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Busch Gardens Williamsburg (BGW BGE) Discussion Thread

P. 466: Christmas Town starts on November 11th

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29 minutes ago, grsupercity said:

I had to do a quick double take thinking it said strata coaster lol

That makes me think...maybe CP is turning TTD into the world's first stratastraddle coaster.

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Busch Gardens Gives Us a Look at DarKoaster 

For years now, the building formerly known as DarKastle in Oktoberfest has politely housed some haunted houses and Santa's Workshop. But, at last, a ride is returning to the sinister home of Mad King Ludwig. In fact, the new ride, DarKoaster, looks like something that fits both Howl-o-Scream and Christmas Town: a crazy "snow mobile" ride in which you try to escape an evil blizzard!

The ride has been a bit of an "open secret" for a while, but the park made a more formal announcement at a media event on Tuesday, September 6. After a brief presentation and video by Kevin Lembke, park president, they took us backstage to DarKastle to give us a look at the ride itself. But we had another visitor, too . . . 

 

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Yes, Jack would like to remind us that while DarKoaster is a fine thing, indeed, don't forget that Howl-o-Scream starts on Friday, September 9!

Here's the park's official press release for DarKoaster.

Quote

 

DarKoaster, the World’s First All-Indoor Straddle Coaster, Debuts in 2023 at Busch Gardens Williamsburg

DarKoaster™, the world’s first all-indoor straddle coaster, will open in 2023 at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. The new attraction is the park’s tenth coaster and an unprecedented, family-friendly addition to Busch Gardens’ thrill ride portfolio. The new coaster will be housed in the iconic Curse of DarKastle building, paying homage to the previous ride with subtle theming nods for loyal park fans.

King Ludwig’s abandoned fortress resurfaces as strange weather patterns have been recorded near the cursed castle grounds. Only the bravest souls will embark on snowmobiles in this dark expedition to discover the mysterious phenomenon.  A supernatural force is imminent as explorers discover that they are evading more than just a raging storm.

Escape the storm on the ALL-NEW DarKoaster™, the world’s first all-indoor straddle coaster, launching in 2023 at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Traveling on snowmobiles across 2,454 feet of track, daring explorers race through total darkness while changing course to avoid the elements. As the weather strikes, riders encounter four accelerating launches and speed through the storm on this family-friendly dark ride experience.

“DarKoaster will be an exciting and unique addition to our world class lineup of coasters,” said Kevin Lembke, Busch Gardens Williamsburg Park President. “As an indoor attraction, DarKoaster complements our collection of thrill rides and offers a new experience to enjoy throughout the year. Plus, with only a 48-inch height requirement, DarKoaster is a ride for the whole family to conquer together.” 

Manufactured by Intamin Worldwide, Busch Gardens’ newest family thrill is a steel coaster design with four launches and over 1,400 feet of track. Riders will experience a total of 2,454 feet of track.

 

Here's a look at the media day and DarKoaster.

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Welcome to the Abbeystone Theatre in Killarney.

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There will be no traditional Irish dancing today, but this makes up for it. I think the scary face in the storm might be old Ludwig.

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Park president Kevin Lembke tells us about DarKoaster.

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Remember--you have been warned!

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Here, we see coaster enthusiasts in their natural habitat. Be very quiet! We don't want to startle them.

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Suzy Cheely, vice president of design and engineering, was there to answer questions about the new ride. DarKoaster will feature projection-mapping effects and physical set pieces to tell its story.

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 As I recall, we were standing in what used to be the maintenance bay for Curse of DarKastle. It was the entrance of the Distorted Dimensions HOS maze a few years ago, too.

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Lots of twisty track in here.

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It looks like they're repurposing some of the old ride's theming, too.

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You can see it a bit more clearly here.

 

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Here's a close up of one of the launch sections.

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A closer look at the twistiness of it all. Looks like it'll get pretty "stormy" in there.

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Gets pretty close to the ceiling there.

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One last look at the track.

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"COME BACK, YOU FOOLS! I was gonna make espresso."

 

And that's a wrap from Busch Gardens--for now! 

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Thanks for the report, Chuck!

I only rode DarKastle once right before it closed but I thought it was really awesome and was super bummed it closed.

Couldn't ask for a better replacement than some fresh Intamin indoor goodness. This should be amazing.

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Can't wait to ride this, thanks for all the info Chuck, looks awesome.

DarkCastle was one of my favorite dark rides and this is fantastic that they are keeping the castle and adding to the story.

I wonder what they are going to do with the Battle For Eire next, they really do need another indoor ride/experience of some nature.

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9 hours ago, Satans Hockey said:

Can't wait to ride this, thanks for all the info Chuck, looks awesome.

DarkCastle was one of my favorite dark rides and this is fantastic that they are keeping the castle and adding to the story.

I wonder what they are going to do with the Battle For Eire next, they really do need another indoor ride/experience of some nature.

I think of it as a "sequel" to Curse of DarKastle, and I'm looking forward to what sort of effects they'll use in the show building. As for Battle for Eire, my guess is that it'll be "special event space" for a few years, at least. One of the returning HOS mazes, KILLarney Diner, is still in there.

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This is such a cool concept to me, I love how they're reusing the existing space, and the switch tracks that will allow two laps around the circuit is pretty neat. I hope this concept is successful because I feel like something similar to this could work really well at some other SeaWorld parks. I know SD has something similar in the works for their existing Wild Arctic building but if I recall that looked to be more of just a building for the station, but It would be really cool if SW Orlando could re-purpose the Antarctica building for a similar attraction, or just build this in a box with some themeing backstage somewhere at BGT. 

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On 9/8/2022 at 8:22 AM, Hilltopper39 said:

This is such a cool concept to me, I love how they're reusing the existing space, and the switch tracks that will allow two laps around the circuit is pretty neat. I hope this concept is successful because I feel like something similar to this could work really well at some other SeaWorld parks. I know SD has something similar in the works for their existing Wild Arctic building but if I recall that looked to be more of just a building for the station, but It would be really cool if SW Orlando could re-purpose the Antarctica building for a similar attraction, or just build this in a box with some themeing backstage somewhere at BGT. 

I completely agree. An indoor coaster like this would work very well at BGT or SWO.

I am hoping the theming plays out well for DarKoaster. Outdoor coasters like Pantheon might be able to get away with a lack of theming but with indoor coasters, I feel like it is much more important, and much more obvious if it is lacking. Excited for this!

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Has anyone used Uber/ Lyft services around Busch Gardens lately?  I tried during Hallowscream a few years ago and it was an absolute nightmare.  I hope the service has improved.   

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^ I haven't but I can't imagine it's gotten any better.  Uber and other similar services operate best in cities and dense suburbs.  The colonial peninsula isn't exactly a happenin' place for Uber drivers who would rather be driving in Norfolk and Richmond far more frequently.  It's first and foremost a family destination and they generally have their own vehicles or rentals.

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2 hours ago, cfc said:

You might be better off using one of the local taxi services , such as Colonial Cab. Or, better yet, just rent a car.

Thank you, I'm trying to avoid driving.  I'll look into the taxi services.

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On 9/12/2022 at 9:55 AM, esvadj said:

Has anyone used Uber/ Lyft services around Busch Gardens lately?  I tried during Hallowscream a few years ago and it was an absolute nightmare.  I hope the service has improved.   

I never went during Hallowscream and haven't been since 2019 but I never had any issues getting an Uber during the food and wine fest for many years.

Was the issue just not getting one that late at night?  

They would drive right into the parking lot and pick up right near the main ticket office / entrance area. Getting dropped off I had them drop us at the England parking lot to avoid the traffic and hassle for them and the wait for us since we don't mind walking and it's really not a long walk from the street there anyway.

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5 hours ago, Satans Hockey said:

I never went during Hallowecream...

 

New ice cream flavor?  It sounds delicious.  So long as there's no pumpkin in it.

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I think Darkoaster will be a great addition to the park.  It gives them another family coaster and will also be a ride that can be open in colder temps.  My kids are older now, but when they were younger, we were always looking for coasters with 42" or 48" height requirements.  BGW will now have 4 major coasters with a 48" height requirement, which will be great for families.

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  • 2 weeks later...

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Howl-o-Scream Creeps Back to Williamsburg
Guests coming to Busch Gardens Williamsburg best be ready for witches, cannibals, evil clowns, Jack o’ the Lantern, and even a creepy game-show host at Howl-o-Scream 2022 (HOS). The park held a VIP/Media Night on Friday, September 23, hosted by Mr. Bobby Ocean, the MC of that classic game show Win, Lose, or Die on Station 666.

 

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Of course, the show’s been off the air for a while, and all the other folks at the station are dead, but Bobby is making his big comeback greeting guests at the front entrance for HOS. He gets ‘em coming and going.

TPR thanks Busch Gardens for inviting us to their big night--and for the nice spread of fiendish food and drink in the Globe Theatre.

But what’s new at HOS this year? There are  three new “Terror-tories" (that is, scare zones)--Dead A-Head (the vengeful spirits of the beheaded in France), Gorgon Gardens (Medusa and other sirens in Italy), and Scary Tale Road (childhood favorites gone horribly wrong in Germany). Meat Market (New France) and Ripper Row (England) are back, as are the roaming hordes of scary clowns with chain saws and really big hammers.

Although DarKastle is now lost as a “special event” space, the park is offering three new mazes this year (two are from last year).

Nevermore: Chapter II (NEW, old Drachen Fire station): This is a reimagining of the Nevermore maze that was in DarKastle last year, and I think the new space (which has more of a “decayed House of Usher” feel) works better for it. It’s a walk through the world of Edgar Allan Poe’s stories, including “Murders in the Rue Morgue” and “Masque of the Red Death.” I’ve always been a big fan of Poe, so this was my favorite.

Death Water Bayou (NEW, Festa Italia): This maze uses the same space as last year’s Circo Sinistro. It’s a big improvement, with much better sets and atmosphere, including a New Orleans mortuary, a creepy jazz club, and (of course) a voodoo master’s lair. Nice work reusing the old tents from the circus maze.

Inferno (NEW, Escape from Pompeii show building): This maze is a somewhat generic “walk through Hell,” with demons, victims, and the smell of brimstone. But I think it’s a good replacement for the old Dystopia maze and fits in better with Pompeii.

KILLarney Diner (Battle for Eire building, Ireland):  Who’s ready for lunch? You’re always on the menu at this 1950s diner for cannibals. Who would like a nice plate of Steamed Ears or Flesh Fries? I love the diner and town sets of this maze, but it has the same problem other mazes have had in this building--that long exit where nothing happens. 

Witch of the Woods (behind Verbolten in Germany): Yes, there are woods and witches here. I thought this maze was a bit weak last year, but on Friday night the witch and her minions were a bit more active. It’s quite a hike to get there, though. You have to walk around the Festhaus and all the way past the old Drachen Fire barn on a service trail.

Note that Monster Stomp on Ripper Row should be opening next weekend (September 30), but other shows, such as Jack Is Back (Ireland) and Phantoms of the Festhaus, are running now.

Again, thank you to Busch Gardens Williamsburg for inviting Theme Park Review to the VIP Night.

Dust off your crucifix and break out the garlic--we’re heading into Howl-o-Scream!

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Here's the some of spread BGW put out for the VIP Night. The hand on the right was not part of cuisine (at least for the media).

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Did you ever have the feeling that you were being watched?

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Not sure why . . . it was just a strange sensation that came over me.

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I'm pretty sure these cards are cursed.

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I'm positive now.

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At Busch Gardens, even the dead can smoke only in certain designated areas.

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Time to start exploring Howl-o-Scream.

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Jack is, indeed, back in Ireland.

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Get down, or Jack will haunt the hell out of you!

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Who's ready for Jack's after party?

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"Our special tonight is Roast Leg of YOU!"

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The sign pretty much says it all.

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Remember, before entering Inferno, please apply sunscreen.

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"Somebody wanna hand me a magazine? I'm gonna be on the throne for a while, if you catch my drift."

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Fire in this skull's mouth hole!

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Sheesh! Even the trees in Italy are burning.

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This is the best-dressed snake person I've ever seen.

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The stone-faced ruler of Gorgon Gardens.

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I give Busch Gardens credit for how they name their bars. 

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On to Germany and whatever fiendish fate awaits us.

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Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore . . .  one more time!"

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OK, I'll cut off these chains so you can escape the pendulum. But watch out for the pit as you exit to your left.

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"Oh, you simply must stay for the party! It'll really start to swing when Red Death arrives."

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"For the love of God, Montressor, if you don't show up with that Amontillado in five minutes, I'm leaving!"

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It wouldn't be HOS without some random fog.

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Once upon a time, before Disney sanitized them, fairy tales were really creepy.

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Hey, pig, how's that straw house workin' for ya?

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On Scary Tale Road, the pumpkins eat Peter, the Pumpkin Eater.

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Should I glaze myself first?

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This guy in the Meat Market was the most polite monster I ever met. Always happy to give a hand . . . or a foot . . . or a liver.

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"You're gonna buy a handstamped ring, right?

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Who wants cake?

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"Oh, what an adorable little girl! Let granny help you with that guillotine."

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"Yes, we don't behead just anyone, you know!"

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Darkness descends, so it's time for a pint.

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"Aye, Scotland! We're hauntin' the hell outta ye!"

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Blurry park guests! The most frightening monsters of them all!

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Ireland isn't the only venue where one can, as they say, "get down."

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Bozo never had a chain saw. That was his mistake.

 

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"Wanna try my whammer? It's really big!"

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Can you not smell the gumbo . . . of DEATH?

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I wonder if there's a beignet stand around here?

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If this was a "Boo Blasters" ride, he'd have milk and cookies.

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It's quite a haul to Witch of the Woods. First, you have to get past Gorgon Gardens.

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Then you walk all the way around the Festhaus, past Nevermore, then past the old Drachen Fire barn.

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Our quest is at an end. God be praised!

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"Geez! All we did was fall asleep for a few hundred years, and a damn tree grew around us!"

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"I am an attorney representing the Blair Witch, and she would like to discuss this egregious violation of her trademark 'stick figures.'"

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That was a fun night, but I'm beat . . . oh, crap--a cop!

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And Jack the Ripper? Where's that cop when I need him?

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"Y'all won this round of 'Win, Lose, or Die'! Care to play again?"

That's a wrap from Howl-o-Scream 2022 at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Thanks for reading.

 

 

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A new slide is coming to Water Country USA in 2023: Riptide Race! Here's the park's announcement.

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All-New Riptide Race to Open at Water Country USA in 2023 as Virginia’s First Dueling Pipeline, Members Will be Among the First to Ride

WILLIAMSBURG, VA. (September 27, 2022) – Water Country USA, voted one of the country’s top ten water parks by USA Today is splashing into 2023 with Riptide Race, the first dueling pipeline in Virginia. This family-friendly water slide will be the park’s tenth slide when it opens next year, complimenting relaxing areas to unwind, including Hubba Hubba Highway, Rock ‘n’ Roll Island, plus kid-friendly spaces like the all-new Lil’ Surfers Splash Pad, which opened earlier this year at Virginia’s largest water park.

Riptide Race is an adrenaline-pumping water slide race that pits teams against each other in a splash to the finish line. Riders challenge friends and family members to see which team feels the rush of victory. Speeding through each turn in a down-to-the-wire finish, this fast-paced, high-speed adventure is one that guests will want to experience again and again.

It all starts atop a 54-foot tower, where visitors grab a two-person raft before racing through 520 feet of slide, with low walls to keep an eye on the competition. It’s a dash to the splash when competing in this side-by-side raft run through high-speed tunnels, twists and turns.

“The addition of Riptide Race will elevate our guest experience in a unique and unprecedented way”, said Kevin Lembke, Park President of Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Water Country USA. “With a 42-inch height requirement, Riptide Race was designed with the whole family in mind. We are excited for our guests to enjoy this fast-paced adventure together and look forward to the debut of Riptide Race next year.”

Water Country USA will open for the 2023 season on Saturday, May 13. Additional details about Riptide Race, including an opening date will be shared in the coming months.

The thrills continue in 2023 at Busch Gardens Williamsburg with the addition of DarKoaster™, North America’s first all-indoor straddle coaster. Traveling on snowmobiles across 2,454 feet of track, daring explorers race through total darkness while changing course to avoid the elements. As the weather strikes, riders encounter four accelerating launches and speed through the storm on this family-friendly dark ride experience. Opening next year, the new attraction is the park’s tenth coaster and an unprecedented, family-friendly addition to Busch Gardens’ thrill ride portfolio.

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