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Busch Gardens Williamsburg (BGW BGE) Discussion Thread

P. 466: Mardi Gras at Busch Gardens

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Since joining the Navy, it has been difficult being away from BGW. I'm about to finish up my initial training, and got my first set of orders. Imagine my joy when I saw that I was going to be stationed just "down the road" (20-30 minute drive) from BGW. I can't wait - might be there with enough time to hit up Howl-O-Scream, and certainly Christmas Town!

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Quick opinions of the HOS activities from opening night...




(JACK IS BACK) - 5/10

Very cheesy but "cute", I guess you could say. Lots of dancing with loud explosion-like noises. Definitely could've been better, but at the same it could've been worse too.



MSR was very impressive. It was the first time I've ever seen Monster Stomp and I was just in awe after it was over. Those were some amazing moves the actors and actresses were doing, and the two lead singers were actually pretty good. I would probably be willing to see the show again if I had the time.


(FIENDS) - 4/10

To be completely honest, the only redeeming quality Fiends had was the hot nurses. I mean, HOT. But still, the show itself was terrible. Partially, I suppose, because it was focused on the nurses. That's ok, but it didn't really work that well.





I was nervous going into Stitchin' Time because its theme just creeps me out. But during our journey through, the scareactors really weren't scaring, but just walking around aimlessly. The theming was decent. I believe that this is a scare zone you need to walk through at night in order to get the full effect of it.



I do not like spiders whatsoever, but I felt the focus of the zone was more on the chainsaw-wielding maniacs. Am I the only one who feels that they don't really fit into a scare zones themed to spiders? Regardless, they did a good job with scares. Honestly, it was the best scare zone of the night.


(UNLEASHED) - 5/10

Although it was set up in a nice style that would make for some great scares, I think I only saw one or two scareactors during the whole walk. With some more actors, Unleashed would have been a great zone in my opinion.



It had just started to rain when we went through Scavengers and there were no actors so I'm not going to rate this one since there was no experience to base it off of.



Given that I am terrified of clowns, I was expecting to be screaming like a girl going through Grin and Scare It. Instead, I was just focused on getting the clowns to scare another member of my party. Although the zone was pretty good, it would without a doubt have been the best one if it covered all of Festa Italia. I don't like the safe zones.




(BITTEN) - 7/10

Bitten was the first maze we did, right when it opened. We were the third group to go through. I must say, the maze was much better than last year. I jumped a few times and even screamed once. It was very dark despite the daylight outside. Decent theming combined with a good crew of actors made Bitten a great maze.


(CATACOMBS) - 8/10

I definitely screamed a lot in here. Like Bitten, it was much, much better than last year and it was a lot longer too. They did a great job with the lighting and scenery and it was very eerie. The actors did a fantastic job and Catacombs was probably my favorite maze.


(13: YOUR NUMBER'S UP) - 6/10

After exiting, I was really impressed with 13. At first. Then as I pondered on it, I realized that it really wasn't that great. The whole idea was really neat and they put a lot of effort into it, but the actors didn't do much for it and some of the rooms were just absolutely terrible (the bat room, for example). Also, the death room just felt like too much of a cheap gimmick. Not a great house, but definitely not the worst of the night.


(DEAD LINE) - 6/10

The reason I'm giving Dead Line a six is because of the theming. It's absolutely spectacular. I'm talking the best scenery I have ever seen in a maze at any park. Simply amazing. However..... the actors did a terrible job of backing it up. I'm hoping that during our journey through the actors were on a break or something because there just weren't very many. The subway room was terrific, though, and reminded me a lot of The Doll Factory's finale at KD last year.


(FEAR FAIR) - 3/10

Pathetic maze to sum it up. The scenery was ok, I'll give it that, but the crew was awful. They just stood around and did nothing. This was the last maze we did, around 9pm, so perhaps the actors were just tired and losing their game. Whatever it was though, the maze was terrible. And I'm terrified of clowns.




To sum everything up, HOS opening night 2011 was great. It was much better than previous years. Though I might not return this year (as I'd rather go to Haunt at KD), BGW did a really nice job with the event, and I'm hoping that the lackluster crews will get better as they get more practice throughout the season. Thanks for reading!

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-Monster Stomp Revamped; 9/10 - A bit shorter this year, but still a great show!




-Bitten; 5/10 - A few decent scares, overall not that great though. It seemed to be lacking actors.

-Catacombs; 8.5/10 - GREAT scares. A bit longer than last year, but unfortunately still REALLY short.

-Dead Line; 7/10 - Glad to finally see a change to "Revenge of Pompeii". Scares were few and far between, but they were good. Also, the last room was AMAZING. Just saying.

-Fear Fair; 6/10 - This seemed like Universal in style. It was a pretty nice humor maze, but overall the scares here were only decent.

-Thirteen, Your Number's Up; 9/10 - LOVED IT! The whole theme and set-up of the maze was incredible. Simply incredible. The best maze BGW has had in years IMO. If I have one complaint, it's that the scare actors seemed to be few and far between. Otherwise, perfect. The death room was incredible.


Scare Zones:


-Grin and Scare It; 6/10 - A few pretty decent scares, but there seems to be many scare actors (around 10 I'd say), confined to the little bridge from Italy to Festa.

-Scavengers; 7/10 - Loved it. The maks were creepy, and there were some decent scares to be had.

-Stitchin Time; 4/10 - What? I mean, for starters, the theme is just plain weird. Doctors? Zombies? Cannibals? What? Second, there were almost no scares to be had here, and the actors stayed to the main path, making them easy to see and predictable.

-Unleashed; 7/10 - Pretty good scares here.

-Widow Makers; 10/10 - I. HATE. CHAINSAWS.



Overall I give this year a B+. I loved the return of the scarezones, though granted they were small and contained. Bitten was a bit weak, I feel it was on life support last year, and this year could very well be its last. Catacombs, however, was revived in full glory. GREAT maze. Fear Fair was "cute" but not necessarily scary, the two other new mazes (13 and Dead Line) had very successful debuts, and were both OUTSTANDING. The shows, as usual, were high quality and great fun. Good year for Howl-O-Scream, though some of the mazes seem to lack actors.

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I agree that Cataombs was much improved over last year, and that Fear Fair was the weakest of the bunch (but there is some potential there). Overall, I thought HOS was pretty solid last night, and the event does tend to improve as the month grinds on. Dead Line and 13 were very good, as well.

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I got to attend HOS employee night last Thursday and it was good. The park only had two mazes and one scare zone open to us, which was a disappointment, but overall I had a good time.


I did some wandering around the park yesterday and explored the rest of the scare zones that I missed on Thursday.


Scare Zones


Scavengers – 2/5

The atmosphere both nights was pretty good, but the scares were too concentrated at the entrance and the exit. There were at least two people at the entrance and about three at the exit with one person in the middle. During team night there were only three people at the entrance. This maze could’ve benefitted from more people.


Stitching Time – 1/5

This zone didn’t have as much atmosphere as the other areas and the actors really weren’t going out of their way to scare people outside of one or two jump scares here and there. The area had plenty of actors to go around, but they mainly just stood there, which was kinda disappointing.


Unleashed – 4/5

One of the better scare zones, the atmosphere was great and the scares were everywhere. The camouflage actors combined with costumed werewolves was really well-done! My only disappointment is that the zone is a little small and there were tons of props, but not enough actors. Despite that, it’s definitely one of the better zones.


Grin and Scare it -- 3/5

A solid scare zone, the actors were ok and there were a few scares here and there. I loved the puppeteer clown. Wandering through a few times, there weren’t enough jump scare or stalk scares to bring this up to a 5. Most of the actors just stood around doing nothing. There was a decent amount of props, but they weren’t used as well. Like it was mentioned before, this area would’ve been better if it were longer.


Widowmakers – 5/5

Easily the best zone in the park. When you see streams of people running and screaming out of the scare zone (and running all over the place inside the scare zone), you’ve got a good scare zone. The chainsaws plus the fog really added a lot to the atmosphere, providing the most scares. On top of that, the actors went out of their way to scare anyone that waked by. This was also probably the largest scare zone in the park, taking up all of New France. My main gripe is that the park didn’t utilize the spiders like it could have, but that doesn’t take away from the rating because the zone was so good.




Deadline – 4/5

I enjoyed this maze. Being behind a group when I went, I managed to miss out on a lot of the scares, but it was fun to watch their reactions. Actors were kinda sparse and hit-miss when it came to scares but the theming made up for it. Subway car was awesome!


13 – 4/5

I got some solid scares in here, despite having a lack of actors (much like Deadline). One of the big standout rooms was Fear of Falling. It took me a while to realize it was fake. Theming doesn’t compare to Deadline though.


Overall, from what I’ve seen so far, BGW did a good job with HOS this year. Music and atmosphere all around the park was great! My only gripe is that the scares were a bit lacking and maybe the park could benefit from having a few actors wandering outside the scare zones. Most of the scare zones were too small to utilize their full potential or didn’t have enough actors jumping out at you. Still, for my first HOS, I enjoyed it.

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^ Dark Side of the Gardens is the overall theme for HOS this year.


On another note...

Verbolten construction is going full steam now! The floor of the warehouse is now concrete and what looks like footers are being placed into the ground. The building walls are a little higher than they were last week. Decorations have already been placed in the future queue area (look toward the construction wall by BBW's old entrance).


Only a matter of time before track arrives!

Edited by netdvn
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By the sounds of those reviews, it sounds like BGW improved HOS quite a bit compared to last year as it was very weak in my opinion. I'm very excited to experience the maze Dead Line and the scarezone Unleashed as I feel like those will be my favorites this year (but that could change). Just a quick question, what is the main entrance plaza theme to this year, the roses with eyeballs? Also, it is a shame that people are complaining about Fiends just like they did for Fangs last year at KD...

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I'm hoping to go to BGW for the first time in about 2 years. I live right by it, but can never find the time. However, I have a question for those who have been to howl-o-scream: do any of you see any benefit to shelling out for the quick queue? I was even considering the howl-o-scream tour since it's a family event with myself, my fiance, my sister, and her boyfriend.

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^If you go on a Saturday night, spring for the Quick Queue (the park has been known to reach capacity on Saturday during HOS). Friday night is the best time to go (no Quick Queue necessary), and Sunday can be busy, but not crazy like Saturday.


At least this is my past experience.

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Since joining the Navy, it has been difficult being away from BGW. I'm about to finish up my initial training, and got my first set of orders. Imagine my joy when I saw that I was going to be stationed just "down the road" (20-30 minute drive) from BGW. I can't wait - might be there with enough time to hit up Howl-O-Scream, and certainly Christmas Town!


NAS Norfolk? I go there a lot.

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