Busch Gardens Williamsburg opened its doors to park guests last weekend on Saturday March 26, 2011. Busch Gardens 36th season has officially started!
The park had a lot of changes this year, some big and some small. One of the less obvious changes happened immediately as you walked into the park, the Guest Information & Reservation Center has moved to where Adventure Photos was in the past years. In Festa Italia, La Cucina is still La Cucina but it is now an all you can eat buffet of pizza, pasta, deserts, and other tasty creations. In France, La Belle Maison (the jewelry shop) now has walls up around it and has unfortunately been replaced by nothing. In New France, Der Katapult was moved to where the Canadian Palladium used to be, which is not removed. The ride is now repainted a bright red color, as well as renamed to Le Catapult.
Okay, I have bored you long enough about the small changes to the park, now for some major changes. Festival Italiano has been replaces by a brand new show called Mix It Up! The new show features chef musicians playing Italy’s most famous songs and dancing waiters scrambling around the stage. The show is about 20 minutes long and is sure to entertain.
On October 18, 2011 Busch Gardens announced a two year, two phase renovation plan coming to the Oktoberfest section of the park. Phase 1, which will be completed this year, open a new beer garden and pretzel shop called Beste Brezeln und Bier, a new 240 foot drop tower name Mäch Tower, and to redesign the beloved Oktoberfest section of the park. Unfortunately none of those things were completed by Saturday, Beste Brezeln und Bier will be opening next weekend and Mäch Tower will not open until late spring. As for the redesign of Oktoberfest, that cannot be completed until Beste Brezeln und Bier and Mäch Tower opens.
Now that I have told you about everything that has changed let’s really talk about opening day! With only a high of 45°F and a 30% chance of rain, the park was not very crowded at all for an opening day. Lines were no longer than a 10 minute wait. Even with the cold temperatures and freezing wind chill while on the coasters, park guests were enjoying them. The park did have some rides go down during the day, to name a few, Apollo’s Chariot, which was down for only a few minutes, and Curse of DarKastle, which was down for about 10 minutes (which I got to experience considering I was half way thru the ride at the time. One thing that I thought was great that the announcements for the ride, telling riders the ride had stopped, were King Ludwig’s voice, they themed the breakdown announcement!). Overall Busch Gardens had an amazing opening day and started their 36th season off great!