Busch Gardens Williamsburg & King's Dominion

Wednesday, April 28, 2004 9:39 PM
Were planning on going down to Virginia for a week in July, and we were wondering what you all could tell us about these two parks. Is there one that's better than the other? Or are they pretty equal?

What PKD coasters are best? I know pretty well what to expect at BGW, coaster-wise.

Thanks in advance for your help!

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Wednesday, April 28, 2004 10:06 PM
I’d have to say that Busch Gardens is the better of the two. Simply because it usually is less crowded, has a more pleasant atmosphere, friendlier employees, and they offer that awesome rainy day ticket.

Kings Dominion has much more to offer in the way of coasters, especially the wooden coasters.

The parks are not that far apart, so I usually visit both of them when I’m in the area. But if I had to choose one, it would be Busch Gardens.

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Wednesday, April 28, 2004 10:19 PM
Really, you can't go wrong with either one. I wish I was going with you. Enjoy yourself.
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Wednesday, April 28, 2004 10:59 PM
Out of the two, I prefer BGW. Like said above, it's atmosphere is alot stronger and the employees are much more friendlier.

Both parks are a pretty good step above average, however.

*** Edited 4/29/2004 3:01:37 AM UTC by Dukeis#1***

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Wednesday, April 28, 2004 11:19 PM
I like PKD better because they have better rides and more of them. BGW is great if you want to get lost in the park experience. They have a few good rides too.

The obvious ones at PKD are Volcano and Hypersonic. Both are worth waiting for the front. I really like Shockwave as it is the only standup with ejector air, but few first timers can deal with the roughness. You definately need to learn how to ride that one. Grizzly is often overlooked and is awesome. The line on that one is funny. Often it will get lone mid day, and then become a walk on late. Don't forget to check out your on ride photo on Flight of Fear. Anaconda and Rebel Yell are usually good for a short wait even when the park is packed.

BGW is good too, but I really like PKD.

edit: I should say that Shockwave is the only standup I know of with ejector air. I am sure there is another one. *** Edited 4/29/2004 3:20:48 AM UTC by RavenTTD***

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Thursday, April 29, 2004 12:40 AM
I would say BGW. I do think there's some real quality coasters at PKD and Drop Zone is pretty stellar, but BGW has a much more rounded experience. A great hyper (PKD has a noticable lack of air park wide, save the top hat on H:XLC), a great invert, a classic arrow looper, a classic suspended, and atmosphere that rivals IOA, IMHO.
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Thursday, April 29, 2004 12:47 AM
Two must ride coasters:

Appolos Chariot

Alpengeist

both at BGW

1eJ

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Thursday, April 29, 2004 8:41 AM
As you can see, opinions vary on these two parks. I'd just go hit them both, if you can. They have very different offerings, and both are well worth seeing.

Busch Gardens is more scenic, and while it has fewer coasters, they're best-of-breed's. They also have a good collection of flatrides, and the food is outstanding. PKD has more variety, some very good rides, and a very nice children's section if that's important at all. They also have Yuengling on tap (at least at Bubba Gump's), winning the beer comparison with no contest. :)

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Thursday, April 29, 2004 8:50 AM
GregLeg, you're kidding, they have Yuengling on tap at PKD and I never noticed? Geez, I feel like I'm less of a person or something ... guess I need to get back to PKD sometime soon and make sure that Yuengling gets adequate patronage to justify it's position ;)
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Thursday, April 29, 2004 1:06 PM
No air at PKD? When my brother and I were kids we would fly up to the buzzbar on Rebel Yell in the front going up the hill into the turnaround. Depending on how Grizzly is running, it can have a few “light” moments and one decent pop near the end. We used to fly up in the back of Scooby Do (now Ghost Coaster) going down the second drop. Shockwave has some strong negative G’s and is very underrated. If you are in the front you get a strong shot up going over the hill into the helix. The back will give you some neg g’s going down the first hill. Most seats will give you neg g’s in the bunny hills, but you get more in the front. Just look at those bunny hills. There are no trims before those bunny hills and enthusiasts would be drooling if it wasn’t a standup. PKD is not top tier for airtime, but there is fun to be had there if you know where to look for it.
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Thursday, April 29, 2004 1:20 PM
I had the same trip you are going on this year last year. I must say, that is probably one of the best amusement park trips I have every had. Even if you only visit one park, you will have a graet time. They both have great coaster line-ups.
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Thursday, April 29, 2004 7:48 PM
If I where you I would go to Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Its a really awsome park with lots to offer. Making the trip for Alpengeist and Apollo's Chariot is worth it in itself.
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Friday, April 30, 2004 10:32 AM
Go to BGW on top of the metioned coasters (all 4 are "re-rideable") and the theming they have some great non coaster rides. Escape from Pompeii is an amazing special effects ladden big boat flume, their train and skyway network is one of the best in the nation, Corkscrew Hill is an above average sim, and the shows and shops are very close to Disney quaility. Finally the transformation this park experiences every night is amazing, BBW and LNM become 10X better and the themed areas become even more amazing.
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Friday, April 30, 2004 2:04 PM
To me this question is like saying "Would you rather have fun, or listen to nails on a chalkboard for eight hours straight?"
There is absolutely no comparison for me, BGW is head and shoulders the better option.

I can't say I don't care for many parks, but for some reason PKD just rubs me the wrong way. That's not to say I don't have fun in the park, but it really has nothing to do with the rides as much as the people I'm with.

I *love* Volcano, I should say that. I think it's one of the most fun/thrilling coasters out there. But other than that, there's almost nothing there I care to ride. Hypersonic's seats are so unbelievably bulky now that unless you're in the front row, you really have a limited view. Ricochet is rather braked for a mouse, although the final two turns can be good. I don't even care to ride Rebel Yell anymore since it's A. not thrilling to me and B. rough (at least it was in 2002 when I rode it last).

Now BGW on the other hand has four coasters that are all at LEAST good, with Apollo and Alpengeist being GREAT. I could (and do) ride those for hours on end. Then add in the fantastic scenery, the amazing shows, and the superb food (Festhaus was great!) and you have yourself a park you can easily spend all day in and still want more.

So that's my take on the two parks. BGW is a must do, PKD is kinda just there.

JC, who hates being negative in any way about parks, etc, but that's my honest opinion.

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Friday, April 30, 2004 2:46 PM
I enjoyed PKD more than BGW, but I only had one day to hit both parks. I thought BBW at BGW was the gem of the park, and Volcano was the great ride at PKD. BGW is a whole lot of walking, because there's two ways to get around the park... Left or right. You zigzag all over the place in a cirular motion around the park.
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Friday, April 30, 2004 3:38 PM
Okay Chadley, here's the lowdown from a guy who spent the better part of his childhood at PKD and BGW...

If you're taking along a wife or other assorted family members who are going to be supportive but don't necessarily care about the rides, go to BGW. As stated above, its atmosphere is incredibly beautiful (and shaded), the shows are plentiful and great and usually air conditioned or at least shaded (Though I deeply mourn the loss of 'The enchanted Laboratory of Nostramos the Magnificent') There are lots of family friendly rides like the Rhine River Cruise and Skyway, but more than enough coasters to enjoy.. more than once each if you desire. You won't be sorry.

If it's just you and a bunch of beer drinking buddies (figuratively speaking), go to Kings Dominion. There's tons to keep you busy and some good wood, too. PKD is also probably a touch better if you have littlish kids. Several great kids coasters and tons and tons of kiddie rides.

Really, you can't go wrong, but that is how I'd make my decision.

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Sunday, May 2, 2004 3:30 AM
For a short time, I lived in the Hampton Roads area (summer 2002), and I had a season pass to BGW, and made it out to PKD.

Let me put it this way. After 25 visits to BGW, I still enjoyed my day at the park better than my first visit to PKD. The rides at PKD are very good, and I got to experience them all except for Flight of Fear, which to my disappointment was closed the day I went. That said, the park really doesn't have that special 'wow' factor. It feels like pretty much every other standard amusement park.

BGW is just an amazing park. While there are only 5 coasters, all 5 are excellent. Apollo's Chariot is my favorite B&M Hyper (I've ridden AC, Nitro, and Silver Star), Alpengeist is an amazing inverted, with the best first half on an inverted coaster, IMO. Loch Ness Monster is my favorate Arrow looper, and Wilde Maus is an excellent mouse coaster. Big Bad Wolf has excellent theming, and truly provides real thrills...something I didn't think was possible in a suspended, having only ridden Iron Dragon before that. Couple this with Pompeii, Corkscrew Hill, and others, the best park atmosphere of any I've ever been to, and absolutely outstanding food.

BGW is one of my favorite parks. My top three are Cedar Point, Busch Gardens Williamsburg, and Europa Park. So, if you have time to hit both PKD and BGW, go for it, but if you only have one, I'd definitely go to BGW.

Jman

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Sunday, May 2, 2004 2:49 PM
A friend and I made the trip down there during Easter and hit BGW, PKD, and SFA. King's Dominion was one great park...Volcano and Hypersonic amazed me. There's not much in the way of flats, though. Grizzly was pretty good, but Hurler kind of sucked. Rebel Yell was running pretty well.

Busch Gardens is a completely different experience. If you're looking for thrills, I wouldn't go to BGW. Alpengeist was really the only coaster that I found to be above par. Apollo's Chariot is weak compared to Nitro, which I've grown used to. Big Bad Wolf if a fun ride, but nothing spectacular, and loch Ness Monster isn't anything special, either. If you want a great atmosphere, BGW is the place. The theming is insane...

Both parks are great and have their own uniqueness to them, so I'd suggest hitting up both of them while you're down there

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Sunday, May 2, 2004 3:05 PM
Wilde Maus has been relocated to BGT as Cheetah Chase, so now BGW only has 4 coasters.
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Sunday, May 2, 2004 3:08 PM
A couple notes that I would add here:

On my spring trip to PKD, customer service seemed to be considerably improved over other trips in recent years.

Go to PKD for children, lots of coasters, wood coasters.

Go to BGW for scenery, atmosphere, high quality shows, several excellent coasters, overall park atmosphere.

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