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Sep 5, 2010
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RICHMOND
So I did something I haven't done since probably '03 --

I stayed in the park open-to-close. I thoroughly enjoyed my day.

Impressions:
I'm now convinced in my assessment from a month ago. I would no longer classify Busch Gardens strictly as a theme park. I would say that it is firmly in the category of "themed amusement park," which is slightly different. For reference, my definitions:
  • Theme Park - A park which focuses primarily on immersing a visitor into a themed environment, and provides rides and amusements as a secondary concern.
  • Themed Amusement Park - A park which focuses primarily on rides and amusements, but ties them together with one overarching theme.
  • Amusement park - A park which focuses primarily on rides and amusements with little-to-no environment or theming.
Believe it or not, I'd point to cast member uniforms as the number one piece of evidence. The move to color-code bowling shirts from period/country costumes pretty well proves the theory. It's not an immersive themed experience any more...it's a well themed, colorful and pretty amusement park.

That all being said, I'm on the fence about the Illuminights set-up. I mean, it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. I don't get it, I don't understand what snails or frogs or lightning bugs have to do with BG, Illuminights, or any of that. So there's that. At the same time, though, it's colorful and lighthearted. If we were still in Busch Gardens: the theme park, I'd be throwing up right now. Since I think we're in Busch Gardens: the themed amusement park, I'm much more forgiving.

Other notes:
Got to meet Luke, Nora, Zach, and Alpenghost tonight. Great people. Enjoyed hearing horror stories about happenings in the park over the years, talking about the shows, discovering Grogan's (it never occurred to me that I'd never been inside) and discussing the possibility of Nora's transition into villainy. For the record, Luke knows all the words to the Illuminights theme song. That's dedication.

Anyway, that's it.
 
May 13, 2012
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Henrico
I'm sorry I missed meeting you and the others. I was there with my wife and daughter yesterday but sensing an impending fussfest, I never sent up the "I'm here" flare. As it ended up, we had to leave around 2:00 when my daughter's disposition hit China Syndrome proportions.
 
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