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Zachary

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Sep 23, 2009
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With the recent resurgence in focus on Drachen Spire and specifically, after reading this post by @AIR, I wanted to take a stab at addressing some of the issues with utilizing Festhaus Park for a major addition to Busch Gardens Williamsburg.

In my mind, there are four major issues that, optimally, would all be addressed either before or alongside the debut of a major new draw in Festhaus Park.
  1. Accessing the site requires a lengthy walk through an essentially vacant area of the park.
  2. The pathway back to Festhaus Park isn't intuitive within the structure of Busch Gardens Williamsburg's existing layout and guests will likely struggle to find a way back to whatever is built there.
  3. Without more than one means of accessing the area, any Festhaus Park attraction will inevitably be located at the end of a tremendously long spur from the main park layout.
  4. The pathway back to Festhaus Park requires that guests walk alongside backstage areas and a picnic area that frequently hosts private—sometimes loud—group events. This isn't good for guests or for groups.
Now, given the rumored issues surrounding a possible Festhaus Park train station and the incredible expense that would be required to make Festhaus Park into some sort of loop, I think I'm going to have to surrender on issue #3 for now. That said, there are ways to lessen the negative impacts of creating such a lengthy dead-end in the park—solutions I believe can also help solve some of the other problems I pointed to above. How? Here's my pitch.

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I'm going to start at the top left with the Das Festhaus plaza area. I've cut the planter across from Der Autobahn back pretty significantly to open up a more direct path to the side of Das Festhaus. This makes the Festhaus Park pathway clearly visible to anyone walking up to Das Festhaus from either the DarKastle side or the Verbolten side of the Oktoberfest hamlet. Similarly, I've cut back the planter between Der Autobahn and Das Festhaus as well—both to improve sightlines and to widen the entrance to the Festhaus Park path.

As a side effect to the plaza widening, I was able to shift the center area to align it directly with the middle of Das Festhaus. Though this symmetry doesn't matter much normally, it would do a ton to improve the look of this area during Christmas Town when the tree is in place. Plus, this new, larger plaza will better accommodate the crowds that typically pack this area during special events.

Moving on to the path back to Festhaus Park, I've re-added the planter along the side of Das Festhaus. I'm not entirely sure when exactly this was removed, but it was within the last handful of years. If guests are going to frequent this area, a small, decretive treeline is an absolute must to hide the side of Das Festhaus. I considered more innovative solutions for this area—including a small gift shop or a long, indoor/outdoor beer garden-esque bar, but for now I settled on the planter as the easiest, most straightforward solution.

Halfway down the path to Das Festhaus, I have the focal point of this project: A 48 passenger Zamperla Endeavour named Das Spinnrad. A video of one of these attractions in action can be found below.



Why a Zamperla Endeavour? Why Das Spinnrad? Well, it's themed to Rumpelstiltskin—specifically the spinning wheel that Rumpelstiltskin uses to spin straw into gold. Das Spinnrad translates to "the spinning wheel"—both the most iconic item in the Rumpelstiltskin story and a direct description of a Zamperla Endeavour. Now, being a flat ride, I don't believe any significant thematic investment really needs to occur here, but some storybook-style signs in the queue retelling the Rumpelstiltskin story alongside a thematic paint job for the ride should do the job nicely. I envision the main ride structure being painted various different shades of browns to give it a wooden-contraption-like look with the outer loop of the attraction (read: the ride vehicles), painted gold. Ideally, the outer loop would also receive a nice, yellow lighting kit to draw eyes and foot traffic from Okterberfest at night as well.

This ride, pictured essentially to scale in my concept map above, fits beautifully over what is currently the front portion of the picnic area. In fact, it fits so well on the site that the second of the front-most two picnic pavilions can be repurposed into a queue shelter for the attraction. With the addition of a back wall on the existing structure and some privacy fences along the rear of the site, this would provide a nice separation between the picnic area and park. Between the noise of the ride, the ambient music in the area, and Drachen Spire nearby, any noise coming from whatever party is occurring in the picnic area should become a nonissue from the Festhaus Park pathway.

Even better, this attraction is placed in such a way as to be visible as it's cycling from the plaza in front of Das Festhaus. The kineticism visible down this pathway would go a long way towards drawing people back to what would otherwise seem like a boring, empty corner of the park.

___1.jpg

Now I suppose I should address the picnic area. Yes, I'm stealing the front two buildings (pictured above). To compensate for this loss, I would extend the back section of the picnic area (pictured below) further back behind Das Festhaus. I'd also suggest that it may be a good opportunity to consider a larger, more weatherproof, possibly even climate-controllable structure for group dining usage as well. I figure that hosting group events could help draw some off-season traffic during the colder months.

___2.jpg

Aside from some other very minor path changes, everything else that's depicted in my concept are really just things that BGW already has in the works—namely the new special event space across the railroad tracks and, obviously, the addition of Drachen Spire which justifies all of this work to begin with.

By adding a ride at the halfway point between the entrance to the Festhaus Park pathway and Drachen Spire, this plan minimizes the vacant, empty space guests would need to traverse to access Festhaus Park. Due to Das Spinnrad's placement, it is directly visible at the end of a pathway that can be seen from in front of Das Festhaus. By shifting the picnic area further back behind Das Festhaus, this plan also minimizes the potential visual and noise intrusions of the picnic area into normal guest areas of the park. Though this doesn't solve the dead end issue, it does serve to add another sizable draw to the space—effectively further justifying the existence of the dead end.

Anyway, let me know what you think!

Oh, and if you like this concept, make sure you check out my last pitch for a new Zamperla flat ride addition to Busch Gardens Williamsburg as well:
 
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Jonesta6

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Can I give a solution to most/all of the access stuff?

Move Der Autobahn. Now Bolts event building is the only blocker.

Although the ride itself can probably be moved relatively easily (not sure where other than gone), the structure it's in would take some work to remove since it's essentially a concrete block embedded into the side of a hill.

I'm not sure if Rumplestilskin makes sense though I suppose if there can be a garden of inventions for Italy then why not something similar in Germany. I'd actually suggest you get another flat back there on the other end of the existing picnic sheds though I'm not sure what would be a good fit to the new theming. That is assuming the whole plan is to relocate all catering service areas anyways so the existing sheds are vacant.
 
Mar 16, 2016
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Although the ride itself can probably be moved relatively easily (not sure where other than gone), the structure it's in would take some work to remove since it's essentially a concrete block embedded into the side of a hill.

I'm not sure if Rumplestilskin makes sense though I suppose if there can be a garden of inventions for Italy then why not something similar in Germany. I'd actually suggest you get another flat back there on the other end of the existing picnic sheds though I'm not sure what would be a good fit to the new theming. That is assuming the whole plan is to relocate all catering service areas anyways so the existing sheds are vacant.
I’m thinking just move it back into the FO area and using that pad as part of a plaza to get back into the area.
 

Zachary

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Der Autobahn plays a critical role in hiding Verbolten's (hideous from the side) entry tunnel and show building. Retaining that structure seems absolutely essential to me. Modifications to the existing plaza can do just as good a job at presenting the Festhaus Park pathway to guests in my assessment.
 
Jul 14, 2019
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Can I give a solution to most/all of the access stuff?

Move Der Autobahn. Now Bolts event building is the only blocker.
What if they just put up a wall in the inner 1/4 or 1/3 and remove all the workings but leave the concrete floor and turn it into a walk through area thats partly covered? They could add another guest services type booth in there similar to the one when you cross from Rhinefeld to Oktoberfest. Or an additional bar like the one when you enter Heather Downs from Banbury?
 
Jun 5, 2014
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I’m in favor of a new flat ride any way it comes and I’ve always felt that for two large areas such as Festhaus Park and Festa Park… it’s the both seem kinda dead end. Drachen Spire didn’t put that big of a footprint on FP and I always felt that it was that way to leave room for expansion. Without the theming we all desire… Pantheon just comes off as detached from Festa… I wish there had been a way to built it closer to Pompeii. It kinda reminds me of Pompeii in the style and aesthetic I think most people wanted. … it really is it’s own thing. Or heck! I wish they had made Pantheon connect to San Marco… would’ve been better.
 
Mar 16, 2016
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Der Autobahn plays a critical role in hiding Verbolten's (hideous from the side) entry tunnel and show building. Retaining that structure seems absolutely essential to me. Modifications to the existing plaza can do just as good a job at presenting the Festhaus Park pathway to guests in my assessment.
True, and I don't trust BGW to adequately replace that ability to hide it, but if I can put my own spin on this:

Move Der Autobahn either into France or CoS or FP areas. Open up this entry more. I think Festhaus Park would need some sort of new theme to it, let's say they go with a Spain theme. Along where VBolts event building is you can put stands and a "wall" behind it that's got a mural. It hides the show building and opens up that entry area much more. Using retaining walls rather than the hills can give a little more flat land to open up walk ways.

Ultimately I know not many people want BGW to expand much more. But man, with DS they are really going to corner themselves in hard. Creating a 3rd crossing over the Rhine is a long loop to walk without attractions. Pantheon created a wall to expanding into that plot a lot harder to tie the two sides closer. Heck it's hard even pulling a second way within Oktoberfest to Festhaus Park because of the way VBolt is routed.

This is why I'm so against DS. It's kinda their "last grasp" at expansion. And to use it one this, even if unique, seems like it could be it for the park without major removal of rides.
 
Dec 7, 2021
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I mean they could always just knock down Das Festhaus that would open the area up quite a bit.
The main issue I see with that… it’s the only indoor dining venue at any time of the year. Take that out and there’s not much left. Also- that would KILL the park on busy days like HOS and CT, when the park gets notoriously crowded. The other locations already have a hard enough time trying to keep up even with Festhaus open. We also lose a show area by doing that as well.
 
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Zachary

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I was just trying to make a suggestion on how to help the potential bottleneck. Seems ill received. 🤷‍♂️

Sorry, that was a response to @horsesboy's joke.


I agree with your points about how horrendously BGW is utilizing Festa Field with Pantheon and Festhaus Park with Drachen Spire. Spire leaves a good amount of land behind, but it also bisects it into two large awkward chunks. Pantheon, on the other hand, is a massive coaster built over largely flat land that leaves an incredible amount of land trapped in its infield entirely unutilized. Both projects are very inefficient uses of the most valuable space BGW had left going into the 2020s and neither seems designed with even an inkling of a vision for future expansion in mind. I think both will prove to have been very shortsighted investments.

Also, echoing what you said about how any Festhaus Park expansion should be themed to a new country: I completely agree and would go further and say that the Festa Field expansion should have been themed to a new country too. Unfortunately, as Pantheon and the plans for Drachen Spire have shown, BGW has no interest in such things.
 

Jonesta6

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Also, echoing what you said about how any Festhaus Park expansion should be themed to a new country: I completely agree and would go further and say that the Festa Field expansion should have been themed to a new country too. Unfortunately, as Pantheon and the plans for Drachen Spire have shown, BGW has no interest in such things.


I think their reasoning for not adding a new country has tended to center around the expense of doing so. And I think we've concluded that it may be for the best if they can't even maintain it improve what they have?
 
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The main issue I see with that… it’s the only indoor dining venue at any time of the year. Take that out and there’s not much left. Also- that would KILL the park on busy days like HOS and CT, when the park gets notoriously crowded. The other locations already have a hard enough time trying to keep up even with Festhaus open. We also lose a show area by doing that as well.

I completely agree and I hope this is something that Cedar Fair implements at Kings Dominion; the lack of a climate-controlled eating area at KD is a detriment to overall experience. I know this is the wrong thread, but maybe the Volcanohaus?
 
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Zachary

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I think their reasoning for not adding a new country has tended to center around the expense of doing so. And I think we've concluded that it may be for the best if they can't even maintain it improve what they have?

This is going to be a super hot take and maybe I should write about it more in-depth elsewhere at some point, but...

To be totally honest, I think I would have preferred that both Pantheon and Drachen Spire be themed to new countries even if the park didn't have immediate plans to build beyond the coasters themselves.

In other words, I would rather Pantheon—and just Pantheon—be themed to Malta/Montenegro/some other small Mediterranean country even if the theming/placemaking was not going to immediately expand beyond what we've seen from Pantheon.

I honestly believe that we are unlikely to see a full-sized, new hamlet built at Busch Gardens Williamsburg within the foreseeable future. Italy and Germany are already grossly overrepresented at the park—expanding their representation in particular is just, frankly, boring and lazy. Because I think more cultural variety is desirable at the park and because I don't believe a substantial new hamlet addition is likely, the only way I can imagine thematic expansion occuring is via a slow, attraction-by-attraction build-out. A major coaster is a damn good way to kick off that kind process—particularly when it is already being built outside the existing borders of the park (see: both Pantheon and Drachen Spire).
 
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Logistically and aesthetically pleasing…. Is there room around or in the interior of Pantheon to accommodate a flat ride? Same with Drachen Spire… if it were still to be built… how much expansion would each area allow? I’ve said it before that Pantheon should have been a addition to San Marco. With it being attached to Festa… makes it seem “shoehorned” in.
 

Zachary

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Logistically and aesthetically pleasing…. Is there room around or in the interior of Pantheon to accommodate a flat ride?

I highlight this concept frequently, but yes, @AIR sketched out an incredible pitch for a hamlet addition in Pantheon's infield.


I haven't done much theory crafting around Drachen Spire, but maybe it's something I'll play around with in the weeks and months ahead.
 
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