Busch Gardens Europe - A Trip Report

Busch Gardens Williamsburg: Impressive park greets weary travelers during the heat wave of June 2008!

From James Rao
Posted June 14, 2008 at 12:24 PM
I took my family on a vacation to Williamsburg, Virginia, early this month (June), and part of that vacation included several visits to Busch Gardens Europe (BGE). Presented here is my trip report for BGE, which we attended four times during the week. And since most of you are familiar with the park I won’t go into great detail about our specific tours, but will speak in generalities instead.

BGE is an absolutely beautiful theme park with well manicured landscaping, extremely detailed themes in each of the lands, and everything looking like it had just received a fresh coat of paint. I do not think I have been in another park as attractive and well maintained as BGE, outside of the Orlando area. It was comparable, on a smaller scale, to the beauty of EPCOT when the flowers are in full bloom. My entire family was impressed throughout our tours. Furthermore, the placement of rides, attractions, and themed areas within the park was commendable. It looked like the park designers had worked hard to plan out every shop, restaurant, ride, show, and rest area. There were so many places along the tour to stop and admire the park itself that I often found my wife and mom lagging behind taking pictures and talking about the various plants and flowers. BGE is just an amazingly clean and pretty park.

For the most part, I think BGE has an impressive array of attractions, although not an overwhelming number of them. While we did not see all the shows or ride all the rides, we probably could have if we’d taken a few less rides on Apollo’s Chariot, or spent a few less times watching the Griffon’s splashdown. There was a lot to see and do, but given a few longer days of touring (the park was only open from 10 to 6 most of the week we were there) I am sure we could have easily accomplished everything the park had to offer. That is not to slight the park at all, in fact I think the BGE park designers have done a great job of utilizing space in the park, keeping within themes, and providing a wide range of experiences for customers. We had plenty of things to see and do.

BGE does fall down in the immersion category. While the park is very beautiful and well themed, for the most part the designers have done almost nothing with those themes. For example, when you wait in line for the Curse of DarKastle, there are at least two opportunities for greater immersion: the first is in the outdoor queue where an LCD screen broadcasts some info about the ride and accomplishes some initial setup and background. However, the volume is so low that you cannot hear a single word, and therefore you experience no immersion. Secondly, when you get inside the building there is a great opportunity for a pre-show room similar to what you find at a Disney attraction. Another LCD (much bigger than the one outside) adorns the wall while an eerie story is displayed about the attraction providing background, theming, and immersion. However, once again, the volume is so low, and the room so chaotic and filled with waiting riders that you cannot hear a single word. So instead of an immersive experience, the preshow movie becomes just more white noise lurking in the background. It is such a tragedy to miss any opportunity to make an above average attraction something greater in true Disney/Universal fashion. I still have no idea what the story is behind DarKastle. The one time we went on the ride when there was absolutely no line, we should have stopped and watched the movie instead of just blitzing past. At the time, we just did not know we would not get another chance at an empty preshow room. Corkscrew Hill (CSH) provides another example of how a lack of volume really hurts the immersion of an attraction. In both of its preshow rooms, the volume of the preshow movie is set at such a low level that a rowdy crowd can ruin the experience. The actual simulation is also too quiet and is easily drowned out by the screams and laughter of the audience. This type of issue does not happen at Disney and Universal where a) preshow cast members maintain order and quiet, and b) the volumes are set high enough to be heard over the din. I am not that old, nor am I going deaf, BGE just needs to turn the volumes to “11” wherever possible! Again, this is just a personal gripe of mine having been raised on Disney’s impressive ability to make you think you are not really in line and that you are instead already immersed in the attraction.

While I am griping I should note that I was disappointed by the large number of midway and carnival games that proliferated the park, especially in Germany and Italy. I know it is a matter of personal taste, but I would much rather see all that space used for top notch attractions and shows than for lousy carnival games that diminish the aesthetics of a beautiful park. I was happy at least to find that BGE has no “pay extra” rides like the commonly seen sky coaster ripcord swings, or the rock climbing walls, or go-karts. I was also happy to see that BGE does not have a space shot attraction. Other than Disney’s outstanding version of a space shot (Tower of Terror), I have never been impressed with space shot rides. And most importantly, BGE does not have any version of the Vekoma Boomerang. So while I give them props for not being a copycat park, I do wish they would get rid of many, if not all, of their midway games (note: Splashus Maximus, which I have heard good things about on this website, was not operating, so I cannot fairly judge its merit).

BGE dining. Overall, I think BGE does a nice job of providing quality and variety in their food choices. My favorite place to eat was Das Festhaus, mainly because it was inside, air conditioned, and has a great dining show to watch while you stuff your face. The German food is pretty darn good, although the more traditional offerings like the pizzas are just average at best. I also liked the food at Trapper’s Smokehouse which seems to be a favorite of most park goers, but it seemed that by the time I got my food, paid for it, walked to the dining area, and sat down, my food was either lukewarm, or beset by flies. Indoor seating options near Trappers would be a huge plus. Same thing with the Ristorante della Piazza, decent food, but an indoor theater for seating would be better for customers and performers. As for Bistro 205, it has the absolute worst hours. It seems to only operate on weekends (at least for now) from about 11:30 to 2:30. It was closed every time we went to the park, a major disappointment and something I will rectify the next time I travel to BGE. Finally, I do wish BGE had at least one sit down, full service, themed restaurant as it would make a great addition to the park and I think they would do a great job with it.

Now for a few brief comments on some of the rides and shows:

- Alpengeist is a well themed and impressive coaster, probably my second favorite ride in the park.
- Apollo’s Chariot is an excellent coaster, one of the best airtime machines I have ever ridden. IMHO, the front row on AC is the best ride in the park. I do wish, however, that the ride operators would do a better job of filling the seats. This ride has way too much traffic to have empty seats and needs a single rider line.
- Big Bad Wolf is another fun coaster. Were it not for the ride coming to a near dead stop midway through as it climbs for the final decent, this might be my favorite ride in the park. I love the twists, turns, speed, and the low, 42” height requirement.
- Corkscrew Hill is the most underrated ride in the park. Despite the sound issues I mentioned earlier, I think CSH is an excellent simulator ride; maybe the best I have ridden.
- Curse of DarKastle is a good 4D attraction. Outside of my complaints about the lack of immersion on this ride, I was impressed with BGE's attempt to replicate IOA’s Spider-Man. I do think DarKastle plays a distant second fiddle to Spider-Man, but the ride is well done, fun, and worth your time.
- Da Vinci’s Cradle is a midway ride, and while I am not a big fan of midway rides, I liked this one quite a bit.
- Emerald Beat is a top notch, energetic show. The most impressive show that we watched and definitely a must see.
- Escape From Pompeii is probably the most impressive waste of theming in the history of theme parks. I can’t believe all the work that went into what is truly a very average shoot-the-chutes water ride. Man, this one really could have been something more.
- Griffon is an awesome coaster experience, and unique (for now) to BG parks, at least in the United States.
- Jack Hanna’s Wildlife preserve is an okay zoo attempt within a theme park. Seems like BGE needs to give this area more love and space, or just forget it.
- Land of the Dragons is a decent play area for the very young.
- Loch Ness Monster is a fun but dated coaster. To make it better, they should really ease down of the heavy brake usage. Every time the ride gets going, the brakes are applied and steal all the fun.
- Pirates 4D is a decent movie attempt, but not really worth a second visit. And it is another example of the low volume issues at BGE. Maybe I do need a hearing aide?
- Roman Rapids is an average white water ride, and the four waterfalls at the end are a cheap way to soak riders when the rapids themselves are not strong enough to do the trick.
- This Is Oktoberfest is an excellent dinner show. Energetic, fun, and a perfect compliment to some very good theme park food.
- Viva Italia is another great dinner show, although it would work much better indoors. I felt sorry for the excellent performers who had to work in the extreme heat wave during the week we were there.

A couple things we did not do at BGE: we did not ride the train or the Rhine River Cruise, and we did not get a chance to see all of the shows, having missed Castle Sullivan, American Jukebox, and Pet Shenanigans. We also did not feed the Lorikeets, but that is because we have a similar event at our local zoo and we needed that time to accomplish other attractions on the itinerary.

We had a great time at BGE and would love to visit again. If BGE were my local theme park I would be very, very happy. The park is beautiful, has several top-notch attractions, great shows, good food, and excellent themed areas. I wish it had more immersion, less carnival games, and a few more indoor eating sites, but those are minor complaints for a great theme park, one that is worthy of all the praise it has received on this, and other websites.

From Tyler S.
Posted June 14, 2008 at 3:43 PM
BGE used to make you wait and watch the preshow in DarKastle but I guess it just slowed down the lines too much. Even now the lines can be 1+ long on crowded days. And I agree, Corkscrew Hill is the best simulator i've ever been on, anywhere.

And I am very happy that BGE is my home park!

From Brian Emery
Posted June 14, 2008 at 7:17 PM
Thanks for posting...

I like any TR and I only wish folks would post more of them…

From Missy Renee
Posted June 15, 2008 at 4:27 AM
I enjoyed reading your trip report, and have to say that I agreed with virtually every opinion or suggestion you made. I especially agree with the need for volume in the DarKastle queue. I just commented to DH about it yesterday during a visit to the park while standing in line. It really is such a waste of an opportunity to make a good ride even better.

And I also just commented a couple of weeks ago about how fabulous an indoor seating area would be for Trapper's. We usually walk across to the tables near Griffin to watch the splash down while we eat. It is not as crowded, and always shady. But that is a long walk with a heavy tray full of food, and having to dodge a steady stream of people walking through New France as well. I don't necessarily think that BG needs a full service restaurant. But if you are going to have great food, why not give people a better environment for enjoying it?

Anyways, I am glad that you and your family enjoyed your vacation.

From James Rao
Posted June 15, 2008 at 5:40 AM
Thanks for the feedback, gang. I appreciate it.

Tyler, I think the DarKastle preshow room can be remodeled a bit, maybe cut in half, size-wise, then used for an actual preshow again. As it is now, I think they probably did the right thing, as it is too big and would cause a serious ride slow down on busy days. So what is the story of the Curse of DarKastle, anyway????

Missy, a full service restaurant would be a nice to have...not a gotta have. If they had more indoor seating, then it would almost become moot. And, I think we sat in those same seats as you watching the Griffon splashdown while eating lukewarm brisket.... ;)

Ahh...I sure miss those days of waking up in my resort and heading out for a day at BGE....vacations are such sweet sorrow...

From Jake Rivers
Posted June 15, 2008 at 5:45 AM
me, my family, and friends got bored with bge very quickly. no coasters above 300 ft 4 starters which = boring rides and the shows are so lame we fell asleep. bge doesnt have much goin 4 itself so i cant blame the crap 4 being 4 sale

From Jake Rivers
Posted June 15, 2008 at 5:50 AM
missy ur fat azz should stay indoors cuz my people dont wanna c ur fat azz in public. ur a disgrace to the human race!!!

From Brian Emery
Posted June 15, 2008 at 8:27 AM
Hey, Jerk Rivers

Here are two letters for you – F.O.
You are the biggest but hole on the planet…
I would love to meet you someday, but I am sure you are just a little internet Bitch who hides and never shows your Pimply 14 year old face….

From James Rao
Posted June 15, 2008 at 1:34 PM
I hate to go down this path, but, it's Father's Day so I get to do what I want.

Based on his proposed love of mega coasters, my guess is Jake is overcompensating for a strong fear of speed and heights. Which means he probably only rides the Jr. Gemini all day and still wets his pants with fear. And as for his friends, my guess is they don't ride coasters at all, but instead just just sit around all day hoping for a reduced sentence, early parole, and soap-on-a-rope.

From Christa Hutchins
Posted June 15, 2008 at 1:57 PM
Back on a more productive note.....James, I've been waiting patiently for your full trip report and it certainly didn't disappoint. Thanks for the great tips. We are heading to W'burg in two days and your information will definitely be a big help!

From James Rao
Posted June 15, 2008 at 2:20 PM
I am glad I could help, and I am sure you will have an excellent adventure!

We also spent a half day at Water Country USA, and it was a blast. Just as pretty and well maintained as BGE, with plenty of slides and fun for the whole family. If you get a chance, hit WCU as well.

From Justin Spisto
Posted June 15, 2008 at 4:55 PM
Jake your a disgrace, anyone who starts S**t on a coaster forum is a complete pu***. So shut up. Ever hear if you dont have anything nice to say dont say it? WEll ya.

From Missy Renee
Posted June 16, 2008 at 3:18 AM
James, I definitely agree about the full service restaurant. I am primarily basing my opinion on the fact that Bistro 205 started out as a full service (although outdoor only) restaurant, and never really seemed to be popular or well utilized. It may have been location, lack of advertising and awareness, limited hours (which has always been an issue), or maybe BGE just didn't have their heart into making it work. Who knows?

I never really thought about it too much until my family visited Sea World Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa, where there were several indoor, air conditioned seating areas. The food line was basically the same cafeteria style as BGE, and the food was very similar in quality and variety, except we had the pleasure of enjoying it in a more temperate environment. That was when I realized what we had been missing at our home park. The Festhaus is great, but they really need one or two more air conditioned seating areas.

All I can do is hope that maybe the next major area that BGE builds or remodels will include this. Time will tell! Until then, I will keep my seat next to Griffin slashing down, and enjoy my fried dill pickles! I still love BGE, no matter what!

From Chris Greene
Posted June 16, 2008 at 7:18 AM
Jake no one likes you here so why dont you go fuc* Dick and leave the people who know what they are talking about alone.

From Don Neal
Posted June 16, 2008 at 9:58 AM
First off, thanks for the wonderful trip report James. I love reading them. Especially about parks or places I have never been to. Keep them coming everyone.

And regarding Jake, I am not sure what the policy is here, but as a moderator of other forums his activity would be considered grounds for removal. His contribution to the site pales in comparison to the drama and negativity that he brings. I love this site and hate to see it ruined by such juvenile, rude, and inconsiderate behavior. Robert, is there not something we can do about this? Your input and taking action would be greatly appreciated.

From James Rao
Posted June 16, 2008 at 2:23 PM
Thanks, Missy and Don for the feedback. I appreciate it.

As for Jake, I honestly think he is Robert Niles' alter ego...you know, whenever Robert feels he needs to spice things up, he logs on as Jake and gets the ball rolling. ;)

From Donna Tolliver-Walker
Posted June 16, 2008 at 11:38 AM
Great trip report!

I have to say, I've never found the volume a problem in Corkscrew Hill, and I have some hearing loss. But definitely agree DarKastle could be turned up quite a bit. And, as has already been pointed out, in its first season, passengers were admitted only in groups to get the full pre-show experience. But the lines were significantly slower then. I guess I'm the impatient type because I'm glad I don't have to wait. I feel I could always hang back and watch the movie again if I don't see it automatically while waiting -- but that's just me.

Dunno why a full service restaurant has never gone over well at BGE, at least since I've been visiting (first visit was in 1999 for AC's opening season). I do think they need to NOT hide the entrance to Bistro 205 so effectively, and not restrict the hours, if they really want it to succeed. How was the buffet there, anyone? As I mentioned before, we've never grown tired of Festhaus or Trappers, with occasional La Cucina or della Piazza visit thrown in, to seek out Bistro 205 or what it was in previous incarnations.

I've also been very surprised that calling another poster profane names apparently is allowed on this site. Vociferous disagreements are one thing, but leveling profane names at a specified poster is not acceptable on any other forum I frequent. Definitely bringing this forum down a bit. Not that I think anyone is seriously bothered by juvenile behavior, but it is annoying and takes away from otherwise fun discussions.

From Joshua Counsil
Posted June 16, 2008 at 1:53 PM
Alright, I'm gonna do something ... we had a petition to stop the takeover of Busch Gardens, so I'm going to start a petition to ban Jake Retard from TPI.

Seriously, man, you're a f*cking douche. Come out of the closet already.

From James Rao
Posted June 16, 2008 at 8:32 PM
Hi Donna...just to clarify, our first Corkscrew Hill experience was awesome, but the second time through we encountered a much more rowdy crowd who were hooting and hollering through the whole thing. Granted they were having a good time, but we could not hear much of what was said during any of the preshow. If there was a cast member on hand, he or she did nothing to quiet the din, but then, the point is to have fun. So no biggie. However, during the ride itself when the capacity crowd reacted to the simulator with screams or laughter, it totally drowned out the speaker system. I expected a much more robust sound system, as you would think BGE wanted people to laugh and scream on their ride!!!

As for our friend JR, if he just cut out the personal attacks against people who post, I don't mind him sticking around. I like laughing at him and the things he writes. He is so over the top, no one could possibly take anything he writes seriously.

Can you imagine one of his trip reports???

From Scott Sanders
Posted June 17, 2008 at 1:04 PM
James - glad you had a good time. I think I share a lot of your criticisms. Apollo's drives me nuts sometimes with the amount of empty seats, especially when the lines back up.

I actually went to the BG website and played the intro video for DarKastle as you can't hear it over the crowds when waiting in line.

I'm guessing the number of midway games is to help bring in more revenue as parking is covered with some of the season pass options. I'm guessing the rental lockers would also fall into that category.

Too bad you didn't ride the train, that's actually one of my favorite things to do in the park. It's pretty cool at night also.

From James Rao
Posted June 17, 2008 at 8:29 PM
Thanks for the info, Scott. I checked out the preshow Quicktime movie on the BGE website. Nice job and a pretty good setup for the ride. Would have loved to have HEARD it in a quiet, darkened, eerie preshow room.....

I understand that midway games bring in revenue, but they just seem so out of place in a beautiful park like BGE. Disney has few if any in their Orlando parks, and I don't remember many in the Universals parks either, but I could be wrong about that. Too bad BGE can't put all their midway games behind closed doors and out of sight in a themed area called Leprechaun Games or something...

And we are kind of sorry we missed the train too, but when it came down to it, it was either ride the train in the dark or ride Apollo's Chariot in the dark...we went with AC....next time we will do the train!

From Daniel Williams
Posted June 18, 2008 at 7:08 AM

Great review!

I think the main point about the games bringing revenue means that there are a lot of people out there that do like them there.

I think that there a lot more "interactive" than most of the parks offerings, and that adds something special.

From James Rao
Posted June 18, 2008 at 10:02 AM
There are lots of things a park can do to bring in revenue...like building more great ride attractions!

And I understand that some folks like the carnival atmosphere that midway games bring, I would just rather keep that atmosphere at the carnival and leave it out of the theme parks. Midway games just seem so cheap and "Six Flag-ish", to me.

Again, I did say it was a matter of personal preference, but who wouldn't rather have a top notch attraction instead of a collection of pay extra carnival games?

Maybe a topic for another discussion thread?

From Jeff M
Posted June 18, 2008 at 12:30 PM

Thanks for your input on your BGE visit. Some interesting observations made.

In your brief comment section regarding Apollo's Chariot, there is a single rider line. You may have missed it in view as you climb the last set of stairs up to the rider platform. It is on the left, but I know that is is not in use unless rider volume is within a certain excess number. This means you will mostly see it available during a Saturday or weekend operation. They may have removed it, but I doubt it. May be hard to notice since it is rarely needed to use. I have used it in the past, but not yet this year during any of my 3 previous pleasure and/or work related visits.

I also understand your comments regarding the games section of Germany. Yes, there is revenue made over these, but being that I have been to the actual Octoberfest in Munich, Germany....I find that BGE has done a decent job of replicating what one may experience if they were to visit the same. Keep in mind, BGE was built back quite a few years ago and things in this area still replicate the "midway" section of the German Octoberfest. Instead of small food and game stands, different merchant stands, etc....BGE decided to place just games in that one section. The rides are considered to be mostly @ the Wolf coaster. ie.....Swings, scrambler, bumper cars, and store that you can walk through to either the midway games or rides pending your approach in Germany at BGE. The Curse of Dar Castle use to be mostly garden area and had a wild mouse type coaster called Wild Izzy during Olympics a few years back. Then the name changed to Wild Maus, and I now believe is located at the Tamps park (BGA) Of course, the main attraction Das Festhaus ends up being the last or centrally located icon, as is the largest beer hall/tent in Munich, Germany. Search for pics/photos of the Munich celebration and maybe you might be able to see the relation BGE used.

In closing, I agree with you about the games section in BGE. I especially regret walking through it since they took away the only game I was good at! The golf/putting game. I can't tell you how many HUGE stuffed animals I have won for my kids when I attended the park with family and not work related. My two kids, and others have their rooms filled with them! Then, the game was taken away, probably because there was not, if no money being made on it. Especially in my case of spending 5 dollars for 3 trys/golf balls and walking away with at least 2 HUGE prizes.

I have to say that I wish the park would add at least another "flat style" ride somewhere, and maybe we might see one soon??? Who knows, I guess it has to be determined whether or not the cost of said ride justifies the removal of some of those games?

From Missy Renee
Posted June 18, 2008 at 6:32 PM
Interesting comments, Jeff. I have been attending BGE for so long, that I remember when the main entrance to Oktoberfest did not pass by the area where DarKastle stands now. There was originally a bridge behind the carousel that went across through the trees and came out next to the catapult ride. Back then, however, the wirbelwind (swing ride) was where the catapult is now, and the catapult was located indoors where Castle O'Sullivan show is in Ireland.

I always believed that the primary reason they moved the main walkway is because the midway games were in an out-of-the-way location, and not getting much action. So they closed the bridge, and forced everyone to walk directly down the middle of the midway games. Then everyone had to at least look at them, and hopefully be tempted to play.

And before the Wild Izzy/Wild Maus, there was a coaster called the Glissade(sp) in the area where DarKastle stands now. It was not very large, and I never rode it because I was a young child. But I remember watching my father ride it.

The Wild Maus is now at BGT, and it is called the Cheetah Chase. It is in the Timbuktu area of the park, I believe.

Fun memories. Thanks for bringing them to mind. It is fun to see the changes over the years. It makes me want to go dig out old photos!

From James Rao
Posted June 19, 2008 at 3:31 AM
Thanks for the BGE history lesson, you two. It sounds like the park has really come a long way! I was there back in 1982, but all I remember from that visit is the first drop on Loch Ness as it was about the coolest coaster I had ridden at that point in my life!! =)

And please understand, my family and I loved BGE and had a great vacation there. I only brought up those awful midway games in my trip report because they stand out so much in an otherwise excellent park!

From Tyler S.
Posted June 19, 2008 at 5:11 AM
The Apollo's Chariot single riders line has been closed for 3 or 4 years now. I don't know what the point of even putting it in was, because they only used it for a few years.

From Scott Sanders
Posted June 19, 2008 at 5:40 AM
Missy -

Sorry to sort of threadjack the topic.

I remember being a little kid and there was a flat ride in Germany that was painted black and I believe it had some yellow color to it. It was sort of a spider/scrambler sort of ride. Do you remember that or what it was called? It has been driving me crazy. Thanks.

From Missy Renee
Posted June 20, 2008 at 4:21 AM
I'm sorry, too, James for hijacking your thread. But it is still obvious that you have lots of love for BGE! No park is perfect, and they can't improve if you don't point out the flaws. For the record, I have always hated the midway games section as well. I have never played them, never wanted to, and considered them an eyesore as well. But I figure if someone else out there enjoys them, it isn't really hurting me.

Scott, when I was a little girl, there were two flat rides in Germany that I remember. The first one was located where the wirbelwind is now, and it was definitely black. It was called the spider, I believe. There was paint on the ground underneath, kind of like a web. Knowing BG, it probably had a German name meaning "spider", but I just called it the spider. It went around in a circle, each individual car went both up and down, and could spin freely on its own. If you got a loose car, you could really get it going fast, too.

There was also a ride located where the kiddie airplanes are now, in front of the bumper cars. It was called the trabant. It was like a disc with the riders along the outside edges. It would spin around as one side lifted and lowered. A couple of years ago, it was located at Busch Gardens Tampa, I believe. But it may have been removed when construction began on Jungala. I am not positive it is still there. And I probably won't be going back to that park until some time in 2009.

Both were rides that I enjoyed during my "tweens", as well as the original flat rides in Festa Italia when it first opened (there were five, I believe).

Did you go to BGE early enough to remember the "fun house" that was in Hastings (Ireland now), located where Grogan's is now? When I was very young, that was my favorite thing in the park! What great memories!

From Scott Sanders
Posted June 20, 2008 at 5:23 AM
Thanks Missy. Yeah, I guess I probably called it the spider too. I forgot about the ground being painted like a web.

I don't remember the fun house. That does sound like a lot of fun.

Speaking of midway games, I used to love the shooting galleries they had at the park. They would always have a piano player with a target on his back and if you hit it, it would play. There was an owl and a stop light and a bunch of other stuff. I'm guessing they didn't bring in revenue like some of the games now, but I believe BGE and King's Dominion both had those.

From Jason Jackson
Posted June 20, 2008 at 9:22 PM
Hey James. Curse was much better when the pre-show was running, but it was poorly planned which caused the capacity to be way down(they should have had two pre show rooms so one could be running while the other was loading). The story is based on "mad" King Ludwig:

"The Busch Gardens Europe ride Curse of DarKastle features Ludwig as a king whose parents, and later, party guests "mysteriously disappeared", and who now haunts his old castle terrorizing guests riding golden sleighs. As with Gabriel Knight: The Beast Within, werewolves figure in the ride." from Wikipedia

From Christy Shuman
Posted June 21, 2008 at 9:28 AM
I have been to BGE about 15 times between last year and this year, and the other day when I went was the first time I noticed the Bistro 205. Yes it was very tucked away and hidden. As far as the hours, I was there last Wednesday and was seated at 3pm. So I didnt see a problem with the hours. IMO the food was ok, but have had much better at BGE. The festhaus, Trappers, La cuicina, Festa de Piazza are much better IMO. Bistro was also very expensive(I guess b/c its a buffet) it was 16.99 per person and 12.99 per child.

Has anyone noticed Griffon having alot of downtime? On Wednesday it kept getting stuck at the top right before it hangs you over the top. This happened 4 different times and thats only what I actually noticed. but it delayed the ride every time.

It seems this is the only website that always has someone horribly mean. Anyone remember Ryan, Jake is so much like Ryan its pathetic. Jake get a life, you obviously dont have one. How old are you- 8. 9 maybe?

From James Rao
Posted June 21, 2008 at 8:58 AM
Jason...thanks for the info. I would have loved to ride Curse when the preshow was part of the event...but it was still a fun attraction, so I guess I'll just have to get over it! =)

As for Bistro 205, the week I was there (when local schools were still in session), it was only open on the weekends, and only for lunch. Now that the season is getting underway in full force, I expect the hours to expand. It would have been nice to have another air conditioned eating option, but Das Festhaus was really quite perfect!

Got my Griffon T-Shirt on today....glad it didn't break down while we were there!!!

From David Kirby
Posted June 21, 2008 at 12:24 PM
So I'm a bit confused about Darkastle now. Do you just not get to see the pre-show at all?

From James Rao
Posted June 22, 2008 at 7:10 AM
Nah, the preshow movie is there, but it is impossible to hear unless there is no line. And if there is no line, you skip the preshow and go right on the ride, natch.

From Missy Renee
Posted June 22, 2008 at 1:50 PM
Scott, I remember the shooting galleries very well. I always liked the moving targets, like the pendulum on the cuckoo clock. This attraction was located directly across from the fun house, by the way. It stayed there until they changed Hastings to Ireland. By then, it was underutilized and starting to show some major age, so it was time for a change. Not that I ever go into the Waterford Crystal shop that took its place, mind you. But I still appreciate when BGE decides to replace old, tired attractions.

I guess the next attractions that need to be replaced are those midway games, right?

From James Rao
Posted June 22, 2008 at 3:56 PM
Yep, Missy, get rid of them, and not just at BGE, get rid of midway games at all theme parks! Leave them at the carnivals and county fairs where they belong.

From steve lee
Posted June 22, 2008 at 7:16 PM
Midway games, I'm sorry to say, aren't going anywhere. But hopefully more parks will be like Disney and Universal when it comes to the games' placement. The only midway games I can think of in all of WDW are the ones at Dino-Rama. Perfect fit. At USF, I only recall seeing games in the Amity area. Again, the games add to a theme.

But they'll never go away. They have awards for them (didn't Cedar Fair win something for their hideous 3-Point Challenge games?). I just treat them like I would an SLC - ignore them.

From Chris Wilkes
Posted June 24, 2008 at 11:39 AM
To BGE Regulars...

What can I expect crowdwise on a Thursday.
Specifically THIS COMING Thursday (June 26th)

From Missy Renee
Posted June 24, 2008 at 5:33 PM
Chris, I would expect a fair to moderate crowd at best. The weather is nice this week...low humidity. But weekdays are never crazy crowded unless it is a holiday.

From steve lee
Posted May 12, 2009 at 8:15 PM
Chris, the weather is really nice.

(I just wanted to get into the fun of resurrecting zombie threads)

From James Rao
Posted May 12, 2009 at 9:05 PM
According to weather.com, it was a sunny 80.6 degrees on June 26, 2008. You picked a great day to go to the park. I hope everything went well?

Now, can I put some money on the Steelers winning last season's Super Bowl?

From Angelica Davis
Posted May 14, 2009 at 11:53 AM
I'm glad you had a great time, but i do honstly think you need your ears checked. at every place you mentioned the volume was too low, it has been perfect and on some occasions, really loud.
it's too bad you didn't get to see american jukebox because it's gone this season, but was such an amazing show.

From James Rao
Posted May 14, 2009 at 1:49 PM
This thread is almost a year old! Who knows what has changed since my visit. Maybe the Busch folks turned their volume up to 11? ;)

And, when I said the volume was too low, I just meant it wasn't loud enough to be heard over the groups of screaming people. Disney and Universal do a better job of controlling the crowds and keeping things quiet for the preshow entertainment.

57 comments to go....

From Robert Miller
Posted May 14, 2009 at 2:37 PM
James, what kind of marshmellows should I bring? The semi liquid type, so you don't have to roast it to make smores. Or regular ones, large and small? Or I could bring all those yellow peeps I have left over from Easter, but they're getting kind of hard. Of course we'll have to get a release paper from the SPCA, I don't want to go back in the slammer for some trumped up charge of cruelty to marshmellow peeps.

From David
Posted May 14, 2009 at 3:37 PM
Heard there were smores over here? I had to get pass the PETA(people eating tasty animals) line for the peeps.

One day I hope to get up to BGW to see what that park is like. Hopefully one day soon. Now who has the marshmallows agai.. oh look juice

From Robert Miller
Posted May 14, 2009 at 4:45 PM
Hey David, did you see Mr. Spock? He was over on Roberts' economy threat screwing up the lyrics to my song. Bones and him were drinking some kind of green juice, and laughing it up about saving some whales or was it a whale named Sham something or other.

From James Rao
Posted May 14, 2009 at 5:32 PM
Eh? What's that? Sorry, a little hard o' hearing after my 40 long years walking this weary world.

Oh, marshmallows! Well, bring the big white marshmallows, not those little ones, and definitely not the ones that are kind of minty - yuck!

As for BGW, it was an awesome park. Had lots of fun there last year. Beautiful too. Definitely worth a trip.

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