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Busch Gardens Williamsburg (BGW BGE) Discussion Thread

P. 463: A Sunday at the Food & Wine Festival

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I visited this park for the first time last weekend and just wanted to pop in and say I loved this park. Despite the cool temperatures and early-season timeframe, all rides were open and we had a fantastic time. Pantheon had some hiccups as expected but generally operated most of both days we were there after late openings in the morning. What an awesome coaster. It's so unique and has some great elements and lived up to my expectations. It feels like a marriage of Ice Breaker and Velocicoaster with some RMC mixed in. Although on my first ride, somebody's phone flew out on the drop off the top hat and hit the forehead of the person in front of me and nearly hit me. Please secure/don't ride with loose articles guys.... sigh. The coaster also has a pretty decent capacity when both trains are rolling through with no breakdowns. The wait from the entrance sign was often 30 minutes or less.

Big surprise was also Alpengeist. I may prefer it to Montu, it was an absolute blast. The other B&Ms were about what I expected. Verbolten and InvadR were fun too and were also generally better than I expected. Despite their comparable ride lineups it has a completely different feel than BGT. The park layout also took some navigation and getting used to.

I really have nothing negative to say at all, I know there have been some comments about this park lately. I absolutely loved it and they seem to be off to a great start this year now that all their coasters have re-opened. I can't wait to go back.

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Looking forward to visiting BGE and Dominion next weekend, it's been a long time since I have been in the area. Can't wait to see both parks once again.

I must say, it boggles my mind a bit that the ride was built, sitting/testing for well over a year once complete due to COVID, and they still have reliability issues? You'd think they would work some of those out in all that time they had to prepare/test the ride before it's opening. 

It is Intamin after all, but still. Nothing really 'new' here technology wise that has not been used/tested/implemented elsewhere. 

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Testing versus park open are entirely different modes of operation. Same reason you tend to have slower operations and downtimes at the start of the season instead of the middle and end. You're dealing with training/human error and the public. 

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^^^

I went on Monday with my boy and one of my college buddies, and I completely agree. It's been almost 15 years since I've been to the park, but I was quickly reminded why I loved it so much. It's a solid coaster lineup, and even the smaller rides are quite enjoyable. Really liked Pantheon, although I liked it better towards the front. The air on the outer bank was much better there. The backwards section was fantastic with some incredible pops as well. Was quite impressed with Verbolten. The indoor section was a lot better than I thought it would be. I really enjoyed Invadr too. Wasn't expecting a whole lot due to its size, but it was just a fun ride.

Maybe my favorite moment of the day, though was on Verbolten. My son had no idea that the drop track was coming and it really caught him off guard. I told him to keep that part a secret for when we come back in the fall with his mom. I'm heading down to FL in 2 weeks to hit SeaWorld, Universal, and BGT and I'm really excited to see how all these new rides stack up to each other. 

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Headed to BGW tomorrow, glad to hear that all rides have been running and that Pantheon has been fairly reliable.  I haven’t been to the park in about 10 years, so any advice on a plan of attack would be appreciated.  I am planning on getting QQ Plus since I don’t know when I will be back and want to make the most of the day.

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They've been opening the park in phases with Italy opening the earlier than Germany. Definitely get to Pantheon as soon as you can. I recommend riding in the very back or front. You should be in good shape with Quick Queue otherwise.

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Busch Gardens has released info about this year's Food and Wine Festival.

 

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All-New Tastes to Savor and Thrills to Explore at Busch Gardens Williamsburg during Virginia’s Largest Spring Food & Wine Festival Beginning April 28

  • 100+ international tastes and sips to savor, inspired by cultures around the world
  • 30+ new culinary offerings plus all-new menus inspired by Australia & Greece
  • Live local music & entertainment every weekend
  • Two new premier beverage experiences now open year-round

 

 This spring, new flavors and thrills are in bloom at Busch Gardens Williamsburg with the return of the park’s fan-favorite Food & Wine Festival. With more than 30 delicious NEW dishes to pair with cocktails, wines, and craft brews, park guests can explore flavors for all tastes at 15 globally inspired food and beverage locations. Guests can create the perfect pairing by enjoying live, local entertainment and rides on their favorite thrills, including the all-new Pantheon the world’s fastest multi-launch coaster. The Food & Wine Festival runs Thursdays through Sundays from April 28 to June 12, plus Memorial Day.

 

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This year, guests can take a trip down under at the ALL-NEW Australia Food & Wine location. Featuring decadent dishes like the Snag on the Barbie, a banger sausage with vegemite caramelized onions and Lamington Cake, a sponge cake with raspberry jam, chocolate and coconut. These dishes pair best with the Aussie Mule or Foster’s®, an Australian-made beer.

The global flavors continue with more ALL-NEW tasty bites and beverages, including items inspired by the following countries:

 

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 New Location! Greece: Travel to the coastlines of Greece with authentic dishes like the Tirokroketes, fried cheese balls with tzatziki sauce and the Choriatiki Salata, a traditional Greek salad with feta, cucumbers, red onions, tomatoes, and olives.

 New items! Japan: Tastebuds are transformed with the Impossi-Bao, Impossible® meat in a steamed bun topped with Asian slaw and the Spicy Tuna Sushi Cup, sushi rice with nori flakes, tuna, & spicy mayo.

New items! Italy: Sip on Luna Nuda and Roscato, red wines straight from the vines of Italy, while enjoying Fettuccini & Sundried Tomato Alfredo with house made pasta, spinach and kalamata olives.

Enjoy brews and bites from close to home at Virginia, featuring items from across the Old Dominion. New for this year, guests can indulge in an Oyster on the Half Shell, complete with mignonette, cocktail sauce & lemon. Feeling adventurous? Add a shot of moonshine and make it an Oyster Shooter. These Virginia-inspired dishes are paired with local beer and wine, including the new Petit Manseng from the Williamsburg Winery.

A complete menu of the Food & Wine Festival dishes and drinks can be found online.

The best way to sip and sample is with a Food & Wine Festival sampler lanyard. Guests can embark on their culinary journey and save 10 percent with a 10-sample lanyard starting at only $59.00 or extend the savings up to 20 percent with the fan-favorite 15-sampler.

In addition to the Food & Wine festivities, beer, wine and cocktail lovers can indulge year-round at two new beverage locations, BarKastle and La Belle Wine Bar.  Located in France, La Belle offers deluxe wines by the glass or bottle, ranging from sparkling to sweet and everything in between. Cocktail connoisseurs can visit BarKastle in Oktoberfest and partake in cocktails on tap, including the all-new Curse of BarKastle Daiquiri, spiked lemonade and more. The new bar also features frozen cocktails and local craft brews.

 

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Nobody mentioned that the planning people extended BG height approval. 
 

https://www.wavy.com/news/local-news/williamsburg/busch-gardens-looks-to-build-tallest-ride-in-parks-history/amp/
 

are they really about to build Drachen Spire? 
 

if this is still the layout they can keep it.
 

should have gotten a b&m wing 

 

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1 hour ago, rachelmadcow said:

Nobody mentioned that the planning people extended BG height approval. 
 

https://www.wavy.com/news/local-news/williamsburg/busch-gardens-looks-to-build-tallest-ride-in-parks-history/amp/
 

are they really about to build Drachen Spire? 

 

Extremely doubtful.  I would predict a traditional giga before that...monstrosity.

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Ugh, I hope not.  With how crazy multi-launch coasters have gotten, not to mention Pantheon being literally RIGHT THERE, Drachen Spire looks extremely uninspired.

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Well tomorrow is my first visit to BGW in 21 years 😮

After some dodgy parts driving down here, looks like tomorrow is totally clear, in the 70s, pay day is tomm in case I last second decide for a past pass. Life is good and I'm stoked! 

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14 hours ago, rachelmadcow said:

Nobody mentioned that the planning people extended BG height approval. 
 

https://www.wavy.com/news/local-news/williamsburg/busch-gardens-looks-to-build-tallest-ride-in-parks-history/amp/
 

are they really about to build Drachen Spire? 
 

if this is still the layout they can keep it.
 

should have gotten a b&m wing 

 

I feel like that was a potential design when Pantheon was being discussed. Clearly they went with a far superior layout than whatever the hell that thing was. 

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Was in the park yesterday for the whole day, if Pantheon had valleyed it would have had to been at the very end of the day, it was running every time I saw it. It was windy though. 

"Rainy days" are perfect at parks imo, half the time it doesn't even rain but the park is still completely deserted. Pantheon was nearly a walk on at a few points through the day and nearly everything was a walk on by 6.

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20 hours ago, southpuddle said:

I feel like that was a potential design when Pantheon was being discussed. Clearly they went with a far superior layout than whatever the hell that thing was. 

If it was only a potential, they wouldn't have asked for an extension after Pantheon was built...

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Weather was indeed perfect. Couldn't have been better, if anything got too warm! 

Was a good day. I got to Pantheon I think 4th train of the day, was fun but won't lie a tad less than expected. Was expecting a little more punch to it. Good speed and everything about it was good guess just expected a bit more. Line was already mammoth when I got off so I figured I'll give it some time to warm up, I'll try to do all the rest of the park, and deal with whatever wait is needed to ride Pantheon for a long while. Well, by the time I got back to it Pantheon was down, apparently it went down around 1/1:30 and it remained so all day :(  Even took a break from the heat and waited near the station for 2 hours but no luck. They could get two tests in before some "error" kept coming up. Very unfortunate, but what can ya do? Was able to get more rides of others at least. 

Speaking of: 

-Tempesto: Very fun I love these rides but ofc knew what to expect. 

-Apollo's Chariot: Better than expected. Not mind blowing but fun and the air was just enough 

-Alpengeist: Wow, why do I not hear of this one much? This was sick, VERY forceful and intense, long ride. Didn't find it rough, though from the ride itself was a little jarring, 2 rides was plenty. 

-Griffon: Deff the best B&M dive I've done and honestly pretty solid. 

-Verbolten: which I realize was my 200th coaster! This is surprisingly fun, I did not expect this ride to be so good. 

-Loch Ness Monster: I mean....yeah.... iconic, helluva sight, but well, it's not the worst arrow looper out there I guess I can say

-InvadR: So this was late in the day, 8:15ish and front row so maybe that all helped but this was shockingly fun. Good whip and some very solid air. 

A little bummed but overall very good day

 

 

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I met a friend there yesterday, and Pantheon was in an "extended delay of operations" the whole afternoon. We saw it test a few times, but that was it.

It was also crazy busy, but they did have single-rider lines for some coasters. Their management of them was a bit weird, though.

Apollo's Chariot--They roped off the left side of the queue. There wasn't much room, and big groups in the standard queue would sometimes "crowd" the single-rider line. There's a small stairway next to the platform for single riders, and they fill empty seats from there.

Alpengeist--You enter through the Quick Queue line, and the guy told us to pick any row we wanted. So, it was like "free Quick Queue"? Pretty sure that's not how a "single-rider line" works, but OK.

Griffon--Single riders and Quick Queue sort of share the same line here, but it was monitored differently. A ride op would cruise down the line periodically and bring the QQ people up. Then they would fill the single-rider waiting area and fill empty seats from there. A bit awkward, but more sensible than what they were doing at Alpengeist.

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I think Dragon Spire looks more fun the folks are giving it credit for. With I305 being an hour away I am sure complicates building a traditional giga. Wasn't this park also rumored to get an indoor wave breaker style coaster inside of dark castle?

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^^Yeah honestly, as fun of a ride as Pantheon is, the amount of downtime I've heard about/experienced when I was there has been somewhat disappointing so far.  Not to mention the ridiculous glasses policy lol. 

But thankfully the park is beautiful enough where you don't really need to be riding all day, the scenery and atmosphere are pleasing enough on their own.

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Yes single rider saved me a few times. Griffon went from hour wait to 10 minutes for me. Apollo’s Chariot I waited 15 opposed to idk but was looooong. Yup when I was waiting for Pantheon to hopefully open someone said it went down around 1. Oof hate when a preconceived belief comes true...intamin, a switch track, I worried it would have downtime issues. And yeah I was quite disappointed it’s not some horrible drive for me but it is a good 5 1/2 hours from where I live I’m not exactly a hop skip and a jump away but I can easily go sometime in the future. Yes, The park was so nice and I was pleasantly surprised at the strength of its lineup that I still really enjoyed my day. 

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2 hours ago, CoasterNerd87 said:

If it was only a potential, they wouldn't have asked for an extension after Pantheon was built...

Unless the extension is for a different, unrelated ride. It makes no sense to have two multi-launch back and forth (whatever the correct term is LOL) coasters in the same park. But people said the same thing when Leviathan was announced, that it made no sense to have two B&M hypers in the same park, and here we are 🙃 All I’m saying is that if that’s an actual model in consideration, it’s a boring looking ride unless it’s themed out the wazoo, which if Pantheon is any indication, it won’t be. 

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10 hours ago, cfc said:

Alpengeist--You enter through the Quick Queue line, and the guy told us to pick any row we wanted. So, it was like "free Quick Queue"? Pretty sure that's not how a "single-rider line" works, but OK.

I had the exact same experience at Alpengeist. The line had built up and my dad and I decided to try the single rider line, fully expecting to be split up and assigned rows like we should. But nope, the attendant waved us through to pick any line we want. It basically was free QQ. We ended up pairing with a group of 2 to fill the row anyway but obviously that could've been done from the regular line too. It was a head scratcher.

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On 4/16/2022 at 6:00 AM, JJLehto said:

Weather was indeed perfect. Couldn't have been better, if anything got too warm! 

Was a good day. I got to Pantheon I think 4th train of the day, was fun but won't lie a tad less than expected. Was expecting a little more punch to it. Good speed and everything about it was good guess just expected a bit more. Line was already mammoth when I got off so I figured I'll give it some time to warm up, I'll try to do all the rest of the park, and deal with whatever wait is needed to ride Pantheon for a long while. Well, by the time I got back to it Pantheon was down, apparently it went down around 1/1:30 and it remained so all day :(  Even took a break from the heat and waited near the station for 2 hours but no luck. They could get two tests in before some "error" kept coming up. Very unfortunate, but what can ya do? Was able to get more rides of others at least. 

Speaking of: 

-Tempesto: Very fun I love these rides but ofc knew what to expect. 

-Apollo's Chariot: Better than expected. Not mind blowing but fun and the air was just enough 

-Alpengeist: Wow, why do I not hear of this one much? This was sick, VERY forceful and intense, long ride. Didn't find it rough, though from the ride itself was a little jarring, 2 rides was plenty. 

-Griffon: Deff the best B&M dive I've done and honestly pretty solid. 

-Verbolten: which I realize was my 200th coaster! This is surprisingly fun, I did not expect this ride to be so good. 

-Loch Ness Monster: I mean....yeah.... iconic, helluva sight, but well, it's not the worst arrow looper out there I guess I can say

-InvadR: So this was late in the day, 8:15ish and front row so maybe that all helped but this was shockingly fun. Good whip and some very solid air. 

A little bummed but overall very good day

 

 

I was at the park last Friday too and it was my first time back in over 10 years.  I feel pretty much the same as you regarding the coasters.  I liked Pantheon a lot but I think I expected more from it.  I also only  got 1 ride due to the downtime, so I may have a higher opinion if I got to ride a few more times and really experience it.  The B&Ms were running great and are still the stars of the park.  Griffon is definitely my favorite dive coaster and Apollo is still a top tier hyper.  Alpengeist is so forceful and has such a great layout.  Loch Ness is running really well for its age and I still love those interlocking loops.

But I have to say, Verbolten was the suprise of the day!   It's such a ridiculously fun coaster and the drop track really scared my kids (I kept it a surprise for them).  We ended up riding it 4 times since we liked it so much.  Overall it was a great visit and the park is just as beautiful and well maintained as I remembered it.

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