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Busch Gardens/Water Country, VA


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Purchased 3 Discovery tickets for BG/Water Country. This was our 3rd or 4th visit, previous visits very enjoyable. This year was a big disappointment, mostly due to the response from BG management when I called.

 

Main complaint is that the new Water Country slide, Vanish Point, injured me. It caused a bleeding scrape on my back. This was especially unfortunate because it required that I stay out of the water, a big bummer since we headed to the beach just after BG.

When I called BG to let them know my experience, the first person I spoke to was very attentive and sympathetic. She stated she would call me back the following day after looking into the problem with Vanish Point. After 2 days and no call, I called BG again, at which point I was passed off to one layer after another of management. All I got from these individuals were empty sounding "we apologize" and offers of return tickets to the park. I posed the question to them: what would be the appropriate way to respond when someone does them the favor of alerting them of an injury causing problem with their slide and also points out numerous other problems with WC and BG? If I had a miserable time and even got injured, would it be sane to return and be satisfied with "free" tickets? I asked them, at minimum, to reimburse the ticket costs. They refused. Furthermore, they kept calling me to discuss the incident and then just kept repeating the same empty apology and offer of more tickets. It was really extremely annoying and prompted posting of this review. Frankly, I think I could take the photo of the nasty scrape on my back to an attorney and force BG to do the right thing but I don't want to take the time and mix my mind with these misguided individuals any further. My response, as I told them, is to post this review for others to consider before deciding on a trip to BG/WC. The stingy minded, misguided decisions of corporate management never cease to amaze and it was in full bloom in this incident.

 

Other problems we experienced:

 

There were way too many people at WC. Management should limit the number of persons in the park. We would have much preferred to be turned away rather than experience the elbow room only environment and long waits. During our time there, we waited in line only to be told the slide would have to close due to unexplained cause or (distant) thunder. The one and only slide we got on, after a very long wait, was Vanish Point, and this caused the injury.

 

At BG, the company's literature certainly gave the impression Mach Tower was open, yet it was not.

 

There were malfunctions that caused long waiting or giving up at Apollo's Chariot and Europe in the Air.

 

Bottom line: BG/WC tickets are expensive and we felt extremely unsatisfied with what the parks provided. Management response only increased the feeling of dissatisfaction. I won't support this kind of company with my patronage and hope this posting helps others avoid the kind of experience we had.

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There were way too many people at WC. Management should limit the number of persons in the park. We would have much preferred to be turned away rather than experience the elbow room only environment and long waits.

I call BS. You only say that because you're pissed off, and decided to rant about it here. Something tells me that being turned away from the park would have irritated you just as much.

 

During our time there, we waited in line only to be told the slide would have to close due to unexplained cause or (distant) thunder. The one and only slide we got on, after a very long wait, was Vanish Point, and this caused the injury.

Perhaps you would rather be struck by lightning?

 

 

 

But hey, since you're not planning on returning, there's always Six Flags America for ya!

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I doubt you are going persuade many people on here from going to Busch Gardens/WC with your post. The majority of people on here (including myself) love the park, so getting a scrape on a water ride isn't going to turn anybody else off. I am not going to pretend to know the best way for Busch Gardens to have handled this situation, but they offered you free tickets and seemed to have at least attempted to deal with it rather than just blow you off.

 

The other "problems" you mentioned don't really sound that major. If you had researched before hand, you would of known that Mach Tower is still not opened especially if you read the board. Rides break down all the time and you have to learn to expect it occasionally, it is unfortunate but it comes with theme park visits. Especially, if it was only two rides...

 

As far as a park being too crowded, you picked a day when it was crowded, what is the park supposed to do about that?

Edited by ernierocker
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There were way too many people at WC. Management should limit the number of persons in the park. We would have much preferred to be turned away rather than experience the elbow room only environment and long waits. During our time there, we waited in line only to be told the slide would have to close due to unexplained cause or (distant) thunder. The one and only slide we got on, after a very long wait, was Vanish Point, and this caused the injury.

 

Going to a water park on a hot day... especially during a week of 90-100 degree temperatures is bound to bring a ton of people to Water Country. Plus thunderstorms have been pretty bad lately. WCUSA did the proper thing with closing down the slides because the last few thunderstorms had lightning, heavy rain, and high winds.

 

At BG, the company's literature certainly gave the impression Mach Tower was open, yet it was not.

The brochure says "new for 2011" not "now open". Same goes for the advertisement signs hanging in any local hotel lobby. The only thing's that say otherwise are the park planner maps you get in hotels, which I think still say "Opening late Spring". The maps have been updated with "Coming soon" on the map and the height description. Somebody should be standing at the gate to answer questions about the ride as well.

 

There were malfunctions that caused long waiting or giving up at Apollo's Chariot and Europe in the Air.

Rides break down. You should've gotten out of line and rode the other three coasters/other rides the park had to offer.

 

Bottom line: BG/WC tickets are expensive and we felt extremely unsatisfied with what the parks provided. Management response only increased the feeling of dissatisfaction. I won't support this kind of company with my patronage and hope this posting helps others avoid the kind of experience we had.

BGW/WCUSA both have their own Facebook page/website where you can check the status of all the rides before your trip as well as plan your day in advance before you visit. Management can only do so much for you over the phone, after the incident occurred. Did you tell an employee about the incident? Did first aid get in contact with you? Busch actually does have something in place for when you get injured on their rides and first aid medics do patrol the parks.

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I love it when people sign up only to post a complaint as if TPR is a general Guest Services department for all amusement parks.

 

From the sounds of it, JCM is merely bitter that everything didn't turn out perfect for them. Rides break down, parks get crowded, unexpected closures happened. Sounds like someone needed to check both the BGW website AND weather.com before planning their trip.

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I love it when people sign up only to post a complaint as if TPR is a general Guest Services department for all amusement parks.

 

From the sounds of it, JCM is merely bitter that everything didn't turn out perfect for them. Rides break down, parks get crowded, unexpected closures happened. Sounds like someone needed to check both the BGW website AND weather.com before planning their trip.

 

I agree completely.

 

If he really thinks that one post is going to make us go "No way we're going back to Busch Gardens because of one post" he's dead wrong. Bad days happen- and I can fully assure him this: At least BGW DID offer compensation for a bad day. Try that at SixFlags and see exactly what happens.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZBcPIDKyCw

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I've never been to the park and this isn't going to change my desire to go. I wouldn't go to the water park, anyways. Although; they should have atleast offered tickets or a refund or something, because I'm assuming the scrape on your back would be pretty painful. I've had bad experiences with Kings Island's 25 year old slides. Sucks you had to miss out on going in the ocean, and I'm sure the car ride was no fun.

 

I don't know what a lawsuit would get you, especially if there were no stitches or ER kinds of treatment resolved lol. Sometimes you just can't win.

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Welcome to TPR!

 

 

I went to WC last summer and had a blast. Then again I went in mid-August when it wasn't scorching hot - lines varied, and I rode everything I wanted to ride. My only complaint is that the pavement was really hot to walk on. I demand complimentary sandals from the park, or the sun be turned down a notch.

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I agree 100% with the original poster.

 

This tragic sould recieved a scrape on one of WC/BGW's rides, and ALL they did was offer free tickets? BLASPHEMY! The slide should have been torn down on spot.

 

We just can't stand for these slides giving people "scrapes". The next thing you know that sneaky pavement might try to give people burns. And you wouldn't believe the stories I've heard about those dasterdly staircases!

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If you were only calling them to alert them to a problem you should not be concerned about proper compensation.

 

Remember, and this goes for any complaint, at many companies a front line employee can only offer so much ask for a manager and continue to ask for their manager if you are not satisfied. If that doesn't work and you paid by credit card and haven't paid the credit card bill yet, dispute the bill with the credit card company. The two times I have done this with different companies my problem was solved within 48 hours

 

Sure you could take it to a lawyer, pay thousands of dollars in legal fees and have Busch settle out of court for a refund. You win in principle but lose a lot of money. Now if your scrape turns into an infection, you might have a case.

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Did you inform anyone at the park the day it happened? If not, what the hell is the park to do? For all they know, you scraped your back doing yard work at home, took a picture and blamed it on one of their slides. You're lucky they offered you anything at all.

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They offered you free tickets, that seems fair enough... I have been injured at a water park before. I suffered a large cut across the top of my foot. I went to first aid and got bandaged up, grabbed an ibuprofen from the car, and enjoyed the rest of my day. After finishing up at the water park I made sure to disinfect and clean my cut to be safe.

 

As for being over crowded, let's be honest. You would have been royally pissed of you were turned away at the gate. Let's just be real here.

 

They closed the water slide for your safety. Be it mechanical issues or weather conditions. If it was a mechanical issue maybe they didn't explain it to you because they didn't know what the issue was yet. In addition, hot day = long lines at water parks. That has always been the case.

 

Mach Tower's opening is delayed... If you did a quick google search before departing on your trip you would have known this. Even so, it's one ride. Enjoy the rest of the park.

 

Lastly, rides break down. This is usually out of park management's control. They do their best to return rides to operation as quickly and safely as possible.

 

I don't think that Busch Gardens ruined your day, I think your attitude ruined your day.

 

Some tips for the future, avoid weekends and try to plan your trips around the least crowded days. Try to hit the more popular rides in the morning or when everyone is eating lunch / dinner. And check the parks website or Facebook page to see which rides are operating, or ask at the gate.

 

I really hope you took those free tickets. And I'm sure if you choose to go again you'll have a great time!

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While I don't blame you for being angry about your injury, random scrapes and cuts do happen on certain water slides. The old school ones were much more prone to this than their modern counterparts are.

 

I don't think you are out of line in being unhappy with BG's response to your complaint. It would not be unreasonable to take it up with the credit card company. However, getting a lawyer involved for such a small amount of money and a non-life-threatening, non-debilitating injury is not reasonable. A good lawyer bills more per *hour* than those tickets cost you. People that do stuff like that make our country much less fun.

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Sounds like Busch Gardens did the right thing!

 

Main complaint is that the new Water Country slide, Vanish Point, injured me. It caused a bleeding scrape on my back. This was especially unfortunate because it required that I stay out of the water, a big bummer since we headed to the beach just after BG.

When I called BG to let them know my experience, the first person I spoke to was very attentive and sympathetic. She stated she would call me back the following day after looking into the problem with Vanish Point. After 2 days and no call, I called BG again, at which point I was passed off to one layer after another of management. All I got from these individuals were empty sounding "we apologize" and offers of return tickets to the park. I posed the question to them: what would be the appropriate way to respond when someone does them the favor of alerting them of an injury causing problem with their slide and also points out numerous other problems with WC and BG? If I had a miserable time and even got injured, would it be sane to return and be satisfied with "free" tickets? I asked them, at minimum, to reimburse the ticket costs. They refused. Furthermore, they kept calling me to discuss the incident and then just kept repeating the same empty apology and offer of more tickets. It was really extremely annoying and prompted posting of this review. Frankly, I think I could take the photo of the nasty scrape on my back to an attorney and force BG to do the right thing but I don't want to take the time and mix my mind with these misguided individuals any further. My response, as I told them, is to post this review for others to consider before deciding on a trip to BG/WC. The stingy minded, misguided decisions of corporate management never cease to amaze and it was in full bloom in this incident.

 

They offered you tickets to come back to prove to you that you experience was an unusual one, and to try to make your next experience right. If these were your third and fourth visits chances are, in their minds, you'll be coming back. Free tickets for these days are your refund for these days. You can't honestly expect them to refund you for previous visits as well. You just chose not to accept it, your fault. If you decide to take this to an attorney over a couple hundred dollars they will most likely laugh at you, and gladly take your money.

 

There were way too many people at WC. Management should limit the number of persons in the park. We would have much preferred to be turned away rather than experience the elbow room only environment and long waits.

 

I can guarantee you that they have paid a firm to judge what the capacity of WC is and that there is a limit. If they limit this more you'll see it reflected in the ticket price, and I'm sure you'll be back on here to complain about that. Theme parks are a business. Surprise!

 

During our time there, we waited in line only to be told the slide would have to close due to unexplained cause or (distant) thunder. The one and only slide we got on, after a very long wait, was Vanish Point, and this caused the injury.

 

Did you know that lightning can commonly strike 10 miles away from a storm, and has been known to strike up to 20 miles away from an associated storm? Probably not, but Busch Garden's does. Hence keeping your safety in mind.

 

At BG, the company's literature certainly gave the impression Mach Tower was open, yet it was not.

 

If Mach Tower was that important to you, you should have called ahead. As with any new ride it can have glitches. I always call ahead to confirm that any ride that is THAT important to me is open. A closed ride is not going to ruin my day.

 

There were malfunctions that caused long waiting or giving up at Apollo's Chariot and Europe in the Air.

 

"Malfunctions" = ride safety system. Rides have sensors and computers. They keep you safe. Do you ever have computer trouble? Car trouble? It's the same thing. No technology is immune to the occasional glitch.

 

Bottom line: BG/WC tickets are expensive and we felt extremely unsatisfied with what the parks provided. Management response only increased the feeling of dissatisfaction. I won't support this kind of company with my patronage and hope this posting helps others avoid the kind of experience we had.

 

It sounds to me as if Busch Gardens offered you more than enough compensation for your visit (After all, I'm sure you stayed all day in the parks anyhow and now expect a refund). Did you go to First Aid at the park? You should always report any injury to them so that they can look at it and do any necessary safety inspections. If you plan to leave right after that, I'm sure they would have given you a complimentary ticket to come back and walked you out of the gate.

 

Please feel free to post any more pointless, misguided rants about theme parks that you might have. I'll be here all day.

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I'm not out to convince anyone who has drank the kool-aid. Either that or BG has an army of fake posters ready to attempt a smear of anyone critical of their management. I posted with the genuine intention of helping others making a decision to visit the parks, given our unfortunate experience. For those who take that information and project characterizations of bitterness, BS---says more about your mindset than mine. If you read just what I wrote, the central point is that the slide caused a significant injury, I asked for a refund, the company refused. Maybe it would have been better to leave out the other details as many of you latched onto those instead of the point that prompted me to post. (Funny how the word lawyer or attorney fires off people in various non-sequitur directions.) Anyway, I regret if my post stirred more confusion than clarity and if you go to the parks I hope you'll have a great, injury-free time. One thing you might be alert to--check the backs of people around Vanish Point for scrapes. My daughter told me on our drive away from the park that she had seen scrapes on the back of another person at the slide, in the very same location of the back as mine. That's when it dawned on us that the slide was causing injury. Again, it was the only slide we got on the entire visit to the park.

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It still sounds like a disgruntled customer who simply wants to complain. I'm fairly certain that most, if not all, parks have a ride at your own risk policy. There is inherent risk in the theme park business. I'm not saying that this allows the park tomrun willy nilly without the safety of guests in mind. I do disagree with your opinion of Busch Gardens however. My family and I have been to parks many times and have never been dissatisfied with our experience. In fact, we went this past June and had a problem in the park which was resolved quickly and efficiently to my satisfaction. While riding in the 3rd and 4th rows of Loch Ness Monster (after a 20 minute delay for the same weather situation you complained about), a teenaged rider in the front thought it would be great fun to throw a refillable souvenir cup backward toward the rest of the train. The cup bounced off the train right in front of my son, nearly hitting him in the face. I promptly reported this, in front of the offender who took off like he was being chased by rabid dogs. Needless to say, he never made it out of the exit before security stopped him and escorted him out of the park. Management then made my son feel like a VIP by escorting him back to the coaster and skipping the line and providing my entire family (7 of us) with a free meal, drinks, and desert. I couldn't have asked for better especially since my children were not even injured, just scared.

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I'm not out to convince anyone who has drank the kool-aid. Either that or BG has an army of fake posters ready to attempt a smear of anyone critical of their management. I posted with the genuine intention of helping others making a decision to visit the parks, given our unfortunate experience. For those who take that information and project characterizations of bitterness, BS---says more about your mindset than mine. If you read just what I wrote, the central point is that the slide caused a significant injury, I asked for a refund, the company refused. Maybe it would have been better to leave out the other details as many of you latched onto those instead of the point that prompted me to post. (Funny how the word lawyer or attorney fires off people in various non-sequitur directions.) Anyway, I regret if my post stirred more confusion than clarity and if you go to the parks I hope you'll have a great, injury-free time. One thing you might be alert to--check the backs of people around Vanish Point for scrapes. My daughter told me on our drive away from the park that she had seen scrapes on the back of another person at the slide, in the very same location of the back as mine. That's when it dawned on us that the slide was causing injury. Again, it was the only slide we got on the entire visit to the park.

 

What you're failing to realize and understand is that a lot of people on these forums are not just enthusiasts and the general public, but also the people who run and operate, on all levels of these parks, the day to day operations-- from the concession stand worker to the maintenance guy to the suit dealing in finance... A lot of us have intricate knowledge of park operations and protocol.

 

What people have "latched" onto is that there are important "holes" in the story that others have tried to have you fill in via questions.


  • Did you advise the attendant at the bottom of the slide of the problem/injury?
    Did you see the park first aid?
    Did you talk to any of the supervisors or managers on duty that day?
    Did anyone file a report of the injury?

 

I work at and supervise two of the top water parks in the world, though not one of the SeaWorld/Busch Gardens family of parks ones... The point is these questions are important. Anytime something happens, it is a big deal. More often than not, injuries happen when people are not following the rules however, there are those times when accidents do happen. For those, there are things that get done to ensure the safety of the attraction as well as other guests. For my own parks, our protocol is to immediately send a supervisor down the ride to test. These employees have been with the park for a while and know full and well what is normal or abnormal on the slide. If all is well, nothing is out of place, and no harm done then we can feel confident in reopening the attraction. Part of the fun of water parks is that there is very little restricting you while experiencing the attractions. That is where the thrill comes in, but also an inherit "danger" if you will for minor injuries to occur. Cuts and scrapes from textured/anti-slip pool surfaces, friction burns from where people make contact with dry sections of slide (think of putting your hands behind your head with fingers locked on a body slide, rather than crossed over your chest), sun and heat related problems... water parks can cause a bit of pain because by nature you're exposed (bathing suits, shirtless, barefoot, etc.) more than you'd ever be at a normal theme park.

 

As for some of your concerns with how the park handled the situation, have you ever worked in a guest service industry? If so, put your self in their shoes. If someone doesn't talk with the attendant immediately (or upon discovery of the cut), doesn't talk with first aid for care, and files no report with a supervisor or manager or guest services... then what paper trail is there to lead to their story being credible? We do not assume everyone is lying, do not get me wrong on that point, it is just that there are a lot of people who file false reports and or claims in an effort to get whatever they can. They ruin it for honest folks and make the parks cover their butts a bit more readily to stop a hemorrhage of money/tickets/etc. for these false claims. At my parks, if we make an error, or something happens you better believe it that we try and roll out all of the stops for those in need because we want your repeat business, guests are what pay our bills; both corporate and personal. It doesn't make sense to make people never want to come back due to bad experiences.

 

On the other hand there are limits to what we can do though. We issue free tickets all of the time, sometimes with added perks if the situation requires it. Why free tickets and not reimburse? For the reasons above about fraud. If you've never worked in a service industry then you probably can't relate to someone watching every bit of a movie, including the credits, then storming up to the box office for a refund because it sucked. Or eating 99% of the food on a place at a restaurant before complaining it was wrong and expecting your meal to be comped. So too do parks have to wonder if the incident was so distressing, then how did you spend the rest of the day there at the park? Furthermore, think of those free tickets as an investment. Park prices are only going to rise and if you were to give them another shot down the road, you'd be earning money on those new, higher ticket prices!

 

As far as some of the other concerns you have:

 

Park capacity: It isn't just an imaginary number someone thought would be good. It is based on a great deal of many things, one of which is usually mandated by fire codes and public ordinances for evacuations as well as readily available food and restrooms on site. Furthermore, most parks have a theoretical upper limit and what they consider their "satisfactory experience" limit. They are never the same, and theoretical limits are good deals higher. We personally do not want guests to have a bad day when they come to our parks, we wouldn't want to feel like sardines and do close to capacity when the situation requires it. I can say however, that telling people that we're full usually is not met with a "Oh, thank you good chap for saving me from an otherwise disastrous day" but rather a line of expletives...

 

As for wait times, I do find it funny that you also went to the park on the opening season of their new slides. New rides = more attention. More attention = more guests. More guests = longer lines. It is theme park 101. There are ways to avoid the crowds if possible, but if its a hot, sunny, summer day; good luck.

 

Weather Closures: Lightning is no joke. Florida gets a lot of it. We take it very seriously. It sucks to have to close for weather, but if the situation requires it, I'd rather be safe than sorry. As mentioned above most public pools or water parks have a plan in place for dealing with it, usually a 5 to 10 mile radius around the park/complex. It is something completely out of our control, and if weather is one thing, it is very unpredictable. We can't look at a radar image and/or the clouds and say that this storm will only have 5 strikes outside of this range. We just try to keep the closure time as small as possible while still maintaining safety which is our number one concern. Being on the side I am, I can't also help but feel like people would complain if we did do what they asked/expected and ride it out to the last minute. It is almost a Sword of Damocles. Whatever decision is made people complain, hindsight gets the best of them, and if something were to happen, rather than "Why are you closing?" it would be "Why didn't you close sooner!?!?!"

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The original post seemed 100% somthing you would hear from the GP. I hate people that blame the parks just because the lines are long. If it is not due to inefficient lifeguards who fail to notice someone has exited the slide, there is no reason for anyone to complain. Alright, so someone got an injury on a slide and got free tickets. What do YOU want then? do you want a refund plus a million bucks? Do you really think posting this is going to shut down any parks?

 

Just a few points

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