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May 17, 2013
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My wife and I took our three kids, 2, 5, and 13 (so we're a bit slow making our way through the park).

We arrived at around 9:30. First thing we did was head to guest services for tickets for Lee Greenwood as instructed on their website, but was told they weren't using a ticket system. Ok, no problem.

By the time we got in the park, used the restrooms and got the kids sun screened, it was almost 10:00, so we lined up to enter Ireland. Only waited a couple minutes and we walked through to see the animals. They had a screech owl out that was really cute.

We then walked around to feed the birds the nector. We all enjoyed this, and the birds did as well. Though one bird landed on my shoulder and confused my ear with a piece of fruit. It started bleeding pretty badly. I washed it in the sink near the exit, and headed to first aid, which is conveniently located next door to the birds.

I walked in and told them what happened and they promptly showed me a police line up of birds asking which one. As I didn't get a good look (the bird was on my shoulder), and I didn't want to accuse an innocent bird, I said I didn't know. My wife got a good look, however, but she wouldn't identify the culprit until she was promised that they wouldn't get rid of the carnivorous bird. (It was bird number 2).

Then, with absolutely no lines, we rode griffon twice, le scoot twice, alpengeist, land of dragons, verbolten twice, and the swing ride.

By now it was almost 1:30, and the park was starting to full up, so we started towards England for the 2:00 LR. I wrote a lengthy review in the LR thread, so I'll skip that here.

Afterwards we had a leisurely lunch at Squire's Grill. After, we rode Lock Ness (wife and I taking turns with our 13 yr old, while the little ones rode Little Clydes). Then we slowly walked to get seats for Lee Greenwood. We got great seats, it was not too hot, and we really enjoyed it.

After, we made our way through the now packed walkways to Italy (stopping for drinks on the way, as well as Le Catapult) and got front row seats for the 7:00 mix it up. We had never seen this show before, and we all loved it. Our 2 yr old was dancing in front of his seat, and one of the drummers who walked in front of us stopped for a moment to dance with him. This was a stark contrast to London Rocks. One show is cheap to produce, one cost as much as the crown jewels. One was great, the other was.....

Afterwards, we had about a half hour before our 4th of July picnic in the black forest. First we went on devincis cradle, with no wait. Then the little ones begged for little gliders, so we waited for that. This was the first time the 2 year old was tall enough to lay down. We waited for over 20 min (by far the longest wait of the day). They got seat belted in, and the ride wouldn't start. They were very disappointed to have to get off without riding. But, telling them it was time for dinner certainly helped.

On the way to dinner we got them glow toys. A light up hat, a light up car, and a light up American flag for $25 total. Not bad at all. Cheaper than similar items at ringling bros circus, and seem to be good quality, so far (still work after being played with all night last night and for a good while today).

The black forest picnic food was ok. The salad was very fresh, and along with the fruit, was the best part. However, the viewing location for the fireworks could not be beat. No crowds and a completely unobstructed view, combined with not having to deal with the lines we saw for people to buy dinner, and then walking around like vultures to try and get a table, made it with worth every penny.

The fireworks themselves were great though we thought the show was a little short (about 12 minutes I think it was).

Then we went back to Italy for little gliders take 2. Walking through the crowd to get there made us thankful we saw the fireworks from the black forest.

Little gliders worked this time, though it was another 30 minutes wait for it. But the kids thought it worth the wait.

About the new decor in Italy; we thought it looked great at night. It was wonderful walking through the patriotic theme after the 4th of July fireworks. However, during the day it clashed with the Italian decor. If this was there just for the holiday weekend, then I would have thought it was a terrific idea, and execution. However, by next week, I will wish it be gone. Also, I don't like how the independence grill blocks the entrance into the garden that is closest to the theater. That area is enough of a bottle neck, and I think this made it worse.

After the gliders, my wife and I took turns taking our 13 year old on Apollo's chariot (with no wait) while the other took the little ones on elephant run and Turkish delight. We had never been on AC at night before, and we LOVED it. A perfect way to cap off a terrific, and mostly perfect holiday day.

By this point, it was 11:00, and time to go. The kids were hoping we'd make it to Pompeii before they closed, but we missed it by about 10 minutes. Would have been fun to ride that at night, though. Blame little gliders for breaking down on us the first time. Ironic that gliders is the only ride we had a line for all day (and we rode quite a lot), and that is the one we had to wait for twice to ride.

We packed up our car, and the kids were fast asleep before we got out of the parking lot (which took about 15 minutes from the England lot)

We absolutely plan on coming to BG for the 4th next year, with the same plan. In fact, my 5 yr old said this was the best day he ever had in his life. It really was a great day.
 

MAZ

Jan 30, 2014
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Richmond
Great review P.A.D!! Sounds like you made your way around the park in just the right fashion. I'm sure there are many others that did not have as good of a time as you, which means seasoned ParkFans really DO know how to get the best out of the park. I chose to stay away from BGW this year for the 4th, but I will reference this review and maybe try it out next year.
 

Mushroom

Getting aHEAD of myself
Advisory Panel
Feb 12, 2011
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Awesome review, PrincessArlenasDad! It's great to hear about people having such a great, magical time at the park. I have so many great memories as a kid of visiting the park and creating more and more "best day ever"s. Kudos for making the same great experience for your kids!

I also agree, there's something enchanting about the festive feel of visiting a park on the 4th of July. I visited Kings Dominion last year and was blown away by how everyone (including rides and ops) stopped at noon for a moment of silence and the national anthem. And surprise fireworks going off while riding Grizzly? Freaking magical!

Anyway, uh, thanks for sharing! I actually enjoyed reading that, which is a grand feat since I usually don't enjoy trip reports too much. Awesome!
 
Feb 9, 2013
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I love going on slow days, because there's no lines. But, for some reason I love going on the big days, it brings back a lot of memories of when I went to the park when I was smaller, and it was crowded, because those are always the most memorable days for some reason. Plus, I love seeing the park in 'full operation,' for lack of a better phrase.
 

Mushroom

Getting aHEAD of myself
Advisory Panel
Feb 12, 2011
6,094
17,957
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Matthew said:
Plus, I love seeing the park in 'full operation,' for lack of a better phrase.

I totally get what you're saying. It's not as big of a deal at BGW because honestly they have have better all-around operations (maybe a few extra seating areas opened up, all trains on coasters, etc.), but last year at KD was really cool because areas like the upstairs seating at Country Kitchen (which is hardly ever open these days) was open, and the effects were going on all of the attractions. It's cool seeing them pull out all the stops- I just wish they'd do it on days other than the most crowded days of the year.
 
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