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News & Rumors


Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Williamsburg, Virginia
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment




----    THE LATEST BUZZ    ----
    (5/12/2024) Loch Ness Monster Lives!
    (4/25/2024) Food & Wine Festival Returns to Busch Gardens Williamsburg
    (4/9/2024) Busch Gardens Williamsburg Sets Opening Date For Loch Ness Monster
    (3/16/2023) Construction Update


icon_STOPGeneral Park News - (4/25/2024) The Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival will return to Williamsburg this year with over 150 different drinks and dishes to choose from! This will include over 85 brand new items when the event runs on Thursdays through Sundays, from April 25 through to June 9, 2024 (and on Memorial Day).
    New this year is AFRICA - “The all-new Africa location features rich, diverse flavors influenced by several regions across the continent. Both sweet and savory dishes represent the unique culinary traditions of Africa. Originating from Mozambique, the Peri Peri Chicken features a spicy Chili marinade and coconut rice, while Koshary offers a hearty, plant-based option from Egypt. Dessert lovers will enjoy Melktert, a South African staple containing a spiced milk custard.”
   And TURKEY - “From signature street food to savory snacks, transport your tastebuds at the all-new Turkey location. Incorporating Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and several other country’s cuisines, these dishes showcase Turkey’s delicious culinary heritage.  Doner kebab, a popular fast fare plate features Beef & Lamb Shawarma, pita, feta and more. Two new beverages provide park guests the chance to quench their thirst; Turkish Delight, a gin based cocktail and Ayran, a frothy yogurt beverage for all ages to enjoy.”
   And MEXICO - “Located in the Wild Reserve, the Mexico location is a fan-favorite year after year. In addition to the Prickly Pear Margarita, Horchata and the signature Crispy Shrimp Taco, park guests can indulge in three new items. A BBQ Pork Taco and Shredded Beef Taco will debut this year, each topped with hot queso fresco. Those looking to satisfy their sweet tooth can try the Sopapilla Cheesecake Bar, loaded with sweet cream cheese.”
    The best way to experience the Food & Wine Festival is to purchase a lanyard, with prices starting at $70 that include 10-items, or $85 for a 15-item lanyard.



    (3/16/2024) Last year we mentioned that the Squire’s Grille near the front of Busch Gardens Williamsburg (near the Globe Theater) was closed to undergo some kind of upgrade. The work is still ongoing it seems, as a reader sent in a picture showing off some concept art posted to the front of the construction wall with an ‘Opening 2024’ date on it. Meanwhile they also sent in a picture showing off the back-deck behind the Confectionary on the other side of the pathway from here is getting a total rebuild as well.
    (2/14/2024) Busch Gardens Williamsburg is letting the good times roll with an unbeatable deal this President’s Day weekend! Visit Busch Gardens and Water Country USA again and again with a two-park Fun Card, available now for only $89.99. With the purchase of a Fun Card, guests can enjoy unlimited visits now through September 2, 2024. Visitors should purchase the two-park Fun Card now, as this limited-time sale ends Monday, February 19, 2024.
    To sweeten the deal of course, the park will be hosting a four day weekend of Mardi Gras celebrations starting this friday, Feb. 16 through to Monday, February 19th, 2024. This will be followed by more dates every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through to March 3rd.
    (1/25/2024) Busch Gardens Williamsburg “is letting the good times roll as Mardis Gras returns to the park on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays plus Presidents’ Day, from January 26 through March 3. This year’s celebrations are jazzed up with an all-new Bourbon Street Brigade, and new bayou-inspired cuisine, plus returning favorites, including Carnaval Imaginique, a captivating and electrifying cirque show in the Globe Theatre. Colorful entertainment transforms Busch Gardens’ villages with an exciting New Orleans-style event for the whole family, featuring world-class roller coasters, over fifteen rides and over 40 mouth-watering Mardi Gras flavors, all included with park admission.”
    Busch Gardens Williamsburg also has an interesting promotion right now. They’re offering a 2-Park Fun Card at the discounted rate of $109.99 which will get you unlimited admission into the main park and Water Country USA from now through to Sept. 2, 2024. So You’ll miss out on Howl-O-Scream and ChristmasTown, but if you were only planning on visiting during the warmer months anyway, then if you compare this to the price of a 2-Day Ticket at $104.99, then this is a pretty good deal.
    (11/12/2023) BGWFans reports that a new round of soil testing has been ordered for the Festhaus Park area, which is typically a sign that a new ride is being planned for the former Drachen Fire site. Of course, this is hardly the first testing or planned attraction for this area, but for whatever reason the plans for this area always seem to get paused along the way. It should be interesting to see what they may have in store for this area now, as previously I believe the last concepts for this area was the long rumored “Drachen Spire” coaster and whatever the
“Burgermeisters” project was going to be. Whatever it is, I’d say it is probably for the park’s 2025 season.

    (9/29/2023) Congratulations goes out to the SeaWorld and Busch Gardens parks this weeks as the SeaWorld park’s Howl-O-Scream was voted as the #1 Best Halloween Theme Park event, followed by the Busch Garden’s park’s own Howl-O-Scream event coming in at #2.
    (6/10/2023) Guests at Busch Gardens Williamsburg can now get a break from the heat by enjoying the park’s Roman Rapids ride once again. The park’s river rapids ride sat closed during the first years of COVID, and ahead of an attempt to reopen the ride for the 2022 season the park replaced their entire boat fleet with new 9-passenger rafts, retiring the old 6-seater fleet. Unfortunately the slightly bigger boats had numerous issues traveling through the flume, which had to undergo an extensive makeover as well, keeping Roman Rapids closed.
    The good news is that Roman Rapids finally reopened to guests a couple of weeks ago, and you can see a POV of the new experience in the video below. Comparing this video to some other videos shot in 2019 or before, it appears that the the various ramps and weirs remodeled and the water depth had to be increased by several inches and to accommodate the heavier load of the new 9-passenger rafts.



icon_STOP2024 - Loch Ness Monster Refurbishment - (5/12/2024) Loch Ness Monster has returned to Busch Gardens Williamsburg and  you can check out a POV of the enhanced queue and ride experience in the videos below. Unfortunately, the improvements in the tunnel scene are a bit hard to see in POV videos as they include a number of projection screens off to either side of the riders.
    A fun side-by-side comparison video featuring one of the last rides in 2023 before it closed to how it looks now in 2024 can also be seen below. You’ve got to love that bright new yellow track look that Nessie has now, which looks like it’s a brand new coaster once again.

    (4/9/2024) Busch Gardens Williamsburg has confirmed that the new and improved version of Loch Ness Monster will open to guests on May 10th with ”New Sights, Sounds and Surprises”. Busch Gardens “Members” will be given exclusive early ride access between May 2-5.
    So what’s new, besides 900 feet of track that was replaced? According to the press release the ride now features new sights and sounds (a soundtrack was mentioned, but I believe this is somewhere in the queue / station, so don’t expect on-board audio. They say riders will catch a glimpse of something new lurking under the water during the first drop, before they come face-to-face with the monster itself within the cave lair.
    (12/16/2023) Pictures on FB from Premier Rides show off sections of the new track being installed onto the Loch Ness Monster. In this case, we get a look at some of the new interlocking loop track!

    (11/11/2023) BGWFans has posted some incredible photos of the Loch Ness Monster at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. As you can see in the photos below, large sections of original track for the roller coaster has now been removed as part of the big 2024 refurbishment project. According to the description, the missing track includes essentially the bottom half of the entire first drop, most of the first of the two interlocking loops and sections of the second one.
    As previously stated by the park, they were going to replace about 900 feet of track as part of this refurbishment, and replacing these sections does make sense as they are probably the parts of the ride’s layout that receive the most intense forces. I believe it was revealed previously that the new track for Loch Ness Monster would be engineered by Premier Rides.

    (11/5/2023) Just a reminder that today is the last day you can ride the original version of the Loch Ness Monster at Busch Gardens Williamsburg before it gets renovated for the 2024 season.

    (10/3/2023) Busch Gardens Williamsburg just posted all the details about their 2024 project… Loch Ness Monsters: The Legend Lives On. The long talked-about refurbishment for the park’s famous roller coaster has been confirmed and the details were finally released. In short, Loch Ness Monster will return next season with “new elements, storytelling, and surprises.”
    For starters… over 900 feet of original track on Loch Ness Monster will be replaced with brand new track fabricated for the ride. (Note: Nothing was said about who they have hired to do the track fabrication work however…) For those keeping “track” this replacement will be about 28% of the ride’s total track length of 3240 feet.
    The new storytelling will begin as soon as you enter the queue, with all new elements being added throughout the queue to enhance the guest experience. Speakers will be added to the lift hill in order to play all new soundtrack audio created just for the ride as you climb into the sky. During the first drop you will “catch a glimpse of something monstrous lurking under the water” below you. Following the first of the ride’s two interlocking loops, guests enter the spiraling tunnel track, “traversing a helix and coming face-to-face with the monster in a shadowy cave lair.”   
    To begin work on this special project, Loch Ness Monster will close to regular guests on October 31st. There will be a “last to ride” event for Passholders on the weekend of Nov. 4-5th, and another first ride event for passholders in 2024 when the ride is ready to reopen.

    (9/10/2023) Busch Gardens Williamsburg has confirmed their plans to perform an epic restoration on the iconic Loch Ness Monster roller coaster for the 2024 season. Unfortunately, the details about how much this will entail are still a secret.

    (8/13/2023) BGWFans has posted a rumor regarding the future of the park’s Loch Ness Monsters. According to the post the park may be planning to perform some extensive renovations to Nessie that is expected to involve some track replacement, amongst other upgrades. The plan would see the renovated coaster reopened in time for the 2024 season.
    If anyone knows more about what might be planned, be sure to reach out and share the details… anonymously of course. Personally I’m curious if the plan may involve any new trains with more open restraints, or perhaps some theme and effects enhancements to the tunnel.



icon_STOP2025 - New Coaster Project - Status Unknown - (12/9/2023) Busch Gardens Williamsburg is once again moving forward with new coaster plans to make use of the former site once occupied by the ill-fated Drachen Fire roller coaster (1992-1998). Over the years a large number of proposed coaster projects have been in one phase of development or another for the site, but for one reason or another, they have all failed to get the final green light to proceed.
    As usual the expert sleuths at BGWfans have broken down the information that is known at this time from what they can see, along with a cool history about all the other projects once planned that failed to materialize on the unique site beyond the Festhaus. I’ll let you head on over there to read their report with all the details and possible layouts, but based on this and other projects announced in the chain, the belief is that this could be a family sized B&M Inverted or Suspended style coaster, not unlike the one coming to Busch Gardens Tampa for 2024.
    (8/31/22) BGWFans latest report confirms that the park’s plans for 2024 may be changing and growing into something even bigger than the long rumored “Drachen Spire” project. The park has now filed for a new height waiver with the FAA that is apparently very different from their previous request.
    According to the new application, construction for this ride is listed to take place between February 2023 and March 2024, with a proposed height of 220 feet above grade, with the highest point being located in the Festhaus Park area. There is also a humorous project name… ‘Busch Gardens Burgermeisters”.




Track Record

Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Williamsburg, VA
SeaWorld Parks & Ent.

Abbreviation: BGW

Formerly known as: Busch Gardens: The Old Country and Busch Gardens Europe

Read our trip report & reviews of Howl-O-Scream 2007 and
Howl-O-Scream 2006.

Newest Developments:
2023 - DarKoaster

2022 - Pantheon &
Aquazoid Amped

2019 - Finnegan’s Flyer &
Cutback Water Coaster

2018 - Battle For Eire
2017 - InvadR

2015 - Tempesto

2012 - Verbolten

2011 - Mach Tower

2010 - Europe In The Air

2009 - Sesame Street 4D & Forest Of Fun

2007 - Griffon

2005 - Curse of DarKastle



Copyright © 1996 - 2024 by Lance Hart &  All rights reserved.