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Busch Gardens Williamsburg (BGW BGE) Discussion Thread

P. 443 - A Night at Busch Gardens' Christmas Celebration

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^Er, pretty much everyone who's posted so far.

 

What, they're removing Corkscrew Hill? This is an outrage! Let's get some T-shirts printed up! Start an online petition! Save Corkscrew Hill! They're taking out a classic ride for some Soarin' Over Europe crap? That's not fair to the fans or to the children who will never get to experience this unique and wonderful attraction. Anheuser-Busch ran this park like a family for over 30 years, and now this big conglomorate thinks they can just come in and start changing things? The nerve. The nerve! Amusement parks should never, ever change. Period.

 

 

Where were you when they removed King Arthur's Challenge? We could've saved it!

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Halloween Harvest, or “Howl-o-Scream Lite.” Busch Gardens is sticking with its “reservations only/limited attendance” events with Halloween Harvest during October. This is sort of “Howl-o-Scream

Before this thread derails off course into a COVID discussion, I’ll just keep it simple:  everyone should follow their state and local guidelines.  This isn’t something up for debate on TPR. Now

A Night at Busch Gardens' Christmas Celebration Busch Gardens Williamsburg is pushing on with its limited attendance/reservations-only events schedule with an abridged version of their extremely

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^Oh man, I completely forgot about that one! Seriously though, I think this change is needed. I mean I love Corkscrew Hill and all, but it's become a little dated, and it's not particularly up to the "classic" status. If King Arthur had actually stuck around though, then there might have been a few more problems with this change.

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Busch Gardens Williamsburg has sent us a new press release about their money-saving options for 2010.

 

Busch Gardens is expanding its social media presence and launching a Twitter feed for its online fans who want to save money during their next visit.

 

Starting March 1, Busch Gardens’ fans can follow the park on Twitter for the latest information and exclusive offers. “It will be the best place for the park’s online fans to find limited-time deals, deep discounts and last-minute offers on admission tickets, meal plans, behind-the-scenes tours and merchandise,” said Dan Dipiazzo, vice president of marketing for Busch Gardens.

 

The theme park is giving away a $1,400 prize package when it officially launches its Twitter feed, @BuschGardens_VA, on March 1. Twitter users who start following Busch Gardens’ new feed now will be eligible to win two Platinum Passes – good for two years of unlimited admission to Busch Gardens, Water Country USA and seven other theme parks around the country – as well as a pair of round-trip tickets to any location serviced by Southwest Airlines.

 

To become eligible for the prize package and to receive the exclusive offers from Busch Gardens on Twitter, visit

and click on the “Follow” button.

 

In addition to the exclusive deals on Twitter, Busch Gardens and Water Country USA have additional money-saving offers for park guests:

 

-Prices for 2010 passes start at $99.95, the same as they did in 2009

-Fun Card passes remain the same price as a one-day ticket while valid for unlimited admission during the summer

-New 2-Day, 2-Park ticket is a budget-friendly way of visiting Busch Gardens and Water Country USA

-Save $5 when guests buy single-day tickets online at BuschGardens.com/VA and WaterCountryUSA.com

-Save $10 when guests buy Summer Discovery tickets online at BuschGardens.com/VA and WaterCountryUSA.com

-Save 20 percent when guests buy Williamsburg Bounce tickets online at BuschGardens.com/VA and WaterCountryUSA.com

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Busch Gardens Williamsburg has sent us a new press release about an extended schedule for their successful holiday event, Christmas Town: A Busch Gardens Celebration.

 

Fresh off Busch Gardens’ successful first year of Christmas Town: A Busch Gardens Celebration, park leaders are enhancing the guest experience for the 2010 season. Busch Gardens is extending its Christmas Town operation through New Year’s Eve by adding five additional operating days to its schedule.

 

“We kept hearing from guests that they were looking for something to do between Christmas and New Year’s. We listened and are extending the schedule to accommodate that request,” said Busch Gardens General Manager John Reilly.

 

Christmas Town will open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 3 – 10 p.m. starting Nov. 26, and will open every day except Christmas Day from Dec. 17 through Dec. 31. The park will close at 9 p.m. on Nov. 28, Dec. 5, Dec. 12 and on Christmas Eve.

 

Additional Christmas Town details planned for the 2010 holiday season will be announced later this year.

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Busch Gardens Williamsburg has sent us a press release regarding the new tenants of their traditional Highland Stable near the Loch Ness Monster.

 

Busch Gardens’ Highland Stables has new tenants and a new look. Situated in the park’s Scottish village adjacent to the Loch Ness Monster, the Highland Stables has been a park icon for three-and-a-half decades. When Busch Gardens opens to guests March 26, the stables will feature the park’s own team of Clydesdales as well as a flock of black-faced sheep, two Border collie puppies and a Eurasian barn owl.

 

The sheep and dogs will eventually lead daily herding demonstrations both inside the stable’s pasture and in guest areas of the park. “The dogs are only a few months old and are still too young to herd sheep. We will introduce them to the flock later this summer,” said Jay Tacey, Busch Gardens’ zoological manager.

 

Along with the new animals, the barn itself is getting a facelift. The gleaming white fencing and polished brass tack is giving way to a more rustic look and feel akin to barns found on farms dotting the Scottish countryside. New picket fencing around the perimeter of the pasture as well as an earth-toned paint scheme all around pays homage to traditional Scottish life on a working farm.

 

The Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales—a fixture at the park since 1975—left at the end of 2009 soon after the Dec. 1 sale of the parks. Busch Gardens’ new Clydesdales are black with a white blaze and other markings common to the breed of Scottish draft horses.

 

“They’re simply beautiful animals,” said Tacey. “These gentle giants are very popular with our guests, so we’re designing our demonstration programs that allow people to get even closer to these majestic animals. Combined with our sheep-herding demonstrations and our birds-of-prey exhibit, guests will experience farm life like never before.”

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BGW’s New Highland Stables, Irish Show, and Simulator

 

When Busch Gardens’ original Clydesdales were shipped off to St. Louis last year, this left the park with a problem: “What do we do with the stables?” And how can you have “Busch Gardens” without Clydesdales?

 

The solution: Get new Clydesdales. Heck, why not sheep? Why not turn the Highland Stables into a Scottish farm? The park experimented with some “temp” Clydesdales during Christmas Town last season, and guest reactions were uniformly positive. So they bought four new Clydesdales (two males, two females), along with eight Scottish Blackface Sheep (one ram, seven ewes) and four Border Collies (two males, two femalse) to herd them.

 

Yes, there will be regular herding demonstrations at BGW, but not right away. The dogs are still pups, and they have to learn how the sheep “work” to gain the confidence they’ll need to herd them. This will all be part of the “Highland Stables Up Close Tour,” which will include photo ops with the Clydesdales, personal interaction with the dogs and sheep, and lessons about Scottish farming techniques. The cost for the tour will be $19.95, but the park is running a half-price special for passholders during Spring Break, which ends on April 11.

 

But you don’t necessarily have to pay $19.95 to see some sheepherding. The sheep themselves will be herded across the park, starting in Ireland, to Highland Stables at 11:00 each morning, then back at 4:00 or 5:00 in the afternoon. (Talk about adding atmosphere to the park.)

 

The park also shared some information about their new simulator and show for 2010. Corkscrew Hill in Killearney ended its eight-year run last season and is being replaced with Europe in the Air, a “flying tour.” (“You’re up in the air”—get it?) The park had been thinking about making this change for a few years, said Larry Giles (VP of operations). The same type of simulators are used to train pilots, so “why let it do what it does best—fly?”

 

Like any good theme-park attraction, there is a backstory. An Irishman named O’Shea has started his own travel business (“No-Time Travel”) and has built a special machine that can fly guests from Ireland, past Stonehenge and London, to Paris, to Germany, to the Alps, to Italy, and back again in five minutes. (If only all flights to Europe were this fast.) The footage used in the simulator was shot from the nose of a helicopter by In-Motion Entertainment and includes a flyover of the Roman Coliseum from only 50 feet. The simulator also boasts a larger curved screen; three new digital projectors capable of projecting at 50 frames per second (the standard is 24); and a picture that is “seven times” sharper than HD. (And, no, it isn't in 3D.) The preshow segments are being shot this week, and the ride is scheduled to open in May. It sounds like a great replacement for Corkscrew Hill.

 

Finally, Celtic Fyre, a new Irish dance show, will be debuting in the Abbey Stone Theatre. The theatre is being redone to resemble a large Irish pub, which is hosting a wedding reception. There will be toasts to the bride and groom, dancing in the aisles, and even tables for park guests adjoining the stage. The show is still in rehearsal, and they haven’t finished the theatre’s transformation from a ruined abbey to a pub yet; so, the show will probably be in “preview” mode going into the summer season.

 

My thanks to everyone at BGW today for giving is this look at what's in store for this season.

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Hmm--and what sort of "adventures" will we have today?

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Why, adventures with sheep, . . .

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. . . horses, . . .

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. . . and dogs!

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Meet Jennifer--the trainer.

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And now, meet some Scottish Blackface Sheep! These lambs are only seven and two days old, so the sheep have already been "busy."

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"What's that? You have feed, you say?" These sheep come from a Virginia breeder, as do the collies.

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"Are ye eyeballin' me? Ye best not be eyeballin' me, laddie! I'll butt yer head as sure as shootin'."

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Aw, cute little bugger isn't it?

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"Help! This man has a jar of mint jelly in his pocket! Let go of me, you fiend!"

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Well, it is lunchtime--guess we'd better move on.

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Next up, fiesty Border Collies. They were originally bred on the near the border of Scotland and England--hence the name.

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Trainers call this "using positive reinforcement." Dogs call this "giving us FOOD!"

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They've been learning the basics, such as "shake" and "rollover." And they're learning to respond to typical Scottish commands, such as "That'll do" for "Come here."

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"Can we have some more 'postive reinforcement,' please?"

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"This is my ball! MINE, I tell you!"

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Meet Dakota, who is quite the "escape artist." This horse can actually duck under the top chain and get out, so a second chain was added. That's pretty limber for a Clydesdale.

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Dakota is three years old, stands about 5', 11' tall at the withers, and will probably grow another two inches.

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"Yum! 'Positive reinforcement' for me!"

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"So, Dakota--are you enjoying Busch Gardens?"

 

"Well, I was a bit distressed that the rides can't handle someone of my girth. Then again, I do weigh 1,800 pounds."

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Time to herd some sheep!

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Let's follow them to Ireland, shall we?

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Larry Giles fills us in on "Europe in the Air."

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Goodbye giant hand. Wonder what the new entrance will look like?

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"Celtic Fyre" will be opening at the Abbey Stone Theatre this season.

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Still in rehearsal.

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The show will feature live music. I've always appreciated this touch about Busch's shows (not as much dependence on playback).

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One last look at a Clydesdale. Good to know that they'll still be part of the atmosphere at BGW. Thanks for reading.

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^Awesome report Chuck! I've never been to that Busch Park, but it looks great and all the additions seem like it gives the park that little extra something. Thanks for sharing.

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^That's my impression of Blackstone, too--they seem to "get it." I think the Busch parks are in good hands.

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Cool! Thanks for reporting on this.

 

Corkscrew Hill was a little weird. I didn't enjoy it very much. I'll be excited to see how "Europe in the Air" (very DCA-esque pun there, huh?) is received, although I expect there's going to be a lot of comparisons with Soarin'.

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Is it the fact that I live (part time anyway) in the scottish highlands that I find the farm thing so amusing?

I love clydesdales, and those ones look in tip top condition, which is nice to see.

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Chuck, thanks for sharing, great TR.

 

That park is such a prefect balance of atmosphere and great attractions, even more so with the animals.

 

Just one serious issue. That pic of you and the lamb was a bit too cutesy. It made me for forget for a moment that one will be on my dinner plate for Easter. I don't know if I can eat it now LoL

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^I've always found it ironic that so many people eat lamb on Easter, when Christ is often referred to as the "Lamb of God."

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A fantastic and, as always, amusing report from you, Chuck! Most of all, I loved your captions about "positive reinforcement" and the pictures of the border collies. I agree with you that Busch seems to be in good hands--it's touches like these that really lend to the uniqueness of the Busch chain, and I'm glad to see Blackstone making the effort to retain the world class theme park experience for which the parks are known.

 

~Megan

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Busch Gardens' Highland Stables has new tenants and a new look. Situated in the park's Scottish village adjacent to the Loch Ness Monster, the Highland Stables has been a park icon for three-and-a-half decades. When Busch Gardens opens to guests March 26, the stables will feature the park's own team of Clydesdales as well as a flock of black-faced sheep, two Border collie puppies and a Eurasian barn owl. The sheep and dogs will eventually lead daily herding demonstrations both inside the stable's pasture and in guest areas of the park. "The dogs are only a few months old and are still too young to herd sheep. We will introduce them to the flock later this summer," said Jay Tacey, Busch Gardens' zoological manager.

 

Along with the new animals, the barn itself is getting a facelift. The gleaming white fencing and polished brass tack is giving way to a more rustic look and feel akin to barns found on farms dotting the Scottish countryside. New picket fencing around the perimeter of the pasture as well as an earth-toned paint scheme all around pays homage to traditional Scottish life on a working farm.

 

The Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales -- a fixture at the park since 1975 -- left at the end of 2009 soon after the Dec. 1 sale of the parks.

Busch Gardens' new Clydesdales are black with a white blaze and other markings common to the breed of Scottish draft horses. "They're simply beautiful animals," said Tacey. "These gentle giants are very popular with our guests, so we're designing our demonstration programs that allow people to get even closer to these majestic animals. Combined with our sheep-herding demonstrations and our birds-of-prey exhibit, guests will experience farm life like never before."

 

A new behind-the-scenes tour will feature up-close encounters with the park's newest inhabitants. Check out buschgardens.com/va for additional information, and reservations for behind-the-scenes-tours of Highland Stables and all the tours offered at the park this year.

 

[coastertube]http://www.themeparkreview.com/coastertube/play.php?vid=HighlandStablesMPEG2_j1v4[/coastertube]

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^^It is indeed full of ironies. But, it makes life that much more interesting? haha

 

Heading down to Virginia is even more tempting. Dark Castle, Apollo's Chariot, I305, Williamsburg, etc etc

 

What is "I305?" The US Interstate 305 (I-305) is in California...

 

I love the pics of those cute little puppies! When I worked at Sea World in Orlando there were days when I got to play with the Busch Dalmatians during my breaks It is neat how they are working dogs back into the mix as well. FUN FACT: Dalmatians were used by Bud (and old fire trucks) because they can run fast and would fend off other dogs who would want to chase the horses when they were running.

 

That toy the pup is playing with looks like my dog's favorite outdoor toy. She even has it listed as her favorite activity on her Facebook page! Yes my dog has her own Facebook page- when your named after a roller coaster you do things like that I guess!

 

PS: I just watched the video above. My dog has that same black basket-ball too. She loves to played soccer with it. I should actually say she "had" that same ball. It disappeared about a week ago...it all makes since now...damn sheep!

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So Cute!

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http://buschgardensva.wordpress.com/

 

I have great news everybody. Wolf Haven is getting a face lift, which promises more viewing room for our guests and a new stage layout. Your viewing deck is really taking shape. One of the benefits is that you’ll be able to see the wolves in Wolf Valley while you are watching the show at Wolf Haven. The new deck will be open over Wolf Valley, which will give you a new perspective and brand new photo opportunities. We also are improving the stage by making sure it is ready for lots of wolf paws. We have sprayed concrete over top of the soil. Now the concrete keeps the soil in place, the plants still have room to grow, and it will be a much easier surface for the wolves to get traction on.

 

Here’s some video of them working on the new deck and installing some of the new concrete (shown below).

 

You’ll also be hearing and seeing some new stuff in the show. The focus of our updated show will still be wolf biology, behavior and conservation, but we’ll be throwing in some new surprises that we think you’ll love.

 

Oh, and there may be another North American predator you have yet to see grace our stage besides the Gray wolf. Any guesses? You’ll have to check back for more hints, and come to Busch Gardens this spring to see it yourself.

 

Megan

Wolf Trainer at Busch Gardens

 

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Has anyone gotten a chance to go down to BG and ride Europe in the Air (assuming it is open, I believe I read an article saying it would be)? I am curious to see what people think of it.

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I know this is late, but:

 

I'm sad to see BBW go. I rode it the last month in operation. I thought it was great! But that's coming from a person who has only been to 10 parks. Anyway, I will be following BGW to see what they do to the park. It should be interesting.

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^^They told us at the media day that Europe in the Air is due to open in May. (Sorry about the inadvertant bad poetry.)

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