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PTR: Busch Gardens Europe - Preview Day in the cold 3/17/07


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Finally... the day I've been waiting for all winter

 

Starting off from home it was about 35 degrees when my girlfriend and I left and headed down to Busch Gardens to get there at open. Skies were blue as we pulled into the park, and it really felt at first like it was going to warm up as the day went on. We met up with Jeff [pkdcoaster] and later Chuck [cfc] in the park, and headed first to the Griffon construction area to check on the progress. The ride itself looks really amazing, and the central location makes it very visible from almost anywhere in the park. We got a few pictures, and then tried to head over to Alpengeist which had not started testing yet. Bummer.

 

Ok... so on to the first ride of the season, DarKastle. The walk-on line made it worth the wait this time. No changes to report here.

 

Next we rode the Wolf which Jeff points out was running noticeably smoother than in previous experiences. I'm sure he can elaborate if needed.

 

After the Wolf we headed to Apollo. The crowds were really starting to pour in at this point, and the wait was already up to about 25 minutes. By the time we got on the back row it had become very cloudy, and we noticed some snow flurries while going up the lift. In celebration of his first coaster ride in the snow, Jeff entertained the train by singing his classic rendition of "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas" throughout the ride.

 

From there the weather just seemed to get colder and darker, and there were snow flurries off and on throughout the rest of the afternoon. I tried to get some food in the Festhaus later on, but discovered that about half of the population of guests had taken shelter there, and there was not a seat in the house.

 

We eventually got a ride on Alpengeist and Nessie in the afternoon, but the combination of weather and crowds cut our day short, so we ended up leaving around 3.

 

As far as changes to the park:

 

The new touch and go entry system was a breeze for me, although I noticed some people had more difficulty than others getting their fingers to scan. From the short period of time I was there, everything seemed to be very smooth, so hopefully this will make wait times shorter getting into the park.

 

The big new policy this year is that Busch is no longer allowing any type of bags in to the queue lines of most attractions. This causes some major problems for me since I enjoy taking pictures at the park, and my camera equipment has to be carried in a bag. Basically, with the new policy I have to pay a dollar to put my bag in a locker for every ride I get on. I don’t know how other people feel about this, but I imagine during the summer it will cause some issues. I know some other parks do this at certain rides, and I do understand the reasoning behind it, but now being put in this position at my home park feels like a real inconvenience, and I hope it will be reconsidered down the road, but we’ll see. I’ll have to find a way to deal with it for now, but I’m not real excited about it.

 

So I only got a few pictures today. Not a great variety as the weather turned pretty crappy, it wasn’t worth trying to get all the quality shots, but here are some photos from the day and some captions. Hope you enjoy!

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I'll be back! until next time...

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Griffon 2nd drop

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I spent some time trying to line this shot up, and it came out overexposed and interesting at the same time.

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Lots of people were in the Griffon ride area getting ready for testing

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Jeff: "I'm having a good time!" Chuck: "I'm having a good time????" Girl in middle: "I'll kill you all"

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Nessie snaking through the woods

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New Skyline

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Here's where the ride really looks massive! Notice the supports have to extend into the side of the slope

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Can't wait to be up there

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An overall view of the drop and 1st Immelman

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Griffon towers over everything in the park and can be seen from so many places.

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Can't wait for trains to be flying through this area

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El Griffon looks sweet!

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Sunny Ireland

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Welcome to Ireland on St Patrick's Day. Unfortunately, not the best day for kilts.

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Only a couple more weeks left to get this shot

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Park entrance in the morning

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It sure looks like it's about 90 degrees from this picture :)

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Nice pictures, Chris--some very nice angles on Griffon. I'll be back when it's a wee bit warmer, I think.

 

Nice bumping into you and Jeff.

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Looks like good stuff. I'm not too pleased with the "bag policy" but Griffon sure looks good. I'm still not sure if I'll venture down there in a few weeks or not, but I'll definitely encounter a working Griffon a few times this year...once it's opened and it's a tad bit warmer out. Thanks for an update from today!

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Your pictures are great. I'm glad you got to see some sun over Griffon today.

 

My friend had to work until 10:30 so we got a late start. We got there around noon and it was already freezing and threatening to snow. As hard as we tried to tough it out, we had to leave by 3:30 or 4. We enjoyed talking about how Alpie's theming was getting out of hand.

 

Did anyone turn up for the ACE Mid-Atlantic informal meet up? We waited for about 15 minutes. Hunger won out and we skipped over to Trapper's instead and I put another tick on my mental column that's labeled "Reasons I should not renew."

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... glad you guys like the pictures. I wish I could have gotten a better variety of some of the other rides, but I will when the weather is nicer.

 

As far as the ACE- informal meet up. I have no idea, but I'm sure somebody does.

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Griffon looks so awsome cant wait to ride it.

It looks like a great ride and everything, but i dont know it kind of looks weird in that park kind of like it doesnt fit. Its probably becuz Im not use to seeing so its aventually going to settle in.

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nice pictures! (especially the one with the little girl)

 

too bad about the weather. I live near DC and I remember the day you're talking about. too bad seeing as it was in the 70's for a few days before that. looks like you had a good time nonetheless.

 

griffon looks great! I cannot wait to get down there in the spring in ride it!

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Hey Griffon. I was the other guy when you were getting on apollo who had problems with the bag if you remember me. We didn't pay for a locker though we just left them on the side. At the other rides they let us leave them in the front entrance of the ride but on apollo they wouldn't.

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^ yea Apollo was the first ride they actually wouldn't let me through with my bag, so I kinda just wanted to see what they would say to me.

 

For what it's worth, here's my input on the new bag policy: First, I've always had a great deal of respect for the park, and that won't change just because of one new rule. Their reasoning behind it is to keep lines moving faster, and keep associates more focused on their jobs rather than having to deal with everyone else's belongings. In theory it should speed things up, which would be a great benefit to all of us.

 

The main issue I think is that this is a regional park. I would expect a policy like this in places like Universal and Disney where most guests will only visit once a year, and the lines are always long so it really does help everything move faster. But at BGW you can tell that a large percentage of their business is based on the local population. There are nerds like me who will visit the park 15-20 times a year, and even show up when it's snowing! Although I'm not a professional by any stretch of the imagination, the pictures I take still promote publicity and advertise the park, which in my opinion they should be thanking me for, rather than inconveniencing me for trying. But, I'm just one person and I realize I don't represent the millions of people who visit the park each year.

 

All that said, I will find a way around it. I mentioned to my buddies in the park that if I have to dig a secret hole in the ground behind a bush at the entrance of each ride, I will do that and hide my bag there each time .

 

Actually I probably won't go that far. But it does prove that there are other options to consider.

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yeah this rule is crap though, theoretically it should work, but it won't. People are still gonna bring their bags, I know I will. Im not paying $5 for water, so Im gonna bring in my own, and Im not gonna keep my camera in my pocket...... Im gonna do what I always did and walk across to the exit put them in a semi-secure spot. Honestly people shouldn't be snatching bags, that's just stupid. Im a long-time customer of the park, and it might change if this rule becomes an inconvenience. Im not paying to use a locker, and the employees shouldn't have to worry about people's crap. Like I said if this rule becomes an inconvenience im gonna tell Busch Gardens to kiss my

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^^no need to go that far . I seriously don't think the park sat around this winter and said "lets annoy as many people as we can this year!" I see where they're just trying to make things efficient. Most people carry around all kinds of crap they don't need and take 20 minutes littering their articles all over the exit side of the station before getting on the train...and they are the ones who will get the most irate about it.

 

On a side note, I really feel bad for the operators this year who will have to be at the entrance(s) to the rides.

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