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Chuck's Busch Gardens Williamsburg Thread

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Sorry if this is a little random, or if this has been addressed before, but why is there that car at the front of Alpengeist's train that doesn't have any seats attached? I'm just curious, that's all. Thanks


*Edit* Oops wrong thread. I thought this was just the regular old Busch Gardens Thread. Sorry!

Edited by coasterkid21
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All I know is that it's referred to as the "zero car" and there's some technical reason for it to be there. Maybe one of our more tech savvy members can explain it.

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^^If at the front of the train it's called a pilot car and if it's at the back of the train it's called a zero-car.


A good amount of B&Ms use pilot cars however inverts typically do NOT have them. Alpengeist is an exception because they were having trouble with the train not completing the course when it was testing. The pilot car adds extra weight needed for the trains to complete the circuit. I read this in an article with a BGW maintenance/engineering manager but unfortunately I can not find the article.


Examples of other B&M pilot cars:




Examples of Intamin pilot cars:





Arrow zero cars:



TPR Park Index

Here you can see it at the back of the train.


Hope this helps......

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A good amount of B&Ms use pilot cars however inverts typically do NOT have them. Alpengeist is an exception because they were having trouble with the train not completing the course when it was testing. The pilot car adds extra weight needed for the trains to complete the circuit. I read this in an article with a BGW maintenance/engineering manager but unfortunately I can not find the article.


To add to this, I believe the reason that pilot cars exist is so that you can have only one set of twelve wheels per car. If all the cars in a train are the same, you can effectively change what order the cars are in occasionally so you can make sure that the wear and tear is approximately the same throughout the whole train. A typical "lead car" doesn't have this "plug and play" luxury because its chassis is different.


B&M Inverted and Floorless coasters don't have them because the wheel assemblies are located at the center as opposed to toward the back - they can do this because those trains don't require a floor for riders to walk on upon boarding (riders walk on the station platform and then it's lowered or retracted).

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  • 2 weeks later...

Mini-Update: BGW Gets Ready for Food & Wine--Plus Two Little Surprises


I ambled over to the park on Saturday, May 4, to see how work was progressing on BGW's first Food and Wine Festival, which is scheduled to run on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from May 31-June 23. As I mentioned in a previous update, this will be quite similar to Epcot's fall Food and Wine Festival, and will also involve cuisine from European countries other than those represented at BGW. The park has been working with chefs at Williamsburg's Kingmills Resort to develop the menus for the event, which sounds pretty promising (good eats at Kingsmill).


They've put up a few structures (one of which will be permanent), and made some progress in revamping the entrance to France. But there were two other new things at the park that I hadn't expected.


Let's go to the photos.


This is not one of the "little surprises," but unless you were at the park last Saturday you missed your chance to check out Chancellor Middle School.


They were singing "God Bless America" at the entrance to a park themed to Europe. Moving right along . . .


Just in case you missed the name of the events and the dates.


Don't let it's resemblance to a giant cardboard box fool you. This structure, across from Escape from Pompeii, is going to be permanent--and better themed by the time May 31 rolls around.


Little surprise #1: Some passholder ERT sessions after dark. (Fun Card holders are not eligible.)


I think this building is temporary, and is sitting where the "grape-stomping" photo op usually is.


Again--just in case you missed the name of the event and the dates.


They've made some more progress in France.


The Fleur de lys is exciting, no?


The new seating area is really taking shape. One of the festival kiosks will be located here.


Yes, those are actual grape vines--and there will be wine tasting.


More seating next to the theatre.


Little surprise #2: A new critter, which was captured in Smithfield, Va., of all places.


Ah, yes, I remember that safari in the wilds of Smithfield. This wily beast led our guides and pack elephants on a merry chase! We nearly lost him in the Food Lion parking lot after being cut off by some rude person in an SUV. But the steak house proved to be his undoing!


This kiosk is in Ireland, but this does not mean that it will feature Irish cuisine. The park will be adding theming to this one, too.


So, two final things: Food and Wine Festival, May 31-June 23 . . .


. . . and don't cut in line in front of this guy at WDW's Haunted Mansion, lest he blow your head off and write a song about it. Thanks for reading.

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There is a page on their Web site devoted to the Food and Wine Festival. There are some pictures of some of the food offerings there (just click on the name of the country). The menus are there, too.


would anyone like an nice Austrian "Schnitzelwich"?



Looks like lots of good stuff.

Edited by cfc
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"Friday Night Lights" for Passholders at BGW

Busch Gardens like to hold special ERT events for passholders from time to time. Last year, they ran Verbolten on Saturday and Sunday mornings in June before the rest of the park opened. This year, they're holding some after-hours events on Friday nights.


Last Friday, the park kept Oktoberfest open from 8:00-10:00 pm just for passholders. The Festhaus was closed, but all the rides, from Verbolten to DarKastle to the Autobahn bumper cars, were running.


Here's a look at last Friday night, which features some rather blurry photographs.


They'll be keeping Festa Italia and DaVinci's Garden open late for passholders next Friday.


Remember--the Food and Wine Festival will be here before we know it! Schnitzelwich! Scottish Egg!


My god--someone has stolen the statue in France! (My guess is that the park has some food-and-wine-related plans for this space.)


They've started installing one of the France food stands, too.


Can you bake a pizza in it, too?


Dusk at Oktoberfest.


The Black Forest is even more verboten after dark (at least if Gerta has her way).


Good thing we have headlights. They're weren't working on all the trains, though. One train had one working headlight, and the other would flicker off and on while the train took the last drop over the river.


I could claim this is a UFO, but that would be a lie. Just imagine you can see the outline of a crumbling old bridge enclosing an orange car here.


And that's that best I could do getting a picture of the train plunging to its doom. Oh, well . . .


Back into Oktoberfest from the bridge to Italy.


Wirbelwind is even more thrilling after dark!


As is Mach Tower. Interesting story: I was riding Mach Tower next to this mother and daughter. We rose and revolved as high as the entrance sign, then slowly came back down. The mother had committed the dreaded offense of wearing flip flops and forgetting to remove them before the ride started. Yes, they actually stopped the ride to make her take off the offending footwear, rechecked all the restraints, then proceeded as usual. First time I've ever seen this happen.


You can taste German wines in Der Marketplatz, provided the cashier doesn't fade into another dimension (as shown here).


DarKastle is even more terrifying after dark. But there is something even more sinister and frightening nearby . . .


. . . behold the horror of the dance party in front of the Festhaus!


I fled the terrifying zombie dancers via Italy. Thanks for reading.

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  • 4 weeks later...

More Photos of Buildings and Food: BGW's First Food and Wine Festival


Busch Gardens started their first Food and Wine Festival on Friday, May 31, and from what I saw on that night, it should be a hit for them. I ambled to the park that night just to check it out, and I wasn't disappointed.


Essentially, you can eat your way around Europe on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through June 23. This is very similar to Epcot's event in the fall. Different stands throughout the park (some are temporary structures, and some are repurposed existing food stands) offer appetizer-sized samples of food from different European countries--including Austria, Belgium, Greece, the Scandinavian countries, and Spain--ranging from $3.00 to $7.00 per sample. Beer, wine, and liquor from other countries are available, as well (such as Greek Ouzo). The Italy stand offers some great desserts, in addition to a caprese salad and antipasti.


You can pick up a "Cashless Wristband" at the park entrance or other gift shops inside. Cashiers scan the the band, and your credit card is charged. Beats having to reach for your wallet each time.


Overall, the quality of the food was very good (especially the Griddled Greek Cheese with Clover Honey and Crushed Pistachios and the Austrian Schnitzelwich with Sliced Lemon and Caper Sauce).


Shall we get started before the drooling shorts out your computer?


You can get your Cashless Wristbands and guides here (and at other locations inside the park).


Shall we get started? (Easy, Joey--down boy!)


Where to first? Hmm . . .


Well, being as my name is Campbell, I may as well stop in Scotland first.


But what to get?


How about a Scottish Egg and Ginger Beer? Both were quite nice. The boiled egg is wrapped in sausage and seasoned bread crumbs, with a tangy, sweet and spicy mustard sauce.


Five thousand years of beer? Scotland rules!


Now we're going to Greece, and swim the English Channel. (This is a Firesign Theatre reference, by the way.)


The Griddled Cheese was great--as was the piece of garlic bread that came with it.


And, yes, they have Ouzo.


OK, Spain--tempt me!


Temptation successful.


I'm not partial to chorizo, but these empanadas were very tasty and spicy.


I like their logo--simple, and it gets the point across.


Italy was a bit slammed because two of their registers went down. There were a few opening-night issues, but overall, the staff did a good job.


Er, that should be "caprese" salad.


Germany is in Oktoberfest--go figure.


Decisions, decisions.


They have beer in Germany? Who knew?


I had the Rahmgulasch (Veal Stew with Mushrooms and Onions). Pretty dang good.


And now, things you find in beer. Corn.


And sea oats. Can you name other things found in beer, kids?


Austria is in the funnel cake stand in Germany.


Austria has some great offerings.


I chose the Schnitzelwich, which went well with this Weihenstephaner Dunkel beer.


What's in Canada, eh?


How about BGW's version of "Choup"? This is Cheddar and Lager Chowder (with Smoked Paprika Oil).


Welcome to France.


Oddly enough, I'm not that partial to French cuisine.


But I did try the Vichyssoise (with Truffle Essence). It was good.


I was getting a bit full, and Belgium was all chocolate, cheese, and beer--maybe next time.


I skipped the Crepes and Coffee stand, too.


Scandinavia is in Ireland. Surprising, no?


Well, I think all you Ikea fans can guess what I had.


Yep--Kottbullar (that is, Swedish Meatballs Braised in Cream Sauce with Ligonberry Jam).


I finished the night with some Tiramisu in Italy--yum!


That's all for now. Remember: The Food and Wine Festival ends on June 23.

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Very cool event, and I like that they seemed to have seating as well!


They put out extra stand-up tables, and there are nice little seating areas in Germany and France. I think they're off to a good start.


If the park follows true to form, they'll probably expand the event in later years if it's a hit.

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Thank you Chuck, Thank you. It was beautiful!


This is seriously one of the greatest updates ever! Everything looks so amazing, and the prices seemed very reasonable.


I seriously need to get out there asap! The food selections in each country sound amazing, and it looks like a well put together event! I better start saving up a crap load of cash now! Between Food & Wine and this event, I'm going to have to get 2 more jobs!

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