Busch Gardens Europe - June 24

Friday, June 26, 2009 4:09 PM

(Note: for those only wanting ride details skip to the **)

Earlier this year my sister decided to take her two boys, Connor (11) and Sean (9) on a vacation visiting historic sites in New England. My parents, both in their 70s, would join them. Each of my nephews were given the opportunity to plan a day to do whatever they wished. Sean gets to see a game at Fenway Park (Sox vs Rockies). Connor decided he wanted the family to spend the day at Busch Gardens.

In the last few months both boys kept asking me, their crazy coaster-loving uncle, to join them at BGW. Living in Los Angeles I told them it was too far and too expensive to go for the day. Of course that was a lie. At 7am Wednesday morning I surprised them at their hotel. Needless to say the boys were thrilled to see me, as was my sister and parents.

The family had plans to stop at Jamestown before heading to the park so I headed there ahead of them to hook up with Ken (ridemcoaster) and his wife Alicia. A few coordinating cell phone calls and soon I had joined them for my very first B&M Dive Coaster experience. We followed that with a lap on Alpengeist before I had to head back up to the front of the park to meet the family. Our first ride together as a family was Loch Ness Monster, after which we toured the park counter-clockwise.

**Rather than continue with a drawn-out description of our day here is a review of each ride in the order me and my family rode them followed by a summary of our day and general thoughts on the park:

Loch Ness Monster
Nessie is my dad's coaster holy grail. He has been obsessed with riding it ever since seeing photos of the ride's interlocking loops the year it debuted. Today he finally got to experience it. Everyone but Mom rode and it received a resounding "thumbs up!" from the group. The boys demanded and received rerides at the end of the day. I'd ridden on two previous visits and it was nice to see the ride holding up well. One minor disappointment: Nessie herself was missing from the tunnel.

Griffin
This was by far the favorite ride of the day for everyone except of course Mom, who did not ride. Initially my sister passed ("The drop looks too scary!") so it was Dad, me and the boys who took a few spins, each taking a turn on the far outside seat. At the end of the day the boys convinced their mom to ride, provided she didn't sit in front. She enjoyed it so much she took a second lap in the front row.

Le Scoot Flume
This was the first ride of the day the entire family rode. Mom and Dad took their own log (how romantic, lol) and the remaining four of us got in the one behind them. Connor and I, sitting in the front, got the wettest. A fun but short flume.

Alpengeist
Mom sat this one out as well. I grabbed a seat in the middle and let the other four sit together in row two. Dad and the boys loved it; sis thought it was a bit too intense for her, especially the cobra roll and entry into the MCBR. I continue to be a fan of the ride...fast and fun!

Big Bad Wolf
Anyone who's seen my comments in the BBW thread in the general forum already knows what I'm about to say: this was the one big disappointment of the day. When Mom asked about the ride I said, "It's like Ninja at Magic Mountain." Ninja is one of the few coasters she'll ride so I was sure she'd enjoy BBW too. Unfortunately we experienced moments of violentl and painful forward/backward shuffling of the cars, the worst being just after the large lake drop. You'd be thrown forward into the OSTR, then back onto the headrest. OUCH!

DarKastle
Wow, this was a huge and pleasant surprise for us. I knew it was a 3D ride-through haunted house but I had no idea about the...how to avoid the spoiler here?...additional movements of the car. This was our favorite non-coaster ride at the park.

DaVinci's Cradle
Dad was feeling a bit tired so he skipped Da Cradle. Although Kennywood's is run at a slightly faster clip we all enjoyed it a lot, especially Mom. Given her ongoing battle with cancer its nice to see her throw back her head and giggle, as if she didn't have a care in the world.

Flying Machine
The boys and their mom tried this and were only mildly amused. The cycle was short and the action looked quite slow...didn't the park run this at a much faster clip? I recall when I rode it in 1994 that it was much faster.

Battering Ram
Swing ships are my Mom's favorite ride so she was excited to see the park had one. Ram had the best ride crew we experienced that day. The lead op on the microphone would ask riders on each side of the boat to pick their favorite ride, then get them to scream it out louder and louder as their side reached it's heights. "Griffinnnnn!"Apolloooooo!!!" "GriffinNNNNNNN!!!" "ApolloOOOOOO!!!" as the boat would swing back and forth. As we continued on up the path to ride Apollo and the rapids we could still hear people screaming in the distance. Good times.

Apollo's Chariot
The drops, the speed, the airtime...what's not to like? A huge "thumbs up!" from Dad, sis and the boys. One guess who among our group skipped it, lol.

Roman Rapids
Despite the heat of the day the ride had only a 10 mins wait. Dad and sis weren't up for getting wet so Mom, the boys and I rode. Mom and I were the unfortunate suckers who got hit by each of the four waterfalls at the end. Sean demanded a reride so I went with him. Once again I got drenched by all four waterfalls. Thankfully I'd packed a change of clothes (wet socks + wet underwear = grumpy moosh). Before changing clothes the four of us took a turn in the large heated dryer. Best $5 I ever spent, lol.

We skipped Escape from Pompeii and headed back to the main gate. Mom and Dad rested while we returned for more Griffin goodness, followed by a few more laps on Nessie before calling it a day.

Overall Park Review
The park received excellent reviews from the entire family. Everyone applauded the selection of rides, cleanliness, friendly employees, and beautiful setting and landscaping.

Special thanks to Ken and Alicia for hanging out with me before the family arrived. It was wonderful to meet them and nice to hang out with enthusiasts with a low "geek quotient" who can talk about other topics beside coasters. No patch jackets and gravy stains on those two, lol. I hope to see them out and about again.

Last edited by Mamoosh, Friday, June 26, 2009 4:15 PM
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Friday, June 26, 2009 6:34 PM

LOL.. Low Geek quotient?? You have been to my website right?? ;)

I did have a ranch dressing stain from lunch but hid it well..

It was our pleasure too.. Its nice to put faces to screen names. Great trip report. We have an affinity to that park so its great to hear you enjoyed yourself.

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Friday, June 26, 2009 6:40 PM

LOL.. Low Geek quotient?? You have been to my website right??

I was trying to be nice!

I did have a ranch dressing stain from lunch but hid it well..

Sure it was Ranch. We ate lunch at the Festhaus...I saw the gravy!

It was our pleasure too.. Its nice to put faces to screen names. Great trip report. We have an affinity to that park so its great to hear you enjoyed yourself.

Busch is one of my favorite parks in the country. Hard not to enjoy onesself there. I'd rather have it as my homepark than anything out here in So Cal.

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Friday, June 26, 2009 7:06 PM

^More then Disneyland? Just asking. I loved having BGW as my home park for a year, but would give it up in a second if I could have a Disney park be my home park.

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Friday, June 26, 2009 9:50 PM

I love Loch Ness and noticed that the cave was rather dark and something seemed missing that I saw years prior when I last went. I guess they're not putting Nessie back in there?

Dark Castle is just freaking sweet. I loved this ride too.

Griffon is really cool. My friend and I rode it about 10 times in October last year. Neither of us had been on it before and we really enjoyed it.

Big Bad Wolf was a fun ride when we went. It sucks that you had a rough time of it. In October we got to ride this one a few times too. My friend is a big fan of the ride and we liked it better than the hanging coaster at Cedar Point.

Apollo's Chariot is a neat ride, although the last time I got on it, I thought it was a little less interesting than I had remembered. Hard to explain. I just thought I liked it more than I did because I was telling my friend all about it that day and when we got off, it was just like "ehh, kinda cool."

My aunt, uncle and cousin invited me to go with them again in August. I might take them up on the offer, especially if the Wolf is going to be no more. I just enjoy this park a lot. Makes me want to go to Tampa and see how much I like another Busch park.

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Saturday, June 27, 2009 8:03 PM

Stinks that BBW wasn't running well. I've only been to BGW once, but I absolutely loved the place. Apollo was my first hyper about 8 years ago and people tell me it's stood the test of time.

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