In the last several years, Busch Gardens Williamsburg has offered what is known as the Preschool Pass for children ages 3-5. This year they are again extending that offer again. Preschoolers will get unlimited FREE admission to both Busch Gardens AND Water Country for the entire normal operating season, which for 2017 ends on September 10th. This pass does NOT include Howl-O-Scream or ChristmasTown. You can only get your pass by “purchasing” online, as it is not available at the ticket windows. Offer ends on May 31st, so get your pass now before this deal expires. Click the below image to sign up for your pass:
Proof of age is required, so you’ll need to bring your child’s birth certificate or passport to redeem your voucher. School ID’s and Social Security ID’s will not be accepted. On your first visit to the park, you’ll take your voucher to the cashier to print your real pass. This is done on the first visit, after that, you’ll be able to go through normal park entry.
For the 2017 season, Busch Gardens Williamsburg opens March 25th, Water Country opens May 20th.
If your a parent, they also have a deal for you. You can get 2 Park Fun Card, which allows you to get unlimited visits for the same timeframe. Cost is $80 for this pass. This deal ends March 31st, so don’t wait.
This year on the hayride was one of change and excitement. We had new management in Jack Chapman, our long time head of make up, and Jason Lingle, former assistant manager of The Village of the Dead. Jack’s wife Sandy is on board as our HR manager. With the help of some veteran actors, Billy Joyner, Paul McHendry, DJ Liles, Travis Chapman, Amanda Winteringham, Eric Sobotta and a few others, construction of Dr. Lazurus’s Woodland Asylum began back in June. A new energy and excitement was running through the hayride, sparking fresh ideas and a desire to create something great.
I spent all of the time I could muster in the woods, helping where I could with my limited carpenter skills and my expert ability to pick up trash and branches. I was dumbfounded every time I arrived in the hayride with the amount of work that was being done. Jack, Jason, Billy and Sandy spent more hours out there than anyone, by far, creating an awesome playground for our actors.
With change comes new obstacles, and we experienced some resistance from mother nature. We had a pretty bad rainstorm that dropped a tree in our graveyard area, but miraculously, it caused no damage. The flooding was our biggest issue, but with help from some pumps we got it mostly dry. That was soon followed by Hurricane Matthew, which was way worse than we ever expected. We had several trees down, one that split but didn’t fall, that we were able to have cut down before it could cause serious damage. The flooding washed away most of the graveyard, and left standing water everywhere. We remained determined, and were still able to put on a hell of a show.
Our cast this season had a lot of new faces, my family included. My oldest son, Talyn, started his second season with more a full time volunteer status, missing only one night this season. My wife, Amanda, and my younger sons, Jake and Hunter, joined us a few nights this season, catching the scare bug.
I know I cannot remember every name of every actor/volunteer we had this season, but I will try!
First Stage: Guard shack
Guests hear how the asylum is in chaos as the patients are uprising after finding out Dr. Lazurus has been using the inmates for his own twisted experiments. Actors: Gaylord Brown, Billy Joyner, Nate McGuiness, Patrick Wiley, Tom Dvorak, myself, Eric Baker
The asylums patients who have been buried here are rising from the grave. Actors: Liz Rodenfels, Avery , Takoda Carter, Jakob Donaldson, Hunter Donaldson, Taylor Vogel, Nick Vogel, Paul McHendry, Amanda Donaldson, Bryce Hawkins, Mariah Cunningham, Robert Phillips, Jason Lingle
Stage 2: Mortician and Lucky
The guests are being warned of the presence of the smallest and most vicious of our inmates, LUCKY! Actors: Brandon Pierce, Tom Dvorak, Patrick Wiley, Nick Balovich, Justin Lee, Trey Pardue , myself
Stage 3: Pharmacy
The pharmacists offers relief to the passing guests. Actors: Eric Sobotta, Tiffani
Stage 4: TV Room and Psychiatrist
The old man watches static on his TV as the patient and psychiatrist argue. Actors: Stacy Turlington, Francine Miller, Drake Holland, myself, Amin, Tyler Owens, Eric Sobotta, Robert Phillips
Stage 5: Solitary Confinement
Dr. Stanley explains the purpose of the confinement, and how some our disturbed patients may have escaped.
Stage 6: Cafeteria
Hungry? Try some feetloaf! Actors: Amanda Winteringham, Alan Swack
The inmates are rioting, causing chaos and dismay for the doctors and guards. Actors: Noah, Talyn Donaldson, Rachel Matthews, Tiffani, Takoda Carter, Trey Pardue, DJ Liles, Gaylord Brown, Skylar
Tunnel: The Lab
The story of how Dr. Lazurus is using the patients to find a cure for his own dark demons. Actors: Richard Bergstresser, John Dikun, Gaylord Brown, Takoda Carter, Nate McGuinness, John Aldridge, Talyn Donaldson
Finale: The Failures
Earlier in the season, the doctor told you that this was your end. Later, the doctor is dead and the inmates are in charge now. Beware the experiment! Actors: John Aldridge, Nate Reep, myself, Tom Dvorak, Rachel Matthews, Francine Miller, Drake Holland, Justin Lee, Takoda Carter, Ashley Dennis, Avery, Brandon Lee, Eric Baker, Ken Gerlach, Kevin Lupton, Mariah Cunningham, Robert Phillips, Sandy Chapman, Jack Chapman
My Character this season was named gniK (pronounced “Nick”). gnik is a maximum security patient that could be seen throughout the asylum, and on different stages throughout the season. I chronicled our season through his eyes on Facebook. We were given a lot of freedom with our characters and the use of cutthroughs that allowed us to attack the wagon in multiple places. I think this freedom made it easier to put ourselves in to the characters. I was able to adapt gniK to the psychiatrist stage, the guard shack, the mortician stage and the finale. Our story line made it very easy to change around characters and it gave returning guests a different show weekly. I found a companion in “Clementine”, a pick ax handle that gave me something to “threaten” guests with. On the first stage, gniK explained how there was an uprising, and he and Clementine took out the guard. On the mortician stage, I got to introduce “Lucky”, our resident leprechaun played by Brandon Pierce. This little dude is impressive, and he is one hell of a guy! In the psychiatrists office, I played opposite a skeleton I named Dr. Spaceman (30 Rock reference), and I actually went crazy one night when I was “forced” to listen to “They’re Coming to Take Me Away” over and over for four hours. In the finale, I explained how I had killed Dr. Lazurus and we have taken over the asylum.
I have to tell a story here. One of our new volunteers, Bryce, was placed in the graveyard. I was on first stage that night, and as I came around the corner I saw him laying on the ground. I was curious as to why an actor would just be laying on his back, I stood and watched this…
I was so impressed I called him on it after the night was over.
Nate Reep, our veteran chainsaw runner and my forever brother, found a new apprentice in John Aldridge. Mad respect to John who made his first year a huge success. X gonna give it to ’em!
Alan, the kitchen cannibal, joined our lunch lady, Amanda, to create a disturbing scene in the cafeteria. I loved seeing what they did next.
Ashley came in last year as a make up apprentice who got thrown in to acting. She was very teachable and I have a lot of respect for her courage when the show started.
Billy has been an actor for a long time in Virginia Beach’s Nightmare Mansion as well as HCF. His character, Patient 14, was super creepy and the addition of his puppet, Truman, caused guests to fear flu shots. A true method actor.
Our “Jumpers”, Caveman Paul, DJ (Patient 09) and Travis (The Muffin Man), defied gravity nightly. They constantly put their bodies on the line, and I cannot respect that more.
The “little ones”, Avery, Tiffani and Liz, caused a lot of surprise in their ability to climb wagons. It was a joy to watch nightly.
Eric and Mariah brought the creep and energy every night!
Eric Sobotta, AKA Pinocchio, and Tyler Owens really stepped it up this year! I am so proud, brothers!
Rachel, your cheery disposition kept a smile on my face ALL season long!
Francine, Richard and Drake are another family that brings the scare. Richard being gassed every night was a highlight in the tunnel, while Drake playing the psychiatrist to Francine’s patient was a stroke of genius.
Gaylord…What can I say? A good friend and constant form of comedy. I love working with you!
John Dikun, the young doctor, had a good first season. The tunnel is a hard place to work, and your first year was a success.
Justin is a walking ball of sarcasm, which I can relate to. It was great working the finale with you.
Ken, for the time you were with us, you showed bravery in the face of adversity.
Kevin, dude, I am proud of you. ‘Nuff said!
Nate McGuinness never quit. When the mask came on, he was in character…wagon or not!
Doc, one of my best friends in the world! I am so glad you were able to come out and play. I am super proud of your first scare experience!
Patrick and Tom, you are always ready wherever they put you. You are crazy in and out of character and I always have a blast working with you two. I put you together because, as a trio, we have a chemistry in comedy.
Robert, you brought it dude. Great athleticism and shear will to scare!
Stacy, you are one of the sweetest girls and a disturbing psychiatry patient…sooo good!
Shut up, Trey
Takoda, you were everywhere and always energetic. It was fun watching you work!
TT, well done this year, little dude!
And lastly, my family. Thank you for being out there and understanding when I wasn’t home when you weren’t. Amanda, I am so proud and I loved watching your character come to life! Jake, You just wanted to be scary and you achieved it! Hunter, I haven’t seen a kid have more fun out there! Talyn, you seriously earned your place this year, you really made a lot of people proud!
Alright, let’s get star…SQUIRREL!
We found a new mascot! Henry is a young squirrel that seemed to have no fear of people
Our awesome makeup team helped so much, especially with the fact that we had so many first year actors. Jack Chapman, Ashley Dennis and Travis Chapman, thank you!
There would be no hayride without the “speed demons” driving the tractors. Mary Mary,Tyler “Deere Slayer”, Robert “Deere Whisperer”, Nate “Bearded Rusty Wallace”, Evan “Tractor Pull”, Josh “Mario Andretti”. You guys did an amazing job this year!
Our monitors have the task of making sure the guests know the rules, follow the rules and “put away your *%*&^$ cell phones”. Witchy Poo Anne, Kate (The inmate that was allowed to come and go), Teresa (Queen of lemony goodness), Ricky “Sparkles”, Trish (Created an atmosphere of comfort and ease, *snort*), Elisa (the evil gas lady). I love having people to interact with while on stage, and you guys really helped drive the show.
Of course, Jason, Jack and Sandy. Thank you again for providing a place that allowed creative flow in a playground that we couldn’t have imagined! Jack, you are a mentor to me. I appreciate everything you have taught me and trusted me with. Jason, this was our first year working together, and though we sometimes disagreed, we found common ground and I have a ton of respect for your skills in building, design and creativity. Sandy, our momma, you set us straight when we needed it, got our backs when we had conflicts, and you were a shoulder when we needed one, I cannot thank you enough.
Every night, before the show, we would meet in the tunnel and get hyped, here was the final nights session:
I honestly believe this was our best season ever! I love my hayride family! BooRa!
Pics by Gary Horton:
Pics by Attraction Chasers
Be sure to watch this year’s video and BE EXCELLENT TO EACH OTHER!
There is a Viking invasion coming to Busch Gardens in 2017. InvadR, the new roller coaster, currently being built, is slated for a Spring 2017 opening. Last Monday, we were invited by Busch Gardens to check out InvadR’s lead cars before they head to the 2016 IAAPA Attractions Expo for the full reveal next week.
About the Trains
If any of you have visited Busch Gardens Tampa, these trains may look a little familiar….they are the trains from the now torn down Gwazi wooden coaster. Gwazi opened in 1999, and was the first “Dueling Coaster” in Florida. It had 2 separate tracks and the 2 sides would “race” each other. As the years went on the ride got a little too rough, so in 2011, BGT revamped the ride and replaced the original trains with these brand new Great Coaster International “Millennium Flyer” trains. Apparently that still didn’t fix the rough issue and due to maintenance costs and guest lowered interest, the ride was closed for good in early 2015. Instead of scrapping these new trains, they sent them up to BGW in April of 2015 for storage.
Worried about them using recycled trains? Well don’t be, everything on them has been upgraded, refurbished or replaced. Here’s a list of everything that has been done:
1. Refurbished Chassis – The chassis were stripped down, sandblasted and re-painted. They also went through non-destructive testing to ensure the integrity of each car. 2. New Seats – The old upholstered fabric seats were removed by BGT before they were sent up to BGW. The new seats are form molded seats and are very comfortable. 3. New Wheels and Carriers – The wheels and the wheel carriers are brand new on these trains. The also added a maintenance “Lift Off” wheel, which will allow maintenance to lift the whole car off the track for wheel maintenance. 4. Harness Monitoring System – This is an upgrade that the original trains did not have. 5. New lapbars – The lap bars also will lock into place when in the upright position which will allow for the guest to use it to pull themselves up out of the seat. 6. Original Teak Wood Refurbished – The original teak wood around the front of the car has been beautifully reconditioned by BGW’s paint shop.
There will be two, 8 car trains that will hold 16 passengers per ride. There is also a front “Zero Car”, which will hold some of the ride’s themeing.
Most of the refurbishment is being done in house by the BGW crew. They are also getting assistance from GCI, the manufacturer of these trains. GCI sent a rep to assist in assembling the first two cars seen in the pictures. This shows that BGW takes their coaster builds serious and brings in technical experts to ensure there are no mistakes are made when building this new coaster.
In these pictures, you can see a lot of the new and refurbished parts for the InvadR cars. The first image shows the chassis on the right, and what looks like the seat uprights in the center. The other pictures show various parts, like the wheels, axles and more chassis parts.
Here are various images of the GCI “Millennium Flyer” train cars. It’s the two front car along with the “Zero Car”. The two colors I believe are to denote the “Vikings” car(Teal) and the “Villagers” car(Tan).
About the Coaster
Coaster lovers have long complained that the only type of coaster missing from Busch Gardens collection is a wooden coaster. Now that complaint is being answered. With Kings Mill being so close to the park, loudness was a critical part as to why a wooden coaster has never been built. Wooden coasters are known for being loud due to the lift hills and the way the wheels ride on the steel track. When I asked about the noise levels, Wayne Shelton, Supervisor of Rides responded with: “We have a system on ours, that’s going to limit the noise when the train goes up the lift. It’ll be somewhat traditional, but it’ll not be as loud.”.
This will not be a full wood coaster, it’s a hybrid. It’ll have the same wood tracks as a normal woodie, but it will have steel support beams. This hybrid gives you the feel of a real wood coaster, but saves a ton on maintenance costs.
InvadR is a family coaster, with a height requirement of just 46″. So this really will start to fill the gap between Grover’s Alpine Express(42″ HR) and the LMN(48″ HR). It has a 74′ drop through an underground tunnel and 9 “bunny hills” which will give you that weightlessness feeling most people enjoy on roller coasters. I have a feeling this will become many kids first coaster.
Some constructions photos of the track. The first is the station building with the track heading down toward the lift hill. The forth is a shot of drop that heads down into the tunnel that goes under the service road. The 5th, is hard to see, but it’s the exit track coming out of the tunnel. That’s back behind Le Scoot’s sawmill.
This coaster and it’s theme will fit perfectly into the Trapper’s log cabins and wilderness feel. It’s story concept is that the people of “Trapper’s Village” and huddled into their fort trying to ward off an invasion by Viking “InvadR’s”. They must defend themselves against the Vikings or they will perish. It seems as though the colors of the trains will denote the Vikings(teal) and the villagers(tan).
The first photo shows the exit area. The long structure will house the lockers, the tall building will be the ride photo building. You can also see some of the pointed logs of the villager’s “fort”.
Something Unearthed During Construction
Scarlett’s Unearthed House is not the only thing found at the back of the park. (2015 HOS Reference)
While we were talking near the construction site, Suzy Cheely shared an interesting story with me. During the digging of some of the foundations, the contractors found a “wooden structure” that no one knew was in that area. They called on one of the long time maintenance guys who was able to identified the structure as the “Ball Crawl” from the old Eagles Nest Village kids play area. The Eagle’s Nest area was a child’s play area that consisted of a ball pit(Ball Crawl), Cloud Bounce(bounce house) and the Punching Bag Forest. In the late 70’s, early 80’s this area was housed underneath the log flume. I’m not sure when it was removed. I guess parts of it weren’t really removed, but just plowed over and covered. Before the renovation of Le Scoot, some of the area paintings could still be seen at the base of the flume’s posts.
Here’s a pic of the 40th Anniversary sign for Eagle’s Nest(courtesy of Nora @ bgwmemories.com). There are some more pics of the Eagle’s Nest on BGW Memories FB page here. Also a few pictures of the Eagle’s Nest paintings from a few years ago, courtesy of Gary Terrell.
We want to give a big thank you to Nathan Warter and Ron Vample for setting up this visit. We truly appreciate all that you do for us. We also want to give a thanks to Suzy Cheely and Wayne Shelton for taking the time to speak with us about the ride.
ANNOUNCING THE BEST DEAL OF THE SEASON ON CHRISTMAS TOWN™ TICKETS
$16 Christmas Town tickets go on sale tomorrow… November 1st
WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (Oct. 27, 2016) – Busch Gardens® Christmas Town™ may be a month away, but consumers will soon have a chance to lock in the best deals of the season for tickets to the popular holiday event.
The key, according to park officials, is to buy early when the lowest prices are available and before daily prices start increasing.
For the first time, Busch Gardens will offer daily ticket prices for each day of Christmas Town, with prices starting as low as just $16 when ticket sales begin on the park’s website Nov. 1. The price reflects a discount of more than 55 percent off the gate price of $38. Advance-purchase savings are available for other days of the event as well.
“We want to give guests the flexibility to choose the date and the value that best fits their needs,” said Dan Dipiazzo, vice president of marketing. “But the key is to buy as early as possible. As the availability of tickets for a particular day decreases, the price will go up.”
Guests who purchase tickets on the day of their visit at the park will pay the full general admission price of $38. Daily ticket prices and availability can be found only on the park’s website at www.christmastown.com/va.
Visitors looking for the ultimate flexibility, and the freedom to enjoy Christmas Town again and again, can purchase the Christmas Town Fun Card.
For the same price as general admission, the Fun Card offers unlimited visits throughout the event. The Fun Card is available on the park’s website, or may be purchased the day of visit.
In addition to the new value-pricing plan, the park is touting this year’s Christmas Town as the biggest in the event’s history, with more attractions and more time to enjoy it all.
For starters, Christmas Town boasts more than 8 million lights – more than any holiday event in North America. Additions this year include Rudolph’s Winter Wonderland, an entire area where guests can meet Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer™ and his friends. The park will also operate a second major roller coaster, Tempesto®, and will open Sesame Street® Forest of Fun™ with a special holiday atmosphere.
Christmas Town starts Friday, Nov. 25, and will be open on select days through Monday, Jan. 2, 2017. For more information on the event and to purchase tickets, please visit www.christmastown.com/va.
WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (July 18, 2016) – Summer thrills make way for frightening chills when Howl-O-Scream® returns to Busch Gardens® Williamsburg this fall.
In addition to the haunted houses and Terror-tories™ you’ve come to expect, Busch Gardens urges you to “Step right up,” and see what’s new. This year marks the debut of the new haunted house, Circo Sinistro, where only the truly disturbed are allowed to perform in its tents of terrors. New Terror-tory Sideshow Square™ will make your jaw drop on the way to the big top.
And in a new twist, Busch Gardens is asking fans to be the ringmaster and help them choose the theme for a room in the park’s newest house.
Howl-O-Scream opens Sept. 23 and runs every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through Oct. 30. Busch Gardens opens at 10 a.m., but becomes a seriously scary place at 6 p.m. when the Howl-O-Scream haunts come out. Guests should consider the park’s elevated scare factor when deciding whether Howl-O-Scream is appropriate for young children.
Howl-O-Scream features seven haunted houses this year, and five Terror-tories that transform Busch Gardens’ quaint villages into dark and sinister places. Guests can quench their thirst by visiting a Howl-O-Scream-themed bar, such as Demon Drinks, or go shopping at Blood Haus and see a live performance like Monster Stomp™ on Ripper Row®.
In Circo Sinistro, guests encounter a big top experience unlike any they’ve ever seen before. Adding to the experience is the chance for guests to choose the theme for one of the rooms of the house. Theme ideas can be submitted online here from July 18-24. The best of those will be selected for a final vote online from July 26-31.
Circo Sinistro will be located in Busch Gardens’ new Terror-tory in Festa Italia, Sideshow Square, where every step could add to a guest’s three-ring nightmare.
With seven haunted houses, five Terror-tories, three live stage shows, themed dining options, shopping experiences and behind-the-scenes tours, there is something for every Howl-O-Scream fan to explore.
Visit www.howloscream.com/va for additional information.
NEWSideshow Square™ (Festa Italia): Your jaw will drop on your way to the big top. What was once only in your imagination is now a frightening reality full of haunts, curiosities and plenty of scare to make you shriek. So step right up and brave Busch Gardens’ newest terror-tory if you dare. Ripper Row® (England): Things are looking a bit unsettling in England; a murderer is on the loose plucking unsuspecting victims from the city streets to satisfy his grizzly curiosity. No one knows what Jack the Ripper looks like or who he will strike next. Authorities hunt furiously among the crowds in search of the killer nabbing anyone who looks at all suspicious. Keep your head down and your wits about you or you might not make it out alive. Vampire Point™ (Germany): Even vampires need a vacation once in a while and Vampire Point™ is the perfect destination for bloodsuckers. Watch your step and your neck or you might end up the main course. Dawn is hours away, your last salvation lies in escaping the vampire village before the inhabitants sink their fangs into you. Demon Street™ (France): Paris is burning. Can you escape before the city is engulfed in flame? Let the smoldering ruins light your way, but beware, fiery fiends lurk around every corner ready to put you on the coals. The smell of a burning inferno fills the air and rumor has it unsuspecting souls will be roasted on a spit. It’s about to get very hot in Paris, so stay cool or you may find yourself going up in smoke. Wendigo Woods™ (New France): Wendigo Woods™ started out as a state-of-the-art facility where researchers could study the flora and fauna of the northern reaches of the continent’s forests. The camp was named after a terrifying creature, the Wendigo, which was thought to be only a legend … until now. Sightings of mysterious creatures stalking through the woods have prompted a security team to shut down the compound and contain whatever is out there. Either unravel the mystery of Wendigo Woods or fall prey to the terror in the trees. Haunted Houses
NEWCirco Sinistro: No one knows when or where the tents will rise, but all who see them are drawn to find out what lies inside Circo Sinistro at Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s Howl-O-Scream. The park’s new haunted house is not of this world and not of this time – but beware, what you see, you soon will be. Catacombs: Through a ruined cemetery filled with statues lies a tunnel that leads to an underground city. Its history is more terrifying than that of France’s worst revolutions. Deep within these tunnels lie mile after mile of bones—the final resting place for those who are buried here. But all is not as quiet as it appears. As guests venture forth into the dank, dripping corridors of rat infested remains, the voices of the dead begin to speak, and some have taken shape. Bitten: Suspicion, darkness and mind-numbing fear surround the “Bitten” house which is set in Eastern Europe in the late 1800s. Full of legends and lore of vampires and the undead that preyed on the innocent, this manor sits by the road upon which all travelers must pass but few return. Dead Line: Deep underground, construction of the newest line of the Pompeii Metro was moving smoothly until an ancient pipe was accidentally struck. At first, it seemed like steam. Then the mist became thicker, more sinister. Now the strange gas is leaking quickly, and everyone trapped inside is infected. The difficult decision was made to cut off all communication to the outside world. The Dead Line is off the grid. Cornered: It’s 1977 and a picturesque farming community is in an uproar over the ongoing disappearances of its residents. Each time someone goes missing, an intricate corn husk doll is left behind leading many to suspect local corn-farmer Jasper McCobb. The McCobb farm has fallen into disrepair since the death of Jasper’s mother. Could the missing townspeople be somewhere in the maze of maize? Join the search party and find out. Lumberhack: Hikers beware: The woods hold a terrifying secret. More than 50 years ago a logging camp was abandoned after a horrific accident where saws ripped into human flesh instead of tree bark. Tragically, the loggers perished … only to inexplicably awaken from death sometime later filled with inhuman rage. The undead loggers rampaged until every living thing in the camp had felt the bite of their axes. Now the forgotten lumberjacks lie waiting for unsuspecting campers to stumble into their den of the damned. Unearthed – Scarlett’s Revenge: During maintenance at the park, an excavation crew uncovered a centuries-old house buried deep beneath the ground. Upon opening its door, a sinister force was unearthed—Scarlett—a furious demon who wields a deadly deck of magical cards she uses to summon her evil minions. Journey below to experience the splintered labyrinth of horrors and the revengeful wrath of this demon scorned. About SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc.
Matt and I have no allusions to how lucky we are to get to be involved in awesome media days at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, and our favorite has to be the Food & Wine Festival. We brought our wives along to this event and got the opportunity to taste everything at the festival’s two newest kiosks, Virginia and Hawaii. We were also very fortunate to have front row seats to see the ice carving show in Ireland. I will go through each kiosk and let you know what we thought about what we tasted.
Chef Justin met with us at the Virginia kiosk, located where Pig in Kilts usually sits in Scotland. He explained the menu and some difficulties he had along the way. He started out in November with ten dishes, knowing he would have to significantly narrow it down. He wanted to do grit fritters, but there were issues with them falling apart, thus he decided to scrap that idea and make cheddar bacon hush puppies. When planning for their ham tasting they had chosen Smithfield Ham and Edwards. Unfortunately, just before the menu was completed, Edwards Smokehouse burned down, so they went with 3 types of Smithfield ham. All five dishes were so good. We had trouble finishing them, but we definitely tried!
The Hawaii kiosk was so well done and everything on the menu was delicious.
Bangors and Colcannon are a must have!
Crepes and Coffee
The Cordon Bleu Crepe is a year round delight!
Coq a Vin will melt in your mouth
You have to try the Mac n Cheese..YOU HAVE TO!
If you like fish tacos, you will love the ones they have prepared here
The Schnitzelwich and Schinkennudel were amazing
The scallops were killer good
Mushi Gyoza has a ponzu sauce so good, I was looking for other things to dip in it!
Souvlaki has a very good tzatziki sauce
There is nothing bad at this booth, and this season they added beignets.
The food art is always so cool, plus they added an ice carving show this season
We’re really excited about Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s new production All For One. It’s a high energy and big stunt recreation of the classic The Three Musketeers. Parkour, high falls, rappelling and theatrical combat are all requested in the audition calls. One of the stunt roles is “a tavern guest who swings on a chandelier and falls to the ground”. We came across the call for audition with the listings of the roles that we’d like to share with you here:
Milady de Winter: the beautiful and deadly mastermind behind the plot to ruin the monarchy; seeking strong female actor with stunt experience and fight training that can command the stage with an exotic allure and powerful presence.
D’Artagnan: the dashing, young newcomer to the Musketeers whose innocence and naivety, coupled with an eagerness to fight, complicate the story; seeking a young, dynamic actor with excellent fight skills; athletic experiences, parkour, gymnastics, or previous stunt experience a plus.
Athos: the elder statesmen and proverbial leader of the Musketeers; seeking an experienced theatrical actor combatant with stunt training.
Porthos: the extrovert of the Musketeers; seeking an experienced theatrical actor combatant with stunt training.
Aramis: an ambitious and unsatisfied soldier who yearns for truth and who values friendship above all else; seeking an experienced theatrical actor combatant with stunt training.
Planchet: the comic servant of D’artagnan; well-intentioned and loveable, his antics complicate matters for the Musketeers; strong comedic timing and athletic experiences a plus.
The Queen: harbors a secret, that, if discovered, would ruin the monarchy; seeking strong female actor with stunt experience and fight training; seeking a dynamic actor who can command the stage with a powerful presence and commanding tone.
High Fall Ensemble: The King’s guards, tavern guests, and dock workers who make up the story; high fall experience a must; extensive stunt training and fight experience required; will play multiple characters.
Chandelier Swing Ensemble: a tavern guest who swings on a chandelier and falls to the ground; also plays guard and dock worker within the story; fall experience a must; stunt training and fight experience required; will play multiple characters.
Ensemble: The King’s guards, tavern guests, and dock workers who make up the story; fall experience a must; stunt training and fight experience required; will play multiple characters.
Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s 2016 Pass Member Preview Day came on March 19th this year with much anticipation surrounding Project 2017. The announcements were begun with the new President of BGW and Water Country USA, David Cromwell. David told us about the new Marco Polo’s Marketplace in San Marco that will serve Italian, Mediterranean and Asian cuisine, as well as a build your own cannoli bar. He announced the KIDsiderate and Glory at the Gardens concert series, you can read about those here. We were also there to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Ireland section of the park with performances by local Irish rock band, The Fighting Jamesons. There was also performances of the Killarney Village Duo out in the hamlet.
The Food and Wine Festival is returning with two new kiosks, Local Virginia and Hawai’i. We reported on Pass Member Appreciation day last year that there would be a new show in the Royal Palace Theatre, that show is All For One. No, not the 90’s R&B group, but a action packed Three Musketeers show. All For One opens July 1st.
Larry Giles, VP of Engineering, came on stage to announce Project 2017. He let us know that it will be BGW’s first wooden roller coaster, being built by Great Coasters, hitting speeds of 48 mph, a drop of 74 ft and have 9 airtime hills. Oh, and it’s viking themed…yes, VIKINGS. We are really stoked about this. Before we get a history lesson and there are arguments about the timeline of vikings landing in North America, remember, BGW is supposed to be fun. We believe this will be an awesome addition to New France. The main theme is vikings invading Trappers Village. Talking with Larry Giles afterword he confirmed it will be a hybrid wooden coaster. (Full announcement video below)
VP of Marketing, Dan Dipiazzo told us this will be the first crowd sourced roller coaster in the world, allowing park guests to vote for the name, along with other elements of the ride, including theming. We cannot wait!
All in all, 2016 is shaping up to be a historic year, going in to 2017! Keep up right here on BG Cabana.
Keep it positive. Keep it fun. Be excellent to each other!
Ahead of their pass member preview day on Saturday March 19th, Busch Gardens Williamsburg released the updated site plans for their upcoming Project 2017. If you’ve haven’t been following, BGW marketing “leaked” the first set of site plans back on February 3rd. On those plans, the only real info was about the queue area and coaster buildings. In this latest release we can see the entire coaster path with an abundance of footers throughout the whole length. What does this mean?! WOODIE!
Busch Gardens will be getting it’s first wooden roller coaster in 2017. Park goers have been clamoring for a wooden coaster for years, but everyone believed it would never happen due to the relatively loudness of wood coasters and the parks close proximity to Kingsmill Resort. Apparently they have overcome those issues. Below is an updated graphic with the full coaster path. Also an overlay of how it will fit into the area. We’re working on getting more information and we’ll post more on the announcement over the weekend.
Norfolk, VA – The Virginia Zoo is launching “Defining Moments,” a $2.6-million capital campaign for the renovation of the Zoo’s reptile house.
Renovations will use the building’s existing footprint, reconfiguring the internal space to double the number and complexity of current exhibits. The updated building, presently being described as the “World of Reptiles,” will feature more than 60 individual environmentally controlled exhibits. The campaign will raise all Zoo facilities to a matching high standard. The Zoological Society board has already raised more than one million dollars toward the campaign and is now asking the public to support the project by donating the remaining $1.6 million.
Since the reptile building’s construction in 1974, visitors to the Virginia Zoo have greeted reptiles, amphibians and nocturnal creatures in this space. The campaign will fund the complete renovation of the Zoo’s oldest building, creating a new 13,000-square-foot exhibit space. “Animals such as reptiles, amphibians and other small creatures are uniquely tied to our world, yet they are commonly overlooked,” says Virginia Zoo Executive Director Greg Bockheim.
“Each ‘defining moment’ that is discovered and observed by a child has tremendous value to our world, and it is our mission to create a fun and educational experience for children and adults at every exhibit at the Zoo.”
The 52-week construction timeline will reconfigure the space to increase the number, size and complexity of the exhibits. Other components of the new facility will include a frog laboratory, reptile nursery, venomous snake and diversity of life galleries, a conservation education classroom and a family restroom.
The Zoo plans to also extend the building to accommodate crocodiles with underwater viewing and add other improved visitor amenities. Exhibits will be constructed in a manner that is immersive and natural so that viewers can see and learn about rarely observed animal behavior.
Approximately 500,000 people visit the Zoo every year. The Zoo estimates that the World of Reptiles will bring in an additional 30,000+ guests annually.
To support the project, the Zoo is asking those interested to contact the Development Office at 757-441-2374 ext. 220 or email [email protected]
I have personally always loved taking my kids to the Zoo, and have also spent many tranquil hours there on my own. I very much look forward to creating new “Defining Moments” with my children in this new and exciting renovation.
The Virginia Zoo has been a staple day-cation for my family, it is an inexpensive and educational trip. After many years of visiting we have gotten to know many of the animals, and after the Trail of the Tiger exhibit opened we were able to see our new animal friends adapt to their new homes and see babies grow before our eyes. The staff has always been pleasant and knowledgeable.
Stay tuned here for more updates on this awesome project!
Keep it positive, keep it fun, be excellent to each other!