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Busch Gardens Williamsburg (BGW BGE) Discussion Thread

P. 467: Media Town Hall Report

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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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I may go to KI and BGW this weekend. I was trying to figure out which order to do the parks, looking at opening times, driving distance, etc. When I looked up Quick Queue for BGW, all I see are single use passes for seven attractions. Three of which I care nothing about. Are they serious with this? Even at half price for a platinum passholder, this still seems ridiculous. Am I misreading the way this works? Monday through Thursday it is $14.99, $89.99 on Fridays, $149 on Saturdays, and $69.99 on Sundays.

I have decided to do BGW on Sunday because they open at 10 a.m.  vs KI's 12 p.m. and it's a 3.5 hour drive back home. Still not sure I want to pay $35 to skip the line on four coaster rides. I wouldn't buy in advance anyway. The real impetus for this trip is Pantheon and maximizing my platinum pass. So I'll be happy to be there at rope drop and get what I get.

 

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1 hour ago, hoppedup said:

I may go to KI and BGW this weekend. I was trying to figure out which order to do the parks, looking at opening times, driving distance, etc. When I looked up Quick Queue for BGW, all I see are single use passes for seven attractions. Three of which I care nothing about. Are they serious with this? Even at half price for a platinum passholder, this still seems ridiculous. Am I misreading the way this works? Monday through Thursday it is $14.99, $89.99 on Fridays, $149 on Saturdays, and $69.99 on Sundays.

I have decided to do BGW on Sunday because they open at 10 a.m.  vs KI's 12 p.m. and it's a 3.5 hour drive back home. Still not sure I want to pay $35 to skip the line on four coaster rides. I wouldn't buy in advance anyway. The real impetus for this trip is Pantheon and maximizing my platinum pass. So I'll be happy to be there at rope drop and get what I get.

Do you mean Kings Dominion?  KI and BGW are a little far apart to do in a single weekend.

Anyway, yeah that's weird that they're not offering QQ Unlimited on Sundays, but what I think you want is the "Howl-O-Scream Quick Queue Unlimited Plus" option, which for Sunday the 9th is only $130, and includes:

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Unlimited Access: Death Water Bayou(NEW), Inferno(NEW), Killarney Diner, Nevermore Chapter 2 (NEW), Witch of the Woods, Alpengeist, Apollo's Chariot, Finnegan's Flyer, Griffon, Mäch Tower & Verbolten

Single-Time Access: InvadR & Pantheon

That seems like a pretty good deal to me.

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Yes. KD. I have KI on the brain since I was there last weekend. I didn't check the Howl-O-Scream tickets because I assumed they were just for haunts and mazes. Looks like QQ unlimited is sold out for Sunday, so I may switch up and do BGW Saturday. Or just go without the QQ on Sunday.

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On 10/6/2022 at 8:52 AM, hoppedup said:

Yes. KD. I have KI on the brain since I was there last weekend. I didn't check the Howl-O-Scream tickets because I assumed they were just for haunts and mazes. Looks like QQ unlimited is sold out for Sunday, so I may switch up and do BGW Saturday. Or just go without the QQ on Sunday.

It was crazy busy at BGW this weekend, probably thanks to the College of William and Mary's homecoming and the Indigenous Peoples (formerly Columbus  Day) holiday.  

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just a few thoughts on what a difference a night can make at Howl-o-Scream. I went there last Friday night with my brother, who'd never been to Howl-o-Scream before. The park appears to have been tweaking some of the houses, mostly for the better. Here's how my rankings changed from media night (best to worst):

1. Death Water Bayou--they've added more scare actors and stuff to the show scenes (making a good house even better). 

2. Killarney Diner--more actors, more interaction with guests, more going on.

3, Witch of the Woods--this one was much improved over the media-night version. The scare actors were talking more to the guests and just trying harder. It was also our longest wait of the night (next to Pantheon).

4. Inferno--this one seemed understaffed, but they have some good, hellish atmosphere to make up for it.

5. Nevermore: Chapter 2--just kind of "off" that night. Like Inferno, it seemed understaffed, but more "blah."

Terror-tories seemed pretty weak on Friday, but sometimes that's a matter of poor timing. For example, we were strolling through the Garden of the Gorgon, and some annoying group kept taking selfies with every monster they met. 

My brother enjoyed his first Howl-o-Scream, and we were fortunate that we started with the weakest house first (they just got better to him from there). I wonder if I can talk him into checking out Knott's Scary Farm next year. 

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Finally made it back to BGW this weekend. Yesterday was cool and overcast. We were in the park from 10-2:45 and got all the coasters at least twice except Tempesto. The park was pretty dead and with the exception of Pantheon, everything was a walk-on. Nessie was running great.

Pantheon was great! I really didn't expect to like it as much as I did. I enjoyed the launches and every element, from the top hat to the zero-G stall. Probably not in my top ten, but a great addition to BGW. We rode it first and then it went down for a while not long after. It was bit drizzly and windy at times. We got it with about a 20 minute wait when it reopened. The real impetus of this trip did not disappoint.

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Typical wait times:

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Kid was acting up a bit:

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  • 2 weeks later...

Christmas Town starts next weekend! Here's some information from the park about this year's festivities.

 

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Over Ten Million Lights Will Shine Bright at the World’s Most Beautiful Theme Park During Busch Gardens® Christmas Town™

  • Busch Gardens® Christmas Town™ returns on select dates Nov. 11 – Jan. 8
  • One of North America’s largest light displays transforms the Williamsburg park with over ten million lights
  • NEW! Be immersed in the magic of the season with an all-new holiday dining experience, Santa’s Fireside Feast presented by Coca-Cola®
  • NEW! Holiday scavenger hunt celebrates traditions from around the world
  • NEW! Enjoy over 20 rides and coasters including all-new Pantheon™
  • Best Deal of the Season! Guests can save up to 60% on tickets during the Christmas Town Flash Sale, starting as low as $27.99
  • Buy a Membership now to enjoy Christmas Town and receive unlimited visits and unbeatable benefits including free parking, free tickets and more in 2023

 

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 The holidays shine brightest at Busch Gardens® Christmas Town™, returning on select dates from November 11 through January 8. The World’s Most Beautiful Theme Park will once again be transformed with over ten million twinkling lights, one of the largest light displays in North America. Enjoy heartwarming holiday shows, and more coasters than ever before with the all-new Pantheon™, the world’s fastest multi-launch coaster. Christmas Town™ classics such as Santa’s Workshop, the Christmas Town Express and ‘Twas that Night ice-skating show cover the park in holiday cheer. Festive treats, holiday shopping and special photo opportunities complete the festive holiday tradition for friends and families.

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Be immersed in the magic of the season during an all-new dining experience, Santa’s Fireside Feast presented by Coca-Cola®. Families can enjoy a hearty meal and a special Christmas story from the big elf himself during this festive encounter. Santa’s Fireside Feast is offered on select dates in the Killarney area of the park. Guests can reserve their spot at BuschGardens.com.

 

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Families are also invited to participate in an all-new holiday scavenger hunt celebrating traditions from around the world including Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. Guests can pick up a clue sheet in England to identify holiday symbols throughout the park and redeem a prize once all are found.

Visitors of all ages can renew holiday traditions while enjoying fan-favorite shows celebrating the reason for the season. Returning entertainment includes:

Up on the Haustop: It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Warm up with modern-day Christmas classics in a festive performance in Das Festhaus.

Unto Us: A choral celebration of the greatest story ever told. The first Christmas comes alive in this inspiring show in the open-air Il Teatro di San Marco Theatre.

Celtic Fyre®: A Christmas Celebration: Voted USA Today’s #1 Theme Park Entertainment, this iconic performance adds a Christmas touch to the Killarney classic.

‘Twas That Night: The Royal Palace Theatre is transformed into a spectacular ice-skating show that reimagines the classic story of "The Night Before Christmas."

Scrooge No More: Join Scrooge live on stage in this musical at the Globe Theatre as he is swept away by the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future, who teach him the importance of family and friends being together at Christmas. 

In addition to rides on the all-new Pantheon, thrill-seekers can conquer over 20 rides and attractions during Busch Gardens Christmas Town. Enjoy a nighttime ride on more coasters than ever before as well as fan-favorite thrills like Finnegan’s Flyer™ and Mach Tower.

 

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Best Deal of the Season! Christmas Town Flash Sale – Save up to 60% On Tickets
Spread holiday cheer with the best deal of the season during the Christmas Town Flash Sale. For a limited time only, guests can save up to 60% on tickets, starting as low as $27.99. Hurry, offer ends 11/13!

Give the Gift of Unlimited Visits and Unbeatable Benefits with a Busch Gardens Membership
Busch Gardens Membership plans start as low as $13 a month and offer guests unlimited visits to events all year long, including Christmas Town. Plus, Members get unbeatable benefits including FREE parking, FREE guest tickets, in-park discounts and exclusive events and monthly rewards. Busch Gardens Members will be also be among the first to ride DarKoaster in 2023!

Membership is organized in easy-to-use tiers and includes one-park and two-park Busch Gardens and Water Country USA® Memberships. Busch Gardens’ sister park, Water Country USA, is a seasonal water park with over 40 state-of-the-art water slides, kids' play areas, lazy rivers and a mega wave pool. With a two-park Membership, visitors can enjoy thrills at the world’s most beautiful theme park and fun in the sun at Virginia’s largest water park, Water Country USA. The flexibility allows guests to choose the Membership, benefits, and parks that are the best fit. For a full overview of Membership benefits, visit: buschgardens.com/williamsburg/annual-pass/.

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I was at the park yesterday for Member Appreciation Day (they're holding it today, too). Festa Italia was "closed" due to Christmas Town prep, but Pantheon was open; you had to get to the ride via Oktoberfest and walk down a short service road. Pantheon, Apollo's Chariot, InvadR, and Verbolten will be operating during Christmas Town, as well.

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Hi everyone, I'm attending Busch Gardens this weekend. I've been plenty of times before but not during Christmas Town and I see that this weekend is Christmas Town preview! How much of the full Christmas Town will I be missing? Just some of the lights won't be up yet is what I'm assuming. Also, Saturday looks like it'll be a great weather day. Should I expect huge crowds? Final question, can I expect all listed rides to be open barring any maintenence/weather issues? This will be my third time there since Pantheon was built but my first since it has opened. 

 

Thanks in advance :)

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Good question. "Preview" days can be a bit bumpy.  I imagine the park will be pretty well decorated (Italy was "closed" last week for Christmas Town prep). Shows are supposed to be running according to their website, and I think you can count on attractions being open.

But they always have to tweak these events after they start.

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1 hour ago, cfc said:

Good question. "Preview" days can be a bit bumpy.  I imagine the park will be pretty well decorated (Italy was "closed" last week for Christmas Town prep). Shows are supposed to be running according to their website, and I think you can count on attractions being open.

But they always have to tweak these events after they start.

Okay. All good to hear. While I'm excited to check out all their Christmas stuff, the main reason for the trip is to get on Pantheon (and of course get a few laps on Apollo and Verbolten since they're open :)

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  • 1 month later...

I'm planning my trip for June 5-11 and I'm trying to figure out which day of the week to go to the park. Does anyone know if Busch Gardens typically has all their coasters operating on weekdays at that time, or should I go on the weekend? Obviously it'll be busier on the weekend, so that's worse, or would Friday be good?

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On 12/10/2022 at 2:44 PM, throatytoast said:

I'm planning my trip for June 5-11 and I'm trying to figure out which day of the week to go to the park. Does anyone know if Busch Gardens typically has all their coasters operating on weekdays at that time, or should I go on the weekend? Obviously it'll be busier on the weekend, so that's worse, or would Friday be good?

The park is open for daily operations in June, so I would expect all coasters to be running.  I would definitely go on a weekday if that fits into your schedule.  

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