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  1. #1

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    European Vacation (in Virgina): Busch Gardens Europe and Kings Dominion

    Part One
    European Vacation
    Busch Gardens Europe

    We spent two days at Busch Gardens Europe while in Virgina. 'Twas quite nice...
    Yay!
    --Big Bad Wolf kicks some serious butt in the front row
    --Loch Ness Monster is fun and very pretty
    --Apollo's Chariot is much better than Raging Bull!
    --Merchandise in the park was great! I found two sweet t-shirts that fit, were reasonably priced, and fit my style. Good job!
    --Cool automated turnstyle thingys at the park entrance (but boo for idiots who could not use them)
    --Escape from Pompeii: Lots o' fire
    --Cool DarKastle Queue
    --Good in-park food
    --Griffon: SheiKra, but with a better ending
    --No loose articles rule made boarding much quicker.
    --Beautiful landscaping and setting, cool scenery
    Nay!
    --Poor operations throughout the park made lines longer than they should have been. I do not believe two trains is acceptable on a park's new star attraction when the line is greater than 45 minutes! Also, getting food always took forever and had long lines.
    --Cell phones, change, and other things falling out of pockets on Griffon. Dangerous!
    --Alpengeist sucks. It's rough and not horribly fun.
    --DarKastle. I applaud the effort, but it just didn't seem like the experience was fully there. Add more effects, make sure the ride is synced properly, and show the pre-show, por favor! This could make DarKastle a winner!
    --LeSkoot log flume: it seriously had like half of its boats. Where were the rest?
    --Skyride closed.

    Overall, Busch Gardens was a very nice park. I definitely thought it was better (in terms of setting and rides) than its Tampa counterpart; however, Tampa had significantly better operations.
    Fun park, fun rides, fun overall experience!


    You have arrived. You have fun. You are here. You are a strange marketing campaign.

    [img]http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y150/pvcoasterguy/Virginia%
    202007/BGE070002.jpg[/img]
    Busch Gardens is purdy.


    It was a shame that this was closed.


    Who doesn't like a crapload of fire?


    It seemed really short to me, though. I was expecting something longer, more like Sea World Orlando's Journey to Atlantis.


    Lift, turn with lots of fire and falling objects, drop, turn.


    Regardless, it was still fun.


    Apollo's Chariot was quite good, actually!


    And it didn't have the awful rattle/roughness at the valleys like Raging Bull has.


    Plenty of airtime to be had on this, especially in the back.


    A few trims were on, but they didn't do much.


    This drop was great.




    Apollo's Chair is quite luxurious.




    Okay, only a couple more Pompeii shots, I promise.


    Six Flags could easily pull off something like this if they tried.


    Here they go...


    Wet!



    [img]http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y150/pvcoasterguy/Virginia%
    202007/BGE070023.jpg[/img]


    The train looked nice, but we didn't ride.




    Tilty boat action...


    Fire = good


    Lochhh Ness was fun.


    Heyyyyyyy!


    I have a sweet spot for old skool Arrows.


    It always had just a station wait.


    Argh, I'm the evil Loch Ness Monster!


    It wasn't horribly rough, but it did have a few bad transitions.


    Boo, you suck!


    It was ridiculously rough on the valleys. Like the train actually seemed to bounce down there.


    Lochhhh Nesssss is very photogenic.








    The mess of inversions on the lake.






    Yeah, don't be jealous.


    It has potential, but it just isn't there.


    The sad thing is that it could easily be great!


    Okay, this thing kicked some serious *** in the front seat. Holy ****! I couldn't imagine riding without a trim on the last drop! It was crazy intense anyway!


    Heyyyy cell phone cutie!


    Cute!


    Anyway, I loved Big Bad Wolf. I enjoyed it the most of all of the coasters in the park.


    The food here was pretty good.


    Hey cute baseball cap guy!


    I can't believe I'm riding this a second time.


    Hey Mr. Hot Cell Phone Guy


    Yeah, for mass suckage!


    But, at least the lift looks cool.






    This fountain was very pretty.




    Ugh. It pains me to think about it.


    This was the best part of the ride.


    Seriously, where was the other half of the boats on Le Skoot?


    Love that drop. Too bad they had the worst operators ever on it. Seriously, they were worse than 90% of the Six Flags employees I've encountered.


    It's definitely an attractive coaster.




    Ooh, artsy.


    The second loop was fun, as was the bunny hop. The ending to Griffon was superior to that of SheiKra, but I wish there were a tunnel on Griffon.




    Prepare to drop...


    Great drop.


    My wallpaper.


    Should be running three trains with good operators.


    Griffon area




    I always started to black out on this loop.


    What is a kiosh?


    Cute!


    Definitely the cutest guy that I saw.




    Buh-Bye Busch Gardens!

    Coming up: Kings Dominion

  2. #2

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    Re: European Vacation (in Virgina): Busch Gardens Europe and Kings Dominion

    Part Two
    Identity Crisis
    (Paramount's?) Kings Dominion

    Kings Dominion was nice enough... the staff was good enough... the rides were fun enough. But it didn't excel in any of the areas, leading to a 'good enough' experience. It was fun, but not horribly awesome either. I guess you could say it was sufficient.

    Also, there were many, many Paramount remnants around. Seriously, guys, you need to work on this. Not even all of the 'uniforms' matched!
    Oh, and of course, there were ten million middle schoolers there. They seriously are stalking me...

    Hot
    --Grizzly was aggressive, fun, and airtime filled. It also had a cool setting.
    --Hurler was fun, with some pretty darn good air.
    --The large variety of food (Starbucks, Chick-Fil-A, Subway and others made nice options)
    --(Mostly) pretty short lines because of the waterpark!
    --Volcano was pretty damn sweet.
    --Cool park soundtrack from Paramount films

    Not
    --The line for Volcano. Holy crap, this thing was so long, and the 'tunnel jail cell thingy' was awful! Who designed that piece of poo queue?
    --Way too many loose articles being brought into stations, slowing operations.
    --One-Train-Operation on all wooden coasters made short lines last a good while.
    --Hypersonic XLC: No wonder they want to get rid of this piece of ****. It's the roughest coaster I've ever ridden! Also, the lap bars attempt to decapitate your legs.
    --Italian Job's soundtrack not working; its severe roughness right after the launch.
    --Cedar Fair's overkill of seatbelts
    --Flight of Fear being closed. I was really looking forward to that one.
    --Very small ride crews
    --This one really horrendously ugly pathway in the park right next to the bus parking area. Why is this open?
    --There are seriously not enough bathrooms in the park, and they're difficult to find.
    --Prices very high
    --Parking lot in awful shape


    We started at Volcano.


    It pretty much rocked, though the final huge drop into the brakes is somewhat buzzkill.


    Seriously, this isn't an airline, don't have carry-ons!


    This was fun!


    It's definitely a very different coaster.


    This was cute and fun, but definitely not great.


    The Minis are so funny, though.




    No functioning soundtrack? Boo!


    The barrel rolls were loco!


    They had to replace a wheel on Anaconda, so we just waited in the station.


    This thing kind of kicks your butt. I like that sometimes.


    But seriously, WTF is after the mid-course? LMAO!


    I still love a good ol' Arrow, though.




    Want your on-ride picture? Sorry, all of them are closed except for the one at Ricochet!




    The corkscrews are really slow and cool...




    Fun... enough.


    Cool drop tower, though.


    This was... um... interesting?


    It definitely wasn't bad, though.


    Ah, my favorite flat!


    This ride pretty much kicks your butt. The loop is crazy, and there's even airtime on it! Oh, and loading times were insane for this!


    Excited to ride Astro Comet Stand Up Roller Coaster Number 3?!


    So, they weren't using half of the seats, even with a pretty lengthy queue. But that makes sense, doesn't it?


    Mass suckage. In the bad way.


    Rebel Yell was fine.


    It didn't really do much for me, though.


    American Eagle totally beats this.


    The wild mouse was cool because of its considerable first drop.


    Uf.


    Well, the launch was good.


    Too bad my head and neck kept whipping all around the entire time.


    And WTF is with the stop at the end? Seriously!






    I wanted it to be good. I guess there was a reason that no one was smiling after they got back to the station. Oh, and BTW, this line took forever...


    Ah, nap time! I would have brought my PJ's if I would've known about it!


    Hmmm. Theming?


    Oh, I see someone else has joined in on the napping!


    The Paramount is slowly peeling off... just like of the park itself.


    I liked the layout, it was something different.


    There was some pretty darn good air on it, too!


    Yeah. :?


    The roughest turn on any coaster... EVAR!


    Oh, more nappers!


    Oh yeah, and this POS got stuck right here.


    Exclusive photos, don't hate!


    Hey, at least they didn't have to experience the pain of the rest of the ride!




    Grizzly pretty much rocked.


    My shirt looks CRAZy in this picture.


    Anywho, we drove back to the hotel, my dad and I, and then we went to Sonic. I <3 Sonic, but we don't have one where I live.

    Yum!

    Hope you enjoyed it!

  3. #3

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    Re: European Vacation (in Virgina): Busch Gardens Europe and Kings Dominion

    Oy. You're making my heart hurt!! But in a good way. Some of my favorite memories of my dad were at themeparks and brewery tours. We got to bang out two of his favorites at Busch Gardens! I remember he'd give me sips of his free samples at the brewery.

    I lived in NC for four years and we spent five summers at Busch Gardens and King's Dominion. My dad always bought us a summer pass (had annual passes to Williamsburg, too). I think I was nine the first time I rode Loch Ness. I think the Big Bad Wolf was built later, because I remember the marketing campaign with the scary red eyes.

    I remember when Shockwave opened--we went on it that summer. Craziness. I was probaby 11 or 12. I loved it!

    I want to take my kids to the east coast to experience those parks, I think they'd love it!

  4. #4

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    Re: European Vacation (in Virgina): Busch Gardens Europe and Kings Dominion

    I have to say, Busch Gardens is definitely my favorite park. I think they could win me over with just the landscape alone. It's a shame you skipped the train. You get to see some great views on it.

  5. #5

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    Re: European Vacation (in Virgina): Busch Gardens Europe and Kings Dominion

    Nice trip report. I've been to both parks about 2 years ago, and enjoyed both of them. I do have to disagree with you on Anaconda and Hurler... I found both of those rides to be incredibly rough. Unless they've actually gotten better since then? Although I will agree that the layouts for both are promising, just the execution is way off.

    Also, I'm glad I'm not the only one who checks out guys in the park. Although I don't have the guts to take their picture. But I'm glad you do!
    Does anyone even bother with signatures anymore?

  6. #6

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    Re: European Vacation (in Virgina): Busch Gardens Europe and Kings Dominion

    Quote Originally Posted by JesterMn View Post
    Nice trip report. I've been to both parks about 2 years ago, and enjoyed both of them. I do have to disagree with you on Anaconda and Hurler... I found both of those rides to be incredibly rough. Unless they've actually gotten better since then? Although I will agree that the layouts for both are promising, just the execution is way off.

    Also, I'm glad I'm not the only one who checks out guys in the park. Although I don't have the guts to take their picture. But I'm glad you do!

    I would definitely agree about Anaconda and Hurler. They were just rough and not very enjoyable. I also agree with the OP about Hypersonic. Those brakes are terrible and gave me a headache that lasted the rest of the day at the park.

    I'm also really surprised by the OP saying that Alpengeist was rough. I haven't been on it in 2 years but with the exception of one jerky turn, I thought it was a very smooth ride.

  7. #7

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    Re: European Vacation (in Virgina): Busch Gardens Europe and Kings Dominion

    I love Alpengeist and Darkastle. I love going through the village on Big Bad Wolf. Big Bad Wolf is a must ride at night, it is a great and highly underated ride. Busch Gardens Europe is a great park. It may not be Disneyland, but BGE is 1,000,000 times more Disney than DCA.

    Operations have to be improved at BGE though, the ridiculous lines really hurt the park.

  8. #8

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    Re: European Vacation (in Virgina): Busch Gardens Europe and Kings Dominion

    Quote Originally Posted by GhostHost2 View Post
    I love Alpengeist and Darkastle. I love going through the village on Big Bad Wolf. Big Bad Wolf is a must ride at night, it is a great and highly underated ride. Busch Gardens Europe is a great park. It may not be Disneyland, but BGE is 1,000,000 times more Disney than DCA.

    Operations have to be improved at BGE though, the ridiculous lines really hurt the park.
    I agree - There is nothing else quite like experiencing Big Bad Wold at night. It's so dark that you can hardly see where you're going. I miss the days when they used to spray you with water at the bottom of the big drop.

  9. #9

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    Re: European Vacation (in Virgina): Busch Gardens Europe and Kings Dominion

    Quote Originally Posted by pvcoasterguy View Post
    Part Two
    Identity Crisis
    (Paramount's?) Kings Dominion

    Kings Dominion was nice enough... the staff was good enough... the rides were fun enough. But it didn't excel in any of the areas, leading to a 'good enough' experience. It was fun, but not horribly awesome either. I guess you could say it was sufficient.
    Yeah, the park isn't much of anything but a regional park.. but its fun enough we normally keep season passes for the kids.

    Quote Originally Posted by pvcoasterguy View Post
    --The line for Volcano. Holy crap, this thing was so long, and the 'tunnel jail cell thingy' was awful! Who designed that piece of poo queue?
    It's a hold over from the earlier rides that used to be there. The mountain used to be a boat ride.. kind of a haunted splash mountain They built volcano into the same mountain.

    Quote Originally Posted by pvcoasterguy View Post
    --Flight of Fear being closed. I was really looking forward to that one.
    It's been closed for quite a while (2-3 years??) but was a good coaster. Pretty damn brutal on you though. The theming was pretty fun though.

    Quote Originally Posted by pvcoasterguy View Post
    --Parking lot in awful shape
    Its because its mostly under utilized compared to the size. The lot is 2-3x larger then its usual usage these days.

    Quote Originally Posted by pvcoasterguy View Post

    This was... um... interesting?
    [...]Excited to ride Astro Comet Stand Up Roller Coaster Number 3?!
    Shockwave was one of the REAL early stand-up coasters. Its pretty old now and way outdated compared to modern tech. It's whole gimmick was the standing up.. it was a real PITA to wait for like 2hrs back in the day for a ride that lasts like 13 seconds past the lift.

    Quote Originally Posted by pvcoasterguy View Post
    Rebel Yell was fine.

    It didn't really do much for me, though.
    Another ancient coaster.. I think this was an original ride there. Were they running the cars in chase mode or in reverse mode? Since its old, you usually get some decent airtime.
    Quote Originally Posted by pvcoasterguy View Post
    Hmmm. Theming?
    Nah.. the theming is the usual protein spills on the unload platform of the Hurler. That's always fitting

    Great TR.. thanks for posting it. Good to see how other people feel about our 'local' park
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  10. #10

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    Re: European Vacation (in Virgina): Busch Gardens Europe and Kings Dominion

    Great trip report! Thanks for sharing. I last visited Busch Gardens about 3 or 4 years ago and remember nearly blacking out on Apollo's Chariot when you're pulling the high g-forces. That's when it hit me that I'm getting old. LOL! Thanks again for writing this up and posting all these pictures!


  11. #11

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    Re: European Vacation (in Virgina): Busch Gardens Europe and Kings Dominion

    It's a hold over from the earlier rides that used to be there. The mountain used to be a boat ride.. kind of a haunted splash mountain They built volcano into the same mountain.
    It actually used to be home to 3 rides, one being SMURF MOUNTAIN!! What a great ride. Well, at least the 5 year old in me thought it was a good ride. Removing was actually probably a good idea.


    It's been closed for quite a while (2-3 years??) but was a good coaster. Pretty damn brutal on you though. The theming was pretty fun though.
    Cedar Fair reopened the ride last year towards the end of the season (I think) after there was such a great outcry over it being moved. I don't know if it was ever open this year though. I'm almost positive it was.

    Nah.. the theming is the usual protein spills on the unload platform of the Hurler. That's always fitting
    The name of the ride is rather appropriate. The ride used to be themed after Wayne's World and that lovely "theming" at the end of the ride was a recreation of the doll factory scene from the movie.

  12. #12

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    Re: European Vacation (in Virgina): Busch Gardens Europe and Kings Dominion

    Quote Originally Posted by kirbilicious View Post
    It actually used to be home to 3 rides, one being SMURF MOUNTAIN!! What a great ride. Well, at least the 5 year old in me thought it was a good ride. Removing was actually probably a good idea.
    Yeah, I remember that And the wall spinner was down by the lagoon side. Did you ever see any of the ski shows they used to put on in the lagoon?

    Quote Originally Posted by kirbilicious View Post
    Cedar Fair reopened the ride last year towards the end of the season (I think) after there was such a great outcry over it being moved. I don't know if it was ever open this year though. I'm almost positive it was.
    Wow, didn't know that. I was suprised when I saw it was closed - I thought it was one of the better coasters there. It kind of suffered from placement in the park I think. The plopping of rides anywhere they can fit them there year after year really does lead to some funky paths

    Quote Originally Posted by kirbilicious View Post
    The name of the ride is rather appropriate. The ride used to be themed after Wayne's World and that lovely "theming" at the end of the ride was a recreation of the doll factory scene from the movie.
    Its certainly getting pretty rough with age. Used to be a lot more enjoyable I think.
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  13. #13

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    Re: European Vacation (in Virgina): Busch Gardens Europe and Kings Dominion

    I have a season pass to Busch Gardens Europe... love that park. I have to disagree about Alpengeist... nice ride. I do agree about Darkastle... it seems to be "almost there" but not quite yet. They have made it better each year (now in its third year)... maybe in the next few years it will reach that magic level. You did not mention Corkscrew Hill (in the Ireland section of the park)... a really cool 4D ride. If you did not ride it, you missed out on some fun.

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    Re: European Vacation (in Virgina): Busch Gardens Europe and Kings Dominion

    I have to get down to ride Astro Comet Stand Up Roller Coaster Number 3. Coaster number 1 was the King Cobra at Kings Island.

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