Busch Gardens Williamsburg 2019 Highlights [Video / Photo Gallery]
For our annual theme park adventure this year, we returned to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia, for a full day of thrilling rides and epic good times.
When we last visited the park, our son, Ozzie, was just first dipping his foot into the roller coaster experience with a couple rides on the classic Loch Ness Monster and the wooden InvadR, but this year, now at age 12, he was pretty fearless in taking on many of the biggest thrill rides for the first time.
But we had to start with The Loch Ness Monster (which we rode numerous times at the end of our visit in 2017), a 43 year old iconc of yellow steel with a striking green train, all themed to the legendary Scottish sea creature. It was mid-August, just as schools were about to begin, and as such, the lines and wait times for the rides were minimal in general, and we literally walked right onto Loch Ness upon arriving with no waiting at all.
A second ride on Loch Ness that would’ve been in the front seat was postponed when the coaster was temporarily shut down to clean up a previous rider’s vomit, so we took it as a sign to move on to something else.
From the Scotland area of the park, we ventured over towards Italy and hopped right on the Escape From Pompeii boat ride, which gets frighteningly hot during the inside portion of the ride thanks to some very impressive pyrotechnic effects, only to cool you off at the end with a fun drop that leads to a big splash of water delightfully drenching most of the riders.
Then it was time for the nearby Battering Ram and Davinci’s Cradle, before heading for Sue’s and my favorite ride at Busch Gardens, Apollo’s Chariot, a super fun 73mph roller coaster with tons of soaring air time and an awesome 170-foot first drop. It was Ozzie’s first time on Apollo’s Chariot, and as expected, he absolutely loved it an was immediately ready to ride it again. In all, we returned to the Chariot about five times throughout the day.
Next to Apollo’s Chariot is the twisty launch coaster Tempesto, but just as we were to be the next group to board the ride, a hard rain storm hit and all rides were temporarily closed for about an hour. We took the time to grab a snack to eat and cool off with a drink, which includes free refills all day if you purchase the collector’s cup, which we did and put those refills to constant good use.
After our weather-imposed lunch break (we shared a giant pretzel and Oz had a sandwich), we were in Octoberfest when the rain stopped and the rides were finally reopened, so got on the nearby Verbolten, a multi-launch coaster with indoor and outdoor sections, built where the classic Big Bad Wolf coaster used to be years ago. We all loved this exciting and unique thrill ride, and first-timer Ozzie especially enjoyed the inside part when the ride stops in the dark and the track literally drops down to a lower track before shooting out into the sunlight again at full launch speed.
From there, we walked to one of the firsts on Ozzie’s to do list, the ski lodge-themed Alpengeist coaster, which features multiple inversions and rolls as it twists around bridges and other rides. Ozzie said it was a little bumpier than he prefers, but was a highly enjoyable ride nonetheless.
For lunch, we shared our traditional turkey leg in France, under the towering Griffon coaster, which Oz opted to save until next time.
We eventually made our way back to Italy, where Tempesto was now open, so with a very small wait time, we got on and went for a wild ride. Ozzie loved it, especially the “falling” backwards as riders are first launched forward up a massive incline, only to be dropped in reverse back through the line queue, and then speed forward through the rest of the ride.
After another ride on Apollo’s Chariot (no lines again) and a couple spins on the Trade Wind bobsled, we decided to cool off on the Roman Rapids inner tube water ride, which always has a bit of a wait, but was well worth it when we all got off drenched but thankfully no longer sweating.
Then we took one more fun ride on Apollo’s Chariot before taking a relaxing train ride from Italy back over to France, where we got on the wooden viking-themed coaster InvadR.
Our final ride of the day was Le Scoot log flume (always Sue’s favorite), a classic that has been in operation since the park itself first opened in 1975.
By closing time, we were exhausted but exhilarated and felt that we had successfully done everything we had hoped to do and then some, and we enjoyed our day to the fullest. Knowing that a brand new roller coaster (Pantheon) is scheduled to open next year, Ozzie is already planning our next visit.
You can watch some highlights from our 2019 adventure at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, including Ozzie’s reactions after riding many of the park’s roller coasters for the first time, in the video below, and then scroll down to view our photo gallery.
(Click an image to enlarge and view in gallery browser.)
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