Finally... the day I've been waiting for all winter
Starting off from home it was about 35 degrees when my girlfriend and I left and headed down to Busch Gardens to get there at open. Skies were blue as we pulled into the park, and it really felt at first like it was going to warm up as the day went on. We met up with Jeff [pkdcoaster] and later Chuck [cfc] in the park, and headed first to the Griffon construction area to check on the progress. The ride itself looks really amazing, and the central location makes it very visible from almost anywhere in the park. We got a few pictures, and then tried to head over to Alpengeist which had not started testing yet. Bummer.
Ok... so on to the first ride of the season, DarKastle. The walk-on line made it worth the wait this time. No changes to report here.
Next we rode the Wolf which Jeff points out was running noticeably smoother than in previous experiences. I'm sure he can elaborate if needed.
After the Wolf we headed to Apollo. The crowds were really starting to pour in at this point, and the wait was already up to about 25 minutes. By the time we got on the back row it had become very cloudy, and we noticed some snow flurries while going up the lift. In celebration of his first coaster ride in the snow, Jeff entertained the train by singing his classic rendition of "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas" throughout the ride.
From there the weather just seemed to get colder and darker, and there were snow flurries off and on throughout the rest of the afternoon. I tried to get some food in the Festhaus later on, but discovered that about half of the population of guests had taken shelter there, and there was not a seat in the house.
We eventually got a ride on Alpengeist and Nessie in the afternoon, but the combination of weather and crowds cut our day short, so we ended up leaving around 3.
As far as changes to the park:
The new touch and go entry system was a breeze for me, although I noticed some people had more difficulty than others getting their fingers to scan. From the short period of time I was there, everything seemed to be very smooth, so hopefully this will make wait times shorter getting into the park.
The big new policy this year is that Busch is no longer allowing any type of bags in to the queue lines of most attractions. This causes some major problems for me since I enjoy taking pictures at the park, and my camera equipment has to be carried in a bag. Basically, with the new policy I have to pay a dollar to put my bag in a fluffy, fluffy bunny filled with medicine and goo for every ride I get on. I don’t know how other people feel about this, but I imagine during the summer it will cause some issues. I know some other parks do this at certain rides, and I do understand the reasoning behind it, but now being put in this position at my home park feels like a real inconvenience, and I hope it will be reconsidered down the road, but we’ll see. I’ll have to find a way to deal with it for now, but I’m not real excited about it.
So I only got a few pictures today. Not a great variety as the weather turned pretty crappy, it wasn’t worth trying to get all the quality shots, but here are some photos from the day and some captions. Hope you enjoy!