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Busch Gardens Williamsburg (BGW BGE) Discussion Thread

P. 468: Loch Ness Monster Media Day Report

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^^Hmm--I think your assumption is correct.  @Mike240SX I'm certainly not expecting "full operations" before Memorial Day Weekend, which isn't unusual (for example, they usually don' t start operating the water rides before then). But the park hasn't announced anything officially yet, so who really knows? They also have to bring staffing up to speed.

That being said, who's up for the . . .

Food & Wine Festival Report

The park was bustling last Sunday, even with reduced attendance in effect, but this wasn't the busiest I've seen it this year. That was a few weeks ago when all the spring break madness was going on during the first weekend of the Food and Wine Festival. They were really slammed then--especially with two food booths, Brazil and Mexico, closed (on a Saturday).

It was smoother sailing last Sunday, despite the large crowd, thanks to all the booths being open. But the food lines got pretty long as the afternoon wore on. Festival operations were a mixed bag. I visited four booths: South Korea, Brazil, Virginia, and Mexico. The first three acquitted themselves pretty well; for example, Brazil had a fairly long line, but it moved quickly. Mexico, however  . . . ugh! More on that later. On the upside, the food was very good at each booth, and there was no waiting at the Brauhaus (Grogan's in Ireland had a longer line).

Waits for rides were a mixed bag. I waited about 15 minutes for Apollo's Chariot and Griffon. The wait for Verbolten was posted at over an hour. Based on three-train ops and a full queue, I'd say that's about right (at least they were using all the rows). InvadR looked pretty slammed, so I didn't bother, and Finnigan's Flyer was posted at 45 minutes. They had a few more flats open in Festa Italia. They also put up a temporary wall just before the Roman Rapids and the pizza-and-pasta buffet, which hasn't been open all year. (Word is that they want to renovate that restaurant.) The only full-size restaurant open is the Festhaus (and that's with socially distanced seating).

So, get ready for plenty of food pictures, although not quite as many you'll see in a typical Adam TR. ;)  They've been doing some work around Pantheon, too, which I'm taking as a good sign.

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Hmm--a few more people than usual milling around England today. 

 

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Almighty Zeus, Father of the Gods! We humble mortals of Busch Gardens beseech you! Send us a sign!

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Zeus be praised! I think those metal railings on the ramp and stairs were added recently, too.

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The lightning-hurling Zeus has blessed us with two signs! But are we worthy? (I think this is the main queue entrance as seen from the train.)

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Well, being as I'm already in Festa Italia and just got off Apollo’s Chariot, I may as well hit the South Korea booth. There was no wait, so Zeus be praised, again!

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The pork rib was pretty good. I even like the Korean coleslaw.

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What’s this? The Brazil booth at a “Dutch angle”? Is it the lair of a 1960s Batman villain?

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I ordered one Churasco (skirt steak with chimichurri sauce), but they gave me two. Not a complaint, just a yummy observation. 

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The wait for Griffon was a between 15 and 20 minutes. Acceptable.

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The wait for a shrimp taco, however . . .

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At least it’s “crisply.”

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“Crisply-ness” confirmed. It was quite good, but I doubt I’d wait in this line again--especially if there’s another fussy kid in the group behind me. The kid was harnessed in what appeared to be a tricycle combination baby stroller (never seen a rig like that one before); that is, the kid could ride it like a trike, or an adult could push it like a stroller.  It was some Radio Flyer hybrid toy.

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Spring . . . achoo! achoo! . . . time in Virginia. Shore is purty.

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No wait in the Brauhaus! Star Hill “The Love" wheat been for the win!

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Hmm--the Virginia booth in Scotland isn’t too busy.

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May as well score some of these tasty, artery-clogging bacon-and-cheddar hush puppies with honey butter.

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If you have $49.99 burning a hole in your pocket, you may as well buy one of these new models.

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With any luck, we’ll see all three of these coasters operating this summer. Get your vaccine, and thanks for reading.

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On 4/17/2021 at 3:40 PM, VegasBaby said:

I honestly think Pantheon could be the best new ride of 2022. 

It very well could be.  I'm still a tad bit more excited about Velocicoaster, but Pantheon looks amazing also.

If we end up getting Pantheon, Velocicoaster, Iron Gwazi and Jersey Devil all opening the same year.....this will go down as the best year in a long time in terms of new coaster openings.  

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On 4/20/2021 at 8:40 AM, cfc said:

 

“Crisply-ness” confirmed. It was quite good, but I doubt I’d wait in this line again--especially if there’s another fussy kid in the group behind me. The kid was harnessed in what appeared to be a tricycle combination baby stroller (never seen a rig like that one before); that is, the kid could ride it like a trike, or an adult could push it like a stroller.  It was some Radio Flyer hybrid toy.

 


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Something like this? So many people have these in Korea. My son had one and he loved the control he had and went everywhere in it. Personally hated the damn thing since his handlebars and the handle at the back were connected so it always ended in a battle when he wanted to go left and I'd be turning it right.

Quote

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The pork rib was pretty good. I even like the Korean coleslaw.

 

Back on topic, I don't dare show these pictures to my wife. She'll start trying to work out what Korean coleslaw actually is since it's not a thing here or why the rib is that way. Had the same thing when we met some friends at Everland and she had no idea 'Korean Tacos' existed.

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3 hours ago, Garet said:


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Something like this? So many people have these in Korea. My son had one and he loved the control he had and went everywhere in it. Personally hated the damn thing since his handlebars and the handle at the back were connected so it always ended in a battle when he wanted to go left and I'd be turning it right.

 

Back on topic, I don't dare show these pictures to my wife. She'll start trying to work out what Korean coleslaw actually is since it's not a thing here or why the rib is that way. Had the same thing when we met some friends at Everland and she had no idea 'Korean Tacos' existed.

That Korean "cole slaw" is probably kimchi.  It's pretty much a staple in Korea.

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Still can't get over how ugly Pantheon's station is compared to...basically every other inch of the park...but I'm very excited to see the ride nearing opening status. Thanks for the report, Chuck!

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Yeah Im getting nervous I will just miss it... Pantheon is so close but parks seem (understandably) slow to open rides. Im keeping plans open but I'll be there in about a month and I dont think I can bring myself to go knowing it'll be closed esp if its opening like 2 weeks later lol Please coaster gods open up your Pantheon asap!

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On 4/21/2021 at 7:33 PM, JJLehto said:

Yeah Im getting nervous I will just miss it... Pantheon is so close but parks seem (understandably) slow to open rides. Im keeping plans open but I'll be there in about a month and I dont think I can bring myself to go knowing it'll be closed esp if its opening like 2 weeks later lol Please coaster gods open up your Pantheon asap!

I just saw a video on Youtube about a lot of their attractions being closed due to half of their staff not returning after furlough. This makes me wonder if this is why Cedar Fair has decided to open their parks late this year. If so, than Cedar Fair is smarter than people are giving them credit for. After all, they are in better financial shape than many other park chains. 

 The bowling alley I worked for, which was closed in 2019, is now in the process of changing ownership and I'm going to help them get the operation back up and running again. There were times when our operations were severely hindered by unexpected employee shortages. One day, we couldn't get a lane man. And on another day, there was nobody there to run the scoring system & front counter. It's a nightmare scenario and a public relations disaster with cranky customers, and it can be very costly. 

 I just never thought I'd see the day that something like this would happen to a Busch Gardens, but these are unprecedented times. Here's hoping they can return to smooth operations sooner than later. I'm also looking forward Pantheon opening so they can start getting their ROI. Both Busch Gardens are on my bucket list, though I probably won't make it to either park this year.  

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21 minutes ago, Coasters & Lamps said:

I just saw a video on Youtube about a lot of their attractions being closed due to half of their staff not returning after furlough. This makes me wonder if this is why Cedar Fair has decided to open their parks late this year. If so, than Cedar Fair is smarter than people are giving them credit for.

Weird how Six Flags had the exact same problems to contend with and figured it out at all of their parks...

I'm not going to be as hard on BGW as I've been on Cedar Fair. They also opened all winter and threw the maintenance schedules for a loop and back when they finalized details for this event the park hadn't been as crowded. People got vaccinated fast and the demand rose very quickly. That said, how many people would it honestly take to open Loch Ness and Tempesto? The answer at Six Flags would be like 7 or 8 people total. Nobody would question it if the water rides, Skyride, the indoor ride and Rhine River Cruise were closed and they probably would assume Mach Tower was broken. The Flying Machine... . nobody cares but also doesn't it need like 1 staff member and someone to cover breaks? lol

At this point it just seems weird to keep those rides closed if staffing is really the reason why and if they really can't find 10 people even by using less staff to run the rides currently running then maybe... I don't know... pay people more to work there?

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4 hours ago, Alex Sutcliff said:

I was wondering whether they will sell a fast pass for Pantheon this year? I know some places won't sell them on an opening year of a new ride but not sure what BGW normal practice is in this regard.

I know that Verbolten wasn't on Quick Queue during it's opening season, so my best guess for Pantheon is "probably not," although they most likely built a Quick Queue entrance for it for subsequent seasons. But who knows? Maybe they'll offer a single Quick Queue pass.

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10 hours ago, cfc said:

I know that Verbolten wasn't on Quick Queue during it's opening season, so my best guess for Pantheon is "probably not," although they most likely built a Quick Queue entrance for it for subsequent seasons. But who knows? Maybe they'll offer a single Quick Queue pass.

They were giving out Quick Queue as a pass incentive at the end of 2019, we still have a couple. Curious if it'll be honored this year. Other than that, both Busch parks typically don't included their new coasters on Quick Queue initially.

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On 4/28/2021 at 12:07 PM, Coasters & Lamps said:

I just saw a video on Youtube about a lot of their attractions being closed due to half of their staff not returning after furlough. This makes me wonder if this is why Cedar Fair has decided to open their parks late this year. If so, than Cedar Fair is smarter than people are giving them credit for. After all, they are in better financial shape than many other park chains. 

 The bowling alley I worked for, which was closed in 2019, is now in the process of changing ownership and I'm going to help them get the operation back up and running again. There were times when our operations were severely hindered by unexpected employee shortages. One day, we couldn't get a lane man. And on another day, there was nobody there to run the scoring system & front counter. It's a nightmare scenario and a public relations disaster with cranky customers, and it can be very costly. 

 I just never thought I'd see the day that something like this would happen to a Busch Gardens, but these are unprecedented times. Here's hoping they can return to smooth operations sooner than later. I'm also looking forward Pantheon opening so they can start getting their ROI. Both Busch Gardens are on my bucket list, though I probably won't make it to either park this year.  

Could be! I'm pretty ignorant on this end of things, and I fully admit I try not to bother, I don't want to know lol

But given the chaos of last year, which ya know we're all excited things are looking better but things are not yet "over" and obvs parks need time to recoup from the difficulties, I cut em slack. While I vent when I'm bummed about things bc ya know we're people and it IS ok to vent, I went into 2021 expecting not ideal conditions and that parks would get botd. So I'm giving em all some slack. 2022 is when the actual annoyance will resume XD 

Yeah it's a wonderful park, haven't been in years and it's unfortunate I'll be in VA and this will likely not be open but assuming this is so I won't be going. To each their own but I just dont wanna be there seeing it, knowing sometime this year will open, but I can't. I'll just be sad/feelin dang this could've been better, so yeah I'll save it for next year, maybe sneak a road trip later this year when it opens assuming Im still in NJ

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On 5/1/2021 at 6:46 PM, BRTeller said:

They were giving out Quick Queue as a pass incentive at the end of 2019, we still have a couple. Curious if it'll be honored this year. Other than that, both Busch parks typically don't included their new coasters on Quick Queue initially.

I remember when Invadr opened, initially it was not included on any of the multi-ride Quick Queue plans, but you could purchase it individually. It was something ridiculous like $20 per ride though. We ended up just waiting it out after all.

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SWSA did a premium addon to their Reserved Shows + QQ that included a trip on Stingray.  I'm going to guess the new rides are a premium single QQ or a premium add-on for awhile after opening.

 

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Yes, the "one-off" Quick Queue seems to be standard operating procedure for new coasters. I imagine it'll be the same for Pantheon, which will probably join the rest of the Quick Queue rides in 2022.

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I'm looking at making park reservations this weekend and I have a couple questions about the process. I have the SEAS platinum pass from SWSA FWIW. Visiting 2 days between July 5-8.

1. I'm assuming I can only have a single reservation at a time, correct? Can I reserve my second day while I am in the park on day 1 or do I have to wait until the next day/park close?

2. What crowd capacity is the park currently operating on and do locals think it could be increased by my trip? 

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^ For other parks in the chain, you can reserve as many days as you want.  I would expect BGW to be the same.  Each reservation is given a separate order number within the confirmation email, so it's definitely possible to have multiple simultaneously.  This also makes it easy to cancel if you need to.

As for #2, I'm not a local so I'm not as familiar with capacity limitations, but their FAQ page does say that they will modify protocols based on evolving conditions, so loosening restrictions between now and July doesn't seem totally out of the question IMO.

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