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Busch Gardens Williamsburg (BGW BGE) Discussion Thread

P. 468: Loch Ness Monster Media Day Report

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I was at the park for a while today, and noticed some activity down on the Rhine River boats--some ride ops and technician types. I'd like to see that attraction reopen, as it's always nice to relax on the river.

LeScoot was down for a bit, but reopened with a full queue. Alpengeist was closed all day.

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Getting Closer to "Normal": Busch Gardens Kicks Off Summer Nights 2021

Busch Gardens held a media event for theme-park bloggers on Saturday, June 26 to kick off Summer Nights, and Theme Park Review was invited. This was a nice opportunity to meet the park's new public relations director, Matt Klepeisz, sample the new cocktails and kettle corn for this year's event, and see Kool and the Gang in concert. But I think the main theme of the night was best put by the park's president, Kevin Lembke, in his remarks to the group:  The return of Summer Nights means that Busch Gardens is getting closer to "normal" after a year of pandemic-related restrictions.

Yes, we're seeing the return of not only concerts and fireworks, but also full-blown Howl-o-Scream, Christmas Town, and Celtic Fyre in July. Why, it looks like even Mach Tower is waking up from its long sleep.

But let's get this out of the way: No news on Pantheon.

I met some friends at the park that morning (hi there, Lizzy "Falafel Girl" Palmer), and although it was quite stormy that afternoon, it cleared up that evening in time for the Kool and the Gang concert. I remember them looking a bit different back in the 1970s.


But they still got the funk and the soul.  Kool and the Gang put on a great show  for nearly 90 minutes, and the crowd loved it. I think BGW picked the right act to begin Summer Nights. Future shows will be a mix of soul, country, some mellow 1970s rock (courtesy of the Little River Band), and even a Led Zeppelin/Doors tribute.

Here's a look at BGW's big summer party.


Based on the large crowd last Saturday night, I think folks are ready for all this.


Does my pass look better here . . .



. . . or here?


Kevin Lembke, BGW's president, tells us more about what to expect this year. They're planning to continue with the "year-round" events as they did from 2020-21, and Howl-o-Scream will be back with some new surprises, as will Christmas Town. 


It's good to see people getting soaked on Escape from Pompeii again. LeScoot is running too, but the Roman Rapids remain closed.


Sigh , , , someday.


But train rides are nice, too.


What's this? Are we hallucinating?


A small street party . . . 


. . . and a somewhat larger one in Germany. There were DJs in other parts of the park, too.


You can spend a classy evening in Italy . . .



. . . or get funky in France with Kool and the Gang.


Here's Robert "Kool " Bell, who cofounded the band back in the mid-1960s. They've been though plenty of name and personnel changes, but Kool is eternal. And he still plays a great funky bass.


Griffon swoops by to check out Kool and the Gang.


I checked out the fireworks from Grimm's Landing on the Rhine River. I was distracted from time to time by the Loch Ness Monster.


I've never watched the fireworks from this vantage point before. It's not a bad spot, but it has two disadvantages: trees and bugs.


The Lorelei II is under attack!


Abandon ship!  If you're going to watch the show from the Rhine River, you need to stand by the boat slips.


Didn't they sell these at Spencer's Gifts?


Yep--lots of explosions tonight.


I live 20 minutes away, and I can hear these at my house.


That's it for the opening of Summer Nights. My thanks to Matt for inviting TPR to this event. And thanks for reading.

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11 hours ago, prozach626 said:

Are the DJ booths a new industry-wide thing? It's kind of a cool thing to amp up the crowd. Emily and I like people watching at Orion's DJ booth. Even SFSTL had one.

Not exactly the same thing, but I miss the days when Cedar Point had a DJ in the lines for the big rides.  It made waiting in long lines more tolerable in the days before cell phones and Fast Lane. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Man, what a year for parks.

Rabid fox attacks two people at Busch Gardens Williamsburg

JAMES CITY COUNTY, Va. — Health officials said a rabid fox attacked two people who were at Busch Gardens Williamsburg Monday.

The Hampton-Peninsula Health District said the fox died shortly after the attack. 

The health district asked that anyone who has information about any possible exposure to the fox to call the health district. An exposure can be a bite or scratch. It also can involve contact with saliva by open wound or eyes, nose, or mouth. 


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13 hours ago, boldikus said:

Man, what a year for parks.

Rabid fox attacks two people at Busch Gardens Williamsburg

JAMES CITY COUNTY, Va. — Health officials said a rabid fox attacked two people who were at Busch Gardens Williamsburg Monday.

The Hampton-Peninsula Health District said the fox died shortly after the attack. 

The health district asked that anyone who has information about any possible exposure to the fox to call the health district. An exposure can be a bite or scratch. It also can involve contact with saliva by open wound or eyes, nose, or mouth. 



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I thought rabid-fox attacks were offered as an upcharge during Howl-o-Scream. 

Just saw on Twitter that reservations are no longer required to visit the park. 


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Reservations are no longer required to visit Busch Gardens. which is perfect timing for . . . Bier Fest! Here's some information about this year's event.





Starting July 30 with live music, NEW beer-infused bites, and more!

Balancing the traditional and the modern, Busch Gardens’ Bier Fest returns on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from July 30 through September 6 with plenty of NEW fun to help you soak in the last days of summer.

The event is a fusion of the craft beer scene with an Oktoberfest flair showcasing over 100 different beers tapped throughout the park and includes an ALL-NEW Biergarten Reserve with live entertainment, specialty brews, and NEW beer-infused bites. Bier Fest wouldn’t be complete without brewery talks from local craft brewers, popular local bands like Kevin MaC and Audacity Brass Band, and Friday and Saturday night fireworks.



Among the beers on tap are varieties of local favorite craft brewers Alewerks Brewing Company®, Billsburg Brewery®, and Virginia Beer Co.®, plus Virginia-based breweries ranging from Virginia Beach’s Wasserhund Brewing® to Callaway’s Chaos Mountain Brewing®, and everywhere in between. For the more traditional fans, Hofbrau Munchen®’s Oktoberfest and Spaten®’s Oktoberfest will be making appearances, too. Feel like something different? Bier Fest will still include your favorite wines, ciders, and non-alcoholic beverages, with something for every taste!



Now for the perfect pairing! ALL-NEW beer infused bites make their debut throughout the park, and these culinary delights are not to be missed. Some highlights include Spicy Lager Wings tossed in beer-infused Sriracha, Beer Bang Shrimp tossed in sweet and spicy chili IPA-infused garlic sauce, Beer Cheese Nachos, and Bratwurst Burger Sliders.

This event is FREE with park admission. Beers are available for guests aged 21 and over, for an additional fee.



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Here's the boilerplate about the "summer sale" from the Bierfest press release (I usually omit this stuff).



Don’t Miss A Drop of the Action with this Amazing Deal - $59.99 Busch Gardens Fun Cards! Don’t let the summer fun get away! With plenty of time left to visit, purchase a Busch Gardens Fun Card during the limited-time Summer Sale for only $59.99 (that’s a $40 savings) and receive unlimited visits through September 12! For only $20 more, make it a two park Fun Card and splash through the rest of summer at Water Country USA too. Or, save up to 50% on single day tickets! To find the best deals, visit the Busch Gardens website. But hurry, these offers end on July 25!


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Hey Everyone!

I have a tidbit to share, and then a couple questions to ask about BGW!

First off is I got a survey from the park since I signed up for their E-Newsletter (SPOILER ALERT!! I haven't actually visited the park yet...but thats where my questions come in...). Being the coaster dork that I am I filled out the survey and found a couple of the questions they asked rather interesting...

They specifically asked about what would motivate me to visit the park "in the next few months" (their words not mine). The first question was a fill in the box question (which sadly I didn't think to take a picture of), and of course I put "Open Pantheon!!!" (I mean who wouldn't). To my surprise, the next two questions asked what would be the biggest motivator for me to visit BGW, and one of the options was "open a new roller coaster or ride" (sorry for the bad picture quality)


Of course I choose "Open a new coaster" (and the free beer one), but it made me think that maybe BGW is scoping out the desires of it's potential visitors to visit with or without Pantheon opening this year. I don't know if anyone else has gotten this similar survey, even for any of the other SEAS parks, but it also seems to fit with what the BGT guy said about Iron Gwazi and how it will open "when it makes financial sense" as whey may be trying to figure out how much "financial sense" (read: interest from potential visitors to visit) there is. We'll have to see, this is just my speculation though.


Anyways, this is a good segway into some questions that I have about BGW that I've been meaning to post here for awhile.

I am making my first trip to BGW in a few weeks and I was wondering if I could get some first-timer's advice for the park. I have a couple specific questions, but any advice that could be given will be greatly appreciated!

Is BGW the park that opens different areas at different times? If so, what is the recommended order of doing things?

Are there any hidden gems in the park to check out?

Are rides ok with a fanny pack (I know...I'm old school...), or should I plan on packing lightly or buying a locker?

Is BGW a two day park, or is one enough?


Also, is there anything else in the Colonial Triangle/Richmond/Central Virginia area that is cool or worth checking out, besides the easy answer of Kings Dominion (if their even open...:lol:)?

Thanks in advance for the help! It is really appreciated!

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if you're a history buff, or love "re-enactments".. we LOVED Colonial Williamsburg.

we bought a combo ticket from Colonial Williamsburg online which got us multiple days at both there and at BGW (we ended up spending day and 1/2 at Colonial Williamsburg, and 2 1/2 days at BGW before moving on to King's Dominion & Washington DC to hit the Smithsonians.

it was worth it to us, but not everyone's cup of tea, as it's mainly outside, and very "authentic" to the times in terms of food and atmosphere.



here's the specific ticket we got:


it's a steal at $148 a ticket, that includes parking at BGW & Water Country (that we didn't do, but it's included as well)

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