boldikus wrote:Based on fan-made POVs on youtube, it should be around a minute and 15 seconds of ride time, and that's without a lift hill. That's pretty long, comparatively speaking to the other large scale Intamins in the area - El Toro, Skyrush and I305 are all less than a minute from drop to brakes and are often considered three of the best rides on the planet.
Just when you think, ala the Soup Nazi, "no Busch Gardens for you," the park comes with a way to open, in a way: the Coasters and Craft Brews special event. Of course, you can't just show up and hope to get in. Guests have to "reserve" the day they want in advance, and there are a limited number of days and times, with attendance limited to 1,000 people, as per state guidelines for "entertainment venues." This applies to both regular guests and passholders (or "members"). Roughy half of the park is open, too: England, Scotland, Ireland, France, and Fort New France.
I'm sure most of you can guess the other restrictions. Your temperature is checked before you enter to ensure you're not running a fever. Guests must wear face masks at all times, except when eating and drinking, and practice social distancing.
Remember: six feet (or about one about the length of one adult grey wolf) between guests, please.
And just what can you do while wearing your mask and practicing proper social distancing at the park? You can ride three of the park's coasters: Loch Ness Monster, Griffon, and InvadR. They were also running the Little Clydes kiddie ride in Scotland, Finnegan's Flyer in Scorland, and Le Catapult at Fort New France. The Smokehouse is open for dinner, and you can grab a nice craft brew at Grogan's. The Clydesdales and some other animals are out, and the main gift shops in England, France, and Fort New France are open. All the ride and restaurant queues are marked for social distancing, and there are plenty of hand sanitizer stations all over the park.
I rode each coaster and Finnegan's Flyer. While I waited for the Loch Ness Monster, two ops wiped down the train before people were allowed to board, but I don't think they did this every time.
Each coaster had a grouper before you could enter the station, who assigned groups and single riders to rows for seating. I think they were using all the seats for Nessie. For Griffon, it depended on "groups." An op told me that if you had a group of ten, the group would get an entire row; other than than that, smaller groups had empty seats between them, so there weren't any full trains. InvadR had one only train running, and half the seats were blocked off (the other coasters ran two trains). So, the longest wait of the night was for InvadR, and even that wasn't too long.
Service at the Smokehouse went pretty smoothly, despite the socially distanced line. Instead of having platters prepared in advance and lined up for guests to grab, you had to order what you wanted, and they put it together then. Cashiers doled out the tableware. You could sit inside at Grogan's, but quite a few spaces were off limits (I snagged a table to myself in the back).
Overall, it was nice break in the monotony of the COVID-restricted life in Williamsburg. I'm sure the park will be tweaking their procedures as they go. Most of the guests complied with the rules; for example, I didn't hear anyone complain about having to wear a mask on rides (I had no problem with this, either).
Here's a look at Coasters and Craft Brews.
You park in the England lot. This is where they check your temperature before you enter the park.
Here be the rules, sez I.
You'll find plenty of these in the park (all the ride queues had sanitizer stations).
Obey the signs, people.
Weird to see England so empty, even on a weeknight.
Why, thank you, Busch Gardens. Nice to be back.
I bought this shirt because it has a silhouette of a highland cow on it.
Time to leave Merrie Old England . . .
. . . but not for grouchy old Italy and Germany.
You can still visit the Clydesdales.
The horses are, of course, maintaining proper social distance.
So, what else is there to do? I started with a ride on Nessie . . .
. . . then walked by Finnegan's Flyer (which had a bit of a line).
Look! A mythical Griffon!
Longest line of the night.
The eagles are always distant.
If you want to see wolves, be mindful of the decals on the bridge near Wolf Haven.
This owl would kill you, if it weren't for social distancing.
France doesn't look too busy.
France also gives you a chance to "relax" without a mask, too.
Well, being as I'm in France . . .
People were pretty good about practicing social distancing in the ride queues.
Here's the socially distanced, half-full InvadR train.
Eat your brisket only at designated tables.
I saw this mushroom village as I made my way back to Ireland. Were the Smurfs who lived there under quarantine?
Well, being as I'm in Ireland . . .
. . . might as well hoist one.
The line for Finnegan's Flyer had thinned out, so I took a swing or two. The ride ops were accounting for social distancing when seating riders.
Time to call it a night.
I did stop in the England gift shop. Who wants a Black Forest Cake pin, complete with a recipe?
You can't ride Pantheon (sigh), but you can buy the pins.
Remember: Stay six feet apart, or this wolf will kill you! Thanks for reading.
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