Theme Park of the Day: Islands of Adventure

Two New Attractions - One Epic Weekend

Experiencing Verbolten and Cars Land in the course of one weekend.

From M. Ryan Traylor
Posted June 14, 2012 at 3:04 PM
After finishing up a project in NC, I decided to spend a little time visiting my family, including a trip to Busch Gardens Williamsburg. As one of my home parks, I was sad to learn about Big Bad Wolf being retired, but excited to see what would take its place. Verbolten – a thrilling ride through the dark forest of Germany. This ride takes the majority of the footprint of BBW, including its drop to the river.

But this ride lacks in quality theming. Don’t get me wrong, there is a theme. The queue gives the rider the simple backstory of the journey they are about to take. And the dark forest is dark. Daytime riders are thrust into the show building without adequate time for pupils to adjust to the drastic light change, thus a coaster experience unlike Flight of Fear, Space Mountain or Mummy. But the coaster flies past some effects so quickly you never knew they were there. And then WHAM!, the floor drops out. But why does it feel that the majority of the ride time is spent getting into and out of the drop shaft?

On BBW, you flew through the woods and village. The entry to the Dark Forest does not contain much foliage and the show building is obvious. What happened to all the trees that were cleared for the new attraction? Why aren’t they replanted around the track of Verbolten? And then there is the drop to the river, that gives you a great view of the river bank as the track curves to the left.

Verbolten is a cost saving attraction that poorly delivers highlights from its predecessor while adding a new thrill to a coaster.

The following day it was a debacle of flight delays to finally make it back to Los Angeles.

Sunday afternoon was my AP Cars Land preview reservation. As previous special events and attraction openings have shown, crowds can be high. Leap Day peaked around 9-10pm, with myself being one of the last guests in before the park reached capacity. I remember Nemo opening and waiting three hours to ride that attraction. When the opportunity arose to spend $50 to see Cars Land early, I jumped at the chance. This event also came with a sneak peek of Buena Vista Street.

To sum up my complete feelings before details, this park will finally be able to be seen as a place to visit and not just a sidekick to Disneyland.

Buena Vista street is amazing and the exact feeling of the Hollywood that Walt Disney arrived at when coming to Los Angeles. The restroom/locker building (on the right as you enter) looks just like Ren-Mar Studios (once Desilu Studios, and can be seen in Who Framed Roger Rabbit). Red Car Trolleys can take you from the park entrance back to the Hollywood Tower Hotel. (note the ads inside the trolley)

Cars Land is spectacular. The view from the entry down to Ornament Valley is gorgeous. Because I enjoyed this new “land” so much and many people including Robert have shared the same thoughts as I, I won’t go into many details. Just a couple of thoughts - Mater in Racers is a perfect animatronic. Luigi’s Flying Tires is a classical attraction and a must ride, but pay attention to cast member instructions to get the most out of the experience. Get some sort of food served in a cone from Cozy Cone and eat at Flo’s.

Cars Land will be packed starting this weekend. DCA has extended its hours to accommodate the expected attendance increase.

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