4/14/06-BGE/BGW Darkastle improvements and more

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Sunday, April 16, 2006 11:59 AM
For the first time for this midwester I was able to break my coaster fast in April this year with a trip to a park that isnt sure what its name is yet (half the signs read BGE the other, including the BBW's lead car still read BGW.) You think that this off season they would have had the time to change all the signs in the park but I guess this must have been a last minute change.

Anyways, since I have allready done 3 detailed TRs in the past 6 months (look them up, I would have linked but the search engine is down) Im going to make this a short one. The park was quite full, but I still had a great time. By the end of the day every coaster was running 3 trains. Thats right I said every coaster, including LNM, sadly the trains were not sychronized to go through the loops at the same time (the second train went through the loop as the first train was just cresting the first lift) which puzzled me because I clearly remember that the last time I saw three train operations (10+ years ago) they allways lined up. Being curious I went to the wayback machine to see if I could look at any TRs from the early 90s about LNM to see if perhaps me remebering the two lining up was a figment of my imagination. Ancient TRs confiremed that it was not a figment of my imagination but rather a change that the park did to the ride in the past ten years. The old TRs constantly complained of a near complete stop at the end of the helix followed by a slow lift, since this is not nearly as much of a problem today (you certainly do not break to a near complete stop and the lift seems to be as fast as its counterpart) and the second train is allways too fast through the loop I figure this is why they no longer match up.

Okay on to better news, the fantastic improvements to Darkastle. One change has been made to the queue, instead of corralling a group of guests into the pre show room, they simply have put queues in there and play the pre show movie on a loop. They have also apperently allowed any Kingsmill guest front of the line access to Darkastle all day. Once on the ride they have actually shot different movies, the first of which is the very first scene. Whereas last year Ludwig would greet you muttering inaudioable dialogue then seek his wolf statue at you, his mother now first appears and warns you to leave the castle before she is pushed aside by the statue that jumps on top of your car and snarls as Ludwig becons you more inward. The next major thing I noticed was during the fireplace scene, after Ludwig sends you up the chimney spining there is now a cloth curtain obscuring your view of the big wrap around screen in the next room (huge plus.) Speaking of that wrap around screen, it shows new video #2 instead of inexpicably landing on a rooftop dance floor (with no sensation of hitting the ground), the movie starts as you are following the "ghost tail" of his mother as she is zooming you away from the castle, but Ludwig has other plans and knocks your sleigh off of the ghost tail and tilts you down to line up with the next scene of Ludwig changing into a werewolf as he pulls your sleigh down to an arch and then in the next room the plunge.

This ride, is still not as good as Spiderman, but these changes have made the story much more understandable and create a better sense of adventure/danger then the orginal script to the point that I will make sure I ride this ride at least once everytime I visit the park, bravo Busch Gardens for spending the money to fix an attraction, and then actually acomplishing just that!

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Sunday, April 16, 2006 2:22 PM
I loved DarKastle! Even though I've not ridden Spiderman and once I do get back down there to Orlando to check it out, I have a gut feeling I'd still like DK more. Sounds like the changes to DK have made an excellent ride even better.
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Sunday, April 16, 2006 8:26 PM
I liked that the pre-show was shown once to one group of people at a time. This seems like the only dis-advantage.
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Sunday, April 16, 2006 10:18 PM
thrillerman1, its not really Busch's fault that Spidey is better. The fact is, a vast majority of riders not only know the tale of Spiderman but happen to love it (weither it be comic book geeks or people who remember watching the Saturday morning cartoons,) it is also much longer of a ride then Darkastle and thus a more developed plot was able to be laid (which the land that Darkastle is put on did not allow.) Just because this ride doesnt measure up to an Orlando attraction does by no means label it a failure, the fact that Busch even choose to persue this kind of attraction should be commended because it is way to fun of a concept to only be located at one park.

ttdmfwtm, I agree with you entirely but I have a feeling this decision was made not only so they could eliminate an employee (the guy counting before the pre show) when need be but because they screwed up in the design by putting the door to the attraction on the same wall as the entry door (thus frequent riders would clog up the entry way trying to minimize their wait.)

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006 5:08 PM

ttdmfwtm said:
I liked that the pre-show was shown once to one group of people at a time. This seems like the only dis-advantage.

I agree, it was awesome, plus you can sneek infront of everyone by standing on the left. :p

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006 7:17 PM
Um, don't do that. Ever. It's line jumping, and is cause for removal from the park.

I loved Darkastle, but that queue design is pretty poor.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006 9:18 PM
I don't think it's line jumping. Technically, you're not in line. You're just standing in a room viewing the preshow!
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Wednesday, April 19, 2006 12:01 AM
I was just there. The preshow room in Darkcastle definitely has a queue set up. Cutting through that is most certainly line jumping.
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Wednesday, April 19, 2006 12:04 AM
GregLeg, I believe he was refering to the way the preshow room was set up last year (no ques, "Disney style")
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Wednesday, April 19, 2006 8:40 AM
Ok, then they changed it. However, even with the addition of ropes to form a rough queue, we saw people sneaking past the ropes, which is what I thought The Mole was referring to. I apoligize in that case.
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Wednesday, April 19, 2006 9:04 AM
I figured the pre show was ditched because of the size of the crowds in the early season.

The only beef I had with the ride was the section before the flying sequence. When he said, "its time to heat you up" or whatever all you did was go through cool mist and into a dark room spinning. Next thing I knew I was flying. The pacing from then on was awkward.

As a ride it is really fun, as a story it still isnt perfect.

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Thursday, April 20, 2006 1:10 PM
Yeah, I was refering to how the preshow room was set up last year. I don't like the idea of having a que there instead. If the line is really short, you'll just fly right through without seeing the story! Is the "door" that led to the loading area still there, or is that gone too?
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Thursday, April 20, 2006 3:25 PM
The que was set up similar to Tower of Terror or Test Track in that everyone was ushered into a room for the preshow, then a door opened, and everyone went out. I'd be the last person to cut in line, trust me. I haven't been to BGE this year yet.

My guess is that the door is now in the "up" position forever. I really hope they bring it back, although I do think they boosted PPH this way. *** Edited 4/20/2006 7:25:58 PM UTC by The Mole***

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Thursday, April 20, 2006 5:01 PM
Coreo, the door is perminatly in the up postion. As for worrying about missing it, I dont think it is likely to happen anytime soon (except for the first 10 mins of operation every morning) you have <10 wait once you are through the pre show room. This ride is not going to be a walk on for a very long time, locals have taken to this ride, young kids looking for a thrill (and too small to ride Nessie/Aplpie/AC) can ride, families love it, and its building is an attention grabber and its on a busy "street" with no thrill rides in its immediate area.
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