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Jun 5, 2014
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Hello there,

I am a huge fan of Busch Gardens and have been going since I was a child. My most recent to Busch Gardens-Williamsburg, was this past Sunday (6-2-14); my previous vist was the summer of 2012. Over the past few years, I have become an increased fan of the park and wanted to know more information about the park’s history and future. It is an extremely interesting progression, since the parks original inception.

When I came home from this recent visit, I wanted to share some ideas and opinions about the park, from someone who is new enthusiast.

The visit:
BGW, is and will always be, one of the most beautiful theme parks that I have ever been to. The landscaping is amazing. Overall, the entire concept of the park, remains to this day, innovative and classic at the same time. It could possibly be, for many of it’s visitors, the closest experience to a actual European tour/experience.

The different hamlets and my opinions about rides/themes/condition

England-“Banbury Cross”

Wow! “London Rocks” has arrived…and with a vengeance! Not sure, I dig the “flower power” insignias and decals, plastered all over the Globe Theatre and surrounding buildings. The show itself…….needs some work. I believe, I understand then initial concept of the show, which, is a highlight of British songs. However, the execution does not bode well. There is really no plot line, and the scenes with the puppets singing “We Will Rock You”, and “I Am The Walrus”….are ridiculous. I have read that this show came with a hefty price tag, and sadly, I can not say that it was money well spent. The “QBC” commercials were annoying, and somewhat stereotypical. The new concession building that has been added, is a welcome addition.


Scotland-“Heatherdowns”

I love this small quaint area. In regards to theme, I wish that they could pipe some bagpipe music or harp music into the area, because, it seems a small extension of Banbury Cross, rather than it’s own designated country/area. It would help cement into people’s minds, “Oh yeah! I’m in Scotland”. The Loch Ness Monster has been my favorite ride since childhood, and it never gets old or tiresome riding it. Over my visits in the past years, the “cave” area has been neglected more and more. I wish that some money could be spent on improving or reconditioning the effects within the cave/lair, especially now that Verbolten has been added to the parks roster of coasters. One thing I would encourage from Busch Gardens, is the landscaping around Nessy needs tending too, especially near the exit area; and some minor cleaning/painting to the waiting area/station.

Ireland-“Killarney”

I have always enjoyed this area of the park, and even liked it whenever it was Hastings. I ate a small bite to eat at Grogan’s, and as always, it was fab! Are there plans to find a replacement for “Europe in the Air”? It is a little stale and sedate. I have always been curious if there was a way to add an attraction to the area behind the theatre for Celtic Fyre. But, after thinking about it, I actually like the calm, relaxed atmosphere of the area, and I am sure that having a loud ride in the vicinity of the animals would cause them stress. Celtic Fyre, remains the best show in the park, and the performers are fantastic.


France-“Aquitane”

Seems like the buildings have been repainted and some minor aesthetic improvements have been made, since my last visit to the area. Is it just me…or does anyone else, wish that there was another ride in this area? I really do wish that Busch Gardens, could bring back the “Le Mans” cars and course. I have read somewhere that the cars are still stored, somewhere on the property. Perhaps, it could be in the area between the train tracks and the Griffin. It seems as though the area, would not be visited by anyone other than individuals who are riding the Griffin. I believe another attraction, could offer something for people not wanting to experience such a thrilling ride, youngsters who are not mature enough to ride, and something leisurely for people waiting for lines to thin out.

France/Canada-“New France”

I have always wished that with some slight makesovers, this area could become Switzerland and incorporate both Le Scoot, Le Catapault and Alpengeist into it. Le Catapault is in such an ugly area..I wish some money could be spent on some sort of theme…nothing overly dramatic or extreme, but, something to improve the area. The new bathroom facilities are fantastic. Le Scoot seemed to have had a slight makeover since my last visit. Many areas of the ride, seemed to have been recently painted and cleaned. The water was perhaps the cleanest I have ever seen. I also, like that the area under the lift and drop have been painted. It blends into the surrounding area better and keeps with the theme of the ride.

Germany-“Rhinefeld”

I do not have children (Land of Dragons) and none of the shopping/eateries in this area appeal to me. However, I did happen to go down to the Riverboat docks, to check out the new bridge, and have to say that once the wood weathers some, it is going to be fantastic! The boats look like they could benefit from a good power washing. Their canopies looked rather dirty. Coming back through the area, I noticed that Land of Dragons, has benefitted from it’s recent improvements, and looked the best I have seen it in the past couple of visits.


Germany-“Oktoberfest”

Okay! I am just going to say, that I always!!! eat my meals at the Festhaus….can’t really say why, I think it is because, whenever I was little, this was always the place, my family would come and watch the show and eat. I would like to start off by saying I am not a fan of “Entwined”…I think it is a huge improvement over the original show, by incorporating the Grimm tales. However, the show stills need some work. The songs are not the best, and the costumes….well….they are not the best either. Why is the not a train depot in Oktoberfest? I wish that they would add a train depot to the area behind the Festhaus, towards the Black Forest Picnic area. BTW, why do they not utilize that area for something? “Autobahn” needs some TLC. There seem to be several broken bumper cars, and they took up about a ¼ of the arena. While in the line for this ride, you are privy to what I believe is Verbolten’s “Black Forest”, which is completely exposed as a huge metal building. Busch Gardens needs to plant some trees or some sort of vine that can obscure the view. This is a minor complaint, but, something that I think should be given some consideration.

Italy-“San Marco”

Yet, another personal favorite area of mine! I am really liking the new dining terrace. It is so pretty. The new aesthetic improvement to the shops was also noticed. DaVinci’s Garden could benefit from some minor TLC, especially on DaVinci’s cradle. The mechanical pully-ropes, need to be painted. The duration of the Flying Machine also seemed to be rather quick, and ran at a slower speed. Not sure if the Pompeii area falls into this category or Festa Italia, but, many of the props that surrounded the line area, have disappeared. The motorized-remote boats need to be removed from the area. Can’t say that I am a big fan of the blaster canons either.


Italy-“Festa Italia”

Here, we have the worst of the lot, in my opinion. Out of all the “lands” within Busch Gardens Williamsburg, this seems to be the one that gets the least amount of attention in terms of improvement. It is very disconnected. Whereas many of the areas throughout the park follow a certain color scheme, architectual design or aesthetic congruence……this area is a hodge podge. I am hoping that with the arrival of a new ride next year, some much needed attention is going to be given to this area of the park. Am I the only person who wishes that Turkish Delight, be relocated to Banbury Cross, and renamed “English Tea”? I really wish that this area, could just become it’s own country, preferably Greece. There is not a solidifying element to this area. Does that make sense? Apollo’s Chariot needs a serious cleaning! The waiting area and station looked old and dirty in my opinion. Something that is somewhat upsetting for a ride, that is not nearly as old as Alpengeist or Loch Ness Monster. Roman Rapids is beginning to show it’s age, and a ride that I once loved!! as a child…seems to be in needs of some improvements. Also, I am curious if it is feasible or possible to extend the area around to the bridge connecting Oktoberfest to San Marco?

Those are a few of my observations and opinions, and would love to hear what others have to say about their recent visits and opinions as well.
 
Apr 9, 2013
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Welcome to the board. I think your trip sums up a lot of what many board members feel, to varying degrees.

Here are some of my thoughts.

- London Rocks (!) and other shows. I think it's a bit silly to think a theme park is going to wow people with shows. They're time wasters for wary walkers or, a construct to entertain children. I know I'm in the minority on this but I also simply hate musicals; as a band geek, you either love or loathe Broadway. I fall into the latter. With London Rocks (!) specifically, I think it's a waste of money to license all those songs and attempt to plop out a story around it. But, I find that's the problem with musicals as a whole, regardless of the size of production. They all seem to be a weird amalgamation of drama, music, and dance. I'd rather go see a play, go listen to a band or orchestra, or watch a ballet, as separate entities. Not all three mashed together.

- I think it's sad this might be some people's closest idea of going to Europe. The hamlets are like cartoon characterizations of barely specific European habitats - which is fun, but akin to going to Vegas, taking a gondola ride, and crossing off Venice from your trip plans. You'll find many people argue over the 'classy' or 'quality' aspects of this type of themed experience. I stay out of it. The whole thing is a farce. Fun, but loose and highly open to interpretation.

- A lot of the park seems to be suffering from a lack of upkeep, here and there. I don't know what to make of it. I think it's a tough balance of trying to be innovative and attempting to maintain stability with existing attractions. I also get the feeling now that the park has to worry about being profitable, the stakes are even higher and they're just not acclimated to what it takes to make everyone (fans, theme nazis, coaster junkies, and the general public) happy. My problem on the innovation side of the house is, the park sank way too much money into a boring roller coaster, a boring drop tower, and a boring Broadway-esque musical production in recent years. And then on the backside, they've let some of their signature attractions and areas slip. For the first time since living on the East Coast, I've decided visiting the park is just not a priority.

- Negativity aside, the park still has a lot to offer. It's still one of the best theme parks around, and has some of the best roller coasters ever built. The animal attractions are pretty spectacular and often looked over. Some of the seasonal offerings (Food and Wine Festival!) are really well put together, as well. I think though, the next couple years are going to be shaky while they get their shit together.

Thanks for posting your trip report! I think, sometimes, it's good for all of us to: A. get a fresh perspective from a new member and, B. Read someone's complete experience, rather than focusing on specific pros and cons.
 

netdvn

Team Instinct
Jan 12, 2012
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“Autobahn” needs some TLC. There seem to be several broken bumper cars, and they took up about a ¼ of the arena.

Half of the bumper cars sit out against the wall as backups in case one on the main track cuts out or stops working. The only ones that are broken typically sit in a corner by the maintenance door.

Each car probably weighs a few hundred pounds so moving them off the track and into a maintenance area would be a pain.

You can't run all the cars at the same time because it causes a huge backup on the track. Keep in mind, the same people who drive those bumper cars are probably the same people who get into accidents on the highways every morning during rush hour ;).

So yeah, the ride already has enough TLC to begin with. If anything, I think the paintings on the walls could use a spray down or freshening up, but that's pretty much it.
 
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