Just Published: Theme Park Insider: 2016 Year in Review
You can cut the kiddie area out of the equation as we can visit at our leisure once everything else is done, however, must see shows and breaks for lunch should be included.
Also, keep in mind the park will be closing at 6 PM during the first week of June.
Note: We will arrive at the park at least 30 minutes prior to the official opening.
Thanks in advance for the help.
Don't use the train or skylift. Not only will it take to long, but it will force you into backtracking.
And backtracking is unavoidable when going over into Italy since it's a spur section of the park.
The basic layout is a figure eight. When you enter and pass England, you have the option of going left, right, or straight. Going straight will get you Alpengeist and Griffon the fastest, but you will have to face the massive staircase first thing in the morning. (If you choose this route, hop on Loch Ness since it's right there).
The tip about the skyride is very useful...we'll plan on saving that for the end of the day after everything else is done.
I also like the inclusion of some of the animal shows...the kids should get a kick out of those.
I may want to hold off on Roman Rapids and Escape just so we aren't soaked most of the day....but we'll see. If it is a warm day we may want to be wet early!! =)
Any other suggestions?
After you hit all your "must-sees" in each country, then you can make more circuits or start backtracking using the train, skyride, or your own tired feet!
I'm guessing they'll be doing Kinetix or some similar show by June -- an evening show in the Royal Palace Theatre. Often, the second show actually starts at park closing, so you can actually extend your time in the park that way.
I like animals, so I'd be sure to see the Pet Shenanigans show and watch the eagles and wolves in their habitats. The lorikeet glen is really fun -- if you buy $$ the nectar the birds will gleefully land on your shoulders, arms, head -- wherever -- which can be great fun as long as you aren't afraid of animals.
Also, if you like shows, try to eat and see a show at the same time. I recommend the Italian pavilion in San Marco, but you can also watch This is Oktoberfest at the Festhaus. There are a few tables in New France (near Trapper's Smokehouse) that give you a distant view of the stage (last year's show was American Jukebox...don't know if it is returning this year?) but from some distance. You are really listening to the show more than watching it.
The most important thing is that you are showing up early. That is the best thing you can do to maximize your hours in the park. I hope you have a great time!
For Jake, we considered driving over to KD for a day, but in looking at the ride list, there are just too many things that my two youngest kids can't ride. What is the point of having a family outing if only half the family can enjoy it? We'll do KD and the rest of the iron ride, Cedar Point-type parks in about four years when the kids are older/taller. For now, we're more interested in sights, sounds, theming, and whole-family attractions.
For the rest of you, we have decided to add a second day of BGE to our trip, so I guess the next thing I need to know are what attractions should be visited BOTH days and which one's can be visited only on day two?
Awesome help so far...keep it coming!
But some of that depends on the kids, of course -- what they enjoy and are tall enough to ride. You may end up repeating more shows or adding some of the "restaurant" shows you may not have seen (Like Viva Italia if you eat at Restaurant della Piazza, the big restaurant in Italy next to the theatre there, with seating to watch the show; or This is Oktoberfest in Das Festhaus -- as have been mentioned).
Second day might be nice to add the Rhine River Cruise, train ride (possibly just to ride all the way around this time), and Skyride (again, all the way around, although you have to get off and re-queue at each station).
Second days are also nice for quieter things like spending some time in the Caribou pottery. When we took our niece and nephew year before last, they were 8 and 10, and they enjoyed dipping candles and wanted to paint a ceramic, but we didn't have time for that because it was a one-day trip. And they still liked the Land of the Dragons, esp the treehouse and climbing rope nets and things, which they had also liked when we first took them at ages 5 & 7.
Are you going to Water Country USA?
We are planning on a day of WCU since it was part of our Bounce ticket. It will depend on the weather though. I was convinced WCU was a good bet for fun in another discussion thread I started. You and Missy almost single-handedly convinced me!
We also have several days of Colonial Williamsburg in the plan, and potentially a jaunt to Jamestown (the part with the boats) and Yorktown (but just for the driving tours). It will be a full week and for the kids, the theme park/water park should provide a beak from the more "educational" nature of the trip.
The main thing I was looking for in this thread (and you all have done a great job providing it), is a good touring plan for BGE. I never like to go to a new park without getting a good sense of the layout, and honestly the BGE map available for download is not that good. Sure it looks pretty, but you can't really use it to plan a day.
I know BGE won't be as crowded as Disney, but when we went to Orlando last year we had some real good walking tours ready and the days went much smoother just because we always knew where we were headed next!
Again, thanks for all the help...and any other info, trust me, it will be put to good use!!
My original plan for a "first pass" through BGE was as follows (we'll hit shows and b-list rides after all the big stuff is done or on Day Two):
Go through Banbury Cross moving counter clockwise through Ireland and head to Aquitane, France.
Travel to New France.
Ride Le Scoot Log Flume.
Ride Curse of DarKastle.
Ride Big Bad Wolf.
Head to Italy, bypassing the Da Vinci area for now. Head into Festa Italia (Italy).
Ride Apollo's Chariot.
Ride Roman Rapids.
Head back to San Marco (Italy).
Ride Escape from Pompeii.
Head over to Heatherdowns (Scotland).
Ride Loch Ness Monster.
Cross back into Ireland.
Ride Corkscrew Hill.
1. I am not real sure where the entrance to Alpengeist actually resides, so let me know if I am off base by having it in the Germany area. In fact, let me know if I have any attraction in the wrong "country".
2. Based on the recommendations given in this thread, it sounds like I should move in a reverse fashion to what i have listed. However, I would like to wait on Roman Rapids and Pompeii until midday at least...so a counter clockwise trip plan seems more appropriate.
3. Do certain parts of BGE open later? For example, if we hot foot it back to Griffon and DarKastle, will they be open right when the park opens, or do they open up later?
4. In the Land of the Dragons, is the entrance to the area pretty contained, or can the kids "escape" through various side exits? In other words, how closely do I have to keep an eye on my kids...I like to at least let them THINK they are somewhat free. =)
5. During my trip, BGE will be open until 6 PM on the weekdays, but 10 PM on Saturday. I had not intended on hitting the park on a weekend due to crowds, however, does BGE do any kind of Grand Finale firework show at night like Disney, or does having animals in the park prohibit that event?
Okay, that's enough for now. Let me know your thoughts....my trip is just two months away!
2.If you want to ride Roman Rapids later in the day, it sounds like the plan you listed is appropriate. If you are coming a second day, save the "counter clockwise" plan for day two.
3. There are some areas that open up later. If I remember correctly, Germany, Italy, and Oktoberfest do not open until 10:30 or 11:00. The park map will have that information printed, so make sure to check it as soon as you enter the park.
4. There is only one main entrance to Land of the Dragons. It is rather narrow, and always seems crowded!
5. I am afraid there is no fireworks display during regular weekends. The only time Busch does fireworks is generally a few nights around Independence Day. But the park is certainly fun after dark. A few of the rides are quite different, most notably to me is Big Bad Wolf and Apollo's Chariot. May or may not be worth fighting the crowds!
Hope that helps!
I just hope Apollo's Chariot is as good as advertised...I can't believe it is providing such stiff competition to Dinosaur in the tournament today!
I am really looking forward to Curse of the DarKastle, it sounds a lot like the kind of highly themed attraction I love.
My wife and kids have never been to BGE, so I expect they will have a blast. Looking forward to WCU as well.
As for the accidental comedy in this thread, I can take no credit for it. I am simply Abbot to Jake's Costello. =)
My question is..
Do you think 1 day is enough? Or would I need 2 days?
Should I do 1 day at BGE and 1 day at King's Dominion?
These are my can't miss rides at BGE (judging from what I've researched):
Curse of DarKastle
Escape From Pompeii
But I would like to do all the rides (minus the kid and flat rides).
Of the shows, the only one that looks interesting to me is Secrets Of Castle O'Sullivan.
Thanks for your help!
I would also recommend Big Bad Wolf and Loch Ness Monster if you have the time. They are not the huge coasters like the others, but have aged well and are worth a short wait.
I hope you have a great time!
One real nice thing about going to Disney or Universal: there are tons of books out to help you plan your day at the park. For these other great, but less traveled parks (Busch Gardens, Dollywood, Cedar Point, Hersheypark, etc), it is a bit more difficult to anticipate things! I never want to be dragging around my family at a theme park, and not have a plan! Back tracking and excessive wandering make for cranky kids!
Anyway, good luck, and keep me posted!
What are you looking for in a show? Because I would definitely consider O'Sullivan as just something for the kids. Simple story about main character inheriting dilapidated castle, some ok special effects with a a leprechaun, wicked ancestor vs. good one, some singing, etc. An adult can make it through it, but w/o kids I truly wouldn't recommend it. Bit of a snoozer except for the young ones.
Unless you know for sure that Irish dance doesn't interest you, give Emerald Beat a try. Very high quality of performance and presentation for a theme park show.
I enjoy This is Oktoberfest and the one in Italy, but only if I happen to be eating at the right time -- I don't make a point of going.
Hope these comments help --
And for anyone going w/o kids, or with enough adults to divvy up child-minding, be sure to sign up for Brewmaster's Club! And do it early! Great fun tasting some of the latest and more unusual A-B products.
And, I love the Loch Ness Monster. A classic that is still a thriller today. There IS a reason why it is pictured at the top of this AND another popular theme park site.
I enjoyed all the coasters, but Alpengeist was a little of a disappointment. It is just hard to see if you are not in the front, and I felt like I was missing something by not being able to see too much. I also didn't want to invest 45 minutes waiting for the front seat.
I also enjoy Octoberfest, both for the food and show. By splitting some of the plates, it can be a GREAT value, and the food really is good. I prefer it to the Italy show.
Fri May 9 -- 10a-8p
Sat May 10 -- 10a-10p
Sun May 11 -- 10a-8p - Glory at the Gardens
Thu May 16 -- 10a-9p
If we wanted to do two days, should we go Friday and Saturday? Saturday and Sunday? or Sunday and Thursday?
Our kids are 14 and 5, so we'll need to split up for my older one to ride some of the coasters. That's fine with us, but we'll also need to hit the kiddie stuff for our little one. Am I right in thinking that two days would give us the flexibility we need to not feel rushed? Or is one day really enough?
Of those dates, Water Country is open on Saturday the 10th (opening day) and Sunday the 11h (Mother's Day). If it were warm enough would it be worth going on either of those days? Or far too crowded to bother with on this trip?
Thanks in advance for any advice. I haven't been to BG since 1997.
If it were me, I would probably pick Sunday and Thursday, hoping for less crowds. But if you spend 2 days in the park, you should be able to enjoy everything at a fairly relaxed pace, even if it is a little more crowded. And Saturday night does give you the extra hour after dark, when some of the rides are really fun. It just depends on how much you enjoy theme parks lit up at night versus your tolerance of crowds.
But if this appeals to you at all, GO FOR IT. You might look at it and wonder what could be so great about a water balloon fight, but it is really fun. If you have more than one person in your party, it's great to go head-to-head as individuals or teams. Even my 70-something mom did this a few years back, good-naturedly catapulting water balloons at DH -- and of course he returned the favor!
If you don't know what it is, it's a water balloon fight staged in a circular arena. You stand in a "cage" with bars in front of you and a slanted wooden roof over your head, with some water-balloon-sized holes in it. You have a bucket suspended at about shoulder/head height, dangling from sets of giant elastic bands. Load your balloon, pull back on the strap on the bottom of your bucket, and catapult your balloon across the arena toward your foe. Best case, your balloon goes in the hole of the roof and drenches your opponent. But even if you just hit the roof, the balloon bursts and showers your opponent and the surrounding area.
Hits to the front of the opponent's cage or even the ground in front of your opponent can cause some good splashes, too.
Once I lobbed a totally lucky shot that not only went through the hole in DH's roof, but landed in his bucket of ammo and burst all his remaining shots!
Sounds silly, but it's really fun. Of course there's a charge for the buckets o' balloons, but we always do this whenever we find it open.
BTW, has anyone seen this attraction anywhere else? I never have and I think it's so enjoyable, almost like some American Gladiators or (reaching back in time) Almost Anything Goes kind of contest.
We're planning to visit Jamestown Settlement on Monday and then head on to Virginia Beach for a few days.
I'll be sure to give a report when I return. Thanks to everyone for the excellent advice and thanks to the OP for 'allowing' me to jump in on this thread. ;)
I will let you know how it all works out once we return.
We're doing BGE on Friday evening 5/9, then Water Country on Saturday 5/10, and BGE all day on Sunday 5/11. At least that's the plan for now. Hoping for good weather.
I'm a little nervous about going on a weekend. We always try to avoid any parks on weekends no matter where we go. This is the only week we can go this year though, due to our vacation schedules, so it's either brave the weekend or not go at all.
Get to the park when it opens. As the day goes on, you will typically see the park volume increase. As much as you may be tempted to go onto Griffon first, you will want to avoid that at the start of the day, as many others will be doing that very thing. (Lines can be 1 hour or longer at the beginining due to everyone going there.) Instead, go in reverse in the park.
First, after entering the park, you will want to head towards Festa Italia. If you have any small children, be sure to get their height wristbands at the height check station at the intersection near the clydesdales. You will want to either ride the train to the Festa Italia train station (next one after Tweedside station at the front of the park), or walk across the tracks, past Escape from Pompeii and follow the path to Festa Italia.
The first thing you will want to ride is Apollo's Chariot. It is a great coaster to ride, and after 11:00 or 11:30 am, the lines will start to get long (they tend to be short before that time). While there, you can ride the other attractions there, such as Tradewinds, etc. Once you have done so, you could then go back across the bridge and turn left (towards the Battering Ram). You can ride those attractions in that part of the park. Once you have completed these attractions, it will now be around lunchtime. However, you will want to avoid trying to eat between 12:00 and 2:00 pm, as the food places will be crowded.
Now, since everyone else is eating, it is a good time to continue getting to some of the rides. Pass through Italy and cross the bridge into Germany. After going up a slight hill, you will see Big Bad Wolf to your left. This is a good time to ride since everyone else is having lunch. :)
Once you have finished riding, you can ride the other attractions in the area, such as the chair swing, bumper cars, etc.
Next, as you continue, you will now see Das Festhaus. You could have lunch there, as there is a lot of seating, and it is air conditioned (always a plus). You might even be lucky enough to be there at a time the "This Is Oktoberfest" is showing.
From there, you can then head to DarKastle. Great ride. If the line looks long, don't be discouraged. It is continually moving. Once you have finished, continue down the path and your party could ride the carousel or check out Land of the Dragons.
After doing those (or not doing those), head towards France. You will come to Alpengeist. Good ride. If anyone has neck issues, I do not recommend riding as it can be jerky. If you still want to ride, even with such a condition, be sure to keep your head back (you'll thank me later). After that, you could then head to the Log Flume and get wet. You may have a bit of a wait here, but it is still a good ride. (Remember, I can't guarantee smooth sailing for every ride. I'm just trying to help plan a good strategy that will minimize this as much as possible.)
Once you have done this, head for Griffon. Do not pass go, and do not collect $200. :) If it is a small party and do not mind being split up, and do not care what row you are in, be sure to go to the single rider line. It is typically shorter than the other line, but you will have to take the first available seat. Howver, there is an advantage to doing this. The ends typically are very good spots, regardless of the row you are in. About 85-90% of the time, the empty seats the single riders fill in are on the ends, because they make everyone move all the way in for each row, One good thing about this ride is its smoothness. It is one of the smoothest in the park. I have neck problems and can ride it without any issues. That's how smooth it is. :)
Once you have experienced the power of the Griffon, feel free to do it again if desired. Just a note here. As a single rider going on, and basing experiences from my numerous visits last year, you will do very well with the single rider line. One day, the regular line was 2 hours, but for the single rider line, I was able to ride it 12 times within a 3 hour period (even with a 30 min breakdown).
Anyways, once you have done this, cross over the railroad tracks into Jack Hannah's reserve. It is a good area to see animals; definitely watch Pet Shennanigans if you get the chance. It is a cute, but funny type of show.
After experiencing this area, head towards Ireland. Experience the shows, such as Emerald Beat, the rides, and even the beer school (Brewmaster's Club) if you get a chance. Once experiencing Ireland, head across the bridge, and you are now in Heatherdowns. From here, head to the yellow roller coaster, the Loch Ness Monster. You could have ridden this in the morning, but the reason why I am against that is because the lines are short all day long for this ride. It's worth getting to the other rides first. :)
You have now made a full circle of the park. You have essentially gone in the OPPOSITE direction of how almost everyone else does the park. :) You can go to Escape from Pompeii, Roman River Rapids, and so forth if you like. These would be the only rides you'd have to "backtrack" to. However, Escape from Pompeii is right past the train tracks. :)
Here are a few other tips:
* Get your passes in advance, and get your parking pass online as well. You will save 10% on parking by doing so online.
* Avoid large bags. You will not be allowed into the roller coaster queues with bags. Period. If you have to bring such bags in, you will need to leave them with a non-rider or place them in a locker.
* Plan to arrive at most shows at least 30 minutes before seating for best seating.
* Avoid going to the park on Fridays and Saturdays. Large groups are typically in the parks on those days.
* Avoid holiday weekends such as Memorial Day weekend, July 4th weekend, etc. It can get very crowded, very fast.
* If you plan to visit for more than 3 days in the park, you may be better off with a one park season pass. You will also get free parking and 10% in most shops with the passport. If not, be sure to look on their website for the bonus third day ticket online at BGE's website (it is there as of this posting, but is subject to change.)
I hope this helps, and if you have any questions about anything with the rides (height, girth, weight, and other restrictions), just let me know I will help answer them for you. :)
But, are you saying the lines for Griffon are longer during the morning than in the afternoon, or are just saying the lines are long all day, so deal with it? =)
One more question, does BGE have some sort of rider swap process? None of my kids are tall enough for Griffon or Aplengeist, and only one is tall enough for AC. So, the wife an I will have to trade off on those rides if possible. I would hate for us to have to wait in line twice.
Lastly, BGE doesn't have any type of FASTPASS system does it?
Now, as for the lines at Griffon. Yes, the lines can be long throughout the day. In the mornings, the lines can be as much as a 2-3 hour wait in the morning as everyone goes there first. On the flip side, between the hours of 12 pm and 3 pm, the line is typically shorter because everyone else is either at other areas of the park, lunch, etc.
Starting after about 3:30 pm, the lines will start to get longer again. This is because will find that many passport members will start to come into the park for the evening around this time. As a result, the lines tend to get long again. The lines will typically be a bit lower between 6 pm and 8 pm as some have dinner, etc. It usually picks up again for the last hour or two when it gets dark outside, because everyone wants to ride Griffon in the dark. :)
As far as a FastPass type of system, BGE does not have one. I wish they would though. :) If you were going there during Howl-O-Scream in late September and October, BGE does have front of the line coupon books that are valid for the Howl-O-Scream events and some coasters (they didn't do it for Griffon last yeat, likely due to it being its first year).
The week we are going (the first week of June) the park is only open from 10 to 6, and I think most schools are still in session. I am hoping that the crowds will be a lot smaller, but if not, we have two full days to accomplish everything, so I may just split the park in half and tour starting with AC one day, then Griffon on another.
The good thing about my kids, is they usually get hungry for lunch around 11:00 AM, so we should be done eating and touring again during that 12 - 3 window you discussed.
I will let you know how it all works out when we get back.
If you go on a weekday, you will probably do very well if following the pattern I noted before. You may want to consider trying to just do the rides at first, and then go back and look at possibly doing some of the shows, since it is a lot easier to get into the shows. :)
If you have any other questions, feel free to ask away. :)
I have a question. We're looking at weekend after next. You mentioned Fridays being more crowded due to groups. We wouldn't be able to get to the park until around noon on Friday, with park closing at 8:00. We're also planning to spend the entire day Sunday 10:00-8:00. In your opinion -- Should we just skip Friday altogether? Will it be so crowded that it's not worth purchasing the Discovery ticket vs the one day ticket, do you think? It's going to cost us about an extra $150 to go with the Discovery tickets, plus the extra night's hotel. I don't mind spending the money if it allows us to more leisurely do all we'd like, but if we're going to be fighting crowds all afternoon and evening, well, I could always put the money to use elsewhere.
If we went with the Discovery passes and visited on Friday, we'd use them to visit Water Country on Saturday (opening day) weather permitting.
Thanks again. :-)
Fridays do tend to be crowded. The reason for this is because there are many schools and groups, both local and non-local, that come in for festivals, etc. Fridays you tend to see more of the local schools and groups, whereas you will see out of town groups on Saturdays. Sundays are the best weekend day to go. Sundays are a normal check in/check out date for weeklong stays in this area, and so, they are moving in or out for the week on Sundays, and thus the park tends to be less crowded too (the only exception to Sundays being a good day is holiday weekends, when it is not that good).
I would not cancel the trip for Friday due to that, though. That would actually be a good evening to do some of the shows and so forth. You would still be able to get on some of the rides as well. Just take advantage of the single rider line on Griffon, if possible. I've been there when the park has been overcrowded, literally (they closed the gates from letting anyone else in). It won't be anything as bad like that.
By the way, when you go to BGE on that Sunday, you might even see me there, because I am there just about every weekend on Sunday. :)
Now, onto Water Country USA. Great waterpark. Depending on weather conditions, it usually is not too bad during the first few weekends of it opening. If it isn't too cold on that Saturday, I'd still go. I was there when the outside temperature was about 65 degrees. The pools are heated, so it really is not that bad if the temperature is that or higher.
You will likely not be there for the full day at Water Country USA. You will be able to get through everything fairly leisurely and still get through it all, with time to spare. After you have finished with the park, you can always head back to Busch Gardens. :)
Here are a few notes about Water Country USA and "Park Hopping":
* Purchase your parking pass online from Busch Garden's website. You will save 10% on parking by doing so. You will have to pay for parking for each day there separately.
* If you plan to make a lot of purchases while at the park, and plan to go for at least 3 or 4 days, you may want to consider the 2 park pass (season passport valid for both BGE and WCUSA for the entire season). Here's why. The cost for the Discovery pass is $80 per person and the 4 pack of 2 park season passes is about $117 a person. With the two park pass, you will get free general parking (savings of $10 per day), 10% off all purchases, and much more. It will even be valid for Howl-O-Scream if you can make it back in late September or October.
* If you are a member of AAA, purchase the park passes or season pass at AAA. You can get a bit of a savings by doing it through them.
* If at WCUSA, even if it is a cloudy day, be sure to wear sunscreen. You can still get burned.
* WCUSA sells water shoes. The one thing I like about the ones they have there at the park is that they have lacing in them, so that you can tighten them so that they don't fall off on the rides and slides, etc. They are reasonably priced.
* If you plan to visit both WCUSA and BGE on the same day, and do not have a season pass, be sure to hold onto your parking receipt. The parking fee you pay for the day is valid at BOTH WCUSA and BGE for that entire day.
I hope this helps you in your decisions. Let me know if you have any additional questions about either of the parks. :)
I'm glad you guys made me aware of Friday crowd conditions. I might have arrived expecting an empty park because it's a weekday and been rather disappointed, LOL. I assume Saturdays are still more crowded than Fridays though? So given a choice between the two days Friday would still be the better of the two?
Also... do either of you have any experience with the Glory Days concerts? 'My' Sunday happens to be Mother's Day and Glory Days. We're not interested in the concerts, but I assume that will make the park more crowded than a typical Sunday, no?
I'm a crowd-phobe and need to prepare myself, LOL. We do have the option of going in July rather than two weeks from now. But I'm thinking mid July will be more crowded even midweek than May weekends. Am I correct?
Bottom line, if you get there early, regardless of the day or your plan of attack, you'll be okay. I think Sunday is the lightest weekend attendance day. And I'd choose weekday if I could. But even on Saturday you can have a great time (how's that for being equivocal?)
I've been 4 times so far this year and will likely go again this weekend. Thus far I've found attendance to be pretty light, and I even went during spring break, but I picked cool weather days and I'm sure that kept attendance down.
"If you have any small children, be sure to get their height wristbands at the height check station at the intersection near the Clydesdales."
So, do they just have one place to check heights, and then at each attraction they only check the band? If so, how long is the line to get a height band, and if you go multiple days can you skip this step and use the band you got on a previous day?
One other question: since they are opening France about :30 after the main gate (and probably will do something similar when I am there the first week of June), would it be just as fast (and more entertaining!) to take the skyride to France first thing in the morning on the day we aim for Griffon first?
But there ARE height checks available at every ride with height restrictions. The band is to avoid having to measure at each individual ride (you don't get a band at the ride entrances, you just get cleared or not cleared for that ride).
As to the skyride -- that's a tough one. The line fills quickly and is v-e-r-y slow moving. Also, if the destination country is not open yet, they may have the queue line open, but they will not be loading cars. A few weeks ago I got in the park, saw that the sky ride line wasn't that long yet, and decided to ride over to France. Stood in line for 10-15 minutes, and they still weren't loading any of the sky buckets. A man behind me went forward to ask when it would open, and was only given a vague answer. I ended up walking, but had already waited so long I could have been to France already. So, if you're fresh and getting to Griffon fast is your priority, you'll do better to walk 9 times out of 10. Ride only if the line appears very short AND you can see that passengers are being loaded.
But the skyride is very scenic and relaxing, so at some point do take time to ride all three legs of the ride -- they are all fun. The second leg, from Aquitaine to Germany (you come out by the carousel and next to Land of Dragons) is so neat because you pass close by the tracks of Griffon and Alpie. Then the last moments you descend through Land of Dragons and near one section of Nessie's tracks. The first leg is scenic in terms of going through trees and looking over the Clydesdale stable, then Ireland off to the right. I got some great photos of Ireland this year before the foliage came out. The third leg, from Ger back to Eng, gives a great view of Nessie's interlocking loops and Nessie's tunnel.
And you convinced me...we'll save the sky ride for later in the day, or maybe even wait until the second day after we've done everything everyone wants to do.
I miss those sky rides tho...used to see them at all the theme parks, nowadays they are a vanishing breed.
So far this year, I had my children measured for height at a station set up in England, next to the door of the second gift shop on the left after entering the park. (I believe it may be the tobacco shop now, but I am not positive) There is a small area between the gift shop and the steps of the Globe Theater, and that is where the wrist bands were being given out.
I also have a child that is just now skimming the 42 inch mark, which is the "magic" number for small children, because many rides become available to them at 42 inches. Both times she has been measured, they have given her the 42 inch wrist band, but made a strong point of mentioning that the individual ride operators make the ultimate decision. They said because she was so close, some ride operators may choose to measure her even with the bracelet, and if they disagree the bracelet does not supersede their decision.
I ran into an issue because the park does not open all countries at 10. For instance, I was there 2 days and on the 2nd day I decided to ride AC first. Unfortunately, BGE opened Italy at 11 so the idea of doing a touring plan with anything from Italy in the morning was shot down. I recall Germany opened later than 10 also.
Does anyone know the times that the countries open as it is impossible to plan the order to hit rides if arriving prior to opening, given some countries don't open at the official park opening.
Going again this Summer and appreciate any help. Also, James mentioned above that he might ride AC first on the 2nd day and that could be a problem as it was for us. Thanks.
9:30 am -- Scotland
10 am (official park opening time) -- Ireland, France, New France, Festa Italia (location of AC)
10:30 am -- Italy
11 am -- Germany, Oktoberfest
I'd guess these times are subject to change w/o notice,though --
Le Scoot Log Flume
Curse of DarKastle
Big Bad Wolf
Escape from Pompeii
Loch Ness Monster
That completes the "major attractions" portion of the plan, so the rest of the day would be for shows and other events throughout the park. As well as for hitting some of the more common midway-type attractions for the kids. The park will only be open from 10 - 6 while we are there, but it should not be too crowded since most schools are still in session.
Day two will be much more relaxed, spending time doing those attractions we either missed on day one, or really, really liked.
We also have a possibility for a third day, however, we are currently planning to spend that day WCU, if the weather is warm enough (advance forecast is showing it might hit 80 while we are there). We'll have to wait and see.
I guess if Scotland opens early (9:30) and we can ride Loch Ness during that time, we will. Also, if Alpengeist is not yet open when we are done with Griffon and the Log Flume, we can always ride Griffon again!
We'll be in Virginia about 16 days from now, so be ready for the full trip report soon after!
9:30 -- Scotland (get in a quick ride on Nessie before anything else is even open, or visit the Clydesdale stables)
10 -- Ireland, France, New France, Festa Italia, Italy
10:30 -- Germany, Oktoberfest
Bistro 205 is now open, also.
If you HAVE to ride Griffon and don't want long waits, then get there early...same goes for BBW. Griffon's que is usually pretty fast, but BBW is the slowest que in the park so it pays to ride it early. The park is basically one big circle, except for where Roman Rapids is...it is a dead end. Personally, I never worry about doubling back, the park isn't that big and take advantage of the train. It stops in Scottland, New France and Italy. I wouldn't waste my time on the Skyride, unless you want some great views of Griffon.
As for meals and shows. If it's a hot day, we plan to see a few inside shows in the middle of the day. We always wait to eat lunch after 2:00. The lunch ques will be lighter. If you want to see the Festhaus show, then plan your lunch in the early afternoon and watch the show. This option is also available in Italy, although the theater is outside and not air conditioned.
I live near Raleigh NC and it takes about 3 1/2 hours to get to BGE. Even if we don't arrive by 10:00, we still manage to get the entire park done by 6 or 7:00. My family has Season Passes and in all honesty, none of us ever tire of BGE.
Go and have fun!
We got to tour the Clydesdale stables, and then my littlest ones rode the Lil' Clydesdales ride. From there, we could see Loch Ness was running, so we hit that. My oldest rode it for the first time and loved it! From there we went to the front of the queue to head towards Ireland.
We waited 10 minutes, the gates opened, then we fast-walked to Griffon. No wait there, loved it, and we headed for Aplengeist. Zero wait here, even for the front car! Lemme tell ya, the front of Alpengeist is the best ride in the park, bar none! If I didn't have kids waiting for me who could not ride, I would have ridden it again.
Here my gang split. The other half rode the log flume (fun ride, short line, long wait because too few logs in the ride.) We waited 5 minutes for the Germany gate to open, and headed in. I promised my littlest ones Land of the Dragons, so we did that for 40 minutes, then headed to Big Bad Wolf. They loved LotD! Even now at 11:15, there was just a 2 minute wait.
My recommendations: 1) avoid Saturday. 2) walk in the park by 9:20. 3) Do Loch Ness, Griffon, Alpengeist, Big Bad Wolf, Appolos Chariot, in that order. 4) If you wanna get wet, next do Roman Rapids, then Escape from Pompeii. 5) Enjoy the rest of the park. Eat at Oktoberfest and Trappers Smokehouse. Both are awesome! Catch some shows and ride the rest of the rides that interest you.
My advice: Ride Curse of DarKastle as soon as the gates for Germany are opened at 10:30. With the gates just opened, you will literally walk on to the ride. Go from there to BBW, and it will also be a walk-on. From there, head to AC. Personally, I prefer a little more walking to a lot of waiting. By arriving at 9:15, and doing LCM, Gr, AG, CoD, BBW, AC, in that order, you can literally finish these by 11:00 or so. AND, they should all be walk-ons or near walk-ons.
Even in early June you will probably be hot enough to want to hit Roman Rapids and Escape from Pompeii after that. Both are nearby. Roman Rapids can truly soak you, so be prepared for that. The other wet rides just get you kinda wet. May want to put RR off until later, but the line gets really long on a warm day.
I would also recommend eating before noon. Maybe take the train from Festa Italia (near AC and Roman Rapids) to New France. Trappers Smokehouse is right beside the train station. At this point, you have hit the big rides. Circle the park one more time, hitting all the littler rides that interest you.
The line on Saturday was pretty long when I got over there, but that was at 2:00 in the afternoon. It was about 45 minutes wait, approximately, no more than an hour at most. Sunday was much slower. We entered Germany soon after it opened at 10:30, and went straight to Darkastle. We walked through the entire queue, and onto the second set of cars after we arrived. We came back through around 12:15, and the line was still very short.
I agree with arriving early if you want to avoid this line. It can get really long during the summer.
I will keep my plan intact and hit LNM (if it opens :30 before anything else), Griffon, Alpengeist, DarKastle, BBW, then AC.
Once those attractions are complete, it seems like we can take the rest of the day a bit more leisurely and actually enjoy the park! =)
The ride order that you listed seems like a great plan. I hope that you enjoy your trip!
I cannot wait to get away from work for a couple weeks!!!
Tuesday the 3rd will be a full day of BGE, and possibly one other day provided we have time.
Figure on a report sometime around June 11th, depending on how wordy and emotional I get! ;)
Also, take a look at these two threads as well if you have not already done so:
Have a great trip. I can't wait to read your report!
Two things I would add for those heading out to the park in the near future:
1) When the park is at its busiest, Apollo’s Chariot is the place to go. When all the other attractions were experiencing long waits, three trains running on AC kept things moving quite nicely. And if you don't mind splitting your group up, you can easily hop into open seats all over the train as the BGE staff does NOT do a "Disney-like" job when it comes to filling empty seats.
2) During our stay, the park did utilize staggered opening times for the various sections of the park as discussed previously. However, they did NOT open the Scotland area earlier than France. So, LNM and Griffon opened at the same time each morning and we could not take advantage of the previously discussed strategy of catching an early ride on LNM before the Griffon waits started to grow. However, Apollo’s Chariot and the Big Bad Wolf did open later, so if you save Griffon for late in the day you can catch a few rides on LNM, then head over to Italy as soon as it opens, catch AC a couple times, and then head to BBW when it opens. Opening times for us were 10:00 AM for LNM, 10:30 AM for AC, and 11:00 AM for BBW.
Just thought I would pass that info along.
Look for a full trip report in the next few days....
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