Busch Gardens Williamsburg
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment
General Park News - (5/3/13) BGWFans has posted a new photo update from the park this week, checking out the renovations in Aquitaine, Food & Wine booths under construction, the new Coke Market going into Festa Italia and more.
(4/3/13) Good news from Busch Gardens Williamsburg this week, as several readers at the park on Monday reported that Mach Tower opened, and with no funny sounds either. The odd sounds heard earlier in the week during test drops may have been due to the installation of some new braking system equipment, which would also explain the non-stop testing the ride was undergoing on the days leading up to the reopening.
According to several reports, the drop sensation seems much improved over past experiences, which may have to do with the new brake hardware. According to one report sent in, the brake zone on the tower now seems to only take up just under half of the tower’s height, while previously it was said that the brakes appeared to cover nearly ¾ of the tower’s drop.
BGWFans has reported on this and shows off before and after videos of the ride in action.
(4/2/13) Anyone visit Busch Gardens Williamsburg this past week? Has Mach Tower been open at all this season? So far I’ve heard a few reports on it being closed, with staff members telling guests one day that they were waiting on parts for it. According to another report, this witness claimed to see the ride being tested empty one day, but every time it dropped, there was a horrible new sound coming from the tower that they had never heard it make before this year. Anyone know more?
(3/29/13) BGWFans has posted their report on the season opening of Busch Gardens, going over the various changes in the park and how they may impact you.
(3/20/13) An opening weekend report from Busch Gardens Williamsburg has been posted to BGWFans.com. Check it out.
(3/7/13) A large off-season update for Busch Gardens Williamsburg has been posted to BGWFans this week, where they look at the refurbished park entry area, pet kennels, and some talk about the future of Eagle Ridge and more.
(2/6/13) BGWFans has a new update this week where they report the park will replace Entwined with a new Oktoberfest style show once again in Das Festhaus. They also take a look around the boneyard and see some work being done to the ticket booths as well.
(1/28/13) BGWFans reports the park filed work permits to remove and replace the lift on the Le Scoot log flume ride. According to the latest pictures taken inside the park, the old lift system has already been removed from the ride.
(1/14/13) BGWFans reports that both Busch Gardens theme parks will introduce all new park logos this year. Continuing the evolution from the last logo change, now the entire name (and not just the Busch part) will use a very similar script style font to the one they currently use now for the word “Busch”, but with a different “B”. Next to the new logo is an interesting little graphic that has been named the “Coaster Tree”, that appears to represent both a tree as well as the inversions on a coaster. The tag line concept of “Fun Grows Here” will also come into play.
(1/7/13) BGWFans reports that at long last the “headlights” on the front of the Verbolten coaster trains are now functional during after dark rides. Check them out here. They look pretty spiffy, if I do say so myself.
(12/4/12) BGWFans reports that there have been some upper management moves at both the Williamsburg park as well as SeaWorld San Diego. They report that David Cromwell (VP of Water Country USA) is moving to San Diego to take out as VP of the new Aquatica park out there. Meanwhile two more odd moves have been as the VP of Culinary Ops of BGW is now taking over as VP of Water Country USA and the VP of Merchandise will take over as the new VP of Culinary Ops.
(11/16/12) Busch Gardens Williamsburg will hold the Christmas Town Dash 8K race on Sunday, Dec. 2nd as the racers are allowed to run on a course through the theme park. For information on how to join in, visit ChristmasTownDash.com.
(11/5/12) The ChristmasTown event website is now live and has a posted list of attractions that will be open for the winter event. Verbolten will be up and running for the coaster fans and nearby… instead of Mach Towers, the park will offer Nacht Tower. What is Nacht Tower you ask? It’s a Mach Tower, running in a special “observation tower” mode, where riders are lifted and slowly spin 240 feet into the air, and then SLOWLY will descend back down to earth again.
Several other park attractions will also be renamed for the holiday season. You can see the list here which includes: Reindeer Run, Snowman Summit, Jingle Junction, and Ppeppermint Twist (Tea Cups)
(10/16/12) BGWFans has posted a full review of this year’s Howl-O-Scream event, with attraction reviews, video clips of the mazes and shows.
(9/12/12) BGWFans has posted a report from the park’s Fall annual passholder appreciation event. (Who knew they had such a thing? Other than the passholders I guess. LOL!) Anyway… they talked about details for the next big events coming to the park.
Howl-O-Scream details have been known online for awhile, so nothing new here, other than confirmation on the replacement of Scare Zones with Roaming Hordes.
Christmas Town will return and add Festa Italia to the mix, along with three of the flat rides. And while not confirmed, it was hinted that Verbolten would likey run for the holiday season.
The big surprise was the brief announcement about a Food & Wine Festival event coming to the park in Spring 2013. No official details other than that were ready, but if they try to model it after the great one at Epcot in Florida, it should be a blast.
(9/5/12) BGWFans has posted a huge photo update form the park showing off this year’s Howl-O-Scream setup in progress.
(8/28/12) BGWFans has posted a large update from the park featuring a recap of IllumniNights, Howl-O-Scream updates and more.
(8/20/12) Cuteness Alert… you’ve been warned. Check out the latest footage at Behind the Thrills as they were invited to go behind the scenes and interact with Boise, an orphaned wolf cub adopted from Idaho. Such a cute little pup for sure.
(8/16/12) BGWFans has been keeping up with all the latest rumors and confirmations from the park for their Howl-O-Scream event in 2012. The list should include some returning favorites from last year as well as a new haunt in Rhinefield, a new show in Fas Festhaus. It also sounds like they may be dropping the idea of Scare Zones in favor of “Roaming Monster Hordes” that will move about the park.
2013 - Nothing new to be added this season...
2014 - New Land / New Coaster - Rumor - (4/8/13) With BGW adding nothing new in 2013, this begs the question about just what they may be planning for 2014 then. Historically, whenever BGW seemed to skip adding a new attraction in any given year, they usually had something quite good in the works for the following year.
For example, the park added nothing in 2004, but added Curse of DarKastle in 2005. They followed this up with nothing in 2006, but added Griffon in 2007, then taking 2008 off, but adding the new Sesame Street land in 2009.
Whatever they have planned, the former Drachen Fire site is very likely to be the location of choice. There has been a lot of speculation for what may come to this site as well over the years, including rumors of an expansion to the Oktoberfest area, or possibly used for a new themed country… with Spain being heavily rumored in past years. A new train depot here along the existing tracks is almost a given at this point, as well as a new roller coaster. One old the older rumors, going along with the Spain rumor, indicated that a wooden coaster, the park’s first, could be chosen for the site as well.
While these older rumors have faded while the park spent the last two years transforming the old Big Bad Wolf site into Verbolten, I do have to wonder if they are ready for a new coaster…. Especially a wooden one given the problems the Tampa park seems to have been having over the past few years with their single wooden coaster, Gwazi. This is one reason I bring all this up again… because half of Gwazi sits closed, and the rumors coming from people in Florida indicate that Gwazi’s unused trains could be sent to Williamsburg for an unknown future ride. There is also a very hot new trend in the industry right now… a lot of parks are wanting to try out a wooden coaster with an inversion.
There are 3 opening in 2013 alone… two from Rocky Mountain Coasters (Outlaw Run & Iron Rattler) and the conversion of Hades into Hades 360 from Gravity Group. At IAAPA 2012 in a few interviews with Great Coasters (who built Gwazi and it’s fairly new Millenium Flyer trains) they also claimed that they have been ready to build an inversion on one of their wooden coasters as well for years. Could BGW be the first ones to take GCI up on that claim? Time will tell… there are no new rumors from Williamsburg indicating anything just yet… so for now consider this my own bit of speculation on what we could see in 2014. (If I were calling the shots, I know I’d do it…)
(8/12/11) AmusementPics managed to grab an interesting picture showing off a survey stake set up out of the old Drachen Fire field labeled “Train Station”. For years, this large area has been rumored to not only be put to use for a future new land expansion, but also would see a new train station added to the line here as well.
(4/16/09) Our spies tell us that the park still has big expansion plans on deck to add a new land to the park, taking over the former site of Drachen Fire. The unfortunate side of things, is that many of Busch’s big plans were put on hold when InBev took over the company, so there is no telling if this plan is still moving forward or just on hold for the moment. Either way, it seems that the multi-year plan to build an entirely new country (Spain is the most likley) in still very solid. It’s all a matter of “when” and not “if” at this point from what I’m told.
(10/30/07) The latest whisper on the wind in Williamsburg indicates that there may be a possible multi-year plans to add a new country at Busch Gardens Europe. Over the years different counties have been mentions as possible future projects, but some say that they’ve heard Spain mentioned specifically as a primary choice in the past.
(10/24/07) We’ve heard an interesting rumor for Busch Gardens Europe today that gives us a good location to watch for the park’s next big expansion in 2009 and possibly beyond. In short, we’ve been told to keep our eyes open for a possible fourth train station to be added to the line, this time in the German area of the park. Things get interesting when you realize that the best place to put down a new train depot in Germany would be back along the existing tracks near the old Drachen Fire spot, which is a fairly large and undeveloped area currently being used for the three back-to-back Never After haunt experiences. Given the massive size of this area alone, it could be used for anything from a massive new coaster to a large new themed land. Of course the bigger the size of the development, the bigger the chance that this could become a project that will take more than one year to build out, so 2009 may just be the beginning.
???? - Water Country USA Expansion - Planning - (11/22/11) The expansion plan proposed by Water Country USA was given unanimous approval from the local Board of Supervisors. No timeline was given as to how the expansion will take place, other than it will be done over five phases.
(10/14/11) BGWFans has posted a nice map showing off the new proposed master plan for Water Country USA over the next decade.
(10/12/11) The local news reports that Water Country USA has filed paperwork seeking to expand the waterpark’s size by 43 acres, in addition to the park’s current 41 acres of attractions. Keep in mind, this is for a new overall master plan for the entire park site that will shape everything that is to come over the next decade or two and not a plan for one giant expansion that will happen over the next year or two.
???? - Resort Hotel - Planning - (2/27/12) BGWFans has posted a new report on the possible addition of a resort hotel to the Busch Gardens Williamsburg property.
(12/19/11) BGWFans has posted some interesting information this past week about a possible future project for the Williamsburg park. They believe that Blackstone and Xanterra (the company who bought the Kingsmill resort from Busch) have been in talks for some time now about building a joint resort project somewhere on Busch Gardens property that could open between 2013-2015. They believe that the resort could possibly be built in the undeveloped land behind Festhaus park, in the location of the park’s “Boneyard”. Reports claim the Boneyard has begun to be emptied out to make way for the resort project. The site is located on the opposite side of the train tracks, across from where Drachen Fire used to be, which was long reported as a possible site location for a new train station as well, which could serve the new resort quite nicely.
(8/12/11) In an article focused mostly on the planned renovations to the old Kingsmill Resort area (now no longer owned by the park or Anheuser-Busch at all) it also mentioned that Blackstone also has plans to add their own resort hotel for Busch Gardens Williamsburg near the backside of the park somewhere.
(4/8/11) Screamscape sources claim that SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment may be doing studies and making early plans to enter the resort biz in select markets. This is something that was looked at in the past under Anheuser-Busch leadership, where they even went so far as to announce their intentions to build a heavily themed African animal safari themed hotel on backside of the Savannah at Busch Gardens Tampa. (Only to fail to be willing to fund the effort on their own without an experience hotel operator... which allowed Disney to swoop in the copy their idea a couple of years later with the Animal Kingdom Lodge hotel.)
From what I'm told, Tampa is not being considered this time around... since the new owners will admit that the area around the park itself is not exactly the kind of place where you would put down a high-dollar resort experience. While Orlando would seem to be a good fit, Busch sold off the perfect site for such a resort next to Aquatica to an outside developer under their leadership. In addition... the Orlando market already has an over abundance of empty hotel rooms on any given night. Across the nation, San Diego is also likely be crossed off the list as the park is land locked and the park also passed up several opportunities in the past to buy up nearby property where a resort would possible succeed, in addition to a general hesitation by AB to build and operate their own resort hotel without an experienced hotel partner.
So what's left? Williamsburg, VA and San Antonio, TX. In a strange bit of Irony, Williamsburg was the once place where AB had their own resort for a number of years in the form of the Kingsmill property. However this resort project was not sold off to Blackstone with the parks, and I believe it remains under ownership of AB, but the Williamsburg area does seem to be a good possibility for a future resort project, especially with the expansion of the park's operating season into the Christmas season. Texas is also a possibiliy, as there are no other theme park resort in the area, the park has lot of excess land that could be put to use in a number of ways... such as the rumored Aquatica project in Texas, which would certainly give guests a reason to spend the night at SeaWorld.