USA 04/19 – Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Day 2 – Busch Gardens Williamsburg

A rainy day keeps the crowds at bay. We were directed to the ‘preferred’ car park by default due to a distinct lack of customers. This should be easy then.

Not what I want to see when entering a park.

#1 Grover’s Alpine Express

Creds though, that’s a different story. Stumbled onto this one first by mistake due to some staggered openings times of certain areas of the park.
Upon arrival at the station, half a train full of kids that were already seated shouted some warm greetings and told us to board while the staff completely blanked us. Ok then.

I forgave the British flags when this sight came into view. Several coasters + a train in one shot = a win. For some reason I never imagined the rides here to be in such close proximity, in my head picturing them all set apart in their own trees.

Old Nessie was next. Foolishly went for the front row as it was walk on and got a face full of rain, but it made things funnier.

#2 Loch Ness Monster

The legendary loops are cool, but the rest of the layout was laugh out loud comedy, much like Anaconda the previous day. 1080 degree helix with wonky corners into a small hump and an almost pointless second lift hill being the highlight. Oh Arrow… you make me very happy.

Did Battle for Eire next to escape the rain briefly. Didn’t take a picture it seems, so have some eagles. Beasts.

This attraction was Virtual Reality done rather well, I’m afraid to admit. You get given a weird helmet before entering a preshow with plenty of time to set it up comfortably on your head while waiting.
The preshows are really nicely done, with good theming, attention to detail and humour, particularly in the safety instruction video.
Upon boarding the simulator, all you have to do is take a phone out of a cup to the side of your seat and it snaps neatly into place within your helmet with a satisfying magnetic click – eliminating that pace killing experience of taking several minutes to get a clunky headset on your face properly before resuming a story. No names mentioned.
The actual ride was alright, if a little forgettable. A bit of swaying around scenes, dragons, and then the feature where you get to physically aim your face at something to shoot it near the end, which I always enjoy.

#3 Griffon

Draken’s American brother. Bit of a +1 to be honest.

They’re fun rides, with 2 significant drops being the only real highlight in sensations. Ridden both in the rain now. It got grease on my jeans.

#4 Invadr

This looked like a bit of fun too. Hopefully a Wicker dude killer.

Well yes it’s better, even if it isn’t particularly pretty on ride. It contains more of the signature GCI unexpected forces that come from the weird shaping into corners that I’ve been missing a lot recently.

#5 Alpengeist

This legendary invert was a bit of a let down. It was riding poorly in the back, about as poorly as I’ve experienced on any of its type with a bit of an off-putting vibration.

A front row ride redeemed it slightly. It has some good moments, but it’s not properly forceful from start to finish. And then that ending… barely doing 10Mph through several corners of fake snow. More laugh out loud layouts.

I did appreciate the little details:
The ski lift themed supports.
The skis on the sides of the trains.
The way each of the wheel covers gets more and more snowy as you head towards the back of the train.
The huts during the ride that have skis crashed into them.
Skis.

Spite of Darkastle. A dark ride that closed forever before we made it here.

#6 Verbolten

Talking of little details. Y’all be droppin’, Bridge out and Big Bad Wolf number plates on these trains. Yes.

And this quaint little queue.

This ride is so good. The launch into the building is surprisingly powerful and provides some amazing airtime in the dark, which is followed by some fast turns about as forceful as ol’ 305.
I can’t really choose between the Zierers and the Intamin at the moment on track drop sections. There’s more overall punch in the former, but the teasing double drop of Thirteen gets me just as good.
I’m hoping Golden Horse will settle the dispute.

The Gerstlauer style small drop into a launch is a tad awkward and the ride does suffer from some pacing issues, using the multi launch element only to instantly lose all its speed again up into the bridge feature.

But it’s a very different experience and a ton of fun. I like you Verbolten.

#7 Tempesto

Oh good, a Premier Sky Rocket. Oh good, comfort collars. +1.

#8 Apollo’s Chariot

Which just leaves the Chariot. The first of many B&M hypers on the trip. It was good to finally sink my teeth into what they’re all about, having only ridden a rather disparate bunch previously.

So what are they about? Not a huge amount really. A battle of how interesting can we keep things between hills.
This one had character. The bonus straights between hills to fit the landscape. The best airtime being the kick out of the mid course. The couple of wonky hills. Most of the other hills were also decent enough. Solid stuff.
Better than Shamebhala, that’s all I really wanted.

Spite from Pompeii.

So surprisingly BGW was finished in about 2.5 hours in the rain and we sat down for a slightly too big meal to contemplate.
It’s a really nice park, above average on the ‘pleasant to be in’ scale and run very well as far as I can tell. Just a bit of a shame with so many big name rides and an insanely well rounded lineup with basically no filler (unlike everywhere else around here) that none of the rides are truly outstanding. Hopefully they’ll fix that soon enough. I want a reason to come back.

Took a tour on the sky buckets before some rerides.

Y’all love a construction pic don’t you.

We were contented by mid afternoon and decided to hit the road early with the intention of a couple more evening hours at Kings Dominion (on Twisted Timbers) which we would have been driving past that night anyway. Got as far as the car park entrance to see a big display saying they had closed several hours early due to rain.
Not such a good sign of things to come.

Day 3

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