Busch Gardens: Visit #1
By: Kevin Michaels
June 19, 2015

This is our first and probably only visit to Busch Gardens this season. It is extremely hot out, but here we are. We got to the park at 9:30 and they had the kiddie section opened early but the actual park wasn't due to open until 10am.

Grover's Alpine Express for the Credit

Since we're in the business of credit whoring now, I figured we'd go over to the children's section and ride Grover's Alpine Express, simply for the coaster credit. The queue line for this was extremely long, but there was no line because the park had just opened. I never saw a kiddie coaster with this much of a queue line and a theme to it, pretty cool.

Busch Gardens (Williamsburg)
Flat Rides: Turkish Delight

And the Tea Cups! Turkish Delight is Busch Gardens' version of the Tea Cups. This is a great ride at Busch Gardens and theme parks all around the world. This ride can get a little intense as there is a lot of spinning involved in this ride and if you choose to spin the disk in the middle of the cup, you will spin even more!

Busch Gardens (Williamsburg)
Flat Rides: Trade Wind

Trade Wind is a bobsled music express ride at Busch Gardens. This ride is a classic at theme parks and boardwalks alike. It is a great ride for families to bring their kids on if they aren't ready for the bigger rides at the park.

The ride review

If you're a fan of Musik Express rides at theme parks, then this is the ride for you. Trade Wind is pretty much the same ride, just with a Busch Gardens theme to it. This particular ride will not operate backwards like some of the other ones do at boardwalks.

Busch Gardens (Williamsburg)
Flat Rides: Mach Tower

The Mach Tower is a drop tower ride at Busch Gardens that was manufactured by Moser's Rides and it opened up at the park in 2011. The Mach Tower is located in the park's Oktoberfest section and you'll find it right outside of Verbolten (roller coaster).

This is a 246 foot drop tower that will rotate around as it brings you to the top. Once you reach the top, you will be dropped straight down at a 50 MPH free fall!

Busch Gardens (Williamsburg)
Flat Rides: Le Scoot

Le Scoot is the log flume ride at Busch Gardens that opened up in 1975! If you are looking to cool off on a hot summer day, then this is the place to be.

Log Flume rides have been at theme parks and boardwalks for many years and they have become classic attractions. Once you climb aboard your log, take a small tour around the park before coming to the big splash down where you'll be looking to get wet!

Busch Gardens (Williamsburg)
Flat Rides: Le Catapult

Le Catapult is Busch Gardens version of the Scrambler and it was manufactured by the Eli Bridge Company. The Scrambler is a classic ride at theme parks and boardwalks alike and this one is no different.

Once you climb aboard Le Catapult, the ride will begin to spin and each of the three arms your car is seated on will spin in the opposite direction. This ride operates similar to the Flying Machine; however it does not raise up in the air.

Busch Gardens (Williamsburg)
Flat Rides: Escape from Pompeii

Escape from Pompeii is a shoot the chutes water ride at Busch Gardens, manufactured by Intamin and it opened up at the park in 1995. This splashdown boat ride is like no other that you'll find at any other theme park. It is probably one of the best splash down rides around.

This ride is based on the ancient city of Pompeii when it was destroyed by Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. You'll climb aboard a large boat and be brought up into the building where the destruction takes place! Beware, this ride will get VERY hot as flames are used during this attraction.

Busch Gardens (Williamsburg)
Flat Rides: Der Wirbelwind

Der Wirbelwind is Busch Gardens' version of the Wave Swinger. This ride is manufactured by Zierer. The Wave Swinger rides are typically the same from park to park and normally the only thing that differs is the theme of the ride. This ride doesn't have much of a theme to it, but is called Der Wirbelwind as it is located in the Oktoberfest section of the park.

Once you climb aboard Der Wirbelwind, your swings will lift off the ground and the large structure in the center of the ride will spin and tilt, giving riders a waving sensation as the ride is in motion. This is a classic family ride, but it is fun for all ages!

Busch Gardens (Williamsburg)
Flat Rides: Da Vinci's Cradle

Da Vinci's Cradle is a themed version of Zierer's "magic carpet" ride. This ride opened up at Busch Gardens in 1983 and has brought thrills to riders of all ages during its entire duration at the park.

This ride can bring a little intensity to the table as you'll be whipped around on this gondola as it rotates. This ride is actually a lot more intense than it looks to be.

Busch Gardens (Williamsburg)
Flat Rides: Curse of DarKastle

Curse of DarKastle is a dark ride at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia. This ride opened up at the park in 2005 and was manufactured by Oceaneering. This ride can be described as a hybrid ride, combining roving motion simulating vehicles with 3D videos projected onto screens, physical sets, in-vehicle music and special effects such as wind, water, fog and lightning!

The queue line for this ride is set up in the gardens of the castle. Once you are indoors and set up in the pre-show, this is where it all begins. We will not spoil what this ride is about and what goes on in here but if you've never been in Curse of DarKastle, it is a great experience for people of all ages!

Busch Gardens (Williamsburg)
Flat Rides: Busch Gardens Railway

Busch Gardens Railway is a train ride that will stop at three different locations at Busch Gardens. This train will make a 20 minute round trip at the park, but it will stop at three different locations, allowing for people to get off or get on from that destination.

This is a steam powered locomotive that will bring guests around the park through 100 acres of land with stops in Scotland, Festa Italia and New France!

Busch Gardens (Williamsburg)
Flat Rides: Battering Ram

Battering Ram is a pendulum/swinging ship ride at Busch Gardens. The ride is designed to look like a RAM and you better believe if there was a castle wall in front of it, it would be destroyed in an instant!

Once you climb aboard the Battering Ram, the ride will start to rock back and forth like a pendulum or the classic swinging ship rides from other theme parks. If you get motion sickness, you may want to skip over this ride.

Busch Gardens (Williamsburg)
Flat Rides: Aeronaut Sky Ride

Aeronaut Sky Ride is a people mover that is designed to take you from point A to B to C. This is a one way trip but stops at three different locations. This sky ride will give you a 3 minute view of the world's most beautiful theme park. You'll enjoy views of all six European countries from 80 feet in the air!

This Sky Ride stops in three different locations; England, France and Germany.

Busch Gardens (Williamsburg): Verbolten
Manufactured by: Zierer

Verbolten is one of the most popular roller coasters at Busch Gardens. This steel multi launching roller coaster was manufactured by Zierer and it opened up at the park in 2012. This ride is themed after the Autobahn, which is the name of the German highways.

You will see what it's like to take a ride into the forbidden black forest where the ride takes place. A lot of this ride is indoors and you will experience "lightning" and other special effects during this ride.

Busch Gardens (Williamsburg): Loch Ness Monster
Manufactured by: Arrow Dynamics

Loch Ness Monster is a steel roller coaster at Busch Gardens manufactured by Arrow Dynamics. When it opened back in 1978, it was the world's tallest coaster at 130 feet and it was also the first roller coaster two feature two interlocking loops.

This steel roller coaster will bring you to a height of 130 feet with a 114 foot drop at a top speed of 60 MPH with 2 inversions. Later on during the ride, you will go into a dark tunnel where you'll spiral through a helix in the dark!

Busch Gardens (Williamsburg): Griffon
Manufactured by: Bolliger & Mabillard

Griffon is a steel floorless Dive Coaster at Busch Gardens that was manufactured by Bolliger & Mabillard. This coaster opened up at the park in 2007 and is currently the fastest dive coaster to date! This roller coaster features two Immelman loops, a splashdown, two vertical drops and was the first of it's kind to use the B&M floorless trains!

Once this impressive coaster dispatches, the floor will drop from underneath your feet, the gate will open and you will climb up a chain lift hill to a height of 205 feet. Once you get to the 130 foot drop, you will be hung over the edge for a brief period of time to get a preview of what's next to come! Once you go down the 90 degree drop, you'll reach a top speed of 71 MPH!

Busch Gardens (Williamsburg): Apollo's Chariot
Manufactured by: Bolliger & Mabillard

Apollo's Chariot is a steel Hyper Coaster manufactured by Bolliger & Mabillard and it opened up at Busch Gardens in 1999. This is actually the first of many Hyper Coasters built by B&M.

Once Apollo's Chariot leaves the station, it will climb up a chain lift hill to a height of 170 feet. At the top of the hill, it will go down a "pre-drop" and then go down a dipped drop of 210 feet, reaching a maximum speed of 73 MPH!

Busch Gardens (Williamsburg): Alpengeist
Manufactured by: Bolliger & Mabillard

Alpengeist is a steel inverted roller coaster manufactured by Bolliger & Mabillard that opened up at Busch Gardens in 1997. This roller coaster is themed after an Alpine mountain. As you approach the area, you'll see the structures covered with fake snow and even a guy on Skis who fell head first through a building!

This inverted roller coaster will bring you to a height of 195 feet with a 170 foot drop at a top speed of 67 MPH and a total of 6 inversions! Can you handle Alpengeist? There's only one way to find out!

Busch Gardens; Williamsburg, Virginia
What's new in 2015?!

Busch Gardens is getting a new coaster in 2015! While the park has not officially announced the specs and the name of the coaster, online sources are reporting that the coaster will be called Tempesto or Diavolo.

Source: Screamscape.com.

Busch Gardens; Williamsburg, Virginia
Planning a trip to the Park?!

Are you planning a trip to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia? Here are a few tips from the Theme Park Maniacs! As of the end of the 2014 operating season, we have been to this park a total of three times. I am not going to lie and say that we are experts when it comes to Busch Gardens. In fact, we are quite scatter brained when it comes to this park. We get something in mind and then have an impossible time finding it! Busch Gardens is not like your typical theme park, you can easily get lost in the different countries trying to find something.

Arrive Early...

Busch Gardens is a really popular theme park in the area and it will get very crowded. I suggest you arrive early so that you can get an early start on your day. The park boasts a total of 5 large roller coasters, which isn't many compared to the many other parks around the world who have 13+ roller coasters. Griffon, Verbolten and Apollo's Chariot are three of the most popular coasters at the park and will get crowded pretty quickly.

Busch Gardens: Visit #2
By: Kevin Michaels
October 12, 2014

This is our second visit to Busch Gardens this year and our third visit all together. Mommy is with us again and this is her first time ever to this park. This is the one park that she is most looking forward to because she has heard of the beauty of the park! This is also Megan's first time to Busch Gardens and while she may not like it as much as the other theme parks she has been to all summer, she's in for a treat here at Busch Gardens!

Griffon; first ride of the day!

Coming into the park, I knew that we had to get to the Griffon first because later on, the line for this is going to be out of control. Because of the iffy weather, the park may not be crowded today but I'm not taking any chances. We were actually able to get three rides on the Griffon this morning and because Megan has never been on this ride, we took a ride on each row.

This is a Theme Park in it's own category. In my opinion, Busch Gardens was an absolutely amazing experience like no other. I've gone to many theme parks like Six Flags Great Adventure, Dorney Park, Cedar Point, Kings Island and Hershey Park but nothing that I've gone to thus far compares to Busch Gardens. When you walk into Busch Gardens, you feel like you're in a completely new world. It represents many different countries and when I first walked into the park, I actually felt like I was in different villages from different video games like the Legend of Zelda or Final Fantasy.

It was an absolutely amazing presentation and everything was just gorgeous within and around the park. There was not one thing in that park I was disappointed with, not even the torrential downpour that we experienced in the middle of the day. Why? Because we got stuck at a buffet during the storm. Who could ask for more? We already paid to go in and eat and we got stranded in there with free food and drink refills. After we had eaten, we waited out the storm which took about an hour or so and I made sure I had one more plate of food before I went. That prevented me from needing a second meal later that night, which was a good deal.

In hearing people speak about Busch Gardens, I've only heard that there "aren't that many rides" in the park. Well, they were wrong. There are plenty of rides, plenty of shows and plenty of scenery to enjoy throughout Busch Gardens. My goal was to go for the rides and to see a couple of shows, but due to the rain and thunderstorms, we skipped out on the shows and continued on throughout the day with as many rides as we can. In reality, if you want to go through this park and do EVERYTHING, you'll need to spend a couple days there or make a couple visits to the park. There's just so much to do but if you do go, there is one ride that you must get on and that's the Griffon...

If Busch Gardens was closer to me, I would definitely make a point to go there again this summer, but because of how far it is and how long it took me to get to Virginia with all of the traffic, I probably won't be making that trip at least for another year or so. We were glad to meet some people at the park and they found us on Facebook and we became friends on there. These nice people said that they had a fun time riding on the rides with us! I mean how can you not have fun when you're wearing a Goonies shirt and you have this maniac yelling "HEYYYY YOUUU GUUUYYYYYYSSSS!!!!!!!"

This is the Griffon. Three rows of ten people on each train!