Busch Gardens Williamsburg Sunday 6/21

Wednesday, July 1, 2009 3:37 PM

Last week I went on a 9 day vacation to Virginia that included Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Water Country USA, and Kings Dominion. The other things we did on the trip were Ripley's Believe It or Not, Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia Beach, Jamestown, and Harper's Ferry. I will be happy to tell you about that stuff if you are interested but for now I'll stick to the parks. I’ll do 3 separate posts since they will all be pretty lengthy.

The first park of the trip was Busch Gardens Williamsburg on Sunday, June 21. I have wanted to go to this park since I was a kid. They bombarded us Pennsylvanians with commercials back in the early 90's so I was ecstatic to finally get here. And the park delivered. I had high expectations going in and the park not only met them but surpassed them in leaps and bounds. This place is now in a tie as my favorite park with Knoebels.

We arrived at the front gate at 9:30 to get our Bounce Ticket processed. The Bounce Ticket is one of the best values I have ever seen: $100 bucks for 7 days unlimited admission to BGW, Water Country USA, and Colonial Williamsburg and FREE parking to boot.

We did a counter-clockwise tour of the park. In England we went into the garden shop. I just recently bought a house and am now interested in buying fun little things to put in the yard. Gnomes make everything more fun. :)

We went up to Scotland and got an all-day locker. First ride of the day was Loch Ness Monster. This is by far the best Arrow I have ever been on. I loved this ride. It was smooth and the inside of the "mountain" was much longer than I expected, I thought it would just be one helix and out. It was complete darkness in the mountain, no Nessie. I loved the interlocking loops and the layout of the ride.

Then we rode the train. What a beautiful train. I loved that the ride had 3 different stations making it easier to navigate the park. We did the circle of the park to get an overview of everything. I loved looking at all of the flowers and shrubbery along the way.

We got off the train, stopped at the Clydesdales for a little bit, and then headed into Ireland. We did Corkscrew Hill and I thought it was really cute. It was the best 3-D simulator ride I have been on. We then spent some time in the wildlife section.

So on to France for the coaster I was anticipating most. The whole concept behind the dive machine fascinates me so I was eager to get on this. It was my favorite coaster in the park and of the entire trip. I loved the stop at the top hanging over the precipice, the dive down 90*, the insane airtime, the silky smooth ride, the water element, and of course the fact that the ride is ridiculously aesthetically pleasing. The fact that the line was 5 minutes was also pretty awesome.

Up into New France, and after looking around (there is just so much to see!), we got in line for Le Scoot. I really love log flumes. Along with sky rides, they are my favorite non-coaster rides. I loved the main drop next to Alpengeist. I actually got pretty wet for a log flume.

Speaking of Alpie, that was next on the list. I loved all of the ski theming. This was definitely my favorite "themed" ride. It was just done so well. I do have a question though. Why is this ride listed as being in Germany? To me, it seemed like it was in it's own mini-land with the Pepsi Ski Mart. The ride itself I liked a lot. I enjoy B&M inverts and I loved the long swooping drop with the stretch of flat track at the bottom.

In Germany, we looked around again with just so much to see and take in and then headed for DarKastle. What can I say but wow. I know none of the parks up here will ever get one with the cost of them but just wow. This is a MUST ride. We then rode the Rhine River Cruise. It was a beautiful and quaint ride, except for the walk back up the hill of death.

So next up is Big Bad Wolf. This was my take: the first half of the ride had the traditional Arrow swinging on suspendeds. Then the awesome turn over the lake and then I did feel the back and forth shuffling and head-banging on the second-half of the ride. It reminded me of why I hate OTSRs. I don't mind rough rides on woodies (no OTSRs) but I like to leave a ride without feeling like my ears are bleeding.

Over the bridge and into Italy. I rode Da Vinci's Cradle and Flying Machine in Da Vinci's Garden of Inventions. We went into Festa and rode Turkish Delight and then onto Apollo's Chariot. I prefer Magnum and SF for the ejector air but this thing was just pure fun. It has aged gracefully. Way better than Nitro, IMO.

We then did the water rides. I now understand why everyone loved CCR. RR was far inferior. I guess I'm an "equal opportunity" person as I except everyone to get completely soaked on a rapids ride. One waterfall over the whole ride area would be able to accomplish this but not on this ride. My aunt left completely soaked while my mom got wetter on the log flume. I found that weird. Escape from Pompeii was great. Why doesn't anyone else think outside the box to theme their rides like this? Yeah, it's a standard shoot-the-chutes ride but is so much better because of what they've done with it. They made a standard ride unique.

Only 2 complaints:

The sky ride was not running. As I stated earlier, I really love these rides so I was highly disappointed. The bright side of this is we went back on Tuesday and Saturday evening to finish up our meal tickets, see shows, and get souvenirs and it was open those nights so I was able to get on all 3 sections. This alone was worth the price of the Bounce Pass for me. If I was only able to visit the one day, I would never have gotten on the sky ride.

The ride cycles on the flats (Flying Machine and Turkish Delight) were ridiculously short. I know everyone gives CF crap about their ride cycles but this was shorter than a CF cycle.

Finally, I just want to mention the Meal Deal. For $20 a person, it is by far the best value I have ever gotten for food at a park. We were able to get the 3 course platter meal at Ristorante della Piazza and Trapper's Smokehouse and were able to share each meal among the 3 of us. At Ristorante, we got chicken Parmesan, eggplant Parmesan, and a spinach thing. At Trapper's we got a rack of baby back ribs, 2 spare ribs, and 1/4 of a chicken. The lady at Trapper's even told me that the fries were included with the meal and weren't considered a side so I could go back and get something else so I was able to get a dessert. It took us 3 days to finish all of the meals we were given. I enjoyed the food at all of the places we eat, Ristorante, Trapper's, and La Cocina. The quality of the food was outstanding and the portions were enormous.

Sorry for the long TR but I just loved this place! Thanks Busch Gardens for a fantastic day!

edited for spelling, I was typing way too fast!

Last edited by KnoebelsGrandCarousel, Wednesday, July 1, 2009 5:58 PM
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Wednesday, July 1, 2009 4:42 PM

Sweet, I'm not the only one who thinks Apollo is better than Nitro.

I so dig that park, and I'd like to go in the worst way this year. Just don't think I can afford it. Glad you liked it... it really is one of the most under-rated parks anywhere.

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Wednesday, July 1, 2009 5:22 PM

Glad to hear you had a great time at the park. Great TR.

KnoebelsGrandCarousel said:

I do have a question though. Why is this ride lisetd as being in Germany? To me, it seemed like it was in it's own mini-land with the Pepsi Ski Mart. The ride itself I liked a lot. .

Because it is in Germany :)

The Bridge over the Rhine is pretty much the division between France and Germany. So its sorta the start of the country.

The Pepsi Ski Mart is new this year, but is a nice cut through if you dont want to walk around the corner into Oktober Fest.

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Wednesday, July 1, 2009 7:17 PM

Apollo *is* better than Nitro. Because of the one DROP right before the end of the ride. That drop was the best thing I'd experienced on any B&M hyper until I'd ridden Goliath @ SFoG.

DaVinci's Cradle could be absolutely awesome with a stronger program. And you made a good decision to go back for the skyride, it's my favorite of the few that are left operating (not as big a fan of the forced-round-trip versions).

Last edited by rollergator, Wednesday, July 1, 2009 7:18 PM
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Wednesday, July 1, 2009 10:40 PM

Great TR; reminded me why I love that park so much. I'm not much of a food guy, but I always look forward to meals at BGE. I rarely skip Ristorante della Piazza when I'm there (the chicken parmesian is my favorite), and I just recently discovered Trapper's on the last couple visits.

Apollo is better than Nitro, but it actually took me a while to see the light--I had Nitro ranked higher for a couple years. I finally 'got' Apollo a few years ago. I think it was when I nearly fell out of the back car. :)

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Thursday, July 2, 2009 12:56 AM

AP rocks! I love the drop before the helix, where it seems that the train has been yanked right out from under you.

Nice TR. I'm thinking about going back again in about a month because I had such a grand time last year!

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Thursday, July 2, 2009 9:07 AM

ridemcoaster said:
The Bridge over the Rhine is pretty much the division between France and Germany. So its sorta the start of the country.

I guess part of the confusion I had with this is Alpengeist is listed twice on the map I got at the park as being in New France. In the rides section, New France has 3 rides, Le Scoot, Caribou Train Station, and Alpengeist. It is listed again as being in New Frace in the staggered opening section.

^^^That drop into the ravine was my favorite part of the ride! It packed a pretty good punch. Followed closely by what LK mentioned being yanked into the helix on the 3rd curved drop and I also felt the drop out of the helix I was being yanked pretty good too (I was in the back seat).

Last edited by KnoebelsGrandCarousel, Thursday, July 2, 2009 9:12 AM
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Thursday, July 2, 2009 11:03 AM

Yeah.. That debate has been going on for years among the locals. Technically its Germany.. (Says same on website).

The bridge is the division between countries.

More importantly "Alpengiest" is German meaning "Ghost of the Alps".

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Thursday, July 2, 2009 11:53 AM

Which is funny since the Alps are (at least mostly) in Switzerland.

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Thursday, July 2, 2009 12:00 PM

Doesn't it mean ghost of the mountains?

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Thursday, July 2, 2009 7:09 PM

I believe "berg" is German for Mountain, so I'm thinking no?

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Thursday, July 2, 2009 10:13 PM

I'll just post the English word to place the context: alpine - "of or pertaining to high mountains". ;)

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Thursday, July 2, 2009 11:18 PM

ok you technical people .. sheesh forgot the group im in ;)

My given definition still isnt incorrect.. As this is what the parks ops give the translation as. And still part German..

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Friday, July 3, 2009 1:12 PM

Yeah, looked at the website and they said it translated as Ghost of the Alps as well.

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Friday, July 3, 2009 2:36 PM

Busch Gardens is one beautiful park. The food, the shopping, the rides... it's all great. I've loved Alpengeist since the first ride I ever took on it. Loch Ness holds up very well, but I wish Nessie would come back. I saw it when I was a kid and that added a neat item to the ride. Big Bad Wolf is fun and Apollo's Chariot is as well. Last October I got to ride Griffon for the first time as well as my 8th time. LOL... Yeah, the park was that empty. But Griffon was amazing.

I'm glad you mentioned the 3D rides. I really, really loved those. Dark Kastle is amazing! I actually remember when we went to Busch Gardens when we were kids and they had the 3D called Questor (or something like that). I think that is now the Corkscrew Hill, right?

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Friday, July 3, 2009 5:02 PM

Questor was really well done, although it also had the worst tendency to make me ill. Corkscrew Hill didn't make me sick, but the whole effect of the ride wasn't as realistic to me (computer animation aside).

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Friday, July 3, 2009 5:35 PM

ApolloAndy said:
Yeah, looked at the website and they said it translated as Ghost of the Alps as well.

Thanks for verifying what I already said.. ;)

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