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2018 US trip down “south” (Part Four: Busch Gardens Williamsburg + Go-Karts Plus)

CookieCoasters

Active Member
It’s been a while since I’ve done a trip report (or much at all) on here, but at the moment I’m feeling extremely enthusiastic about all things park-related so I thought I might get down to one of these reports as it’s a pretty exciting trip. Haven’t done the southern-east part of the US yet (except Florida ofc), so that’s all new, but we decided to go up to Virginia too to extend the trip a little; an area which we have “done” before in 2014. Virginia’s probably not considered “South” at all, but yeah, I guess I still consider this the “Southern US trip.” Bear with, lately I’ve not been the best or most patient photo-taker at parks so I hope there are some readers among you ;). However, I will include some pictures to break-up the otherwise terrifying pages of text! Might have to add in a few extra images for coasters I neglected to photograph. Apologies in adavance.

Part 1: Six Flags Over Georgia
Part 2: Alabama Adventure + Atlanta creds
Part 3: Myrtle Beach creds + Deadwood
Part 4: Busch Gardens Williamsburg + Go karts plus
Part 5: Kings Dominion
Part 6: Carowinds
Part 7: Dollywood + plus some more creds (no alpine coasters... sorry, not my thing)
Part 8: Lake Winniepesaukah


Part One: Six Flags Over Georgia



We flew in on Thursday 8th June and got straight into a pretty major park the next morning. God knows how long I’ve known about SFOG and wanted to visit, certainly a while. And this is literally the best time to visit so far since the recent opening of their RMC, Twisted Cyclone, which not surprisingly was our first stop. We got into the park about 10am through a priority entrance for SF members/season pass holders (love a perk, even if it’s small hah). Though you only get in a little bit before everyone else and the rides didn’t seem to open any earlier (advertised park opening was 10.30am, as seems to be the SF norm), so it is a small perk. Nonetheless, we were pretty far up the queue for Twisted Cyclone, which became operational about 10.40am. I have to admit, this was a HUGE relief, as I was 80% certain there was gonna be ‘technical difficulties’ that would inevitably muck-up my planned cred route. But nope, was on the third train of the day, beaming from ear to ear :)



One more thing to admit - I was expecting it to underwhelm slightly since it was an early-morning ride, though I was at least in the back seat. And, actually, it didn’t underwhelm at all. I was very impressed even after just this first ride. It was on the first airtime hill after the sideways overbank when I realised that Twisted Cyclone had really come to play! That ejector was pretty damn intense, and that continued throughout the perfectly spaced out airtime moments throughout the tightly-packed layout. The first half of the layout has more funky elements, but I think it’s after that the coaster gets properly intense. It’s probably the biggest RMC surprise so far (which tbf is hard to come by given how reputable RMC are anyway). The flow of elements is absolutely spot-on, and every part works well enough to make the most out of a compact, relatively short-lived layout. I wouldn’t change anything, it completely fulfills its potential imo, more-so than any other RMC I’ve ridden so far (though it’s not quite my favourite, I don’t think).

We went around for a second ride, and surprisingly the queue hadn’t built up too much; just a few switchbacks were filled if memory serves. The operations seemed much slower this time though; it seemed they were having problems with the restraint locking sensors or something. A few times the ops said “train is secure” and then suddenly they’d need to check some restraints again. Hopefully this gets sorted for when the park gets larger crowds later this summer. I’m glad at least it didn’t stop the ride from operating at all. Second ride was <3



My plan was to now start getting the other coasters, starting with Dare Devil Dive, as I know it’s reputable as a slow-loader and the capacity certainly isn’t great. I was glad to see only a short queue, though it built up somewhat about 5-10 minutes after I had been in it. Then I got to the airgates, and it was this ride that decided to surprise me with technical difficulties. I was more annoyed because I had organised a schedule based around getting to certain coasters at certain times, so delays were a burden (though tbf, they pretty much always are). Thankfully it was sorted in probably 20 minutes-or-so, so not too bad.

The layout of this coaster is similar to Anubis at Plopsaland De Panne, at least in its more forgettable sections. They seemed to neuter the mid-course top hat here which was a bit of shame, not that Anubis’ is much fun with OTSRs. I enjoyed the over-vertical drop here with the lap-bars; in general, it was nice to experience the ride with lap bars, though I think with Anubis’ fab launch that has a better start. Anubis also makes more of an impression I think, even if it’s not all for the right reasons, or maybe it’s simply because I’ve ridden Anubis a lot more (probably that). Anyway, DDD is fun enough even if it’s not particularly remarkable, which is quite good-going for the standard Eurofighter.



Next was Goliath, which I did plan to ride twice, despite the previous delay. I think it’s worth getting an immediate re-ride in on these standout coasters if possible, even if you’ve got other creds to collect. Goliath was nicely just a station-wait, and running two trains which on these B&M Hypers creates a decent through-put even with SF operations. We rode the back first. It did not disappoint. In fact, it almost follows a similar idea to Twisted Cyclone, in that the layout is a little short for its type, but doesn’t waste a second of it. Every second is great really, for a surprising variety of reasons (or as close to variety as you generally get with this coaster type XD). The airtime is strong; I don’t know if it’s all floater or if it’s spilling into ejector at times maybe but regardless, it’s strong and sustained, on every hill. There seemed to be trim brake in use on the hill right after the immense downward helix, but it seemed to have little effect on the airtime. I also liked the positive Gs in places other than the valleys on this particular creation; mainly the helix but also the overbanked turn, which leads into the fantastic bunny-hop finale. Gotta love this ride, it’s one of my favourite B&M Hypers, behind Shambhala and Behemoth (Leviathan is also better I guess). I guess the fact it’s an older B&M Hyper and the drop incline is more gradual is a significant drawback compared with the newer ones, but it’s definitely the best of that generation (1999-2006 I’m thinking) and impressively smooth when some newer B&Ms are developing noticeable rattles.

Our second lap was in the front, and obviously, the experience is kinda different up in that seat, but at this time I hadn’t decided which I preferred. Though, I did come to a decision on this later. For anyone wondering, I’d put this as my #2 in the park (behind the obvious TC), but the difference is not big.



Usually, I leave kiddy creds to the end, but I had read this one can get quite long and slow queues, which I was not fussed about waiting in. I think this was a good idea, as we still had to wait a few trains (plus very slow loading) and the queue behind us had grown. So, Joker’s Funhouse Coaster was less of a kiddy cred and more on the kiddy-family spectrum really. It was quite cool actually, it follows terrain to some extent, with two small lift hills: one beginning level with the station and another to take the train back into the station. It obviously wasn’t an exciting ride experience, but I do think it’s “uniqueness” should be noted, given how unoriginal most kiddy creds are.

We then walked up-hill to the back area of the park (I don’t really remember the area names, but it was where you come across Superman and Justice League). I had wanted to be at this area of the park a bit sooner than I got there, but oh well, nothing I could do. Walked up to Superman but it was having problems, so I had my parents stand guard while I nipped across to ride Great American Scream Machine.



For some reason I naturally expected to find this old woodie to be walk-on, especially given the park was healthily but not particularly crowded. I guess I also thought back to Judge Roy Scream at SFOT which had no queue, even on a Fright Fest Saturday, but then of course that is kind of out on its own, whereas GASM isn’t so much. So yeah, there was a queue, and it was made worse by only one train running. Now I’m having a proper six flags day with all its quirks that we love so much. Although there was much more frustrating things in-store actually. I got to the front of airgates and it had started to rain very heavily so the ride expectedly shut-down. Bit of annoying déjà vu, being so close again, but that was hardly the worst of it. The heavy rain eased off within about 20 minutes - fine, should start testing soon and restart operation. WRONG! It was an hour or just over before they started testing the damn ride, and with Blue Hawk in clear view, seemingly any coaster. It was a very nasty wait. It was very hot, the jet lag was starting to set in, I was hungry, and generally quite depressed. I can’t believe it’s necessary to wait over an hour to resume operations on rides post-rain, it wasn’t stormy or anything. Bloody six flags, you pushed me too far this time. I guess I could’ve left the queue to get lunch but I just felt disheartened about the idea that all this waiting would be for nothing, so I stuck it out. So after re-living that I’ll stop moaning and get to the ride, which is probably gonna be a much shorter paragraph XD



Well, it was actually a fair bit better than I expected. I always enjoy these older woodies for what they are, personally, even if they’re usually quite forgettable. I’d heard moaning about this one becoming rough and crap since they started using the old Georgia Cyclone trains. I disagree. I mean, it’s a bit rough but I think it beats you up in a nice way (I guess that idea won’t make sense to some, hah). Also, it has some surprising moments of airtime, which few standard wooden coasters of this age do in my experience. So yeah, maybe it’s the surprise factor or the fact I was just so bloody glad to finally ride it, but I’m a fan of this coaster.



So... I was finally reunited with my parents, but I didn’t want to sit and chat as rides were just opening up again and I wanted to get in the queue for Superman: Ultimate Flight before that got really long. This was a certainly a good choice! I soon realised it was only running train (grrrrrrr), which is stupid to me because there’s plenty of people in the park, it’s just reopened so people will be itching to ride it more than ever, and these rides are very popular! There was a second train chilling on the adjacent station and another in the maintenance, but nothing more needs saying. I actually got in within about 20 minutes or so since I got ahead of most people, but in principle it still irritated me. I was interested to ride the original Superman flyer ride (I’ve learnt from a conversation with @TilenB that calling it the original clone is problematic ;)). I really like flying coasters; even when they’re not Tatsu, I still find them very enjoyable and solid coasters with a nice feel to them. This Superman was obviously set to the terrain of the location, and has a bit more interaction with scenery I guess. It’s not a lot better than the ones at SFGAm and SFGAdv but it’s worth a little more spotlight I suppose.



I was starting to feel a little bit better now, having only 5 creds to go rather than 7, but it looked like the rain was gonna make a grand return, and since I knew there were forecasted showers later that evening, I assumed maybe they were coming now and I best rush over to Blue Hawk and again postpone food. There was only a couple train wait for my row (second from the back), and this was lucky, since this time I was not “spited” at the last second, but was on the last train before they ceased operation pending an apparently oncoming storm. But hurray, I got the cred this time! And again, surprisingly good. Back when this was Ninja it had a pretty dismal reputation (ala Gouderix at Parc Asterix), but with some very effective track re-profiling and new Vekoma trains, this was a good, solid, traditional looper with quite a forceful layout and nice location over the lake. It felt weird to enjoy an older Vekoma this much. If only Gouderix came out as well after it’s retracking...

So yeah, all the coasters were presumed shut for now with the warning of the storm, so we decided to finally get some food and trail through a bit of the park we hadn’t seen yet to inspect the operational status of the rapids ride (it still wasn’t raining, so why not?). It was still running, yayyy. Something to do while all the coasters are down, and I do love water rides. Thunder Rapids is a classic American rapids ride: big boats, big waves, big wetness. Although, I actually didn’t get it too bad this time. A couple of the waves were humongous though.



I think after the rapids ride we found ourselves in the Dare Devil Dive / Goliath area of the park we had been in during what felt like another day now. There hadn’t been any more rain, let alone a storm, so thankfully it wasn’t long before I saw Goliath cresting its lift-hill which massively uplifted my mood, as well noticing the sky starting to get more blue and less grey. So they closed the rides for nothing this time? Yes, but I was just happy the rest of the coasters were back in the game as I was starting to worry I would miss the last 4. For information, there were no more weather burdens for the rest of the evening (I think it was like 17.30-18.00 at this point?) and I felt deserving since I think I had more than my fair share of a “six flags day.” So, over to Gotham City!



I decided to do Batman The Ride first here, just because it was first in this area on my original route plan. It’s been a while since I’ve so excitedly walked through a Batman queue and I kept waiting to hit the back of the line...... but it never came! I was basically straight on in the back row with a group of 3. And this coaster was running two trains, wahoo. It just makes everything so much quicker. It was a great Batman clone, you’ve all heard the spiel loads of times no matter which version is being discussed, but despite this being my ninth one (I think) I still get a great kick out of them. My third favourite coaster in the park. It’s up there with the ones at SFGAm, SFOT and SFMM, basically the cream of the crop in my opinion, and very very little separates them.


Didn’t take a photo of Mind Bender so here is one from Wikipedia. Credit: hagerman

Cred #9 at the park (just across from Batman) was Mind Bender, a very well-loved Schwarzkopf. I’m always a little suspicious of them since I think a lot of nostalgia influences their overall reputation (which is totally fair), but I’m not that nostalgic about them, other than I always think they look cool and I love the classic train aesthetic. However, Mindbender did seem quite substantial, and I enjoyed its brother over in SFOT quite a bit actually, so I was hopeful. And yeah, it was pretty good: intense loops of course, fairly nice setting, certainly puts Magic Mountain’s Revolution to shame. I think the rest of the layout was quite decent. SFOG seems to have an usually good selection of more traditional looping coasters. Is it my favourite Schwarzkopf? It’s certainly up there.

Time to leave Gotham then, at which point the hilly nature of the park was taking its toll on all of us I think. Still, we trecked over to the front of the park to see about Georgia Scorcher, but that was closed at that moment. They seemed to be cleaning the trains, maybe someone threw up? The entrance op acted pretty cluelessly but I had no reason to think it wouldn’t reopen later. So the other cred I needed to get was Dahlonega Mine Train, and that wasn’t far past Wicked Cyclone (Twisted, ffs, I’m sick of these names). I always planned to leave this one till last since they never seem to get much of a queue at big American parks and they tend to do well capacity-wise. Ooof, this one was brutal. Such poor tracking lol. I still like these rides in a weird sort of way. I like their length and all the mini lift-hills, those are part of the charm ;)


Dahlonega Mine Train - Credit: http://www.coasterimage.com/ (2005)



I had been eyeing up Acrophobia when I passed it on the way to the mine train. And there was no queue so why not? A great drop tower, I like these stand-up/tilt/gyro ones, they’re more thrilling than average even for a more experienced drop tower rider. Though I did find it easier to brace for the uncomfortable landing on the one at Movie Park Germany, not quite sure why.



As I walked back to Cyclone Bay (I think that’s two park areas I’ve remembered actually? +2) I couldn’t resist giving Twisted Cyclone another go. There’ll be time for Scorcher when it opens yah. I met back up with my parents at this point (they had fallen behind at some point) and my Dad joined for TC again. I was expecting a sizeable queue but it was actually nearly half the length of my second ride, a fact I was totally in awe of. I mean, it had only been open for like two weeks? How is the queue so short? Maybe people went home after all the storm warning faff. Anyway, it still seemed to take a while, because of the issues I mentioned earlier. But wow! What an amazing ride <3 Totally a top 20 coaster for me. I secretly didn’t believe it would warm up much but I was fooled again. Marvellous. I’d also like to note something I noticed when I rewatched the original animated POV. There are a few very slight but vital differences between that POV and how the ride actually is. For example, the airtime coming in and out of the mid-ride standard overbank element are proper airtime hills, not just up onto a flat gradient / down from the flat gradient. This absolutely takes the airtime to the next level. Apart from that it seemed like the real coaster might have an extra small hill or two, but don’t quote me on this for certainty. I sort of understand now why I expected it to be one of the weaker RMCs, when in fact it certainly isn’t. Those little things make a big difference.


Georgia Scorcher - Credit: https://www.sixflags.com/overgeorgia/attractions/georgia-scorcher

Back round to Georgia Scorcher then, the final cred of the day, and it was back open.... to some horrendous operations. Good lord. I think one of the dispatches took 10 minutes. I blame both the staff for being crappy and the guests for messing around in the “seats”, though I guess it’s not the simplest train system either. Well, it’s been a long time since I’ve ridden a new B&M stand-up coaster, or any one at all (Green Lantern in 2014); they’re a dying breed for sure. People always seemed quite positive about this one though, which I never really understood. It looks on the face of it no better than the Vortex ones, though I guess I never dug that deep because actually, the layout is subtly genius. I’ve never known a coaster do so little but have such a range of forces. Even though there are only two inversions, it feels quite long and lively, compared to what you’d expect. Sadly, I got in an awkward position when the restraints locked (I usually try to bend my knees a little more), so some parts of the ride were uncomfortable, which did take the edge off the enjoyment factor.



Huzzah! Finally I’ve done all the creds; was such a relief after a roller coaster of a day (maybe SF offers this to its guests a little too heavy-handedly). Now I can finally ride the old-school Arrow log flume (FYI - I love log flumes <3). It did not disappoint. It has a fast, choppy channel that feels so reminiscent of an old-favourite, Log Jammer (used to be at SFMM), and that just really made me smile. Sure, many of these older Arrow flumes only have one proper drop and not a big one at that, but I just love how much choppier and more exciting the channels are, it’s just so old-school. Most coaster enthusiasts probably don’t care, which I understand, but log flumes have always been a favourite of mine, and be warned, I won’t hold back about them during these reports :p Oh, and it was called Log Jamboree. I’m a bit OCD about including the real names.

Right then, didn’t do any more new rides that day. I did however return to Goliath for an extra two laps, where I decided I preferred the back to the front in this case (I’m quite evenly split about this when it comes to B&M Hypers). I guess I felt the airtime was stronger at the back in the end. The back row ride this time felt considerably more powerful than the front. So that’s 4 laps on Goliath which in the end I was pretty damn happy with, and before we left the park I did a 4th lap on TC too. You know what I thought by now, but this was the best lap.



Overall thoughts then:

- Despite all the crap they put you through sometimes, I do love the atmosphere of an SF park. There’s something magical about it, not to say it’s something different from other big American parks, but nevertheless, despite some irritating flaws, the better ones just feel great and SFOG is one of them.

- I’d place SFOG as my third favourite SF park behind Magic Mountain and Over Texas. It’s retained quite a bit of charm (not as much as Over Texas, mind), it has two fantastic headlining coasters and a surprisingly strong selection of supporting coasters. I would not consider any coaster there “bad” and several are “good” rather than simply “meh”. That’s quite an achievement for a cred-heavy park I think. The park is well-shaded and as such has some nice green areas, but obviously don’t expect too much lush, it’s still six flags ;)

- I won’t moan too much about the slowness of the staff, but I thought it was bad how many of them clearly saw people messing around with their phones out when the ride was about to go and didn’t do anything about it. These types of parks have lots of questionable rules that they enforce to the max, having unsecured heavy objects like phones out on the ride is actually an important rule that needs to be enforced.

- It felt like different parts of the parks were almost under different management. Goliath, Twisted Cyclone, Mind Bender, Mine Train and Batman were all running two trains, but Superman, Blue Hawk and GASM (which are the same area of the park) all ran one. It didn’t seem like this part of the park was less busy at all, so it didn’t make sense to me. Why so inconsistent? Could’ve just been coincidence I suppose that they were all in the same area.

- I don’t recall any seat-assignment, which as it continues to become more common across parks, is something to appreciate.

- Umm... besides the struggle, I had a great day in the end. We are planning to return to the park before we fly home actually for a few hours, so hopefully I can do some re-rides and maybe get on Monsters Mansion and Justice League which I didn’t manage this visit. I’ll add a little bonus post to the end of this thread if there’s anything more interesting to say about the park/rides then.



Thanks for reading :)
 

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Hutch

Well-Known Member
I won’t moan too much about the slowness of the staff, but I thought it was bad how many of them clearly saw people messing around with their phones out when the ride was about to go and didn’t do anything about it. These types of parks have lots of questionable rules that they enforce to the max, having unsecured heavy objects like phones out on the ride is actually an important rule that needs to be enforced.
Omg yes, I saw so many people with their phones out on Goliath and the ops didn't give a ****. One kid who was riding front row felt the need to make a phone call as the train was pulling into the station.

I'll go into more detail about it when I finish my report, but I don't think I appreciated the park as much as you did. The poor operations stick out and it doesn't help that some of the guests there don't know how to cooperate.

I agree with you about the rides though. It's a pretty good coaster lineup. Jealous I didn't get as many Twisted Cyclone rides as you did.
 

Snoo

The Legend
Staff member
Social Media Team
Omg yes, I saw so many people with their phones out on Goliath and the ops didn't give a :emoji_poop:. One kid who was riding front row felt the need to make a phone call as the train was pulling into the station.

I'll go into more detail about it when I finish my report, but I don't think I appreciated the park as much as you did. The poor operations stick out and it doesn't help that some of the guests there don't know how to cooperate.

I agree with you about the rides though. It's a pretty good coaster lineup. Jealous I didn't get as many Twisted Cyclone rides as you did.
Poor operations is a Six Flags hallmark.. lol

Nice to see another solid review though!
 

Jarrett

Most Obnoxious Member 2016
Great report! Really glad to see some more love for Twisted Cyclone, it's definitely one of the more underrated RMCs. I'm personally not a fan of the park but it looks like you enjoyed and had a great day, so good on you for that. It really is unfortunate, the atmosphere of the park is great but the way they choose to run it and the way a small handful of people choose to behave just ruins it. Looking forward to seeing more!
 

Hixee

Flojector
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Social Media Team
Great report! Really glad to see some more love for Twisted Cyclone, it's definitely one of the more underrated RMCs.
I'd say underrated and infrequently ridden (amongst enthusiasts circles) are different things. Everyone who I know who'd ridden it has really praised it.

That said, I don't use any other forums and barely follow any of the crap on Facebook, so many there's a load of people elsewhere who don't like it!
 

CookieCoasters

Active Member
All the reviews from people who’ve ridden Twisted Cyclone that I’ve seen have been very positive, but I also understand what Jarrett means. It could be that it’s just opened and obviously Steel Vengeance has already stolen the spotlight (what a bastard! ;)). Or it also could be that because the original animated POV didn’t make it look very impressive, people haven’t been anticipating it as much, thus creating an impression that it’s not as highly anticipated as it should be.

Anyway, time for part two...

Part Two: Alabama Adventure + Atlanta Creds

Alabama Adventure

This part will be much shorter than part one given there’s really only a few creds to cover and only one of which is really worth talking that much about. Also, my photos of Alabama Adventure seem to consist of nothing other than Rampage, so sorry I’m not able to show you the rest of the park. It’s nice enough, though I guess nothing else inspired a photograph on what was a very hot day when I was still pretty jet-lagged and exhausted from the previous day at Six Flags. There was also a water park included in admission (I think that’s really the main draw to guests these days), but I didn’t have any swim gear as I rarely feel the urge to dive into them. Considering the heat today and lack of park-based water rides, it might have been an enticing option. However, the fairly recently refurbished Rampage roller coaster was the main reason for this detour and I’m looking forward to getting some thoughts down as it’s now been close to two weeks since I’ve ridden it.



It was obviously the first thing I went to once we were in the park. We probably arrived a couple hours after opening, but despite being a Saturday, there was no crowd issues (I’m sure everyone was in the waterpark!). It was a hot “hike” up to this park’s star-attraction and I was already desperate for a drink, but the desire to ride was stronger. I was greeted at the top of the hill with a walk-on which was very nice. I think someone was occupying the very back row so I chose second-to-back for my first out of eight laps on this coaster over the course of the afternoon.



I’m always surprised at how few CCI woodies I’ve ridden; I guess I just think of them as being more common than they are, though many of them seem to be in slightly more elusive US parks that I haven’t yet visited on my trips over here. Plus, the “Midwest” area seems to house a decent portion of them (Holiday World, Indiana Beach and Adventureland for example), and I’m still missing chunks of parks from that region. I like CCIs though; they’re old enough to feel like a good traditional woodie but advanced enough to potentially provide a very exciting ride that, in their own way, can keep up with today’s ‘just-below-top-tier’ standards. Though, they’re still of varying quality of course (Stampida isn’t one I prefer to think about when pondering my liking of CCIs, as it’s a bit average).

Rampage shares similarities with another CCI I’ve ridden, Megaphobia, although it’s been over 6 years now since I rode that. Rampage is quite a bit taller, and while I haven’t watched the Megaphobia POV since riding Rampage, I do feel like I noticed a few differences in the layout. Actually, the height was a surprise. I didn’t know it was *that* tall before seeing it in person, so I was quite impressed with the visual. I liked Megaphobia, but I had no reason to believe Rampage wasn’t going to be better.



Yeah, it’s quite a lot better than Megaphobia I think. The pacing of the coaster is impressive, and I imagine this is one of the biggest benefits of a CCI going under more extensive refurbishment (Ghost Rider is also evidence of that). The pacing was particularly impressive given how long the coaster is, and it does feel really long! And yet, it still ends with plenty of ferocity. I was not at all underwhelmed, I was quite a fan. By comparison, Megaphobia fizzled out at the end, and I’m pretty sure that’s not as long. I guess you could blame the height disparity, but regardless, Rampage’s pacing was a lot better. The start is essentially the same to that of its Welsh brother, and it reminded me how much I did like this beginning. The first drop has a really nice bit of airtime towards the back and it leads into a suitably rickety turn, following which came a drawn-out hill with some great sustained airtime. From memory, the next part of the ride is probably the least intense, but it’s not long before you get thrown back into some heavy laterals and very abrupt airtime moments that actually hurt my thighs a bit after eight rides. As I’ve referenced, the ride just keeps going and going and throwing surprise forces at you constantly. It’s quite exhausting after a few rides, and I definitely had to take a few breaks to rest in between and hydrate because of the equally intense heat. Factoring in also my tiredness and the fact it is a consistently rickety woodie, it was quite the endurance test, but totally worth it as it’s a great coaster and I’m extremely glad it was saved. I will say though, my Dad found it far too rough, and it is “rough” and fierce to the point that I can imagine some people finding it too much and probably a bit of a head-ache inducer. I would definitely avoid the very back row if you think that might be you, as that’s an extra intense and brutal experience. I found a bit of solace towards the front of the train when I was particularly tired, as that provides a *slightly* gentler ride, though far from anything I could consider mediocre or relaxing.



Rampage is definitely not for the faint-hearted, and when I say that I’m thinking it could sound like an exaggeration, but I was genuinely surprised at how unrelenting and vicious it could be (in a good way, I think). It’s a tough ride, if you wanna ride it quite a lot at least; I don’t think I could stay on for more than two or three rides in a row, but maybe that was just the circumstances of the day and how I was feeling. Its beastly nature may not have been simply pure fun (mostly it was very enjoyable), but I commend it for seriously kicking my butt! :D

It’s my second favourite CCI now, just behind Tonnerre de Zeus, and sadly falls just outside my top 50. Oh well, making the effort to visit the park and ride it was certainly worthwhile, and I would encourage other enthusiasts to do so, especially if you love a ‘proper’ woodie experience.

That’s all my photos for the park I’m afraid, even I thought I’d taken more XD. Obviously, aside from taking advantage of Rampage’s low queues, I also rode the wacky worm, Centi-SPEED, with my Mum. Not sure why the park is emphasising the speed, it’s obvious to anyone that it’s very slow. It was nice to see a bunch of adults riding it as well as kids though; always helps to minimise the shame ;). So yeah, this wacky worm wasn’t leagues above the rest, sorry I don’t have anything more exciting to report, no surprise launch or a tasty bit of trick-track unfortunately.

Apart from having rest breaks from Rampage and lots to drink, there didn’t seem to be much else at the amusement park that I needed to do. There was a couple of flat rides, none of which excited me, so I thought it best we start the journey back to Atlanta so we could have a more restful evening. I will be interested to see if the amusement section of this park grows; obviously quite a few rides from the original park were removed, so I would like to see some more significant additions in the future, though no idea if it’ll happen. Rampage is enough for now <3

FunSpot Atlanta

The next day we were leaving for Hilton Head Island (which I totally thought was just one big Hilton Hotel resort at first), but not before we sneaked in a couple creds around Atlanta. There was also a Georgia State Fair cred but the state fair wasn’t on, so we decided not to bother. The FunSpot website has next to no information on the recently acquired Atlanta branch, but with an address in hand we just had to chance it. When we arrived we could see no one in the park (guests or staff) and were greeted with a forklift blocking our road in... not such a great sign. However, it moved. And suddenly we were driving in and found one other family going in. Totally expected to be spited! Anyway, we were just here for the cred, so we loaded up our card with the amount of credit I needed to ride (I think that’s how it went anyway), and we got a ride operative to run it for me.


Me on cred

Scream’n Eagle was actually a decent-sized E&F Miler Coaster, rather than just some crappy kiddy cred. According to rcdb, it’s the only Hi-Miler 38ft model; so exciting. I think I did something similar to this at Wild Adventures in 2016, though that was bigger I believe. Don’t really remember what I thought of that. This was fine, maybe there was actually a pop or two of airtime somewhere, though to be honest I could be making that up, it was hardly remarkable. It started off smooth but did get kinda jerky at the end which was a bit meh. Still, I was happy to get on it.

My parents seemed to think FunSpot Atlanta was actually a reasonably nice place; no idea why, I thought it was pretty trashy, unsurprisingly.

FunXcess



The second cred stop was indoors at what I believe is called an FEC (Family Entertainment Centre). It had go karts and games and stuff. But who cares? There’s a +1. These SBF Visa Spinners are the hottest kiddy cred on the block at the moment it seems, surprised this is only my fourth one. I sort of... enjoy them. I mean, I do think fun can be gained from kiddy creds as an enthusiast (am I alone in thinking this?), but I guess I’m also a rare enthusiast who quite enjoys coasters that spin. My Mum also did the ride with me. I had to lol when we got to the top of the layout and she commented: “ooh this is high.” To think of it, a giant one of these would be amusing. And it’s called Crazy 8: the only indoor spinning coaster in Georgia (as advertised on their website) so come on down everyone and ride this very special coaster ;). I think my Dad met the owner, who was quite proud of it, which is nice at least.

Have I got anything else to add? I don’t think so... I hope you enjoyed this more minor part of the report (at least the Rampage bit), and thanks for reading :)
 

Pear

Active Member
Nice to see that SFOG actually reopened for you after the storm. When I went there was also a very heavy storm for about 20 minutes but instead of reopening after an hour, they shut the park down 5 hours early. I was pretty much next in line for Goliath and missed out on Scorcher as well which sucked.
 

CookieCoasters

Active Member
Nice to see that SFOG actually reopened for you after the storm. When I went there was also a very heavy storm for about 20 minutes but instead of reopening after an hour, they shut the park down 5 hours early. I was pretty much next in line for Goliath and missed out on Scorcher as well which sucked.
That’s ****! Six flags should be illegal <//3. I hope you’ll be able to return and ride Goliath some time.

Part 3: Myrtle Beach Creds + Deadwood

After travelling around the south coast for a few days, visiting various places like Hilton Head, Savannah and Charleston, we traveled up to Wilmington, NC and en route, we visited Myrtle Beach. Admittedly, we didn’t do much exploring here other than the two parks / cred stops. I thought my parents would want to look around a bit, but they didn’t seem too bothered. I could sort of see why when we got to Myrtle Beach; I didn’t realise it was one of those “trippy” places. I’m sure there were some nice places to be hidden around the area, but we hadn’t exactly gotten there early because of a morning in Charleston, and park stuff was the priority here. I apologise that I didn’t take any pictures of the actual place, though I guess we were mostly travelling through it in the car and nothing particularly caught my eye.

Pavilion Park

This was a cred stop, but was open considerably earlier than the more substantial Family Kingdom park, so we parked up and went in here first.



I knew there was a cred here beforehand (obviously), but the night before I did a very quick bit of research on their website to see if there were any interesting flats here, and voila! I found out they had one these ‘Rocket’ star flyers rides, of which the only other one I know of travels around the German circuit. Ever since I had seen videos of the German one, I had desperately wanted to ride one of these as they looked mental! I had no idea this one existed, so that was a very nice surprise. We happened to park on the East side of the pavillion, and the Rocket was right there at the entrance. When we got into the park (it was ****ing boiling out by the way) I was sadly greeted by a sign that said this ride was currently closed :( The rocket cars were all covered up, so I wasn’t optimistic about it opening. Boooo!

We then went to find the cred, which ended up being on the complete opposite side of this massive place. It was mainly a place full of restraurants, shops and trippy experiences, with a few fairground rides dotted about in maybe 3 isolated areas. Anyway, it was hell of a long walk in that heat to get to the other side for another SBF Visa Spinning cred. When we finally had it in view, we realised this part of the park was deserted, but the train on the Myrtle Turtle was on the track and uncovered I think. I definitely smelt spite though. My Dad went to check on the status of the cred in one of the guest services places or something, and came back with some disappointing news. Although the coaster and surrounding rides were supposed to have been ready last week, they were still putting the ride together! I guess they dismantle it in the offseason? Bah. This information was confirmed by a man we actually saw working on the ride, who said the coaster was close but not quite ready for operation. Annoying spite, especially given how exhausting the walk over there was. I should’ve taken a picture of the cred at least, just to document the spite (lol), though I didn’t seem to take any pictures actually in Pavilion Park. Stupid me.

So, we just wandered back over to where we parked. We passed some other fairground rides and I am a fan of them, but there was nothing else that looked really special and I was eager to get over to Family Kingdom in hopes of claiming a cred or two today. We did walk past Rocket again and its appearance had not changed. We asked one of the nearby operators about it and he thought it was very unlikely to open. Oh well, bloody spiteful place! I was more cut up about this than the cred I think just because of how rare they are and how much I wanted to ride one, though hopefully the German travelling one is in my future sometime. So yeah, pretty unsuccessful day so far with no rides. However, I did see a pirate ship completely stripped to its steel core, which was both cool and depressing.

Family Kingdom Amusement Park



You can’t really see it in the photo above, but there looked to be storm clouds just east of the park, so I wanted to get in quickly and try and nab the creds before being rained out. I did get a wristband because, in the event of there not being any rain or fairly inconsequential rain/thunder, I did want to do more of the park than just a ride on the coasters, although it’s still only a couple-hour park even with other rides taken into account. We arrived around 16.15 (park opens at 16), and when I got my wristband on, I went straight over to the park’s main attraction, Swamp Fox.




Chain gates! :eek:

As with most classic woodies that are at small parks but aren’t particularly reputable, I didn’t know much going in. It’s a PTC woodie from the 60s, other than that it’s a wildcard! I got a quick ride in the back (though not in a wheel seat obvs because I’m not a monster). It was certainly an interesting experience; in some ways I felt that its heightened aggressiveness over the average classic woodie was commendable, but at the same time it wasn’t always comfortable. It suffered from that issue when you are pushed out of your seat because of fairly non-limiting restraints, but then slammed back down afterwards on the rather uncomfortable seating. I do often like a bit of roughness and ferocity on ‘select’ woodies to make the ride a little more interesting, but I was in two minds in this case whether it was very beneficial to the overall experience. Still, I guess I was expecting something duller, so initially I was rather pleased and simply glad to have gotten the cred (or any cred).

I think it was starting to rain lightly at this point and those storm clouds certainly didn’t appear to going away so I legged it over it over to Zamperla wild mouse coaster, Twist ‘n’ Shout. Lucky I did leg it, as after my lap they shut the ride for the impending onslaught of weather.



It was....... forgettable? I think it was pretty trimmed, so meh, and it’s Zamperla, so MEH! A family behind me got spited, too bad! I was overdue for some good kharmic fruits.


The curse! It’s here :eek:

After the mouse, I met up with my parents again and we quickly found cover in one of the arcade areas. A few minutes after we had taken shelter the rain started to absolutely hammer down and there were some definite thunder/lightning moments too. The breeze coming from outside and the occasional spit of water was godly tbh, given how hot it was having all those people ‘trapped’ in the building. But then they closed the barriers <//3. Urgh, it got so sweaty and uncomfortable, I was just praying for it to be over.

After about 45-50 minutes in there, it looked to be easing off slightly so I went to inspect. After spending about 30 seconds out there it didn’t seem too bad anymore, so I hauled my parents out of there (who were also feeling uncomfortable and bored). Sadly, I may have initially misjudged how heavy the rain was, as we ended up getting quite wet and taking shelter underneath an umbrella with some of the neighbouring food stall staff members. That is when I shot this pic of Swamp Fox’s drop:



We were rather hungry so we tried to get some food, but the lady who was still at the stall said the lightning had prevented them from making any food. So, we just camped out under the umbrellas for a little while longer, getting kinda wet, but at least not from oodles of sweat! Weather over here is so burdenous. I’m surprised cred anxiety hasn’t become an official disorder in the states. It did properly start to ease off this time, though I was just so bored and tired at this point that I was pretty restless. Some people seemed to be leaving the park, which worried me a bit as it was already pretty quiet overall. Though, when they started testing some of the smaller rides, I was hopeful they’d eventually begin to do the same with the larger rides. Although I had nabbed the two main creds before the storm, I did feel a bit meh about the idea of not getting to ride anything else, so just leaving wasn’t something I really wanted to do.


Again, the variety of pictures I took of this park was not great. Sorry.

Eventually the rain became more the occasional sprinkle and we left our cover once again and started observing the rides and whether they looked like they would be testing soon. My Mum and I went round to ride quite an old-style shooting dark ride, Pistolero Round-Up (I think I read somewhere it was Sally’s first dark ride?), as that was one of the rides to open first. It was cool, it was kooky, there were chickens to shoot I believe, we had fun. Nice to take in some of the park’s charm through one of their rides. We then got some much-needed food and ate in the arcade seating area, which thankfully was far less stuffy now.

Once I finished my food, I was keen to ride the park’s Log Flume, despite the weather not being very warm anymore. I’m a huge log flume fan and it’s kinda hard for me to miss one even in the lesser circumstances. And this one was courtesy of Hopkins, who make fab log flumes <3. There was a family with kids who were also parked around the entrance, but I got in front of them as they were faffing about, and after they had tested the flume for a while, I was let on. Whoop! One of the coolest things about this log flume is that it has a hidden coaster drop on the far side of the ride. I tried to snap a picture of this on my way out but the view was pretty obstructed, so I’ll provide an image:


Log Flume, Family Kingdom - Credit: DerekRx on themeparkreview.com

Okay, so a coaster drop on a log flume isn’t exactly unique (see the Splash Mountain rides, and a certain French park which also encloses theirs - each of these made my Hopkins), but it’s still cool to find a small park log flume to have one. It got me unexpectedly drenched, which initially was a shock I felt mixed about, given how I suddenly felt cold, but after all, it was quite amusing. The second, larger drop, was much less wet. Was a really fun log flume, definitely one of my favourites at these seaside kind of places. Probably my favourite ride in the park too, though I was too wet for a re-ride ;)



I re-rode Swamp Fox when that opened. This was when my initial surprise started to fade, and while I still thought it worthy of some praise at parts, the overall experience was a mixed bag really. They could do with some much comfier seats, that’s for sure! Still, it’s always nice to ride a coaster you never really hear about.

Apart from this, I rode a couple of flats. A Matterhorn style ride, and a Tilt-a-Whirl (my first tilt-a-whirl! Surprised it’s taken this long). The Matterhorn was clunky but the tilt-a-whirl was pretty fab tbh, though not as fab and ridiculous as a British waltzer. I feel like I rode another flat ride, but I can’t think what that might have been. I was going to ride the drop tower but that never opened after the rain. I did try and get on the Kiddie Coaster (just a standard wacky worm but with a mouse on the front), but as I was reliably informed by the park’s website and a big sign outside, I would not be allowed on. I think this is the first wacky worm I’ve come across where I wasn’t let on. Dumbass rules, it was no different from any other. Plus, it’s not like there were any kids about I would be bothering, but as is often the case the op lady was rigid. Oh well, it was technically a spite, but I sort of expected it after finding about the height restrictions the night before.

We left Family Kingdom almost exactly three hours after we arrived, and we had paid for 3 hours parking so that was a close-call. I think it is a fine park, not particularly special or pristine, though not quite a “dump” imo. It’s sad other parks in Myrtle Beach fell on hard times, as it could be quite an interesting location for an enthusiast now, but sadly it’s mostly just a cred stop (if you can get all the creds - I clearly didn’t manage to) with the woodie being the only coaster of any significance. Hopefully, Family Kingdom continues to chug along at least.



We drove to Southport in the evening and it was rather lovely, however, I was feeling self-conscious about the big wet marks around the upper area of my shorts (that’s always the last bit to dry <//3). I could’ve sworn one of the guys I walked past looked at it and then gave me a judgey look, though my mum proposed that he was flirting.....hmmm.....


There was the ghost of a pregnant woman in our hotel as well.

Deadwood

This tiny park in the town where I believe HBO’s “Deadwood” series was based, was on the route of our multiple day journey from Wilmington up to Williamsburg. The park was only open Thursday-Sunday, but thankfully today was a Saturday so it was open. It’s really out in the sticks, as you would expect.


The water was an interesting colour. Loved it.

It was like a little western play-park. It was kinda run-down but that was totally in-keeping I think. One of those fab little places you visit just because you’re a whore. However, sadly, my whoring needs were not satisfied here. The Dinosaur Canyon coaster looked abandoned, but I thought maybe there just wasn’t an operator around so we went to find one. We asked a lady inside the main building (which I think is also where you bought ride tickets), and she said the coaster was shut today :( We implored her for information and she ended up ringing the park manager, who said that he was waiting on a part that wouldn’t arrive till Monday/Tuesday at the earliest (when the park is shut and we’re not in the area). The lady was lovely though and apologised profusely. We could’ve ridden the train but even little spites make me feel a bit meh so I wasn’t too bothered. There was nothing that could be done though really.


Clearly it looks incredible and I missed out on a major cred that makes life not worth living without it in your count.

So yeah, there was nothing else to do at Deadwood really, but it was still kinda cool to have been there, even sans cred. Maybe I’ll be able to redeem this visit some time in the future, though it’s not exactly a convenient place to travel to. Fun fact: there is also a coaster sitting in pieces somewhere in the park or in-storage. I forgot to look for it, but I guess if it was in-storage I might not have been able to see it anyway. Or maybe it’s not even on site anymore, who knows? All I know is, I consider this visit to be a double-spite ;)

Hope you enjoyed this instalment of the trip report! Funny to think I only actually rode 2/5 creds that I talked about; such a spiteful part of the trip hah, but at least it was only little crappy +1s and nothing major at all. I can live, and so can my other whore personality (just about). I thought I’d include the two spiteful parks anyway as they were still part of my days and worth a mention.

Now for those who are wanting reports from a more substantial park, I promise there is one to come in part 4 :)
 
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CookieCoasters

Active Member
Part Four: Busch Gardens Williamsburg + Go-Karts Plus

Busch Gardens Williamsburg (evening)



After a few days’ journey up to Williamsburg, we arrived at our hotel mid-afternoon on a Sunday and as we had bought two-day tickets (weren’t much more than one-day), we decided to make our way into Busch Gardens for the evening. We had arrived 2 hours before park closing, and it was very pleasant out, making for a highly enjoyable evening of browsing and riding. Though, I did seem to be suffering from a bit of a headache (very a rare for me) which did effect a couple of my ride experiences, and the possibility that it would continue into my main day at the park did worry me a bit. I think I’ll give my more in-depth reviews of some of the rides when I report on the longer day, so for now I’ll just leave a passing comment really on how they added to my evening.




I decided that I wanted to make my way up towards InvadR since it’s one of the new coasters they’ve added since my visit in 2014. Definitely one of the longer treks in the park, and walking along this side of the park my Dad pointed out how long it feels like before you actually come across any significant rides (unless you make an early diversion to Loch Ness Monster). Although, I didn’t mind at this point as I was so excited to be back at this gorgeous park and it had been over a week since SFOG so I was well and truly hyped for some major park-ing.



There was about a 15-20 wait for InvadR; actually the longest of the evening. It doesn’t have the capacity of other coasters at BGW and it will attract more family groups so it’s not surprising the wait was a little longer. I liked the ride’s theming, it’s not exactly outstanding, but it’s very nice and suits a wooden coaster. Definitely feels inspired by the likes of Joris en de Draak and Wodan in terms of style, though I believe the theme here is Viking. I got a good back row ride, it was fun and very smooth. I do wish, however, they went with wooden over steel supports as that would much better fit the surroundings imo.



Next I decided to back-track a bit and do Griffon: my favourite coaster from the last visit. By the way, the food and wine festival was on this evening which is why you can see the Cuban flags in the above pictures. I didn’t really partake but my parents did a bit I think and there was quite a range of countries being represented throughout the park. It definitely added something nice to the park atmosphere. Anyway, Griffon... there was barely a wait, except maybe a couple trains for the front. I elected for the back row on this ride since I wanted to maximise the amount of rides I could do this evening, plus the back row on these coasters is secretly fab! I got a seat right on the edge I believe. It was really great, not as smooth as I remember from 4 years ago, but still a highly exhilarating coaster.



Then it was on to Algengeist, which looked particularly lovely in this lighting. This was the first coaster where I noticed something that actually ended up being a trend at parks on this trip. It was a screen visible to the riders which showed which seats were locked safely and which hadn’t been yet. I gooned over that a bit hah, thought it was really cool, though I’m sure it’s more convenient for the ride ops on the platform than anything. So yeah, Alpengeist had no queue, and I honestly don’t think I’ve ever queued for this coaster. Took my usual B&M invert position of back row (seems to be my usual position of this evening as well). I was disappointed by this coaster last time; it certainly lacked the oomph you’d expect it to have. To the best of my memory, I wasn’t much more impressed with it on this ride, though obviously it’s still a good coaster.

Tempesto was the other coaster the park had added since my previous visit and to relieve the risk of spite on the main day, I had it in my mind that I wanted to head over that way and get the cred tonight. First though, I looked at the time and realised a ride on Verbolten on the way likely wouldn’t put me in any danger of missing it, so I attempted to find my way to that, which in actual fact isn’t difficult, but I kept second-guessing myself between two possible routes. Eventually I made it there and there was no queue so no harm done. Wandered onto the back row, which was stupid to be honest as I know this coaster gets to my head at the best of times and the back is usually worse than front. This really triggered the headache that I thought had subsided from earlier on in the day, so it was a very unpleasant ride.



After more of a walk through this stunning park, we entered the Festa Italia area of the park and got to Tempesto. I know back when it was new some people complained that it didn’t fit nicely into this area and it looked a bit cheap...hmmm... I’m not actually sure I agree. A little part of me can see what they mean but I actually think it looks great and very in-keeping with its bright colours. The cheapness is definitely more appropriate as a dig at the choice of ride (though I do like them). However, even on this very smooth coaster my head was bothering me which was a little worrisome. Also, I will definitely be talking (MOANing) later about the horrendous restraints here too, so yeah, that’ll be fun.

It had started to get darker now and I happened to be at Apollo’s Chariot which threw me back in-time to my night ride on it 4 years ago - pretty cool. It was certainly faster than I ever remembered it from 4 years, though also quite a bit more vibrate-y which was very uncomfortable for me in this state. So yeah, a mixed experience here. Verbolten seemed to really bring the pain to the surface.



It was pretty muggy out so yes, I did think riding Escape from Pompeii at this time of night was more than suitable ;) I had forgotten how fab this ride was! It’s like a mini-Valhalla. So atmospheric and all the fierce fire and theming inside is so good. If only other standard shoot-the-chutes made an effort like this, maybe I would actually bother with them more. Unlike Valhalla though, it’s not ridiculously wet, in fact this ride just had a nice bit of spray, which was still more than welcome.



After I got off Pompeii, it was like 8.55pm so 5 minutes from closing. I knew Grover’s Alpine Coaster was close and 4 years ago I had neglected to get the cred (bad goon) so I thought I might sprint ‘round and try and obtain that now rather than in the shame of day ;) Luck has it, I made it in time for the last train of the night! Was, predictably, amazing.

What a great evening then? 8 rides in just less than two hours, all but one of the coasters, was pretty happy about that fact. Even despite some of my headache woes, there was a fantastic atmosphere and the park is lovely, so that was enough for a great evening in itself. One criticism I’ll note is that the ops tonight were not good; glorified six flags ones really, not what I remembered from a consistently well-operated park in 2014. Was worried they’d gone downhill in this sense.

Go-Karts Plus

Our main day at BGW was planned for the following day, but as I still felt my headache was there and could easily make for a disappointing day of coaster riding, I wasn’t keen at all on going in. Thankfully our tickets were flexible and we also had Tuesday in the area so we swapped the days over and my parents went into Williamsburg on Monday while I rested in the hotel. We re-convened in the evening and my Dad suggested it might be a good time for the convenient cred stop in Williamsburg, Go-Karts Plus. I was feeling a bit better and I thought I could at least handle a kiddie cred so I happily obliged ofc ;)



I had always dreamed of riding a Python Pit coaster. I remember when I was much earlier into my proper “enthusiast” years and I would use a site called Coaster Grotto, and one evening I just found all these “Jeepers” parks, each listed with coasters named Python Pit. At the time, I didn’t know +1 places existed to the degree they do so I just found it hilarious and the memory of that hasn’t left. So here I get the Python Pit, but without the Jeepers *sad face*

I think my favourite thing about this place was very simply that the cred was running, which was a relief after my previous two spites at Deadwood and Pavilion Park. We stood by the coaster and a ride op came to operate it for us. As I entered, he asked which seat I would like and after I pointed to the front he politely removed the towel from my seat, although I was disappointed that he did not politely place it on my lap as a napkin for a sort-of “fine credding experience.” After that, he gave me a spiel about the various rules I needed to abide by for this hair-raising coaster and off I went, hands firmly down as instructed. He gave me 5 laps and actually the constant back-and-forth jerking motion of the cred left me kinda queasy. But who cares? I got myself a Python Pit!

And just in case it isn’t too obvious, Go-Karts Plus is a place with a load of Go Kart tracks plus a few other rides (I remember a Disk’O and bumper boats besides the cred). Nothing exciting for me really.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg (Day)



Right, I’ll get straight back into Busch then. To save talking about it later, my head was perfectly fine all-day today which was a massive relief for me as I had another fantastic visit, despite temps high of 100 degrees F. and a lot of walking. They seemed to be a bit late opening the parking lot and even when they had we got stuck behind a couple of “faffers.” My Mum made a rather uncharacteristically dark comment about taking them out, which took me off-guard enough for me to chuckle for a while.





The only coaster I had not done on the Sunday evening was Loch Ness Monster and as that opens a little before the official park opening (9.45 I think), that was the obvious choice for our first stop. By the time we got to the ride it was pretty much 10, but it seemed like no one had actually been there before me. I was first in line and got a front row seat, which is probably the best row for an older Arrow like thi
s.

I remember last time I rode it, it gave me a nasty bruise part-way round and I think that coloured my opinion of it somewhat. I enjoyed it a bit more this time: the location is nice (ofc it is, it’s BGW), it’s a decent length even if it doesn’t do very much and it was fairly smooth and light on the classic Arrow shuffling. Really, it’s not bad at all for a 40 year old steel coaster and the unique interlocking loop-element is pretty cool, but yeah, it still is what it is.



The only other area of the park that appeared to be open at 10 was France (Griffon, InvadR, LeScooy). I guess Busch is trying to control crowd flow or something, but to be honest it seemed pretty quiet, as it always has been on my visits. Anyway, those rides give me plenty to play with for a little while, and after getting a much-needed souvenir drinks cup on the way, we made our way back up that steep path to Griffon.

I’ll just say, I did 4 or 5 laps in a row, and this was the station pretty much the whole time:


<3333333

This whoring session definitely rekindled my passion for Griffon over all the other dive machines. Sure, it
doesn’t quite make my top 50 (*cries*) but it’s still a pretty magnificent coaster. Even with other very tall rides in the park, Griffon dominates the skyline the most when you’re up there (unlike Valravn), which is the way it should be for these coasters; they should feel above everything else. Going over the vertical drop on these big Busch dive coasters still gives me a little bit of shivers, particularly in the front when you’re looking over. I loooove the swooping dive drops in the front because of the view and floater time, but also in the back row because of the fab bit of ejector you get going over the drop, which makes it feel a bit more “intense.” The Immelmann has a soaring sensation on the edge that I wish I could feel more often on wing coasters. I personally think Griffon and even Sheikra proabably on the edge give a better experience of that kind than most wing coasters I’ve done do.

The second dive drop is also really fab and a big part of the reason I rate the bigger dive machines over the smaller ones is this extra drop. Yum <3. And now we get to the bit where Griffon starts to define itself from Sheikra. The second immelmen, small hill and post-splash section may not be anything special on their own, but they still offer a bit more substance than most dive machines have at that point. Overall, yes, dive coaster layouts are not that inspired, and hence, objectively speaking perhaps, Griffon’s isn’t either, but when I look at the type as a whole, the layout is pretty good (second only to Valravn out of the ones I’ve ridden), and I just think the coaster works pretty perfectly. Perhaps it’s
not intense or in any way fierce enough to get higher up my list, but it’s just such an enjoyable experience that I want to do again and again. Also, the little bit of extra roughness I noticed Sunday evening didn’t seem to factor in today, interestingly.



Next, I did three laps on InvadR. This was also kind enough to not be sporting a queue at this time.


More images I took on Sunday eve as didn’t seem to take any of this on Monday. Also, it’s hard to photograph.

I seemed to appreciate it more today than I did the first night. Then, I didn’t think much of it really other than that it was decent enough fun, but today I think I saw more of its value. It definitely feels like the gentlest and smallest GCI I’ve ridden (regardless of whether it actually is or not), but it’s still really fun and has a few decent pops of airtime. It doesn’t have that fast, furious and out-of-control edge that the better GCIs have at all, but it’s such an enjoyable and fun family coaster. And well, it definitely doesn’t feel boring or bland, which I think is shown by the fact I rode 3 times. Did I mention it was fun?

It actually broke down a couple times when I was on it. The first time was in the station and it just seemed the ride ops hadn’t let it come far enough into the station to allow the restraints to unlock. When this issue arose, the way the ops reacted didn’t reflect so well on their understanding of the ride, I must say. The second time, I got stuck on the brake-run, which if you’re at the back of the train leaves you in the baking heat. The couple behind me were just yelling “get us inside!” and I had to agree with their sentiments. I can only assume it was a different issue and they had learnt from their previous mistake, but who knows tbh. Eventually they managed to get the train ahead of us moving and let us out before we completely fried.



I wanted to do LeScoot next, but that didn’t seem to be open yet, so we wandered over to Alpengeist, which had just opened at 11. I had two or three rides, and you know what, I was a bit more impressed today. The first half seemed significantly more forceful than I’d ever found it before, including the first drop. The cobra roll was always quite vicious so that was as I usually found it. Just having the first half be more intense definitely impacted my overall thoughts on the ride, but what also helped is that the MCBR, which often kills the second half of the ride, didn’t seem to be grabbing as much today either. Bonus! So, while the second half is really not that special overall (the helix was still pretty pathetic), the two final inversion were at least a bit snappier. I was quite glad to find a better ride experience this visit as I always thought of it as this magnificent coaster and when it underwhelmed last time it was quite disappointing. It’s not one of my favourite inverts by a long shot, but after today I can feel less bitter about it. I think the ops on this seemed better today than on Sunday evening too, and the same went for some other rides.



Le Scoot was testing now so went back over to the entrance for that which is next to InvadR. Then we looked at the time and realised it was probably gonna open around 12, so I nipped back over for an extra ride on Alpengeist while my parents kindly waited outside the entrance for it. Just after 12 a woman walked up the queue line, told us she needed the toilet (I prayed it wasn’t a dump) and then came back to open the line for us. We were first in, whoop. I think I’ve made it quite clear my love for log flumes so I won’t do a big spiel about that again, but yeah, really like this one too. Another classic like SFOG’s. I’ll admit I didn’t think it was as nice this time as InvadR had destroyed a lot of the surrounding trees, and well, as I said before, the steel supports aesthetic just doesn’t look great to me. Also, for a day as hot as this it was far too dry, but it’s still a log flume so ofc I had fun.

What did we do next then? I think we made our way over to Italy (bypassing Verbolten as I promised myself I would not ride this unless it was the end of the day). We got to take in more of the park’s iconic views which absolutely do not disappoint in real life!







LeScoot did very little for our heat relief and I knew Roman Rapids would be the closest ride in the park to a guaranteed soaking, so that was our first stop in the Italy area this time. Urgh, the queue. There was a queue <//3. And it was slow. The rest of the park had definitely been spoiling me. Tbf though, I was expecting a decent-sized queue for this as I knew we couldn’t have been the only ones who were dying in this heat. The more frustrating thing is that they seemed to have barely any boats running.

Anyway, we eventually boarded the ride with a couple and their kids. The couple didn’t want to move around to let us on and one of them even said their kids will be “fine where they are”, so I had to actually clamber over the padded centre ring and my Dad had to very awkwardly push past them to get to our seats. Idiots. To top it off, one of the little kids goes “we got to skip the entireeeeee line.” Bitch XD. Stupid company aside, the ride fulfilled its duty and the long waterfall section towards the end got us drenched. I was very pleased haha. Aside from that, it’s not a particularly remarkable rapids ride.



We had a snack and dried off a bit, before I ventured over to ride Tempesto a couple of times. On Sunday I made the mistake of having my phone out in view of the entrance op and he made me put it in this annoying little bag, even though I have shorts with zippers. I couldn’t be bothered with that today so I just made sure my phone was away when I was approaching the entrance.

Before we get to the ride experience, let me wade into those STUPID and very ANNOYING shoulder straps Busch/SeaWorld seem to be intent on putting on their Sky Rocket IIs. They’re the worst. They slow loading times by a lot because they make it very faffy to get in and out of the seat, made even more frustrating by my knowledge that they are not necessary at all. They completely destroy the point of having a third car on the train since the loading process already takes more than 3 times as long as their counterparts at Holiday Park, SFDK and Lake Compounce (all parks I would consider to have much poorer operations than BGW, but at least they know how to run their damn SRIIs!!). On top of being faffy to get into, you actually have to be careful they don’t fall and whack you after you’ve taken them off, because that was not pleasant and I saw it happen to a couple other people too. They are... OFFENSIVE.

Thankfully, the actual ride experience itself isn’t as tainted by the shoulder straps as you might think, as their one saving grace is that they’re not engineered to tighten and they usually stayed an inch or two away from my shoulders unless there was airtime/hangtime. Still, it does remove some of the sensation of freedom, most notably on the in-line twist which is my favourite part of these rides. I would be more bothered by that usually, but there’s plenty without the straps to ride and enjoy more. Forces-wise it was indistinguishable from other ones, the restraints were pretty much the only differentiator I think.



Now it was finally time to get back on Apollo’s Chariot so it could be redeemed in my mind from the other night. A 5 lap whoring sesh was to ensue <3.


Oooo, these queue times for the B&Ms are to die for. They’re even quieter than on my 2014 visit.



The airtime on this coaster blew me away today. Before this trip, Apollo’s Chariot had been ranked at the bottom of my B&M Hyper list (note: past tense), but this visit it was hauling, which was also confirmed by my Sunday ride even if I didn’t particularly enjoy that one. It mixes a little bit of the usual B&M Hyper sustained floater stuff, though there’s much less of a focus on that here than there is on most of them. The first drop is ****ing great. The pre-drop gives that little bit of extra speed which allows such an abrupt moment of ejector airtime that it doesn’t even matter that the drop isn’t very steep, because the whole time you are just in awe of ejector in B&M clamshells <3. That’s not the only surprise moment of ejector though. You can also find it coming out of the MCBR and on the drop before you reach the final brakes (as pictured above). I’ll say it’s very much a back row ride as at the front you don’t really get these moments as much, which makes the coaster a lot less exciting overall.

I think in a world where B&M Hypers are mostly very similar (although reliably great and often fantastic rides), Apollo’s Chariot offers something a bit more special amongst the group, which if nothing else makes it a fabulous coaster. I think Silver Star comes closest in the sense that you get some ejector (though not quite as strong) at two points towards the end of the ride, but aside from that, Silver Star is more similar to the average in terms of the layout and how it rides. I remember criticising Apollo’s Chariot last time for feeling like it doesn’t flow as well as other B&M Hypers, but perhaps now I’ve began to appreciate that quality. Even so though, I think the airtime, both floater and ejector, were simply more impactful this time than 4 years ago. Sadly, with running better there seemed to have come a price. What previously I thought was a flawlessly smooth coaster, Apollo’s Chariot is certainly no longer that; it has a degree of vibration/rattle pretty much all the way round the ride, which while did not stop me from repeat riding, it does detract from the experience a bit compared to other ones. Perhaps this still bumps it down a place or two more in my rankings than it could be, but compared to how much it’s risen, I’m not sure it would be much.



I wanted to ride Escape from Pompeii as I was feeling like getting wet again, but it appeared to be unavailable when we walked past so we left it till later. I had done quite a lot rides already but it was still only early-mid afternoon, so despite suffering some heat exhaustion, I fancied doing some more riding still. At this point though, we could not manage the walk all the way from where we were to Griffon so we got the very convenient Sky Ride, which dropped us off pretty much right next to it. This was lovely as we had some time to relax and enjoy more of the views BGW has to offer <3.


Griffon is so photogenic from all angles.

So I had a ride or two more on my bae. It’s not my fave in the park by quite as much of a margin now but I still think I prefer it a bit to Apollo’s Chariot. I had another ride on Alpengeist too, just to check that the better ride experience was a real thing. This ride confirmed how I felt earlier. Now I can truly say the park has 3 fab B&Ms!



As I had no more rides that I absolutely NEEDED to do, I decided this time I wouldn’t bypass Verbolten, and instead give it one last chance much closer to the front of the train. The queue was like 25 minutes at this point though so I thought I’d do Mäch Tower first just in case the queue went down a bit. I enjoyed the views of Mäch Tower, and the drop is good enough even if it stops a bit early. Not a big fan of the seating though, as my arms seemed to be pressed firmly against the plastic seat sides which isn’t the most comfortable.



Time for the dreaded Verbolten then. The queue was still a bit long by today’s standards but I didn’t really want to go away with the impression I got Sunday night if I didn’t have to. There was one very powerful sprayer in the queue that at first was to die for but then somehow managed to get a bit much lol. The station is certainly not without its entertainment. It’s got an amazing station announcemencer. The German accent of the pre-recorded female speaker is hilarious. “If you vill not be ridingz at zis time, pleaze take ze step behind ze line.” I love it. The trains are also very sexy, so it’s not like Verbolten doesn’t have anything going for it. I got second row I think.

It was much less offensive this time, thank god. Still got a rattle to it that seems to irritate me a lot more than it should, but it was not as nasty as at the back. The indoor section is quite good and the ride has more speed to it than you might expect, so I just can’t help but wish it was made by Intamin or Mack so it could fulfil its potential for me without all the vibrating. I haven’t done many larger Zierer but the rattle on this and Impulse in particular does not fill me with much enthusiasm for them. Wish they had stuck to tivoli coasters which are funnn :p


Did another ride on Apollo’s Chariot on the way out. More greatness



... And Escape from Pompeii was back open which was good. I even got my Mum to come on it which was pretty fab. We rode the front row and water just poured in all over our shoes/bottom of our legs after the mini post-lift drop indoors, which was rather amusing. The huge bursts of fire were not as suited to a day as hot as this, but the indoor section was still great. I love the bit where one of the statues falls over the track and the sudden blast of “duh duh duhduh” plays. So atmospheric. My Mum was surprised how high the drop felt so she closed her eyes which she now regrets haha. We got much wetter this time than I did the other night, everyone in our boat seemed to. My theory from this, and watching other boats, is that different boats seem to have different sized splashdowns.


We were all ready to leave now I think as we were pretty exhausted, but the fact we had the bonus time on Sunday evening meant there was no need for us to stay all day. I think we spent 9 hours in the park total between the two visits, and it was more than enough especially given it was a return visit. However, I love this park a lot, and could easily spend a week in this area just popping in and out of BGW whenever suited. I don’t know if it’s the “most beautiful park in the world” as they say, but it is beautiful and has some of the best coaster views/vistas around. The funniest thing is that we were all much more praiseworthy of it this time around than last time. Last time I still really liked it but it didn’t quite live up to my expectations as a park, and the coaster selection didn’t seem that special for an American park. Clearly the latter has been helped a lot by better epxierences with Apollo and Alpie as well as introducing new coasters (though I’m not sure Tempesto feels as worthwhile of an addition as InvadR). And just generally not having the same expectations this time I think allowed me to be as impressed with the park as I should’ve been the first time. I used to prefer Tampa, but nope, Williamsburg is my love now. I don’t really rank parks anymore as it’s too damn hard, but BGW is certainly top park material.

Thanks for reading as usual :) Kings Dominion is up next!
 

Pear

Active Member
Nice to hear your opinions on one of my favorite parks! Alpengeist is by far my favorite ride in the park, and my favorite invert as well. I'd put it in my top 20 (though night ERT in the pouring rain did help a lot with that).

Apollo also became my favorite B&M hyper but I didn't find it as rough as you were describing. There was some minor rattling in the turnaround but I didn't mind. I also rode it with 3 clicks and I was flying out of my seat which was incredible.

I also love Verbolten a bit too much (2nd favorite in the park for me behind Alp) and I didn't find it that rattly or vibratey at all. It was much worse when I rode it back in 2016 and it improved quite a bit for me when I was there last month. I love the indoor section and the really forceful helix inside is amazing. I'm perfectly fine with Zierer making this ride as I think it turned out incredible and even though I don't rank it that high it's still such a unique ride and I adore it.

Did you do Battle for Eire at all? I thought it was a pretty good use of VR and a fun ride!
 
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ThomVD

Active Member
Great reports! I've already heard most of your thoughts directly from you, but it's still nice to read them all here. It's one hell of a trip!
 

CookieCoasters

Active Member
Did you do Battle for Eire at all? I thought it was a pretty good use of VR and a fun ride!
I didn’t do Battle for Eire no. I noticed it was there, but wasn’t too intent on doing it I guess as I find VR attractions a bit faffy. I’m not really a fan of having the headsets for a ride; I haven’t even done the proper Galatica VR experience in my home park yet XD. Maybe if it’s good though I’ll try it another time. While we’re on the subject of dark rides, I noticed that they seemed to have closed up Curse of DarKastle which is a bit of shame. I regret not having ridden it on my last visit now.

Btw, love your passion for those coasters! Not as much love for Griffon though? :(
 

Pear

Active Member
Btw, love your passion for those coasters! Not as much love for Griffon though? :(
Hey I love Griffon to bits and like the other coasters in this park it's just pure fun! I still rode it a ton when I went, but I just prefer the other coasters a bit more. As much as I do love Griffon, I do prefer Val though.

While we’re on the subject of dark rides, I noticed that they seemed to have closed up Curse of DarKastle which is a bit of shame. I regret not having ridden it on my last visit now.
Yeah it's a bit sad as it was a very fun ride and great to do with friends and family, but now that they are going to use this as an event space it frees up a lot of land over by where Drachen Fire once stood and I'll be okay losing DarKastle if the Madrid expansion turns out well (still hoping those giga rumors are true!)
 

Hixee

Flojector
Staff member
Administrator
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BGW is a lovely park, and your report was great to read. Rekindled some nostalgia for my visit a couple of years ago. :)
 

CookieCoasters

Active Member
Yeah it's a bit sad as it was a very fun ride and great to do with friends and family, but now that they are going to use this as an event space it frees up a lot of land over by where Drachen Fire once stood and I'll be okay losing DarKastle if the Madrid expansion turns out well (still hoping those giga rumors are true!)
That does sound exciting! Can’t wait for a return visit <3
 
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