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Busch Gardens Williamsburg (BGW BGE) Discussion Thread

P. 468: Loch Ness Monster Media Day Report

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Hmmm.
As someone who worked full time at the park 1994-97, this seems strange.  The weather in Virginia in Jan-March can be iffy. Kids are in school. People just don't travel during those months for vacation. And we had a really hard time getting casts for our shows in the early part of the season. 

I know a lot has changed since my days working there, and I wish them the best. Just not sure how successful they will be in getting a crowd for those cold dreary winter days.

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I think the thing to remember is that this year has taught them how to make money with an incredibly low amount of guests based on adjusting staffing, closing a lot of things and driving up in-park-spending. They operated all summer with a guest cap of 1,000 and made money doing it and based on the ride lineup this seems to be similar in scale.

I expect this to succeed and I expect it to send shockwaves through the industry just like the Christmas events have. If they make money with this then I feel like it's only a matter of time before parks like Sesame Place (which I guess is the only seasonal park left in the chain) and parks in the Six Flags chain try it too.

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This makes a ton of sense with reduced capacity. Normally the park wouldn't be able to operate profitably with all rides open, but since most people accept now that the entire park doesn't need to be open. It's much easier to fill events like these on the weekend all year long. As long as they come up with activities such as the lights and things to do around the park when it's too cold to operate the coasters, I don't really see how this wouldn't do well. Something good has finally come from this Covid mess.

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I think they just need to change people's mindsets about visiting parks in the off season.  When I lived and worked in Japan, most parks were open year round. I remember riding coasters at Expoland on my birthday (Jan 14th) with snow on the ground!
And Knotts did show everyone how to run successful events with just food and shopping.  
Hoping for success and a brighter future for all of us!

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21 hours ago, coasterbill said:

 

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See more animals than ever before during Winter Weekends! During the event, guests can enjoy the following animal experiences:

GUEST ANIMAL AMBASSADORS include capuchin monkey, baby kangaroo, lemur, serval, gray fox, vulture, crested porcupine, alligator, plus much more. Guests will be able to see and learn about these amazing animals.

That's awesome that they are adding so many new animals, when I first saw the kangaroo picture I figured that was for Tampa. I wonder where they are going to put the enclosures for all of these. 

The year round operations are awesome, I just wish I lived closer to take more advantage of it, the park is just far enough for me that it makes it impossible to go down and back in the same day otherwise I'd be there way more often than our usual few weekends a year spent down there. 

I don't see myself making it down there this year but I really hope it goes well for them so I can attend in the future. 

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Also if this all does really well maybe a few years down the line they will convert Curse of DarKastle into some sort of family friendly dark ride/shooting game, would be one of the best things to do to get out of the cold for a bit during the colder months of operation. 

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6 minutes ago, CoasterNerd87 said:

Source?

The fact they they continued to do it and are continuing to do it.  Businesses don't continue unprofitable operations.  Then again, it is SEAS, so I guess anything is possible LOL.

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On 1/6/2021 at 11:42 AM, pianojohn said:

I think they just need to change people's mindsets about visiting parks in the off season.  When I lived and worked in Japan, most parks were open year round. I remember riding coasters at Expoland on my birthday (Jan 14th) with snow on the ground!
And Knotts did show everyone how to run successful events with just food and shopping.  
Hoping for success and a brighter future for all of us!

Yep. BGW's response to restrictions due to COVID has been evolving, and I'm glad they're following through with what worked for them last year. There's a slight chance of snow in Williamsburg this weekend, which would be a nice sendoff for the "Christmas Celebration."

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Do we think BGW made money by operating last season, or lost less? I just wonder if they're debt is continuing to add up or if they're at least breaking even, now. Either way, good for them for being innovative. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Too early planning questions:

I'm planning on flying into town on July 4 and making base in Williamsburg at a luxury suite I can get for cheaper than dirt with a view of BGW. 

How bad of an idea is it to commute to Kings Dominion the times I would visit?

How has this week been pre-covid at both parks?

In general: is it cheaper/easier to rent a car from RIC or ORF?

 

Everything is still in Flux so I can change plans if needed.

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13 hours ago, CaptainUnknown said:

Too early planning questions:

I'm planning on flying into town on July 4 and making base in Williamsburg at a luxury suite I can get for cheaper than dirt with a view of BGW. 

How bad of an idea is it to commute to Kings Dominion the times I would visit?

How has this week been pre-covid at both parks?

In general: is it cheaper/easier to rent a car from RIC or ORF?

 

Everything is still in Flux so I can change plans if needed.

It's not a bad idea at all to commute to Kings Dominion.  It's only a little over an hour and it's all interstate.  Historically, that weekend will be one of the busiest for the Williamsburg area all year but who knows how COVID will effect that.  Personally, I would try to go through RIC.  They're both technically about an hour away from Williamsburg but tunnel traffic can get miserable making RIC the much easier commute.

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13 hours ago, CaptainUnknown said:

Too early planning questions:

I'm planning on flying into town on July 4 and making base in Williamsburg at a luxury suite I can get for cheaper than dirt with a view of BGW. 

How bad of an idea is it to commute to Kings Dominion the times I would visit?

How has this week been pre-covid at both parks?

In general: is it cheaper/easier to rent a car from RIC or ORF?

 

Everything is still in Flux so I can change plans if needed.

Depending on where you live, it may be cheaper to fly into Richmond. The closest airport to Busch is actually Newport News, but it's a smaller airport.

I know JetBlue flies to Richmond, and it's usually pretty cheap. 

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I recommend Richmond as it's an easier drive to Williamsburg than from Norfolk (where you have to deal with either the Hampton Roads or Monitor-Merrimac bridge tunnels and heavier traffic). That being said, they are doing a lot of road construction in I-64 between Richmond and Williamsburg, but Rt. 60 is an option, too.

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3 hours ago, pianojohn said:

Depending on where you live, it may be cheaper to fly into Richmond. The closest airport to Busch is actually Newport News, but it's a smaller airport.

I know JetBlue flies to Richmond, and it's usually pretty cheap. 

Obviously depends on where your coming from but I've looked into flying to Newport News out of curiosity in the past cause of how close it was and the prices for tickets were always ridiculously high. 

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So the temp limit for Alpengeist / Verbolten and InvadR is 42 degrees, right?

I was hoping to go down this weekend because this event sounds immensely better than Mardi Gras with all of the animals but it's hard to justify traveling a distance and taking that risk unless I'm wrong on that or the forecast changes.

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3 hours ago, coasterbill said:

So the temp limit for Alpengeist / Verbolten and InvadR is 42 degrees, right?

I was hoping to go down this weekend because this event sounds immensely better than Mardi Gras with all of the animals but it's hard to justify traveling a distance and taking that risk unless I'm wrong on that or the forecast changes.

Forty-two degrees is the limit for Alpengeist, but I think Verbolten and InvadR will run at lower temps. But it's a bit of a crapshoot,

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At Seaworld Orlando there were different temperature thresholds and not an exact number... I don't remember the exact numbers, but let's say the day starts up warmer and then cold down later, Kraken can start running at a minimum of 45 degrees, but if it's been running throughout the day it can still run down to 40 degrees... as an example. So if it started off 40 degrees they wouldn't open the ride. But if it was 45 and then 40 degrees later in the day they kept running it. And yes the various "starting" temps and "running" temps were actually listed in the SOP.

Journey to Atlantis just couldn't have ice on the tracks, lol. 34 degrees you can ride JTA but not Kraken. Many-a-test-runs on the cold days.

That said, I have no idea about Busch Williamsburg. But my point is the number might not be one secret number they may have just put it on the website or published it somewhere to make things easier to understand for the average person.

Something something why isn't Great Adventure open go ride nitro something something.

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Lol believe me I fully expect Six Flags to jump on this in a few years if it works at BGW and then I won’t have these issues.

I don’t even expect the full HITP ride lineup but does anyone think they’ll pass up on the opportunity to open up the grove for some (bad) food and drink focused event where they pick a few random B&Ms to abuse if they think they could make some money? I’m with it. Make it happen.

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12 hours ago, cfc said:

Forty-two degrees is the limit for Alpengeist, but I think Verbolten and InvadR will run at lower temps. But it's a bit of a crapshoot,

Gyeongju World, Korea is year round and their B&M's have the same limit and the park warns you on the site that they won't run if you visit on too cold a day since temperatures can hit up to -4 degrees here. However nearly all the year round parks like Everland and Gyeongju run multiple snow slides to entice people in and offset the water ride/coaster closure. Even smaller parks that run year round like the Folk Village or Seoul Land set up one slope in the winter.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Let the Good Times Roll: Mardi Gras Celebration at Busch Gardens

It's cold and gloomy outside my window today, so it's a good thing that I chose yesterday to check out Busch Gardens' version of Mardi Gras. This is the latest in a line of "reservations-required" events and, in my opinion, the best one so far--at least when the weather cooperates. The first weekend was freezing and snowy, but January 6 was sunny with temperatures in the 50s--perfect weather to hang out at the park; ride Alpengeist, InvadR, Verbolten, and some other rides; and enjoy some Cajun-type food and New Orleans-inspired entertainment. I also had the bonus of hanging with Bill and Brit that day (they drove all the way down from New York State). Great to meet you two at last!

The park made a smooth transition from their "Winter Celebration" decor. Out with Frosty the Snowman in France, and in with a big court jester. All the red-and-green Christmas lights were switched to Mardi Gras purple and gold, and there was plenty of entertainment, such as a jazz band, motley-bedecked drummers, and stilt walkers. This is the liveliest that the park has been since the COVID restrictions began. They also drew a good-sized crowd, and the three open coasters had the longest lines I've seen in a while, but the crews handled them pretty well.

There were some hiccups. They were a bit short staffed, especially in food service. I wanted to try the gumbo at the grill in front of the Smokehouse, but they ran out at 1:30 and had to prepare some more. I ended up having the Mardi Gras Frites (fires with Andouille sausage in a Cajun sauce), and those were pretty good. Grogan's Grill in Ireland had a long line all day (the pub was slammed early on, too). I wanted to try the grill's Cajun Hush Puppies, but they ran short. The Creamy Cajun Meatballs at the pub were a good substitute, though. The line for beignets at the funnel-cake shop in Germany was long, as well.

Alpengeist had the longest wait of the day, due to one-train operations (which is unusual for this park). Not that the line deterred Bill, TPR's number-one Alpengeist fan. But toward the end of the evening, the line had thinned considerably, and we enjoyed a "mini-ERT session" on the coaster.  Alpengeist was also running better than it was a month earlier (maybe that's why the other train is in the shop).

All in all, a fun day at Busch Gardens. I think they could expand on their Mardi Gras Celebration after the pandemic is sorted out. 

Here's a look at how the good times were rollin'.

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Remember--plastic Halloween "costume masks" do nothing against COVID!

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Let the good times roll, folks.

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What? No Union Jacks hanging in England? The Queen shall hear of this outrage!

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This is what they call "Mardi Gras" in Ireland. True story.

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Castle O'Sullivan is decked out in traditional Killarney Gras beads. In your face, New Orleans!

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Bow before the party gods, peasants! You must now bite the heads off living crawfish in tribute.

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"I don't want to work! I just want to bang on the drum all . . . wait a minute . . . this is my work."

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You intrigue me, sir.

 

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They were good.

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"We have come for your children!"

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Does a band wearing masks indicate a band full of bandits?

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They had some unusual animals, too,

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"Y'all came to see me? Why I'm so flattered it just tickles me half to death."

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The owl thinks he's far more adorable than any ol' cat.

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Somehow, I survived a super nova at Busch Gardens.

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"Hey, Castle O'Sullivan! Top this!"

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They've crossed cats with llamas! You might say they're the "cat's pallamas"! (I stole this line from someone else.)

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Er, Festhaus juggler? Do you and the stage want to be alone?

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Hmm--I wonder where I'll find Bill and Brit?

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Aha!

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We snagged multiple consecutive rides at end of the evening, I begged off the last train of the night because I felt a bit ill. (Yep--getting older.)

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Mardi Gras clown says, "You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here." (This was an evil clown at Hall-o-Scream, but he's very versatile.)

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Nice lighting on the path from France to Ireland.

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After a few brandies, the Queen approved of England's Mardi Gras decorations.

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Happy Mardi Gras from Busch Gardens--and thanks for reading.

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