2019 4 park vacation

Edited: June 1, 2019, 6:53 PM

For this year's coaster adventure, I would, for the first time ever, set off on 4 wheels instead of taking a flight to my start point, so after having the car serviced the week before, I was ready to head north towards Busch Gardens, Williamsburg. I didn't want to do the 11hr drive in one go, so I stopped ½ way for a break and continued my journey the next day. Arriving in Williamsburg, I settled into the hotel with high expectations of finally getting to visit BGW.

Here are some thoughts and ponderings from my first few days in Virginia ....

1) My vacation couldn’t have had a more perfect start …… Aston Villa 2 Derby 1 ….. Oh Yeah ……… Back in the premiership next season !!!
2) It felt good walking thru the BGW gate, and finally putting my platinum pass to its full and intended use. It was nice to see all the welcoming flags too …. LOL :)
3) So many reviews describe the park as being 'beautiful' ..... now I can see why. It’s an awesome park, and well deserving of the praise it gets. The European lands blend perfectly into the surroundings, and just as important, into one another.
4) Clones .... love 'em or hate 'em, but I've now got plenty of ride time on a Sky Rocket II. I like the theming on Tempesto, certainly better than what’s on Tigris, although the comfort collars on Tigris are a lot softer and easier to negotiate when getting onto the ride. Which is a pain … those seats are so cramped and compact.
5) Sometimes things just don’t go to plan … in a good way. I had 2 full days set aside to discover all the good things about BGW. The park was deserted Wednesday, so I did it all in 1 day. Everything was a walk on, and if it wasn’t for a mass of orange shirts with “Dover” emblazoned on the front, the park could have easily been described as empty. The temperature topped out at 99deg !! ….. I came north to cool off ??
6) I rode all of my favourite coasters again on Friday, and was happy to miss out on a few others. Nessie ….. you are included in that list. As expected, the park was really busy, with the food and wine festival proving to be a big hit. Irish bangers and mash, plus Magners on tap !! It just doesn’t get any better … a perfect stop off for a mid-afternoon break.
7) In summary ….. InvadR is no Mystic Timbers, but a good GCI all the same. SheiKra tops Griffon, but I did enjoy being on the outside of the 10 person front row. Montu beats out Alpengeist, by a loooong way. Apollo’s Chariot is really good, but Mako just shades it, and yes, I’m biased on that one … :) So my No. 1 at BGW is Verbolten. Th13teen was great at Alton Towers, but the Verbolten dark ride area was excellent, so that in-part helped make it my BGW favourite, and I managed to see all 3 story lines as well. Nice touch to make one as a tribute to Big Bad Wolf. Although the ride I went on the most was Finnegan’s Flyer. It’s such a fun ride, especially when your facing down over the water.
8) The skyride was working on Friday, so I took my aerial tour of the park. It’s a pain to have to get off and on, but I did get some good pics of the coasters.
9) Saturday morning was the roller coaster insider tour, which is light years ahead of the one at BGT. BGT gave us a 2 hour tour before the park opened, and a seemingly reluctant ride on Cobra’s Curse. BGW greeted us at 8:30 and the tour didn’t finish until 1:30. The weather was a little damp early on as we ascended Griffon, but it didn’t ruin the tour at all. No safety straps was a bit of a surprise, but the walkway at the top of Griffon is wider than SheiKra, so at no time did I feel unsafe. If I have a niggle, it’s being on the wrong side of the ride to get the best photos. The walk on SheiKra overlooked almost every other coaster in the park, whereas at the top of Griffon, the only ride you could get really good photos of was … Griffon. Other than that, it was superb. 2 rides in any seat on all the coasters was worth the tour fee alone. BGT …. Take note !!!!!!! We were also presented with a CD, with all the photos taken on tour. Just awesome. Absolutely recommended if you are ever at BGW.
10) All in all, I loved BGW. It truly is a beautiful park, and I’m so happy I finally managed to get to visit. I really enjoyed Howl to Coexist, those wolves are awesome, and I was very impressed with Celtic Fyre. Battle for Eire was OK, and the VR was reasonably well presented. BGT vs BGW ?? BGW wins hands down on the park side, but I’ll take the coaster collection at BGT, with Gwazi next year further strengthening that choice.

Next stop ……. Kings Dominion

Replies (3)

June 3, 2019, 12:32 PM

Glad to hear your 1st park visit went so well. I liked your comparisons regarding BGW and BGT. I have not been to BGW in over 10 years, but your ranking of Montu over Alpengeist rang true with me. We thought Alpengeist would be better than Montu (especially since we are avid skiers and love the theming). But the old adage, "Bigger is not always better" applied to Alpengeist. Montu just seemed to have a better layout and elements at the right speed. Based on my recent visit, it also seems to have aged well.

Safe travels as you make your way down South.

June 3, 2019, 1:11 PM

Congrats on Villa (so much for my Spurs grabbing Grealish) though DC would have been an interesting promotion story, especially if Chelsea poaches Lampard when Sarri bolts for Juve.

I've teetered back and forth between Alpengeist and Montu for years. I get to ride Alpengeist far more, and have more of an appreciation for the nuances of the BGW invert. For a long time, it was the ONLY B&M invert that's first inversion was NOT a straight loop (Immelman instead) until Banshee came along. I really like Montu as well with the trenches and Batwing (though I've always felt the Batwing on Afterburn at Carowinds was better - Montu has trims right before the entry to reduce the g's). For me, it's Alpengeist, but that's coming from someone who's ridden in every seat on a single day.

Chariot is really all about the airtime. What I like about it is that there's a lot of variability. There's some ejector air and some really good long-lasting floater air - particularly the second drop after the MCBR. Mako does a much better job utilizing its speed and highlights more of the positive g's than AC.

I definitely prefer ShieKra to Griffon only because of the second tower drop. I feel that Griffon leaves a lot on the table in terms of potential that ShieKra takes better advantage of, particularity with how the ride integrates into the park.

As I noted in my review of Finnegan's Flyer, I was really surprised with how good those seats are that face down into the ravine. It's visually stunning, especially from one of the smallest versions of an attraction that you can find all across the country.

The coaster tour is top notch, and I can't recommend it more to serious coaster fans. It is a bit on the pricey side, but if you've got the time and money, it's more than worth it.

Hopefully the rest of the parks on your trip can come close to the high standard BGW has set for you.

Edited: June 3, 2019, 6:38 PM

Russell ... I was gutted that Spurs didn't beat 'pool, but at least your guys should be back in the league stage again next season.

If the Villa can stay up next year, I'll be very happy. Dean's done a great job so far .... long may it continue.

Don't think any park will get close to BGW for the sheer beauty of theming in and around the natural environment it's set in.
It's even got hills ... :) We don't have any of those in Florida, and you have them in a theme park !!

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