Busch Gardens/ Six Flags America TR: part 1
Well for our mid summer trip we decided to visit Busch Gardens Europe and Six Flags America. We left out on Sunday afternoon. Williamsburg Virginia is 380 miles from home. Due to numerous traffic jams we arrived at Motel 6 in Williamsburg 8 hours later. At this point my patience was really thin. We tried to lay down for some sleep, but it seemed as if the whole hotel was having a party. I could hear beer bottles, yelling, laughing, etc. The sounds we coming from every direction. Finally the party ended at 1:00. Just as we fell asleep. I heard a knock at the door. At first I ignored it, but it persisted until I yelled some profanities and threatened their life. I now see why some of you spend the extra cash and stay in the resorts. I had 2 kids with me and $800 cash. Every little noise I heard after that alerted me. I may have slept an hour. I informed the front office in the morning, but they brushed it off because there were several other people who had complained. The trip wasn't starting out so well.
The next morning my 12 year son, 10 year old daughter, and myself headed over to the park. We arrived at 8:50 and had to wait outside the gates, because the parking lot wasn't open yet. My last visit to Busch Gardens was in 2005. This was my kids first ever visit, so they didn't know what to expect. I pointed out all the different license plates and described what a world class destination it really is. Busch Gardens is my 3rd favorite park and I knew the kids were going to love it. The booths opened at 9:00. We parked and caught the first tram. We purchased our tickets and hustled into the England section and waited for the rope drop.
They opened Scotland at 9:30, but Ireland, France, and New France didn't open until 10:00. So our first order of business was Loch Ness Monster. When I was there age I was treated to 5 consecutive days at the park. In those 5 days I rode Nessie well over 100 times. For the first ride we grabbed the back seat. This Arrow Looper is still running great. Great first drop, interlocking vertical loops, a helix in total darkness, with no head banging. The kids really liked it. We got back in line and waited for the front. Again we got a great ride.
By this time it was 9:55, so waited for the Ireland rope drop. At 10:00 we hustled to France to ride Griffon. This was a new coaster for me. My last visit was 2005 and I believe Griffon was built in 2006. Before I continue I want to state that I choose to ride the big boy seats on every ride, which are located in the middle of the train. I probably could have fit in an outside seat, but I had plenty of room in those other seats. I decided being comfortable was more important. I had huge expectations for this coaster. The drops were better than I was expecting, especially the first one. The inversions were a little disappointing. They were very smooth, but they weren't very forceful. Still this is a great ride. It won't make my top 10, but it will make my top 20. Griffon is my second favorite coaster at the park and was my 12 year old son's favorite of the entire trip. Griffon really is a great ride. I love the placing of the coaster, it's fun just to watch it soar by. We rode it a total of 6 times through out the day; 3 in the front, 2 in the back, and once in the middle. The longest we waited for it was 10 minutes.
We then headed over to Alpengeist. I had to ride in the big boy seat on this coaster, I didn't have a choice. In past visits I have ridden the front and the back. The coaster is very forceful, but I always classified it as a very good ride, instead of excellent or awesome. My daughter disagreed; this was her favorite coaster at the park. We rode it 3 times during the day. I walked onto row 5 every time. The kids waited 10 minutes for a front seat ride. That gave me an opportunity to take their photo, being I knew I couldn't ride. My daughter was even more impressed after that ride.
Next up was the other coaster that was new to me, Verbolten. We waited 30 minutes, but we got front seat. This ride really impressed me. I was expecting a step up from the Back Lot Stunt Coasters, but this is much more than that. The launches and g forces are really good. The vertical drop is good. The final drop is good. The theming and the uniqueness are off the charts. I was expecting a family coaster, instead I found a thrill ride. We got the back seat later on in the day after a 20 minute wait and the back was even better. As Big Bad Wolf fan, I must say Verbolten is an improvement.
We then headed over to Curse of Dark Castle. This was the new ride on my last visit. I thought the ride was exceptional. Almost as good as Spiderman, but with better theming. This is the type of ride experience that fits this great park. After a 25 minute wait we boarded. My son loved this ride. The ride is just so well done, although last time I remember the car spinning very fast during some point. That never happened on this ride. My son wanted to ride again, but I explained that the ride is like watching a movie. The first time is always the best because you don't know what to expect.
Next we headed over to Italy. Apollos Chariot had a full station. After 10 minutes we got our back seat ride. We rode the front seat and the back again. I have ridden AP so many times. These were the best 3 rides I have ever had on AP. Like top 10 good. The air time was amazing, it was running great. This is still my favorite ride in the park. I now see why so many people have this coaster ranked so high. It was 96 degrees when we rode it, that may have had something to do with it. What ever the reason, AP delivered like it never has before.
Like I stated it was hot. I rarely ride water rides. I hate walking around in soaked shoes. The kids talked me into The Roman Rapids. Of coarse I caught all 4 water falls, but we had a lot of fun. While we were soaked we headed for Escape From Pompeii. I always thought the theming was exceptional, but the ride is so short. The kids really enjoyed the ride and it was a walk on.
We headed over to The Sesame Street kids area. Last time I was there that area was a small zoo. We all hopped on Grovers Alpine Express, its a kiddie coaster, but we had fun. The kids got to meet Burt, Ernie, and Big Bird. Those costumes were awesome, especially Big Bird.
Now it was time to start that second loop through the park. We headed for Europe in the Air. It was nice and cool inside. In fact there are tons of places like gift shops, restaurants, and some attractions that have AC blasting. This is the one park you can visit in extreme heat. As for the ride, the cinema photography is incredible. The simulator part is a little weak. The attraction that was in there on my last visit was much better.
After that second loop we grabbed one more ride in the back seat of Loch Ness Monster. It was about 7:00 and time to make so miles. All in all this was the most fun I've had since last year when we visited SF Great Adventure. The kids loved the park. I'm really glad we included Busch Gardens into our summer. We drove half way to DC and I slept like a rock.
I love BGE - it really is such a nice park. Very few parks in this country are maintained the way it is and the food is fabulous as well!
I'm heading down there in September. I'm looking forward to Verbolten, but I will definitely miss BBW. I've been to the park six times, but this will be my first without that beauty barrelling down that drop toward the Rhine.
I'm glad you enjoyed Griffon and Verbolten. I'm also glad to hear that Apollo is still delivering - it's one of my all-time favorites.
Looking forward to what you have to say about Six Flags America.
Coaster to Park Ratio: 4.87 / Steel to Wooden Ratio: 2.57 / Wooden Coaster Percentage: 28%
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