Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Williamsburg, Virginia, USA
After three days immersed in the history of Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown it was a nice change returning to amusement parks. Don't get me wrong I loved the history of the mentioned places but I don't know that my brain could have handled more information!
This was our first trip to BGW. I used to frequent the Busch Gardens in Tampa when I was younger and my grandparents lived in Bradenton. I've always heard that BGW had amazing food and was a beautiful park. It did not disappoint.
We arrived shortly after opening and had a relatively short wait to enter the parking lot. Compared to our previous experience of SFA less than a week before it felt like an eternity though. We had purchased our tickets and parking in advance. We opted for the multi-day parking since we were planning on multiple days. The process to redeem is odd to say the least. After scanning the parking pass you have to go a kiosk to print your parking for the rest of the stay. Naturally, we thought the same would apply for our tickets. That wasn't necessary though.
Our first stop was the first open ride of the day, Finnegan's Flyer. I'm a huge fan of the S & S screaming swing rides. Operations on this ride were less than desirable. What should have been a short wait ended up being the longest wait of the day. Only one arm was being filled on each cycle. The ride itself is pretty spectacular. The setting over water adds a lot to the ride experience. While waiting in ride we saw Alpengeist cycling. Even though it was not advertised as being available for the day it looked promising. It wasn't meant to be as one of the cars was parked on the lift the rest of the day. Next time!
We then made our way over to Griffon, with a stop to try and spot some eagles and wolves. We didn't spot any wolves and only one eagle. We had much better luck the next day.
Griffon had a very short wait. We only waited for two trains. The ride ops were loading one space in between parties so the trains were going out mostly filled. I've only been one other dive coaster, Valravyn, but that was one lap and five years ago. I forget how great the drops are. Great ride!
By this point it was getting close to lunch time. On our way over to Verbolten we stopped at Das Festhaus, which was one of only a few places to eat that were open. I get it, it's the off season. I had the sausage trio with some German potatoes. Food and drinks for four cost almost $90. Luckily the food was great!
The kids were nervous to ride Verbolten but they were willing to try it...unlike every other roller coaster in the park! The sign at the entrance to the line said the wait was 90 minutes but we waited just north of 20 minutes. I'm a sucker for a good ground-hugging multi-launch coaster. Verbolten is definitely that and then some. Love this ride!
After Verbolten we made our way over to Festa Italia for a ride on Apollo's Chariot, or Fabio's Chariot as my kids kept calling it. Another short line and another great ride. I love hypers that skew towards airtime. That's part of the reason my favorite ride at Cedar Point is still Magnum. Sorry, it just is. I was surprised at the amount of airtime on Apollo's Chariot, pleasantly of course.
At this point it was around 3 pm and we were exhausted from all the outdoor activities of the last week. We knew we would be back tomorrow so we made our way for the car.
Day 2 was significantly more crowded. We knew that being Good Friday and the kickoff of the food and wine festival that we would be in for a larger crowd. My hope was that the 39 degree temperature and windy conditions would keep people away. Not to be.
Due to the temperatures nothing was open at the beginning of the day. The food and wine festival stands were not open until noon. The only game in town was the train, so we took a lap around the park and got some great views of some of the coasters. Pantheon began testing in the morning and continued throughout the day. It looks like a great ride!
Most of this day was about the food and drinks and light on the rides. We did grab a lap on Invadr, which we somehow missed the day before. We purchased two 15 punch cards, which took around 6 hours for the 3.25 of us to clear through. Highlights include the she-crab soup and hushpuppies in Virginia, spam musubi and tuna poke in Hawaii, beignets from the French Quarter, churrasco from Brazil, cannolis from Italy, and loukomades from the Mediterranean. Great food overall but the lines were in the neighborhood at the food stands after the first few. This was our first food and wine festival at an amusement park. We'll definitely be trying a few more in the future.
Overall our first trip to BGW was a success. Great food, great rides, and a beautiful setting. I'm not sure when we'll head back again but I could see us making another trip within the next five years.
Great trip report! Happy you had short waits. It's new to read new trip reports.
We visited this past Saturday for the 530pm session. It was crowded. By the time we got to Apollos Chariot the queue was full. We haven't seen it that full in several years.
We hopped on the train to get a look at Pantheon(overheard a shop attendant saying it's opening mid summer. 😉) We were going to get on Invadr and the queue looked like opening day(looked to be 1.5 to 2 hour wait.)
We hopped back on the train to leave the park, and got some of the she-crab soup and bacon cheddar hushpuppies on the way out. They do have some of the best park food.
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