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Jun 7, 2017
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Apologies in advance if there was a better place to post this!

Myself and two others (so a group of three adults) will be attending BGW on September 23 (opening HOS day). We live in DC, but we're originally from Florida, so we're fairly experienced theme-park-goers. I'd like to have a plan that lays out which rides we're doing (ranking them by priority) and a general order in which we should do them, even if it's just by country/section of the park.

We plan to be there promptly at 9:30 a.m. (we're staying in Williamsburg the night before), and plan to stay the entire day if necessary. I'm open to purchasing the basic QQ ($40 for 9/23), but am hesitant to spend much more money than that. Living in DC is temporary, so this is probably our only chance to go to BGW - time if of the essence to make the most out of the day.

A lot of questions:

1. Which rides are must-dos? Which ones can we skip? Myself and one of the other love coasters, and we want to hit the best rides. I assume some of the flat rides are fine to skip, and if the weather isn't warm/nice, we would want to skip the water rides. The other person has motion sickness, so he likely won't be riding much (but on the bright side, we have a designated bag-holder). Recognizing that on a Saturday and opening day of HOS, it is going to be difficult to do everything, I know we will need to make choices.

2. Any shows we absolutely need to see? They seem very similar to the shows at BGTB so I didn't immediately feel drawn to any, but I'd love your input.

3. We'd also like to do at least 2-3 mazes before we leave the park - which ones should we prioritize? We didn't pick this date for HOS, but since we're there anyway, and we always loved HHN in Orlando, I'd like to at least see some of it.

4. My instinct is that we need to make the most of the morning before crowds start building up. Should we hit Invadr first? Will that section of the park be available right at 10:00 a.m.? Any other tips and tricks for order in which to do the rides, etc.? I will also be scouring the rest of the forum, so I apologize if this is redundant.

5. We plan to go on Saturday, *however* there is a small possibility that we could go on Sunday, September 24 instead. My hesitation is that it'll take us about three hours to get home, and I have to be up on Monday morning for work, and my friend who is coming with me has a 9:00 a.m. flight. on Monday as well. Will the difference in crowd between Saturday and Sunday, assuming the weather is fine on both days, etc., be really significant? Is it worth considering? My thought process is that if we could do everything we want to do by 8:00 p.m., including the priority rides and a couple of mazes, we'd be back in DC at a decent time, and that might make it worth going on Sunday instead. But to be clear, we are most likely going on Saturday - I'm just trying to get an idea of all our options.

Thanks everyone! I really appreciate any input and guidance you can provide.
 
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Apr 5, 2011
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I'd do all the coasters besides Tempesto. They're all great and you should be able to get them all done during the day.

Shows are going to be tough to recommend. There should be videos on YouTube to at least give you an idea if you want to invest your time.

As far as Mazes, the ones I'd easily recommend is Cornered and probably Frostbite. Deadline as well if you are limited. Getting a QQ will easily let you do them all.
 

Nicole

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Jul 22, 2013
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1. If you are really more interested in the normal attractions than HOS, there is a good argument to be made for doing some of the rides after dark, when most guests are in the houses. That said, in my opinion, priorities are: Apollo's Chariot, InvadR, Loch Ness Monster, Alpengeist, and Verbolten. If you like Sheikra, you should be sure to ride Griffon, as well. Two of the three water rides are already closed for the season.

2. I defer to someone else on the shows.

3. Recommending mazes is difficult, because they change so dramatically from year to year. You can look at our HOS thread from last year, but none of us have tried FrostBite and Bitten has been removed. Based on past experience, I personally would skip Deadline, Unearthed, and Circo Sinestro. I believe you will find those who would disagree with me, however. If you get the QQ that includes access to the houses, you can easily do all of the coasters and all of the mazes.

4. Going directly to InvadR is the right call. Be aware that there are usually staggered Hamlet openings, so you may have to wait at a few barriers. Your QQ won't work on Nessie either, but she really shouldn't be missed. So, just look for a time when the line isn't long. Generally, she doesn't get much of a queue, but given that it will be HOS's opening day, who knows.

5. The Saturday vesus Sunday problem is tricky. I live in Arlington and have to leave for work by 0730 latest to miss the bridge traffic, so I understand the problem. Sundays always have significantly lighter crowds. That said, I95 is a nightmare on Sundays. You can avoid some of the traffic, if you have an EZPass, but my guess is that coming from Florida, you only have a SunPass? Regardless, north of Frederickburg is always jammed. Saturday traffic is better, but can also be awful. The point is that you kind of have to pick your poison: heavy crowds in the park, or heavy traffic on the interstate. I have generally started going on Sundays, and just suffered on Monday mornings. Leaving Williamsburg at 8pm, I wouldn't expect to be back before midnight.
 
Jun 7, 2017
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Thank you both, Pretzel Kaiser and Nicole. This is extremely helpful information.

I hadn't thought of leaving some coasters until nighttime when most others are in the mazes - brilliant!

I'm still struggling with the Saturday versus Sunday question, it's really a hard choice. We're not regular drivers (we'll actually be renting a car) and I hadn't thought about the traffic on Sunday evenings. Thank you for mentioning that, that's very helpful. Since we're willing to be there for the full twelve-hour day, I think just having a super long day on Saturday, but having Sunday to recover, probably makes the most sense for us.

I do love Sheikra, so I'll make sure to do Griffon, as well as the other coasters recommended. Any non-coaster rides I should make sure we do?

Also - food recommendations?

Thanks everyone, I so appreciate you taking the time to help us out!
 
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Nicole

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Jul 22, 2013
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I would normally recommend DarKastle, but it is being used for FrostBite.  The flats are the usual array of fun carnival rides: a carousel, a scrambler, swings, a drop tower, etc.  I wish I could think of any that really stand out, but that hasn't been BGW's focus, I think. I, personally, enjoy DaVinci's Cradle.

There are several good places to eat, and BGWFans has actually reviewed some of them.

At the moment, I like Les Frites for a snack, Josephines for dessert, and Marco Polo for real meals.

Les Frites is a bit like a poutine shop, serving fresh cut fries with a variety of toppings.  Josephines is the high-end ice cream scoop shop that specializes in extravagant sundaes make with Ghirardelli chocolate.  Marco Polo is the multi-station, multi-cuisine restaurant that SEAS has put into all? most? of their parks.  I would avoid the Italian food, however.

The pretzel shop and the crepe place are both good, as well.  And, of course, the German food in the Festhaus is popular with many guests.  I also like the gelato in San Marco. Oh, and Trappers in New France is always a safe bet.

Stay away from the pizza.

Since it will be HOS, as you have probably predicted based on your BGT and USO experience, there will be themed bars, as well.  I expect there will be a vampire par in Oktoberfest, a pirate bar in San Marco, and an outdoor pub in Banbury.  You will also find wine tastings and specialty drinks in Aquitaine, Rhinefeld, and San Marco.  

In the past the park has also opened some specialty food stations, but I don't know, if they will do that again this year.

Hope this helps.
 
Apr 29, 2011
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crcooper said:
5. We plan to go on Saturday, *however* there is a small possibility that we could go on Sunday, September 24 instead. My hesitation is that it'll take us about three hours to get home, and I have to be up on Monday morning for work, and my friend who is coming with me has a 9:00 a.m. flight. on Monday as well. Will the difference in crowd between Saturday and Sunday, assuming the weather is fine on both days, etc., be really significant? Is it worth considering? My thought process is that if we could do everything we want to do by 8:00 p.m., including the priority rides and a couple of mazes, we'd be back in DC at a decent time, and that might make it worth going on Sunday instead. But to be clear, we are most likely going on Saturday - I'm just trying to get an idea of all our options.

As Nicole said, traffic on Sundays, especially the I-95 corridor between Richmond and DC can be very heavy. However if you leave around 8 p.m., traffic shouldn't be too bad unless some random interstate construction project in Northern VA pops up. Saturday night traffic is definitely better.
 

MAZ

Jan 30, 2014
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I like to ride Griffon at night during HOS. I also like the skyride at night coming into France. I would add lumberhack to your maze list. It is supposed to be longer and better this year, and I liked it to begin with. Wish I could offer more advice, but Nicole pretty much 'hammered that nail home'. Best of luck, and safe travels.
 
Mar 16, 2016
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Unagi said:
As Nicole said, traffic on Sundays, especially the I-95 corridor between Richmond and DC can be very heavy.  However if you leave around 8 p.m., traffic shouldn't be too bad unless some random interstate construction project in Northern VA pops up.  Saturday night traffic is definitely better.

I can't find the press release right now, but the weekend you are planning to go is one where the Harry Nice Bridge (301 bridge connecting Va and Md) will be one lane from Friday night through early hours of Monday.  This may make 95 traffic heavier than normal.
 

Nicole

Administrator
Jul 22, 2013
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MAZ said:
I like to ride Griffon at night during HOS. I also like the skyride at night coming into France. I would add lumberhack to your maze list. It is supposed to be longer and better this year, and I liked it to begin with. Wish I could offer more advice, but Nicole pretty much 'hammered that nail home'. Best of luck, and safe travels.

I am such an idiot! I forgot our transport rides!

I recommend the skyride, the train, and the Rhine River Cruise.

The skyride is, as MAZ mentioned, after dark during HOS, especially cool.

And I second the recommendation for a Griffon at night, during HOS. It is a great view.
 
Sep 29, 2009
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My approach to Howl-O-Scream in Williamsburg is based on whether or not you care about things like theatrical art, production value, or if you just want to be scared, regardless of setting. Some houses even combine the two. The less theatrical houses, I must admit, tend to deliver more consistent scares. Those houses are Catacombs, LumberHack, and Cornered, which is semi-theatrical.

Although it is sometimes lacking in scares, Deadline has the most impressive scenery of any maze by far. It also has a very fast line, since it has the highest capacity of any existing maze. If the line is right outside the entrance, it's only a 15-20 minute wait.

Unearthed has decent capacity which helps with the long lines, but the maze comes to a standstill very often. That can defeat the purpose of waiting for that one. Again, the scenery is impressive, especially to those who have never been in that building before.

Circo Sinistro didn't scare me much, personally, but I think it is one of the more unique circus-type mazes. This one takes place in both a different time and a different universe, so it is quite whimsical with muted tones.

If you prefer the classic startle scares, then you will most likely enjoy Catacombs, LumberHack, and Cornered. At this point, it seems like FrostBite will be more "theatrical", but that doesn't mean it won't be scary. BGW just tends to forget about actually scaring people in their more elaborate/theatrical mazes after the first or second season. Deadline, for instance seems to run on auto-pilot at times. I guess they assume that guests will be impressed enough with the set and forget about being scared.

Either way, there are no bad mazes at BGW, in my opinion. If you watch the shows early in the day, you should have enough time to do anything that interests you as far as mazes.
 

Zimmy

Nessie is lonely.
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Sep 28, 2013
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I agree with Nicole with one exception. Her order of coaster importance. It should be Nessie then Apollo then Invadr then the rest. :heart: Oh and PK is right with regards to Tempesto, just don't bother. Nicole is right about one more thing, if you can, go to Invadr first.

I can not speak to the shows, not my thing, to me they take up time better used for rides, mazes, and gluttony!

Lumberhack is great at dusk. It may be my favorite maze.
I don't bother with Deadline or Unearthed unless I have spare time at the end of the night. That is not to say they are bad, just not my cup of tea.
Circo Sinistro left such a lasting impression on me that I can't remember it. Except for the beginning. In this case I was pretty well exhausted when I went through so the fault may be my own.
Don't know what to expect from Frozen, I just hope there is no singing Disney Princess.

None of the others jump out in my mind for any reason.

Enjoy you trip!
 
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