Brrrrr Gardens Williamsburg, 3/23/2002

Associated parks:
None

Sunday, March 24, 2002 6:26 PM

Ah, opening weekend in March. A time to catch up with friends, ride coasters, and freeze your butt off.

This was actually the first time I hit BGW's opening weekend, and only my second visit to the park. I'd originally planned on just hitting PKD on Saturday, much as I did last year, but decided to hit Busch Gardens on Saturday instead. This turned out to be a GREAT decision. The brisk "early spring" air kept the crowds away, and by the time I threw on my tshirt, fleece, windbreaker, and gloves, I was reasonably comfortable to take on the rides. :)

Since I'd originally been planning on just hitting PKD, I was actually staying at a hotel in Doswell. Specifically, the Best Western King's Quarters, which is literally across the parking lot from PKD. This left me with the drive from PKD to BGW on Saturday morning before the park opened. I-{95,295,64} were all WIDE open at that hour, and I can now say with certainty that with no traffic, the drive from PKD to BGW, parking lot to parking lot, is an hour and 15 minutes (obeying speed limits to a reasonable degree, even -- thank god for cruise control... I reverified this figure on Saturday night returning to the hotel, and once again that's what I got)


For those who don't know, BGW offers a AAA discount on tickets. Just thought I'd note that. I arrived at the park alone to spot a fair number of fellow enthusiasts, including CoasterBuzz's own ShiveringTim. The group I ended up hooking up with consisted mostly of RRC denizens, however (I would hook up with ShiveringTim, MagnumDan, and company at PKD the next day, as it turns out)


Ok, prominent thoughts first -- Drachen Fire is GONE. We hopped on the railroad to see if we could spot anything at all and noted that the station and some footers remain. We spotted the trains still in the storage shed, but that's it. The structure is otherwise completely missing. I never got to ride this beast, for better or worse -- I'd like to be able to claim the credit, even if just one lap. We held a moment of silence as we passed.


As for the standing coasters...


Alpengeist (1 front, 1 back, 4 total) -- This baby was running very well. The positive G's resulting in that "blood rushing to the feet" feeling was out today. Very nice.

Apollo's Chariot (5 back, 9 total) -- First ride of the day. What a great back seat ride this is. Don't get me wrong, the rest of the train is still fun, but oh my does the back seat deliver compared to the rest. This was also the last ride of the day, for 3 consecutive row 6 laps as they cleared out the front line -- "If anyone on the remaining rows would like off, please raise your hands." As if... ;) "Unfortunately" we returned to the station around 7:15 (the park closed at 7, which for Busch apparently just means that's when they cut off the entrance) only to hear the announcement that they had to shut the ride down for the night, even though there were still 2 groups waiting in the front seat line. I felt a bit bad for them, but had no real complaints myself. Easily my favorite coaster at BGW.

Big Bad Wolf (1 back, 3 total) -- my favorite suspended, by far. Until this trip I'd ridden Top Gun at PKI far more recently, but one lap on this reminded me that Big Bad Wolf is indeed the king of this genre.

Nessie (1 front, 2 total) -- We originally queued up for this first thing when the park opened, but it didn't open right away so we instead wandered over the Apollo's Chariot. This is one of the better Arrow loopers, in my opinion. Busch manages to keep it in fairly good shape, and it doesn't punish riders nearly as much as more modern creations. Of course, it's not nearly as large, either.

Wilde Maus (1 front) -- The previous time I visited BGW, this coaster was shut down due to rain. This time I made sure to get the credit. Ding. It's a mouse, and the brakes were on HEAVY (like throw-you-forward-so-your-stomach-hits-the-lapbar heavy). One lap for the day was enough. Fun, but there's better stuff to be had (like "The Four" we're apparently supposed to Fear!)


One other attraction we hit was Corkscrew Hill -- I don't normally get sick on sims. This time, I came close. Without giving away anything, I'll just say that sims rely on the visuals actualy synchronizing with the movements, which wasn't always the case with this. Combine that with hard seating that jarred you around, and what we suspect was a bad camera (the left half of the screen was much dimmer than the right), and suffice it to say I've been on much more enjoyable sims.


Combine the above with some beef brisket from the Smokehouse, beer at the "Irish Pub" (hah!), and dessert (for me, as I'd had the brisket ;) ) at Festhaus, and the result was a nice, fun, low-key day. Overall, this was a great way to officially kick off the 2002 coaster season (I visited Florida in January, but those parks aren't seasonal, and don't provide any hypers, so the season didn't really start until that first Chariot ride ;) ) Next up, PKD 2nd day, 3/24/2002...


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--Greg
"Wow, [in your life] when it rains, it not only pours, it floods the basement and causes thousands in damage!" -- Vicki Redcay
My page

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Sunday, March 24, 2002 8:24 PM
I am really surprised I didn't see you there, Greg! I ended up going to BGW instead of PKD, trip report coming when I feel like writing it. I sure wish I knew about the AAA discount. :(

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Joe Cernelli
Webmaster, Kennywood Boulevard
"If you want to follow me, you've got to play pinball."

*** This post was edited by cernelli on 3/25/2002. ***

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Sunday, March 24, 2002 8:46 PM

Greg, glad to see you enjoyed BGW. I was planning to go during opening weekends but didnt get a chance to because of my job I'm sure you know by my e mails I have been sending to you ;). -See you at Stark Raven Mad :).

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Wild Thing: 75Laps! Power Tower: 73 Rides. Valleyair Security 2002! 8Years Working at Valleyfair :)!

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Monday, March 25, 2002 6:21 AM
I was trying to figure out how you rode in February. Glad to see that was a typo. I agree the seats could be softer on Corkscrew Hill.
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The word "definitely" is definitely the most misspelled word on the buzz.
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Monday, March 25, 2002 7:08 AM
Whoops, good catch! Thanks!

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--Greg
"Wow, [in your life] when it rains, it not only pours, it floods the basement and causes thousands in damage!" -- Vicki Redcay
My page

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Monday, March 25, 2002 7:47 AM
It sure felt like February.

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Joe Cernelli
Webmaster, Kennywood Boulevard
"If you want to follow me, you've got to play pinball."

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Monday, March 25, 2002 11:13 AM
Nicely written TR, although I expect nothing less from you, Greg. Can't wait to get there myself this July :).

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Kara
403 Laps

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Monday, March 25, 2002 11:22 AM
It took you an hour and 15 minutes from pokd to bush gardens. It took me a little less than an hour. How slow were you going....
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Monday, March 25, 2002 11:22 AM
The posted speed limit, as I said above. Duh.

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--Greg
"Wow, [in your life] when it rains, it not only pours, it floods the basement and causes thousands in damage!" -- Vicki Redcay
My page

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Monday, March 25, 2002 12:04 PM
Took me an hour and a half, but that's cause I hit Richmond around rush hour. With all the state cops all over, I wouldn't dare speed.

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Joe Cernelli
Webmaster, Kennywood Boulevard
"If you want to follow me, you've got to play pinball."

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