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Pass Member Preview 2014

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Busch Gardens Williamsburg has opened their doors for the 2014 season!  The weather was absolutely picture perfect; sunny, cheerful, and a much needed break from a very long and bitter winter.

As any Virginian knows, Sunday was the exact opposite.  So much so, I decided to stay home in the warm cozy confines of my couch wrapped tightly in a blanket and missed out on opening day for the general public.

The park did not have any official announcements or meetings for Pass Members.  In all honesty, I have nothing to report about future attractions and events this year.   Thus, all I can discuss are the small changes I saw around the park.

The first thing was a ginormous sign advertising the new water ride “Colossal Curl” at Water Country.   Personally, I burn as fast a boiling lobster, so Water Country is not a place I can utilize or enjoy.  I do believe that this is the first time such a large ad for Water Country was built inside the gates of Busch Gardens.

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Last year we were told about a new show called London Rocks.  The show was not ready by opening weekend and from what I gather will be opening in May.  There were no real changes to Banbury that I could tell.

Apollo was my first ride and for a good reason.  Apollo is turning 15 years old March 30th; thus please see the gathering I created as a special event for Apollo fans here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1458860284333719/   Yay for Apollo!   I noticed that by the time we reached the top of the first hill, we could see the traffic to get in the park stretched to the interstate.  I tell you folks, it pays to get there early.

In San Marco, the Artisans of Italy and Bella Casa gift shops got a new and classy face lift.  The displays were much brighter and cheerful.  The artists looked happy  and the porcelain flowers looked as lovely as ever.

Antonio is all smiles.

Antonio is all smiles.

Love;y new look.

Lovely new look.

Bella Casa

Bella Casa

Bella Casa's new look.

Bella Casa’s new look.

Also in San Marco, the new deck and dining area was completed.  It looked fantastic and allows more seating, which will be nice come the food and wine festival.

The New Deck

The New Deck

Looking up at the new deck.

Looking up at the new deck.

The Rhine River cruise was closed due to upgrades, but the bridge was open and the renovations looked to be mostly complete.  The extra space will certainly allow more traffic on the bridge; a much needed improvement.

Looking Good

Looking Good

Nothing much to report in Oktoberfest except the Festhaus floor has partially been repainted to a blood red color.  Not exactly sure what purpose that serves; it struck me as rather odd.

Heading towards Rhinefeld, the Bunny trail was up in all its glory.  The interesting critters from Illuminights found their way on the Bunny Trail and also into the gardens near DarKastle.   The snail (who many park enthusiasts have named “Oscar”), the ants, bees/lightening bugs, giant turtle, and frog are all there. Oscar the snail was missing his French chef hat and mustache and Mr. Frog was missing his top hat and monocle.  Interesting, and I am not sure the purpose behind it all.

He's Back!

He’s Back!

Looking towards DarKastle.

Looking towards DarKastle.

Hanging bugs.

Hanging bugs.

Mr. Turtle

Mr. Turtle

Land of the Dragons has been spruced up with fresh paint and looked to be cleaner and brighter all around.  The kids should enjoy the new look for the 20th anniversary of the play area.  Rumor is that there will be a new show.  Something I hope happens.  The area would greatly benefit from another family fun show and activity.

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Le Scoot was mostly refurbished.  Hopefully there will be no delays in opening the classic ride when the weather is nice enough to enjoy it.  I am just thrilled to see one of the original rides at BuschGardens get some love.  It is a true gem and one that holds tons of memories since 1975.   Also in New France, the newly renovated bathrooms have not been completed.

New France Bathroom construction.

New France Bathroom construction.

Oh, and before I forget; Europe in the Air was running again.  I didn’t get a chance to ride it, but it was nice to see that Killarney had an operating attraction this year.

Entertainment wise, Entwined was the only major show playing.  The lovely Killarney village band and the Italian Ensemble were performing in Killarney and San Marco.

I love the guest interaction!

I love the guest interaction!

The Killarney Village Band

The Killarney Village Band

Celtic Fyre will be opening (hopefully) next weekend along with “This is Oktoberfest.”  A Sesame Street show will replace “Mix it Up” until the end of April at the Teatro di San Marco.  Rumors are buzzing that the Maypole dancers and the Aquitaine village band will not be returning this year.  If so, I will miss both performances immensely.  They really added character to the park.

Maypole stage is replaced with butterflies.

Maypole stage is replaced with butterflies.

That is about it.  Not much to report other than I had a good time and enjoyed seeing my friends and meeting new Busch Gardens enthusiasts.   I’ll be heading out again next weekend, so if there are any new additions, I will let everyone know.

I hope you all get to come out and enjoy the park this year!  In the meantime, no more snow Virginia- please!

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May you all have a fun time at Busch Gardens this year!

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3 Comments

  1. Emily S. says:

    Although I had only rode Europe in the Air once in 2010, when I saw it was open on Pass Member day I decided to give it another try. Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised, enough so to ride it a second time. The 3D feature is gone allowing for the picture quality to be much greater. I really enjoyed Europe in the Air.

    • noramarien says:

      That’s great Emily! I hope to ride it this weekend. Sounds like you had a great time at the park and thanks for your response. It is always nice to hear back from fellow park fans!

  2. I rode it on Sunday, it is great to have the ride back. Nothing has changed with the ride show itself, but I missed having that in Ireland and it does bring back a ride in that section of the park. Otherwise you would have to walk a bit to find a ride attraction to experience.

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