I am an Amusement Park junkie, and often use vacation time to visit a specific park. Busch Gardens in Williamsburg,Virginia happens to be one of my all-time favorites, having once lived very close to it. I was an enthusiastic season pass holder.
Someone asked me once Who goes home and remarks ‘what a clean park!’ Well… I do.
Now, one of the first things we notice when we arrive at any park is the parking lot. Not important? Ohhhh I beg to differ! Trashy lot = trashy park. Busch Gardens has the absolute cleanest parking lot I’ve seen. On top of that, the lots are well organized, easy to remember, well staffed, with easy tram access from all….and speaking of trams, their operators have a great sense of humor! Not the usual boring scripts from these guys! They love their job, and it shows.
Back to clean
The parking lot is indeed indicative of the rest of the park. Spotless. Not one teeny graffiti mark to be found anywhere. No trash stays on the ground for more than a minute. Why does this matter? Because it shows the park management actually cares. My logic is if they care about presentation, they must also care about ride mechanics.. thus, I feel safer on those roller coasters!
Awesome! This Busch Gardens location is broken down into themed ‘countries’. Each country is like a park unto itself and you feel totally immersed in that culture.. from food to shops to rides. This is no bland concrete park! This, my friends, is an experience! Various countries include Ireland, Rhinefeld, San Marcos, New France, Oktoberfest, Fiesta Italia, San Marco, Aquitaine, Banbury Cross, & Heatherdowns.
OK, not the absolute top coasters in the nation, but extremely fun ones which we thoroughly enjoy riding over and over. The saying here is “Fear the Four”. Lowest of those 4 would be the Lock Ness Monster, an interlocking double-looping roller coaster which gives you a peek at Scotland’s most infamous monster. Reaching 13 stories into the air, this creature reaches speeds up to 60 mph. Nessy has seen her prime, alas, and has become a bit of a jarring ride.
Next up the list would be The Big Bad Wolf, which is a suspended roller coaster that flies through a recreated Bavarian village at speeds approaching 50 mph. The Wolf rambles through natural terrain and dense forest, suddenly dropping a sheer 99 feet to nearly skim the Rhine River below. Not a bad coaster, but also a tad outdated.
In the number 2 spot would be Apollo’s Chariot, a steel coaster with a 210″ initial drop at 73 mph. The total track is 825 feet with 9 drops. Sweeeeeet. We ride this at least 3 times each visit, and the wait has never been more than an hour.
And number 1 on our list is Alpengeist! Well worth the wait in line. The World’s tallest, most twisted inverted roller coaster, this baby is themed like an Alpen ski jump with six staggering inversions and a 170-foot drop. Awesome. DO make sure you get the front seats for this one! Lines are sometimes up to 2 hours for this one, but if you time it right (and I have it down to a system) you can get on in an hour or less.
Due to open in May of 2007 is The Griffon, which they say evokes the power and speed of a mythical bird that is part eagle and part lion. It plunges, twists and turns — giving riders an adrenaline-pumping adventure that’s unlike any coaster experience in the world. I may have to fly over after the 25th of May to give that one a try.
Roman Rapids is a standard round-raft ride Through rapids which are not near fast enough for me, but perfect for those not thrill-seeking. A pleasant ride on a hot day, to be sure.
Escape from Pompeii is a ride with a whole lot of unrealized potential. You are taken up at a steep incline into a kinda ‘Indiana Jones’-ish tunnel which is all too short, then crash Through the wall to ‘escape’ down a rather nice drop into the pool, splashing those standing on the side-lines. Fun, but could easily be much better.
There is also the standard Log Flume ride which I cannot remember the name of in New France. Basic log-boat ride, up and down… laugh. We usually skip this one now.
Throughout the park are numerous other rides, the obligatory ‘fair’ type rides such as DaVinci’s Cradle (swinging ship), along with many children’s rides in Land of the Dragons and San Marco.
The best of any park we have ever been to! No matter which country you choose to eat in, you will not be disappointed. Das Festhause is a must for every Busch Gardens trip. They have great German food guaranteed to fill you up and leave you happy. Dinner for two here usually runs us about $20 but unlike other parks, it is sooo worth it. As pass holders, we sometimes make the drive just to eat dinner here! Each country serves food from that region and it is all way above average.
And me oh my, the popcorn carts have real butter and they actually know what I mean when I tell ’em to give me the ‘Cardiac Special!’ Souvenir cups are refillable at any other stand and are available in a variety of themes.
The best there is! Each country features items from that country. San Marcos has Capo Du Monte (sp?), and the actual artisans are there quite often. Very interesting to watch them work. In fact, artisans are periodically in every area, brought over from their respective countries by Busch Gardens. I have 2 German steins and was lucky enough to have them both signed. One was signed by the master-painter himself AND his father, who is also a master stein painter. Very cool! In Killarney you can find Pot of Gold, a wonderful fantasy shop full of dragons, wizards, and gargoyles at extremely reasonable prices. There is also a sword shop in the England area.
In Ireland is ‘Irish Thunder’… a river dance type show (loved it); very cute show designed for children involving the sale of a castle (I loved this too); and a 4-D show about leprechauns where the seat moves with the show called Corkscrew Hill(must see!). I believe ‘Pirates’ is in Banbury, and is a 4-D adventure starring Leslie Nielson….do plan to get wet.. grin. San Marco has ‘Holiday in Roma’. You can eat your meal in the plaza while enjoying this musical show. There is also a big theater in Aquitaine which changes shows, be sure to check it out! Last Halloween they staged an ice show there about Dracula.. fantastic! You will also see a variety of street performances during your visit. Delightful!
Also, there are many live animal shows. The wolf show was quite interesting and educational, the bird show was very amusing. Decent sized aviary you can walk through.
Oh dear me! I almost forgot about the games! I adore the games! Good selection of fair-type games, such as ring toss. We’ve managed to win many stuffed animals, including a huuuuuuge stuffed dragon. Games are fun, affordable, and win-able, found mainly in Germany and the Apollo’s Chariot area.
2007 Admission Rates
Adult admission $54.95
Child admission (ages 3 to 9) $47.95
Children 2 and under Free
Two-Day with Bonus 3rd Day $69.95
Busch Gardens & Water County $79.95
USA Vacation Pass
Campers & Preferred Parking $15
Tour buses are eligible for free parking.
*Prices subject to change
So much to do at Busch Gardens, so few brain cells left. I’m sure I’ve left out other fun things to do here… if so, I’ll update in the comments. Do go to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, you will not be disappointed.