Let's Hear It for Theme Park Preview Centers

February 3, 2023, 9:04 PM · Before the Internet became the hype machine for new theme park attractions, parks often tried to build excitement for their new rides and shows with preview centers.

Now Busch Gardens Williamsburg is bringing back the preview center to promote its new DarKoaster indoor roller coaster, which opens later this year at the Virginia theme park.

The DarKoaster Preview Center will open February 18 in what will become the queue for the new attraction. Set in the former Curse of DarKastle building, the new DarKoaster revives Busch Gardens' original story about King Ludwig, retelling it with what the park is calling "North America’s first all-indoor straddle coaster."

Here's the first look video from last year when Busch Gardens announced the new ride. [King Ludwig Returns for Busch Gardens' New Coaster]

Busch Gardens Williamsburg is promising an "immersive, behind-the-scenes look" at the creation of the new attraction in its preview center, which will be open on Saturdays and Sundays from 12:30 – 5:00pm. I hope this inspires more theme parks to get back in the preview center business. Why didn't Disney California Adventure's Blue Sky Cellar show us more about Disneyland's new Mickey's Toontown? And where is the immersive Epic Universe preview center fans deserve at the Universal Orlando Resort?

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Replies (4)

February 3, 2023 at 9:17 PM

I remember the thrill visiting WDW at Thanksgiving 1988 and seeing preview center for the MGM Studios. Models, drawings and a mini-film promising "experience the movies like never before." Instantly got folks hyped for it so these can work.

February 3, 2023 at 9:22 PM

Can't wait for a preview center for Epic Universe

February 3, 2023 at 9:36 PM

I've heard that the old tribute store location might possibly be used as a preview center for Epic Universe. Can't wait to see Darkoaster's though!

February 5, 2023 at 12:58 AM

I'd say Citywalk is the more likely option for an Epic Universe preview center. With its constant downtimes, Mummy desperately needs all the queue space it can take right now.

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