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The BLOGFlume—Busch Gardens Williamsburg Sets New Standard with 'Curse of DarKastle'

Busch Gardens Williamsburg debuts The Curse of DarKastle

Written by Russell Meyer
Published: April 29, 2005 at 10:45 PM

I couldn’t help but get an early start on this weekend’s BLOGFlume after attending Busch Garden’s media preview for The Curse of DarKastle. For those of you who don’t have the patience to read through all of my blather, and just want to get to the pictures and videos, the ride is AWESOME. The experience may not exactly be “one-of-a-kind,” but you’ll have a hard time finding a theme park attraction that has such a high density of audio, visual, and motion stimulation. From the time your “Golden Sleigh” departs the loading platform until King Ludwig bids you his final farewell, riders are constantly bombarded with color, music, and motion that will keep you wondering, “What else could they possibly do?” Yes, the ride is reminiscent of The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman at Islands of Adventure, but The Curse of DarKastle offers a complete experience that extends for nearly three and a half minutes through eleven different rooms.

Let’s get to the ride’s specifics…

As reported, the building itself takes up a whopping 40,000 square feet, about the size of an entire football field. From the initial planning stages until its debut this morning, the attraction has spent nearly four years in development and construction. The ride is housed inside a building that is themed on the outside to look like a Bavarian castle, complete with spires, nicely landscaped courtyard, and exterior wall. The exterior work was done mostly in stucco by The Nassal Company of Orlando, Florida, and while dark and dreary looking, the attraction is eerily inviting for those in search of a good scare. With a staff of 12 primary artists and a number of local craftsman, Nassal was able to create an exterior that is incredibly realistic, and visually interesting, but one that still fits with the theming throughout the rest of the park. Nassal also did some of the interior work, along with the primary attraction designer, Falcon’s Treehouse of Windermere, Florida. The interior theme is more warm and inviting with an intricately themed pre-show area, featuring detailed paintings on the wall, and a unique video screen where the pre-show is displayed. The loading area is reminiscent of a grand hallway with columns and arches drawing guests to their ride vehicles. Inside the actual ride, the standing artwork and props are limited to a couple of creepy trees, some windows and lenticular paintings, a fireplace, and some really creepy stalactites and stalagmites. So what do you see in the ride, you ask? About 90% of what riders see in the attraction is 3-D computer generated projections on giant screens. This is where DarKastle sets itself apart from Spiderman. Spiderman is somewhere around 60-40 video to standing props and effects, but DarKastle is almost completely reliant upon the projected images. When you have an attraction that is so reliant upon 3-D projected video, there are a lot of opportunities for error. However, Super 78, a Hollywood, California computer generated graphics company, really hits the mark with some of the most stunning and incredible 3-D computer generated images that I’ve seen on a theme park attraction. Working with stereoscopic producer Chuck Comisky, of Terminator 2 3-D fame, Super 78 has created 3-D images that currently have no equal. Most of Spiderman’s 3-D imaging focuses on a single character on a screen at a time, or simple 3-D backgrounds. Many of DarKastle’s most powerful scenes involve numerous characters all moving at the same time with near-perfect clarity, and 3-D effects that whisk projectiles past your head, and characters into your lap. With projection and audio systems from Electrosonic of Orlando, Florida, the images are brought to life in bright and vivid color, with seamless projection to create the in-your-seat 3-D experience. The ride system, provided by Oceaneering of Orlando, Florida, takes advantage of track-based motion simulators that provide smooth transitions between scenes, and sensations that far exceed anything created on Spiderman. From backing up a long and winding staircase to floating over a mysterious dance floor to dropping into a subterranean cavern, the ride vehicles work in perfect concert with the projected video to complete the fully immersive simulation. The system can accommodate 8 guests into a total of 15 vehicles running in the ride at the same time, giving the attraction a theoretical capacity of 1,450 guests per hour.

The opening experience…

Busch Gardens pulled out all of the stops to debut its newest thrill ride, and nothing less would have been worthy of such a massive attraction. The Curse of DarKastle Orchestra, some of King Ludwig’s ghostly guests, and even King Ludwig himself were present to lure unsuspecting members of the media into DarKastle. From the ice carved gates and podium to lots of creepy fog, the setting was perfect for the EVP/GM of Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Water Country USA, Donnie Mills, to introduce the mysterious attraction. The throngs of media and scattered park guests edged closer to the entrance with anticipation as King Ludwig drew the gathered crowd through the outer gates of DarKastle and to the courtyard. The attraction has a lengthy queue that spirals through the courtyard and around some interesting sculptures, eventually leading guests up to the doors of the attraction, where riders are grouped and lead into the pre-show room. Once in the doors, the elaborate pre-show room will immediately peak guests’ curiosity with a decorative chandelier, wall paintings, and a beautifully designed screen. Guests are introduced to the story of King Ludwig, and his mysterious encounter in the woods that led to his downfall. We learn of his motive for drawing us into his castle, and some hints of what to expect in the attraction. After being encouraged to enter “If you dare,” guests are lead to the loading area, where guests pick up their 3-D “goggles” (just plain black framed 3-D glasses), and then are directed into a row to load into their “Golden Sleighs.” The sleighs have doors that extend above the heads of seated guests, which keeps riders focused on what’s in front of them. The restraints are simple T-bars, and it appears that loose articles will be permitted on the attraction (there were no bins or lockers at the entrance, since there are separate loading and unloading areas for the ride). Once locked in, the ride vehicle moves forward, and begins the experience from the woods just outside the castle, all the way through a number of passageways and rooms throughout the inside of the castle, culminating with the drop into a cavern beneath the castle, and finishing outside the outer wall of the castle. While trying to focus on capturing a decent video, and still enjoying the attraction, I was bombarded with so many sensory sensations that I was not able to sort them all out. The detail in the animation, and subtle movements of the ride vehicles create an incredibly complicated experience that is unmatched in any theme park attraction I’ve ridden. Floating, falling, rising, climbing, and spinning, the movements are nearly perfect, but not so violent that the younger members of the family cannot enjoy the attraction. There are a number of scary images that may startle some young children, but the movements are not too intense for those who can brave the creepy visuals. After a frozen King Ludwig is shattered before your very eyes, releasing you from his clutches, and splattering you with a small amount of water, the vehicle makes its way to the unload area. After surviving the attraction, the ride designers and developers were available for questions. I was able to speak with Cecil Magpuri of Falcon’s Treehouse, who discussed the lengthy process of the attraction’s development, and with Matt Brown of The Nassal Company about the attraction’s artistic detail. I also spoke at length with Brent Young and Dina Benadon of Super 78, and repeatedly complimented them on their amazing animation work inside the attraction. Super 78 actually has the ability to update the attraction from their Hollywood offices by sending “firmware” upgrades via the internet to Busch Gardens, and will continue to make minor modifications over the next month or so. From minor color changes to changing the depth of 3-D elements – all these changes can be done remotely in a computer simulated version of the attraction, and quickly updated in the real-life attraction in a matter of moments. I also spoke briefly with Dave Mauck of Oceaneering, who was not so forthcoming when I mentioned “Spiderman.” My guess is that since Busch is terming DarKastle a “one-of-a-kind attraction,” the ride system creators cannot make comparisons to other “similar” attractions. It was surprising to see how many different companies and contractors had a hand in creating The Curse of DarKastle. I find it impressive that so many companies with different areas of expertise could interweave their skills to create an attraction that looks and feels like it was created by a single entity. The mingling of animation and thematic artistry mesh with the complicated and technically advanced ride and projection systems to create a complex experience, providing a variety of stimulation to keep guests coming back for more and more and more.

My thoughts…

While I have been doing nothing but praising and lauding The Curse of DarKastle, it is not without a couple of minor flaws. The first is before you enter the pre-show area, where King Ludwig tries to warn guests about what is to come. The area where the guests are grouped before entering the pre-show is not very acoustically sound, and just a few people talking amongst themselves make it nearly impossible to hear what Ludwig has to say. The second flaw may not actually be a flaw, since my one experience on the ride included the distraction of trying to hold a video camera. While every motion of the ride vehicle was well-timed with the animation, the “fall” near the end did not seem very intense, and felt more like a small tumble, instead of a perilous plunge. Again, I may not have gotten the full effect of the fall because I was trying to get a good video of the attraction. I really wanted to hop right back on the ride, but unfortunately only one ride was permitted on this day. The final minor problem I noticed was the abrupt end of the attraction as the vehicle approaches the unloading platform. The vehicle goes into a spin after the final scene, and the music continues, but there is no parting shot that you would expect, and the unloading area was nearly silent. I would expect that these problems will probably be addressed quickly, since they would only require some minor tweaking. Busch Gardens will have all day Saturday to make these changes, before the attraction makes its official public debut on Sunday, May 1, 2005 (unfortunately it was pretty clear from the Busch staff that it would not be operating on Saturday).

Aside from those minor problems, The Curse of DarKastle is a top-notch theme park attraction. It has a well-developed story with interesting characters and an intricate theme that is consistently carried out throughout the experience. The ride itself is thrilling, but not so violent or scary that children meeting the 42-inch height requirement would not enjoy themselves. The system uses smooth transitions, and stays away from jerky motions, making the attraction truly family friendly. In fact, it was a goal of the designers to create an experience that children, teenagers, parents, and grandparents could all enjoy together, and I think they succeeded. The Curse of DarKastle may not have the immediately accessible storyline of an attraction like Spiderman or Indiana Jones, but like some of the classic dark rides like Disney’s The Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean, this ride is able to create its own story that will undoubtedly create a strong fan base. Like the two aforementioned Disney attractions, instead of basing the ride on a movie or copyrighted character, The Curse of DarKastle is so intricate that it could have a movie created based on the attraction. One of the most anticipated attractions of 2005 has arrived, and it delivers as advertised. Busch Gardens very well may have constructed one of the greatest theme park attractions ever conceived.



The main entrance to The Curse of DarKastle, complete with carved ice gates


The front of Curse of DarKastle


The grand opening of the attraction with some of King Ludwig’s ghostly guests


Some of the designers of The Curse of DarKastle


King Ludwig himself


Sculpted wolves guard the castle’s courtyard


The exterior queue area


The ride’s loading area

Videos are back!

Curse of DarKastle Preshow

Curse of DarKastle point-of-view ride video - obviously this isn't in 3D, but it gives you a decent idea of what the ride is like.

Readers' Opinions

From Chuck Campbell on April 30, 2005 at 8:39 AM
I'm holding off on reading your review, because guess where I'll be tomorrow (want to experience it with fresh eyes). The pics are great, though--thanks. There was an article in today's Daily Press, which tacked on a curious sidebar that focused on the Fabio incident from the opening day of Apollo's Chariot, giving the DarKastle opening ceremonies somewhat short shrift, I thought. Nobody took a goose in the ol' honker yesterday, did they Russ?
From Chuck Campbell on April 30, 2005 at 8:40 AM
So, the designers of PKD's Tomb Raider were responsible for DarKastle too?
From Russell Meyer on April 30, 2005 at 8:55 AM
No, sorry- mixup with picture naming. Should be OK now! Also, no geese in sight yesterday.
From Ben Mills on April 30, 2005 at 9:11 AM
Nice report, Russell.

I've gotta say, it's so great to see companies other than the infamous duo invest serious money in well-themed attractions. Does anyone know how much DarKastle cost?

From Jason Jackson on April 30, 2005 at 10:00 AM
I have heard that the cost was in excess of $20M.
From Chuck Campbell on April 30, 2005 at 11:58 AM
The mixup with the "designer" pics was bizarre. When I first looked, it was correct. I checked again later (to edit my post), and there was the Tomb Raider shot. I suspect Ludwig has struck! Now, all is well.
From Robert OGrosky on April 30, 2005 at 7:22 PM
Thanks for the excellant update!!!!!!!
Cant wait to visit one on my favorite parks in a few years to enjoy this attraction!!!
From Chuck Campbell on May 1, 2005 at 3:13 PM
Just got back from BGW, where I waited (drumroll) two-and-a-half hours to ride DarKastle. I made it to Oktoberfest at 10:15 am (fifteen minutes after the park opened), and the line was already out the Kastle's gates. What slowed everything up were those dreaded five words: "We are experiencing technical difficulties." They were having problems synching up the sleighs (or at least one of the sleighs) to the show scenes, it seems. By the time I exited, the line was practically to Alpengeist, and the wait was at least three hours.

But what of the ride? It's great. Everything Russ said it was in his review. (I think the sound in the sleighs needs to be cranked up a bit, though. It was hard to understand Ludwig's threats--especially over the screaming of the guests!) I think the tech problems will be ironed out as Busch gets used to operating this rather complicated attraction.

A thumbs up to Busch for how they handled the delays. Everyone who waited in line got a free bottle of water and a coupon good for 30 percent off food and merchandise (except beer).

From Robert Niles on May 2, 2005 at 9:18 AM
Well, heck, if they'd just served the beer in the queue, then maybe folks wouldn't have noticed the synch problems and they could have run full capacity....

(Yes, I am kidding.)

From brian weinsheimer on May 2, 2005 at 10:26 AM
I went opening day. Got there around 10 am...I was outside the gate right when they stopped allowing people into the maze area. Me and my GF was liek the 4th group from the gate entrance on the outside. We waited anywhere from 2.5 hours - 3 hours due to technical difficulties they had. The ride was superb though but the flaw i saw. I agree with the entrance story, it is so hard to hear and with people talking outside the entrance and people talking in the area you cant hear it. Volume need to be adjusted or they need to add doors so you go in a room. Then the other major flaw was the volume of the story line when riding the ride, i miss alot because i was tryin to hear the story and i couldnt. There was all this background sound but no storyline that could be heard. I really wanted to hear the story line. Other then that i didnt see anything that i would consider a flaw. It was enjoyable and ill be back there sunday morning again waiting in line to ride it with my dad...he hasnt rode it yet....its a good ride and busch did go all out for this ride. Word to the wise, get there before 10 and you wont have to wait 4 hours in line. at one time the line was 4.5 hours long on opening day, which is insane.

I was there so early i didnt get the free bottle of water and i they caught us as we got off the ride for the 30% off coupons, but my GF works for water country so it did us no good. But it was nice of them and they really didnt have to, but it was nice they did cause there was alot of people waiting and waiting for this ride. Its a shame the coupon was only good for that day. But they must of just printed up the coupons when i was actually on the ride cause she was running to the exit to catch the people that were getting off the ride.


One more thing, they didnt have any ghostly guest to great you or anything, they looked more like a welcoming party, i would of loved to seen some welcoming guest but i heard on the news they are suppose to have people holding hawks and other scary creatures in that you can see while you wait in line...That would be great.

From Jason Lester on May 2, 2005 at 10:47 AM
It sounds like a awesome ride. I wish I didn't live so far away, but I'll have to try to make it down there soon.
From Chuck Campbell on May 2, 2005 at 3:03 PM
Robert, you suggest an interesting concept here. Why not build a vast show building with a dark-ride track, but no scenery. Provide free beer in the queue, and let the adults in the crowd get good and blasted. Then load them on the ride vehicles, turn them loose, and let them make up their own attraction based on their level of inebriation and hallucinations! You could have a separate line for kids with plenty of free sugar-and-caffiene-laced snacks. Talk about an interactive experience!
From Chuck Campbell on May 2, 2005 at 3:12 PM
Two other nice touches BGW put on DarKastle: 1) the water that runs down the side of the tower (from ice melting) and 2) BGW's best recorded safety announcement (in the loading area)--an ominous Germanic voice tells you to obey the directions of the castle attendants "without question!"
From Cameron Rust on May 3, 2005 at 5:38 PM
I know, the water on the ice is what blew me away. Also, in the pre-show area, when the announcer says, " frozen in time," the flames turn blue. The snow on the windows in the queue also have air-conditioning running out them, a neat effect. Everyone seems to be talking about the announcement outside of the ride before the pre-show. You are hearing exactly what everyone is hearing in the pre-show, but without the video. They didn't want everyone holding their head in front of the door, as they open to you. It also allows the ones who can hear to understand the complex storyline. If they took it out, the storyline would be the same.
From Cameron Rust on May 3, 2005 at 5:42 PM
As a tip, Curse of DarKastle opens at 9:30. Use "cardiac hill" (the hill to the Rhine R. Cruise) to get to Germany. I waited about 40 minutes, but 25 of those were technical difficulties. The ride's cars are controlled separately and loaded at times so that they are "just far enough" away from each other to keep the attraction running smoothly, and when one gets a little too close, the ride shuts itself down, and the ride management can do nothing about it. Plus, on the eve of the opening day, many of the cars would not work, and crews worked all nigh to get 6 of the 15 cars running. The wait was up to 4.5 hours, but theoretically, the same line later in the year when the ride is running at full capacity can be sliced to less than 2 hours, without "technical difficulties"
From Cameron Rust on May 3, 2005 at 5:48 PM
Riding it for a second time...the ride is extremely sad. He tries to kick his dead mom in the back when she tries to save riders. Its neat that the ride is somewhat true. The Prince Ludwig is the fictional son of King Ludwig, the King that started the "Oktoberfest" celebration.
From Chuck Campbell on May 3, 2005 at 7:36 PM
You can see the castle of the real King Ludwig in the movie "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang"--as the home of Baron von Bombburst.
From ryan saunders on May 4, 2005 at 10:48 AM
Wow Busch, I expected alot more out of this ride. This ride was supposed 2 b better than Spidy. Didnt happen - wonderful 3d MOVIE though! I could hardly feel the sleigh even moving. I hope Busch actually fixes some major problems and makes this ride a THRILL ride like they said it was gonna be!!!
From Cameron Rust on May 4, 2005 at 5:32 PM
Definitely better than Spiderman. The story was actually fresh and something I hadn't seen before. The graphics and sets were alot better than Spiderman's whick looked grainy and 2-dimentional. P.S. Some show scenes may be added later, and the cars are not running at their full potential. The movement was alot smoother than Spiderman's, so if you want thrills, head down to to IoA and get jerked around on Spiderman.
From ryan saunders on May 4, 2005 at 8:19 PM
Be honest man, the scenes came so quick and the volume was so low that you could barely follow any story line at all. It's gonna take a few rides on it to actually understand the story if there really is one LOL. I know your sticking up for your home park which makes sense but sometimes you gotta face the truth. Busch is my home park as well and I believe that a world class coaster should have been considered instead!
From Jason Jackson on May 5, 2005 at 3:00 PM
What a great ride! I felt like I was floating on air and it just was not like anything I had ever riden! Definitely worth the wait. I can't wait to go again and see what they have done after they have tweaked the ride and get it to its full running shape!
From Jason Lester on May 6, 2005 at 6:53 PM
IMO Spidey is the best theme park ride ever. I have not yet ridden CODC but can say that I don't think it can top Spidey. I will have to ride it first, but Spidey rocks.
From ryan saunders on May 7, 2005 at 9:04 PM
IMO Millennium Force is the only ride that I have been on that is worth waiting more than 2 hours to ride. I havent been on Spidey but cmon now. Look at what millennium does!!!
From Russell Meyer on May 8, 2005 at 4:38 AM
Yeah, one really big hill, a couple of LAME overbanked turns, and 3 airtime hills. Aside from the speed that is generated, Apollo's Chariot blows MF out of the water.

And if you have not been on Spiderman, than how can you draw comparisons? That's completely unfair to both parks and attractions.

From Chuck Campbell on May 8, 2005 at 7:40 AM
Checked out DarKastle for the second time last night, and I'm happy to say that Busch has apparently solved the technical problems encountered on May 1. The wait at 8:00 pm was about an hour and a quarter (beats the heck out of three to four hours), and the sound was much improved. And DarKastle looks partuclarly creepy after dark.
Another nice touch--cold air flows out of the castle windows while you wind through the queue before the pre-show--this will be welcome during the 'Burg's hot summers, and it enhances the atmosphere of the attraction, too.
From ryan saunders on May 8, 2005 at 9:44 AM
Apollo's Chariot is a sleeper coaster after the first 3 drops. Air time is the most over rated thing about a coaster. I want speed baby. I'm a guy so I love speed. Millennium Force is a few minutes of heaven. Especially when u fly right by the queue line with everyone looking at you. I love that. Apollos Chariot is for kids, Millennium Force is for thrill seekers. I wouldnt wait more than 10 minutes to ride Apollos Chariot. 4 seater coasters are slow, only Intamin can make great thrill rides. give me 95 mph or 70 mph any day. I actually dozed off on Apollos Chariot one time, what a great thrill ride huh?
From Cameron Rust on May 14, 2005 at 9:24 PM
The scenes go by fast to SCARE you. It's a haunted Bavarian Castle. Get the picture? Millenium Force is just what its name suggests: a great coaster in the year 2000. It just doesn't look that thriling anymore, especcially with coasters like TTD and Kingda Ka that have taller drops, and no less ride elements, except a couple banked turns. Notice how now that Kingda Ka is near opening, no one is talking about Top Thrill Dragster. They're novel rides. They wanted to break a record, and they hold it until someone elso finds enough money and a vacant parking lot to plop it on. Attractions like Spidey and DarKastle are appealing years after they open, (Spidey is still seen by many as the best Attraction in any theme park) and hopefully DarKastle will too. I still love roller coasters, but don't knock a ride or another coaster just because it doesn't hold a record for 6 months.
From ryan saunders on May 14, 2005 at 11:36 PM
Hmm, hey dude, people still run 2 Millennium Force when the park opens up every day. Think about that for a minute. The lines only get longer and longer throughout the day. There may be a few other coasters that people run to but none as old as Millennium. Of course it still wins the award for coaster of the year! Why can't that ride be at Busch - I would be in heaven.
From David Turland on May 22, 2005 at 7:57 AM
"only Intamin can make great thrill rides" WTF??? ever heard of any of these companys: B&M, Huss, S&S, KMG, CCI???? YES?!? then bless you child go wash your mouth out!
From Chuck Campbell on May 22, 2005 at 2:45 PM
A tip: If you ride on DarKastle and it malfunctions (for example, no video), tell the ride attendant when you exit. You'll get a VIP pass to ride again without having to wait in line.
From Kevin Baxter on May 24, 2005 at 6:10 PM
OMG, this site is NOT going to turn into a "But Cedar Point is still better!" site! Seriously, comparing a dark ride to a roller coaster is utterly retarded, so shut up about it right now.

Chuck, while that castle you mentioned from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is indeed King Ludwig II's Neuschwanstein, it was actually a castle he was ordering built during his reign at enormous cost to Bavaria, as were Linderhof and Herrenchiemsee. He actually tore down the original castle to build the fairytale castle (which Disneyland's castle was based on) and it was only about 1/3 finished when he died. The castle where he spent most of his formative years, Hohenschwangau, is down the hill from Neuschwanstein. (All these castles are on that site, but pictures aren't the best.)

Anyhow, having been there and learned all this Ludwig II history, I have to assume this is the Ludwig in DarKastle. The first Ludwig didn't do an awful lot and actually abdicated his throne for a woman, so he is considered more "scandalous" than "bat-ass crazy" as II was considered - his nickname was Mad King Ludwig, after all.

Which brings up a question... Ludwig's three castles are all gorgeous creations, so why is this one so fugly? Certainly a castle can give off a sinister feel and still be attractive, right? Like the Towers of Terror or the Haunted Mansions, right???

From Chuck Campbell on May 25, 2005 at 4:39 PM
Thanks for sharing the pictures, Kevin. I was aware that the real Mad (or Highly Eccentric) King Ludwig wasn't the demonic, homicidal maniac as portrayed on DarKastle. I think BGW used some of Mad King Ludwig (for example, draining the treasury to build up his ego), mixed in a bit of Vlad the Impaler, and sprinkled liberally with some werewolf lore to concoct the decidedly "grimm" fairy tale for DarKastle. Ludwig's garden (the queue) is actually quite nice--basically a hedge maze circling a statue of wolves (those holly bushes, with their prickly leaves, will certainly discourage line jumping when they finish growing). At any rate, it's a good story for great new attraction.

A friend of mine, who hates amusement and theme parks, actually visited BGW while under the impression that it was some sort of European cultural center. I guess the Loch Ness Monster tipped him off that he was mistaken.

From Jason Jackson on May 25, 2005 at 6:37 PM
Here is the official site:

http://www.neuschwanstein.de/english/index.htm

I believe all the official Darkastle info states the Darkastle story is loosely based on the "Ludwig" History.

From Kevin Baxter on May 27, 2005 at 4:48 AM
ROFL.. very loosely. Not that Ludwig was necessary that crazy.. he was kind of the Brando of his time. If Brando had a thing for, say, Frank Sinatra!
From Cameron Rust on June 14, 2005 at 1:49 PM
The castle is actually quite nice looking in the pre-show before it became "an impenitrable force with secret passageways to terrify guests." The wa;;s are nice and silver and the spires are golden.

The wait time for DarKastle has vastly decreased, due to the fact that they are running all of the cars now. It is still incredibely popular, but a wait from the Castle gate is only about 35-40 minutes. Normally, the queue isn't even full. I rode it 4 times in a row on Sunday, and waited no more than 25 minutes each time.

From Adrienne McDonald on June 15, 2005 at 9:36 AM
THAT was an awesome video! Thanx so much for sharing it with us. It wasn't open yet when we went in April. If we'd waited 2 more wks we would've been able to experience it, maybe next time!
From Elizabeth Nelson on June 22, 2005 at 8:12 PM
Finally got to BGW to try DarKastle. We really lucked out on timing. Apparently the ride had been broken down since yesterday and had JUST opened as we walked by so we walked right onto the ride. I liked it, but didn't love it. The sound needs to be louder and it just wasn't as thrilling as I like my rides, but it was very good. It's been so long since I've rode Spiderman that I can't really make comparisons. So after we rode we got back in line to ride again before the line got too bad. Ten minutes later the ride shut down because of technical difficulties. The attendants standing near us said this happens at least once a day, and can be shut down anywhere from one minute to the entire day. It had shut down the day before and lots of peeps had passes to get to the front of the line. They weren't too happy to find out it was shut down again. So if you are lucky enough to be there when everything is running fine, it's a pretty cool ride. But I can see this becoming a major problem if these technical difficulties continue.
From Joe Tatum on August 1, 2005 at 5:03 PM
it didnt break down at all the day we were there. By the way, where was the GET OUT thing? I didnt hear it at all.
From keith k on August 17, 2005 at 9:00 AM
I just loved how it looked inside.
From Justin S on October 6, 2005 at 3:29 PM
The link for the video is down. Anyword on getting it back up for me to download.

Thanks!!


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