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Chuck's Busch Gardens Williamsburg Thread

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  • 3 weeks later...
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Some Little Things--and Celtic Fyre


I took a lap around BGW last Sunday. It was on the cool side, and being that spring break is pretty much over in this part of Virginia, there wasn't much of a crowd. Apollo's line was just outside the station and down the backsteps, but I circumvented that via the single-riders line. Alpengeist and Griffon were two-or-three-train waits (unless you wanted the very front), and the longest lines overall were for DarKastle and the Loch Ness Monster (which was a little surprising). Three trains on each coaster, too.


BGW has made a smart move with stroller-and-wheelchair rentals. You now rent them in a new building at the top of the hill just behind the ticket booths and restrooms. In the past, wheelchair rentals were handled inside the park in a rather cramped space just inside the gate. This new location saves people the trouble of having to trudge down the hill, and spares cast members from having to follow wheelchairs and electric scooters back up the hill to retrieve them. Looks like a much better set up. (I think Disney could learn something from this.) So, even though there's no new coaster this year, the park is making some wise infrastructure and operations changes.


I also caught the park's new Irish dance show: Celtic Fyre. I'm not a "show person," but this one is pretty good--a nice replacement for Emerald Beat. They've transformed the Abbey Stone Theatre in Killearney from, well, a ruined abbey, into a pub, which is hosting a wedding reception. Much Irish stomping and tapping and singing and hijinks ensue. (No sign of any leprechauns, though.) The cast is energetic, the show is well paced, and there's a good mix of prerecorded and live music. The crowd on Sunday was really into it, clapping and stomping. You can even buy yourself a Guinness in the theatre lobby and sip while you watch (probably the show's best feature ).


Hmm--I noticed this new building a few weeks ago, but had no idea what it was.


Ta da! Rent your strollers, wheelchairs, and scooters here, folks! Good thinking, Busch.


They painted the trim on the barricade between England and the Forest of Fun. Brilliant! No one will ever guess that it isn't just part of the building! ;)


This refreshment stand used to be the main entrance of the theatre. These doors are shut during performances, but open aftterward for your drinking pleasure.


Here's the wee door that takes you to Celtic Fyre.


And here's what you see when you walk in. To the inn.


Here's a look using my little camera's "night scenery" setting. Where's Hanno when you need him? ;)


This woman is demonstrating how one "kicks back" in front of a roaring fyre.


A somewhat clearer look at the hearth.


Park guests actually sit at these tables by the stage. And, yes, the performers do dance on them. The tables, not the guests. Well, maybe the guests' hands.


Even the walls of the theatre are now "pub-like."


Well, being as I'm at an Irish wedding reception, it would be rude not to enjoy a nice pint.


Here's what the show looks like after a few pints.


"I'm Bat-Bird!"


You know, if I were this eagle, they'd have to rename me "Pecky," because that's what I'd do to my handler's eyes for giving me such a stupid name. That's all for now--thanks for reading.

Edited by cfc
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^It's tough to get good pictures in there without the right equipment and the skill to use it. I got to the show early, so I killed time by walking around the theatre to get a few decent shots.

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  • 3 weeks later...

You're Up in the Air in Miles o' Sky


I ambled over to Busch Gardens Williamsburg on Mother's Day. The reason for my visit has nothing to do with honoring anybody's mother, though. Although I did wonder how many mothers would want to spend their special day at BGW. My Mom would probably be OK with it, and there did seem to be a lot of mothers there.


But I digress. I was there to check out the ride formerly known as Corkscrew Hill: Europe in the Air, the newest incarnation of the park's simulator ride. Yes, this is essentially "Soarin' Over Europe," only without some Erector-set-inspired "hang glider"--right down to the inspirational Jerry Goldsmith-like music.


The concept is that some Irish company can take you around Europe in five minutes using their new "Slipstream 3000 Air Sled" (whatever the hell that is). It's a very pleasant ride overall, not as jerky and bumpy as Corkscrew Hill, and no annoying 3D glasses, either. The sensation of flight is actually quite effective, although Soarin' has the better ride system; however, BGW does Disney one better by having actual transistions between segments (shots of clouds and a swoosh of air, as opposed to just jump cuts).


A few points:


1. A shot of the air sled itself during the preshow would've been a good idea. (The old Questor simulator actually showed you the machine you were going to travel in.) As it is, it's hard to go from "air sled" to the black box with seats, which they also used for Corkscrew Hill.


2. They didn't do much to retheme the old queue and preshow area, so your "air sled" departs from an old Irish castle. The problem is I can't figure out how the sled was able to fit through the wee castle gates and leap immediately into the air. Perhaps it's the work of leprechauns? (Again, showing us the sled might help.)


3. Why are we at street level during the Paris sequence? Did the "air sled" have to dive under a cloud of volcanic ash or something?


4. I got a little queasy on this thing. I guess having a corn dog and fries for lunch was a bad idea.


Overall, I think families and BGW's elderly guests (there are many) will enjoy Europe in the Air. While it's not a major thrill machine, it's enjoyable and rather relaxing--and we all need that from time to time, too.


Let the hype begin at the bag check!


Oh, and Happy Day After Mother's Day!


BGW must've got a great deal on banners.


Begorrah! Top 'o' the mornin', to ye. This one ties into Celtic Fyre, the new show in the Abbey Stone Theatre.


Yep, they bannered the hell out of this ride. (Can Robb and Elissa possibly top this? I'm willing to bet they can.)


"Well, being as we're buyin' all these banners for the new ride . . .


Yes, only dogs can hear the singing. Sorry.


The entrance to the "Celtic Fyre Inn" looks much better than it did a few weeks ago.


Yet, they have the time to travel to Busch Gardens.


Yes, all travel is best done under extreme pressure--it's the American way!


Well, looks like we'll have to take a little time. It took about an hour to get through this line, but I think technical difficulties might've added to the wait. (The line was much shorter when I exited.)


Hmm--this looks familiar, except that it isn't filled with goblins and trolls, and they're playing "Soarin'" style music.


At last--new theming!


Oh, the places you'll go, and the things you'll be, er, people you'll do, er, I mean, the things you'll see . . .


It's preshow time, folks!


Here's our flight director, Miles O'Skye. Get it? Miles of sky! Oh, such drollery.


And a little over an hour later, here's where I exited. Note that the ride is part of Quick Queue.


It would be nice to nurse a pint of Guinness and listen to the band for a while.


New sign pic for the index if you need it, Larry.


All in all, a nice new attraction that should appeal to a family audience. Now what about that new "tower ride"?


This is true. Although I was a bit queasy, I experienced no jet lag, despite flying from Ireland to England, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy and back again. To Ireland. Which is in Virginia. Thanks for reading.

Edited by cfc
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^Yeah, it was probably the Italian coast I was thinking of. Or maybe I was flashing back to those old rumors that Spain was going to be the park's next country.

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^Basically, the ride is the same as Corkscrew Hill, but much smoother (like a flight simulator). Questor and King Arthur's Challenge were the earlier rides. They were more like Star Tours (that is, more closed in).

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  • 4 weeks later...

Chuck Takes His Niece and Nephew to Busch Gardens


Well, my parents are in town for two weeks with two grandkids in tow--Lindsay (11 years old) and Scottie (14 years old). So, after a few days of stressful (Er, Scottie? I really don't like people looking over my shoulder when I type. Thank you.) historical-type tourism, it was time to hit Busch Gardens. So, I thought I'd share a few pictures from earlier today. Nothin' fancy.


We sprang for Unlimited Quick Queue, figuring the park would be really busy; however, aside from the water rides (which were packed), we could've got away without it, although the Loch Ness Monster had a pretty long line earlier in day. Thanks to Quick Queue, we were able to soak ourselves silly on this very hot day with multiple rides on the Roman Rapids, Le Scoot, and Escape from Pompeii (which now sports coin-operated water cannons)--not to mention plenty of rides on all the coasters.


The verdict? The kids loved Apollo's Chariot and Griffon (although just looking at Griffon scared Lindsay at first) and liked Nessie and Curse of DarKastle. But Alpengeist, according to Lindsay, "sucks." (I do not share this opinion.) They also felt a bit ill after riding Europe in the Air.


Here are some pictures.


Yay for Quick Queue!


Yep--tall enough for everything.


Yes, we got a wee bit damp on Pompeii.


This happened to me on the stupid log ride--at the top of the drop! A wave actually soaked me right at the spot where they take the onride photo.


Here's a little advertising for Illuminights, which doesn't kickoff until the end of June.


"Ow! Loch Ness Monster hurt me!"


"But can I ride it again?"


"Does this ride go upside down?"




Is there a drop?"


"Sort of."


"Is there a loop?"


Using this . . .


. . . beats waiting in this.


Hmm--these weren't here a few weeks ago. Let's test them!


Success! BGW is going to make a mint off these things. No one is safe on Pompeii now!


No Quick Queue on the Skyride--but the wait was only about 15 minutes.


Beats walkin' to Griffon.


I think this was the favorite of the day. (Two trains in one shot! I rule!)


My parents were there, too. They really enjoyed Celtic Fyre. Maybe some more pics later.

Edited by cfc
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  • 3 weeks later...

Happy Belated Father's Day from BGW


I ambled over to Busch Gardens on Father's Day to see if Apollo's Chariot was up and running again.


It was--and running very well, thank you. The park wasn't very busy at all, although I think a sizable group showed up later for the Christian music concert that night.


Here are a few pictures from the day--nothing special.


Hi, Apollo--How's that lift motor workin' for you?


So, Dad can eat like a kid today? No wonder so many middle-aged men were walking around and stuffing their faces with gummy crap.


Rent one of these for your old man--pamper the dude! He's earned it.


"Today, Father is Father's Day, and we're giving you . . .


. . . a tie! It's not much we know, but it's our way of showing you . . .


. . . we think you're a regular guy!"


Remember that closed path behind the Squire's Galley I've been harping about? Well, looks like they just needed a new cast area. So much for my spurious theory that there were Smurfs from Kings Dominion buried there in an unmarked grave.


Dad, choose your music! "The William Tell Overture" . . .


. . . or "Roll Out the Barrel."


Need some World Cup crap? Just head over to the old BBW store.


Folks were already waiting for that night's concert. I think I'll wait for the B-52s.


Hmm--unless I'm mistaken, this is the giant cuckoo clock they've been touting for Illuminights.


Oh no! The Griffin model has valleyed! (The actual ride was just fine.)


A new SyFy original feature: "Dyno-Croc v . . .


. . . Mega Barn Owl!"


I think Dyno-Croc is envious of Mega Barn Owl's digs. That's why they're fighting. Thanks for reading.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Pre-Independence Day at BGW with Dave, Jason, and Kerry


Happy Post-Fourth of July, everyone! I hope y'all enjoyed a fine weekend of BBQ and things that explode harmlessly in midair. As for me, I got to hang out with Dave, Jason, and Kerry at Busch Gardens on Saturday, and it was great. Of course, we had lots of company, but thanks to Unlimited Quick Queue, no worries. Heck, we even waited in the "standby line" a few times for some backseat rides on Apollo's Chariot (including one especially awesome run after the evening's fireworks).


We also checked out some of BGW's new "IlluminiNights: A Busch Gardens Encore" program, which runs nightly through August 22. This is a series of short shows that start at 5:00 pm and run on the hour. Each country has its own unique presentation (we caught three of them):


Ireland uses a "leprechaun" and larger-than-life puppets to tell some of the myths of the Emerald Isle.

France features a short parade.

Germany provides the world's largest "living cuckoo clock."

Italy showcases the talents of acrobats.


Each of these shows lasts somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes, and the evening is capped off with a fireworks display and synchronized music at 9:30. (Note the Busch Gardens Railroad shuts down at 7:45 to prepare for the pyrotechnics--they launch them from the Rhine River Trestle).


OK, this is no "Illuminations," but it is a nice way to end the day the park.


Here's a look.


"Look! I printed my ticket all by myself!"


The trunstile and Dave's finger were having "issues."


Spot the credit whores! Win a kewpie doll!


Careful! Riders have been know to pass out in the backseat due to the forces!


I hope Jason and Kerry survive! Grover is ruthless!


"Phew! This'll be a walk in the park compared to the hell that was Grover's Alpine Express!"


The hell?


It's Mothra! Run!


Nothing says "Ireland" like giant, brightly colored cigarettes.


Spot Ice Bat and win yerself a seegar!


Dave had to hit road, so he missed out on the frozen magaritas, . . .


. . . beer, and . . .


. . . the parade. (And we all know how much Dave loves parades.)


These paraders aren't merely French. They are FRANCH!


Looks like Hulk Hogan has found a new job.


"Look! I have zee poodles! Because I am FRANCH!"


Yes, they were FRANCHING all over the place.


Anyone for zee FRANCH cuisine?


Hey, when did Colin start working at BGW?


Nice to see that they found another use for the old Le Mans race cars.


"Mon dieu! Looks like someone missed zee memo about vearing zee underwear today!"


A FRANCH UFO, I guess.


I guess someone has to clean up after a parade. More to come.

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Here's one last look at a great day and evening.


Presenting one of the weirdest theme-park shows ever: "The World's Largest Living Cuckoo Clock."


They start with some wood chopping, . . .


. . . followed by some plywood-cow milking.


Our story so far . . .


A man and his sheep. Nuff said about that.


"Guten morgen!"


"The flowers, they are a bit dry, ja!"


Roll out the barrel . . .


Hmm--I have a feeling that something goofy . . .


. . . this way comes!


Yay! Feierwerks!


"Screw das feierwerks! Make with the oompah dancing! Eat your hearts out, TPR Europe trippers!"


IllumiNights--The Sparkly Banner.


The acrobats were quite good.


How many of you could totally do this?


Or this?


Hmm--I imagine some TPR members may have tried this, but with how much success?


They were, indeed, limber little minxes.


Part of IllumiNights' explosive finish.


Many of the performers were available for photos on the way out.


We missed the wee little leprechaun earlier, so here he is now.


Jason likes dancing the can-can and eating bread--hence, this photo. Thanks for reading--and my thanks to Dave, Jason, and Kerry for coming to the 'Burg last weekend!

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Thanks for sharing! I just love that park...although I just don't understand why Apollo's Chariot is so highly regarded. I honestly think it is the worst of the B&M hypers that I have been on (all of them with the exception of Hollywood Dream).

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Thanks for sharing! I just love that park...although I just don't understand why Apollo's Chariot is so highly regarded. I honestly think it is the worst of the B&M hypers that I have been on (all of them with the exception of Hollywood Dream).


I think Apollo's Chariot is a lot of fun in the backseat, and I like Hollywood Dream, too. The worst of the bunch, to me, at least, is Silver Star, Europa Park's only real bummer (it's just kind of boring, even though it looks incredible).

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Thanks for sharing! I just love that park...although I just don't understand why Apollo's Chariot is so highly regarded. I honestly think it is the worst of the B&M hypers that I have been on (all of them with the exception of Hollywood Dream).


I think Apollo's Chariot is a lot of fun in the backseat, and I like Hollywood Dream, too. The worst of the bunch, to me, at least, is Silver Star, Europa Park's only real bummer (it's just kind of boring, even though it looks incredible).


Haha...it's funny you say that because I visited Europa Park 2 weeks ago and thought Silver Star was actually pretty good despite the not-so-enthusiastic reviews. To each their own, right?

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^I had the same reaction ot Silver Star that I had to Thunder Dolphin: "Wow, that looks great, but it really isn't as good as it looks." Silver Star isn't a bad ride, just lacking in something for me. But I'm glad you enjoyed it--that's what it's all about.




I was checking on the website about the tours, can you explain to me the difference in the Paricipant roller coaster tour, and the observer?


$75+ admission is kinda steep and I wanted to know what I'd be getting.


I've never done one of the tours, so I'm afraid I can't help you out much here.

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