Which Park Hamlet is the Worst?

  • Killarney

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • New France

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Rheinfeld

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Oktoberfest

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • San Marco

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    26
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Sep 5, 2010
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RICHMOND
The only thing we do better around here than loving Busch Gardens is hating Busch Gardens. Lately, there's been an awful lot of discussion about what to do with Festa Italia, because it is horrible. At the same time, there has been plenty of discussion about what to do about New France...because it is apparently also horrible. Not to be outdone in terribleness, you'll hear grumblings from time to time about how bad boring the Rheinfeld is, how disjointed Oktoberfest is, how empty San Marco is, how ugly the Aquataine is, how childish Killarney is, how there's nothing to do in Banbury Cross, whether or not Scotland is even really a place to begin with, etc.

So, what I want to know is: which hamlet do you think is the worst, and why?


I will start this off by saying that Scotland is, by far, the worst hamlet in my opinion. There's nothing of note to see, eat, or do in this so-called hamlet, except for the Loch Ness Monster, which is all the way at the back and pretty much stands alone. It's boring looking, and there is nothing that tells me I'm in Scotland except for some signage.

It's not that I hate it -- my feelings for the hamlet are worse than hatred, because hatred would imply there was something there to feel strongly about. Instead, I don't feel anything about "Scotland", other than to question whether we can fairly say it even exists.

Anyway, I turn it over to you guys. Which is the worst?
 

Zachary

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Sep 23, 2009
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Festa Italia by far. There are some bland hamlets (Scotland and San Marco), some out-of-place hamlets (Wild Reserve and New France), but Festa Italia is the only hamlet I actively try to avoid. If Apollo wasn't there I'd literally never cross the bridge into Festa. I detest every single inch of that hamlet that isn't purple coaster track. Let it burn.
 
Sep 10, 2012
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So how does one make this decision? Things to do? Thrill rides? Dining possibilities? Beauty, theming, etc? I'm not sure yet which I think is the worst. Your views may change if you look at it from the perspective of a parent with a small child.

Examples:
Scotland - Lots to do here...with a small child. Clydesdale, border collies and other critters to play with. The Little Clydesdale ride. Nessie of course, and the best train station.

Festa - Lots of kiddie rides, arcades, water ride, coaster, train station, lots to eat, games, stores. Oh my!!

I think I'm gonna have to choose France. For us, very little to do, limited dining, no kiddie rides, no games (I don't recall). Just a pathway to New France, and that wonderful scent you pick up from not too far around the corner. Looks OK though. :cool:
 
Dec 23, 2011
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My vote goes to the Wild Reserve. Sadly, you didn't feel it was important to list it. I feel that Threadneedle Faire was a much more appropriate hamlet and during it's time was extremely well themed and very interesting; of course this is based on pictures.

I also throughly enjoyed the fact that costumes in that area were much like performers in a show rather than kakis and a bowling shirt; which gives it a plus for me.

Also, I highly enjoy Festa and all it's not so amazing glory, if only it could just be themed a bit better.
 
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Dec 23, 2011
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For the record, I don't hate the animals. I hate the hamlet because it replaced a perfect hamlet. That is all.
 
Sep 8, 2010
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It's a toss up for me. I hate festa, but I also feel the land that the wild reserve sits on could be better used, and no I dont hate animal either.

But I'll vote festa that way I dont get a visit from PETA or something. People these days....
 
Aug 25, 2012
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I honestly think Festa is the worst hamlet. It just feels so out of place to the rest of the park. The only reason I go back there is for AC, tradwinds, and train station.

I think the wildreserve is great, it's just in a bad plac. They should move the wild reserve to the stable area behind Roman Rapids and open that area up as the wild reserve area. They could also bring back the petting zoo. That's a way to expand without getting rid of the stables.
 
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Feb 6, 2013
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Very rational thought on the Wildlife Reserve Hoopla!! That's the best idea I have heard about that area in a while!!

Now, let me tell you what I think about each.

England:
Really just an entrance area for me. It looks good, but I am not a shopper, and I never really think about it for food after I am through it. The themeing is good.

Scotland:
Being of Scottish descent, I am kinda disappointed that it's not more...Scottish. I think they felt they had to make it Scotland because of Nessie. My kids are too big for the Lil Clydesdales, they do enjoy the Clydesdales, the sheep and dogs.

Ireland:
I enjoy this hamlet, minus the Cranberries playing in the background. I like hitting Grogan's, I actually enjoy EitA, Celtic Fyre is, IMO, the best show in the park. The area looks really good to me.

Wildlife Reserve:
LOVE IT!!! Both shows are fun, the rotating animals, the aviary. The only bitch I have is the hill!!

France:
Or as I call it, "The place where Griffon is". Don't really care about it, except to ride Griffon or go through Catacombs.

New France:
TRAPPERS!!! Plus, the cool little things to do, like dipping candles, pining, watching the candle carver, getting "old time" photos. Also, there's Le Scoot, Catapult and a nice large train station. I know it's "Canada", but I think it is a good break that gives us some familiarity.

Rheinfield:
LotD and Alpie. Yet another I don't think about the themeing.

Oktoberfest/Germany(still don't get the difference):
Good place to spend a lot of money!!! I enjoy DK, MT and Verbolten. The Kids dig the Bumper Cars and the swings, well done area.

San Marcos:
Shopping, eating and a show. Not a usual stop for me.

Da Vinci's Garden(Is this San Marcos, Festa or and independent hamlet?):
I can sit and chill while the kids lose there minds on the flat rides!

Festa:
I dig the area, but not the theme. I think RR and AC are awesome, I could do without the flat rides. Usual forget it's there, unless it's a hot day.

Forest of Fun:
Great for the kids, not much of a forest. My kids really enjoy it and I think my youngest would have never got on Nessie without having a year riding Grover's AE.

So there you go. I think when it comes to overall theme, Festa needs a change more than most, as big of an area as it is.
 
Sep 7, 2012
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Heatherdowns. Its theming lacks strong features and thus makes it uninteresting. Unless you have children with you (Lil' Clydes/stables) there's no draw for this hamlet except for the roller coaster. Another thing I strongly dislike is Scotland's music. I think the music everywhere else is very good, notably Rhinefeld, but for some reason the bagpipes are very irritating for me, especially near the sheep field where the speakers are placed extremely close to you. I'd much rather prefer it go on a longer rotation so one doesn't hear the same thing so often.

Festa is a double-edged sword for me. Excellent rides, poor theming. I love the Tradewinds, I've heard that Apollo is very good, and Roman Rapids is great if it's very hot. If they do convert this area into something else I'd be sad to see a lot of its current rides go.
 
Apr 5, 2011
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Festa: Ugly, gaudy, and only one thing to go there for.

Favorite: Oktoberfest since it's the home of the best food and rides at the park.
 

Mushroom

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Feb 12, 2011
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Natoma said:
Heatherdowns. Its theming lacks strong features and thus makes it uninteresting. Unless you have children with you (Lil' Clydes/stables) there's no draw for this hamlet except for the roller coaster. Another thing I strongly dislike is Scotland's music. I think the music everywhere else is very good, notably Rhinefeld, but for some reason the bagpipes are very irritating for me, especially near the sheep field where the speakers are placed extremely close to you. I'd much rather prefer it go on a longer rotation so one doesn't hear the same thing so often.
I'm not one for bagpipe music ( ;) ) but I feel that the bagpipes real mark the area as a sleepy old Scottish village and that Scotland fits the old, isolated, mystical theme of the park great--I would just like the park to give it some more love.

Festa if by far my least favorite--it's essentially the area where themes go to die, with a cheap theme (if you can even call it that) and everything just so thrown together, though I do admire those little hints of lush gardens and Roman-style architecture slightly scattered throughout the area (not to mention the missing Gypsy carriage)--but still, it's basically a fair, not an Old Country.
 
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Sep 10, 2012
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^
As one with highland blood flowing through the veins, I poke my chest out and march proudly as the pipe and drums kick in whenever I enter Scotland. Seems like it is just for me!
 
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Shane

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I'm curious, this question is mostly for you Nora or anyone else that was around when Festa opened. Did it have a more cohesive theme when it opened in 87(i think)? I know it is a Festival for the return of (What's his name). I'm wondering if that was more evident at one point in time.
 
Apr 9, 2013
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Here's what I think about each one...and you can make your own judgement.

England:
Quite arguably the best theming in the entire park, but it could be so much more than just the bottleneck area in and out of the park. Shopping there is good, but w/a lack of any attractions other than Pirates 4-D, it's just an area to pass through, really. The food could be better, but at least they sell fish and chips and the area behind the candy store where you can sit and eat by the lockers is very scenic. They could easily put in a sit-down restaurant here, but they won't.

Scotland:
As far as rides go, it's hard to beat a classic like Nessie. But what else would you expect to see from a place like Scotland? They don't have iconic buildings and architecture, so to me, the theming is pretty decent. And don't ever get me started on the lack of Scottish dining options. You don't WANT it. Trust me. Pigs in a Kilt is plenty enough. The horses & sheep do give it *enough* of a Scottish feel without going over the top. Plus, it's the first place you can go to to take the skyride and the train. +1 for me on that.

Ireland:
This is where a retheming of an old hamlet worked. It actually does feel more like Ireland than Medieval England of old. Food is excellent. Shows are excellent. A few misses include EitA, and what on Earth is up with that talking tree thing? Where are the Leprechauns? BGW should hire some people of, ah, short stature for this area. Don't get me wrong...I'm not saying they should go around asking people "WHERE'S ME LUCKY CHARMS??" But don't tell me whenever you think of Ireland, you don't think of Leprechauns...They need some.

Wildlife Reserve:
This area to me lost it's charm when they got rid of Threadneedle Faire. The wolf preserve is a waste of space, imho. Didn't that area used to be the Bald Eagle area? I guess that fit in with the AB logo back then, but the wolf preserve does absolutely nothing for me. The only thing I detest is pushing a stroller with two kids in it up that hill. I'd rather walk around the entire park with that stroller thru Germany, Oktoberfest & Italy to get back to England than have to traverse that hill all day. The Lorikeet Glen is the highlight of the area though. Kids & adults of all ages LOVE those friendly birdies.

France:
Nowadays, it's pretty much just a hamlet to have to walk through on your way to something else rather than a place to stop for a while. Sure, it's got Griffon & having just ridden it for the first time the other day, it's one bada$$ ride, but once again, don't even get me started on the lack of dining options there. This hamlet deserves better treatment than it's currently getting. I almost feel bad for the people that have to work there.

New France:
One of the best places to eat at the park is here w/Trappers. Definitely dig the rustic nature of the hamlet, but at the same time...We're talking about Canada, not Europe.

Rheinfield:
Merely a transitional hamlet on the way to Germany. At least it's got Alpengeist and that nice covered bridge that's nice to stand under while you wait for the rain to pass over, or to watch the Alpengeist coaster scream by.

Oktoberfest/Germany:
Clearly this is the centerpiece of the entire park. I cannot sing enough praises for Festhaus. (Entwined show, excepted) Even my own kids can't stand that show....Great food everywhere. Games everywhere. Rides everywhere. And AIR CONDITIONING w/the Festhaus. Only place in the park you can eat in a climate controlled setting. (Yes I know they have a small area in Grogan's Grill, but not for 2,000 people) And being of German descent, there's nothing like a plate of sausages, sauerkraut, red cabbage, potatoes & a glass of beer to have while I'm spending a small fortune. :)

San Marcos/Italy:
Good shopping & eating. The bridge from Oktoberfest to here is VERY scenic. But the outdoor eating facility is absolutely BRUTAL on the senses when it's really hot/humid outside. The fans don't help all that much. And the "Italian" food could be FAR better than it is. But hey, it's a theme park. Can't expect it to be THAT great, but still.....where's the LASAGNA, BG???

Da Vinci's Garden:
This area is fun, especially since there are a LOT of rides the kids can go on w/o much waiting time. My only complaint is there is practically ZERO shade in this area. On a hot sunny day, I tend to just walk through here or go back to San Marcos.

Festa:
This is about as close as BG gets to resembling Kings Dominion. Zero theming. Lots of places to spend money on crap you don't need. But my biggest complaint about this area is that it's the equivalent of a theme park cul-de-sac. Only one way in or out of this area makes it a traffic nightmare, especially on a busy day if you're pushing a stroller around. Teenagers love it for all the rides and I have only been there pretty much just to get on the train back to New France. La Cucina's AYCE buffet is the only redeeming grace, food-wise. The rest is just a bunch of concession stands.

Forest of Fun:
To be honest, my enjoyment of this area is mixed. I was here both on extremely busy days & dead days....If you have really small children, being here on a busy day is unbelievably exhausting & irritating. I love my kids, but I really can't stand how other parents don't "watch" their kids. The queues for the rides can be ridiculously long & there are very few places to actually sit & relax while the kids play in the water area. On slow days, however, this place is WONDERFUL! For parents like me, you're not constantly dodging traffic, or spending 10 minutes on a place to park your similarly looking stroller next to someone elses....and where the heck are all the bathrooms in this area?? You'd think they'd have 3x the number of bathrooms compared to any other place in this park. Kids have the most notorious ability to have to use the potty and they can't "hold it" like adults can.

So there you have it. As spoken by a 38 year old father of six. (Yes, six. And the reason I have six is because I DO NOT WANT SEVEN!) :D
 
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