BGE Touring Plan Needed

Busch Gardens Williamsburg: A good plan should minimize wait and back-tracking.

From James Rao
Posted March 20, 2008 at 5:04 PM
Taking the family to BGE during a summer vacation in the Williamsburg area. We'll be at the part the first week of June so I am hoping the crowds will still be minimal. With an idea on doing "everything" what are some touring plan recommendations that:

a) minimize wait time
b) minimize back-tracking.

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.

From M. Ryan Traylor
Posted March 20, 2008 at 6:07 PM
It's been a while since I've been to the park, but here are some ideas of things to avoid:

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).

From Christy Shuman
Posted March 20, 2008 at 7:29 PM
OK this is what I reccomend. Everyone will probably tell you to head straight for Griffon but I dissagree. Yes it will probably have the longest line but its also the fastest moving line. First you'll be in England, on your left will be pirates in 4D give it a try I have yet to see it. Then head into Scotland and hit up Nessie, it hardly ever has a line. Then hop on the train to Italy and check out Apollos Chariot, Roman Rapids, and some flats. Start heading toward Germany, before you reach Germany you will come to La cuicina Italian rest. if your hungry, if not hit up Big bad wolf and some swings and such. If you didnt eat at the La Cuicina, you now have another choice The Das Festhaus-german food and AC is good for hot days. Next stop will be curse of Darkastle-the line for this cant get pretty lengthy in mid day. Next will be France-Alpengeist Whatever you you do dont miss a ride on this beast-best ride in the park IMO. Cross the bridge and you will conme to le scoot log flume, then of course Griffon. Cross the railroad and you will pass pet shenanigans show, then crossing into Ireland where you have The castle O Sullivan show, Emerald beat, and Corscrew Hill motion simulator.

From James Rao
Posted March 20, 2008 at 7:34 PM
Thanks for the info so far. You both have given me some excellent info....and just from your descriptions the park map provided by Busch (which is way too "cartoony" for practical use) makes a lot more sense.

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?

From Donna Tolliver-Walker
Posted March 20, 2008 at 8:09 PM
Also, adding to Christy's plan of attack, esp since it's the first thing you'll do and you should be fresh and energetic, you don't necessarily have to bother riding the train from Scotland to Italy. It's a pretty short walk. Basically, as Christy said, after you hit England and then Nessie in Scotland (the Clydesdales and some other things are there, too, but you can catch those later), turn left at the main fork instead of right (which would lead to Ireland). The Busch map actually suggests this basic idea of going clockwise through the park instead of counterclockwise.

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.

From Jake Rivers
Posted March 20, 2008 at 9:10 PM
BGE is very boring and can be done in an hour! Go to KD for real fun after leaving that place if you want to have some real fun but me and my friends will be there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

From Jake Rivers
Posted March 20, 2008 at 9:17 PM
BGE or whatever that crappy place calls itself these days has no wooden coasters and only has a total of 5 steel coasters and none are in the top 10!!!!!!!!!! All are B&M so that means they have no speed and are boring so be careful in choosing that boring park before you go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

From Joshua Counsil
Posted March 21, 2008 at 2:49 AM
Don't ignore Jake Rivers. He left at least fifty or so exclamation points, so he must be serious.

From Missy Renee
Posted March 21, 2008 at 4:05 AM
I have to say that Christy and Donna have given you some great advice. If it were me, I would ride Nessie first thing then walk to Italy instead of taking the train, unless you happen to be close by when the train comes into station. Often first thing in the morning they have only one train running, and the wait for round trip is about 20 minutes. Unless, of course, you have any train enthusiasts present or just want to rest your feet early...because the train is certainly worth riding. The only negative to this plan is it puts you near Roman Rapids early in the day. If you like water rides but want to wait until you are good and hot to ride, then you will have to revisit this area, which is a pain because it has no outlet.

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!

From James Rao
Posted March 21, 2008 at 5:41 AM
Thanks for all the input. We will definitely arrive early, it is the single best strategy for improving your day!

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!

From Donna Tolliver-Walker
Posted March 21, 2008 at 5:51 AM
2nd day visits? If it were me, I'd repeat my favorites of the coasters, plus Darkastle. And Corkscrew Hill, esp if the children liked it the first time. As for shows, I'd see Emerald Beat again, and maybe Pet Shenanigans.

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?

From James Rao
Posted March 21, 2008 at 6:02 AM
Thanks for the help, Donna.

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!!

From Jason Jackson
Posted March 21, 2008 at 6:15 AM
Ignore Jake. Busch must be doing something right, it had the highest % increase in attendance of any North American Park last season!

From James Rao
Posted March 21, 2008 at 6:46 PM
Jake just loves his Cedar Fair parks....and his coasters. Nothing wrong with that. He will be one less person in line at BGE when I am there! =)

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.
Ride Griffon.
Travel to New France.
Ride Le Scoot Log Flume.
Enter Oktoberfest/Rhinefield.
Ride Alpengeist.
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 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 trip is just two months away!


From Missy Renee
Posted March 22, 2008 at 6:56 AM
1. Alpengeist is located right between New France and Germany. I am not actually sure which country it is part of, but if I had to guess I would say New France. As you exit New France over a lovely covered bridge (giving you a great view of Alpengeist...and a good picture taking spot) the entrance to Alpengeist is on your right after you cross the bridge. If you go left, the pathway will lead to Germany and Oktoberfest.

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!

From James Rao
Posted March 22, 2008 at 7:57 PM
Thanks for all the help. I got my bounce tickets in the mail today, so the real fun is about to begin. T-minus two months and counting.....look for my trip report sometime around the end of June!!

From Christy Shuman
Posted March 23, 2008 at 7:49 AM
Have a blast James, I know you will theres no way you can have a bad time at BGE.

From James Rao
Posted March 23, 2008 at 11:26 AM
Thanks, Christy. My family and I are looking forward to what this site has called the BEST THEME PARK IN THE WORLD for several years!

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!

From Jake Rivers
Posted March 23, 2008 at 12:39 PM

From James Rao
Posted March 23, 2008 at 2:10 PM
Thanks for the kind wishes, Jake. I am sure we'll have a great time. I'll submit a trip report for your enjoyment once I return, and will look forward to more of your stimulating comments then.

From Tim Strickland
Posted March 24, 2008 at 11:13 AM
I hate to see this thread end, it has been like a comedy show. I know you and your family will have a great time. My trip last summer was perfect. We actually went for 3 days, but did not stay from opening to close. About 6 to 8 hours each of the 3 days. Great coaster lineup, great shows (especially O Sullivans), please eat at bistro 205 near griffon and have a wonderful trip.

From James Rao
Posted March 24, 2008 at 3:33 PM
Thanks, Tim...I am sure we we'll have a blast. The last time I went to BGE was 1983, so I expect some pretty big changes.

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. =)

From Anthony J
Posted March 25, 2008 at 11:08 AM
This thread doesn't have to end. Haha.. I'm planning a first-time trip to BGE. This would be on a Friday/Saturday at the end of April.

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):

Apollo's Chariot
Curse of DarKastle
Escape From Pompeii
Corkscrew Hill

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!

From Christy Shuman
Posted March 25, 2008 at 11:38 AM
If you're going to BGE on a Friday at the end of April, you will have no problem doing thepark in 1 day. The crowds will be very light if not a ghost town. Make sure you hit all the coasters-Griffon, alpengeist(my favorite), apollos chariot, Curse of darkastle, Big bad wolf, loch ness. My favorite show there is Emerald Beat-the way these people move their feet amazes me. Hope u have fun. I'll be there April 25th.

From Missy Renee
Posted March 26, 2008 at 4:52 AM
Anthony, it appears that BGE will be open until 8:00 on Fridays in April, and 10:00 on Saturdays. So I have to agree with Christy, if you go on a Friday and are in the park all day, you should have no problem getting to everything on your list. On a very busy Saturday even with the extra two hours it might be more difficult.

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!

From James Rao
Posted March 27, 2008 at 7:08 PM
Anthony, since you will be hitting the park a month before me, please let me know how your trip goes.

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!

From Donna Tolliver-Walker
Posted March 27, 2008 at 9:02 PM

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.

From Leon Pfeiffer
Posted April 7, 2008 at 9:29 AM
I'll second all the last comments from Donna. We saw the O'Sullivan show on our last trip, and agree it is one specifically for the kids, age 4-10 I would think. I did not see the Irish dancing show, but plan to on our next trip.

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.


From Tracey King
Posted April 9, 2008 at 9:32 AM
I've enjoyed this thread, I hope it's okay to tack my questions on. We're considering visiting BG in May. We can go on the following dates (I included park hours):

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.

From Tyler W.
Posted April 9, 2008 at 10:29 AM
Water Country will most likely be almost empty those first two days.

From Missy Renee
Posted April 9, 2008 at 2:51 PM
I agree with Tyler, Water Country should not be too crowded. But with your children, if it is warm enough they will enjoy it. My children would vote WC over BGE any day. (And they REALLY love BGE!)

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.

From Donna Tolliver-Walker
Posted April 10, 2008 at 4:02 PM
Just wanted to add what I think is a "hidden" gem at BGE -- Splashus Maximus. Sadly, though, it's not always open, esp. early or late in the season, even when other water attractions are open -- prob bcs of the staffing involved.

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.

From Tracey K
Posted April 12, 2008 at 10:59 AM
Thank you for the replies. If the weather cooperates we'll do Water Country on Saturday, BGE on Sunday and Thursday. :-)

From James Rao
Posted April 12, 2008 at 1:37 PM
Tracey...make sure to post a trip report when you get back. I am headed out the first week of June, so any last minutes tips will be very much appreciated!!!

From Tracey K
Posted April 19, 2008 at 12:24 PM
I will. I can't wait to go. Not sure why the park hours I originally looked at listed Thursday 5/15 as an operational day, but it isn't. Glad I went back and double checked that. Our plan is to drive down on Friday 9/9, hit BG for a few hours in the evening (maybe 4:00 until 8:00 close), try for Water Country on Saturday if weather cooperates, then do a full day at BG on Sunday.

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. ;)

From James Rao
Posted April 19, 2008 at 8:09 PM
Looks like we will make it before you then as our trip starts on 5/31. We'll be doing the whole Triangle + BGE and WCU provided weather cooperates. We're looking at two full weekdays at BGE (6/3, 6/5) + one full day at WCU (6/4). If we want to see the nightlife, we may also go to BGE on Saturday night (6/7) to wrap up the trip.

I will let you know how it all works out once we return.

From Tracey K
Posted April 21, 2008 at 8:31 AM
Oops... typo... should have been Friday May 9. Sorry. Going so early in the year weekends are the only option for us, the parks aren't open on weekdays yet, I wish they were.

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.

From James Rao
Posted April 21, 2008 at 11:58 AM
Just get there early, have a plan, and move around quickly, but with cheerful eagerness! At most theme parks, even the ultra crowded Disney parks, you can get most of the key stuff done in the first few hours, then relax a bit for the rest of the day.

Good luck!

From Christy Shuman
Posted April 22, 2008 at 7:20 AM
I'm going this Friday April 25th, yipeee anyone else going that day?

From Tracey K
Posted April 22, 2008 at 12:31 PM
Have fun Christy! Please let us know how the crowds are. :-)

From Drew Petzold
Posted April 26, 2008 at 7:54 PM
I am a regular at BGE. It is my home park. I live about 45 minutes away from the park in Virginia Beach. Here are some tips when going into the park.

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. :)

From James Rao
Posted April 26, 2008 at 9:00 PM
Wow, Drew! Thanks for all the info. You are like the third or fourth person that has recommended we move in a clockwise fashion and start with AC as opposed to heading straight to Griffon.

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?

From Drew Petzold
Posted April 27, 2008 at 5:43 AM
Yes, they do have a ride swap program. When you get to the park, you will need to go to Guest Relations and you will be able to get a child swap card. I know they have them, but have never had to use them personally.

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).

From James Rao
Posted April 27, 2008 at 10:22 AM
Thanks again for the info.

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.

From Drew Petzold
Posted April 27, 2008 at 12:45 PM
Yeah, the kids are in school in this area until the middle of June. That is not a bad time to go, but may still have some crowds, since some school systems to the south will be out for the summer by that point.

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. :)

From Tracey K
Posted April 27, 2008 at 5:01 PM
Wow Drew, thank you for the detailed advice!

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. :-)

From Drew Petzold
Posted April 27, 2008 at 6:09 PM
The Discovery pass is likely still going to be your best deal, as long as you are not a Virginia resident (looking at your profile, I saw you were not).

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. :)

From Christy Shuman
Posted April 29, 2008 at 2:21 PM
I just got back from BGE Friday the 25 and Sunday the 27th. I have to say Friday was very busy, actually the busiest I have ever seen it(maybe because I never go on Saturdays). But the lines moved very well. My longest wait was about 45mins at curse of darkastle.
Drew-I have NEVER seen Griffon be a 2-3hr wait even when it first opened in May last year. The longest I waited was about an hour on a Sunday mid-day.
Leon-OUCH that hurt, how could you talk about Alpie that way. lol just kidding, OMG thats just the best to me.
Sunday was ALOT better crowd wise, but the overcast misty weather may have played a big part in that. Anyway everything was running great, Sunday they had a power outage and the whole park was without power for a little while so that delayed things a bit. but other than that I had a great time.

From Drew Petzold
Posted April 29, 2008 at 6:26 PM
You're lucky then. I have, lol. I've been there when the line was through all the queues and went past the Griffon store. Keep in mind, this was last year though. It has not been as bad this year as of yet. The worst of it was definitely over the summer.

From Tracey K
Posted April 30, 2008 at 12:29 PM
Thanks for the report Christy.

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?

Thanks again!

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?

From Christy Shuman
Posted May 1, 2008 at 7:36 AM
I always go on weekdays in June and July and this past Friday the crowds were 2wice as heavy.

From Donna Tolliver-Walker
Posted May 1, 2008 at 10:46 AM
Although I am an endorser of going to Italy first, and moving clockwise through the park, I have so far this season been there at opening and gone straight to Griffon as soon as they let people into Ireland (they'll hold you at the entrance to the bridge until that country opens) twice. Both times I got on Griffon in minutes. I haven't seen the wait at Griffon be overly long yet this season. Not saying it's never happened, just that I haven't seen it. And my experience has always been that the Griffon line moves very fast. They tend to overestimate the wait on the wait time "clock" sign posted at the front, in my experience.

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.

From James Rao
Posted May 3, 2008 at 7:55 AM
A couple questions of clarification:

"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?

From Donna Tolliver-Walker
Posted May 3, 2008 at 1:34 PM
The height check "station" at the foot of the rise in front of the Clydesdales is very informal. Staff have a measuring stick and stand there with the bands color coded for the different heights. I don't know if it conforms to any kind of time schedule -- sometimes I see a "station" there, sometimes I don't -- but when I do see it it's only been during the morning hours. I would inquire whether there are other places where you can get a band, like customer service or wherever, or if they actually plan operation times for the height check station. The line in front of the Clydesdales has never appeared long at all to me, and I have had kids measured there. It's faster at the rides because the attendants can see the bands quickly and you and your kids can walk right into the queue. I don't know if the bands can be used multiple days. I wouldn't guess they would change the color code from day to day, but I'm not sure. But it's been a quick process for me the few times I've done it. Check with customer service before you go.

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.

From James Rao
Posted May 3, 2008 at 6:49 PM
Thanks for the info. Sounds like getting the height band is not a big deal crowd wise, and it will save time later on, so we'll probably look into doing it.

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.

From Missy Renee
Posted May 4, 2008 at 2:32 AM
I just want to add two points regarding children's wrist bands.

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.

From scooby doobydoo
Posted May 4, 2008 at 11:35 AM
I have a planning strategy for you!If you arrive at 9:30 or earlier you can go in but the only area opened before 10 is nessie. So ride that first then head to griffon. If you are inclined to ride corkscrew hill, ride that after nessie. After riding griffon, head to alpengeist and the le scoot log flume. If there is time before lunch, ride curse of darkastle. If not, ride right after lunch. Eat at Das Feshaus. After lunch, ride Darkastle if you have not already. Then, ride big bad wolf. Follow the bridge to italy and ride apollos chariot and roman rapids if it is a warm day and escape from pompeii on your way out!

From Sandra Pickens
Posted May 15, 2008 at 3:21 PM
A couple years ago I went to Busch Gardens and tried coming up with a touring plan similar to what I would use for Disney (i.e. arrive early and hit the major attractions).

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.

From Donna Tolliver-Walker
Posted May 15, 2008 at 4:02 PM
As of April 10 & 11, 2008, country opening times were:

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 --

From James Rao
Posted May 15, 2008 at 6:11 PM
I have pretty much decided on the following day one touring plan:

Le Scoot Log Flume
Curse of DarKastle
Big Bad Wolf
Apollo's Chariot
Roman Rapids
Escape from Pompeii
Loch Ness Monster
Corkscrew Hill.

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!

From Donna Tolliver-Walker
Posted May 19, 2008 at 9:39 AM
UPDATED country opening times as of Sun, May 18:

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.

From Fran Emory
Posted May 19, 2008 at 10:17 AM
Check out BGE's website. There is an interactive map to help plan your visit. It is always good to get there early and get a few rides in on Loch Ness. My one suggestion is this..when you enter the park, just as you leave Banbury Cross and head up a hill, you can take the loop left or right. EVERYONE seems to go right, so we always head left to Italy first.

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 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!

From Leon Pfeiffer
Posted May 20, 2008 at 4:54 AM
I'll second what Donna said. We were also there on Sunday, and got there really early, around 9:10. I thought for sure we would be standing around for 50 minutes with nothing to do. Well, we enjoyed the England atmosphere, took some pictures, and were surprised to see Scotland was open at 9:30!

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.

From James Rao
Posted May 20, 2008 at 5:50 AM
Leon, since you just went, I have a quick question for you: how was the line for DarKastle? I noticed you bypassed it on your list of attractions to visit first. I had originally thought to hit it after Alpengeist but before Big Bad Wolf....however after further review it sounds like BBW has a little trouble handling crowds and might need to be hit very early?

From Leon Pfeiffer
Posted May 20, 2008 at 6:40 AM
I totally forgot about DarKastle because we did not ride it. A couple of my kids are borderline ASD (autistic), so the 3D and 4D rides have a chance of REALLY freaking them out. We also avoided Corkscrew Hill for the same reason. I have ridden both however, and would recommend both.

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.

From Missy Renee
Posted May 20, 2008 at 2:39 PM
James, if you don't mind I would be happy to answer your question about Curse of Darkastle because I was at BGE on both Saturday and Sunday this weekend.

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.

From James Rao
Posted May 20, 2008 at 3:09 PM
I appreciate the responses, Leon & Missy!

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! =)

From Missy Renee
Posted May 20, 2008 at 5:36 PM
James, I was also at the park before 10:00 on Sunday, and Scotland was indeed open. It is a good idea to get to the park early both for easy access to the rides and less hassle with parking.

The ride order that you listed seems like a great plan. I hope that you enjoy your trip!

From James Rao
Posted May 20, 2008 at 5:44 PM
Thanks, Missy. I should be in park the first week of June. Two days at BGE and one day at WCU. The rest of the trip will be all Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown touring.

I cannot wait to get away from work for a couple weeks!!!

From Christa Hutchins
Posted May 30, 2008 at 5:07 PM
Wow! James and everyone who responded to have done all the hard work for me! James, you sound like the same kind of compulsive planner that I am. We will be in W'burg a couple of weeks after you, so I hope you get that trip report done quickly!!

From James Rao
Posted May 30, 2008 at 6:45 PM
Heading out for Williamsburg tomorrow AM, and if weather cooperates will be in park on Sunday, June 1 for dinner and maybe a skyride (will try to sneak in BBW and/or AC if it is dark enough and the lines are not too long).

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:

Williamsburg Restaurants

Hidden Treasures

From Christa Hutchins
Posted May 30, 2008 at 7:04 PM
Yep...I've already looked through both of those. Like I said, you've done most of the hard work for me!

Have a great trip. I can't wait to read your report!

From James Rao
Posted June 10, 2008 at 3:26 PM
Just wanted to let you all know I am back from my week long stay in Williamsburg, and the whole family had a great time at BGE. Thanks for all the help in planning an excellent vacation!

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....

From jim boyadjis
Posted June 10, 2008 at 7:53 PM
Ok when you first get into busch gardens your aim should be to get on everything. I personally take the following route:
1) Loch Ness Monster (its a walk on when the park opens) Why: you get right on and you can still get to other things before lines get long at all. Its also the closest coaster to the park entrance.
2) Alpengiest: Cross over the scenic waterway into the France/Germany section and walk to alpie. Why: Its one of the best inverted coasters out there. The line shouldn't be too long at this point. Maybe one train wait. Ride in the back. Dont do rerides yet though.
3) Griffon: Get over to Griffon pretty quickly. If the line is unbearable and you dont feel like waiting long and dont have too many people... you can take the single riders line. You'll get on in 5 minutes or less. Come back later if the line is past 45 minutes though. This is the most popular ride in the park so it will have a bit of a wait but the line moves pretty fast.
4) Big Bad Wolf: Walk over to the Big Bad Wolf. If its running smoothly the line will move quickly. Why: This ride is very deceptive. It looks like a kiddie ride but is incredibly intense and has great themeing. Come back and ride this one after dark if you want.
5) Eat lunch at Das Festhaus. Why: Its big and airconditined with live entertainment. Serves as a nice lunch.
6) DarKastle: Digest while in line. Why: This ride is very exiting. Only one ride per visit but its a nice addition to the park. Great themeing.
7) Appollos Chariot: Cross into Italy. Appollos Chariot last of the coasters. Why: Appollo never seems to have a line even though its the overall best ride in the park. Smooth and high. The line moves quick. Ride in the back, the front is nothing special on this.
8) Roman Rapids: Its hot so get a little wet. Why: Its an average themeed river rapid ride. You will get wet.
9) Escape from Pompei: Get wet during the hottest part of the day. Why: The heat affects will dry you off then youre gonna get soaked again. Cool ride.
10) Move into the sections without rides like Ireland and The Main Plaza, plus the zoo area during the busy time periods.
11) Revisit the other rides after you eat dinner. Pick from a large list. But i suggest in New France.

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