BGW Opening Day

Associated parks:
None

Tuesday, March 22, 2005 9:04 AM
Busch Gardens Williamsburg
March 19, 2005
Weather: Variably cloudy;temps in the 50's

Busch Gardens Williamsburg never seems to disappoint when visiting. Opening day was no exception. It's like this park never closed for the winter. The park is immaculate, the landscaping looks fresh and the ride crews were in tip-top shape.

Apollo's Chariot was my first coaster of 2005. In 2004 I only rode it in the front, so I decided to try it in the rear. Riding in the rear gives you a whole different ride. My 2004 rides were so-so, but I felt more pops of air and more forces riding in the rear.

One of the few rides not running was DaVinci's Craddle, they were working on putting it back together.

We started to head over to Octoberfest, we were met by a nice guard that said that area wouldn't open until 10:30. Except this year, their stopping you at the plaza instead of the bridge heading into Oktoberfest.

Once we made it into Oktoberfest, you began to smell the fresh paint on the bridge. It looked long and hard at Big Bad Wolfe (BBW) and believe it received a paint job in the off season. I'm not completely sure. I did notice they removed some of the trees that blocked the view of the station and final turn from the bridge. That area has been nicely landscaped. I didn't get to ride BBW on this trip through Octoberfest because the train stopped on the last lift before the final drop but will later.

Continuing on, I noticed the R/C Trucks were missing and replaced by a childrens airplane ride. Apparently this was the ride that was by Cure of Darkastle. The planes were nicely painted. I really wanted to fly the Red Barron but they wouldn't let me.

The whole Oktoberfest section of the park really looked nice. The Curse of Darkastle is really coming along. I'm not sure what is going on inside of the building but outside they are really doing some detailed work on the building. There's quite a bit of scaffolding up but you can tell the outside theming is going to be great. I was most impressed at how close this building is going to be to the midway. Across from Oktoberfest,a snack shop was added that sells snacks and beverages.

We continued onward into the Land of the Dragons. My wife has never seen this area and thought it was great interactive play structure for kids. I really like it when parks put children's rides in each area of a park. BGW does a great job of this particularly in Italy and Oktoberfest. While one parent rides a ride, the other can take the kid to a ride and keep them entertained without much hassle.

After Land of the Dragons, we head over to Alpengesit. This is where I met fellow Coasterbuzzer OBXCoasterman as he checked my restraints. I had my best ride ever on Alpengeist. Running two train operation and only a twenty minute wait for the third row. The crew was efficent in checking the restraints.

Once I finished with Alpengeist, we watched the American Jukebox show. Which didn't disappoint and then header to Trapper's Smokehouse for lunch. My wife and I shared a sampler plater and three ears of corn. The corn tasted like it was freshly picked and was oustanding.

After Lunch, we saw the Pet Shenaningans show which was great. Looked at the new Wolf Habitat. I thought it was interesting how they put steel parks inside of the wood fence to keep the wolves form having an Eagle Dinner.

We then headed back to Oktoberfest so I could get a ride on Big Bad Wolf. I rode in the middle of the train this time and had one great ride. I love how this ride goes through a little village and comes close to all of those buildings. I describe this coaster to my friends as a inverted wild mouse on steroids. I felt every force known to man when riding this ride.

After BBW our feet and legs were beginning to give way so we headed out of the park hoping to have something left for PKD on Sunday.

Thanks for reading.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2005 9:17 AM
Am I the only one that thinks parks opening in stages is a rip-off? If the park opens at 10:00am, the whole park should be open at that time.

Just my 0.02...

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Tuesday, March 22, 2005 9:49 AM
Good TR. It's nice to hear that so much was ready this early in the season. I'm looking forward to my first-ever trip to BGW this Saturday. I'm gonna miss the snow at home - NOT. :)
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Tuesday, March 22, 2005 10:18 AM
No Richard, I'm sure your not. I don't know the whole reason behind it. I'm going to assume it's to save cost on payroll. Parks can start the employees later and phase in the opening of the park reducing payroll costs. I'm sure there thinking is why open an area of the park if there is going to be five people in that area. I don't know the reason behind it, that's just my guess.
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Tuesday, March 22, 2005 12:29 PM
The staged opening is about manipulating and distributing crowds. Based on historical trends that show arrival times, combined with the layout of the park, it makes perfect sense. No one part of the park gets extra crowded until later in the day.
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Tuesday, March 22, 2005 12:33 PM
Exactly! Why pay employees to sit around and do nothing while waiting for park guests to make their way to the back of the park? Seems like a good move to me.
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Tuesday, March 22, 2005 1:13 PM
Sure it may seem like a good move and from a park stand point it may make sense however, it's extremely frustrating to park guests who are finished with one section of the park and want to move on to another section of the park. Eventually people are going to time their arrival to the opening of the whole park and those numbers are going to be worthless.
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Tuesday, March 22, 2005 1:19 PM
Consider the case of Port Aventura in Spain. One of the major attractions is the wooden coaster, Stampida, which is in a section that doesn't open until an hour after the park.

Everyone goes charging over to that area only to get stopped at a barrier which they won't be able to get through for nearly an hour.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2005 1:22 PM
well folks, if we didn't have something to whine complain about we wouldn't be called coaster enthusiasts now would we??
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Wednesday, March 23, 2005 2:46 PM
True Sam.. But then again, it's getting increasingly hard to find something to complain about at BGW. They do so many things right.
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Wednesday, March 23, 2005 3:27 PM
Well excuse me, maybe it's quite okay to spend, lets say, one hundred and fifty dollars bringing your family to a park which is open 10-6, and it turns out that some parts of it don't open until 11, and others don't open until 12. Lets not forget the fact that ride queues close at 5...
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Wednesday, March 23, 2005 3:59 PM
I'm with you; I find it cheap and tacky, despite the fact that there are perfectly reasonable business decisions for doing it. Some delayed openings bug me more than others---for $60 a day at WDW, if my son really wants to ride Goofy's Barnstormer, then by gosh he ought to be able to do so when the gates open. In general, I'd rather pay an extra buck or two and not have to think about late opens/early closes.

(I'm not kidding on this one, either---Russell had so much fun on Gadget's Go at DLR last year that Goofy's was his most-wanted attraction at MK.) *** Edited 3/23/2005 9:01:03 PM UTC by Brian Noble***

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Wednesday, March 23, 2005 5:24 PM
The fact the park opens in phases aside. It is increasingly hard to find something wrong with BGW. I never said it was perfect just increasingly hard.

The whole phased opening thing frustrates me. To make matters even worst, PKD opens the whole park at one time and then only certain rides open a delayed basis. Example, Avalanche, last season opened at noon. One side of Rebel Yell opened later and the whole Water Park doesn't open until 11.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2005 5:29 PM
I'll agree with that. I was at BGW about two years ago now, and it remains my second favourite park after Europa.
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Thursday, March 24, 2005 4:26 AM
Did I read correctly? Where's your ride on nessie?
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Thursday, March 24, 2005 6:51 AM
Sorry... no ride on nessie. I rode it last season and thought it was a little rough for my taste. Perhaps next trip.
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Thursday, March 24, 2005 9:25 AM

Richard Bannister said:
Consider the case of Port Aventura in Spain. One of the major attractions is the wooden coaster, Stampida, which is in a section that doesn't open until an hour after the park.

Everyone goes charging over to that area only to get stopped at a barrier which they won't be able to get through for nearly an hour.


I was at Port Aventura on opening day in 1998. The park was absolutely dead, to the point where we'd do everything in a section, then wait at the barrier for the next section of the park to open. Staged openings work much better (from the guest's standpoint) when the park is busier. Operationally, it makes perfect sense.

We actually waited 20 minutes for Dragon Khan on the first ride...20 minutes for enough people to occupy the train before they would dispatch it! It was certainly the first (and last, actually) time I sat on a train of a major coaster waiting for enough people to ride it

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Saturday, March 26, 2005 2:10 PM
Staged openings is a bad thing for park guests. It seems like something SF would do (and I don't usually pick on SF...just being truthful). If the park says it opens at 10, EVERYTHING should damn well be open and ready to go. Some people are going to want to head to the back of the park first thing to their favorite attraction and will immediately be disgruntled to find the section blocked off. That's not the way to start off your paying guests day.
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Monday, March 28, 2005 1:44 AM
I think it's interesting how Dorney does it:

Park opening is 10:00am. This means that all rides and attractions (barring maintenance/staff issues, which isn't common) are open at 10:00am. However, they also implement a staged opening by opening the gates at 9:30am. However, no one is allowed to go in the lower part of the park (past Dominator) until after 10.

Oh, just a note from my observations: it's not just a paying the ride operator thing to open the park in stages. Maintenance can focus on rides closer to the entrance, and then move to the other sections. This allows them to not have to start as early (or hire as many personnel). Also, anyone who needs to use a motor vehicle (pickup truck, etc.) to do their job has some extra time to do so before they have to be cleared out for the area to be open for guests.

With that said, I personally like the way Dorney does their opening in stages over the other methods that are mentioned in this thread.

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