I want to start off by saying I really like BGW as its everything I love in a park. It's big, beautiful, photogenic, and has lots of attractions and can easily occupy a whole day. However i'll start out by listing some slight minor annoyances that i'll list off just because I think they need to be acknowledged.
First off their Food & Wine Festival is a blatant ripoff of Epcot's. Everything looks exactly the same: from the signage, to the menu's, to the way the booth's look. I guess this is fine and it looks fine but it's just so blatant...like no attempt to do anything different at all lol.
The last time I went to BGW which was in 2010 they had a nighttime firework show called "Illuminights." Once again this park just blatantly rips off Epcot (this has nothing to do with my recent visit to BGW, but I will never forget it). And then there was the Europe in the Air ride…
The area of the park where Apollo's Chariot and Tempesto are has always driven me nuts, it's cheap and tacky compared to the rest of the park. I'm not familiar enough with the history of the park to explain this but my guess would be at some point they wanted to expand Italy (maybe for Apollo's Chariot?) but didn't want to spend a lot of money, so half of Italy looks fantastic and then the other half of the land looks tacky. It’s like the Chester and Hester or Paradise Pier of BGW.
Apollo's Chariot and Tempesto's queues are actually fine (and they did a great job with Temptesto's entrance which is really well themed) but the rest of that Italy miniland is so bizarre with 90'sish arcades, carnival games, minimal theming, and the absolute worst thing about it is the soundtrack. It's like upbeat techno versions of songs you would never think about, I clearly remember hearing the United Airlines song and thinking "where the hell am I??" If they changed the soundtrack I would probably like the area better…it’s just soooo bad.
The first ride we went on was Loch Ness Monster which was actually pretty damn good. It was tracking [relatively] smooth and looked great, looked like it had recently gotten painted, and the trains were in good shape. Obviously this ride is dwarfed by the bigger coasters in the park now but I’m glad they’ve kept this around and taken care of it.
Next we made a big mistake by riding Battle for Eire. It wasn’t a mistake because the ride was bad, but because later our day would be ruined by a storm that never went away, so the time commitment we made to Battle for Eire ended up costing us a bunch of other rides (as we could have ridden this during the thunderstorm). We figured since the line was short and it was a new ride we may as well go on it. I wouldn’t say it was good but I definitely liked it better than Europe in the Air. I’d put it as a solid “mediocre and will last a few years before people become sick of it and it has to be replaced with something else” simulator. Not much else to say…the headgear VR thing was bizarre but definitely better than doing it Kraken style where every train gets slowed down significantly.
We then saw the wolves and bald eagle habitats which of course are staples of the park. However, for the park being so huge, it has a surprising lack of animals compared to Tampa where they are everywhere. My assumption is that the Tampa park probably makes more money.
Anyway next we went to the France section and rode Griffon which was approx. 15 minute wait and was fine. B&M dive machines have never been my favorite but have grown on me as I have gotten older (maybe because my adult body likes the slower paced rides now haha). I like Griffon and Sheikra better than Valravn, which for some reason was very jerky and unpleasant both times I rode it. Griffon and Sheikra are both still smooth and pleasant. On a side note Griffon is really integrated well into the France area of the park unlike the Apollo’s Chariot section of Italy which I previously ranted on.
One small thing I found funny about Griffon is that they had a big fan blowing on the lift motor…literally like fan you would buy at Walmart or Home Depot. It was just funny to see that a huge $20+ million B&M coaster is being cooled by a Home Depot fan (and blatant considering you walk right next to it in the exit path).
We then walked around and enjoyed some of the atmosphere and theming with the next ride being Invadr which was definitely one of the big surprises of the trip. This ride kicked ass. It was fast, had great laterals, and some good pops of airtime. When it was first announced I remember thinking that they just bought a small little GCI because they wanted a new coaster but didn’t have a lot of money to spend, and the animations made it look kind of lame, so I went in with low expectations. The ride reminded me of Avalanche at Timber Falls before it got rough, it was short but sweet. I really like GCI’s when they are maintained well so a big thumbs up for this one.
The next ride was Alpengeist which was running amazing. I would definitely rate this the best of the big B&M inverts, its an old school kick you’re a** B&M looper. The positive g’s were on full force this particular day. I’m not sure why Alpengeist is so much better than Montu but it just feels much more intense…and unlike Kumba the rattling isn’t so bad that it ruins the ride. I also love the clever scandanavian undertones, the touches of theming on this ride are just perfect. Another big thumbs up.
Unfortunately this is where the day took a turn for the worse as it started thunderstorming so we were stuck inside the Festhaus for a while. After a half hour or so it did stop raining so we were able to walk around and enjoy the atmosphere of the park. We did get on the Railroad and got a picture with Big Bird, but the attractions never re-opened. I still haven’t ridden Verbolten or Tempesto (as the last time I had been to the park was before they were built). It seemed nice and sunny for a while so we waited over by Tempesto for it to re-open listening to that awful soundtack I mentioned earlier so it was kind of a sour end to the day, but I’m still glad we went and I was able to get back after the eight year hiatus.Tweet
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