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Busch Gardens Williamsburg (BGW BGE) Discussion Thread

P. 457: Pantheon Roller Coaster POV!

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I'm taking my family to the park this Saturday for the lunch with Jack Hannah and the wolves experience for my little sister's birthday. Any tips on the park for those more familiar with it than I? My mom and I would like to hit all of the coasters and DarKastle, we're hoping crowds will be light.

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HOS crowds start off manageable and get progressively worse and worse as the day progresses. Make sure you hit all major rides early or expect 45-60 minute waits for most major stuff. Verbolten might be worse.

 

Make sure you get in line for the mazes early or you'll be standing in 60-90 minute lines. Mazes will have smaller crowds around closing time too so if you run to one around that time, lines should be fairly short.

 

Medium rides are a little different. After around 6-7, lines for medium rides shouldn't be that bad. Expect a decent wait for those during the day and an average summer day crowd during HOS.

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Thanks guys! I actually had no idea that HOS was starting this weekend. Honestly we were only going for the Jack Hannah lunch, so finding this out is SUPER helpful! I don't know if we'll be doing any of the mazes or not, but either way its going to be fun.

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Thanks guys! I actually had no idea that HOS was starting this weekend. Honestly we were only going for the Jack Hannah lunch, so finding this out is SUPER helpful! I don't know if we'll be doing any of the mazes or not, but either way its going to be fun.

 

Yeah, Howl-O-Scream is starting super early this year, but I sure do hope you have fun! Just be ready for Howl-O-Scream crowds, the park does sometimes reach capacity during Howl-O-Scream on Saturdays, but only as it gets later in the day/evening, so you should be more than okay!

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Sundays shouldn't be as bad. Hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

 

That being said, from past experiences, doing HOS in September is still far better than coming in October, when the park closes to capacity every weekend. Last year, both HOS weekends in September were completely dead (Saturdays included). As long as you hit all the major rides early in the day when crowds are manageable, getting rides in later shouldn't be too big of an issue.

 

Verbolten's been pretty moody this weekend, so just be weary of any shutdowns. Once again, always hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

Edited by netdvn
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Sundays aren't bad at all. I usually go on Sundays and the longest I've ever waited was about 45 minutes for Bitten, everything else is usually walk-on to 15 minutes tops.

 

Fridays are worse than Saturdays, but pretty bad. Saturdays are... you're a brave soul if you try to visit Howl-O-Scream on a Saturday.

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I attended the passholder appreciation event today which was pretty uneventful. They announced everything that was posted a page back about howl-o-scream and gave a little preview of Night Beats which looks like it will be a good show to watch.

 

They did announce two things announced that I like. First, they are expanding Christmas Town into Festa Italia and now have 8 million lights total.

 

Yeah, but does that mean they're running Apollo for Christmas??? That and Verbolten or something and they've got themselves a fairly decent amusement park .. at least for the only game in town, and considering the rides usually aren't crowded.

 

(Sorry, couldn't hit "quote" because of that ad running down the right hand side of the page.)(edit: actually its OK on IE 6.5, ad dissapears entirely. With Netscape 7.2 I have an ad over everything I can't get rid of. I wrapped quotes around the quote but it didn't say who wrote it like initiating the post with quote. These are the most recent browsers I can use with my oldOS/smallHD/RAM/P2powersupply.)

Edited by bill_s
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(Sorry, couldn't hit "quote" because of that ad running down the right hand side of the page.)

 

What are you talking about? You used the quotes correctly. Not sure how the ads were causing a problem in the first place, unless your browser settings are out of whack.

If he uses Internet Explorer, that's the best he can get .

 

Just buy a Quik-Queue. It always worth the laughs when you just walk past the MASSIVE haunt maze lines.

This. If you use anything along these lines (no pun intended) at any park on a busy day, it will usually pay off in the end. This seems to be especially helpful if you've never been, or want to do all of the mazes.

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Just buy a Quik-Queue. It always worth the laughs when you just walk past the MASSIVE haunt maze lines.

This. If you use anything along these lines (no pun intended) at any park on a busy day, it will usually pay off in the end. This seems to be especially helpful if you've never been, or want to do all of the mazes.

 

Exactly, And the beauty of the QQ is the benefit of taking in the day at your own pace. No scrambling to hit all the mazes.

 

But for those looking to have a good time at HOS, I'd make sure to hit....

 

Catacombs, Bitten, Deadline, Root of Evil (though i haven't experienced it nor have there been any reviews, the concept behind this maze sounds incredible.), take in Fiends.

 

The Open Casket sounds pretty cool too!

 

BTW, tonight is the first night, excited to hear some of the reviews from the night. I'll be there Oct 6th.

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Well, the masses are taking to FaceBook to complain that opening night didn't go perfectly. I only had time to do two houses, but Fear Fair seems to be a whole new maze and much better maze, Dead Line is still great too.

 

The Roaming Hordes concept is really neat, it just didn't work out tonight. They had a "roving hoard" of clowns, and one of chainsaw wielding, deformed, something or others. The clowns ran around, I bumped into them twice, the chainsaw wielders I saw headed down the path from France to Ireland and than never again.

 

I have faith the problems can be fixed, I mean there's not too much wrong with the houses, just the manpower!

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I posted my review of the event on *some other fansite*. It was a good time, although the park really does need to tweak some stuff before calling the event a total success.

 

A lot of fun to be had opening night. Crowds were minimal until around 6 when the park was swarmed with people. I didn't see any shows yet so I won't comment on those.

 

Mazes

Bitten: 20 minute wait: I really liked this maze. Even though it was just like last year's, it was still really fun to walk through. Got some good scares out of it, plus it helped to be behind a few chickens. Rating: 5/5

 

Root of all Evil: 30 minute wait: This maze had some really cool surprises. They guy in the pool, the Lady of the Gardens, the alternate path, all awesome. Unfortunately, this maze has a lot of missed opportunities as well. Too many people standing around, not enough props to hide behind so everyone is in plain sight. Plus the makeup looked really cheap. Some people got into the act, which I appreciate, but it left a lot to be desired. Rating 2/5

 

Fear Fair 10 minute wait: Another disappointment, there weren't enough people and not enough hiding spots. I got some good scares, but I was walking through too many empty rooms and too many missed opportunities. One of the sections was just a long hallway with too much fog and no scares whatsoever. I miss seeing the chainsaw clowns, but their replacement was pretty decent. Rating 2/5

 

Deadline 10 minute wait: This maze was probably one of the best. Tons of scares, tons of surprises, plus I got hit with a bit of that toilet water. There definitely were more actors than last year, which is a plus. I miss the guy with the firecrackers at the end of the maze. Oh and did the subway car get worse? I only saw one actor in there, even though I remember there being more actors in there last year. Rating 5/5

 

Catacombs: Walk on: This was one of the better mazes last year and it seems to have stayed the same. It even felt a bit longer than it did last year with plenty of scares to go around. I got a few jumps here and there plus I had the liberty of being between two groups of chickens that freaked out. Rating 5/5

 

13 was closed due to some sort of technical difficulty so I missed it.

 

Roaming hoardes were few and far between. I saw a group of clowns walking through Oktoberfest and a few zombies with chainsaws around Festa after getting off Apollo. I also found a zombie hiding behind Festa bridge, which was pretty awesome.Their makeup seemed rather cheap too. Rating 1.5/5

 

Hoardes are a good idea, but there are too few actors around to make it fully effective. Perhaps bringing back the scare zones and combining them with roamers would make the experience better.

 

Overall for a first night, it was good. Compared to last year's, it's pretty much on par with it's pros and cons. Let's hope that BGW improves the event throughout the season.

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BGW just posted this on their Facebook page, good for them for not letting mean people get the best of them.

 

Hi Fans – We’ve recently removed a few people from this fan page for making aggressive criticisms against members of the Busch Gardens’ family. As a general rule, we openly encourage and accept all of your feedback. In fact, we’ve used guest reviews to shape the Busch Gardens experience over the years, and we really appreciate all comments. But sometimes, other fans can cross the line and we don’t feel that this is the place for that kind of behavior. We do our best to make this a family-friendly forum for news, exclusive announcements and feedback. Thank you for your understanding.
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Unfortunately my dad has most of the pictures from my visit this past weekend, but here are a few that I managed to grab from my mother's facebook page:

 

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Jack Hannah and the two Tiger cubs he brought with him to the lunch. Aren't they adorable?

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This was the show is Festhaus, it was mildly entertaining and full of corny/crude jokes. My parents loved it.

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Some of the lights they had strung up over the paths and midways. Really cool effect at night.

 

We didn't do any of the Haunts as we were more focused on enjoying the park. That said, we did run into the moving horde of folks, and frankly it was never impressive. The only part that seemed to work well for it was at the end of the night when everyone was exiting and the horde followed everyone to the gate. This however also sort of backfired as it made a lot of people angry and frustrated trying to exit, in addition to the park probably losing some revenue from their gift shops (parents wanting to leave asap because of kids, etc.)

 

In the end we saw all the shows and got on all the coasters, DarKastle, and a few flats.

 

The first thing we got on was Verbolten, expecting major lines later in the evening (this proved to be accurate). It was actually quite a bit more intense than I had anticipated, even knowing what was inside the event building. The launches were powerful, and the midcourse drop was pretty much exactly what I anticipated. It still hit me by surprise though, and that was nice. The bridge creaking and groaning as the train drops off of it over the river was a nice touch, and the airtime hill at the end was pretty good. My dad was not a fan of the pitch black (even with the lighting), although he thought the drop was cool - he thought it was gonna shoot sideways somehow! Overall fun coaster, but not top 10 for me. Rating: 7/10

 

After Verbolten my family and I hit up the bumper cars and the Wave Swinger, which was fun. After that my parents decided we needed a park map so once we found one we headed up toward DarKastle. This was my first time on the ride, so it was an entirely new experience for me. Needless to say if the lines hadn't gotten atrocious later in the evening I would have totally hit this up again. The 'vertical' drop near the end of the ride felt awesome, and the special effects took my entire family by surprise. I can't wait to try some newer dark rides at other parks to see how everything has changed since this was even built. I'm also extremely hopeful that more parks will add rides like this, because it was probably my family's favorite ride as a group. Rating: 9/10

 

After that we decided to head back toward the front of the park as it was time for our lunch with Jack Hannah! Since we arrived a bit early to the venue we decided to take a small detour towards the animal exhibits. The wolves were very active, as was the Serval they had back by the lorikeet aviary. After killing some time we headed back over to Castle O'Sullivan and checked in for lunch. The buffet was VERY kids friendly, with chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, cheese sticks, hot dogs, etc. There were a few 'grown up' choices such as a delicious pork roast and stew. He brought out a bunch of animals, including the tiger cubs pictured above. Overall it was very informative and kid oriented, but he was very friendly to the adults in the audience and had to be dragged away at the end of the event for his next show by the Busch staff (he just couldn't stop talking to people, it was awesome!). We got autographed pictures of him and an African Serval, and my little sister and mother took a picture with him (on my Dad's camera). Great experience, great food, awesome animals.

 

After lunch we headed back up toward the animals to let lunch settle and kill some time before our Wolf Training Tour. We ended up watching the pet show which was cute, but overall boring. After the show we went to our tour meet up spot. The tour ended up being just the four of us and was extremely informative. They explained all the concepts behind their training, let us ask any questions we had during the information part of the tour, and we got to see the wolves relatively up close (as close as a guest can anyways). At the end of the demonstration part, we were asked to tell the wolves to do a behavior for us. Each of us got something different, and the wolves all responded very quickly and correctly. Beautiful animals, and definitely worth the money if you have a family member who is really into wolves or animals in general. This concluded the birthday part of the trip for my little sister, so me and my mother were ready to ride all the things!

 

We headed toward Alpengeist first, but we ended up riding the log flume (minus my little sister because she is pretty much scared of anything that doesn't move in a circle) and got soaked. Once done with that we headed up to Alpengeist, while my dad stayed with my little sister (he's not a fan of B&M over head restraints, they hurt his shoulders) and rode some random rides. The wait wasn't long, about 10 minutes, and we hopped on. My mother is a huge fan of Raptor, but to both of our surprise even though this ride was taller and longer, it was relatively forceless. We had both expected more from the ride, but I assume the trims have taken a lot of the punch that used to exist out of it. Fun, but kind of boring for us. Rating: 5/10

 

It was getting close to dinner time and my mother wanted to take in a show, so we headed back up to Germany and hit up Festhaus where we saw Nightbeats. It was really nice to have dinner and a show, plus the show did a lot of 80s references and popular 70s songs which made a lot of folks chuckle. Overall amusing show, well worth a stop if you are in the mood for a break. Rating: 8/10

 

At this point it was finally starting to get dark, and as we were walking out of Festhaus the horde of clowns/zombies/tree people were coming out from backstage. It was actually rather impressive the amount of actors they had, but execution wise they just didn't seem to be anywhere we were. It needs some work and fine tuning, they seem to have the people and the talent for it though.

 

We headed over toward Rome as I mentioned that we should hit up Apollo's Chariot, and got in line. 10 minute wait, and boy was it flying! Barely any trims, solid floater and ejector toward the front row, but not super intense. Great fun, my second favorite coaster at the park. Rating: 8/10

 

After me and my mother rode, my mom dragged my dad on it so I took my little sister on the Battering Ram while we waited for them to get their ride in. Once they returned we headed back through Rome toward France and caught Dig It Up, which was almost entirely a lyricless show. Awesome live band, fun tunes, and the actors seemed really into it. Didn't really have much of a plot line, but played crowd favorites stylized to a marching band esque horn and percussion ensemble. Great for band geeks. Rating: 4/10

 

With only two real coasters left, we headed toward France and Griffon. This had the longest wait of the night at about 20 minutes. Again, just me and my mother, but this was totally worth the wait. The brake on the top of the hill was AMAZING, as was the first drop and both immelans. Got some great hang time at the top of the inversions, and a solid pop of air coming off the MCBR and just before the final brake run. Hands down the best coaster at the park, and clearly a crowd favorite. The only downside was that it was a short ride, something both my mom and I lamented to one another after riding. We tried to get my dad to ride, but the restraints once again won over and he passed. Rating: 9.5/10

 

It was getting later, so we had one last coaster and show to catch. We walked back up toward Ireland and caught Fiends which was easily the best show of the day (outside of the animal attractions, obviously). On the sign outside it says that parental guidance is STRONGLY advised, and I cannot agree more. This show is NOT for families that can't handle some very raunchy humor, sex jokes, and puns. The singing was decent, the plot line was hilarious, and the ending was the best homage to Rocky Horror I've ever seen at a live show. No complaints from me or my family, but if you're sensitive to a lot of skin showing (and I do mean A LOT), sex jokes, sex puns, and raunchy/corny humor don't bother with this show. From top to bottom, it is easily the best show they have at the park this year. The only thing I can't figure out is how it got approved! Rating: 8/10

 

We walked outside, and discovered that they were selling shots just outside the theatre. Regretfully we moved past those (though my wallet is glad we didn't stop) and headed towards Lochness Monster for the last ride of the day. We walked right on to the ride, and were thoroughly surprised. I had never ridden a smoother arrow coaster in my entire life, though admittedly my arrow experience is mostly limited to Cedar Point and Kings Island. Still though, one of the better Arrows I have been on, and definitely re-rideable. I was sad that I couldn't convince my little sister to even try this one, but at least it gives me an excuse to come back to the park!

 

In general, we had a great day. The staff was extremely friendly and courteous, the lines weren't bad at all, and the food was great - seriously have you had their chocolate cake? They serve it at Festhaus and had it in our Brunch, sooooo good. Anyways, point being I cannot wait to return to this park and enjoy it more. I may have to buy a season pass next year, and my family will most likely be returning for Christmas Town. I personally am trying to attend once more with some friends to hit up the coasters a bit more later in October and ride some rides. I can happily say that this was one of the best theme park experiences I have ever had, outclassing even Disney in my book. I cannot say enough good things about this park right now, and if you're on the fence about going to it over Kings Dominion - go to BGW. Its worth the extra drive. The only reason I would go to KD over this park now is I305 and their haunt stuff. Once again, mad props to this park, we had a wonderful time.

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