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Merboy

Resident Sea Monster
Oct 25, 2009
1,222
2,852
250
Raleigh, NC
www.thelanternlight.com
So I went to the park this Easter weekend. Friday and Saturday were both beautiful. Great weather and warm temperatures. Sunday, however, was gloomy and cold and wet so I just had a meal in the festhaus and then left.

So let's start at the festhaus. I entered with a small group of people right when they opened the doors. I was standing off to the sides waiting for one of the lines to open when this gentleman started yelling at one of the older ladies in her little bonnet sitting at her cash register. And when I saw he was yelling at her I mean he was giving her *hell*. Everybody was staring. I tried to turn away because I hate when people make scenes in public like that but from what I couldn't help but overhear the man (who was Asian) entered the serving area via the checkout line and the lady had stopped him and asked him to enter through another way (I guess he was trying to get ahead of the twenty or so other people?). And he started shouting at her as loud as he could and said she stopped him because of his race.

I only point this out to say that the staff handled the situation very well. Employees scurried out of every nook and cranny of those kitchens to deal with the guy and talk him down. I obviously don't know what they said to him but there was a good group of maybe seven or eight employees and managers that came out to address the situation. So well done, Festhaus staff.

Friday I was having a bottle of wine with my people in Italy. The person I was with who bought the bottle accidentally left his pass at the counter and the lady working there (apparently on her break because she had her purse with her) came looking for us and found us in order to return it. So again, well done Busch. We registered a formal compliment to the staff member at Guest Services before we left.

Okay, so let's talk about this tree clearing thing... First and foremost I'd like to say that I was expecting the worst. And secondly I'd like to say that yes of course it sucks that the park had to destroy so many trees and jeopardize some of the beautiful vistas in the park... Now having said that, my own personal impression was that it wasn't really all that bad. In fact I'd say it's pretty much a non-issue since the leaves are already starting to fill in a bit. I wouldn't have even known there had been any trees cut down with the exception of Italy where a fence hides much of the clearing. Other people who visit the park more frequently than I do probably notice the change much more keenly but as someone who goes three or four times a year I'll just that personally it wasn't really anything to sweat over. But again, that's just my opinion and I can certainly understand how others might feel differently.

I also rode Tempesto for the first time this trip and I have to say that I thought it was awesome. It was an excellent ride, despite being the eyesore it is, and it gave me quite a thrill. The comfort collars do make me feel at least a little more safe but I also don't think I would have felt very unsafe without them. And yes, as has been said, they're not comfortable for someone of my height and weight (5'10, 145lbs if you care to know). It was much more than I expected and I really only have good things to say about the ride experience.

I talked about the first official showing of Celtic Fyre in that show's thread but I'll say again here that it was, of course, wonderful and the performers are all great. After this many seasons one might expect the performance to be phoned in and the the quality to fade as it nears a potential end of its run but that thankfully isn't the case. The crowd was really in to it and a good time was had by all.

Next up, Marco Polo's was off the damn chain. I mean wow, that place is so much better than I thought it would be. I love that they kept the rotunda AND put that gorgeous chandelier in it! The theming and decorations are all on point, nothing was half-assed, and the food was good too. Admittedly I only ate the Italian food but I did take a look at the other stations as well and it all looked great.

It's been said that Marco Polo's will become a nightmare in the busier part of the season and I can 100% see that happening. People don't know where to go and accidentally cut in line and the lines themselves get so long that just navigating the room requires you to break through the queue standing there. The speed at which the line moves is based solely on how hard the server is plating food behind the counter. This all makes for a very dicey flow. However, when I was there a staff member was at the door and would only let people inside as others came out. I assume there's a fire safety issue as well as a traffic issue being resolved with this method but I'm not sure how effective it ultimately is because the line outside will probably grow very long on peak-traffic days. Anyways, I guess we'll see. Maybe the general population will surprise us and move with courtesy and caution on those days.

Also I previously said the new paintjob in Italy looks bad based on pictures. So now I'd like to fully recant that opinion and say that in person it looks great. I love the new graffiti and I think the paint is well done and looks great.

I continue to be deeply, heartfully saddened by the park's exclusion of vodka. I don't drink beer but the two others I was with do so we went to the brah-house and they each got a flight like the beer-loving brahs they are. I think the overall experience was pleasant for them but for me, I miss those really nice countertops (weren't they fairly new?) and don't love that the place is so dedicated to beer now. But that's just me and I'll get over it. Someday.

DarKastle was more or less exactly the same. I don't wear the glasses because I'm not a fan of things jumping out at me and also I much prefer to focus on the other theming elements inside the ride like the glittery wallpaper and the gargoyles with their junk exposed on the sideways tower (like really, their junk is like... right there). And despite Ludwig's assertions that I would never escape I did, in fact, exit the ride safe albeit unpleasantly cold and wet from the misters. I could not be less of a fan of those misters.

Alpengeist remains of my favorite coasters. Nothing new to report but just wanted to say that's one boss coaster.

I had zero problems with the new entry system and unlike just about every other time I entered the park during the fingerprint method I breezed right through. My picture was taken on Friday and every subsequent visit was as easy as showing the attendant my card.

I've tried to think of something to say about New France for this report as I did go through some of the shops and looked at the new panning area (an employee told me it's not new and has always been there but I've never noticed it and the structure is obviously made of new wood so I'm not sure if I'm just blind or if she was incorrect). Unfortunately New France has never made much of an impression on me as I still don't understand why Canada is considered part of the Old Country. To me that's like saying New England or New Orleans would fit into the park. But anyways...

In sum it was another great weekend at Busch. I can't wait to go back when it's warm and the weather is nicer and especially when All for One and London Rocks are happening. I look forward to riding the water rides and I'm hoping to see the waterfalls operating on Roman Rapids. I also look forward to seeing the spinning saw in Le Scoot and having my lap soaked on Pompeii.
 

BBW

Jun 10, 2010
366
491
160
Dinwiddie County, VA
We went on Sunday for the first time in two years, and that year we only went once or twice.  It's been about 4-5 years since we went regularly.  

We went on Sunday to avoid the crowds, blessing the misty weather all the way!  Great day, all the rides were walk ons.  

I think your observations matched ours, Merboy, so it would be silly for me to start another thread and I don't mean to take yours over -- but -- ditto, ditto on pretty much everything you said.

We didn't ride Tempesto because it looked uncomfortable and a lot of user reviews bear that notion out, but given your comments, Merboy, I think I may try it next visit!

San Marco does look amazing.  Agree if crowded it will be a nightmare.  I expect they may set up temporary queue ropes for the different food stations, and that may help.  ???

Park overall looked great -- landscaping reminded me of the days of old.  Park outdoors was clean and I saw lots of diligent trash picking up and so on outdoors.  That said, the bathrooms were a bit messy and given the light crowd I was wondering how they might look on a crowded day.

Ride ops and all staff we encountered were friendly and helpful, with the one exception of the young man in food service uniform napping (or appearing to nap) with his cap pulled down over his face -- in the Easter bunny's throne/chair in Das Festhaus.  That made me roll my eyes, even if he was on break -- it just looked slouchy beyond the pale but anyway -- we saw him about 4pm when we were on our way to the Craft Bier Bonanza (yes, I know that's not the right name, that's just what it feels like!).  Very impressed with the selection of taps and enjoyed the break.

Only show we saw was Secret Life of Predators -- I really like this incarnation, it is a little more upbeat and also really drives home the message of the positive impacts of predators on the environment.  Animals looked great.  I do realize and am sorry there have been still more zoology cuts in the last year or so.

The park seems well on its way to more days of glory, which for us means providing lots of fun and varied experiences in a service-oriented and immersive environment. The park is looking better to my eyes than it has in years -- and I am thrilled!
 
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