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Busch Gardens Williamsburg/20th B-day Gift Photo Trip Report


awclark
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Well, this will be my 1st PTR here so I'm kinda excited. My birthday was July 14th, but my mom and I ended up going this past weekend and spending 2 days at the park on the 18th and 19th. I'm from Jersey so it was sort of a haul, but WAY worth it.

 

The last time I was here was 13 years ago when I was 7. Back then, Drachen Fire was still running, Wild Maus was still there, and Alpengeist had only been open a couple months. It was then that I managed to nab rides on Nessie, BBW, Wild Maus, and Drachen Fire. Despite my enthusiasm to get on Alpie, I was sadly too short that time around.

 

Now flash forward 13 years to about a month ago. I really wanted to go to a park for a weekend, and my mom agreed (since she also is into coasters and all) because she wanted a mini vacation as well. I had been dying to get back to Busch Gardens for a while and with the recent rumors about the future of the BBW, I naturally wanted to go here most.

 

Well based on the topic, we obviously DID go here. haha. And it was an amazing trip! This time I would be adding Alpie, Griffon, Apollo's Chariot, and of course as any credit-ho would do... also be adding the new Grovers Alpine Express to my count.

 

Anyway, I've organized this PTR to seem like I only spent a single day here just because the 2 days were extremely similar. I've also split it up into 4 updates just because there are a TON of photos, for a PTR at least. (Who wouldn't take a ton of a park that's been voted most beautiful 18 years in a row!?).

 

Well, Update 1 is below featuring the entrance, Nessie, Grover, Pompeii, and Apollo. Next Update will follow shortly after.

 

Just some quick notes on the coasters here:

- Loch Ness Monster

- Still smooth as I remember it, although the back was a bunch rougher than the front. The triple helix wasn't all that smooth, but we're talking about a 31 year old Arrow here! I'd say it's held up well for it's age.

 

- Apollo's Chariot

- This was great! My 2nd B&M Mega (the other being Nitro). I'm a little split on whether I like the Back row or the front row better. The front was great for the speed, air on the 1st few hills, and more force it felt like in the turnaround helix. The back was great for the air on the 1st drop, and the more air it seemed in the final hills after the MCBR.

 

To me Apollo and Nitro seem like a close match. Apollo is a little shorter in length and lacks a decent finale, but utilizes the terrain well and seems to have better air over the initial hills. Nitro on the other hand is longer, taller, and faster, but sits on flat ground and the air on each hill seems on a more gentler scale compared to what I experienced on Apollo. Nitro wins however if I ride it in the back row.

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While the 2 dudes posing for the photo in the 3rd car kind of catch your eye.... move back to the last car and you see the couple grasping each other in fear.... or are they posing for the photo too? It could go either way.

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While everything through the turnaround seemed great, it seemed to me like after the MCBR, the ride kind of fizzled. Mainly because the MCBR was on hard. Still had good air, but it wasn't as 'grand' so to speak as the beginning.

 

Anyway, the guy in the red shirt seems to be enjoying his ride a lot.

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Also taken from the Rhine River Cruise. The turnaround was exceptionally forceful IMO. Enough to make me grey out a little. Loved it!

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Basically every hill dished out some great air.

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The 2nd hill taken from the Rhine River Cruise.

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The air was great on this hill too.

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210' feet down. I must say the airtime in the back was great on the drop.

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Photo explains itself.

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turnaround... minus the train because we were screeching into the lot in anticipation to get into the park.

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Length shot from the parking lot.

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It's celebrating its 10th anniversary.... clearly since its advertised right there in the photo.

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Then off to Festa Italia so I can take a ride on the Chariot!

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OMFG!!!

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OMG!!!!

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I'm now officially a credit-whore.

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'twas fun.

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After Nessie, we hit up Pompeii.

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The girl in the front doesn't really seem to be enjoying her ride...

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If you're sitting in the front, you get a nice "whomp" there. haha.

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Shooting up out of the ravine.

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1st drop from the land of the dragons area of the park.

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I thought this was good timing.

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the obligatory interlocking loops photo.

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For the lift enthusiasts.

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I loved that Nessie opens at 9:30 before the rest of the park does.

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I loved this fountain!

 

..... Hence why I took the photo. Haha.

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Mom thought the flowers looked cool in the backround....

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Even the ticket building is awesomely landscaped.

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Welcome to Busch Gardens!

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Part 2!!!

 

So after all of that fun, we crossed the bridge over into the Germany section to ride BBW. BBW is clearly my favorite Arrow suspended. I'm know Eagle's Fortress kicks the crap out of this, but the only other suspended coasters I've been on is Ninja at SFMM, Top Gun/Flight Deck at KI, and Iron Dragon at CP.

 

Anyway, I got 3 rides in on this thing. Once in the front and back during the day and once in the back at night. OMG! The back is crazy at night! I snuck away from my mom while we were at the Commodores concert in the Drachen Fire infield (More photos on that later) to snag a ride literally 2 minutes before the park closed and was totally thrilled! The back was great during the day, but I needed a night ride on this. The finale was unreal at night in the back.

 

If the future is bleak for BBW, I'm glad I got some memorable last rides in then.

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Anyway, we now were leaving Germany and off to the next coaster on our agenda.... ALPENGEIST!!!

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siiighhh.... more on this in the final update.

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Here's the Festhaus... but it's what used to be behind it that I'm interested in.....

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While it did make me jump a ton with all the 3D effects, Spiderman still reins supreme.

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Next we did the Curse of DarKastle.

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My camera semi-decided to focus more on the potted flowers than the train. Whatever.

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Same woman behind me around this curve into the brakes says this "Man! That thang had some spade! It was sowa fayast! Scaray too!"

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Taken from the Cruise.

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Another sweet shot of the 2nd drop.

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A woman with a southern accent behind me in the back car's reaction to this drop... (Leaves lift) "Here wah go!" (car swings out as it simultaneously drops) "AW MAH GAWD! EEEEEEEEEE!!!!"

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2nd drop from the Rhine River cruise. It was a panicked "omg the train is coming, I have to take a picture before the other cruise boat gets in the way of the shot" kind of photo.

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WOOOSHHH!!! TAKE THE.... arch?

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Swinging is fun.... Swinging on an Arrow suspended is MORE fun!

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Artsy farsty shot of the 1st drop.

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The other coaster birthday in the park.... this one is now a 1/4 century old.

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Me posing in front of the sign.

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A shot taken from the bridge heading into the Germany section.

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^800 by 600 pixels would be best. Large photos take a long time to load, if you have a slow Web connection. I made the same mistake in my first TR.

 

So, I would resize and upload new versions. You can do this by editing your post.

 

They are very good pictures, by the way--I'm glad you had a great time at my home park.

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Part 3!!! (Resized pics too. I'll get to the 1st 2 updates after I upload the last update.)

 

This one is mainly on Alpengeist, but there is a little extra at the end.

 

Alpengeist is now my 2nd favorite invert right behind Montu. I loved the use of the terrain. It was forceful, fast, and just all around fun. While I do prefer B&M's snappy Cobra rolls, the entrance to this one was kinda too snappy. Whipped me more than any other I've been on. Oh yea, the entrance to the MCBR had a lovely snap, but the rest of the ride made up for those 2 parts. Anyway, onto the photos.

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speaking of bird like things..... we then (but not in actuality of how our trip went) went to GRIFFON!!!!

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Anyway, they had this owl out and about too.

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Well actually not really. We did this the 1st morning on the way to Griffon. I'm just ordering the photos in a way so Griffon is last. I mean isn't that like PTR standard?! Newest and/or most popular/best ride for last?

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We then checked out the eagles.

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Then we were off to France to eat here which was really good!

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It's not flat, but it does spin.

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GP moment: girl describing Alpie in line says, "Yea this ride totally flips you sideways and then goes like this!" (She then throws her hand around like a tornado through the air)

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WTF! I haven't even recovered from the awesomeness of the last tilted shot and I have to go do it again! GASP! There's a Griffon train in the same shot! Not that I knew that as i was taking the photo or anything. OMG! I have to recover again.

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Shot from the cable car again.

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More artsy farsty..... taken off the reflection in the uhhhh.... pristine water.

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WHOA! Everyone stop! I, yes...... TILTED the camera for this shot! So clever! It's like a whole new DIMENSION opened up! Give me a minute.... I have to let it awesome genius-ness sink in.

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WOO!

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A perfect shot for me would be: Minus the cable and add a Nessie train on the pre-drop curve. Done.

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Some nasty snappiness there, but kinda fun nonetheless.

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Now: "Vertical Loop!"

 

What a nerd I've turned into ;)

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Back then: "Mom look! A Loop-de-loop!"

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through..... an OPENING in the trees!

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Kinda sucks that it's cloudy for this one.

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Ugh. almost.

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Turned out nicely.

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Taken from the Cable car.

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Up they go.

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The skis on the back of the seats were a great detail.

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Well at least I'm glad it's "Now Running"

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A section of the queue.

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Blizzard? pfff, well bring it on!

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And my mom had some fun with this.

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I really loved the theme details too.

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Really liked the entrance.

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Last Update!!!!

 

This one is mainly focused on Griffon, but there is some (tear) oddly ghostly Drachen Fire pics at the end taken when the section opens up for the Summer Nights concerts. When we were there, the Commodores were playing. I personally had no clue who they were..... until they played "Brick House." And yes, that is the song that goes like "She's a Barick.... Ha-owse!" (haha. Tried to get the funky accent in there)

 

Griffon anyway, was absolutely awesome. Loved it. I think it barely eeks by Sheikra IMO. It was the airtime I got on this that just adds that extra edge. I loved Sheikra for it's more forceful turn up into the MCBR, the tunnel, and for the fact that it seemed to be integrated better into the park than Griffon is. However Griffon IMO has a much better finale after the 2nd drop. Sheikra, while integrated better it seems with the tunnel, turn over restaurant, and splash that REALLY gets bystanders wet.... ride wise, it doesn't do all that much after the tunnel. I rode it when it still had the old trains and the round water scoops, but the water splash could really be felt braking the train before the air hill into the turn to the brakes. On griffon, I didn't feel it at all. Anway, I prefer Sheikra for its planning/design into the park, and Griffon for its more intense ride/finale.

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It's just weird thinking that a massive Arrow sat here. My mom and I ended up sitting for the concert RIGHT where the the cobra roll and helix sat. I've seen pictures of the empty field and boarded up station, but it totally didn't compare to being there in person knowing exactly what was here. Also a contributing factor was the fact that I had ridden it.

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Transfer building.

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Back side of the station.

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Taken from the train.

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All overgrown and boarded up. At least they put this area to good use in the summer and for halloween.

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GAH! Being my 1st time back since then.... this was a little weird in person. That newer looking pavement I knew immediately is where a couple footers sat for the turn in between the Cutback and corkscrew.

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Now... back to Drachen Fire. I at least had the pleasure (or pain) of riding it twice. At 7years old.... mostly pain because of where my head sat for perfect Arrow OTSR ricocheting!

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There's me again in the front row on the end seat.

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OMG! Did you here that water got into the wheels and made it super slick so that it went too fast for the brakes to stop the train and crashed!!!!!! Oh and everyone died too.... naturally!

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The money shot would be if their was an Alpengeist train on the drop or in the cobra roll.

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Omg. 2 trains in 1 shot.

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There's me in the front row in the seat closest to the camera with the arms up.

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This one... same thing. Cool stuff.

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I really liked how this turned out.

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Looks like 71mph did a number on the landscaping there.

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LOVED how this turned out.

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I like how it blurred out the back-round.

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Turned out well

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Close up!

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1) Look at the girl in the pink tank top in the front row.

 

2) Look at all the girls in the back row.

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BAM! "OMG!!! AHHHH!!!!"

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holding.... holding... holding...

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And of course 1 for the lift enthusiasts.

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for the pre-lift enthusiasts...... if there are any at least.

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Loading station.... WITH a Griffon sign! WOW!

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I thought this was a nice shot of the queue.

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Overview of the entrance.

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Time for a slew of Griffon shots.

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I miss that place so much. I really wish I could get back out there one year before BBW leaves. It must be really sad to go to a park and see an empty spot where a coaster once stood. I do that every time when I go to Gadv and see Chiller's old spot.

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nice photos man. I haven't heard much about BBW closing recently (as in the last month or so). But I haven't been looking very many places either.

 

I'd like to find out where the the whole rumor started, and hope that the park would make some sort of announcement if it is true. They announced the last days of Le Mans raceway before Griffon construction started, you would think they would do the same with one of their most popular rides.

 

*edit... guess I had some bad timing on this one

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