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Busch Gardens Williamsburg (BGW BGE) Discussion Thread

P. 466: Mardi Gras at Busch Gardens

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Well if it's going in the Italian part of the park then the color scheme should be annoying, just like Italians!


Joking aside, I actually like the colors, and I think the ride is a great addition to the park.


Poor Joke to begin with. Anyway, if they wanted a good color scheme why not make it look like the italian flag?

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Opening Night of Christmas Town 2014


TPR was invited to check out this year's version of Christmas Town at Busch Gardens on Friday, November 21. And it really felt like Christmas Town that night with temperatures in the low 30s and some pretty wicked wind chill. But, hey, "Jack Frost nipping at your nose," and all that--it just helps set the mood. Well, that and more than eight million Christmas lights.


The entire park, with the rather odd exception of the Sesame Street Forest of Fun, participates in Christmas Town. Holiday Hills in Festa Italia sports "retro" decorations, much like you would've seen in a small town in the 1940s or '50s. Italy glows with silver and gold lights, while Oktoberfest's decorations are more colorful and boisterous. France is, once again, celebrating the "12 Days of Christmas" with white trees and, lavender lights, and penguins (yes, the Antarctic birds are back again). Ireland is, of course, very green. The single most spectacular display is the Polar Pathway by Escape from Pompeii, where you can have your picture taken with a Coca Cola polar bear.


So, what's new at Christmas Town this year? The big attraction is the new show in the Globe Theatre: Scrooge No More, which is the park's take on Dickens's classic A Christmas Carol. I'm sure most of you are familiar with the story: Ebeneezer Scrooge, thanks to the intercession of three different Christmas spirits, transforms from a miserable, miserly misanthrope into a rather giddy, good-heated, "God bless us, everyone" generous gent--all in about 30 minutes (at least at Busch Gardens). Yes, it is a rather fast-moving version of Dickens's story, with an original score. While I don't think you'll be humming the tunes when you leave, the show takes full advantage of the new projection and sound upgrades the park made this year, and even includes a little flying around (I didn't know they'd installed a flying rig, too). Good staging and an energetic cast playing multiple roles make for a good addition to Christmas Town--very enjoyable for families. All of England is pretty much themed to enhance the new show (much as it was for London Rocks and Monster Stomp on Ripper Row earlier this year).


The park's other shows are all holdovers from previous seasons: Deck the Halls in the Festhaus, Gloria in the Abbeystone Theatre, Miracles in the Teatro di San Marco, and O Tannenbaum, the synchronized lights-and-music show in front of the Festhaus.


There is, of course, plenty of holiday fare to choose from at the park's restaurants. The park treated us to Santa's Fireside Feast in Castle O'Sullivan in Ireland, which featured a very nice turkey dinner, as well as a chance to have your photo taken with the "Right Jolly Old Elf." Santa also tells the story of "Twas the Night Before Christmas," and Mrs. Claus and her elves work the room to make sure all their guests are happy (and that they've saved room for some very good cookies). One odd thing: the only beverage available was water, from what I could tell. I don't recall seeing a single soft drink there. You can get a steak sandwich, as well as turkey, at the Festhaus. Dickens' Tavern (or Squire's Grill) in England offers clam chowder and carved ham. The park also offers a buffet in heated tents in the Black Forest picnic area behind the Festhaus, as well as Dasher's Diner in Holiday Hills. There are traditional Christmas goodies everywhere, and a good selection of adult beverages, such as egg nog at Grogan's, spiced wine in Germany, and an intriguing gingerbread IPA (which I still need to check out) in England. You can also purchase a souvenir mug, which you can refill with hot chocolate for only 99 cents.


Verbolten is the only coaster that runs during Christmas Town, and you can also ride the sky way (called the "Flight of Lights"), the train, and most of the park's flat rides. Mach Tower operates in "elevator mode" as "Nacht Tower."


Here's a look at how Busch Gardens celebrates the Holiday Season.


The ever-festive bag check area.


The park is also working with the US Marines' "Toys for Tots" program this year. I'll be sure to bring something to donate when I visit the park again.


I wonder if the creepy "Cursed" guy from Howl-o-Scream had to decorate this tree. His cell was here just a month ago.


England is all dolled up for "Scrooge No More."


Here's a bit of "repurposing": This creepy pub from Howl-o-Scream is now the equally creepy offices of Scrooge & Marley for Christmas Town.


These wreaths are new for this season.


This is one of many photo-op spots in the park.


"Dickens Tavern: Serving the Public since 1843. Have some ham. You know you want it."


Here's where they were serving the gingerbread IPA, as well as other Christmasy concoctions.


The highland cows wish you "Happy Christmas."


Coca Cola is sponsoring the Polar Pathway this year.


Careful--you just might end up on You Tube.


The soccer game has been replaced with snowballs.


There was a brief lighting ceremony at the Festhaus to kick off Christmas Town.


Park president Carl Lum said a few words, . . .


. . . which were hard to hear because of this helicopter.


A switch was thrown, streamers went up . . . then nothing happened until, I guess, someone plugged in the extension cord. ;) But all the lights came on, and Christmas Town was officially open!


Festive gaming and gambols, anyone?


Who could turn down a Minion for Christmas? They really are taking over, aren't they?


Mistletoe Marketplace is also open for all your Christmas craft needs. DarKastle is closed, but I'm sure King Ludwig charges these vendors a pretty hefty rent.


From Germany . . .


. . . to the North Pole. (You can visit Santa here, too.)


This drummer in the Christmas store in Germany is almost as creepy at the animated snowman in Holiday Hills.


Need a nativity scene? What size? Busch Gardens has you covered.


This tree is decorated all year long.


My, what big balls you have.


You can purchase a Christmas Town ornament for each country represented at the park this year . . .


. . . or just a plain Christmas Town one, if you prefer.


Heading out of Germany.


"One of these days, sweet vengeance will be mine! Mine, I tell you! For now, I shall saw this candy cane--patiently."


"On the [fill-in-the ordinal] day of Christmas . . ."


What the heck am I gonna do with "9 ladies dancing"?


Of course, I'd rather have them ladies than 10 leaping "lords."


The penguins were very excited that night.


Well, except for these guys, who had just been fed.


Need gift ideas? Just check out this tree. More to come.

Edited by cfc
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Even more festiveness!


Hmm--I do believe we're heading into Ireland.


Time for dinner--in a nice, heated room.


"Ho, ho, ho . . . no! What did Santa just step in?"


Kris Kringle has a good-sized entourage.


"Well, I tell you, that dog was this freakin' big! I barely made it up that chimney alive!"


Taking a "selfie," er, I mean "elfie."


All kidding aside, Santa is great. He does an excellent job with "Twas the Night Before Christmas."


We had great priority seats for the new show--right in the center.


"Toys? Peddling? Why, I have no idea what you're talking about, officer."


Everybody on the streets of Olde London Towne is having a great time . . .


. . . until Dickens's version of "Buzz Killington" shows up.


Scrooge could totally snicker snag on Cratchit from up there.


"Oh, I'm gonna 'bah humbug' you people so bad . . ."


The Ghost of Christmas Past is rather spunky--like Carol Kane in "Scrooged."


Scrooge watches in horror as he realizes that younger Scrooge is so not going to score that night.


Still, he does get to do some Dickensian line dancing.


The Ghost of Christmas Present in his traditional garb.


This picture is a bit blurry, but it gives you an idea of how they use projections to show Scrooge's passage through time and space.


Scrooge meets the Cratchits.


"God bless us, everyone!"


"Pull my bony finger, Scrooge!" (I loved the little puppet raven on the shoulder of the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.)


Wow! Scrooge is a better human being now! Who saw that coming?


The "Scrooge No More" was a very popular dance craze in 1843.


"Well, time to give the Cratchits a collective heart attack."


"This kid is heavier than he looks."


And that's "Scrooge No More." It's very enjoyable, and a good addition to Christmas Town.


Let's check out some more holiday decorations, shall we?


After listening to the carolers, of course.


Coca Cola is the proud sponsor of the Polar Pathway.


"I will hide behind this tree. Then I will pounce."


I wonder if Coke is getting the electric bill for this display?


The burning tree is back in Italy.


I rather like Holiday Hills, as it reminds me of how my hometown was decorated when I was a kid.


Of course, we didn't have a teacup ride or a Himalaya . . .


. . . but we did have giant, frightening Santa heads.


"Ho, ho . . .darn! Where'd I put my cell phone?"


The good people of Coca Cola strike again!


There's just something about those huge, old-fashioned Christmas lights . . . as long as they don't start a fire.


Time to head home and warm up with a hot shower.


Good night from Christmas Town! That's all--thanks for reading.

Edited by cfc
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^ Loving those pictures!


So I'm planning my first trip down to Busch Gardens - this May - and I was curious if they still sold the Statix models? I saw on the iterwebs some pictures of the Griffon model and the Alpengeist model... Are there any others? I just want to know about how much they would run for down there if they even still sell them, I got the two Cedar Point models for $14 each on a Cyber Monday sale! But they were selling the Gatekeeper one for almost $30 so I have no idea what they would cost in a SeaWorld park... Thanks guys!

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Coasterdynamix has been out of the park for several years now. Not sure what's going on with the company but they very rarely have anything in stock, and when they do it's all gone extremely fast. Either Busch didn't renew their order for the trains or CD discontinued their shipments to the park, but regardless they are not there anymore. The only ones I've seen recently in any parks are the I305 trains at KD, and I believe Cedar Point still carries them for Millennium and Maverick (Dragster, Raptor, and Gatekeeper have all been discontinued to my knowledge). Jack from Coasterdynamix has a forum account on here but I'm doubtful he'll see this post or respond.

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^Come to think of it, I haven't noticed the train models at BGW for a while, either (but have seen them at KD).


Meanwhile, getting back to Christmas Town, who else is planning to go this year? I'm definitely heading back to try that gingerbread IPA at the bar in England and to sample more of their holiday fare.

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^Come to think of it, I haven't noticed the train models at BGW for a while, either (but have seen them at KD).


Meanwhile, getting back to Christmas Town, who else is planning to go this year? I'm definitely heading back to try that gingerbread IPA at the bar in England and to sample more of their holiday fare.


As nice as you made that seasonal temperature sound for Friday night, I think I'll be going this afternoon/evening to take advantage of the un-winter-like 60 degree day! I need to verify if the excellent holiday dessert pretzels and fresh fried donuts have made their return! Of course, if I really am looking for my dreams to be fulfilled, could they possibly make a cinnamon sugar pretzel wrapped bacon...

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First of all, thanks for the update as always Chuck.


I love how BGW takes the worst looking area of the park and makes it the best looking Christmas area of the park during ChristmasTown. I'm talking about Holiday Hills of course.


Also, I'm not so sure how I feel about the hanging garland around England's clock during the day (looks cheap), but at night I like the use of white lights on the clock and in the area much more than the colored lights.

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Also, I'm not so sure how I feel about the hanging garland around England's clock during the day (looks cheap), but at night I like the use of white lights on the clock and in the area much more than the colored lights.


I've found that most Christmas decorations look like crap during the day, when you can see all those wires. But at night, they look good.

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As for the Statix trains, I was at BGW in October and was looking for the Griffon train as it is one I am missing from my collection and I asked several shops and no one had it. I also looked for 305 at KD and they didn't seem to have any of those either. If someone has one of these they would be interested in selling or know where I can get either one, please let me know!

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As of Sunday there was little development. No more track or supports installed, but I wouldn't expect them to have done much in 2 days. I got a few different angles of the project and the beginning of what looks like will be the queue building.








This is where the Splashus Maximus water balloon game was located.





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I would think Busch Gardens would want a duel station as well. It would help the queues dramatically. I think I'll wait to ride this in March 2016 when the place is dead.


A "duel station"? Yes, a few good swordfights to pass the time might be entertaining. A "dual" station would've been nice, too.


Meanwhile, who is planning to get a steak sandwich at the Festhaus during Christmas Town? I know I am.

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So despite earlier plans to skip Christmastown this year I decided to get a pass and once again enjoy Busch Gardens transformation into a wintry wonderland, preferably during weekends with temperatures approaching 60 degrees.


I began by not looking up when the park opened and arriving at 2, when nothing of substance would open until 2:45. On the plus side that meant I was the second person of the day to see the penguins, and I didn't need to wait for 90 minutes like I did last year. The penguins are still cute and the decorations inside are nice, though the experience is a tad short for the waits it gets.


I had some nice rides on Verbolten (it's so nice when no one else in the train knows what's going to happen) and the Wave Swinger and then hung out with Jeremiah and Nicole for some tasty food and shows. I was pleased to see that the Cinnamon Cranberry Pretzel has returned, though I opted for the also delicious Chocolate Pretzel Nuggets. In an inspired moment Jeremiah got a bacon pretzel with chocolate sauce, but alas it's just a chocolate colored peppermint dip. Still, perhaps a red velvet bacon pretzel is in order for the future.


The Festhaus show was OK, traditional Christmas songs. Over in Ireland Gloria was also a fine Christmas show, though I noted that they never actually sing Gloria during it. Scrooge no More is my favorite show to come to the Globe this year, though it had a few glitches with the projection system throwing up a London Rocks information screen and having some double vision moments- I'd like to see it again, moderately catchy music and some cool costumes for the villagers.


Leaving the show was completely magical as it was snowing! Sure, the ground was covered in soap for some reason, but looking up at all the lights and the falling white stuff was rather breathtaking. To end the night we looped around the Skyride, stopping at the North Pole to visit Santa. This was my first time seeing the big guy at Busch Gardens. The very excited elves were great (even when attempting to get 4 adults excited about seeing Santa) and Santa was awesome too. I think theme parks put Santa in a better mood than shopping malls...


Anyway, can't wait to get back for some more food, see Miracles and enjoy another snowy night. Maybe with my real camera so I can try to get good nighttime pictures- here's some from the trusty iPhone.


Thanks to the $12 ticket deal there were plenty of people waiting for the park to open.


The teacups look so much better covered with lights


The penguins might get all the attention, but they aren't the only birds here for Christmas.


The ravens are not back for Christmas though, though you might see some snow


And partying with Santa. He played it coy, but maybe if we're good we'll get a roller coaster for Christmas. In the meantime, get out there and enjoy those dessert pretzels!


First stop- Penguinland!


Who doesn't love penguins?


Come visit me! I'm amazing!


Also amazing to some people will be the Pumpkin Pie Crepe (likely the same people getting the Pumpkin Latte here)


Always take the bow off the car before driving.


It's Christmas! Thanksgiving is on Thursday, but there's a tree and I'm happy!


A required stop for anyone's trip to Busch Gardens.

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