Busch Gardens Williamsburg
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment
General Park News - (7/3/14) BGWFans takes a look at the latest changes at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, including the addition of some new Scottish Highland Cattle and the introduction of an interesting new themed night event at the park… Star Spangled Nights. While this would seen normal in almost any other park in the country… the fact that BGW is themed entirely to European counties makes this inclusion seem a tiny bit intrusive.
(6/30/14) According to the local news, Busch Gardens Williamsburg had a bit of a panic on Sunday when a threatening note about a bomb was found near the England section of the park around 3pm. That section of the park was quickly evacuated while emergency crews were notified and dispatched to the park to conduct a search. After three hours the area was determined to be clear and it was reopened to guests once again.
(6/17/14) A picture of some new construction just starting out at Busch Gardens Williamsburg out behind the former Drachen Fire station building has been posted to Behind the Thrills. Anyone know what this might be fore? I know there have been rumors for years of adding another train station back in this area, along with a possible new country themed area.
(5/22/14) The SeaWorld Parks have launched all new version’s of their official park smartphone Apps (Discovery Guides) earlier this year, and the improvements just keep on coming. I’m told that the ability to purchase QuickQueue to cut to the front of the line will soon be coming to the app itself, which means you can upgrade your experience from within the actual line you are trying to skip.
Other new additions include GPS enabled park maps, real-time updates of park show schedules and special events, current ride-wait times, the ability to receive broadcasted park notifications and special offers, and soon will also give you the ability to order your food online from select locations so you don’t have to wait in line to order.
You can download the official Discovery Guide apps for the SeaWorld, Busch Gardens and Sesame Place parks for free in both: Apple (App Store) and Android (Google Play) flavors.
(5/15/14) A photo update from Busch Gardens Williamsburg has been posted to BGWFans this week showing off what’s new in the park, construction for the Food & Wine event and new restrooms built in New France.
(4/16/14) I’m a little late with this update, but BGWFans has posted some great opening weekend coverage from Busch Gardens Williamsburg, including the work taking place in Banbury, the renovations to Le Scoot flume ride, a new restroom in New France and more.
(3/10/14) I don’t know details, but according to posts towards the bottom of this BGWFans forum page, Europe in the Air is expected to be up and running once again for the 2014 season, starting with the passholder preview day.
(12/2/13) This project started last winter, but workers at Busch Gardens are busy taking down another section of the park’s Le Scoot flume ride in order to rebuild it by the start of the 2014 season. You can see pictures of the work in progress over at BGWFans.
(11/28/13) An excellent photo trip report from Busch Gardens Williamsburg was posted to TPR this week, showing off Christmastown before and after dark. Most surprising was the spotting of a returning ‘Corkscrew Hill’ sign in Ireland… only to find it covered up after dark by Christmas Town sign instead after dark. Very interesting…
2014 - New Entertainment - Rumor - (2/28/14) BGWFans has posted a new update from the park, with updated rumors and stories about the park’s 2014 entertainment offerings, which seems to involve more delays and cutbacks. Lets hope the park’s entertainment department can pull off a more solid 2014 than compared to all the turmoil that took place in 2013.
(9/10/13) BGWFans has confirmed that at the Passholder event last weekend the park announced London Rocks, a new show will open in the Globe Theater in May 2014.
2014 - Colossal Curl at Water Country - (5/28/14) A photo update from BGWFans this week shows off the opening of Water Country USA’s newest thrill ride… the Colossus Curl.
(2/21/14) The huge pieces of the Colossal Curl have now arrived on site at Water Country USA. You can find pictures posted to BGWFans.
(11/13/13) Water Country has confirmed their plans to add a ProSlide WorldAlley slide this week to be named Colossal Curl. Check out the video announcement below, where they confirm the new slide is already under construction.
(11/10/13) The plans for the new 2014 Water Country waterslide have been reveled over at BGWFans.com this weekend, which appears to be a large combo-element slide featuring a mini-funnel element followed by a large half-pipe in the second half. ProSlide calls this a WorldAlley and you can see a few pictures showing off similar installations at their site as well featuring the same back-to-back Tantrum & TornadoWave elements.
2015 - New Roller Coaster / TEMPESTO - Semi-Confirmed - (5/13/14) News Plus Notes spotted an interesting new trademark filing by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment this week for something called TEMPESTO. They report that the Italian sounding word loosely translates to storm. They’ve come to the same conclusion as I have, that this would be a perfect sounding name for that rumored new coaster planned for the Festa Italia section of Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Just something to keep an eye on at the very least.
(4/26/14) When I first heard the rumor about two weeks ago, I didn’t want to believe it. I really didn’t… because I feel deep down that this may be a horrible decision. Others have since backed up the rumors, so I can only assume they are true.
So what is this terrible rumor? To many of you, it may not seem that terrible… but it seems that the new 2015 coaster project coming to Busch Gardens Williamsburg into the Festa Italia section will be a clone of the Premier Ride’s built Superman: Ultimate Flight at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. While this is an excellent ride for a smaller park like SFDK, it really does not have the capacity required for a large park like Busch Gardens Williamsburg. For those not aware, the trains are small… only two cars long, each one holding six riders, for a total of 12 per train… and due to the design it can only run one train at a time. A little quick math will tell you that if they can manage to dispatch a train cycle every 3 minutes, the ride only has an hourly capacity of 240 riders per hour. Now compare this to the theoretical capacity of Apollo’s Chariot, which is said to be capable of up to 1,750 riders per hour. It hardly seems fair doesn’t it? Even if the park is open for 14 hours (10am to Midnight), assuming zero downtime, this new coaster will only thrill 3,500 park guests maximum in a single day. When the park racks up 18,000 to 30,000 guests a day during the busy summer season, only a fraction of the park’s guests will be able to ride this thing.
In any case, I just don’t like the idea. This would be a perfect coaster for Six Flags America… but I just can’t justify this for Busch Gardens Williamsburg. BGWFansite has been following this for quite some time and now BGWFans has a new report about it as well with layout plans as well.
(10/10/13) According to this local news report the new attraction permit BGW filed refers to the ride as a 2015 attraction, so that rules out a mad rush to have it installed for 2014. This begs the question… will the park install any new major attraction for 2014 or opt to let things sit stagnant for another year?
(10/9/13) BGWFans reports that Busch Gardens Williamsburg is preparing some kind of expansion and renovation to the park’s Festa Italia area. The project will include a new 156 foot tall attraction according to permits filed by the park. BGWFans takes a look at where markings have been found on the park, where soil testing is said to have been taking place and more to try and come up with an idea of what may be in the works for 2014 or 2015.
???? - 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.