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Gettin' Ready to Sacre: Howl-o-Scream 2010 Prep


Good lord, I haven't done anything with this thread since July! I have, indeed, been remiss; then again, August was kind of busy with TPR's Mid-America Trip and such, and then I got involved in that TR. And, frankly, the park has been marking time a bit in August, preparing for the unveiling of its two-year plan (see the BGW Discussion Thread for more about this.)


After seeing the park's presentation, and taking advantage of a 30 percent meal discount for annual passholders that day, I wandered around the park to see how preparations for my favorite annual event, Howl-o-Scream, were coming along. Ravens seem to be the controlling element this year.


Would you like to see for yourself? Follow me . . .


I'm always happy to see these signs around the park.


But first, a bit of lunch--about $13 with that one-day extra discount. Thank you, BGW!


"Brawk! Nevermore! Brawk!"


"Hello! I'm your official Howl-o-Scream greeter ghoul. Don't I look stylish in my derby? What? you don't like derbies? Then you DIE!" (Inside joke: Scott Gasparich is the park's VP of entertainment.)


Mr. Reaper is ready and raring to go.


What's everywhere? Oh, the "scare."


Did I mention that ravens were a big deal this year?


Do you know how long it takes to grow a pumpkin this size? Do you know how much manure it requires?


Monster Stomp: Revamped will be back in Ireland, along with these hot witches . . .


. . . and a little something for those of you are not so into the ladies.


"Hello. I'm that stately bird of yore that you've read so much about. Being 'stately' won't stop me from crapping on you, though."


Aw, may I pet your cute little rat? What a sweet rodent.


Get a room, you two.


Looks like the exterminators are having trouble keeping up with France's rat problem.


I'd definitely call the landlord about this.


This was the only HOS-related object in Fort New France--so far.


The Alpengeist bridge is ensnared in the TWINE OF DOOM!


Yep--another raven.


Frankenrock--if you're into that. I think I would've called this "Rockenstein," but I guess that's just me.


Looks like they're stocking up on vampire protection over by the old Drachen Fire station.


Bottles! Bottles in Italy! Oh my god!


"Soon, I will return as a 'living disease'!"


"Actually, all of us will. You've been warned."


Even the Forest of Fun is getting ready. I think Count von Count is joining the "Dine with Elmo and Friends" crew for HOS, too.


Noted! HOS starts on September 24!

Edited by cfc
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Is the "Scare" Really "Everywhere"? The 1st Night of Howl-o-Scream


Last Friday (September 24) was the opening night of Howl-o-Scream 2010 at Busch Gardens, and they claim that "The Scare Is Everywhere" with expanded scare zones, but one less maze. (No Cavern of Darkness this year, I imagine beacause they want to keep their new attraction, Europe in the Air, running during HOS.) And how did they do? My feelings are mixed.


Scare zones have been the weakest part of HOS in the past, but they've had some success beefing them up a bit for 2010--emphasis on "some." For example, the crazed chainsaw-slinging lumberjacks in New France were pretty active that night, as were the walking corpses working the queue for the Catacombs maze. I liked the spider-themed walk from Ireland to France, too. That being said, I'm guessing that there were supposed to be witches in Italy. Yes, "guessing" because I saw one making feeble attempts to scare people with a broom near the Italian restaurant. There were some very active sliders in Germany, but it was hard to tell what they were supposed to be: Vampires? Punks? Random guys in crash helmets who slide on their knees? (They did startle quite a few people, though.) Mysterious figures in black strolled around England--they were rather creepy after dark.


Here's how the houses stack up.


Bitten (Drachen Fire station)--This was the best maze last year, too, and it's essentially unchanged. Very European, 19th-century-style vampires stalk guests in their house of the damned. You'll hear lots of Danny Elfman Sleepy Hollow music in here, along with a fair serving of James Bernard's score for Hammer Films' Dracula movies (and that's a good thing, I think). The scareactors here were probably the best of the night, and you can hear screams from inside this maze from all over the old Drachen Fire area.


Harvest Hollow (Drachen Fire lawn)--This outdoor maze was essentially a scare zone full of scarecrows with pumpkin heads in 2009. This year, the path winds around the lawn, and you have to navigate a gauntlet of lunatics and mutant peasants with axes, pitchforks, and other implements of destruction. The scareactors were nice and creepy--good job.


Hunted (Drachen Fire barn)--No bungee wolf on Friday. (Boo! But maybe he'll return--who knows?) Even so, the more stationary werewolves lurking in the woods and old hunter's cabin were putting their little hidey-holes to good use, making this maze a little better than it was last year. One strange change--last year's exit is this year's entrance. (In other words, it's back to its original configuration from 2008. BGW likes to switch entrances and exits around--go figure.)


Cursed (Festa Italia)--I guess some of the witches that were supposed to be in the scare zones were in the maze, instead. This is the logest maze at HOS, and although there weren't a lot of scares in it Firday night, it made up for that with atmosphere--plus, it has fire! The witches and goblins weren't jumping out much, but they had cackling down to a science.


Revenge of Pompeii (Escape from Pompeii building)--Mummies and undead explorers menace unwary tourists amid the ruins of Pompeii. This was the weakest maze last year, but I'm happy to report that's it has improved a bit this year (the scare actors seem a bit more into it, and there are mummies prowling the walkways outside the maze, as well). There's a "kid-friendly" version of this maze in the afternoon until 5:30.


Catacombs (France)--Ghouls and skeletons haunt this "necropolis" under Paris. This maze has atmosphere to burn, but was a bit short in the scares department.


Opening nights are tricky, and my experience is that HOS tends to improve as the month grinds on. I'll be back a few times this season.


Here's a look at Howl-o-Sceam 2010's opening night.


Official valet parking for Howl-o-Scream? Must be for visitors from Kingsmill.


"Boo! Boo, I say!"


As they said . . .


. . . "The Scare Is Everywhere!" (Well, there seems to be a bit more if you head to the left.)


It wouldn't be HOS without tombstones and fog.


"Hello! I'm sitting on some Hobbits until I squish them into jelly. Come back later, and I'll squish you, too!"


Spot the troll, win a kewpie doll!


Agh! Scary Howl-o-Scream person!


Look like Vesuvius is becoming active again! Turn back, you fools!


I don't think these ravens are too impressed with these scarecrows.


Nothing is scarier than a bunch of pumpkins!


Yes, orange is the true color of FEAR!


Oh no! The power of orange is filling me with dread!


"Screw orange! I gotta blue light and a black widow spider! In your face, Jack!"


Uh oh! I think those spiders ate the gray wolves! The Sierra Club is going to be very upset.


They actually explained France's Halloween theming here--nice touch.



"Oui, Pierre?"

"How do our skeletons hang together with no cartilage or musculature?"

"It is a mystery, mon ami."


Darkness begins to fall.


Guests running the gauntlet of spiders between Ireland and France.


The queue for the Catacombs.


"Thanks for visiting the Catacombs, folks. I apologize for the mess, but it's the maid's century off." One more set of pics to come.

Edited by cfc
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One more look at HOS 2010.


Werewolves in New France!


Hmm--must be "Take Your Kid to Work Night" or something.


The Alpengeist bridge looks much creepier after dark.


The entrance to Germany looks like something out of "Ghost Hunters International."




"Screw 'Twilight'! I'm a vampire in a cape and I like it! Team Bela forever!"


And now, a moment of respect for the dearly departed.


Unfortunately, some vampires have not taken the success of the "Twilight" series well.


This one staked himself in the heart after seeing the first movie.


What's nice about green lights is that they work for Halloween, Christmas, and St. Patrick's Day.


Like BGT, there's an official Halloween store this year.


Yes, All Hallows Eve just puked all over the place this year.


I still would've used "Rockenstein."



OK, there were some witches in Italy outside of "Cursed."


"This is 'Bitten.' Vee bid you velcome! Enter uf your own freevill!"


Can you hear the ghost of Drachen Fire?


A rather blurry look at "Harvest Hollow."


Whew! I'm beat. Time to head home.


Mr. Reaper is waiting for you!


Later, BGW.

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Howl-O-Scream is always a bit creepy rather than scary. I love the details BGW puts into HOS decorations, but I wish they would put that much effort in the costumes that the scaractors wear, because most of them look "thrown together". The scaractors should also put a bit more effort into scaring people since the amount of scaractors seems to always be low.

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How does the spider/ insect scarezone work? Were there just people randomly dressed as insects or something like that? Knotts haunt has attempted an insect theme for years and for me at least(and I am not a fan of bugs) has never worked at all. Bugs are weird looking and can swarm and crawl on you, but it is impossible to capture that feeling IMO, or at least Knotts has failed in past. If it is a workable theme it would be awesome!

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^Good to hear. Bungee wolf must've been on a smoke break when I went through. Which picture are you in?


First section of pictures, second to last photo. I'm on the left side in the red shirt. It was in line for Catacombs. I saw you taking the picture and I'm like "Oh my gosh oh my gosh that's Chuck from TPR!". (I've lurked here for a while)

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  • 6 months later...

Easter at Busch Gardens--and the Resurrection of this Thread


Spring! Easter! A time of renewal! So, why not resurrect my BGW thread from its post-Howl-o-Scream hiatus? Yes, old threads are just sprouting like dandelions here at TPR.


I like visiting the park on Easter Sunday. The weather is usually perfect (bit on the warm side this year), and the park isn't slammed, probably because most folks go to church and then off to Grandma's house for ham or lamb or something. The longest wait was for, of all things, the Loch Ness Monster--go figure.


What I like about the first visit of the year is checking out all the little changes from last season. BGW is always tweaking things, it seems--often as they relate to dining options. As for Mach Tower, not much new to report, but as has been mentioned in the park discussion thread, now that they're back to weekends-only operation for a while, maybe construction can push ahead.


Let's have a look, shall we?


I have to make sure that I use the parking attendant's window on the right side, as my other power windows won't roll down at the moment--stupid old Saturn with almost 99,000 miles on it.


Not even 10:30 (the park's "official" opening time), and Apollo's Chariot is already carrying riders.


OK, Southern Adventists--shouldn't you be in church?


Yep--the tourists have returned to Williamsburg like hungry mosquitoes to a yellow porch light.


They moved the little barn owl's house to outside the stables.


"Tether me? Hah! You will live to regret this folly, I promise you!"


"So, this wench thinks she has me controlled, eh?"





I don't recall them flying the owl around the barn last season.


In the shadow of DarKastle is the Bunny Trail.


There's something sinister about this.


My god! A mutant bunny! Mad King Ludwig's powers have grown!


Hmm--my guess is that this is where Oktoberfest's new Maypole is going to be installed. Just a hunch.


Will this new soccer-ball-kicking game be the next Three-Point Challenge?


Meanwhile, back at Mach Tower, blue stripes have appeared. The pieces of the ride are in the employee parking lot (you can see them from Griffon).


But, hey, the pretzel bakery is up and running.


Bake, damn you, bake!


How's this for Easter brunch: a smoked-sausage pretzel dog and a wheat ale. The sandwich was good, and it's nice to have a selection of beers beyond Anheuser-Busch products.


Later, Oktoberfest.


There's a new show in Italy: Mix It Up.


It's sort of a halftime show with chefs and waiters.


There's a new dining option in Festa Italia, near the Roman Rapids.


They used to serve cheesesteaks, fries, and mini-pizzas here. I'll have to check it out some other time.


Hmm--does seem to restrict access to the water cannons, though.


Apollo's Chariot was down (A B&M? Down? My god!), so I decided to ride the train and see if anything is going on in the old Drachen Fire area. And . . .


. . . just some little flags. Moving on.


And now Le (as opposed to "Der") Catapult (as opposed to "Katapult") in its new spot (and in its new paint).


It's red in honor of Canada, eh?


Moose can use catapults? Who knew?


They're poppin' up fresh kettle corn in France now.


You can rent these cabanas at the front of the park. They're located in the Wildlife Reserve between Ireland and France.


Once last stop before I leave . . .


. . . Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha! That's all for now.

Edited by cfc
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Thanks for the update, the park is looking good as usual. Glad to finally see some progress on Mach Tower and hear that some of the pieces are at BGW. I'm going to wait to make my first trip of the season to the park once (if ever) Mach Tower is complete to see how it goes up against Drop Tower at KD (my favorite). I'm also excited to see the "suprises" at the top of the ride turn out, but I don't have my hopes up.

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  • 1 month later...

Last Friday Night at BGW


Someone over in the official BGW Discussion thread reported that some construction walls were up near the the Big Bad Wolf's old station. There were a few hints that work was starting on the new coaster last Friday, as well. Here's a "mini-update."


Don't expect anything momentous here--just some encouraging signs that Verbolten is moving forward, even if Mach Tower is suffering a setback. It's always fun to check out changes both large and small at the park.


My god! A groundhog! And he's near the old BBW station! This is fraught with portent, I tell you!


OK, maybe the groundhog's presence was just a "coincidence," if you believe in such things. But this looks a lot like those plastic barricades that they have to put up around construction sites to protect the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.


Hello! What's this?


It's a piece of white tape! With a small piece of red tape! This could be huge!


OK, so I'm overracting. A bit. But it does look like something has begun.


Let's check out some other changes in Oktoberfest, shall we?


The seating area behind the pretzel bakery is looking a little more "beer garden like."


All those at TPR Day on June 19 who are of age can hang out here, drink a German brew, and listen to the band. Yes, you can have your own "Beer Barrel Polka" ERT.


Here's something new for all you kitchen-magnet enthusiasts.


A snazzy new sign for the Festhaus.


The inside is looking pretty snazzy, too.


This pic is for you, Jason. The "World's Largest Living Cuckoo Clock" is returning!


The new Maypole without dancers . . .


. . . and with dancers.


Had to try the Chipstix--pretty good.


I'll leave you with this stern warning from King Ludwig over at DarKastle.

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Nice update! I must say OktoberFest is looking a bit better than it was earlier this season. The new things are slowly popping up and making the whole area go together quite nicely. It should be interesting to see how they blend those bright colors in with the new coaster next year...

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Great update Chuck! It will still take me years to get used to the idea that Anheuser-Busch doesn't operate the park, but I do like how the park is being operated. Oktoberfest's update is pretty solid, the new rides look to be pretty good additions. They seem to be holding true to Busch's conservation and animal friendly-ness. Maybe its me, but the park just feels...different...still.

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  • 4 weeks later...

July 4th at BGW and "The Legend of Killarney"--Sort Of


I decided to head over to BGW on July 4 to see this year's Illuminights offerings and watch stuff blow up. Unfortunately, Mother Nature provided most of the fireworks in the form of thunderstorms that night. Fireworks displays all over southeastern Virginia were either cancelled or postponed.


However, I did catch one Illuminights show: "The Legend of Killarney" over in Ireland. Now, my memory of the show is a bit fuzzy, but here's what I think went on . . .


Fireworks! Ohboyohboyohboy!


Looks like I'm just in time for the 6:00 pm show in Ireland.


Yes, the entire village is shivering with antici . . . pation.


OK, so we have a leprechaun. Or maybe just some Irish guy who dresses like one. Or he may be from New Jersey, and not actually from Ireland. (Yes, these are all jokes used in the show.)


Anyway, whether he's from Dublin or Jersey City, the poor guy has lost his "Fairy Princess," which was pretty careless of him, if you ask me. I wonder if he looked under the couch or between the seat cushions of his car.


He's so bummed because he can't hang out with his Princess that he blows his own flute. Poorly.


His pathetic flute blowing actually draws the attention of demon puppet animals, who mock him and his "gold-digging fairy."


Well, since he blows on the flute, he may as well try playing with his wand. But he still needs help.


"Hmm--that's a mighty impressive wand ya got there feller. Near as big as mine, ha ha!"


OK, no one needed to see you do that, pal.


"Open the door for your . . .


. . . Mystery Date!" Aghh! Well, that's what he gets for that silly wand dance and not being sure if he's from Jersey or Ireland.


The demonic animal puppets were disturbed at this development, and wondered if maybe they should head over to Happy Hour at Applebee's.


Oh, lord, he's really getting desparate now.


Ta dah! Success! Or an Irish remake of Avatar.


"Here's some treasure. Now lay off your flute! Ya wanna wear it out?"


"Sweet! Coins!"


"Thank you! You're a beautiful audience! I'm here all month!" That's all for now.

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