Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Va., gave the world a sneak peek at its newest land, the Sesame Street Forest of Fun (FOF), during a hard hat tour for the media today. FOF is the newest of what Busch calls its "KIDsiderate" attractions, and it's shaping up to be a excellent addition to the park--a heavily themed "European" version of Sesame Street with "kid-sized" versions of classic rides that the whole family can enjoy, in addition to wet-and-dry play areas and, of course, classic characters like Bert and Ernie, Grover, and Elmo.
FOF represents a "natural partnership between two iconic brands," said John Reilly, the park's general manager, at a brief ceremony in the lobby of the Globe Theatre in England--that is, Busch Gardens and Sesame Street (courtesy of the Children's Television Workshop).
The Sesame Street characters will be hanging their hats (well, if they have hats) in what used to be the Royal Preserve petting zoo, and the home of two Howl-o-Scream mazes, in years' past. And the park's creative team has managed to cram quite a bit into a fairly small space. Here's what guests will find in the Forest of Fun:
--a performance stage and wet playground
Prince Elmo's Spire
--a "shot-n-drop" ride for the whole family
Grover's Alpine Express
--a family-friendly roller coaster themed to a trip through the Alps
Bert and Ernie's Loch Ness Adventure
--a flume ride for parents and kids
Oscar's Whirly Worms
--a family-friendly "rock-n-tug" ride
Oscar's Yucky Forest
--a dry play area
1-2-3 Smile with Me!--
a character and guest photography studio
Abby Cadabby's Treasure Trove
--a gift shop (yes, you knew that was coming
In addition, the Globe Theatre will be "taken over by Sesame Street's furry friends" in Sesame Street Presents Lights, Camera, Imagination,
a 4D movie that replaces (and some would say it's about time) Pirates 4D
. I'm pretty sure this is same 4D flick that I saw at Universal Osaka in 2007--it probably makes as much sense in Japanese as it does in English. (I rather enjoyed it.) And, yes, water effects will come into play during the feature, so be prepared. I think adults and kids will get a kick out of the show.
Another show that's departing to make way for Elmo and his friends is Castle O'Sullivan.
Yes, the castle is being transformed into a dining venue for Sesame Street character breakfasts and lunches. (So, if you missed seeing the little plastic leprechaun last year, too bad.)
The park's other kids area, Land of the Dragons, will, of course, remain in operation, as will the other kids' rides located throughout the park.
Sesame Street Presents Lights, Camera, Imagination
and the character meals will debut on the park's opening day--Saturday, March 28. The Sesame Street Forest of Fun will open on Friday, April 3.
The Forest of Fun is located in England behind the sky ride; there's an entrance across from the Escape from Pompeii, too. Let's take a look, shall we?