I'm planning my first trip to Busch Gardens Williamsburg and King's Dominion in mid-August. I'll be doing a Thursday and a Friday with a day at each park. My question for the pros on here, which order should I visit the parks to maximize my roller coaster enjoyment? King's Dominion is open 10-10 on both days and Busch Gardens is open 10-9 on Thursday and 10-10 on Friday. I know I'm probably splitting hairs with that one hour at BGW on Friday but thought I'd get some feedback. I know crowds can vary a lot day to day.
I'm will only be riding coasters and want to ride everything at least once. I'm looking forward to BGW from what I've read and heard about both parks so I was thinking Friday there to capitalize on that additional hour. But if the crowd will be much less on Thursday.....well you see where I'm going.
Thanks for any feedback!
Not that I would recommend riding only coasters at either park, if that's your plan, I'd visit Kings Dominion on Thursday to maximize your riding time. There are far more coasters there and lines could be longer on Friday (though in my experience Friday crowds are nothing compared to Saturday).
Visiting KD on Thursday would also mean a less-crowded water park, and I would definitely recommend it since it's free and you'll be visiting in mid-August. Plus, it's a pretty solid (and vast) water park. And if you're into the non-water park water rides, I wouldn't miss White Water Canyon which is arguably one of the best rapids rides around. Again, mid-August weather in central VA is typically very hot with very high humidity.
You should be able to knock out Busch's coasters in a few hours, I would think, even on a Friday. Which would free you up for other stuff (Pompeii, Sky Ride, LeScoot, Roman Rapids, etc.).
If you're truly only in it for the coasters, hit KD Thursday and BGW Friday. KD has so many more coasters than BGW and they're about the same quality and capacity (Volcano is the real capacity dud at KD, Tempesto will be at BGW and since it's super new it will have ridiculous lines). As long as you hit Tempesto at opening at BGW, you should be able to do everything multiple times and ride all the incredible non-coaster rides as well.Last edited by ApolloAndy, Friday, June 5, 2015 9:34 AM
If you have a pass that allows early entry at KD, use it for Volcano. You can get 4-5 rides in with no wait before the line starts to pick up. As others have said, it's the low capacity ride of the park. (But easily the best ride there.)
Last summer when we were there, they were also only running a single train on I-305, so try and get back their early as well. The park will crowd up as the day goes on, so hit the stuff you care most about early on.Last edited by Tommytheduck, Friday, June 5, 2015 1:13 AM
Agree with the advice here. Busch Gardens is the far more interesting park with more varied things to do so I would rather spend a crowded day there. Stop and smell the roses! Visit the lorikeet garden, check out the animal shows, etc.
Thought I would add. Just visited Busch Gardens Williamsburg last month. On a Saturday, lines were INSANE. On everything until after 8pm. Ended up riding Lockness Monster and Tempesto first. Then bought QuickQueue around 1pm. Even though they don't have as many coasters, every one is very good.
BGW has a $30 Unlimited QuickQueue. $15 for 1 time on each ride, plus a "bonus" ride.
Kings Dominion's Fast Pass is Thur. $65 and Fri $75. Much more expensive.
We were there on a day with hordes of middle school trip groups. Over 200 busses in the parking lot. With QuickQueue we rode:
Lockness Monster 2 (no QQ line 1.5 hour wait the first time. 2nd was our last ride at 9:15, waited for front sear, took 20 minutes)
Tempesto 1 (no QQ line 1.5 hour wait for front seat.)
Griffon 3 (first ride for front seat took 30 minutes, next 2 were 12 minute cycles)
Apollo's Chariot 3 (walk on all three times)
Alpengeist 3 (front seat took 30 minutes at least, next 2 were less than 5 minutes)
Verbolten 2 (front sear took 15 minutes, rear was 5 minutes)
DarKastle 1 (merge is out a bit, took about 20 minutes)
Mach Tower 1 (no QQ line, not a long wait)
We took our time, walked around, ate lunch (good food) and ended up leaving at 9:20.
So, knowing all this, I would do King's Dominion on Thursday. Then BGW on Friday. If the lines are long, spend the $15/30.
I bought tickets on groupon. Not sure if they still are running the same deal, ~$50 for single day (water park/BGW)
Haven't been to Kings Dominion.
I generally agree with everyone here.
One additional point: BGW is one of those parks where you can generally show up at opening and ride many of the big coasters, especially the B&Ms, with little to no wait.
Also agree with heading to Volcano at KD first. I really like the ride but you can find 60 minute+ lines on it even on the slowest days because of it's capacity issues. Last time we were there we had no issue getting on any coasters with anything more than a small wait, except for Volcano. This included Intimidator - I think the longest we ever waited was around 15 minutes.
Sidebar- I love the SeaWorld/Busch Gardens model for QQ... The completely affordable "one time per ride" option is awesome. It allows you to experience each coaster (I know some parks don't include ALL the coasters with this option) then you can pick and choose where you want to wait for rerides. But I do think they are leaving money on the table with the "unlimited rides" option.
And at that price, they're probably also putting a more significant impact on their regular customers.
For whats its worth to you, I was in BGW 4pm to close on Sat. June 20, and from about 11am-5pm on Sun. June 21. The Saturday was busier, longest wait was Tempesto at about 30 minutes and most the other major rides were 10-15 minutes. Sunday everything was nearly a walk on.
KD on Mon. June 22, longest wait was Volcano at about 30-40 minutes. Everything else was basically a walk on, except that KD's crew was running extremely slow across the board, and most rides were running one train only. Dominator was stacking with 2 trains.
Not sure how August will pan out for you. You can always buy the line skip once you arrive and assess the situation.
I went to BGW yesterday (Friday). We got there around 1:30 because I had work in the morning and traffic out of Norfolk is awful! Anyway, we got on all the coasters except Grover and Tempesto. We didn't ride Tempesto because the line was pretty long and it was running pretty sporadically while we were in the area. I would have waited but the wife and kids had other ideas. So like everyone else said….be there at opening and ride Tempesto first and you will have no problem hitting all the coasters at the park multiple times. I would say after Tempest, hit Apollo and Grover (if you want the kid coaster credit), then head over to Verbolten. That was the longest wait of the day by far. (45 min or so) I also thought Verbolten was an absolute blast! They had a great group of Coasters and I was glad to finally get my interlocking loop credit. There is also an interesting ACE plaque by Loch Ness that describes one of the first Coaster Club get togethers, sponsored by the park to promote the new ride and spurred the formation of ACE. Have Fun!
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