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Quik-Trips by Chadster: Busch Gardens Williamsburg!


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A nice park with lots of rides for small kids. We actually went in the rain, but they still ran everything. The mine train is great, theming was awesome. The dragon swing shaped like a banana was the scariest swing I've been on, I swear I thought it was going to loop! Food is great, I hope they still sell the huge cinnamon rolls with icing, rivaled Dollywood's cinnamon bread. Of course the gardens are amazing too.

 

Great report, looks as if they have done some maintenance and the park looks better than I remember.

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Thanks everyone.

 

The park looks really nice! Is it a dry park?

Nope! The San Juan Grill near the mine train serves beer and wine!

 

It was still Bonfante Gardens when I visited it. I agree that the car ride is the best one out there. What it needs is a flume ride.

Totally agree. They have several types of paddle boats and float around ride, but a nice log flume using the topology would round this park out nicely.

 

I hope they still sell the huge cinnamon rolls with icing, rivaled Dollywood's cinnamon bread.

I am completely distraught that I did not know they had cinnamon rolls. Upon checking with the park, they are still sold in the Sugar Plum Farm restaurant.

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Great report! I've visited Gilroy Gardens a couple times and it's one of my favorite small parks. Even though the park is all family rides, I've managed to spend 4-5 hours here on my visits simply by walking around the park and just enjoying the outstanding landscaping. It is a bit pricey for what the park offers, but the park is well worth a visit if you've never been, especially if you can find a discount or have a Cedar Fair pass.

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I hope they still sell the huge cinnamon rolls with icing, rivaled Dollywood's cinnamon bread.

I am completely distraught that I did not know they had cinnamon rolls. Upon checking with the park, they are still sold in the Sugar Plum Farm restaurant.

 

The Sugar Plum Farm . . . that brings back some memories. I remember stopping for lunch at the old Sugar Plum Restaurant or at Casa de Fruita on the way to Santa Cruz and Monterey via the Pacheco Pass.

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This place is a true definition of theme park vs. Amusement park. I remember visiting it the first year it opened when it was named bonfonte(s?) gardens after the owner and creator who developed the park based around the circus trees and nature theming. While there aren't extreme rides here I'm sure it would end up as an amazing highlight for any your meet up because of the nutty fun to be had there. I would love to go back out to see how the landscape has developed.

 

Than again,... It's nothing to go out of the way for on one's own. I do wonder if they still sell plants and I think trained trees outside the front gate.

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This park still sounds/reads to me like a nice 'alternative theme park' that is way more relaxing than those

in the Anaheim area and beyond. Definitely the landscaping always attracted me to this park. Still does.

 

One of these years...

 

(Hmmm. Maybe in conjunction with a West Coast Bash visit one year.)

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^It makes a nice add-on to a visit to Santa Cruz and Monterey.

 

Speaking of Santa Cruz, let's head there next before making the trek to the East coast.

 

Because I love Morey's Piers I had often been told I would love Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. While I only had about 90 minutes to spend, (yes I made the hour + drive from the main hwy for just 90 minutes) I knew I wouldn't be even remotely close for the next few years and said self, you're going. And going I did.

 

Upon arrival I knew this was a town I could spend a weekend in. And having been to many beach communities, there are now only three that I care to spend a weekend in. Virginia Beach and Wildwood being the other two as they all have a sense of energy and relaxation, a way to escape the real world if you will.

 

The boardwalk itself has a great selection of rides, some of which are not open during the week (so call ahead and gather that info before you go). Ticket prices seemed normal when compared to other beachside parks, which means its a tad pricey, but the view, yeah, it's worth it. And hey, who doesn't like a park that has two dark rides?

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Here we are at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Man it was fun finding the right amount of change for the parking meter. Hope you all can live without an official walking into the park photo. If you can't, well, go cry in the basement for a bit. Go ahead. Get it all out.

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Better? Ok. First up was the first thing I came to after procurement of the appropriate number of tickets I would need. I did the math, time + money - time park was open until = wristband didn't make sense.

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What's a park that doesn't have horses who run in circles but never seem to get ahead?

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For those that like skyway action, here you go. I did manage a loop on it, was quite nice with the ocean breeze. No, no areal photos, I just enjoyed myself. By looking out over the ocean, perverts.

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Speaking of ocean, hi ocean!

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You look nice and oceany today.

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To answer the question, did you go in? Yes, I walked down, dipped my toes in the water and put my ass in the sand, but sadly no beer in my hand.

 

Afterwards it was time to hunt down the grand prize.

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This is kinda cool, something to see while you wait.

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Scarey looking tunnel.

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For it's age and location, this ride has been very meticulously cared for.

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And much to my delight it was very good.

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In fact, I rode twice. Because I could.

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If you've never been, and could only ride one thing here, Giant Dipper would be what you want. Oh, and the sticks stuffed in wieners aren't bad either.

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One of my top 5 flat rides. Don't ask me why. Giant Frisbee? Yeah, that's in the list too.

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Too bad I just had a hot dog.

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Anyway the sun was setting casting a nice orange glow over the park. Beautiful.

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The irony of having a water ride next to the ocean.

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Looking out over the secondary midway. Yeah that's what I'm calling it, level 0 if you will. It's below ground level it would seem, or is it?

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I spy shooting dark ride...

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It is! Woot Woot!

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Be sure to eat your ice cream before getting on the rock-o-plane!

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And if you didn't experience any discomfort, go ahead and get a deep fried twinkie and head over to the Tsanami

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No? Ferris wheel more your speed? Well, ok then.

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Let's head downstairs.

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Go ahead, ride it. Right after that dole whip.

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Hmmm, what is this?

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Nope, that's not what it is.

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It seems familiar.

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But I can't quite tell.

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Nope, that's not it either.

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Well I'll be damned, it's a kiddie coaster! Might as well, I'm here and all.

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Bye level 0, you were fun blasting and rotating!

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Time for a little stroll on the way out, time was ticking as the boardwalk was closing.

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Next time, I'll at least stay overnight.

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And then spend the day at the boardwalk/beach

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Good night Giant Dipper

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Good night Undertow.

 

P.S. I loved this place!

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It's been a long time since my last visit to the ol' Boardwalk--need to get back there. My high school used to hold its annual "Senior Ditch Day" at Santa Cruz.

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No, no areal photos, I just enjoyed myself.

 

Is that even allowed? I mean who goes on a ride at an amusement park just to enjoys themselves? Society is crumbling I tell you!!!!

 

Great trip report though. I have a soft spot for parks by the sea and this looks like a really nice park.

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Time to jump forward to mid-September, head to the east coast, and spend an awesome afternoon at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. While there might have been some credit whoring involved on the drive back as well as an arrival at closing at Kings Dominion for some I-305 action with friends involved, the main attraction for the day was BGW.

 

As always the park was in pristine condition, the gelato was delicious(seriously, if you've not had their gelato, you are missing out), and the beer was cold.

 

So let's get on with this quik start of fall trip to Busch Gardens Williamsburg!

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Now that's what I'm talking about, because it was no fun driving in DC traffic!

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The british have invaded!

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Mr. Sundial says, time to head to Verbolten.

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But on the way we ran into a ship full of pirates

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Luckily we were faster than their canons

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Oh no, a pirate escaped!

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(If you hadn't guessed, they were setting up for Halloween)

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Das ist sehr gut!

 

Verbolten is one of those rides that just puts a smile on your face. While we didn't experience all of the scenes I didn't much care because it was so much fun. Hey, that sign out front was right!

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Another pirate ship?!

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Train!

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Double Train!

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Apparently the British weren't the only ones that invaded, rednecks did too!

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Shawn tells me Mach tower is never open.

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Fortunate for us, it was open today. Well, unfortunately I suppose. Wow, those seats. Super uncomfortable. Which might explain why there was no wait. It still hurts to think about it.

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Fortunately they have beer to help you forget about the pain. Say hi to Shawn everyone!

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I'm not sure why I took this picture, but I did, therefore you can see it too.

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At this point I'd never been on Dar Kastle, sadly the line was very long. The good news? I went back in October to ride it. Pretty awesome dark ride.

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But now its time to take in what the Busch(Sea World) parks are known for. An amazing collection of B&M's.

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Look out log flume! Duck Down!

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Whew! That was close. Special thanks to the ride op who somehow recognized that we were TPR people and ushered us to the front of the line, you are awesome!

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Time for little dive

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A flyby too perhaps

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But diving would be the activity most are up for

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Because flybys only allow you to check out the scenery

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And while the scenery is very nice

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It doesn't compare to that oh sh1t dive bomb feeling

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So stop flying by

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And take a dive

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or two dives

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because...

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Its SPLASHTASTIC!

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Time for more beer! (or in my case a Jamison Weed) Say hi to Chuck everyone!

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The Train! The Train!

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FML. No I've not ridden Grover at BGW. I skipped in back in 2010-2011.

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But today I would be forced up the queue line

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And onto the ride.

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Nothing to see here except for an airtime machine.

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Bis spatter Verbolten, you were amazing.

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But it was getting late in the evening and there was a long drive ahead.

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See you later British people.

 

But wait, on the drive back towards DC there would be two quik stops, one of which pictures were somehow taken.

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Some sign on the highway said Karts and Koasters. Well not really, but Karts or Carts or the likes was on the sign.

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So I rode. Shawn, however, had already ridden and refused to ride again. Oh well.

 

Did I mention we rode I-305 in the rain and lightning on this night? Sure did! What, you want a photo? Fine.

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We ran into the park and found special guests Jeremiah and Nicole and then ran back to I-305. Why? It was lightning like crazy and they were still running. Stupid much, meh, I don't think so. And neither did we.

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But these things would try to stand in out way as the ride closed for a brief long time until they were finished.

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By then the rain had started to fall, lightning was still seen in the clouds, but we were all strapped in in the front for a wild rainy ride with firework smoke still billowing and lightning surrounding us and the sting of tiny rain pellets. Totally worth every moment, so we did it again. :)

 

Thanks to all who hung out, it was a blast, let's do it again this year!

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