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Busch Gardens Williamsburg (BGW BGE) Discussion Thread

P. 456: Information about Christmas Town 2021!

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SeaWorld laid off their creative staff a few years ago, and while there was some gnashing of teeth on the internet about that, the best thing they had managed to come up with in the the past 5-6 years was Turtle Trek. If that isn't a brutal indictment, what is?

I can tell you that people like Brian Morrow who have been working for SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment since 2006 and heads up their creative team is still there. He was responsible for attractions such as Manta on both coasts, Falcon's Fury, Verbolten, Cheetah Hunt, the new Cobra's Curse and Mako and pretty much everything SeaWorld/Busch has done for the past 10 years.

 

So while they might have laid off a couple of lower management people from their creative team (and honestly, I'm not sure who since the same people we work with now have been the same team for years) they didn't lay off any key people.

 

The only person from the creative team I can recall getting the axe during that round of layoffs was Scott Swenson at Busch Gardens, and he headed up "entertainment" and did events like Howl-O-Scream, but wasn't part of the attractions creative team, at least as far as I was aware.

Edited by robbalvey
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^Like Robb, I've not heard of anyone besides Scott Swenson being let go from SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment on the creative side. Mark Rose and Brian Morrow are both still very active in the company--Brian was interviewed by TPR at the last Cobra's Curse construction event.

 

The problem SeaWorld Parks are having isn't with creative... It is with their public image (which is already expected to recover).

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^ And just to double check, looks like Scott was on the creative team, but in shows & entertainment:

 

Director of Production (Creative Services) Busch Gardens Tampa

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment

November 1993 – December 2014 (21 years 2 months)Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida Area

-Various titles held during tenure at Busch Gardens Tampa from Front Line Performer, to Supervisor, to Director (2009-2014)

-Spearheaded the creative development and installation of shows and events

-Researched, negotiated and contracted performers, directors, designers and producers

-Participated in strategic planning and development

-Coordinated cross-departmental communication and brainstorming sessions

-Taught communication and interview skills classes

-Participated in the development of companywide projects (You Are the Message, Summer Nights Task Force, Howl-O-ScreamTask Force etc.)

-Participated in the creation of Howl-O-Scream and contributed to the creative development and operation for the first 15 years (acting as Creative Director for 8 years, Creative Producer for 2 years and Media Spokesperson for 15 years)

-Highlighted Projects

---Angels of Peace (Ice Show) – Producer/Writer (winner of the 2014 IAAPA Heart Beat Award)

---Iceploration (Ice Show) – Producer (winner of the 2012 IAAPA Heart Beat and Best Sports Show Awards)

---Rhino Rally– Trainer/Writer

---Sights and Sounds: A Rainforest Adventure– Writer/Performer

---For the Birds (Bird Show) – Writer/Trainer

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^Like Robb, I've not heard of anyone besides Scott Swenson being let go from SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment on the creative side. Mark Rose and Brian Morrow are both still very active in the company--Brian was interviewed by TPR at the last Cobra's Curse construction event.

 

The problem SeaWorld Parks are having isn't with creative... It is with their public image (which is already expected to recover).

 

I'm wrong then. I thought I had read otherwise and I think it must have been a misunderstanding on my part from the news that Morrow was released or bad info given.

 

That being said: Is Antarctica really their best effort as an attraction? Being honest.

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^ They've certainly had their hits and misses over the years...

 

If you spend money, you should expect return on investment. If the team you're looking to spend money through isn't delivering results, maybe you start looking at the team?

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^^^I don't begin to defend Antarctica but the same creative team is behind Falcon's Fury, Cobra's Curse, Mako and Blue World... While Blue World won't be built, you have to admit that had it been, the concept would likely have been a creative pinnacle for SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment.

 

I truly don't believe SeaWorld Parks' creative is at fault here for the brands' struggles. It isn't like the creative regime had changed in the past decade to recognize a difference in concept quality between the two. Clyde and Seamore take Pirate Island was no better than Clyde and Seamore High. Mako will likely be on par with Apollo's Chariot. I don't know that, besides embracing emerging amusement park trends like new ride systems and construction capabilities, the caliber of attractions produced has really changed.

 

^It is hard to gauge true results of the impact of things like Antarctica and TurtleTrek given the time and PR climate the parks were in when they debuted. Manta significantly drove noticeable results as it was one of the first major Orlando investments post-economic downturn leading into the recovery period. Again, factors that wouldn't likely be blamed on the creative and entertainment teams, but on the human factors that prevent a guest from spending/considering to spend money at these parks.

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^^^I don't begin to defend Antarctica but the same creative team is behind Falcon's Fury, Cobra's Curse, Mako and Blue World... While Blue World won't be built, you have to admit that had it been, the concept would likely have been a creative pinnacle for SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment.

 

I truly don't believe SeaWorld Parks' creative is at fault here for the brands' struggles. It isn't like the creative regime had changed in the past decade to recognize a difference in concept quality between the two. Clyde and Seamore take Pirate Island was no better than Clyde and Seamore High. Mako will likely be on par with Apollo's Chariot. I don't know that, besides embracing emerging amusement park trends like new ride systems and construction capabilities, the caliber of attractions produced has really changed.

 

^It is hard to gauge true results of the impact of things like Antarctica and TurtleTrek given the time and PR climate the parks were in when they debuted. Manta significantly drove noticeable results as it was one of the first major Orlando investments post-economic downturn leading into the recovery period. Again, factors that wouldn't likely be blamed on the creative and entertainment teams, but on the human factors that prevent a guest from spending/considering to spend money at these parks.

 

I feel bad because I don't want this to be a thread where I call for some people's professional careers to be ended. I don't know what limitations they were given, and that's not a fair thing to do to them given the circumstances. I do call into question a lot of the ride and show choices at those parks, even with the big steel they're building this year in Florida. They've also chosen to go with some ride systems that were "not ready for primetime" and I don't think there's a lot of argument that it has had a damaging effect on their gate when things like Mach Tower or Falcon's Fury turn out to be months late. But my bloodlust should be largely satiated: the top of the company has been turned over, and we'll see how things go from there.

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I don't think the concept for Antarctica was bad nor the creative team, it probably came down to budget and unfortunately they just didn't have the funds to flesh out the concept fully. I think this project at BGW should be fine, SW does a great job at themeing their coaster, I expect this to not an exception.

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If wanted, the new coaster can have Mini-llenium Flyer trains, which are meant for kids and adults, all in a smaller package! I'd think they'd just go for the normal Millennium Flyer trains though.

The trains look pretty cramped, though. And even though this new coaster is a little small, it's not woodstock express-sized. I don't know how the mini trains will run on the track or keep its speed. Has anyone been in the mini-llenium trains, and are they cramped and do they run like normal millennium flyer trains?

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I rode the Mini Millennium Flyers at the media event a few years back at LEGOLAND Florida.

I rode with Robb in the front seat and we could barely fit side by side.

 

They should just stick with the regular trains, unless they are trying to make this a true kids/family ride.

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I rode the Mini Millennium Flyers at the media event a few years back at LEGOLAND Florida.

I rode with Robb in the front seat and we could barely fit side by side.

 

They should just stick with the regular trains, unless they are trying to make this a true kids/family ride.

They must be doing the regular trains then. It seems like they're going for a small but more intense coaster, not a regular kid-sized woodie. And it isn't THAT small, just about slightly below average for a wooden coaster.

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Really the only part of this ride that considerably smaller than other GCI coasters is the length. It tops out at 48 mph but almost every GCI gets like 50-53 mph. I think the shorter trains are actually a good sign because that could mean tighter elements which would make the short length less of an issue (the reason why Outlaw Run seems longer than Goliath).

 

As for the height restriction, I'll wait for final renderings to see what they're actually going for. 42" would've been great but if this ride isn't suitable for 42" people (in terms of intensity) than that's not a terrible height restriction. Looking at BGW's competition, Kings Dominion has two 40" rides (Woodstock Express and Avalanche) which are both more towards younger kids. Then you get to Ricochet at 44" and everything else is 48" or above, so I don't know if the park is really suffering with family coasters but 42" or even 44" would've been nice. Things can always change and it's more than a year out from opening at this point.

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I've ridden White Lightning before. It's a MUCH more thrilling ride than it looks. With Invadr's (likely the name) terrain, tight turns, and theming, the ride will be a top notch wooden coaster even with it's smaller size.

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Really the only part of this ride that considerably smaller than other GCI coasters is the length. It tops out at 48 mph but almost every GCI gets like 50-53 mph. I think the shorter trains are actually a good sign because that could mean tighter elements which would make the short length less of an issue (the reason why Outlaw Run seems longer than Goliath).

 

As for the height restriction, I'll wait for final renderings to see what they're actually going for. 42" would've been great but if this ride isn't suitable for 42" people (in terms of intensity) than that's not a terrible height restriction. Looking at BGW's competition, Kings Dominion has two 40" rides (Woodstock Express and Avalanche) which are both more towards younger kids. Then you get to Ricochet at 44" and everything else is 48" or above, so I don't know if the park is really suffering with family coasters but 42" or even 44" would've been nice. Things can always change and it's more than a year out from opening at this point.

Kings Dominion being as unbalanced for family coasters doesn't make it "ok" for BGW. I posted perfectly good examples of parks that do it right. Most Cedar Fair parks suffer from this problem. In fact, I often tell people "if you're kid is shorter than 48" avoid Cedar Fair Parks."

 

And that's not a negative, it's just the culture of the park and demographic they are going for, which IMO is kind of a shame.

 

Busch, on the other hand, appears to want to play more in the "theme park" space and less the "amusement park" and in order to do that you need a more balances selection of rides. And when parks like Six Flags Over Texas and Over Georgia get it right, it's just disappointing to me that Busch still has yet to install a suitable "family coaster" replacement for Big Bad Wolf.

 

Replacing a 42" coaster with a 48" one is terrible, IMO. Where at BGT they are replacing a 48" coaster with a 42" one. That's the way it's supposed to be done, IMO.

 

Part of the reason we don't go to BGW very often is because our 9 year old daughter is still too short for most of the parks coasters. She can ride a total of TWO of the full-sized coasters at BGW while at SFOT she can ride 8. How can BGW call themselves a good "family" park when you can only ride two big roller coasters at 9 years old???

 

That's my frustration with all of this.

 

I expect better from Busch Gardens.

Edited by robbalvey
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Really the only part of this ride that considerably smaller than other GCI coasters is the length. It tops out at 48 mph but almost every GCI gets like 50-53 mph. I think the shorter trains are actually a good sign because that could mean tighter elements which would make the short length less of an issue (the reason why Outlaw Run seems longer than Goliath).

 

As for the height restriction, I'll wait for final renderings to see what they're actually going for. 42" would've been great but if this ride isn't suitable for 42" people (in terms of intensity) than that's not a terrible height restriction. Looking at BGW's competition, Kings Dominion has two 40" rides (Woodstock Express and Avalanche) which are both more towards younger kids. Then you get to Ricochet at 44" and everything else is 48" or above, so I don't know if the park is really suffering with family coasters but 42" or even 44" would've been nice. Things can always change and it's more than a year out from opening at this point.

Kings Dominion being as unbalanced for family coasters doesn't make it "ok" for BGW. I posted perfectly good examples of parks that do it right. Most Cedar Fair parks suffer from this problem. In fact, I often tell people "if you're kid is shorter than 48" avoid Cedar Fair Parks."

 

And that's not a negative, it's just the culture of the park and demographic they are going for, which IMO is kind of a shame.

 

Busch, on the other hand, appears to want to play more in the "theme park" space and less the "amusement park" and in order to do that you need a more balances selection of rides. And when parks like Six Flags Over Texas and Over Georgia get it right, it's just disappointing to me that Busch still has yet to install a suitable "family coaster" replacement for Big Bad Wolf.

 

Replacing a 42" coaster with a 48" one is terrible, IMO. Where at BGT they are replacing a 48" coaster with a 42" one. That's the way it's supposed to be done, IMO.

 

Part of the reason we don't go to BGW very often is because our 9 year old daughter is still too short for most of the parks coasters. She can ride a total of TWO of the full-sized coasters at BGW while at SFOT she can ride 8. How can BGW call themselves a good "family" park when you can only ride two big roller coasters at 9 years old???

 

That's my frustration with all of this.

 

I expect better from Busch Gardens.

 

What about Herheypark? Laff Trak, Comet, Sooperdooperlooper, and Trailblazer are all 42" or higher. Also despite being a kiddie coaster, Cocoa Cruiser seems to have no maximum height requirement going by the park's website. That's a nice lineup for families. Then the taller park patrons have Wildcat, Wild Mouse, Great Bear, Lightning Racer, Storm Runner, Fahrenheit, Sidewinder, and Skyrush.

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^^Oh I agree completely. I wasn't meaning Kings Dominion's issues as being an excuse for BGW to lag behind, more pointing out that BGW doesn't necessarily need this ride to be 42" to have any claim to be more family friendly than Kings Dominion. Both parks do a pretty mediocre job at this and if this ride ends up being aimed at younger kids and families than I'll be among the first to say I don't understand this ride. If it's marketed as a slightly scaled down Prowler than 46" might fit the ride, but not the park. If it's marketed as trying to outdo Woodstock Express than this ride makes no sense at 46".

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What about Herheypark? Laff Trak, Comet, Sooperdooperlooper, and Trailblazer are all 42" or higher. Also despite being a kiddie coaster, Cocoa Cruiser seems to have no maximum height requirement going by the park's website. That's a nice lineup for families. Then the taller park patrons have Wildcat, Wild Mouse, Great Bear, Lightning Racer, Storm Runner, Fahrenheit, Sidewinder, and Skyrush.

Hersheypark is a great example of a park with a balanced line-up for all ages. My 9 year old can currently do 8 of the "Adult sized" coasters at that park. Again, at BGW she can do... TWO. At 7 years old, she could still do four of the coasters at Hersheypark where at BGW should could ride ZERO.

 

And I know some people may argue that BGW doesn't have THAT many coasters, but look at a park like Silver Dollar City. At five years old she was riding coaster like Powder Keg and Thunderation. Those are both AWESOME rides for a younger rider. Tell me why BGW couldn't put in a ride more like Power Keg to fill that void they have of "bigger rides aimed towards younger audience."

 

Big Bad Wolf closed down 7 years ago and they STILL have not filled that gap it left, and they won't be doing it in 2017 either. Will it go ten years before BGW has another big ride for 42" riders? Just seems like someone who is choosing what kind of rides the park gets is not looking close enough at their current offerings.

 

Again, I'm not saying that the GCI woodie won't be a good or popular ride, I just personally think that's not what the park *needs.*

Edited by robbalvey
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What about Herheypark? Laff Trak, Comet, Sooperdooperlooper, and Trailblazer are all 42" or higher. Also despite being a kiddie coaster, Cocoa Cruiser seems to have no maximum height requirement going by the park's website. That's a nice lineup for families. Then the taller park patrons have Wildcat, Wild Mouse, Great Bear, Lightning Racer, Storm Runner, Fahrenheit, Sidewinder, and Skyrush.

Hersheypark is a great example of a park with a balanced line-up for all ages. My 9 year old can currently do 8 of the "Adult sized" coasters at that park. Again, at BGW she can do... TWO. At 7 years old, she could still do four of the coasters at Hersheypark where at BGW should could ride ZERO.

 

And I know some people may argue that BGW doesn't have THAT many coasters, but look at a park like Silver Dollar City. At five years old she was riding coaster like Powder Keg and Thunderation. Those are both AWESOME rides for a younger rider. Tell me why BGW couldn't put in a ride more like Power Keg to fill that void they have of "bigger rides aimed towards younger audience."

 

Big Bad Wolf closed down 7 years ago and they STILL have not filled that gap it left, and they won't be doing it in 2017 either. Will it go ten years before BGW has another big ride for 42" riders? Just seems like someone who is choosing what kind of rides the park gets is not looking close enough at their current offerings.

 

Again, I'm not saying that the GCI woodie won't be a good or popular ride, I just personally think that's not what the park *needs.*

 

With the rumored expansion coming to Hersheypark, who knows, there could be even more family coasters added in the coming years. I am curious to see what types of rides they would build. As for Busch Gardens, I'm curious if they could move the Clydesdale area that's next to Italy to another location. That seems like a prime location for a new roller coaster. Like I said above, Laff Trak at HP is family roller coaster. Perhaps they could build a similar spinning coaster (but not enclosed) and theme it as if it were a Leonardo DaVinci invention and the riders are part of its test.

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