little land to play with down there, they’d most likely have to purchase new land to make it work. Purchasing land makes the project a lot more expensive with adds more risk if the hotels were to not do as well as they hope. SWSA has land but I don’t see that park as a huge destination. Same with SWSD. Now it’s just if the current leadership stays and keeps this idea moving. I know SEAS is having its problems operationally right now but they really do look to be making a turn and I feel like this is a great way to do it. I really feel that the attempted CF purchase was to get a foothold into the resort market. If that truly was the case, this kind of project would really seem to be high on the company’s priority list.
 
Can I offer up a completely different spot for a hotel and overflow parking that could be a lot better for all situations?

Put the hotel in the current overflow lots, turn the old cap area into a new overflow parking, put a bridge over the current entry way. Then with the bridge over the entrance and exit ramps you can put signage (like available spots left in certain lots, wait times to get in, things like that) on there. Then over at the new parking area you can even have an extra entrance and use the boats to take people to the docks on the river if they have tickets already.
 
Can I offer up a completely different spot for a hotel and overflow parking that could be a lot better for all situations?

Put the hotel in the current overflow lots, turn the old cap area into a new overflow parking, put a bridge over the current entry way. Then with the bridge over the entrance and exit ramps you can put signage (like available spots left in certain lots, wait times to get in, things like that) on there. Then over at the new parking area you can even have an extra entrance and use the boats to take people to the docks on the river if they have tickets already.
The problem with that is that the overflow lot already needs to be expanded.
 
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