New at Busch Gardens Williamsburg 2017
March 18th was Pass Member Preview Day at Busch Gardens Williamsburg- my first time to attend! I ran out of the door anticipating a great day!
And then went right back home as my friend Joel forgot his pass. THEN we went to the park.
New at Busch Gardens Williamsburg 2017
Changes at the Lot Entrance
The first change occurred before we even got in. Since everyone was a Season Pass Member I expected the front gate wait to be relatively quick (as FREE parking is included with all season tickets).
When Joel showed his season ticket to the attendant in the booth he also asked for Joel’s ID. For the 2017 season all Season Pass Holders will show their photo ID to ensure they are using their own ticket. This also means you can’t give your friends your Season Pass to get free parking anymore.
Changes At The Park Entrance
We parked and took the tram to the park entrance. Upon entering the actual place where the tickets are scanned I was THRILLED to find that the ticket machines are gone!
At the park entrance park was always machine you would have to place your ticket under to scan it. It would have to be lined up perfectly to register and often I looked like an idiot. Last year they started hand scanning tickets and verifying ID by taking your photo but the dreaded machines were still there.
This year it is all hand scanners and it moved very quickly. I hope it remains this way!
Message From The Park President about 2017 and 2018
A perk of attending Member Preview Day is hearing the “Busch Gardens Member Annual Address” or perhaps “The State of Busch Gardens.” This year it was in the Globe Theater and it was PACKED- every seat was full (with people standing on the sides) and the buzz in the air was concert-like.
After a bit of a wait president David Cromwell came out, threw a few t-shirts in the audience and began his presentation.
The first announcement was no surprise- Jack Hanna is coming to the park next weekend (3/25 – 3/26). This is the first weekend the park is open to the public. My family and I have tickets to eat lunch with him and plan to attend his show so if I can get some good pictures I will do a post!
Next was announcing the new kiosks for the Food & Wine Festival in 2017- India, Mediterranean and a Drink Stand (alcoholic and non-alcoholic)! He did not mention which kiosks might be going away. They also extended the Food & Wine Festival by a week. You can check out my Food and Wine Festival 2016 Review if you want to see what was available last year.
Busch Gardens has decided they need to take French Fries to the next level! When you walk through France now you smell a delicious new scent. I snuck in and took this picture of someone’s fries when they weren’t looking. Order fresh cut fries with a variety of toppings, from cheese curds and crumbled bacon to homemade chili and carnitas pork.
Thank GOD they are getting rid of London Rocks- the awkward show they had tried to salvage for three years in the Globe Theater. They are replacing it with Britmania. I have fingers crossed for this new show which opens June 30th- until then Elmo Rocks will be back in the theater for the little ones.
There will also be a new show in Das Festhaus this year- OctoberZest. David said that it will be another show featuring German music and dance but from the set pieces already out it appears we may be looking at a Steampunk theme. This show opens at the end of March.
Howl O’ Scream will have two big changes this year (and a third he teased but would not announce).
First they will be adding a new kid-friendly element to the event. Kids will be allowed in the park in costume and they will have activities geared specifically for them. More to come on that as the event gets closer.
Additionally the park will be extending the hours of Howl O’ Scream (thank GOD). It will be open until midnight on the last weekends so that people can maximize their time in the park. This is long overdue.
The BIG announcement yesterday was the new ride for 2018 arriving next spring. In my opinion the worst ride remaining the park is Europe in the Air. It’s one of those rides where they stick you in a box and shake you up showing you an aerial view of Europe.
It will remain closed for most of 2017 (they will still use it for the haunted house at Howl O’ Scream) as they prepare to add the new ride for 2018. As you can see from the video above they will still use the seats but you will have a Virtual Reality headset. It will be the first show of it’s kind at any theme park!
Invadr- The New Roller Coaster
Of course the big news at the park is the new roller coaster- Invadr. Opening April 7th it’s a wooden coaster- the park’s first. At 2 p.m. they were doing a special unveiling (we didn’t know of what) so we headed over to see all the fuss.
After a fairly anti-climactic speech they unveil the statue, which is to represent the Viking Ship. It is the ride’s entrance.
Here’s the thing about this statue- it’s REALLY cool. And I typically have a G-rated mind. I am the girl who doesn’t get the dirty jokes or even realize I have said a double entendre.
When you go to the front and look straight through (as you will every time you go on the ride) hanging between the creature’s legs are two giant nets full of boulders. Big round things hanging and it’s very manly. I heard many Pass Member snickering to themselves as they walked by.
One of the big drops goes underground! There is my finger showing you exactly where it is!
The Other Stuff
Much more emphasis on the kids rides and shows this year. Between this and the kid friendly areas at Howl O’ Scream it could be a great year for kids!
The prices are the same as last year- the more cups you buy the lower the cost per cup. If you previously bought cups be sure to bring them- the refills won’t be $.99 but they are discounted. They were on sale for just the Pass Members but that deal has passed now.
They made no changes to the fried pickles at Trapperhouse. We checked.
Changes with the Animals
After the traditional fried pickle eating we walked toward Ireland. I glance over by the aviary and it’s just space. In the back previously were cabanas, a giant snake, lizards and other rescue animals kept in the park. It basically looks like picnic field with a water area for some toads and a butterfly garden.
The wolves were out in full force running around their area and posing for pictures. It is great to see their area has new sod and cleaned up from previous years.
Get Your Tickets
Right now on Groupon you can save 50% Off Single Day Admission to Busch Gardens Williamsburg– only $40 instead of the regular $80 per person!
Purchase your 2017 tickets now to get the best value! Currently the fun passes are Buy One Get One Free– buy a pass for Busch Gardens and get Water Country FREE!