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Getting aHEAD of myself
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Feb 12, 2011
Hi, guys. This forum, as of late, seems to be a clash of opinions and feelings towards the various decisions and actions made by Busch Gardens Williamsburg. While some people will always enjoy everything the park puts out, it should be apparent that a large group of people on these boards are not content with the products and decisions Busch Gardens is making. As we all know- two differing opinions can create conflict. However, I fear this conflict has gone on for far too long without enough understanding of either "side." Therefore, I think it's time to get something straight.

In writing this thread, I don't intend to solve any issues. I don't intend to change anyone's own opinions or beliefs. I don't even intend to "defend" my "side." I am writing this solely because I wish to get the record straight as to the issues found on these boards, and perhaps ease a little tension. And really, I think this is needed in the forums as of late.

Keep in mind, before I go any further, that my opinions below are my viewpoint on the matter. While I am confident that other people feel the same way as I do, I do not wish to bring anybody into this discussion unless they wish to be part of it. While this topic could be turned controversial, I hope that we can all do our best to remain civil and understanding of each other, and take each other's opinion with an open mind.

I do not wish to offend anybody in writing this post; in fact, that is the opposite of my intention in writing this. If you are offended in any way by this post, please PM me and I will be happy to work with you to make things right. Thanks!

Now, let's get started.

I love Busch Gardens Williamsburg. I still love Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Unless a wrecking ball is ever taken to every building in the park, unless the Rhine River is ever drained and filled in, unless the Oompah music ever stops for good, I will always love Busch Gardens Williamsburg.

I grew up at Busch Gardens. While I only could visit Busch Gardens a few times a year when I was small, there was something wonderful- something magical- about it. The sights, the smells, the sounds, the adventure- they all stayed with me. Despite my first visit being when I was only about a year old (circa Hastings to Killarney transformation), I quickly fell in love with the park. There was something about visiting an old world of lore, a time of charm and quaintness, when happiness and pleasure hadn't given way to worries. The adventure, the mystery, the excitement of visiting Old Europe- between just walking around an old village come to life, playing in a land where dragons roamed, or riding a roller coaster- was like nothing else. To this day, I still cannot find the correct combination of words to describe the feeling of being at Busch Gardens Williamsburg as a small child.

Not unlike most people on these boards, I joined this site as part of BGWFans. While I spend a good chunk of time in the Kings Dominion boards lately, I joined this forum before it was even known as ParkFans. This was back in those dark, cold days when dinosaurs ruled the earth when this place was known as BGWFans Forums (scary, I know). I joined BGWFans because I was, well, a fan of BGW. This was when I had really taken an interest in the workings of the park.

I am a member of BGWFans because I am a fan of BGW. Now, that statement seems pretty logical- but I feel like it needs to be said. In fact, I'll say it again for effect. I am a member of BGWFans because I am a fan of BGW.

Merriam-Webster defines "fan" as "an enthusiastic devotee..." And this is where things get a little complicated. I am devoted to Busch Gardens Williamsburg. I feel like a sissy-boy every time I say this, but my heart is at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, and I think it always will be. I don't know what I will do, or where I will be, when I get older- but I am certain that I will always have a love for the adventure and thrill of theme parks. Busch Gardens Williamsburg taught me my love of parks, and that is reason enough for me to continue to love it. But I want to see where my park from the beginning is doing, and how she will grow. I want to know how she is doing. I want to be there when she is happy, I want to be there when she is hurting. (Geez, I may as well have just taken these past few sentences from a soap opera line...) I love Busch Gardens Williamsburg, and I care about her.

Now, devotion is one thing. Being "enthusiastic" as mentioned in the definition is another. "Enthusiastic" is defined by Merriam-Webster as "feeling or showing strong excitement about something." Here, some people will be filled with joy about everything the park does, everything the park plans to do. Others will be shocked, angry, saddened, or just confused by things the park does. Excitement can have multiple connotations. Therefore, enthusiasm for the park can be shown strongly in positive or negative ways.

I think everyone can agree that, in this sense, there are two types of people in this world: optimists and realists. Cam from Modern Family really says it best: "You see, the dreamers need the realists to keep them from soaring too close to the sun. And the realists, well without the dreamers, they might not ever get off the ground." Really, I think this is perfectly said. It almost seems like some people will be content with everything the park does, and while they are entitled to their own opinions, it would seem as though they are being overly-optimistic. Perhaps some people would still be happy if a wrecking ball was taken to every building in the park, if the Rhine River was drained and filled in, if the Oompah music stops for good.

But as myself and a few others have pointed out, I fear Busch Gardens is beginning its decent into the same trap that sucked Kings Dominion up for almost two decades. I definitely suggest taking a look at the rough history of Kings Dominion here for more detail, but for those who don't understand this "trap" that Kings Dominion got sucked into, I will try to explain it in a nutshell. Essentially, when Busch Gardens and Kings Dominion started out in 1975, they were on the same page. Both parks were high-quality, world-class parks. Then, in the 90's, Paramount bought Kings Dominion and its sister parks. At first, smaller changes were made. A classic icon was removed here, some other beloved item over there, and so forth. Before everyone knew it, Kings Dominion was a clash of themes and quality. It was, well, a dump. Cedar Fair took over in 2007 as the saving grace of the park, but to this day Kings Dominion is still trying to get out of this ditch it fell into, and is still trying to erase the public image it had for almost two decades.

I'm sure Busch Gardens will never be a "dump" like Kings Dominion, with movie-themed rides in Oktobefest or whatever and cracked walkways galore. But here's the thing: as someone who saw Busch Gardens in the height of its glory, the park is looking more and more like just a shell of its former self. And perhaps we won't know what happened until every hamlet looks like Festa Italia, and Carly Rae Jepson is screeching away through every rock-shaped speaker at the park.

Getting back to the thought about optimists and realists, there is nothing wrong with a little optimism. It can make even the bleakest moments seem a little brighter. In all fairness, I completely see where these optimists on here are coming from; after all, if you have to live with something, you may as well learn to like it. A red-colored Festhaus floor is a little silly, but overall it's not so bad. It's not like my whole trip will be ruined because a restaurant's floor isn't the ideal color.

Optimism has its limits, however. Just as constant complaining over something as minute as a colored floor can lower credibility and reputation for those who are more realistic, saying a flashy, expensive fairy tale forest set in the middle of a German beer hall is "good enough" or "isn't so bad" is a tad nonsensical, and in my opinion, makes the optimists look less credible and more like they can be pleased by just whatever.

I think of when I was a small child, and whenever my family went to a fancy restaurant, my mom would make me try some sort of fancy food of hers. Even before the food actually hit my lips, I would say "Mmmmm!" Of course my parents caught on, but I did so because I was hoping the food would be good- even though sometimes it wasn't. On the other hand, my younger brother would gag in disgust before he even tasted the food. This, my friends, is what I find to be very fitting to the scenario at hand.  Neither myself nor my brother were "right" by either blindly loving something or blindly hating it.

Continuing the above metaphor, let's say I did eat whatever food my mom mad me try. Let's say she made me try some escargot. YUCK. But if I tell myself, "this isn't so bad, just chew and swallow. It'll be over soon," that should solve my problem, right? Well, if I pretend to like this dish, then what if my mom decides to make that for dinner the next night? Is she encouraged into thinking it's the right thing, even when it is not? I think this is part of the problem for being too optimistic. If the park makes something cheesy, and spends their budget on the wrong things, you would hope they would fix it. But if the park sees encouragement for what they do, they will think they are doing the right thing and continue doing it. Things will snowball until there is no turning back.

Now, everyone is entitled to their own opinions. Perhaps some people absolutely love giant disco snails with a passion. That's their opinion, and that is totally fine. Again, the problem arises when these people say others are wrong for disliking such things. The same is true for "realists" such as myself- nobody is actually "wrong" for saying that they like giant disco snails.

So you have your optimists. Then, you have your realists. I used to be optimistic. I used to have high hopes for the park. That hope has died. Not completely, but my hope has shriveled so much that I have no reason to be optimistic anymore. It pains me to say, but Busch Gardens has had far too many misses than hits lately. While things like the Food & Wine Festival are wonderful, things such as Killarney Kommotion, Demon Street, and glittery things XYZ are not.

Remember, Busch Gardens Williamsburg was built as the Old Country. While I was not alive to see the park when it was technically called the "Old Country," the old country theme is clearly eminent still today. However, changes that are being made are turning the park into a patchwork quilt of themes and quality levels as a whole.

Now, change is imperative. People are not going to pay the lofty admission price over and over again to walk through those gates and see the same sights over and over again. I think everybody understands that the park can't be stagnant, that it can't be the same as it was ten, twenty, thirty years ago. However, the level of quality of the product delivered by the park should be expected to be the same as it has been all these years, and that is where things are beginning to change for the worse. It's totally acceptable (and expected) that things change, although such change should not bring about the loss of beloved items or alter the feel of the park. This is where things are slipping.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg reads these boards. The general public reads these boards. A vast amount of fans read these boards. Just as we can tell the park that something they are doing is good, we can tell them when they are doing something bad. We're not here complaining for the heck of complaining. If that were the case, I would be on the optimist "side" because being a realist would be completely pointless. However, pointing out the park's mistakes tends to mend things in one way or another. Remember when they stopped selling authentic steins and cuckoo clocks in Rhinefeld? There was a big outcry for them to return. And who do you think was the reason for that? Let's take This is Oktoberfest, the heart and the soul of Das Festhaus. The show was removed from the park in 2012, which is why I still consider 2012 the darkest year the park has ever seen. In 2013, public outcry brought back the show by popular demand. If we had all just nodded and smiled at Entwined and not cared, the Festhaus could have been renamed Entwined Cafe by now.

Honestly, I dislike the dividing of people into two "sides" because everybody is entitled to their own opinions, which in theory should differ from every person. Just because someone on my "side" (the "realists") says something doesn't mean I have to agree with it. And maybe I completely agree with the ideas put out by a person I usually don't share an opinion with. Honestly, all I think these so-called "sides" are are groups of people who share similar opinions. Therefore, no two people are ever going to agree with everything on here- whether they typically share the same opinions or not. I know many people float between multiple viewpoints quite a bit, and it seems like most people are honest where appropriate. I don't think somebody is going to try to make something seem bad just so they can complain about it.

tl;dr - There are a lot of different opinions on these boards. Some views may be extreme, but we're all here to make a point because we care.

We are all members of this forum. Unlike other places, this is a community. While not everyone knows each other personally, the majority of members on here are at least familiar with each other as users. We are all fellow ParkFans. We are all here because in one way or another we care about the park, because we love the park. This is the ParkFans Forum, the is BGWFans. My hope is that we can all, together, be fans of the park as one.

Thank you.
To me Busch gardens started changing when Anheiser Busch got bought out that took the park away from a company that cared highly about running the park to a outfit now that is looking at dollar signs like most of America is doing today milking every cent they can out of the product they have while investing back as little as possable that is what I see going on at Busch Gardens now however Busch Gardens is still a great place to visit, great food shows and a nice mix of rides for everyone and with the addition of things like Christmas town and the Wine and food event there is enough changes going on to keep people comming back .....
Bama, I think you put all your periods at the end instead of in the paragraph :p

My two cents on what you're saying Joe. I've seen people come up here and express negative/critical and positive/supportive opinions about various aspects of the park. It seems like the critical points of view tend to be more popular. That's fine, we're on a message board and people can critique all they want. Why else would we be here?

On the other hand, a lot of the posts that agree with some of the changes often find themselves in the minority here and are ridiculed or chided for "not caring as much" as the more critical posts. I think this makes new members who may come here because they love the way the park is now, feel like they're not welcome to share their (sometimes overly) positive views.

Anyways, my point is that if someone says something you don't agree with, there's no need to make them feel unwelcome over having a differing opinion. We can disagree and still be civil.
Bama said:
milking every cent they can out of the product they have while investing back as little as possable

This is business and capitalism. The goal is to generate the most profit possible and the reason why businesses do what they do. The goal for any business is money always. That is why they are in business and that is what keeps them going. Profitable = Success. Spending that profit on investing is having to spend money to hopefully more even more money. The fact they have to spend money means that will lower their overall profit and no business likes having to spend money when they don't have to.

Busch Gardens was never built to make profit. It was meant to advertise. This is the core problem, I believe.
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Nobody has mentioned that both sides stroke each other's egos. Coming from the outside, both sides post just to piss off each other and it really does turn people off from posting.
That would be trolling, maybe you should talk to the resident trolling ParkFans expert.

Honestly, I see it as people trying categorize other people by their opinions on only the "hot topics" on the forums. Then they think that gives them a general understanding of those people, but honestly it doesn't.

Then as Illy mentioned, people with opposing viewpoints specifically post to antagonize each other.

This was the reason why I started that argument thread a bit back. To help people understand how to post and make an effective and credible argument. However, I was instantly mocked and attacked for attempting it. I really am still planning on starting it up again because there is a proper way to argue that is effective and promotes thought and thinking and stimulates conversations.
Party Rocker said:
This was the reason why I started that argument thread a bit back. To help people understand how to post and make an effective and credible argument. However, I was instantly mocked and attacked for attempting it. I really am still planning on starting it up again because there is a proper way to argue that is effective and promotes thought and thinking and stimulates conversations.

I think the only real solution is to use the report button when someone makes rude or attacking comments. The mods can decide how civil they want the board to be. :p

Also I thought Alpenghost was a gnome, not a troll?
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I feel that Busch Gardens is like a relationship. There are good times, there are bad times. Either way, as fans (or the other partner in a relationship) we need to go along all the way through. When there are bad times in a relationship, a boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, or wife doesn't just leave and give up immediately, they hold on, and go through the bad times, keeping an eye out for the good times. We need to go through the ups and downs. The uphills and the downhills. We need to ride it like the park is apollo's chariot!!

Now, I will say, there are some decisions that I, and we, are not happy about. However, I have kept an open heart that things will be fixed and everything will work out. Sadly, with some of the people in management, some of this fixing won't happen until they are gone. That is an issue, yes, but eventually, those people will be gone, and things will get fixed, unless they're vampire, then we're in trouble! :p
It feels more to me like the girlfriend is getting tattoos, dyed hair, and pierced collarbones after you've become so accustomed to the cheery and homey personality of the sweet brunette you've known so well for the last 15 years. It's almost like I'm looking at a totally different person at times.
As far as I'm concered she is a different person, but don't worry there are some people who like that type of girl, but I'm definitely not that person.
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