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Busch Gardens Williamsburg (BGW BGE) Discussion Thread

P. 452 - Busch Gardens Summer Nights

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^Fear Fair is, indeed, a much better experience if you go through it alone. I think the only true "bummer" maze that night was "The Root of All Evil," because we couldn't figure out what it was supposed to be (other than some woman shouting "Don't touch my plants!").

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Halloween Harvest, or “Howl-o-Scream Lite.” Busch Gardens is sticking with its “reservations only/limited attendance” events with Halloween Harvest during October. This is sort of “Howl-o-Scream

^^Hmm--I think your assumption is correct.  @Mike240SX I'm certainly not expecting "full operations" before Memorial Day Weekend, which isn't unusual (for example, they usually don' t start operating

Before this thread derails off course into a COVID discussion, I’ll just keep it simple:  everyone should follow their state and local guidelines.  This isn’t something up for debate on TPR. Now

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Anyone looking for a final trip to the park this weekend should avoid Sunday if at all possible. While Sundays are usually the only ideal days for BGW this time of season, Tropical Storm Sandy is plowing through and Sunday's forecast calls for a 90% chance of heavy rain with "tropical storm conditions possible".

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we are planning on being open Saturday. However, it's too early for us to know if we will open Sunday. We will have to assess the storm track and will open only if the park is safe for guests and employees.


With regards to rain tickets, if your visit is interrupted due to weather, since it is the end of the current season, we would be issuing rain day tickets for the 2013 season. Unfortunately, the Rain Day Guarantee does not have a cash value that can be refunded.


Here's a quote from BGW on their FaceBook page, where everyone is running around in circles screaming about whether or not the park is open or closed and the weather is nice or not.

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Now that the season's finally over, I'll give my final thoughts on this year's HOS.



Bitten: 5/5 - Done 5 times - I can definitely see why this maze keeps coming back year after year. The theming is good, the actors are always on point, and the scares are fantastic. I don't understand why everyone knocks this maze because it's consistently good.


Catacombs: 5/5 - Done 3 times - Another solid maze with some really good scares. The theming isn't as elaborate as Bitten's, but the great actors totally make up for it's shortcomings (a short maze with pretty minimal theming). Luckily it felt a bit longer this year than it did last year.


Deadline: 5/5 - Done 3 times - This maze was definitely improved from last year. They had some fantastic actors and the theming is top-notch (even better than Bitten's). The additional props, special effects, and scareactors really make this one of the most improved mazes from last year.


13: 3/5 - Done 2 times - This maze really needs a bit of tweaking done. The actors are pretty good and some of the rooms are really well-done, but the empty rooms, plus some of the odd scares (waiting room? seriously?) really bring the maze down. I remember it being better last year, but not by much.


Root of All Evil: 3/5 - Done 5 times - This started out as the weakest maze of the season, but underwent some major improvements as the season progressed. I still think some of the scares were really creative and well-done (Am I the only person that likes the water splashing? It's no different from getting spewed with toilet water in an abandoned subway), while others were a bit of a miss. If the park really wants to improve the maze, they should ditch the cheap makeup and come up with some more elaborate props/costumes.


Fear Fair: 1/5 - Done once - I unfortunately was only able to do this once this year, but this maze was pretty weak this year and last. I hear it's improved, but I was only really able to do this maze early in the season. Maybe next year I'll get to do this maze a few more times later in the season.


Roaming Hoards: 4/5 - Like the scare zones last year, the hoards started out pretty weak, but got stronger and stronger as the season progressed. I still think they need to add more people to the groups along with the scare zones sorta like last year's (at least change the makeup for the people in the zones so they don't look like the hoards. The bungee people were awesome though, especially the one in New France.


I guess I can't say much about the shows other than they were all amazing. BGW really pulled out all the stops this year for HOS shows.


Dig It Up: 5/5 - seen once - Like I said before, anything that combines Queen with Star Trek is a winner in my book. The actors are great and the show itself is a lot of fun to watch.


Night Beats: 5/5 - seen once - Fantastic music combined with fantastic acting all make for a great show.


Fiends: 5/5 - Probably the best show IMO. I think moving the show to Ireland was a great idea. It definitely made gave the show a little more of an "adult" feel that the old show didn't seem to have (and I guess that made it a bit more entertaining). I kinda miss Frankenstein though. Maybe they could make him part of the roaming hoards.


Overall, I'd have to put this year's event on par with last year's. The park still needs to tweak the event a bit (starting with closing the children's areas earlier for HOS prep), but I really enjoyed this year's event just as much as I did last year's.


I unfortunately missed out on KD's event though due to some unforeseen circumstances (I couldn't get a ride home), but there's always next year for that.

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Root of All Evil: 3/5 - Done 5 times - This started out as the weakest maze of the season, but underwent some major improvements as the season progressed. I still think some of the scares were really creative and well-done (Am I the only person that likes the water splashing? It's no different from getting spewed with toilet water in an abandoned subway), while others were a bit of a miss. If the park really wants to improve the maze, they should ditch the cheap makeup and come up with some more elaborate props/costumes.



I think they needed a more coherent "story" for it. The first greenhouse isn't a bad start, and I liked the bit with the pond, but there were too many stretches where nothing happens; the plants themselves are, well, just plants; and the finish was weak (yet another building filled with strobe lights). I was glad to see the "Lady of the Gardens" character in there, but they needed to do more with her. Perhaps they should change it up next year to a possessed garden that's trying to claim your soul (that way, they could still keep the zombie groundskeepers and give the Lady more to do).

Edited by cfc
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Now that Howl-o-Scream is over for 2012, guess what's next at Busch Gardens Williamsburg . . .


One of the Largest Holiday Displays in the Country Opens Nov. 23


Williamsburg, Va. (Nov. 1, 2012) – The world’s most beautiful theme park is about to transform into one of the largest Christmas events in the country as Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Va. celebrates its fourth season of Christmas Town: A Busch Gardens Celebration.


This year guests can have themselves a very retro yuletide as the sights, sounds and nostalgic good cheer of a vintage Americana Christmas comes to life. Holiday Hills welcomes guests to a time gone by when holiday traditions were bold, flashy and warm as apple pie. Holiday Hills will open in the park’s Festa Italia section. The new area expands Christmas Town’s footprint and offers guests additional ride and restaurant choices this Christmas season. See below for additional details about Holiday Hills.


With the one million lights added to the park to create the new area, Christmas Town: A Busch Gardens Celebration now features more than six million twinkling lights that adorn nearly every building and tree in the 100-acre park. The light count makes the Williamsburg park one of the country’s largest Christmas light displays.


The entire family will get in the holiday spirit with dazzling shows, Santa’s workshop and gift ideas for holiday shopping. The parks’ signature 50-foot-tall, animated Christmas tree boasts nearly a quarter-million twinkling lights that dance to a musical score.


Many of the park’s world class rides and attractions are also open (weather permitting), including the all new Verbolten, an indoor/outdoor, multi-launch roller coaster which debuted this past spring. The park’s tallest ride, Mäch Tower, will operate in observation mode for Christmas Town so guests can take a leisurely 240-foot ride above the park for a Santa’s eye view of the park. In observation mode, Mäch Tower will then slowly lower guests back to the ground.


It takes a 70-person team thousands of hours and just over three weeks to install and transform the park to a winter wonderland. More than 1,500 fresh-cut Christmas trees are placed throughout the park’s pathways and hills, 700 wreaths decorate doors and windows and 20,000 ornaments are carefully placed on trees.


Christmas Town opens November 23, 2012 and will continue on select days, through December 31, 2012. For more information, including an operating schedule, visit: http://www.ChristmasTown.com.


Holiday Hills (Located in Festa Italia)


Holiday Hills adds a nostalgic element to Christmas Town: A Busch Gardens Celebration. Taking inspiration from the mid-20th century Christmas Traditions, the park is transforming its Festa Italia section into an Americana Christmas. The list below provides descriptions of the main features guests will experience when visiting Holiday Hills.


Reindeer Run: Have a rockin’ retro ride with the little ones aboard a sized-down sleigh that isn't sized down on fun.


Snowman Summit: The winter wind will flow through guests’ hair as this ride spins them to smiling around a snowman and dazzling lights.


Jingle Junction: Hidden in the beautiful Holiday Hills, guests can climb aboard one of Busch Gardens’ three steam-powered locomotives at Jingle Junction. Bundle up with the family to enjoy a 20-minute trip through more than 200 acres of lush landscaping with stops in Scotland, New France, and Holiday Hills.


Peppermint Twist: No trip to Holiday Hills is complete without a ride on Peppermint Twist. These antique teacups are perfect for the entire family as guests control the whirling, twirling pace around Santa Claus at Busch Gardens’ special version of this classic ride.


Frosty Friends Photos: Storefront windows glisten during the holidays, decked out and ready for a photo, step inside our own retro version with the Frostiest of Friends.


The Stocking Stop: Take home a holiday gift, ornament for the Christmas tree, or a souvenir to make this a Christmas Town experience never to be forgotten.


Dasher’s Diner: Christmas is a wonderful time for tasty holiday treats and a family feast. Dasher’s Diner will feature many Christmas goodies including an old-fashioned, home-cooking-inspired buffet and other holiday treats. This warm and welcoming environment will bring guests back to a simpler time.


Fun Facts About Christmas Town


Six million Christmas lights adorn the 100-acre park

Eighty-five percent of the lights used at Busch Gardens Christmas Town are energy-saving LED lights

More than 1,500 fresh-cut Christmas trees are placed throughout the park’s pathways and hills

The fresh-cut Christmas trees are turned into mulch at the end of the season and used in the park’s planters and flower beds

25 miles of cables provide power

The park is wrapped in more than three miles of garland

More than 700 wreathes and artificial trees decorate inside areas, doors, and windows

800 lit snowflakes and stars twinkle

20,000 Christmas ornaments are carefully placed on the trees

900 window candles and luminaries light the night sky

Thousands of hours of installation completed by 70-person team


Carolers in England


A Christmas tree at the Festhaus


The Flight of Lights


Santa and, of course . . .




Christmas Town opens on November 23 and runs on select days through December 31.

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I'm glad to hear Verbolten is going to be open this year, although I kind of wish it were Alpengeist. I'm definitely going to have to try to get to the park for Christmas Town this year!

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They ran Alpengeist last year, but there is one issue--it can't be operated if the temperature drops below 42 degrees F (which is rather ironic for a ride themed to a chair lift in a ski area). I'm not sure what the cutoff temperature is for Verbolten, but it makes sense for BGW to run their "New Hotness" for Christmas Town.

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As I recall, they were planning to run Mach Tower in "observation mode" during Christmas Town 2011, but used it for drops, instead.

Edited by cfc
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  • 2 weeks later...

BGW is also offering a "Bounce Ticket" that's good for not only Christmas Town, but also three days at Colonial Williamsburg. You'll find more information here.

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Busch Gardens and Chick-fil-A Host Run Benefitting Toys For Tots


WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (Nov. 15, 2012) – The 2012 Christmas Town Dash 8K, sponsored by Busch Gardens and Chick-fil-A, combines family, fitness and fun in one great event benefiting the Marine Corps’ Toys For Tots campaign. On Sunday, Dec. 2, participants will get a taste of Christmas Town: A Busch Gardens Celebration during this exciting 8K run through the world’s most beautiful theme park in Williamsburg, Va.


The course is challenging, but fully paved and perfect for runners of all experience levels. Visit www.christmastowndash.com for complete details and to register.


Top winners will receive Busch Gardens’ Fun Cards while all runners will receive discounts to Christmas Town and one single-day ticket to Busch Gardens for the 2013 season.


Runners with small children or participants unable to participate in the five mile run, can join the herd in the Running of the Chick-fil-A Cows, a half-mile family-fun run. Participants will run with the Chick-fil-A Cows as they race through a shortened course in this fun-for-all-ages event. Every registered runner gets a great kid-friendly number bib and a custom finisher medallion.


A portion of the race proceeds benefit the Marine Corps Toys For Tots program that brings hope to millions of children every holiday season through the delivery of toys in time for Christmas.


Flat-Out Events is a proud partner of the event, and challenges each runner to bring two new, unwrapped gifts to Packet Pick-up or to the race on Sunday. Every runner who donates to the campaign will receive a special gift.


Christmas Town Dash 8K Details


What: Christmas Town Dash 8K benefiting Toys For Tots


When: Sunday, Dec. 2, warm-up fun begins at 7:30 a.m.


Where: Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, VA



Through Nov. 24: $45 for 8K, $10 for Fun Run.

Through Dec. 1: $50 for 8K, $10 for Fun Run.

No race registrations will be taken on race day.



One 2013 single-day ticket to Busch Gardens for all 8K finishers

Discounts on Christmas Town tickets

Long-sleeve technical shirt for all 8K participants

Custom medals for all 8K and fun-run finishers


Register: Visit christmastowndash.com for complete details and registration information

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  • 1 month later...

I'm trying to decide whether I'm better off purchasing a season pass rather than a single day ticket when I visit BGW later this year (will use parking, tour discount and 50% off at SWSD benefits).


One of the perks is a "Discount on single-day tickets for friends and relatives during regular operating season" - anyone know how much of a discount this is?

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Had an excellent time at Christmas Town this year. All three shows were awesome, penguins are now an inside joke between me and a few friends, Holiday Hills looks fantastic, and Verbolten's headlights make an awesome picture. I definitely plan to do this all over again in 2013.


Crowds are a bit of a drag though. I really hope the park opens up more major rides to diffuse the crowds. Oktoberfest was a madhouse this year.



- Gloria (5/5) Great show, great music! Still think the moving stages are used a little weird and the projections aren't as good as actual stage props, but overall a fantastic show.

- Miracles (5/5) Another wonderful show with great music and dancing. This show felt a bit short though.

- Deck the Halls (5/5) The park's Christmas carol show, being in the only indoor eatery in the park has its drawbacks (larger crowds than normal), but still a good show that actually uses mascots better than Entwined


- O Tannenbaum (3/5) Nice Christmas tree lighting show, but not so nice location. It definitely creates a bottleneck on busy days. Maybe if they used a bit of Trans-Siberian Orchestra


- Penguins (3/5) Could use a few more penguins. I feel bad for anyone who has to wait in long lines for this on a busy day. Otherwise an okay exhibit. Hopefully the park expands on this in the coming years.


- Holiday Hills (5/5) Why can't Festa be decorated like this during Howl O Scream?

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^I agree that Holiday Hills was the highlight of Christmas Town this year--very well done. And I presume that this mascot was "repurposed" from "Entwined":



I'm pretty sure there were dancing Gingerbread men in that show.

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I'm trying to decide whether I'm better off purchasing a season pass rather than a single day ticket when I visit BGW later this year (will use parking, tour discount and 50% off at SWSD benefits).


One of the perks is a "Discount on single-day tickets for friends and relatives during regular operating season" - anyone know how much of a discount this is?


The discounted tickets (10-15% i think) aren't much cheaper if at all than using one of the $10-15 off coupons you can find. I think a pass now is ~$120. and a single day ticket is ~$70. parking is $13. but you can use the pass for 1 year from the purchase date.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Busch Gardens has a new offer for Virginia residents.



WILLIAMSBURG (Jan. 18, 2013) – Busch Gardens’ popular free Sesame Street® Forest of Fun™ Preschool Pass now includes admission to both Busch Gardens® Williamsburg and Water Country USA® for qualifying Virginia residents who register and redeem their passes by May 31.


This online-only offer is available to Virginia residents (between the ages of 3 and 5) at the time of registration. It provides unlimited admission to both parks through Sept. 2, 2013. Proof of age is required at the time the passes are redeemed, and the passes must be redeemed at either park by May 31, 2013. Children 2 and younger already receive complimentary admission and do not need to register. Visit buschgardens.com/preschool for complete details.


Busch Gardens and Water Country USA offer many attractions and shows designed for the parks’ littlest fans. Some favorites include Sesame Street Forest of Fun and Land of the Dragons® at Busch Gardens and Cow-A-Bunga® and Kritter Korral™ at Water Country USA.

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  • 1 month later...

Attention residents of Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, DC, and Delaware--wanna have Busch Gardens landscape your yard?




One Lucky Winner Will Receive a Custom Landscaped Yard


WILLIAMSBURG (March 1, 2013) – Busch Gardens’ team of expert horticulturalists will take their shovels, mulch, flowers and their creativity on the road this spring for the Busch Gardens’ Landscaping Giveaway. For the first time ever, Facebook fans will choose one lucky winner to have their yard landscaped by the same team responsible for Busch Gardens’ award-winning beauty. For the past 22 years Busch Gardens has won the “Most Beautiful Park” award from the National Amusement Park Historical Association.


The giveaway starts today, March 1. To enter and to vote, visit the Busch Gardens’ Facebook page at facebook.com/buschgardens. The winner will be notified on March 18. The giveaway is open to legal residents of Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, Washington DC and Delaware.

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Don't have the need for any landscaping. However, I could use a bit of manscaping, if you know what I mean? I've kinda let the weeds grow in during the winter.


Think Busch could help me out with that?


Damn it! I live in Tteenneessee! Guess I'll have to hit up the local laser center.

Edited by Guy T. Koepp
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