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Sep 5, 2010
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RICHMOND
When you're wrong, you're wrong. And I've been wrong.

Went to Busch Gardens today for the first time in over two years and I thought it was excellent.

Excellent.

I was impressed with the theming, I thought Verbolten was outstanding, I even liked Union Jax (or Jacks or whatever). I saw the new Entwined, and while I didn't particularly like it (and am convinced I could rearrange the scenes and add about 10 lines of dialogue and fix the whole thing) I thought the set was beautiful (though it belongs somewhere not the Festhaus) and I appreciate what they were attempting. It was a real show, which is something I felt had been missing. Not *my* favorite show, but a real show nonetheless.

Maybe it was all the Food and Wine set ups (which I thought were outstanding if ill placed), but the park looked colorful, vibrant, and alive. People were enjoying themselves, there were things to see and do and the food was good.

I will even say that I didn't hate the bowling shirts so much...they helped the employees blend into the background, much like stage-hands in a play. Maybe every employee shouldn't blend in like that, but there were costumed street performers providing ambiance, anyway. I saw sheep walking down the streets.

Aquitaine looked great.

There are areas that could use improving, but I don't want to get into that. We know pretty well what I think could use fixing. I just wanted to come on here and say that today, I felt the spark, I saw the progress, and for the first time in many years, I remembered why I like the place so much.

...

Sundial is awful. No mea culpa on that one. Someone should push it into the pool.

-Money
 

Zachary

Administrator
Sep 23, 2009
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Virginia
It's a miracle!

Dr. Julius Money Ed.D said:
There are areas that could use improving, but I don't want to get into that. We know pretty well what I think could use fixing. I just wanted to come on here and say that today, I felt the spark, I saw the progress, and for the first time in many years, I remembered why I like the place so much.

This basically summarizes my feelings for this season. For the first time in a long time the park seems to actually be starting to realize what they should be aiming for. There's a ton more to do all around the place, but this is the first year in recent memory when I can actually see hints that things are looking up.
 
Sep 5, 2010
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RICHMOND
Let's not misunderstand...I thought, and still think, that a lot needs fixed. They do need better shows, and they do need a nighttime anchor, and Ireland needs to be restocked, and more and more.

What I'm saying is that today I got the impression that people were trying to push things in a good direction, rather than letting them free fall into King's Dominion (which is the impression I got back in 2011).

I would say the thing that surprised me the most is the impression of how the park has changed. I might describe it like this: Busch Gardens used to be a themed park with rides and shows. That's the Busch Gardens I fell in love with. It's still my favorite concept. This Busch Gardens is an amusement park with a theme. That's a different concept. The good news is, from all indications today, they do it very well, and it's something I can also love.

Does that make sense?
 
Sep 29, 2009
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^That makes perfect sense. I've always loved how Busch Gardens stresses fun for the whole family. I think they are trying to get a better balance of everything.
 
Sep 5, 2010
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RICHMOND
Don't ask.

To be honest, though, with how busy the place looks (and again, this might just be because of the F&W stuff), it isn't as jarring to the eye as it would have been in the more peaceful past.
 
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Apr 5, 2011
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I was thinking about something a bit more tangible. What was the specific physical item or themeing piece that you liked the most.
 
Sep 5, 2010
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RICHMOND
What tangible change did I like best?

Maybe Aquitaine.

I'm a huge fan of the "hamlet" concept. I like the little corners of the park to feel like independent villages. So to me, the country theming is not enough...there should be a sense that this little place is actually just that -- a little place. It shouldn't just seem like background. It should be immersive. And the additions in Aquitaine really create that sense.

You come down the hill into the clearing, and it appears that you've arrived in a little town square. And it's well done and the colors look good. And there's no doofy flags on the castle building.

Changes that are improvements. That's what I like to see.

Other than that, I thought Ireland looked awesome with the Scandinavia thing, actually. The color of it really kind of helped that magical Ireland feel that the hamlet used to have. Hopefully they'll revamp the little snack stand there to look kind of like that Scandinavia stand.

And then there was all of that beautiful growth over the arch, and the live band playing there in the square (although why they weren't standing on the round stage, I have no idea).
 
May 29, 2013
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Dr. Julius Money Ed.D said:
And then there was all of that beautiful growth over the arch, and the live band playing there in the square (although why they weren't standing on the round stage, I have no idea).

Often when they play they draw families who stop and watch. The little kids dance around or sit on the stage like bleachers. The band interacts with the people who sit at the tables outside the theater snack shop. It's much nicer that just having them stand on a stage.
 
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