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Busch Gardens Williamsburg (BGW BGE) Discussion Thread

P. 466: Mardi Gras at Busch Gardens

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6 hours ago, VegasBaby said:

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.

Yup yup! Agreed with all, even Loch Ness I didn't dislike it, it was fine, deff running well for what it is. One of the rare lineups where I can say I enjoy every one. Funny too I didn't have particularly much expectation for AC, Verbolten, Griffon, InvadR but all were wonderful! 

Yeah I'll have to get to BGW again for more Pantheon, though I won't lie I am concerned it won't be a ton different in a future, more warmed up, ride. Seen plenty of videos and its speed seems to be what it was. I do hope I'm wrong, shame if 2 years of hype and it was just a let down. But yeah, to my total shock as of now I feel Velocicoaster is better, did basically every aspect better. Did not expect this!

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Spent a beautiful day at the park today. Fortunately, I was indeed able to ride Pantheon as I was not height checked after all. Nor did they check the equally tall (if not taller) dude in front of me... So yay!

As far as Pantheon goes, its a fun ride but not in the same league as Velocicoaster. The first half just feels like a quirky RMC pre lift a bit, with the roll being fun but otherwise not much going on here.

The launch sequence kind of makes the pacing weird with the pulsing launch and whatnot, but that back spike is great along with the backward airtime pop.

View at the top of the tophat was nice, great air in the backseat on the way down. Outward bank was fun, but quite tame overall. Stall was good, but didn't seem nearly as whippy as the one on VC on entry/exit, or feel as crazy for some reason. Final wave turn was a lot better than anticipated. 

Really solid ride overall, I just think the odd start and launch sequence kind of break up the pacing a bit much and it just feels all a bit quirky. Glad I was able to grab 2 laps on it today though, maybe another ride or two when we go back this weekend.

We got into the park at about 1145 today (7pm closure) and ended up with 2x Apollo, 1x Tempesto, 3x Griffon, 4x Alpengiest, 1x Loch, 2x Pantheon, 1x Invader and 1x Verbolten... Along with a few beer stops here and there and some people watching. Really wonderful day, the park looked amazing and it is crazy to think I have not been here since 2004! Madness! 


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7 hours ago, Invertalon said:

 Fortunately, I was indeed able to ride Pantheon as I was not height checked after all. Nor did they check the equally tall (if not taller) dude in front of me... So yay!



If you had been height checked, would you not have been able to ride?

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Maybe? I'm right on the edge of the height limit. So it would have been very close. I wasn't expecting to ride it at all, so it was a nice suprise and I figured it was worth a try anyway. If denied, oh well, plenty of other great things to do. 

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On 4/14/2022 at 10:12 PM, KBrylczyk said:

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.

They should really focus on adding a dark ride or something before going after ANOTHER coaster jfc.

Personally I'd rather they expand past Italy over the river for a Spain area and put a coaster there instead of cluttering more steel on top of each other.


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On 4/22/2022 at 5:10 PM, Masquerade said:

They should really focus on adding a dark ride or something before going after ANOTHER coaster jfc.

Well then you're gonna LOVE the DarKoaster rumors.

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Here's an update on the other Busch park in Williamsburg--Water Country USA (press release from the park).



New Aquazoid Amped™ to Open at Water Country USA on May 27, Members Receive Exclusive Early Access Beginning May 14

Water Country USA, voted one of the country’s top ten waterparks by USA Today, will open on May 14 for the 2022 season. Beginning on Opening Day, Members will be the first to ride Aquazoid Amped before the ride opens to the public on May 27. Plus, guests of all ages can make a splash this season at Water Country USA, with the all-new Lil’ Surfers Splash Pad, created for the park’s youngest visitors, and Surfer’s Bay Bar, the perfect place to unwind and sip on tropical libations.

Aquazoid Amped debuts on May 27 with an ALL-NEW twist to an iconic water ride. The full-sensory, immersive ride experience includes a new special effects show, pulse-pounding music, and dynamic lighting effects. Riders will feel the thrill as they plunge down 864 feet of fully enclosed, twisting tube at speeds of 20 feet per second.



“The opening of Aquazoid Amped is the perfect way to continue growing our park’s attraction portfolio by introducing new and exhilarating elements to a fan-favorite ride,” said Kevin Lembke, Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Water Country USA Park President.

The 2022 Water Country USA Season continues to make a splash with the unveiling of the new Lil’ Surfers Splash Pad and Surfer’s Bay Bar, opening this June.


Kids can hang ten at the all-new Lil’ Surfers Splash Pad, located across from Surfer’s Bay Wave Pool. Designed with the youngest water lovers in mind, the surf-inspired Splash Pad features dynamic fountains, splashy spray cannons and a kiddie water slide. Fans of Water Country USA’s other kid-friendly areas, H20 UFO and Cow-A-Bunga, will find Lil’ Surfers to be the coolest new spot in the park.



Guests will enjoy an all-new wave of refreshment and relaxation at the revamped Surfer’s Bay Bar this summer. Overlooking Virginia’s largest wave pool, the full-service bar will feature craft beers on tap and frozen concoctions to indulge in while fueling up for a day full of fun at Water Country USA. In between thrilling rides on fan-favorite slides, this tropical oasis is the perfect place to unwind.

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seeing reports online that BGW quietly has removed Davinci's Cradle (the "Magic Carpet" flat) from the park.

of course, I see some clickbait articles mentioning "Major attraction shut down!". . which this flat is not. . tho it is one of only a handful of flats in the park.

wonder if they are gonna replace it with something in that garden area?

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A Sunday at the Food & Wine Festival

Busch Gardens kicked off it's annual Food & Wine Festival last week. I went there on Sunday, May 1 to check out this year's new offerings and enjoy the company of  god knows how many high-school tour groups (strangely enough, they're weren't all that bad as teenagers go).  The weather was perfect that day--sunny skies and highs in the 70s--so the park was fairly busy (especially if you wanted to ride Pantheon in the morning).

New to the festival is the Australia booth, which is in the back of Festa Italia. The Aussies boasted what I believe is the single most expensive item (not counting adult beverages) at the event--a wee lamb chop for $10.50! And, yes, you will see the word "Vegemite" on the menu.

Greece was a sort of "new" country this year, as the park has offered a "Mediterranean" booth in the past. The menu was mostly a rehash of past years, but it did offer a new dish made with butterbeans.

In the past, Italy was just a dessert stop. But they got a snazzy new booth this year, along with an updated menu. You can still get cannolis and a Caprese salad, but they've added a few new dishes this year. And, yes, Italy is located in Italy.

Returning this year: Virginia, Hawaii, Mexico, New Orleans, Brazil, Jamaica, Japan, and Korea. There are plenty of bars, too, including the Sangria Garden (for those who like cough syrup with a kick).

You can buy a 10- or 15-sample card. I went for the 15, as I know I can use it up before the Festival and it's cheaper than paying as you go. Overall, I think the food quality is better than last year, which seemed a bit "off." Most samples are in the $4.00 to $7.00 range. But a cocktail could set you back $12.00-$15.00 ( you can use the sample card for them).

Let's take a walk around the park for the Food & Wine Festival. The Rhine River Cruise is running again, so maybe we can get some nice pictures of Pantheon while we're at it.


Here’s the park’s staggered schedule from that day. Some of the Food & Wine booths open around 11:00, but they should all be open by 11:30.


 Hmm--looks like every high-school tour bus just emptied into Pantheon this morning. I think I’ll wait until the crowd thins out a bit before I test the patience of the gods, again.


Pay no attention to this map. Greece is in Ireland.


And here’s what you’ll find in Greece, which is in Ireland. This menu includes some items from the “Mediterranean” booth they used to have across from Pompeii (it’s a flower bed now). I think the butter beans are new . . .


. . . but I had Spanakopita instead. (Please note that I have nothing against butterbeans.)


I stopped at Japan for an oldie but goodie . . .


. . . chicken gyoza. Japanese food always tastes best next to a bush of red flowers on a bridge over railroad tracks. I think I saw that on the Food Channel, or something.


G’day, mate! We’re new to the festival this year. We’re over by the Roman Rapids, which haven’t been very rapid since 2019.


Any chowderhead can cook sausages in beer. It takes an Aussie to use caramelized onions and Vegemite.


They weren’t kidding when they called this a “lamb lollipop.” It wasn’t much bigger than a Tootsie Pop (tasted good, though--sauce has a nice kick to it).


Confirmation that Da Vinci’s Cradle has gone from “permanently closed” to just plain gone. Just the queue, station, and some theming left. Looks more like a Howl-o-Scream maze now.


Italy has a snazzy new booth this year.


The Alfredo is the only new item this year, but at least they’ve learned how to spell “Caprese.”


I’m not a big fan of olives, but this tasted OK. It was a bit too “gloppy,” though.



This gets my Golden Ticket vote for “Best Name for a Theme-Park Bar.”


You can get Jamaican food in Germany. But if you’re a hard-core rum enthusiast, you have to go to Canada.


The new wine bar in France used to be the crepe stand. It's a "permanent" addition, like BarKastle.


The Mexico booth isn’t new, but there was something there I wanted to try here.


The Chili Chocolate & Horchata Mousse was pretty good--just enough chili flavor to make it interesting.


And where there is Mexican food there must, of course, be margaritas. Or beer. Or both. You make the call.


It’s nice to have the Rhine River Cruise running again.


You even get something new to look at.


You can get a nice view of the Rhine River Cruise from Pantheon, too--while you hold on for dear life.


Watch Pluto, Lord of the Underworld, mess with these guys.


Apollo says, "Hey, I'm such a cool god, I get a ride all to myself."


I think it was very considerate of the Roman gods to lean you so far over to the left that you can watch the river boats.


And since we're in the neighborhood, let's finish with a picture of Alpengeist. I guess that will make at least one of our members very happy. Thanks for reading. Now go get some food and wine!

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On 5/17/2022 at 11:08 AM, coasternut79 said:

Does anyone know if Pantheon is opening with the park each morning or is it a delayed opening?  

It opened with the park during my last few visits. I went there first thing at opening last Sunday and waited about 20 minutes for the back row.  By the time I finished my ride, the wait was over 70 minutes. 

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^I have some quasi, semi-relevant, grain of salt experience. Last year, I visited the park on Monday, July 5th and Wednesday July 7th. I assume most people got Monday off for the 4th. Quick Queue unlimited sold out Monday. Despite that, I was able to ride every ride in the park that I wanted to with some rerides using only standby lines (Griffon was down for my visits and Pantheon had yet to open). Lines and crowds were about the same levels on Wednesday.

I would likely recommend buying QQ in advance.

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10 hours ago, cfc said:

It opened with the park during my last few visits. I went there first thing at opening last Sunday and waited about 20 minutes for the back row.  By the time I finished my ride, the wait was over 70 minutes. 

Thanks CFC!

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11 hours ago, CaptainUnknown said:

^I have some quasi, semi-relevant, grain of salt experience. Last year, I visited the park on Monday, July 5th and Wednesday July 7th. I assume most people got Monday off for the 4th. Quick Queue unlimited sold out Monday. Despite that, I was able to ride every ride in the park that I wanted to with some rerides using only standby lines (Griffon was down for my visits and Pantheon had yet to open). Lines and crowds were about the same levels on Wednesday.

I would likely recommend buying QQ in advance.

QQ is *checks date* $149.99 a person.


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23 hours ago, coasternut79 said:

Ridiculous. And you only get 1 ride on Pantheon even on the highest package.  

This is typical for the first year or two of a new coaster at Busch Gardens. Pantheon will probably become part of the "regular" Quick Queue lineup in time. 

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We had intended to travel from Orlando to Charlotte to visit Carowinds for my birthday weekend. Unfortunately the weather and Spirit airlines had other plans on Saturday evening and $600 later we were rerouted the next morning. Spirit customer service was pathetic and there were practically no seats on any flight out of Orlando on any airline for the next morning except Richmond or Knoxville. Eager to get on Pantheon, we opted for the former and booked the expensive JetBlue flight. 

We checked into the Courtyard early and headed to the park on Sunday arriving around noon. Thankfully they still had preferred left for my Platinum Pass and we were quickly in the park. Guest services honored the 50% discount on Quick Queue that I couldn’t seem to buy online so that was appreciated. 

We spent 8 hours in the park on Sunday and were gifted and extra 6 hours in the park on Monday due to a delayed flight home on our dear friend Spirit. 

Here are some highlights:

- I’ve always preferred this to the Tampa park. I think Tampa might have a slight edge in the coaster line up, but Williamsburg is significantly better in every other area. 
- Sunday was fairly quiet but QQ still came in handy and well worth the $65. We managed to snag a ride on Pantheon fairly quickly first thing both days. We had a ride in car two row 1 and I’m car 4 row 2. Not surprisingly, I preferred towards the back of the train. The ride was about what I expected based on the reviews I had read. First portion is…fine… kind of awkward. The swing launch is fantastic. The backwards ejector airtime isn’t a sensation I’ve felt on any other ride. The top hat and outer bank are fun but are taken a little too slow. The stall was better than I expected and the ending was pretty good. Definitely the best ride in the park but not at the same caliber as Iron Gwazi or Velocicoaster. 
- Alpengiest is my #2 in the park. Unpopular opinion, but I think the cobra roll is outstanding and the ride is a solid 8/10 on the smoothness scale. Objectively, Montu is probably the better coaster but I prefer Alpengiest’s setting. 
- We enjoyed Verbolten and Tempesto for what they are. I don’t particularly care for how Tempesto looks against the skyline and think Tigris fits in better at BGT comparatively. 
- Invadr is very underrated and I prefer to White Lightning. Had some Thunderhead vibes to it minus the straight first drop. 
- Apollo’s Chariot is my least favorite of the B&M hypers but the setting is easily the best. The elements are a tad drawn out and with Mako down the road back home, the airtime particularly in the front is very mild. 
- Loch Ness Monster was one of the coasters that got me hooked as a kid. This and Alpengiest are probably the two most nostalgic rides in the park for me. Still a well-maintained ride with character that has a certain magic about it similar to The Beast. 
- Operations we’re pretty solid given the crowds. I was pleased to see coasters running multiple trains even on Monday. SeaWorld has been guilty of dropping to 1 train on Mako on some weekdays had me concerned we’d have some long lines without QQ on day 2 but that wasn’t the case. 
- Staff was definitely above average. Everyone seemed confident without that deer in the headlights look you get when you ask someone a question. 
- Food was definitely better than Tampa. Some interesting options for the food festival although the matcha Ice Cream made me gag.

Overall we had a wonderful time. As much as I would have enjoyed binging Fury325, I actually think we had a more “full” trip visiting BGW instead. The park looked gorgeous and we had all the rerides we wanted with the exception of Pantheon. It’s such a refreshing change from the manufactured feel of the Orlando parks. 

Thanks for reading! 







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Just to let you know, I was at the park today with my Sea World platinum pass. You need to go to Guest Relations at the front of the park to get your free ticket for their food festival. I was denied the free ticket since I have a Sea World pass. No soup for me....

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^^ Great shots, especially the ones that you wouldn't expect to be taken. 3rd one from the end is a great example.

The train in the bottom of the Lochness track, is another one I like. Thanks for sharing your visit there!

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Just an FYI, but I didn't know BGW had a coaster tour on Wed/Sat.  $80 to see some control rooms and maintenance sheds.  You also get to see the drop track in action and stand near it.


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