Coasterbill's Alcohol, Coaster and Culture Trip Reports Land

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Re: Coasterbill's Alcohol, Coaster and Culture Trip Reports

Postby boldikus » Tue Oct 24, 2017 6:12 am

How have you not gotten a job promoting for Knoebels by now? You sell it so well.

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Re: Coasterbill's Alcohol, Coaster and Culture Trip Reports

Postby PKI Jizzman » Tue Oct 24, 2017 3:59 pm

Who is this guy? Now he's got a new hat and glasses. I can't even keep up with this thread anymore! Seriously, thanks for the endless entertainment.

4 parks in one day along the East coast is impressive, and beyond that you arguably got on the best of each major category in one day (flyer, wooden, hyper, inverted). I would have done the same thing.
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Re: Coasterbill's Alcohol, Coaster and Culture Trip Reports

Postby anonymouscactus » Tue Oct 24, 2017 4:30 pm

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(and yes I had to look up wtf you were talking about)

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Re: Coasterbill's Alcohol, Coaster and Culture Trip Reports

Postby x2isawesome » Tue Oct 24, 2017 5:06 pm

This tr has nearly by itself to return to the real happiest place on earth next year. Even going to be bringing along a couple of rookies.
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Re: Coasterbill's Alcohol, Coaster and Culture Trip Reports

Postby coasterbill » Thu Oct 26, 2017 6:37 pm

Thanks guys!!!!! As always, I really appreciate the feedback!

x2isawesome wrote:Even going to be bringing along a couple of rookies.

Excellent! It's always nice to bring new people into the cult.

boldikus wrote:How have you not gotten a job promoting for Knoebels by now? You sell it so well.

:lol: I agree, it's totally bullsh*t. I still don't have my commission checks and Kozmo refuses to return my calls.

anonymouscactus wrote:Image

(and yes I had to look up wtf you were talking about)


:lol: :lmao: :lol: :lmao: :lol: OMG!

That picture is the perfect exclamation point to the Knoebels portion of this report, on to the next one... Busch Gardens Williamsburg!

===========================================

You don't ever really have to twist my arm to get me to go to Busch Gardens Williamsburg but as soon as InvadR was announced I knew a 2017 visit was inevitable. The coaster itself didn't look like it was anything mind blowing (or mine blowing) but it was a great excuse for us to return to a great park and it was an easy weekend trip for us where we didn't have to take any time off from work. More importantly, we already had passes to both Busch Gardens and Kings Dominion so all year we knew a Busch Gardens trip was pretty much a certainty.

Before we knew it though, it was October and it was clear that the season was really slipping away from us. We knew we had better hurry up and pull the trigger on this thing before we totally missed our chance. After checking our calendar and checking with Brit we settled on the second week of October. A few days out when we knew the weather looked decent-ish I went online, booked the hotels and we were set.

... sort of.

We're now 38 reports and 51 pages into this train wreck of a thread (so much for not being a trip report guy) and as you know our coaster trips pretty much always consist of just me and Brit or the two of us with Boldikus and the gang (but I let him write those reports because I'm a lazy f*ck so they're not in this thread). That was about to change though because a few days before the trip I mentioned our weekend plans to my mom in passing and she seemed interested in tagging along.

My mom is pushing 60, but she's a f*cking bad a** when it comes to riding coasters. It's rare that she ever comes with us any more except for the occasional Great Adventure / Holiday in the Park trip (because she's convinced that Nitro is the single greatest coaster to ever grace planet earth) but Busch Gardens was a park I wanted to get her to for a long time since she loves B&M's and I figured after going almost exclusively to Great Adventure for years it would be nice for her to be reminded of what a theme park looked like when it actually had landscaping and a reasonable maintenance budget. Brit and I were both on board, so she decided to tag along. I told her we had already booked our hotels but she could book any hotel she wanted since we didn't mind dropping her off and picking her up in the morning and at night. It seemed like a simple and stress free plan to us, we were set!

... sort of.

I have fond memories of going to parks with my mom as a kid. In 2000 when Millennium Force was all the rage (actually what am I saying? Millennium Force is still all the rage, f*ck the haters) my parents had recently gotten a divorce but one Christmas she managed to scoop up the money to get me and my brother Cedar Point tickets for the next summer.

This isn't going to be a bullsh*t Doctor Phil sob story or anything, don't worry... as divorces go it wasn't too bad, they're very cordial and I have a great relationship with both of them, it's all good. But... the point I'm trying to make is that back then we didn't have much money so that trip was a huge expense for her and one of the coolest Christmas presents I ever got. We stayed out near the Ohio Turnpike at some cheap hotel where we had a packed a cooler full of turkey sandwiches on potato rolls and that's basically all we ate for 2 days aside from the crappy continental breakfast. Every morning I'd go to the ice machine at the hotel and fill the cooler, then we'd bring the cooler to the park and have one for lunch and when we got back we'd have another one for dinner. Again, this isn't a sob story... potato rolls are the sh*t (I'm not complaining, lol) but we were REALLY on a budget.

Fast forward to now she got remarried to a great guy, he goes on a ton of business trips to really nice hotels, she tags along, the company pays for everything and apparently someone's become a bit high maintenance. No more of that budget hotel near the highway sh*t. :lol:

Look, I didn't expect her to actually stay at the sh*tty Econo Lodge. I wouldn't have even done it if it weren't for that insane Choice Fall promo I keep talking about but she immediately started looking at the most expensive hotels in Williamsburg with 2 room suites. I reminded her that we already had rooms booked at non-cancellable rates and that since we paid for them we were definitely staying there since all we needed to do was complete the stays we had already paid for and we'd get massive point bonuses and platinum status but she proceeded to book one of the most expensive 2 bedroom suites in Williamsburg anyway. After trying for days she gave up trying to convince us to stay there (the place was awesome and had like 7 rooms but we already booked a hotel and needed to check in and out). It was so nice I almost checked in, immediately bailed and stayed there anyway and then went back in the morning to check out but the hotels were 20 minutes apart, we were tired and at that point a bed was a bed. The hotel thing was a production that went on for days but as we made our way down on Friday night that was in the rear view mirror and we were in for a stress free evening.

... sort of.

Mom had never been to Williamsburg and really wanted to try to work in some of the Colonial Williamsburg stuff. I couldn't take Friday off so that was sort of out, but she settled for a nighttime Williamsburg ghost tour on Friday night at 10:00. She knew going in that we might miss it because I warned her about DC traffic but I really wanted to get there since I knew how much she wanted to go (and honestly Brit did too) so it made for a pretty stressful drive down. I got to leave work early so we left my office at 1:00 and after a few detours in south Jersey, minimal stops, a standard DC traffic dumpster fire and paying for every single upcharge EZ express lane in the Baltimore and Washington area (and thank god we did) we made it into town at 9:58 with two f*cking minutes to spare. Two... f*cking minutes. It had been a stressful few days between the trip planning and crazy drive down but finally it was time to relax and enjoy ourselves (and pat myself on the back for actually pulling that off... 2 minutes to spare on a drive that started 5 states away, god damn :lol: ).

The ghost tour was cool, and certainly different. I wasn't going to take pictures since I knew the combination of rain and nighttime photos on my terrible phone wouldn't end well, but eventually they convinced me to take some so they could "look for orbs" later on. Still, they're terrible pictures so I won't share them here. If you're into that kind of thing, this is their website. The price is quite reasonable and since there's nothing to do in Williamsburg at night (unless you want to awkwardly hang out in the Wawa parking lot for hours which seems to be what the locals do) it's a cool option. One downside is that apparently they have horse drawn carriage rides in Colonial Williamsburg and they sh*t all over the street so you have to be careful when you walk. That was sort of gross. As for the tour. Mom and Brit really liked it and I thought it was cool to try something new (but if I'm being honest I sort of though the whole ghost thing and emf sensor thing was a bunch of bullsh*t). It was fun though.

Is anyone still with me? No. Okay fine, let's talk about Busch Gardens.

We woke up in the morning, checked out of our hotel (since of course we were hotel hopping to earn more points), went to pick up mom and made our way into the Busch Gardens parking lot right at park open. Per usual we were instructed to turn our hazard lights on, hang the hang tag on the mirror and proceed to the VIP lot (which is unnecessary, but a cool perk of that Platinum Pass). We were directed to the England Lot (that's different, but okay...), parked the car and made our way through the gates.

We knew the park would inevitably hit capacity, but at park open it seemed like a pretty typical day at Busch Gardens. Still, we wanted to make sure we hit all of the low capacity rides early and once the park opened we made our way straight to the back for our first ever ride on InvadR.

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Good Morning!

Aesthetically, it's hard not to be impressed with InvadR. I was always a fan of New France anyway... there's nothing better than drinking a beer, sitting in the sun, watching Griffon and Alpengeist roar by and listening to the same 2 Gordon Lightfoot songs on loop. I'd (almost) never listen to Gordon Lightfoot at home, but at Busch Gardens it just sort of works. I guess they feel that playing a Canadian artist automatically makes the area 10 times more Canadian. Personally I feel like they should just put in a Tim Horton's and call it a day if they want to up the Canada factor but I'm not here to tell anyone how to do their job.

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The theming is spectacular. For example, here we have an accurate representation of what Canadians look like in the morning before they get their Tim's. See Busch Gardens... if you would just listen to me and put one in New France this guy wouldn't look so pissed off all the time.

We entered the queue and were greeted with a short wait. I normally don't do this since it's dorky and since I like to let everyone draw their own conclusions but I did prep everyone by explaining that we only came here first because it was new. Since I've spent the better part of a decade telling mom how great the place was, I really didn't want her to sit in the car for 8+ hours, finally get there and wonder what the hell my problem was when we ran to a small, family friendly wood coaster at park open.

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Who wouldn't love this station?

There was a bit of a log jam at the front of the station so we hopped in the back car and were greeted with a short 2 train wait. The ride has shorter trains than you would expect for a GCI at a major corporate park which gave it a bit of a "White Lightning" vibe. The trains themselves are really cool looking, especially the one that has an Adirondack style bear thing on the front of it. They absolutely nailed the theming on this ride.

A few minutes later we found ourselves boarding our train and before we knew it we were rolling out of the station rounding the curve and ascending the modestly-sized lift. On the way up you get some great views of Le Scoot which would have been even more awesome had it been operating during Howl O Scream (hint hint... wink wink) but we didn't have too much time to admire the scenery since before we knew it we were dropping off the lift, banking to the left, entering a tunnel and barreling down the covered first drop.

Since it's a new ride I'd love to give you the play by play but honestly it's all a bit of a blur after the drop. If you want airtime you're not going to get it here (like at all), this ride is all about laterals. It's a fun ride for sure and I like that it seems to maintain it's speed throughout the entire ride. Like most GCIs it definitely has some great pacing. The highlight (believe it or not) is probably the drop / helix / turn thing at the very end of the ride which uses the terrain, feels very fast and ends the ride on a high note.

As GCIs go this may be the weakest I've ridden in terms of the actual layout but it's still a fun little coaster and an absolute laugh fest. It's a smooth ride, it looks great and if it weren't for the queue length we would have ridden it a ton. As it stood though, that would be our only ride of the day. It's a fun coaster but it's totally overshadowed at Busch Gardens. It's a great family coaster though so it absolutely serves it's purpose. It won't blow anyone away but I still give InvadR my seal of approval (which is worth jack sh*t if anyone's wondering).

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What an amazing ride!

... also pictured: InvadR

After InvadR, I knew we should probably head up to Tempesto due to it's miserable capacity but with Germany still closed we opted to head back the way we came and over to Griffon since it was on the way.

I was really excited for mom to try this thing. She had never ridden a Dive Machine and it seemed like the type of thing she would love given it's huge graceful, ultra smooth transitions, impressive speed and awesome holding brake and drop.

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Griffon being awesome. I love the Christmas lights. The ride's going to look awesome when it's closed for Christmas for no apparent reason.

As it turned out, our instincts were right and she was totally blown away by Griffon. The ride still didn't have a line after our first ride so we immediately looped back around and walked right back on to the front row... this time getting the end seats and giving her the one on the outside. She loved that even more so I assume we have a wing coaster fan in the making. :lol:

Of course she loved Griffon, who wouldn't love Griffon?

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Whee!!!!!!

It was tough to pry ourselves away from the power and speed of the mythical Griffon™ but given the hordes of people that were sure to descend on the park at any minute we knew we needed to head up to Tempesto and I had the perfect way to get there!

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Oh don't act so surprised....

Aeronaut (the park's sky ride) had just opened so we were treated to a complete walk-on. For those unfamiliar with this ride, it's actually quite a bit different than it's counterparts as it forms a triangle with 3 stations and only allows for one way travel from each station (as it only has one cable). To get where we were going we would actually need to take it two stations but we assumed that this early in the day the only line would be at the station at the front of the park where we were getting off anyway so we hopped on.

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We had perfect timing as we traveled over Griffon's splashdown pool which allowed for this awesome visual.

When we arrived at the next station we were pleased to find that there was absolutely no line at all. We were ready to walk around but we asked if we could stay on the ride and they just pushed the cabin right to the trip position and saved us the walk since there was no wait. Awesome! Aeronaut was definitely helping to build up the hype for the day as we got awesome views of Alpengeist and Griffon on the first leg but when we started on the next leg of the ride (which I consider to be the best) the hype really grew as we traveled over the river and got awesome views of just about every coaster in the park.

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No train, but it's still a great visual.

Mom had been eyeing Apollo's Chariot since the moment we pulled into the parking lot (I mean... it "looked like Nitro", so that was a given :lol: ) but Brit and I explained the situation with Tempesto's single train so we went there first. I've always liked this ride in the past but always came away a little underwhelmed for some reason. After our insane rides on Phobia this spring I was really excited to get back on Tempesto to see if they were growing on me as a whole or if Phobia was just infinitely better.

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Despite concerns to the contrary during construction, this ride looks great!

Tempesto had a station wait (which was still about 15 minutes) but by the time we boarded the train it had quickly extended well past the station and started curving under the far end of the ride. Damn, good thing we got there when we did.

Luckily the lines for the front rows were relatively short so I offered mom and Brit the front and took a seat in row two (sitting behind Brit is like a front row ride anyway, she's so short :lol: ). The trains are still impossible to get in and out of and the comfort collars are incredibly stupid but I was pleasantly surprised with the ride itself. I still think Phobia has a little more pep to it but Tempesto delivered a super smooth and totally awesome ride and all three of us absolutely loved it.

Up next was Apollo's Chariot which for some reason I never got a decent picture of. It was still a station wait, and as far as I'm concerned this ride may as well only have one row on the entire train so we all headed for the back (the only row worth sitting in). Given her love of Nitro I was absolutely convinced that this would be mom's favorite ride at Busch Gardens and she was thrilled and filled with anticipation when she sat down in the familiar B&M hyper coaster seat and pulled down the clamshell restraint.

I've always loved this ride and the day I realized the back row delivered insane ejector airtime all the way down the drop was the day it rocketed to the top portion of my steel coaster list (or it would have if I was nerdy enough to have a top steel coaster list). As always the ride was absolutely tremendous, the first drop was insane and the train returned to an eruption of cheers from the entire train. God I love that thing!

When we exited the ride I was surprised to find out that (while she liked it), mom seemed to think Griffon was still the best coaster we rode that day. Brit had actually predicted this since she assumed she would be comparing it to Nitro the entire time which (if you haven't been following along) is evidently man's crowning achievement and a coaster so incredibly perfect and majestic that it single-handedly controls the tides and is the reason the sun shines and birds sing.

:lol: :lmao: :lol: To each his (or her) own, who am I to argue? We all still had a blast on Apollo's Chariot and that's all that really matters.

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Making our way over to Germany. Holy sh*t, that POS is actually running?

Initially we planned to hit Verbolten next but since Mach Tower was actually operating for a change, Brit and I decided we had better hop in line right away before it inevitably sh*t itself and broke down. It was a complete walk-on at that point and a few minutes later we found ourselves strapped in to it's f*cked up seats and on our way up the tower.

It had been a long time since I'd actually managed to get on this unreliable POS but I had forgotten how much I liked it. I love that it spins on the way up and it provides breathtaking views of the beautiful park, brewery :lover: and surrounding area. The drop itself is also pretty powerful. Overall this thing is an absolute blast when it actually decides to work. :lol:

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Verbolten was going to be our next stop but by that point it was clear that the park was officially bullsh*t busy. We couldn't complain too much as we basically had the run of the place all morning but before hopping in line we decided to stock up on the essentials...

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Bavarian Pretzels!

Don't worry, there was beer too... but along with Brit's pretzel it didn't fit in the shot. :lol:

As it turned out we ended up waiting about an hour for Verbolten. Brit and I absolutely love this thing and we definitely hyped it up quite a bit. Mom has never seen or heard of a drop track and we sure as sh*t weren't going to tell her about it so we spent most of our time in line talking about things that had nothing to do with coasters or theme parks at all hoping that nobody would spoil the surprise.

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God damn, they told these people time and time again not to go into the Black Forest. You had one job and you f*cked it up...

I won't lie, I was pretty bummed when they announced the removal of Big Bad Wolf. I've always had a thing for Arrow suspended coasters and that one was definitely the best one I had ever ridden. The first time I rode Verbolten I was pretty much convinced that I couldn't possibly like this imposter of a coaster but I've got to admit, it's basically impossible not to love this ride.

I'd heard a lot of reports of effects not working this year but I'm pleased to say that that wasn't the case at all on our visit. This ride won't blow anyone away with it's stats but it has to be one of the most fun coasters anywhere in America. The indoor section is great, the drop track is awesome and the Big Bad Wolf style finale is a great way to end a great ride.

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They really need to have that bridge looked at. It seems pretty unstable and overall it's pretty much a piece of sh*t. Shoddy construction for sure...

As always, we absolutely loved our ride on Verbolten. Mom never saw the drop track coming and thought it was awesome, and overall we gave the ride a huge thumbs up. When talking about the coasters of Busch Gardens Williamsburg this one is frequently overlooked, but all in all it's really a fantastic ride.

After Verbolten it had actually started to rain a bit and it turned out that rain would last for the next few hours. It wasn't enough to make anyone run for cover but it was definitely enough to be annoying after awhile. We looked at the show schedule for an excuse to get out of the rain but there was nothing that really appealed to us other than the predator show (now called Howl to Coexist) which was outdoors anyway so we decided to check out some of the shops instead. Mom decided to cave and pick up a poncho, personally I'd rather catch pneumonia and die than be caught wearing a poncho in public so I decided to forego that but I had no issue checking out the selection in the beer stein store while she looked at ponchos. :lol:

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Rainy afternoon at Busch Gardens

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Fun Fact: Many people think New France is just modern day Canada, but it actually extends a bit further south into the northern United States and all the way down to Flint, Michigan.


... oh hush

Sadly the rain did nothing to keep the coaster lines at bay. We thought of hitting Alpengeist but it's wait time was exceeding 90 minutes and we wanted to see the Howl to Coexist show so we put that off and decided to wander around a bit more. We made our way up to the front to check out a few more shops and see the clydesdales and then made our way back to Wolf Haven to secure a good spot for the show.

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All of this awesome stuff hanging from cables over the midway really made for a great Halloween atmosphere. The pumpkin things were a nice touch too. (Okay, you saw that one coming)

Despite the rain and the exposed theater, the Wolf Haven show was filled to capacity. The show had a new name but it turns out it was the exact same show it's always been featuring owls, hawks, a fox, rats and (of course) wolves. This may sound like a complaint, but it couldn't be further from it. I love the show in it's current form and was totally fine with the fact that they didn't change it.

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Who wants a wolf gif? Everybody? Well I have great news then...
(excuse the different size gifs by the way, they're all optimized to find the best balance between file size, frame rate and image size where it plays without much lag. This sh*t is a science :lol: )

I highly recommend checking this show out next time you visit Busch Gardens. The grey wolves are beautiful, but the whole show leading up to it is great too. The birds are incredibly well trained and will fly within inches of your head, the fox is always great to see and the trainers are always a ton of fun and incredibly informative.

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After the show you can get up close and personal with the trainers and some of the animals.

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Damn straight... we love Sea World / Busch Gardens!

By the end of the show the rain had started to let up a little bit and I had been deprived of Williamsburg's star coaster long enough so after checking out some of the animals over near Wolf Haven we began making our way back towards Alpengeist. Along the way we hit the restroom and grabbed some more beer since we had already learned that we should be prepared for an enormous line when we showed up but unfortunately there was really no way to prepare for how ridiculously huge it actually was. :lol:

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People have been wondering about ride lines during Howl O Scream lately... wonder no more. lol

I've visited this park quite a bit over the years and every time I've been spoiled by incredibly manageable wait times. When Alpengeist's queue spills into the second queue building at all you know the park is busy, and over the years I became convinced that the lower wooden queue area was just for decoration. How wrong I was...

I know some people can't stand long lines at theme parks and I get that, but since the only skip-the-line pass worth buying was $100 per person and since we had been spoiled all morning with ridiculously short waits for everything we didn't really mind the line. We talked, drank our beers, laughed at the unimaginably drunk woman who almost fell in the bushes a little further up in the queue and eventually almost forgot we were even standing in line for a coaster. It turned out that about 90 minutes later we were in the station but it didn't really feel like that terrible of a wait since the rain had mostly stopped and the line kept moving at a decent enough pace.

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Only one more hour to go! lol

Since mom had never ridden it we decided that despite the line we should bite the bullet and wait for the front (at this point why the hell not?). There were a (excuse the scientific measurement term) "f*ckload" of exit passes, all of which took the front row so it took us another 40 minutes to finally get on the ride but a little over 2 hours after we got in line our patience was about to pay off with a front seat ride on one of the best inverted coasters in America.

As we began ascending the lift we realized it was still drizzling a little, but not enough to put a damper on our experience. It was starting to get dark at that point which created a really cool atmosphere and even before we dropped off the lift we knew we were in for an awesome ride.

Despite it's height, the first drop really doesn't have much of a kick to it since it trims right at the top, but thankfully the ride starts to pick up in no time. The first three elements of the ride are all awesome, each getting progressively better and more intense, culminating with that awesome cobra roll that rips through the second half of the element with ridiculous ferocity. God I love this thing!

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Alpengeist is my sh*t

The second half of the ride gets a lot of hate, but honestly I sort of like it. The barrel roll after the midcourse is an absolute blast, as is the corkscrew and while it does meander around a bit after that the snow theming helps to make the second half of the ride pretty awesome and unique in it's own right. All in all, this ride is outstanding and as we hit the final brakes mom declared that she had a really tough time picking between that and Griffon. Personally, I have an incredibly easy time picking between Alpengeist and Griffon, but whatever floats your boat. :lol:

Alpengeist is amazing.

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Having a blast!

After Alpengeist it was starting to get dark so we decided to shift our focus a bit and check out some mazes. While in line for Alpengeist we saw an ad for single use skip the line passes and after being directed to a store across from Frostbite, we were told that we could purchase single use passes for Frostbite for $20 each.

It was a bit steep, but what the hell? It was Howl O Scream and the 3 hour wait didn't seem all that appealing so we went ahead and got them. We thought of using them right away, but instead we decided to hang on to them a little bit and go grab some dinner and drinks at the Festhaus.

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It's starting to get spooky...

Normally I stick to Trapper's but since everything was wet the thought of eating indoors at a nice dry table was too much to turn down. For those who haven't been in there, the Festhaus is actually really cool inside and as an added bonus they had some kind of show set up that was supposed to start about 10 minutes after we walked in.

We grabbed some food (I think I got some sausage sampler thing along with some German beer I can't pronounce) and started looking for a table. We noticed a VIP section up front that was totally empty and I asked if a Platinum Pass granted us access (since it does at SeaWorld). We were turned down and opted to sit a bit further back, but a few minutes later the person I asked earlier came over and asked us to sit there so they could fill up the seats near the stage. That was very nice of him, but at the same time that should have been a clue. :lol:

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It's show time...

What even is this sh*t? The star of the show is some dude that looks like Kanye West who's apparently a vampire and runs some kind of dance club for dead people. They dance around awhile to some music that has nothing to do with Halloween like Lady Gaga and 80's pop music (but not Thriller because that would sort of make sense... don't worry).

Anyway, I guess Vampire Kanye falls in love or decides to drink this girl's blood which I guess mean's she's in the casket club even though they were already in the casket club and then they break out into a disco tune... and... I don't know.

In addition to the fact that I can't stand dance shows, the premise here is a tad f*cked. Unfortunately for us since the guy basically begged us to sit there and he sort of did us a favor we sat there way longer than we should have trying to be nice. Once the disco ball came down though, we bailed. Sorry. We tried. We really did, but we had better things to do than watch the nonsensical disco Kanye vampire sh*tshw extravaganza. Peace. :lol:

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We escaped the casket club!

After grabbing another drink (because we needed one after that show) we decided to burn our Quick Queue's and made our way over to Frostbite.

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Damn straight... if someone comes at you with a chainsaw you make sure you still don't give up your drink. This is where I got it from. Priorities...

Frostbite is brand new this year and takes place in the Curse of DarkKastle building. They utilize the existing pre-show room and actually do a really cool tie in where the maze storyline ties into the Prince Ludwig / Curse of DarkKastle storyline. Very cool!

Since the maze utilizes the existing ride track it's actually a really long maze and it's filled with awesome effects. Many of the existing screens and sets are utilized and they come up with some seriously impressive ways to cover up the ride track as you walk on either side of it. I was caught dorking-out over that on multiple occasions and the scare actors took full advantage. This house was absolutely loaded with great scares and cool effects and is easily one of the best theme park houses we've ever done. It's not "Deathwater Bayou" good, but for a regional park it's insane.

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I was disappointed that Dark Kastle wouldn't be operating for Howl O Scream this year, but it's hard to complain with a house that good.

We were in full-blown Howl O Scream mode after Frostbite so after grabbing more beer we set off in search of another house, this time ending up at "Cornered", a corn maze type house between the Feshaus and Frostbite.

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I'm a sucker for any haunt attraction involving corn. That sh*t is terrifying. lol

It's impossible to see the queue for this thing until you're totally committed, so we asked the guy up front how long the wait was. He said it was about an hour (which seemed reasonable) so we hopped in line.

Yeah... no

The line began right against the back wall of the DarkKastle building but moved at an absolute snail's pace. Once we reached the back of that building we made a right and went almost the full length of the DarkKastle building, then doubled back and then went back again down to the back of Alpengeist's maintenance building before coming all the way back over an hour later to a point where you encounter an employee...

... who directs you to a huge set of switchbacks where you'd spend the next 45 minutes of your life. :lol:

Thankfully there was another beer guy at that point so we loaded up, and at long last we FINALLY made it to the front of the line 2 hours after we joined the queue. Holy sh*t.

To be fair the maze was very good and pretty long. Frostbite was undoubtedly better, but I enjoyed this one quite a bit. It probably wasn't worth the wait but it was a solid house and I really have no complaints. By the time we exited though, we were definitely ready for a change of pace.


In all my years of visiting this park it's been my experience that if you want a great ride with no line then you head straight for Griffon. Go to Griffon, go directly to Griffon, do not pass go, do not collect $200. Just go experience the power and speed of the mythical Griffon™.

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Oh thank god.

After that long 2 hour line we were thrilled to finally be riding something without standing in a giant line. We made our way to the ride entrance, walked past the greeter, made a right and...

... made a right? What? That's not even a thing. Seriously, by a show of hands who here reading this report even knew that there was a door on the right and a massive outdoor queue section for Griffon? I sure as hell didn't. I've never even waited outside of the station. :lol:

That's the bad news, the good news is it's Griffon and it chewed through that enormous line in 30 minutes. Believe it or not, this was actually my first ever Griffon night ride and OH MY GOD was it ever amazing. The view from the top was nuts with the combination of natural and man-made fog hovering over the park below and the drop and everything that followed was absolutely awesome. Wow! Our train returned to thunderous applause and at that point mom was convinced it was her new favorite coaster not named Nitro (sorry Alpengeist). :lol:

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This ride is awesome!

By that point it was almost 11:00 and while there were a ton of coasters we hoped to re-ride we opted instead to make our way to the front and ride the one coaster we still hadn't managed to ride, Loch Ness Monster. While it's definitely overshadowed by some of the other coasters, going to Busch Gardens Williamsburg and skipping Loch Ness Monster would be sacrilege. We hoped we'd have the opportunity to end the night on something else, but given the crowds we knew this might be the last ride of the night and we were at peace with that.

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On our way to tackle the monster

Despite our experience with Griffon (and everything else for the last 6 hours) we were shocked when we got to the entrance. Where was everyone? We proceeded through the queue, waiting to run into a huge crowd of people at every turn but it never happened. We walked right into the station and walked right up to the gates in the back car. Holy sh*t...

We all were riding high for a few minutes due to the nonexistent line, but as soon as the train pulled in and mom saw it she immediately looked at us pissed off. "This looks like that stupid a** Scream Machine thing I hated".

:lol: I've got to admit, I was sort of surprised that she put two and two together but it wasn't until then that I realized it had been over a decade since she'd seen an Arrow looper and the only ones she's ever ridden were terrible. Brit and I quickly reassured her that this one wasn't a piece of sh*t like every other one she's ever ridden but she didn't believe us at all and I guess who could blame her? I wouldn't believe me either. I'm an a**hole. Brit and I tricked her into riding Great Adventure's mouse in a box because she's terrified of Wild Mouse rides and she didn't realize until it rounded the first hairpin turn and she cursed us for the entire ride. We're truly terrible people.

Luckily once we went through the first loop she realized we were completely serious and it turned out she absolutely loved it. Obviously we did too, Loch Ness Monster is always a great time.

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Brit was totally fixated on something. I have no idea what but let's just pretend she was staring at the Skyway cars passing right by the ride and thinking about how f*cking awesome they were. We'll go with that. See... soulmates.

I don't know if the f*cking rapture happened or what (probably, that explains why we weren't included) but when we exited Loch Ness Monster it was clear that everyone had pretty much disappeared. Less than 30 minutes prior to that we waited in the longest line I've ever seen for Griffon but at this point every single ride and house was a walk-on. It was insane how fast that happened but we weren't complaining.

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Where is everybody?

We had about 45 minutes left and we debated doing houses but opted instead for an Apollo's Chariot night ride. We walked straight on to the back row and had an absolutely amazing ride that I thought was absolutely our best Apollo's Chariot ride ever. The airtime was insane and I was totally unprepared for that dive into the turnaround. We all liked it, but mom still wasn't as blown away as we were. Nitro or GTFO I guess. :lol:

After Apollo we (amazingly) still had enough time for one more ride or maze and we really could have picked anything we wanted. Everyone was pretty indecisive. I offered up Griffon since I knew it was mom's favorite but she deferred to me. I offered up Verbolten since I know Brit loves it but she deferred to me too. We went back and fourth for awhile as we walked and I warned them that they both knew what was going to happen if they let me pick. I tried to be a good fiance' and son but after awhile I stopped fighting it and started making a B line for the back of the park. The park is full of great rides, but I knew exactly where I was headed.

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After waiting for over 2 hours earlier in the day this seemed totally surreal.

We hopped in line for the front row and were on within 5 minutes. Seriously... WHERE DID EVERYONE GO? When we pulled back in there were people waiting for our row (they were actually the only people waiting for the entire train) but we jumped to the back for a second ride and then managed a third consecutive ride on the same train which turned out to be the last public ride of the night. Each and every ride was absolutely fantastic. Alpengeist was completely hauling after running all day and it was the perfect way to end an awesome day.

After a stressful week of planning and a crazy drive down we had an absolutely amazing day at the park. Mom thanked us over and over and I was thrilled that we finally managed to get her down to Busch Gardens and that she loved it as much as we knew she would. Brit and I had a blast also and as we made our way back to the hotel we were totally exhausted but really happy at how everything was coming together this trip. What a great day!

Up next: Kings Dominion!

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Re: Coasterbill's Alcohol, Coaster and Culture Trip Reports

Postby Canobie Coaster » Thu Oct 26, 2017 7:28 pm

Great report! I plan to make it down to Busch Gardens next year since they've added the two new coasters since I've last been. The park still looks awesome as ever and has so many reridable coasters.
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Re: Coasterbill's Alcohol, Coaster and Culture Trip Reports

Postby CaptainUnknown » Thu Oct 26, 2017 8:09 pm

I'm surprised this thread doesn't make the front page more often. Or even a mention on TPR's twitter.

BTW: have you ever done stand-up?
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Re: Coasterbill's Alcohol, Coaster and Culture Trip Reports

Postby coasterbill » Fri Oct 27, 2017 4:32 am

Canobie Coaster wrote:Great report! I plan to make it down to Busch Gardens next year since they've added the two new coasters since I've last been. The park still looks awesome as ever and has so many reridable coasters.


Thanks! Yeah, if it weren't so busy we would have totally been going back for InvadR rerides too. It's their weakest coaster but it's still an absolute blast.

CaptainUnknown wrote:I'm surprised this thread doesn't make the front page more often. Or even a mention on TPR's twitter.

BTW: have you ever done stand-up?


:lol: Conversely, I'm surprised this thread ever makes the front page.

And nah, standup is a totally different animal. I know a ton of standups, that's a tough business and I'm pretty sure I'd bomb in spectacular fashion.

Thanks though! I really appreciate it!

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Re: Coasterbill's Alcohol, Coaster and Culture Trip Reports

Postby CoasterAuditor » Fri Oct 27, 2017 7:15 am

Awesome report Bill. Made me eager for my return to Busch Gardens in the Spring (I've been out of commission for most coasters recently due to the fact that pizza and beer are amazing but I've lost 40 pounds this year so that should be different in the Spring). Busch Gardens is just amazing and I haven't even been to ride Tempesto or InvadR yet. I do wish InvadR was a more typical GCI but I'm sure it serves its purpose pretty well.
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Re: Coasterbill's Alcohol, Coaster and Culture Trip Reports

Postby boldikus » Fri Oct 27, 2017 8:03 am

Awesome update! Busy morning so took me forever to read, but absolutely made me want to go back to BGW ASAP! Stoked to have passes next year! Nice that you got those night rides on Alpengeist. Also love that pic of Brit and your mom under Lochness at night.

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