The park's opening times are staggered so if you arrive at rope drop, the first ride you'll be able to hit is Loch Ness. Just follow the opening times (Apollo, Verbolten, then work your way around the back of the park or go against the flow of traffic to Griffon/Alpengeist). Unless you're visiting on a Saturday or holiday, lines shouldn't be that big of an issue really.
^I was there for Passholder Preview Day (which was the day before opening day), and the only rides that weren't running were LeScoot (log flume) and Mach Tower, which was still being tested following a series of upgrades it received during the off season. They hope to start dropping people on Mach Tower this weekend, but this hasn't been confirmed yet.
I think that if you're definitely planning to have lunch and dinner in the park, it's worth it. Note that the baby back ribs at the Smokehouse aren't part of the deal and require an extra charge, and the $22 version doesn't include dessert.
And the suspense is over . . . congratulations to the winner!
WINNER ANNOUNCED FOR BUSCH GARDENS’ LANDSCAPING GIVEAWAY Busch Gardens Landscaping Pros Headed to North Carolina
WILLIAMSBURG (March 25, 2013) – Busch Gardens® landscaping experts are hitting the road to bring the awe-inspiring beauty of the park to North Carolina. Busch Gardens announced Tammy Bennett from Washington, N.C., the winner of the first-ever Busch Gardens’ Landscaping Giveaway. Bennett’s prize is a yard landscaping package that includes consultation services from Busch Gardens’ horticultural professionals, landscaping and gardening supplies and landscaping installation.
“I am so excited and cannot wait for them to get started. Busch Gardens has the most beautiful flowers and gardens. Every time we go, I wish my yard would look like that,” said Bennett after learning she won the landscaping giveaway.
Busch Gardens announced the giveaway in early March via its Facebook page - facebook.com/buschgardens. Entries poured in from the Southern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. Participants submitted a photo of their home and a story about why they deserved to win the Busch Gardens’ Landscaping Giveaway. After reviewing hundreds of submissions, Busch Gardens narrowed the landscaping giveaway submissions down to 20 finalists. According to Bennett’s submission, she purchased her dream home right after receiving a kidney transplant; her husband was her kidney donor. The Bennett family hoped to fix up their home right after purchasing it, but due to medical and financial hardships they had to put their dream on hold.
“We have been living here 6 1/2 years, this house was in foreclosure and it was a mess. There were trees and bushes growing into the side of our house and into the attic, we had to rip them all down. The lawn had not been mowed in a year, so it was pretty much knee high and mostly weeds. With all the money we spent on the inside of the house, we just never could afford to do the outside or any landscaping projects,” said Bennett.
After announcing the finalists, Busch Gardens invited its Facebook fans to cast their vote for their favorite finalist. Bennett received more than half of the 43,000 votes cast for the giveaway. Later this spring, the Busch Gardens team will visit the Bennett home to install the landscaping.
For 22 consecutive years Busch Gardens has won the “Most Beautiful Park” award from the National Amusement Park Historical Association.
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