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Chuck's Busch Gardens Williamsburg Thread

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The Thread Crawls Out of Its Winter Cave, Stretches, then Heads to the Park for Passholder Preview Day


Busch Gardens' Passholder Preview Day, which was Saturday, March 15, was a pretty low-key affair. In past years, the park has made a few presentations about the upcoming season; however, this year, aside from offering an all-you-can-eat buffet behind the Festhaus and handing out a bit of park swag (that is, key chains and London Rocks string bags), all they did was open the park to passholders.


And that seemed to be enough. The weather was perfect, clear skies and a high temperature in the 70s, which really brought out the passholders in droves. The park was open from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, and when I entered via Rt. 60 at 9:45, there was a line of cars crossing the overpass and going all the way back to I-64! It took me roughly 20 minutes to get from Rt. 60 and past the parking-lot gates. It's not that the crew was working slowly (in fact, I was surprised they were so efficient on their first day)--there was just an insane amount of traffic. Yes, it's been a long, rough winter in Williamsburg, and I think a lot of folks had a touch of "cabin fever."


Most of the rides were operating--yes, even Mach Tower (well, for some of the day, at least ). The only shuttered rides were Roman Rapids, Le Scoot, and the Skyride. Europe in the Air and Escape from Pompeii were open, too.


The only park show that running that day was Entwined (at least, I think it was up--a lot of people were in the Festhaus that afternoon to see it, anyway). The new show, London Rocks, won't be opening until late May, and they're supposed to be making some changes to England to set the atmosphere for this new production (didn't see any evidence of this today, though). You could get your picture taken with the Easter Bunny or leprechaun, though.


So, there's not much "news" to report. They did have some signs up about Water Country's new slide for this year, Colossal Curl. When I left around 2:00, there was still of line of cars going back to I-64, and they were using the auxiliary parking lots on Rt. 60. Strangely enough, lines for the park's coasters were pretty manageable.


Here's a look at the park on the first day of the 2014 season.


And a big "begorrah" to you, too, Busch Gardens.


"Hey, Ringo--I think the park may be open today."


"All these people are certainly under that impression, John."


"I hope they're not here to see London Rocks."

"Unless they enjoy disappointment."


Yes, the Clydesdales were out and about today.


Spring is trying to kick winter's butt at BGW.


Yes, it's up and "flying" (or lurching about drunkenly) again. ;)


"Begorrah, tis fine to see ye all here today. I'm Clancy, the Leprechaun, and this is the one weekend of the year they brings me out of storage."


"OK, just one more person say something about how 'adorable' I am! Well? Anyone?"


"You're adorable--now shaddup!"


"I think you're both adorable--and delicious!"


"OK, that was a good rehearsal. But I want to see some more raw emotion when you howl! Just think about how yummy the other animals in the park would be if only you could eat them."


This is the only time of the year you can get this shot of Griffon. Once the leaves come back, forget about it until next March.


"Hi, Mom! Lookit me! I'm on Griffon!"


"Hi, Jesus! Save me! I'm on Griffon!"


"For what we are about to receive, may the Flying Spaghetti Monster make us truly thankful. Amen!"


This is Griffon . . .


. . . and this is Bob. Try not to confuse the two.


I don't know who these ladies are, but aren't they dressed well?


So, I guessing no log ride today?


Well, Alpengeist is right next door, and it's running.


Emerging from the shadows . . .


. . . it strikes without warning! (Sort of like Justin Bieber.)


Well, look who's here: Steve, Nicole, and Jeremiah. They'll all be Coasting for Kids at Kings Dominion this year, too. Please give generously, and GO TEAM TPR!


You know . . .


. . . some people take this "Bunny Trail" stuff much too literally. More to come.

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More from Passholder Preview Day 2014!


"Get out of zee vay! Verbolten ist drivink!"


But won't this bother the sheep?


"Don't mind us, little sheep!"


"Yes, we're just plunging to our doom. Nothing to see here." They were were having some audio problems in the show building, but I imagine they've been straightened out by now.


"Sheesh! I'm never renting a car from Gunter, again."


They did put in a new bridge across the Rhine River--wider and better than the old one. I like the observation areas jutting out of the water.


The Loch Ness Monster don't care about no stinkin' bridge, though.


Boy, Hulk Hogan has not aged well.


And whatcha gonna do, when the world's only interlocking loops run wild on you?


One more look at Nessie because she's just so darn photogenic.


Apollo's Chariot was running very well. So well, that I think it may have eaten my old Samsung phone right out of my usually secure jacket pocket. I got off the ride, noticed it was missing, and reported it to Lost and Found. Oh, well--I stopped at the Verizon Store on my way home, and now I have a better phone. RIP, Samsung. ;)


Mach Tower ran for a while today! It's a St. Paddy's Day Weekend miracle! ;)


It was warm enough for Pompeii . . .


. . . but apparently not quite warm enough for water cannons.


Mr. Giant Leftover Illuminights Turtle says "hi," Robb.




No more maypole dancing--it's back to being a planter.


The Joy of Easter, the Horror of DarKastle.


Or should that be the Horror of Easter and the Joy of DarKastle?


Well, time to head out. Verbolten honks "goodbye."


"When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie . . ." suddenly, I'm very hungry.


I'm curious to see what the park is going to do this area for London Rocks. Maybe caged go-go dancers wearing Union Jack miniskirts and vinyl boots?


Admit it--you want this hat!


Or maybe this sort-of psychedelic Loch Ness Monster shirt is more to your liking?


These are actual Alpengeist feet, you know.


How about some Nessie slippers, instead?


Remember: Colossal Curl is coming for 2014--at a park about five minutes away from this one.


Apollo's Chariot bids you "good day." That's all for now--thanks for reading.

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Thanks for the photo's, Chuck. Whenever the southern parks start opening up it only helps in knowing the parks up here will be opening shortly as well. Even without the leaves BGW is beautiful.


I was hoping Europe In The Air would have been gone for good after closing early last year. I still think a Madhouse should replace it, maybe with a storyline using Clancy from the old Castle O'Sullivan show.

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Better than in Germany the last 3 weeks: The sun shines from a cloudless blue sky with temps up to 20C with all parks closed - because the last years there were heaps of snow this time of year. But now as the park openings are coming the weather gets worse...


But thanks for the report: Another park likely to visit next year...

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Look at the guy in the middle, far right. First, he looks like he's having some sort of seizure, and second, it looks like a toupee is flying off his head (it's actually the shoe of the guy behind him).

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^ That's an awesome pic (and optical illusion), Chuck!


Great update of the passholder preview, and it's great to see my wife and I's favorite park (of the ones we've been to thus far anyway) back to life. Quite frankly, considering how brutal this winter has been in the east/northeast, it's really just great to see any park in the area back up and running! Makes me believe that Spring has to be coming soon!

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Thanks for the update, Chuck! The park is looking good for such the crappy Virginia winter we have had this year. I'm excited that the Virginia parks are opening back up and leaning more towards "theme" parks now with KD going all out for their 40th.


Heard any rumors for 2015? I'm feeling 2015 may be a big year for BGW and KD since 2014 is technically "off years" for both of them.

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I haven't heard any rumors concerning new stuff for 2015, but it has been a few years since they opened Verbolten; so, I'm holding out hope for something new (and maybe big) for next year.

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The park looks great, as usual. Just a little over 2 months until my Memorial Day trip to BGW/KD. Can't wait to get back to one of my favorite parks! Do you think BGW will be busy that weekend? I'm assuming it will be, especially since it's the first weekend of their Food and Wine Festival. I'm thinking Sunday might be a better day to visit than Saturday.

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Chuck, as someone who visits this great park fairly often, what are your thoughts on the prospect of BGW getting a wooden coaster of some kind at some point? Do you think that's something that could "fit", or do you tend to think they'd stay with the steel coaster route? Just something I've wondered about, and I was curious for a trusted local's opinion.

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Sunday on a three-day weekend can be nearly as bad as Saturday, but there's always Quick Queue.


As for a wooden coaster at BGW, I wouldn't hold my breath, considering 1) the park chain's tack record with Gwazi in Tampa and 2) the ever-present noise complaints from the rich folks in nearby Kingsmill. I'm not saying a wooden coaster won't happen but I think a new steel coaster is more plausible.


Personally, I'd like to see a wooden coaster at BGW--and who wouldn't want something from RMC or Intamin?

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Speaking of the rich folks at Kingsmill, I had to drive my dad there for a birthday party for her 80-year old sister (although I wouldn't necessarily call her and my uncle "rich"). I noticed how crowded the park seemed. Does anyone know if Apollo's Chariot was down? I didn't see it running but operations might have been slow in dispatching trains.

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The only coasters in the park with seatbelts are Alpengeist and Griffon. The others shouldn't have them unless they're installed last minute.


As for EITA, I'm pretty sure its the same ride as it's always been. Definitely not worth your time.

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