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Mushroom

Getting aHEAD of myself
Advisory Panel
Feb 12, 2011
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So, we all know that the past few seasons have been pretty reckless for the park.  Lately, we've seen the park become patchwork quilt of themes and ideas and varying levels of quality.  Obviously, those of us here who really love and care for the park have picked up on the park's mistakes and wish for them to be fixed.  Some people here on the forums seem to think that all we do lately is bash the park and b!t[font=arial, sans-serif]c[/font]h about everything the park does.  That is not the case at all.  The reason we are so bitter towards the park's mistakes is that we love the park, contrary to what it might seem like.  We care for the park so, so much and it's terrible to see the thing you love so much whither away until it's no more.
The thing is, the park still does things that give me hope.  While many new changes were dismal and covered in unnecessary glitter, a few things stood out as wonderful changes which are the reasons why I still love the park, as I will discuss.

Basically what I've done is listed everything the park did this previous season and sorted them into two categories: pros and cons.  I've tried to keep things as clear-cut as possible, but there is always going to be someone who disagrees.  For instance, I've put Killarney Kommotion in the "cons" section because anybody who can appreciate class and old-world charm like what the park should have would agree with me.  As far as I know, only two people on the entire site thought it was a good "show."

I don't want this to be a whole negative discussion.  This is meant to be mostly facts, but obviously the sorting is from my own opinion.  I am simply pointing out exactly what happened in 2013 and an explanation of its impact.  Look, I'm an optimist.  I still have high hopes for the park; I know it can still turn around.  After all, Kings Dominion was regarded as a "dump" for almost two decades, and look at it now.  This still doesn't mean I can deny what's right in front of me.  Even an optimist like myself needs realism to help apply the brakes before we go too far.  By the way, there are a few instances that had both pros and cons this year.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg Pros & Cons 2013


~ Pros ~


Rides
  • Verbolten - prickly bushes planted in queue to deter line jumpers
  • Loch Ness Monster - celebrates its 35th anniversary with special souvenirs
  • Verbolten - flower bed and sign in front of entrance removed; lessens bottleneck

Entertainment
  • This Is Oktoberfest returns to the Festhaus!  Can I get a "whoop-whoop"?
  • Celtic Fyre - performs its best year yet!
  • Celtic Fyre - performs an amazing season finale

Special Events
  • Food & Wine Festival debuts as a much needed event with class and taste (no pun intended)
  • Howl-O-Scream - Ripper Row is a successful and immersive terror-tory
  • Howl-O-Scream - Root of All Evil makes a surprising comeback and becomes one of the best houses
  • Howl-O-Scream - Cut Throat Cove exceeds expectations as a "budget" house
  • Howl-O-Scream - Blood Banquet is a wonderful and- well, Vladtastic- experience
  • Christmas Town - Aquitaine changes are charming and tasteful
Culinary
  • Pork shanks reach the peak of popularity!
  • Food & Wine Festival - duh
Other
  • Emporium & England shops renovations - done with a heavy hand of Old Country charm
  • Entrance area renovations - the removal of a ticket booth clears off bottle necks; newly painted booths, new gardens, and the beautiful waterfall add taste and charm that fit the new branding perfectly; fitting new area music played; the whole area, while redone, is serene and charming
  • Aquitaine renovations - add a much-needed and sophisticated touch-up to the look of the hamlet



~ Cons ~


Rides
  • Europe in the Air - closed mid-season with no warning at all due to budget constraints.  While far from a popular ride, this left Killarney without an anchor attraction and put the park down by one dark ride.
  • Mach Tower - closed early in the season for repairs, but to know prevail.  Remained closed most days.
  • Verbolten - horribly misplaced sticker with new logo placed on trains; later removed
  • Loch Ness Monster - 35th anniversary, a huge milestone, celebrated with... wait for it... drink cups! Seriously?!
  • Verbolten - themed outdoor sign removed; replaced with concrete pad.

Entertainment
  • Entwined - all-new performance includes classy, fitting German folk songs such as "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend" and "Dancing Queen."
  • Mix It Up! - Cast walks off; show is consequently cancelled early; theater sits dark while awaiting preparations for Howl-O-Scream
  • Killarney Kommotion - godawful, modern show with pre-recorded pop music and an awkward mess of unused talent; also shows the park has spelling skills of a first grader
  • Killarney Village Band/San Marco Ensemble - lead singer walks off, cancelling San Marco gig
  • Fiends - "Improvements" in the form of over-the-top sexual jokes and unfit casting put a damper on what was a great show in 2012

Special Events
  • Food & Wine Festival - park labels the incorrect country on a map for one of the booths
  • Illuminights - Stupid giant cartoon light-up animals displayed all over the park
  • Illuminights - Down two performance venues from 2012
  • Illuminights - Ireland invaded with "Finnegan's Fireworks" signage
  • Howl-O-Scream - Demon Street, Ports of Skull, and Vampire Point terror-tories extremely lackluster

Culinary
  • Trapper's Smoke House sees a decline in food quality and portion sizes
  • Dasher's Diner at Christmas Town serves up "garbage" as compared to last year's acceptable food

Other
  • New branding - slime green logo and generic font replace classier logo


As you can see, the park did many things this past season, both good and bad.  It's just a matter of which side prevails in the future.

That's all for now; let me know if you have anything to add! :)
 

Nicole

Administrator
Jul 22, 2013
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Arlington, VA
Interesting approach to a divisive topic.

I'm not sure that I agree with all of the specifics, but that is hardly a surprise.

What I think is missing is a follow-on assessment of overall park experience.  A lot of these bullets are very specific and fairly "in the weeds."  What about discussing the overall feel of the park, as a result of these pros and cons?

On any trip to BGW in any year, dating back as far as I can remember anything, I could identify things that bothered me about the park and its theming.  It has never been perfect.  But for me personally, the real issue is whether my overall experience was good or bad.

For me, possibly because I simply won't go to BG shows, small things won't ruin my entire day.

Before everyone gets upset with me, I am NOT saying that those issues shouldn’t be addressed.  I'm just saying that part of the discussion is missing: the "so what."

For example, I really, really dislike the Christmas decorations in Ireland.  During the day, I find them completely ugly, and I generally avoid the hamlet, until after dark.  But for me, there are so many wonderful light displays elsewhere, that I still have fun.  So, would I like them to burn the orangey/goldish hairy tinsel?  Yes.  Does it ruin my night?  No.

Anyway, hope that made sense.
 

netdvn

Team Instinct
Jan 12, 2012
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Cons

Mach Tower's extended downtime - A little too much to count IMO

Loch Ness Monster's anniversary - pretty much pushed aside

Europe in the Air - The way the park closed the ride down without warning during peak is unacceptable. Especially when they gave Pirates a going away party not too long before.


Deadline - I dunno what happened. One of the best mazes of last year and one of the worst this year. While we're on the topic of mazes - 13 - The park had an entire summer to amp up the scares and make this one of the best mazes in the park. Too bad they didn't outside of a few rooms and props here and there. I actually think they removed some of the props.

Killarney Kommotion - I was gonna do the hipster thing and stick this one in neutral since I really didn't think the show itself was as bad as everyone said it was, but I HATED the construction site overlay.

Mismanagement - It was seen largely in the shows, with the cast of Mix it Up walking off, but there were bouts of mismanagement and cutbacks everywhere in the park.

Neutral

The new logo - I didn't like it at first, but it's growing on me. I still miss the script though. I am glad the Busch parks are bringing the vintage block logo back on some merchandise (Sea World did the same too with their classic script logo).

The Terror-tories - All of the Terror-tories had some element missing that really made them fall short of excellent.
 - Ripper Row has the best atmosphere and great actors to boot, but after a few walkthroughs of the area, the "scary atmosphere" sorta just goes away when you realize the actors just crowd around the Globe. The show they put on is great, but I wish the park kept the original premise of the area.

 - Ports of Skull had the most creative scares (especially toward the end of the event), but there was no atmosphere to be had, plus the area the actors could roam was limited and they had no props to work with.

 - Vampire Point had enough great actors to make the area fun to walk through. The little show they put on was great too. The biggest problem was that the area was too big for its own good and didn't have the proper staffing not to mention a complete lack of hiding spots (mainly in the Rhinefeld part).

 - Demon Street was my personal fave. The chainsaws, "fire", and awesome music made the area come alive at night. Throw in the best maze in the park, and you have yourself a winning combination. That being said, outside of the chainsaws, there wasn't much scare-wise and show-wise it was meh at best. The DJ booth created bottlenecks on crowded days too.

Killarney Kommotion - Yeah I said it, the show wasn't as bad as everyone said it would be. With a little tweaking, it would be so much better. Just stick the facade on Europe in the Air next time. That way people think its under construction and won't complain. :p

Pros


Food and Wine Festival - Clearly the best special event to come out of the park since Christmas Town

Aquitaine Renovation - Crepes and Coffee adds a little flair to an otherwise boring area of the park. The area during Christmas Town looked fantastic too!

Illuminights - Event is largely scaled back. Gone are the "in your face" decorations that covered the park and the below-average to terrible quality shows. Outside of the 3-4 tacky animals sitting around the park, the areas look better than in years past. This was probably the most positive change to come out of the cutbacks IMO.

Europe in the Air - That ride was trash anyway. Barely ever had a line and it made everyone sick to their stomach. Another positive change to the cutbacks.

Root of All Evil - Atmosphere is largely improved. The only thing holding the maze back now is the lack of the creative scares from last year.

Howl O Scream and Christmas Town - both were as awesome as ever

Verbolten's Anniversary - It was nice to see the park do something like this for their newest ride.
 
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Zachary

Administrator
Sep 23, 2009
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netdvn pid=91617 dateline=1391619885 said:
Cons

Loch Ness Monster's anniversary - pretty much pushed aside

[...]

Pros

Verbolten's Anniversary - It was nice to see the park do something like this for their newest ride.

I hadn't actually realized this contrast till just now. :(
 
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