Busch Gardens Williamsburg offers beautiful, and challenging, terrain for visitors
Written by Daniel Etcheberry
Virginia's Busch Gardens Williamsburg is considered to be the most beautiful theme park in the United States, and having been to most of America’s theme parks (certainly to the most popular ones), I agree.
But BGW can also be the most challenging one for wheelchair users. If you happen to be in a manual wheelchair, the first thrill ride you will experience will be when entering the park; between the parking lot and the main entrance to the park, you will find a very sharp slope.
It's down the hill and into the park
This slope is also long, so I don’t recommend going in a straight line. My strategy is to go down in zigzag. It makes it much easier, and you won’t end up in a runaway wheelchair. On your way out, well, the zigzag strategy will not help, and the only option is to take a break every time you need it.
Once inside the theme park, you will encounter some small hills that are nevertheless very tiring to wheel over them. The hilliest part throughout the park is between Ireland and France; if you want to avoid that section, you can plan visiting the park clockwise (Italy first), then take the train (which is wheelchair accessible) at the New France station, and get out at the Scotland station. Then go back to Ireland. Another option is to do Ireland first and then follow the plan just mentioned. It will all depend on the Celtic Fyre show’s schedule at Ireland that is a must see. Plan accordingly.
BGW is worth all that effort. It may not be as convenient as the Florida’s theme parks, but the beautiful location will reward you for your effort.
As a side note, when riding Europe in the Air, ask for a three-point harness that they provide so you stay sitting in a straight position without worrying about losing your balance. I have tried the ride with the harness and without it -- without it made me nervous, but using it let me enjoy the film because I knew I was going nowhere.
Have you visited Busch Gardens Williamsburg in a wheelchair, or with someone who was using one? Please share your observations and advice, in the comments.
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