I don’t normally do trip reports but I hadn’t seen one for BGW yet, plus it was my first visit to the park. Hope you enjoy it…
I was fortunate enough to be attending a conference for my workplace in Raleigh, NC with it ending on March 16. Being the nut I am, I scrambled to see if any amusement parks would be open that weekend. Lucky for me, Busch Gardens Williamsburg would be holding a special Season Passholder Preview Day on St. Patrick’s Day. So, the question now was whether I wanted to pay $60 for a season pass to be used only one day. Add to that rental car costs, an extra day at a hotel, and other costs associated with trips…It was more than I was used to paying for one day at a park, especially with having passes to all the local So Cal parks.
Two weeks prior to the trip I became fixated on the Weather Channel website. Of course I wanted a bright and sunny day at BGW, but things don’t always work out how you want. My first ride on Apollo’s Chariot was very ironic. I can’t remember the exact words played as the train departs the station, but it is something along the lines of “Enjoy your voyage towards the Sun on the wings of Apollo’s Chariot.” The Sun was nowhere to be seen, only rain falling down from the dark sky. The entire day would be like this, and I wasn’t completely prepared for the rain. It will certainly be a day not forgotten.
Onto the rides!
My first B&M Hyper. My favorite in the park. I am a back-seat, airtime whore! Nothing else beats the feeling of being sucked over a hill while flying out of your seat. This ride delivered just that, from the first drop to the final brakes. I found the music while climbing the lift to be an interesting touch, although I’m still undecided if I’d really want it on many coasters. Perhaps if the rest of the ride was fitted with music, much like the Disney coasters. My first ride was, of course, in the back seat of the 9-row train. Watching the ride prior to boarding I felt that I would be let down. The trains looked very sluggish, almost as if they were barely creeping over some of the hills. Diving down the first drop gave a nice pop of airtime, just what I was hoping for. It was then that I remembered how much rain hurts, as I could not open my eyes for most of the ride. The first half of the ride was fun, full of floater air but nothing like the second half. Coming out of the mid-course brakes (with no trims, are there normally?), the train dives down suddenly and the back seat whips down. Ejector air! A few more hills. More air! Then, just as you think the hills are dying down and getting smaller comes the on-ride photo drop. More ejector airtime! Amazing coaster! Certainly one of my favorites. After another back seat ride, I decided to head elsewhere before I became too miserable from being completely soaked. The next ride I ran into was…
The Big Bad Wolf:
I didn’t know what to expect from this coaster. I knew of the large drop following the second lift but didn’t know much else of the layout. My favorite suspended prior to riding this was PKI’s Top Gun. It still reigns there, with this one being my second favorite, followed by Ninja. The problem with this ride is the second lift really kills the pacing. I know that not much else could be done but I could do without the break. Plus in the rain it gave another chance to get more water poured on me from the covering above the seats. Still though, an excellent ride which is probably even better when you can open your eyes.
Following BBW I wanted to finally get on Alpengeist. It would not be so as the ride was down for mechanical reasons. The Wild Mouse was also down, but for the day. I assume because of the rain… So, after standing beneath an umbrella to eat lunch in the pouring rain I wanted something dry and found Corkscrew Hill.
I don’t recall reading much about this ride. I knew it was a simulator of sorts, but didn’t know of the motion base. Does anyone know which company built the motion base as I’d never seen one like it before? Anyways, the ride was a blast. I had a seat in the far rear corner. I don’t want to give the ride away for those who haven’t been on it, but for those that have…I felt like I was on a bucking bronco instead! Perhaps it was because of my seat location? The longest wait in the park for the day, but worth it.
As I exited the ride, I saw that Alpengeist was running once again. Hooray! Of course, the walk to it isn’t the shortest, and Nessie was nearby I noticed so that came next.
Loch Ness Monster:
Another ride which I had seen pictures of but didn’t know the layout. Of course the interlocking loops are the most famous part, but the rest of the ride pleasantly surprised me. I sat in the front for another soaking. The tops of the hills gave several pops of air. My favorite section was definitely the double helix. I had no idea how long the helix was, but it kept going and going…and it was nice to have my eyes open for a change.
While on Nessie I noticed the bridge that ran below the coaster. Figuring it would be a shorter distance to Alpengeist, I decided to take it. I only wish that the rain would have stopped for just a hour so I could grab my camera and get some pics of the park. Walking down by the river made me hate the rain, even if it was scaring the crowds away from the rides. My first ride on Alpengeist had to be in the front seat. Of course, it was a complete walk-on. Who else would want to get pummeled by rain pellets? This ride is another winner! For me it was very strange to go through a zero-g roll so late in the ride. Everything about this ride I loved. The height, the speed, the pacing, the elements…Wonderful! My second ride in the back row was much more enjoyable than my front seat beating. The snap in the Cobra Roll was excellent in the back and caught me by surprise. Of course, it was during this ride that I noticed the temperature dropping and I wasn’t taking it too well. Needless to say, I would have to leave the park soon. My hands were numb coming back into the station. Not a good thing.
Being soaked to the bone, I decided that a water ride would not be a bad thing since I couldn’t get any wetter than I already was. So it was off to Escape from Pompeii. Of course, being right next to Apollo’s Chariot I had to grab one more ride on it, no matter how much it would hurt. Well worth it once again!
Escape from Pompeii:
I didn’t know whether this was a simple Chute-the-Chutes ride with a small enclosure for the turnaround or if it was a highly themed ride. I’m glad that it was the latter. The effects inside the building were surprising, and the fire was marvelous. At that time, I wanted to stay in the fire rooms and dry myself off! The rate at which the wood brakes and the pillars fall astonished me, and even made me jump!
Overall I had a marvelous time at Busch Gardens. I was truly impressed by the quality of the rides. All four coasters are phenomenal. I would take having these four rides over having a dozen or more mediocre rides any day. Someday I will return, hopefully on a dry day, and re-experience the coasters and the rest of the park. Hopefully sooner rather than later.
If you didnt see Drachen Fire when you were on Big Bad Wolf, than one can assume it's gone because that was one of the taller rides in the park. Its very sad to see it gone but its worse to think no one will ever get to ride it in its glory. I am very sad because I got to see it in its SBNO state and never got to ride it.
I wish I could rode it...
I was there that day, too, but I'm not much of Trip Reporter. For those wondering, the only thing left of DF is the station house. From BBW's first lift, I could see the trains sitting in the shed area, but other than that it was just a building in a field.
I usually take back seat of Alpie (dispite the lack of visuals- I love the wicked laterals). Karl - did you see all of the water that fell out during the inline twist after the breakrun? When my brother and I were riding the back, we were amazed at how much water fell out of the top of the cars (and hit us as we came out of the twist)- we loved it. I hope you get a chance to use that season pass again soon- the park's even better when you're not chilled and soaked to the bone!
Unfortunately I won't be able to make it back to use the season pass this year. I'd love to but my trip this year has already been decided for. It was well worth buying the pass to have the chance to go though. Like I said, I will head back there in the next few years. I must.
How much more floorless can they get?
You must be logged in to post