Busch Gardens Trip & A Google Street View Tour

Coaster Critic Updates

Next week I’ll be returning to Busch Gardens Williamsburg for my first rides on Verbolten. I’ve been able to keep from reading too much about the event building, so I’m really looking forward to the effects and overall look of the interior. I know that there’s a drop section, but other than that, I’m in the dark. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. So, look out for my review of Verbolten in the coming weeks as I finally get to encounter the first (of hopefully 4) 2012 roller coasters. It’s one of my Top 5 Most Anticipated New Coasters, so I can’t wait to see how it is.

If there’s time, I hope to sneak in a few rides on my top ten-ranked coasters Apollo’s Chariot and Alpengeist to see if they’re still deserving of their spots. I’m also looking forward to checking out Mach Tower and taking the kids to the Sesame Forest of Fun with another kiddie coaster for my daughter in Grover’s Alpine Express.

Will I think that Verbolten is a suitable replacement for Big Bad Wolf? Will the drop section be worthy of a coaster moment post? Will I get high fives from all of the Sesame Street characters? Answers to these questions and many more, here on the blog. And also check for first reactions on my Twitter.

See all of my Verbolten coverage.
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Take a Virtual Tour of Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Even as I’ve visited new parks and had new experiences, Busch Gardens Williamsburg has remained one of my favorite theme parks. It’s a beautiful, green park with top-notch operations. What it lacks in quantity (with regards to coasters) it more than makes up in near superior quality. For years, I’ve been begging my Mid-Atlantic friends and family to go to the park. At least now, thanks to Google Street View, they can take an in-depth look around the park and start to get a feel for why it’s not just another theme park.

If you’ve never used it, Google Street View is a feature in GoogleMaps that allows you to get a ground-level view of the area that you’re looking at. In most major U.S. cities you can pick up that little yellow man icon and drop him on roads that are highlighted blue. Then you’ll be able to move down the street from the same view you’d have if you were driving. You can also look around 360-degrees and even look up and zoom in.

A while back Google sent out their Google Trike to get areas that their vehicles can’t go like theme parks. Here’s a post and a video of a Google Trike capturing SeaWorld Orlando. Anyway, a street view is also available of Busch Gardens Williamsburg. So, drag that little yellow man onto the blue pathways in the park and see the park like a guest.

View Larger Map

I’ve also picked a few spots to the right that you can jump to by clicking on them.

Loch Ness Monster - Bridge View - Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Sometimes in Street View there are user submitted photos. The photos in the second image were available when I moved down the the bridge connecting Italy and Germany. It’s one of the places many stop to take pictures. You can see how Alpengeist, Loch Ness Monster, and Griffon converge at the Rhine River. On the other side of the bridge you’ll still see Big Bad Wolf diving to the water. If you’re there today you’ll Verbolten doing the same.

Here’s a view of the Festhaus in the Germany section of the park. It’s a massive restaurant with a stage and a bunch of eating options. If you click into it and look around you can make your way to the 3D dark ride, the Curse of Darkastle.

Griffon - Busch Gardens Williamsburg













It’s hard to photograph Apollo’s Chariot, but you can see it loom over the Festa Italia area.

You can see kids awaiting another train from Griffon to pass by so they can get cooled off by a splash. If you pan up, you can see a train at the crest of the 90-degree drop.

It looks like the Sesame Street characters waved at the Google Street View Trike as it passed through Sesame Forest. If you click into this view, pan left and you’ll see an odd view of Ernie standing by himself. Is he plotting something sinister?

I consider Busch Gardens one of the most attractive parks around? What do you think? Have you ever been to the park? Leave a comment below.

12 Comments

  1. My daughter and I loved Verbolten, and managed three rides on it, even when it was down most of the time we were at the park. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts, but I thought it was an excellent, if not extreme, coaster.

    Reply
    • My older daughter's only 44 inches or so and not ready for Verbolten, but it's good to hear that you and your daughter liked it so much. BGW's one of my top parks, so my expectations are high. Especially since I loved swinging through Big Bad Wolf's village.

      Reply
  2. I'm also going for my first rides on Verbolten this Thursday. I can't wait! I'll keep an eye out for you.

    Reply
    • Looks like we'll miss each other. I'll be there on Monday. Let us know what you think of Verbolten when you come back. I should have a review of my own up next week some time.

      Reply
      • Too bad I'll miss you. Would you consider organizing a coaster tour with your fans? That would be epic.

        Maybe we could qualify for special perks or "ERT" considering the possible large group and the exposure for the parks on your sites, And maybe you could make some money in the process.

        Just a thought…

        Reply
        • That may be something I'll consider if I ever have a site with a larger community. Not sure how many people would show up just to ride with me.

          Reply
        • Speaking of ERT, I only got one ride on Verbolten. If you can, try to get several rides so you can experience the different effects. Like Aric said the line moves fast eve if it looks long.

          Reply
          • Was it breaking down again?

          • I got to ride front left on the red train, and back right on the green train. As usual better in the back. I thought it was a good ride but way too short. Even though the launches are slow the ride seems to be pretty forceful due to the tightness of the turns. Honestly I was pretty disappointed with the indoor section. I was hoping for a lot more theming inside. If I want to ride indoors in the dark, Flight of Fear at Kings Dominion seems better due to the extra speed, inversions, and extra length. Although the drop section was pretty cool, it really seems like a novelty for the kids…

            Had more fun on the old standbys like Alpie, Griffon, and the Chariot. I am sooooo pissed off that I never got to ride the Big Bad Wolf!

            I'll be hitting Cedar Point later this month. Do you know how the Iron Dragon compares to the BBW?

  3. BGW is a great park and is definitely the most beautiful park I have ever been to. By the way, I saw a google street view car on the road the other day in Atlanta I believe. I was visiting Six Flags Over Georgia. Even with SFOG having more coasters than BGW, I like BGW better because it had better coasters even though they only had 4 (excluding grover and before verboltan). SFOG was still a nice park though. Goliath was fun.

    Reply
    • Yep. Busch definitely makes a case for the 'quality over quantity' argument.

      Reply
  4. Busch Gardens was my home park when I was in college. It's a lovely place (though the ersatz-European touches can be cheesy in an endearing way), but I haven't been there since the days when Drachen Fire was running. The Loch Ness Monster and the late lamented BBW are among my favorite coasters ever.

    I'd love to go back. The B&Ms all look great (especially Alpengeist, which I think is at the top of my personal Most Wanted list), Verbolten actually sounds like it might be a worthy successor to the BBW, and while I'm not normally big on haunted-house dark rides, Curse of DarKastle actually sounds so cool that I'd be interested. And the Grover coaster would be about right for my kid, as short as it is.

    Reply

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