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cfc

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Everything posted by cfc

  1. The only Pigeon Forge attraction I've done outside of Dollywood is that Jurassic boat ride. I thought it was hilarious, but the mannequins outside were scary. Great report, Adam.
  2. A Sunday at the Food & Wine Festival Busch Gardens kicked off it's annual Food & Wine Festival last week. I went there on Sunday, May 1 to check out this year's new offerings and enjoy the company of god knows how many high-school tour groups (strangely enough, they're weren't all that bad as teenagers go). The weather was perfect that day--sunny skies and highs in the 70s--so the park was fairly busy (especially if you wanted to ride Pantheon in the morning). New to the festival is the Australia booth, which is in the back of Festa Italia. The Aussies boasted what I believe is the single most expensive item (not counting adult beverages) at the event--a wee lamb chop for $10.50! And, yes, you will see the word "Vegemite" on the menu. Greece was a sort of "new" country this year, as the park has offered a "Mediterranean" booth in the past. The menu was mostly a rehash of past years, but it did offer a new dish made with butterbeans. In the past, Italy was just a dessert stop. But they got a snazzy new booth this year, along with an updated menu. You can still get cannolis and a Caprese salad, but they've added a few new dishes this year. And, yes, Italy is located in Italy. Returning this year: Virginia, Hawaii, Mexico, New Orleans, Brazil, Jamaica, Japan, and Korea. There are plenty of bars, too, including the Sangria Garden (for those who like cough syrup with a kick). You can buy a 10- or 15-sample card. I went for the 15, as I know I can use it up before the Festival and it's cheaper than paying as you go. Overall, I think the food quality is better than last year, which seemed a bit "off." Most samples are in the $4.00 to $7.00 range. But a cocktail could set you back $12.00-$15.00 ( you can use the sample card for them). Let's take a walk around the park for the Food & Wine Festival. The Rhine River Cruise is running again, so maybe we can get some nice pictures of Pantheon while we're at it. Here’s the park’s staggered schedule from that day. Some of the Food & Wine booths open around 11:00, but they should all be open by 11:30. Hmm--looks like every high-school tour bus just emptied into Pantheon this morning. I think I’ll wait until the crowd thins out a bit before I test the patience of the gods, again. Pay no attention to this map. Greece is in Ireland. And here’s what you’ll find in Greece, which is in Ireland. This menu includes some items from the “Mediterranean” booth they used to have across from Pompeii (it’s a flower bed now). I think the butter beans are new . . . . . . but I had Spanakopita instead. (Please note that I have nothing against butterbeans.) I stopped at Japan for an oldie but goodie . . . . . . chicken gyoza. Japanese food always tastes best next to a bush of red flowers on a bridge over railroad tracks. I think I saw that on the Food Channel, or something. G’day, mate! We’re new to the festival this year. We’re over by the Roman Rapids, which haven’t been very rapid since 2019. Any chowderhead can cook sausages in beer. It takes an Aussie to use caramelized onions and Vegemite. They weren’t kidding when they called this a “lamb lollipop.” It wasn’t much bigger than a Tootsie Pop (tasted good, though--sauce has a nice kick to it). Confirmation that Da Vinci’s Cradle has gone from “permanently closed” to just plain gone. Just the queue, station, and some theming left. Looks more like a Howl-o-Scream maze now. Italy has a snazzy new booth this year. The Alfredo is the only new item this year, but at least they’ve learned how to spell “Caprese.” I’m not a big fan of olives, but this tasted OK. It was a bit too “gloppy,” though. This gets my Golden Ticket vote for “Best Name for a Theme-Park Bar.” You can get Jamaican food in Germany. But if you’re a hard-core rum enthusiast, you have to go to Canada. The new wine bar in France used to be the crepe stand. It's a "permanent" addition, like BarKastle. The Mexico booth isn’t new, but there was something there I wanted to try here. The Chili Chocolate & Horchata Mousse was pretty good--just enough chili flavor to make it interesting. And where there is Mexican food there must, of course, be margaritas. Or beer. Or both. You make the call. It’s nice to have the Rhine River Cruise running again. You even get something new to look at. You can get a nice view of the Rhine River Cruise from Pantheon, too--while you hold on for dear life. Watch Pluto, Lord of the Underworld, mess with these guys. Apollo says, "Hey, I'm such a cool god, I get a ride all to myself." . I think it was very considerate of the Roman gods to lean you so far over to the left that you can watch the river boats. And since we're in the neighborhood, let's finish with a picture of Alpengeist. I guess that will make at least one of our members very happy. Thanks for reading. Now go get some food and wine!
  3. ^Long wait, poor service, bad food--It's like you walked into an episode of The Simpsons! It's theming! They wanted you to have the entire "Krusty Burger" experience.
  4. Here's an update on the other Busch park in Williamsburg--Water Country USA (press release from the park). New Aquazoid Amped™ to Open at Water Country USA on May 27, Members Receive Exclusive Early Access Beginning May 14 Water Country USA, voted one of the country’s top ten waterparks by USA Today, will open on May 14 for the 2022 season. Beginning on Opening Day, Members will be the first to ride Aquazoid Amped before the ride opens to the public on May 27. Plus, guests of all ages can make a splash this season at Water Country USA, with the all-new Lil’ Surfers Splash Pad, created for the park’s youngest visitors, and Surfer’s Bay Bar, the perfect place to unwind and sip on tropical libations. Aquazoid Amped debuts on May 27 with an ALL-NEW twist to an iconic water ride. The full-sensory, immersive ride experience includes a new special effects show, pulse-pounding music, and dynamic lighting effects. Riders will feel the thrill as they plunge down 864 feet of fully enclosed, twisting tube at speeds of 20 feet per second. “The opening of Aquazoid Amped is the perfect way to continue growing our park’s attraction portfolio by introducing new and exhilarating elements to a fan-favorite ride,” said Kevin Lembke, Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Water Country USA Park President. The 2022 Water Country USA Season continues to make a splash with the unveiling of the new Lil’ Surfers Splash Pad and Surfer’s Bay Bar, opening this June. Kids can hang ten at the all-new Lil’ Surfers Splash Pad, located across from Surfer’s Bay Wave Pool. Designed with the youngest water lovers in mind, the surf-inspired Splash Pad features dynamic fountains, splashy spray cannons and a kiddie water slide. Fans of Water Country USA’s other kid-friendly areas, H20 UFO and Cow-A-Bunga, will find Lil’ Surfers to be the coolest new spot in the park. Guests will enjoy an all-new wave of refreshment and relaxation at the revamped Surfer’s Bay Bar this summer. Overlooking Virginia’s largest wave pool, the full-service bar will feature craft beers on tap and frozen concoctions to indulge in while fueling up for a day full of fun at Water Country USA. In between thrilling rides on fan-favorite slides, this tropical oasis is the perfect place to unwind.
  5. The Loch Ness Monster yesterday. There was only a one-train wait for the front seat.
  6. I met a friend there yesterday, and Pantheon was in an "extended delay of operations" the whole afternoon. We saw it test a few times, but that was it. It was also crazy busy, but they did have single-rider lines for some coasters. Their management of them was a bit weird, though. Apollo's Chariot--They roped off the left side of the queue. There wasn't much room, and big groups in the standard queue would sometimes "crowd" the single-rider line. There's a small stairway next to the platform for single riders, and they fill empty seats from there. Alpengeist--You enter through the Quick Queue line, and the guy told us to pick any row we wanted. So, it was like "free Quick Queue"? Pretty sure that's not how a "single-rider line" works, but OK. Griffon--Single riders and Quick Queue sort of share the same line here, but it was monitored differently. A ride op would cruise down the line periodically and bring the QQ people up. Then they would fill the single-rider waiting area and fill empty seats from there. A bit awkward, but more sensible than what they were doing at Alpengeist.
  7. ^Yep--it was a bit stormy last night, but the weather should be perfect today.
  8. Busch Gardens has released info about this year's Food and Wine Festival. All-New Tastes to Savor and Thrills to Explore at Busch Gardens Williamsburg during Virginia’s Largest Spring Food & Wine Festival Beginning April 28 100+ international tastes and sips to savor, inspired by cultures around the world 30+ new culinary offerings plus all-new menus inspired by Australia & Greece Live local music & entertainment every weekend Two new premier beverage experiences now open year-round This spring, new flavors and thrills are in bloom at Busch Gardens Williamsburg with the return of the park’s fan-favorite Food & Wine Festival. With more than 30 delicious NEW dishes to pair with cocktails, wines, and craft brews, park guests can explore flavors for all tastes at 15 globally inspired food and beverage locations. Guests can create the perfect pairing by enjoying live, local entertainment and rides on their favorite thrills, including the all-new Pantheon the world’s fastest multi-launch coaster. The Food & Wine Festival runs Thursdays through Sundays from April 28 to June 12, plus Memorial Day. This year, guests can take a trip down under at the ALL-NEW Australia Food & Wine location. Featuring decadent dishes like the Snag on the Barbie, a banger sausage with vegemite caramelized onions and Lamington Cake, a sponge cake with raspberry jam, chocolate and coconut. These dishes pair best with the Aussie Mule or Foster’s®, an Australian-made beer. The global flavors continue with more ALL-NEW tasty bites and beverages, including items inspired by the following countries: New Location! Greece: Travel to the coastlines of Greece with authentic dishes like the Tirokroketes, fried cheese balls with tzatziki sauce and the Choriatiki Salata, a traditional Greek salad with feta, cucumbers, red onions, tomatoes, and olives. New items! Japan: Tastebuds are transformed with the Impossi-Bao, Impossible® meat in a steamed bun topped with Asian slaw and the Spicy Tuna Sushi Cup, sushi rice with nori flakes, tuna, & spicy mayo. New items! Italy: Sip on Luna Nuda and Roscato, red wines straight from the vines of Italy, while enjoying Fettuccini & Sundried Tomato Alfredo with house made pasta, spinach and kalamata olives. Enjoy brews and bites from close to home at Virginia, featuring items from across the Old Dominion. New for this year, guests can indulge in an Oyster on the Half Shell, complete with mignonette, cocktail sauce & lemon. Feeling adventurous? Add a shot of moonshine and make it an Oyster Shooter. These Virginia-inspired dishes are paired with local beer and wine, including the new Petit Manseng from the Williamsburg Winery. A complete menu of the Food & Wine Festival dishes and drinks can be found online. The best way to sip and sample is with a Food & Wine Festival sampler lanyard. Guests can embark on their culinary journey and save 10 percent with a 10-sample lanyard starting at only $59.00 or extend the savings up to 20 percent with the fan-favorite 15-sampler. In addition to the Food & Wine festivities, beer, wine and cocktail lovers can indulge year-round at two new beverage locations, BarKastle and La Belle Wine Bar. Located in France, La Belle offers deluxe wines by the glass or bottle, ranging from sparkling to sweet and everything in between. Cocktail connoisseurs can visit BarKastle in Oktoberfest and partake in cocktails on tap, including the all-new Curse of BarKastle Daiquiri, spiked lemonade and more. The new bar also features frozen cocktails and local craft brews.
  9. They've been opening the park in phases with Italy opening the earlier than Germany. Definitely get to Pantheon as soon as you can. I recommend riding in the very back or front. You should be in good shape with Quick Queue otherwise.
  10. Just watched the Icon segment, and that ride looks great--better than I'd expected. But I think I'll always be a Steeplechase fan at heart.
  11. I think they've become stricter with glasses in general. I had to leave mine with the ride operator at Apollo's Chariot--but if you had a strap for them, it was OK.
  12. I'm looking forward to this ride. I liked the Guardians version of Tower at DCA, too (nice change of pace).
  13. They've had Quick Queue row requirements for some rides for years.
  14. ^I agree. I find such comparisons pointless. You may as well compare ET with Rise of the Resistance while you're at it.
  15. What Have the Roman Gods Wrought? Some Thoughts on and Photos of Pantheon Sing to me, o muse, of Busch Gardens Williamsburg and its tribute to the majesty of the Roman gods! Swift Mercury of the winged feet! Minerva, whose wisdom and beauty shamed the rosy fingered dawn! Neptune, master of the wine dark sea! Pluto, the sinister lord of the Underworld! And Mighty Jupiter, father of the gods and the most powerful of all! OK, my knowledge of classical poetry is a bit rusty, so I think I'll stick to regular old prose now. Pantheon, Busch Gardens' new multi-launch coaster, opened to the public on Friday, March 25. Well, "officially" opened following a few weekends of previews for Busch Gardens member passholders. I rode it three times during those preview days--front, middle, and back. The verdict: It's a very good ride that's finally brought some nice Intamin ejector air to the Williamsburg park. Here are a few thoughts: For me, the backseat is the best place to ride most coasters, and Pantheon is no exception. The ejector airtime is more pronounced, and when you go backward up that spike (excuse me, "Neptune's Trident"), it's pretty hair raising looking straight down. That being said, the front seat offers a great ride too--especially when it comes to the hangtime through the inversions. The initial launch into an inversion is a great beginning, and the weird outward-banked bit just before the brake run is a good finish. I like the outward-banked turn near over the banks of the Rhine River, too. I wish the Rhine River Cruise was operating, as you can get some good views of Pantheon from down there. The station is rather small for such a big coaster. The queue is a bit odd, too. The ride is susceptible to windy conditions; that is, they'll suspend operations during gusty days until things die down. Although this isn't a "top 10" ride for me, it could find a place in my "top 25." My first ride was in a middle seat during a cold day, and the coaster seemed a bit sluggish. But when I rode it on a warmer day in the back and front seats, I thought, "This is more like it." Let's have a look at Pantheon. This rather threatening sign shows you the way to Pantheon in Festa Italia. Those who would ride Pantheon must get past this imposing iron monster! (Fortunately, that's pretty easy to do.) Here's what you'll be getting yourself into. You can put your bags in the lockers on the left. There is a wire basket on the station for smaller loose objects. I think you can wear glasses on Pantheon as long as you have sport straps for them (they've been getting stricter about glasses on coasters this year.) After you leave the station, Winged Mercury gives you a nice launch through this inversion, which I think has something to do with Minerva. Perhaps Minerva, in her wisdom, is preparing you for what's to come. Come on, Mercury! You can do it!! Oops! Big raspberry from Jupiter, try again. Fortunately, Neptune is there to help with his trident. Jupiter says, "Greetings, mortal fools!" Yep--nice pop of air in the back seat here, as the train just makes it over the hill. Pantheon: Hi, Tempesto! Tempesto: Back at ya, new kid! Here's part of what Pluto has in store for you after your initial plunge. "Nice view . . . aghh! What the hell?" You can get a good view of this element from the bridge between Italy and Germany. It's such a weird (but cool) feeling as you lean toward the river. Tempesto: Hi, Loch Ness Monster. Loch Ness Monster: Best returns of the day to ye, laddie--as long as ye show proper respect to your elders." Verbolten: Ach! don't mind him, Pantheon. Those old Arrow coasters are always grouchy. Congratulations, mortals! Your quest is at an end! And that's a wrap from Pantheon. Get out to Virginia and ride it, lest your cowardice anger the gods! Thanks for reading.
  16. How about just getting on the ride and enjoying it, whether you have to split up or not? I think that's the best policy.
  17. Hmm--I'm not a fan of "donut sandwich" concoctions, but that chicken-and-Boysenberry-donut thing looks pretty tempting. I'd definitely go for the Boysenberry Mousse Cake.
  18. Bring me that skirt steak--now! Ice Breaker looks like a fun ride, but they really need to get rid of those "comfort collars." They're not necessary and seem to cause more problems than they solve.
  19. I remember the old Buffalo Coaster--nice to see that it's getting a makeover.
  20. El Dorado was prone to breakdowns (I was riding it once when it did). It was fun when it worked, which was rarely.
  21. I love the eccentric layout of this classic ride. Kennywood makes good use of the terrain.
  22. ^Agreed: If you must have a Boomerang, at least make it look pretty and use the new Vekoma trains and restraints.
  23. Winter has been tricky in Williamsburg this year. January was mostly frigid, but we've had some February days that felt more like spring (sunny skies and temps in the 70s). Sorry about your friend's back issues. The bridge between Italy and Germany has been closed since January (they're doing a lot of work on it), which makes it even tougher for people in wheelchairs and ECVs. Back row is the best spot to ride Apollo's Chariot--lots of nice, if floaty, airtime.
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