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Busch Gardens Williamsburg (BGW BGE) Discussion Thread

P. 455: Opening night of Howl-o-Scream!

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...One thing I found odd especially cause I was just at 4 other parks in their chain in the last month(Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, adventure Island, SeaWorld Orlando and Aquatica Orlando) was that they weren't using metal detectors to get into the park. I just simply walked straight in cause they were only checking bags. I just found it strange since the other 4 I went to all made everyone go through a metal detector...

 

The metal detectors at the FL parks are a recent implementation (within the last couple years). They started out with temporary detectors during the holidays and then put in more permanent ones in the last year. The Disney & Universal parks have them as well. They may just not feel the need (as of yet) to put them in the VA parks. IMO they just give an overwhelming sense of security to the GP.

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We did the Coaster Insiders Tour... After Griffon, we headed over to Alpengeist, which was down unfortunately, but still got to tour the maintenance bay and see a "demo" of the locking mechanism for the restrains and how magnets slow the train down (it was cool to try and push a brake fin through the magnet).

 

Verboten: After we rode, they took us up to the operators booth above the station. It was cool to see the cameras in the show house - as they are infrared since it is so dark in the building (the people looked like cartoons on the train).

 

They then took us over to what was IMO the best part of the tour - going in the show house while the ride was operating. We got to see the four different versions of the show and see trains screaming past us (or trying to see at least). We then got to walk up to the second launch area where the train goes up to the "bridge" before the final drop by the river.

 

If you're any sort of enthusiast, I HIGHLY recommend this tour. The "observer" price is only $50 - and you essentially are guaranteed at least two rides on most of the coasters and some really neat views of the park that most guests do not get to see. The tour lasted about 4 hours total (they stopped for snack breaks too).

 

That tour sounds AWESOME! I can't believe they let you in the ride op booth and show building for Verbolten - that'd definitely be the highlight for me! What were the other options for the tour you took and what was the difference, since you said yours was just an observer? $50 is a steal for something like that. About how many people were on the tour?

 

I did a Penguin Encounter during xmastime there and also a wolf training tour. Both were a lot of fun. I haven't been to BGW since then (prob 3-4 years now) because we've been spending too much time traveling to the various Cedar Fair parks, but the tour you described will definitely get me back soon. How far in advance did you book? Thanks for telling us all about it!

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There are two options for the Coaster tour - Participant ($75) that includes the ride up the lift in Griffon's side car) and Observer (everything but the Griffon ride up). We had to do the Observer version since Griffon's side car was not working that day.

 

We booked about 3 weeks out - and there were 8 people on the tour (plus the two guides).

 

They only offer the tour on certain days as well.

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I'd lean more toward a slower lift being theoretically "quieter" (given the ride's proximity to residential areas) and also because the ride's so short this makes it seem longer or spend less time on the brake run as others have mentioned

 

Forgot about sound as a possibility, that's a good point! Drachen Fire actually had the standard loud "Arrow" rollbacks opening year, but all the kingsmill people complained about how loud it was during morning testing/green tagging, and a silent rollback was invented. It was actually pretty nifty. There was a catch bar mechanism that slid down if the trains started to roll backwards, but didn't actually engage the ratchet bar otherwise, so there was actually no contact until a rollback started to happen. It was sorta eerie hearing the trains go up the lift completely silently. The device itself was pretty nifty, and IIRC, partially home grown. Actually there were a lot of cool things about those trains. There were red trim lights on the trains that were powered by an old MoPed battery hah.

 

Actually, one of the requests the park had for Alpengeist when it was built was a silent rollback system, so B&M put a special polyethelene/polyurothane hybrid on the rollbacks and chain dogs to make it silent too. Apparently that stopped being an issue or the park stopped bowing to the Kingsmill people, because those Alpengeist rollbacks are louder than hell in recent years.

 

Speaking of Alpengeist,

 

After Griffon, we headed over to Alpengeist, which was down unfortunately, but still got to tour the maintenance bay and see a "demo" of the locking mechanism for the restrains and how magnets slow the train down (it was cool to try and push a brake fin through the magnet).

 

That's news to me! When did Alpengeist get magnetic brakes added? Glad to hear my favorite coaster in the park is getting some love!

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I was at the park yesterday, this was my second visit and my first time with a Busch Gardens platinum pass. I really enjoy everything about this park. One thing I found odd especially cause I was just at 4 other parks in their chain in the last month(Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, adventure Island, SeaWorld Orlando and Aquatica Orlando) was that they weren't using metal detectors to get into the park.

 

To the best of my knowledge, BGW has used metal detectors only once--right after 9/11.

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That's news to me! When did Alpengeist get magnetic brakes added?

 

I don't think it has...? I just watched a few POV's ranging from a year ago to 5 days ago... and all of them still show the coaster running with friction brakes.

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That's news to me! When did Alpengeist get magnetic brakes added? Glad to hear my favorite coaster in the park is getting some love!

 

Not sure if they're actually used on Alpengeist, but they had a demo in the maintenance bay that was a brake fin you could hold and then try and push through a natural magnet to show how it would slow down a train. It was really difficult to push through.

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Alpengeist is the father of all inverts. It may not be the best, but no other invert is as imposing and grand. Closest you get is Banshee but even then it's not the same. It's just something about how Alpengeist rises above the trees and everything around it that makes me love it.

 

 

Very well said. I remember seeing it for the first time a decade ago and being blown away.

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I was in awe my first visit to BGW in June of 1997, especially when I came upon Alpengeist's Immelmann. The only park I had ever been to before then was Carowinds. Before riding this beast, the tallest coaster I had ridden was Carolina Cyclone....well I think I rode LNM first earlier..but still a big jump. This was my first Invert and what an invert to start off my love of them. While I've ridden better since, it's still in my top 10 (as noted below).

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My only visit to BGW was somewhere around 2000. I remember Apollo's Chariot was new but I'm not sure it was the first season. I remember as a teenager being so impressed with Alpengeist, particularly by its size, location, and theming. We visited SFMM pretty regularly and I had ridden Batman a number of times before that, so Alpengeist was at least my second B&M invert. But for a long time after that Alpengeist was my favorite invert, probably up until I rode Banshee a couple years ago (I don't get caught up in favorites or top 10s or whatever anymore). I'm really hoping to get back to BGW in the next couple years.

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It's Official! My Sis and I are going up for Food and Wine Fest, Memorial Weekend. (I know, we're crazy) We're both excited to check out Tempesto and InvadR since these were not there when we visited in 2014. We both love BGW so much and can't wait to go back even though it will probably be slammed! This park holds a special place in my sister's heart as her first park ever and her first coaster was LNM.

I cannot wait!!

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^ Lol yeah. I actually "found" it the first time in my garage in the 90s, and since it was expired at the time but cool I thought I should keep it. I've had it in storage with a variety of other cool park swag. I've been meaning to put up a little display in my home at some point and just never got around to it. I have a 20th anniversary park mug, Stein with the Burgermeister on it, some LNM/BBW stuff from when it was still "The Old Country," a bunch of Drachenfire stuff (mugs, shirts, a hat), an Alpengeist shirt from 1997 that has all the world record stats on it, a bunch of pins (including Questor!) and so on and so forth all the way up to my Tempesto mug from when it came out. Looking forward to adding an InvadR item to the collection!

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For the locals...

 

I will likely be visiting BGW for the first time on a Monday and Tuesday in early August this year. I know this type of stuff is difficult to predict, but would a Quick Queue pass be needed? We'll be spending two full days at the park from open to close, and I know they have lots of people-eating B&Ms, but I just thought I'd ask if that is a busy time of year to visit. Thanks in advance.

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^ Could go either way. Mon/Tues are typically "low" attendance days, but august is august. Those are certainly the best days of the week to assume lower attendance. BGW is weird though. Sometimes you go on a weekend and can walk right onto coasters. Sometimes you go on a weekday and are waiting an hour.

 

With that said, outside of Hallowscream and major holidays, wait times are rarely more than an hour for any ride, and you're far more likely than not to see wait times of 5-15 on most coasters, with Tempesto being the only one to have a somewhat longer line (though still usually short). On a hot day, the water rides are the longest lines in the park by a longshot, and the skyride can also have pretty long lines, especially towards the end of the night when people don't want to walk anymore.

 

I'd recommend you go hit up Tempesto first thing when you arrive. Loch Ness tends to have it's longest line at the start of the day and taper out to near nothing later on, save the busiest days. Verbolten often has the longest looking line, but moves very quick due to duel loading. If you start at Tempesto, you're also primed for Apollo right there, you can hit up the festa/Italy flat rides, then follow the circle hitting Verbolten, DarKastle, more flat rides, then through to Alpengeist, Invadr, Griffon, then back to the park enterance for LNM. Make sure to ride LNM and Griffon in the back if nowhere else, the airtime is insane. Apollo is also spectacular in the back. If you have time for both a front and back ride on Tempesto, they offer different experiences. Alpengeist is good in every seat, still one of my top 10 roller coasters of all time, and my personal favorite in the park. Make sure to brace yourself before going through the cobra roll and MCBR on Alpengeist, it's from the era when B&Ms still had balls and throws you around a bit. Rest of the ride is super smooth. LNM is a very non-arrow Arrow, so it's a very smooth ride by Arrow standards.

 

DarKastle is really fun for what it is, so don't miss out unless simulators make you sick. They have a lot of oldschool carnival flats that are really worth a spin as well. Mach Tower is the worst drop tower I've ever been on, when it's even open, so if the line is too long don't bother (though the view is really cool).

 

Also, the show in Ireland is really cool if you're even remotely into step dancing. Trappers smokehouse is awesome to eat, but the quality tends to differ throughout the day. At major meal times when there's a line, it's the best food in the park. At shoulder times, it can be lackluster. The food at Das Festhaus is really freaking good too though, especially if you like German food. Italy has a newish marketplace with a lot of variety. I haven't had a bad thing from them yet, though I haven't lived in VA for years now.

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DarKastle is really fun for what it is, so don't miss out unless simulators make you sick. They have a lot of oldschool carnival flats that are really worth a spin as well. Mach Tower is the worst drop tower I've ever been on, when it's even open, so if the line is too long don't bother (though the view is really cool).

 

I don't get all of the hate for Mach Tower. The ride gave a great view and I found the drop was almost as good as an Intamin tower. I know it had Lightning Rod syndrome opening year but I do enjoy that ride.

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DarKastle is really fun for what it is, so don't miss out unless simulators make you sick. They have a lot of oldschool carnival flats that are really worth a spin as well. Mach Tower is the worst drop tower I've ever been on, when it's even open, so if the line is too long don't bother (though the view is really cool).

 

I don't get all of the hate for Mach Tower. The ride gave a great view and I found the drop was almost as good as an Intamin tower. I know it had Lightning Rod syndrome opening year but I do enjoy that ride.

I'm with you, It's not a terrible drop tower, sure it's not the best, but it's not as bad as everyone makes it out to be.

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Just a question for a possible June visit... I noticed that the online one day ticket price and the Fun card are the same price. Are there any other tickets out there that might be a good fit for a family that just wants to visit the theme park and not Water Country?

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