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Busch Gardens Williamsburg (BGW BGE) Discussion Thread

P. 467: Media Town Hall Report

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  • 1 month later...

OK, who's ready to let the good times roll at Busch Gardens? It's Mardi Gras season! Here's some information from the park about this year's event.



The Big Easy Meets Big Thrills at Busch Gardens Mardi Gras with NEW Entertainment & NEW Flavors

  • Mardi Gras returns to Busch Gardens Williamsburg on select dates now – Feb. 20
  • Enjoy the spirit of the season with the NEW Mardi Street Party, an interactive street parade with ribbon dancers, stilt walkers and Big Easy beats
  • Guests are transported to a festive realm of French Quarter fanfare featuring over thirty Cajun culinary delights and spirited entertainment  

Busch Gardens debuts a robust and exciting event lineup in 2023 with the return of Busch Gardens Mardi Gras on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays plus Presidents’ Day, now through February 26. Let the good times roll with the ALL-NEW Mardi Street Party, NEW bayou-inspired cuisine, and returning favorites from 2022 including Carnaval Imaginique, a captivating and electrifying cirque show in the Globe Theatre. Colorful entertainment fills Busch Gardens’ villages with an exciting New Orleans-style event for the whole family, featuring three world-class roller coasters, over fifteen rides and thirty mouth-watering Mardi Gras flavors.


NEW! Mardi Street Party at Busch Gardens Mardi Gras

The France village comes to life in this exciting NEW parade full of dazzling ribbon dancers and stunning stilt walkers. Wave hello to the King of Mardi Gras and collect beads as his jesters pass by.

The spirit continues as the popular Carnaval Imaginique returns to the Globe Theatre, featuring thrilling acrobatics and stunning acts of balance and strength. Guests can also experience returning entertainment like the New Orleans Jazz Band in Das Festhaus, the Killarney Village Band in Abbey Stone Theatre and Samba Jamboree, everyone’s favorite wacky jester drummers, in Rhinefeld village.



NEW! 30+ Authentic Mardi Gras Flavors

Immerse yourself in the Big Easy with NEW culinary offerings straight from Bourbon Street. Indulge in classic New Orleans-style cuisine ranging from Chicken and Andouille Gumbo, Shrimp Étouffée, Banana Fosters Cheesecake, the fan favorite Crawfish Boil, and more. Let the good times roll with spirited cocktails including hurricanes, rum runners and the King Cake shot. New food and beverage offerings include:

  • NEW! - Oyster Po’ Boy 
  • NEW! – Specialty Beignets     
  • NEW! – Passionfruit Hurricane     
  • NEW! – Cajun Bloody Mary 

The best way to taste your way through Mardi Gras is with a five or ten item sampler. Guests can mix and match entrees, desserts, beer, wine, cocktails and specialty non-alcoholic beverages at designated Mardi Gras kiosks throughout the park for only $40 for five punches, or $60 for ten punches. Sampler lanyards are available to purchase online or in-park.





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Does anyone know when QuickQue's go on sale for the summer? Or does anyone remember roughly what QuickQue's cost last year for let's say a Thursday/Friday/Saturday in early June? Trying to plan a trip with the kid up for a KD/BGW weekend and don't see the QQ's available for sale yet.

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1 hour ago, Hilltopper39 said:

Does anyone know when QuickQue's go on sale for the summer? Or does anyone remember roughly what QuickQue's cost last year for let's say a Thursday/Friday/Saturday in early June? Trying to plan a trip with the kid up for a KD/BGW weekend and don't see the QQ's available for sale yet.

It's convoluted, but I managed to get to the QQ pricing for the summer just now.  You first need to add a ticket to your cart, then go to the cart, and towards the bottom of that screen you should see a normal QQ option.  Right now it's showing $90for Fridays, $100 for Saturdays, and $90 for Sundays in early June.

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  • 4 weeks later...

went to BGW today for the last day of mardi gras. somewhat chilly temps may have kept the crowds away, as it was not that packed. couple of notes:

1. i had 2 young kids with me, so didn't get to ride any coasters

2. mardi gras food was better than expected but not outstanding

3. the show in globe theatre and festhaus were both entertaining and worth the time

4. darkoaster preview was pretty weak, didn't even go inside the bldg, but oh well


random thought i had when at the park? when did the below events start becoming a regular thing at the park?

1. christmastown - as far as i can tell, this was 2008

2. howl o scream - pre 2000??

3. food and wine festival - 2015??

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  • 3 weeks later...

^That sounds about right. Howl-o-Scream has been going on since 1998 (when it had one house, a couple of shows, and the Transylvania Express train ride).



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  • 1 month later...

DarKoaster will be opening on May 19, but there will be member previews starting on May 11. Stay tuned!



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  • 3 weeks later...

Went to member preview for DarKoaster last night.  The rides theming elements exceed SEAS expectations.  It's a fun ride for sure.  The part that isn't great......as expected that capacity is ROUGH.  I got in line around 6:35 yesterday and ended up not boarding until 9:45pm and I know people were still waiting long after me.  If you plan to ride this attraction this year I'd prioritize it on your visit to avoid the line eating up a significant portion of your day.  I cannot imagine for the life of me what the line will look like opening weekend.  I would expect 4 hour waits next weekend on Saturday with what I experienced last night.  

The ride is cool they do switch up the themes between each of the laps, there are various props and projections utilized and you get to wait in DarKastles old queue.  Remember waiting in that courtyard in the hot sun before?  It's BACK baby and slower than ever!  It's a solid add to the park and good reusing of the space but the capacity is..........concerning to say the least.  

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^Oh dear. Did it break down during that time? I just can't imagine them having a three hour line for a family coaster during a passholder preview?!!?

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It actually went down as soon as I finally got to the loading platform (the entrance to it not the rows for the train) after around just over a 2 hour wait with a queue spilling out of the entrance.  So my wait time was inflated around 30-40 minutes by that down time.  The line is deceptive, they were moving trains so it felt like the line was moving at a steady pace but after a certain point I realized we were very SLOWLY moving up at a time.  

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It's the Curse of the Curse of DarKastle!

I'm meeting a friend there this afternoon to give it a try. We'll see how it goes.

I read on Twitter yesterday that they were still working on the preshow room, too.

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So my visit Thursday night was kind of eh.

This first part was sort of on me, but I went to get in for the ride but was told that I needed to go to kiosk to  print out a voucher for the passholder preview ride. They didn't do this for Pantheon last year so I thought they would just scan my pass. I went to a kiosk near Verbolten and redeemed the pass but kiosk didn't print the voucher. I traveled around the park for another kiosk and the voucher didn't show up as something I could redeem anymore. Finally got it taken care of at Guest Services and got in line at around 8:20 PM. I think it was around 11pm by the time I finally got on to ride. 

Fun little family ride with some neat theming. Would I have made a special trip after work just to ride this if I had thought I would be in line for so long? Hell no.

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FYI, for anyone looking at going to BGW this summer who has access to Tickets At Work (ticketsatwork.com), there is currently a sale going on - $59.99 for a two-day ticket, good at both BGW and Water Country USA.  I called the park today and confirmed that it could be used at the same park two days.  It's called a "Memorial Day Sale," so I'm not sure how long it's going for, so act quick if you're interested.

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DarKoaster Media Day: Ludwig Returns

Remember when DarKastle “echoed with terror” and the fiendish laughter of Mad King Ludwig? Those good old days are back with DarKoaster, Busch Gardens’ new launched family coaster, which still delivers the goods for more seasoned thrill seekers. The park showed off their new coaster/dark ride combo during a media event on Thursday, May 18. It officially opened to the public today.

While the original Curse of DarKastle was a big dark ride using 3D projections and physical effects, DarKoaster is a twisting, disorienting indoor roller coaster with plenty of surprises of its own--a good “sequel,” you might say. A company called “Dark Tours” is conducting a paranormal investigation of the infamous DarKastle when, of course, something goes horribly wrong--a sudden freak blizzard. The only way to escape the tempest is via snowmobile.

Although this is a “family friendly” ride, the launches are intense enough to be fun, and the layout of the track is very disorienting, thanks to the pounding music and sound effects, creepy surprises, and utter darkness. Even though you’re launched over the same track twice, each circuit has a different series of special effects. The ride’s maximum speed is around 35 mph, but it seems faster. Some of the effects are best seen from the backseat.

As you may remember from the old Curse of DarKastle days, no one loves a party more than King Ludwig. So, bundle up, hitch the team up to your Golden Sleigh, and head over to  DarKastle. Ludwig is waiting for you.

Here’s a look at the media day and VIP reception--and an off-ride video of DarKoaster, which was shot and provided by the park.  My thanks to Busch Gardens Williamsburg for inviting Theme Park Review to this event.






“Do come in. I insist!”



You might want a little liquid courage from BarKastle first.


You can stow your gear in a locker here.



It’s also the exit and gift shop.


There’s some retro merch, too.


Looks like Ludwig has been sprucing up the place a bit.


“Join us . . . join us . . . we have beer . . . we have booze . . .”


“Who let in all this rabble? They'll drink all my beer!”



“They better save some beer for me!”


Aw, man, my uncle’s house was once “possessed by the paranormal. The exorcism was pretty nasty.


This is one of a number of callbacks to the original ride--and it sets up the paranormal-investigation angle.


Dark Tours--for all your paranormal ski-weekend needs.


As you may have guessed from earlier captions, DarKoaster has its own beer! Virginia Beer Company (VBC), a Williamsburg brewery, whipped up a nice Schwartzbier--”DarKoaster Black Lager.” Based on the park’s history, it seems odd that it took them this long to come up with a themed brew. The VBC rep said they’d been talking with the park about doing something for a few years, and DarKoaster was the perfect opportunity.


These are available at BarKastle. The beer will be on tap at the Brauhaus, too.


Black Lager is quite good--a nice, malty brew.


Which is scarier--the ride or this huge owl?


Park president Kevin Lembke thanks everyone for coming--and Ludwig for not killing us . . . yet.


The portrait of Ludwig bears careful watching. There’s also some radio chatter than ties in to other parts of Busch Gardens.


They’re using the original DarKastle station for DarKoaster, too. It's been modified, of course.


“Frost Bite” was the name of the first Howl-o-Scream maze in this building after the original ride closed.


Wolves are also very dear to the heart of Busch Gardens Williamsburg.


Well, I survived the storm. Will this group be so lucky?


Good luck, folks! (Photo provided by Busch Gardens.)


You're gonna need it! (Photo provided by Busch Gardens.)



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Great report as always @cfc!  I'm eager to get down there in a week or so to try it out.

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I think the main thing against it is capacity, but the ride itself is fun.  Waits are topping three hours this weekend (or so I hear), but, my goodness--a new coaster is drawing a huge crowd? Go figure.

Their last ride was the intense Pantheon, so it made sense to build a family coaster. But some people just like to complain. 



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  • 4 weeks later...

We got to ride Darkoaster the other day. It's definitely fun, but capacity is very concerning.

Verbolten was a walk-on all day (just to give everyone an idea of crowd levels) and Darkoaster  was never posting less than 130 minutes when we walked by. We rode in Quick Queue and that's basically the only way to ride it unless you rope drop, and even then you had better be near the front of the turnstiles. They must have only been pulling about 50 people per hour from standby... tops.


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One plus is they do keep the line open until park closing.  After using the single-use Quick Queue during the day on Friday, we were able to hop in the 30 min standby line about 5-10 min before closing to grab a second ride. 

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