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Busch Gardens Williamsburg (BGW BGE) Discussion Thread

P. 443 - A Night at Busch Gardens' Christmas Celebration

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Christmas Town looks like it keeps getting better every year. Now if they could open up a few more coasters, that would be uber nice. I have never been on any of the coasters at BGW at night and would imagine that any of them would be a blast - especially in the colder weather.

 

Couldn't agree more. Christmas Town is great, but it would be nice to open another coaster or two like Nessie or Alpengeist, especially since it's already snow themed. I guess the lack of coasters being open is due to maintenance, weather and staffing so it's kinda understandable. I went to Christmas Town last year and was able to marathon Verbolten since it was raining and it was a complete walk-on. The Christmas trees at the bottom of the last drop was a nice touch as well.

 

First, great photos Chuck! I made it opening weekend and will have some pictures to add in a few. As to Phil, you might be interested to know Alpengeist is open this year! I was really shocked to see an Alpengeist height restriction at the front of the park when entering, but thought I better not get my hopes up since it wasn't listed on the map, but then BAM! She was running! It was particularly awesome because the normal "lit" areas during night rides for Alpengeist were closed and dark (such as the rhine river, log flume etc) but the lights where on everywhere else. So going up the lift you got a great view of all the lights in the park, then an old-fashion BBW style experience night ride for the rest of it! Best Alpengeist night riding I've ever had, which was a real treat for me since it's my favorite ride at the park.

 

I'll have pictures along shortly!

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So these pictures are a few weeks old now from opening weekend of Christmas town, but now that I'm back home from visiting family I wanted to share them!

 

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Train decked out. Went ahead and did a daytime lap and a nightime later.

 

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England looking good day or night... though best at night of course!

 

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Wait, what's this? That's not on the map!?

 

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I have a soft spot for the bald eagles, so I always go see them.

 

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I also have a softspot for the highland cows. That skyride station is going to look great at night!

 

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New resident moved in on Griffon now that it's closed.

 

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I always find the floating santa heads to fit better with hallowscream... maybe it's just me.

 

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Meant to come back at night for this and forgot, glad Chuck got the shot!

 

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I love the old fashion feel of some of the signs.

 

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Trade winds renamed and with white/blue lights for the season.

 

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Well, I tried to get a good shot anyhow.

 

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For all the complaints I see of others, Mach Tower is somehow working every single time I go.

 

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I don't remember this from other years. Maybe it was there, but I don't recall.

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Festive arches. Ok, now I seem to remember seeing a certain coaster open that wasn't on the map.

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Well I'll be, she's running! Best ride in the park. Also the weather has apparently been so warm in VA that not all the trees had changed.

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Actually for this opening weekend it was a nice warm 65 degrees, with a high earlier in the day at 71!

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Ok, one lap on the skyride before it gets dark

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Love these cows man

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This will look great at night

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Getting darker...

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...by the minute!

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So exciting!

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I love how each area of the park has a dominant color of lights.

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And the trains of course are pimped out too.

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I don't remember there being lights on the Drachen Fire site in previous years, but here they are now!

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The animal reserve area actually looked a little creepy, but it was a very pretty green, and the fresh pine smell was amazing!

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England is my favorite at night though

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So pretty!

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Nice blue while entering Scotland. More to come!

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^ For myself, I think the best part of the visit would be riding the skyway above all those beautiful lights.

 

I remember the skyride at Disneyland being just awesome, when it was dark, above all of Fantasyland

and then Tomorrowland (or the reverse way).

 

Thanks for sharing your visit!

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If Alpengeist permanently ran during this event (even with a 42 degree limit) I'd consider going. In any case, nice to see they opened it up for a little bit.

 

It definitely wasn't open last Friday night. They had benches blocking the entrance plaza.

Edited by cfc
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I saw on BGW's instagram that Alpengeist was only open for the first few days of Christmas Town. Now it's back to being just Verbolten.

 

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Such a bummer because I definitely would've been going to Christmas Town this year if it was kept open...

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Out of curiosity is the temperature limit a liability thing? Great Adventure is blowing the lid off of any rumors that B&M coasters physically can't run in temps below 40 degrees, they're running them all below that (even when it's below freezing) and they all seem to be running well. When are other parks going to follow suit?

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Christmas Town isn't about the rides; people go there for the decorations, the food, and the shows. Staffing and budgets come into play, too--why pay to keep a ride staffed and operating if very few people are queuing up for it?

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Oh, sorry to get anyone's hopes up. I thought maybe they changed it this year. Before Verbolten, Alpengeist was open for all of Christmas town. Verbolten does make more sense for the target demographic though.

 

Also, when I worked these coasters, they told me the weather issue was the grease, not the ride itself. Also, I think it is dangerous to run them in the cold. We had an incident when I worked on the Big Bad Wolf where the temperature dropped drastically one night. We got the call to shut down, but a train sitting on the ready breaks outside the station actually got stuck and wouldn't entee the station. If we had waited any longer, we could have had a real problem on our hands. Eventually we had to just wait til the next day, and maintanence even had to take heaters to the wheels to get it moving again. Maybe in normal running the rides produce enough heat to stop this, but in the event of an unplanned shutdown, you might have a train that won't start moving again and needs to be evaced, or worse, you might see a valley.

 

Six flags isn't a company I trust. I don't know if they have clearance to run that low, but I wouldn't be surprised to learn they're skirting the rules. I don't think that companies historic willingness to do shady things should be raised up as a worthy standard. Again, though, maybe they do have heaters or something else that makes it ok. I don't work there so I don't know, buy history has taught us to follow engineers instructions or face the consequences.

 

NASA was warned not to fly Challenger in the cold, but managers overrode the engineers because "it will probably be fine and it's been fine in the past." Obviously roller coasters won't explode, but they can valley or have other issues. Until B&M comes out and says Great Adventure is cleared and within guidelines, I'll stay wary and trust them as a better source on the machine they made than the six flags managers.

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Six flags isn't a company I trust. I don't know if they have clearance to run that low, but I wouldn't be surprised to learn they're skirting the rules. I don't think that companies historic willingness to do shady things should be raised up as a worthy standard. Again, though, maybe they do have heaters or something else that makes it ok. I don't work there so I don't know, buy history has taught us to follow engineers instructions or face the consequences.

 

I think this is a little over-the-top... to be fair what's the worst that can happen? Even if the ride valleys nobody will be put in danger, and honestly none of the coasters looked close to doing so. They all seemed to be running at a decent clip, I've seen them run much slower. Apparently it has something to do with the wheels they're using. I don't think the word "dangerous" is even close to being the right word to use here.

 

Plus the only coasters that can stop out on the course are Nitro and Green Lantern and if Nitro makes it to the mid course then it's not going to valley. It only valleys before the mid course but with these wheels it's running really fast. Green Lantern shows no signs of valleying either but if it did that would be a wonderful service to the people on the ride as they wouldn't be subjected to the second half of that piece of crap coaster.

 

Actually on Saturday Batman did stop on the lift (it was in the 50's at that point so probably not weather related) and got evaced. About an hour later the sun went down, the temps dropped a lot and the train had been sitting and when they tested it empty it ripped through the course. That ride is out of control, I don't think there's any way it'll ever valley. There are no slow points anywhere on the layout.

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^ That is interesting about the coasters at SFGA running full-tilt for the most part this season. I agree with you in that SF is most likely not going to run coasters that violate the coaster manufacturer's rules. Too much at stake if there is a risk of anything more severe than a valley.

 

I agree with Chuck that BGE seems to be wanting to make this more of a family-friendly event by only having the flat rides open along with Verbolten. Although I would almost think that due to the technology of Verbolten, that they might have more issues with this one in the cold than they would during the regular season. And the same could probably be be said for Mach Tower too.

 

If they got clearance from B&M and opened the coasters above 40 degrees for the event in coming years, I would definitely make the trek. But as mentioned, It seems as if they are making it family-friendly for now...and there certainly isn't anything wrong with that.

 

Also worth mentioning, the Eastern US is getting much higher temps than normal so far this season. Heck, Cedar Point could be open right now...they are calling for a high of 63 here on Sunday and highs between 55-60 all weekend in Sandusky!

 

And also of note...as many know, Dollywood also operates all of their coasters until the temps reach around 40. When we were there a few years ago, it was in the low 40's (maybe even lower) and they had everything open but the water rides. We even took a frigid night ride on Thunderhead where I thought my nose was going to freeze and fall off. And that coaster was hauling some serious ass - the 2nd best wooden coaster ride in the dark that I have ever had outside of the Beast in the front seat.

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The slowest I've ever seen a B&M run was Dominator on the same weekend that hurricane put a coaster in the ocean, I was wondering if it was going to make it. It was cold but mostly it was the wind. Wind forces vary at the square of the velocity, so if a coaster goes into the wind it slows it more than the wind at its back helps it. Sideways wind even increases drag.

 

I went to Christmas Town the first few years. At first it was a kind of unorganized event which I kind of like. As it's gotten "better" it's only more clear it's not my thing. I'd ignore that for more coasters, but only one is a tease.

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I will say one thing about the temp thing. When I worked at Islands of Adventure a couple years ago we couldn't run Hulk due the weather not going above a certain temperature. So it's weird six flags can run them but maybe its a Operator decision

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How long does the line for Verbolten tend to be on average during Christmastown? It seems like the event is mostly geared towards families with very young kids so I'm wondering if the line isn't too much worse than during the normal season. It'd be awesome if they ran Alpengeist simply because of the theming, but I wouldn't mind settling for a few laps on Verbolten (a ride I actually enjoy more). Great reports, the lighting display looks beautiful!

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How long does the line for Verbolten tend to be on average during Christmastown? It seems like the event is mostly geared towards families with very young kids so I'm wondering if the line isn't too much worse than during the normal season. It'd be awesome if they ran Alpengeist simply because of the theming, but I wouldn't mind settling for a few laps on Verbolten (a ride I actually enjoy more). Great reports, the lighting display looks beautiful!

 

When I was there last Friday night, the line was barely out of the station; then again, the temp was 39 degrees F.

Edited by cfc
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It was a very busy night at Christmas Town. The temperature was in the high 50s, so a lot of people came (they had to use the Scotland parking lot).

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It's been so warm in Williamsburg this week that they had to suspend the ice show. Looks like it'll be cold enough tonight, though (highs in the 50s, lows in the 40s).

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http://wtvr.com/2015/12/22/busch-gardens-christmastown-traffic/

 

I guess they are having very large crowds! Had to close the park due to capacity. Can't even imagine how awful traffic was and how it was effected on the highway. I feel bad for people who weren't going to the park but still stuck in traffic.

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  • 1 month later...

It looks like they're actually attempting a teaser campaign after the embarrassment of Tempesto. Good for them though, I'm already interested! I feel like they have met their quota of adult steel coasters. I'm going to cross my fingers for a custom wood RMC similar to Outlaw Run, Lightning Rod, or Wildfire!!

 

I'm assuming it's a coaster based off one person saying "the drop will go over here" in the video.

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