On March 16 I got to head to Busch Gardens Williamsburg for a Member Sneak Peak. This is the day of the year where they only let in people with Annual Memberships to check everything out. In previous years it meant lines were shorter and you could get more done. That was NOT the case this year- I had friends who waited 90 minutes to get from the interstate to the park. So my advice is next year still COME but either get there before 10 a.m. (which we did and it was fine) or after 1 p.m. and you will have a much easier experience!
Just a note- I mentioned this last year on social media but Busch Gardens Williamsburg has now installed metal detectors. So be ready for a few more minutes delay at the entrance to the park to walk through. There was no significant delay on Saturday but on really busy days it will probably add some wait time.
When we finally got into the park (I had to wait FOREVER at Customer Relations for something) we dashed to the Abbey Stone theatre to attend a town hall meeting led by Kevin Lembke, the President of Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Water Country USA (who is the nicest guy you will ever meet- I chase him around the park to get him to answer questions all the time and he always does). I LOVE these meetings- they release new information about what to expect over the year plus the energy in the room is ridiculous. Everyone is a member and it’s kind of a cult- people love the park and are very excited about all the announcements.
While some of the information wasn’t exactly ground breaking (everyone in Hampton Roads knows there is a new swing ride opening) some of it really made me look forward to the next six months!
Sesame Street Turns 50 And Kids Weekends Return!
Sesame Street turns 50 this year and part of that celebration will be at Busch Gardens Williamsburg- especially since it’s the 10th anniversary of the Sesame Street Forest of Fun. When you walk by now you will see a beautiful new paint job on the castle (pictured above). It is so bright and cheerful- even looking at the pictures the next day I can’t believe the difference it makes.
Additionally Kids Weekends will return in Sesame Place this year. This is only the second year they have done it so I wanted to mention it again- they run April 5th through April 28th.
Apollo’s Chariot Turns 20!
Apollo’s Chariot turns 20 this year and is getting a new paint job in steps over the year so it won’t have to be closed. For those who are big fans of the ride this is a much needed make over! They will do some exclusive early and late hours for members on the ride as part of the celebration.
Free Beer For Members!
Opening weekend (March 23, 2019) they will have free beer for members. You can get one free 10 oz beer each visit over the weekend in the Festhaus. They have done this in Florida before but never in Williamsburg.
Pin Trading Begins!
I had always wondered WHY Busch Gardens doesn’t do Pin Trading. Disney has been doing this for years and I saw when I was in Florida this year at Animal Kingdom what a successful program this is. Check out How To Pin Trade at Busch Gardens Williamsburg!
The best view is from riding the train!
I’m not going to spend a ton of time on this because it’s not new news. Busch Gardens has a new giant swing that will be opening outside of Ireland in May called Finnegan’s Flyer. It’s being built in Utah and shipped out in pieces to Williamsburg to be completed. It is expected to open in May. There will be a 48″ height requirement for this ride.
Cutback Water Coaster
This is something else they have been advertising for a while. Water Country USA, the sister park of Busch Gardens Williamsburg, will be opening the only Hyper Water Coaster on the east coast in May. They said they are so close to having it done they will begin running water through it in April. It’s 850 feet of slide, has five saucer turns, uses jet propulsion AND goes uphill (something I didn’t even think you could do on a water slide.
What’s Happening at The Globe Theatre this summer?
For the last few years at Busch Gardens Williamsburg they have had some version of a British Juke Box show in The Globe Theatre. None of them have ever particularly impressed me but they were a nice break to get out of the heat. Honestly most of the time we didn’t see them.
I will be making EXTRA trips this summer to see what the park is providing however! After some changes to the stage and set up Busch Gardens Williamsburg can now bring in outside acts to keep us entertained! If you have ever watched America’s Got Talent or Britian’s Got Talent these are the type of acts you see on those shows. Plus Light Balance is back- they were at the park last year for just a few days and were INCREDIBLE.
June 28 – July 7- DO NOT MISS LIGHT BALANCE
Hailing from Ukraine, Light Balance is hi-tech neon and LED dance group comprised of talented young dancers, designers, programmers and choreographers. Melding their creative and engineer backgrounds, the group provides their audience with a unique show that unifies all of the senses. Their colorful images create a high-energy atmosphere of magic, light, dance and music. Light Balance’s imaginative performance led to Tyra Banks hitting her Golden Buzzer during season 12 of America’s Got Talent.
July 8 – July 14- Boogie Storm (Yes Those Storm Troopers Who Dance)
Dressed head to toe in iconic white outfits, the six members of Boogie Storm are a dance force to be reckoned with. Performing crushing dance routines, the group has accumulated over 50 million YouTube hits to date, and there seems to be no sign of slowing down. Having reached the live finale and finished third in Britain’s Got Talent’s 10th anniversary in 2016, the troop have been nominated for the best performance of 2016 at the National Reality Television Awards, as the accolades just keep on coming.
July 15 – July 21- The Passing Zone
Juggling is tough enough with scarves, balls or pins, but this dynamic duo takes juggling to the next level and they have been doing that for more than 20 years. The Passing Zone is one of the most inventive, successful and funny duos working today. You’ll have a difficult time deciding whether to hang onto your chair as chainsaws fly through the air, hold your breath as they perform world-class skills or grab your stomach as you double over with laughter. Prepare to be amazed, as Jon and Owen redefine juggling, and take it to new heights. You won’t believe your eyes.
July 22 – July 28- William Close and The Earth Harp Collection
William’s work explores the connection between architecture and music. Inspired by the Frank Lloyd Wright quote “architecture is frozen music,” Close creates musical installations that use the architecture as part of the instrument. The Earth Harp is the largest stringed instrument on the planet and was developed by William Close in 1999. This talented ensemble have pushed the boundaries of the performance experience over the last several years finishing third on NBC’s hit talent competition “America’s Got Talent.”
July 29 – August 4- Fighting Gravity
What started out as an idea for a local talent show at Virginia Tech quickly transformed into an Internet sensation, garnering more than 10 million views on YouTube. Fighting Gravity’s play on light and levitation quickly gained worldwide attention thanks to their third place finish on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.” Following their success on AGT, Fighting Gravity has become one of the most sought-after live performance groups in the country — performing with platinum-selling recording artists like Will.i.am and Jennifer Lopez.
August 5 – 11- Freckled Sky
Freckled Sky is a team of multimedia artists dedicated to the design of interactive shows and events. They tell stories and bring immersive experiences to the viewer. Freckled Sky blends projection, lightning, interactive solutions and special effects to create new forms of entertainment. This America’s Got Talent Golden Buzzer artist is sure to leave audiences wanting more.
New Things Only A Frugal Chick Noticed
Here are the new Souvenir Cups for this season. They, of course, feature Finnegan’s Flyer. They allow you to get $.99 refills all year long and in subsequent seasons as well. They are available for purchase all the time but if you have an Annual Membership you can get them 2 for $22 plus free refills on the day of purchase on 4/3, 4/4, 4/12 and 4/28.
Over in Festa Italia they now have Pineapple Whip! I don’t remember seeing this before. If it’s like Dole Whip at Disney I will be getting some of this on my next trip!
In Italy you used to be able to get Starbucks at the Gelato place. Now it is inside Marco Polo marketplace at the counter where you get your desserts.
The food booth by Escape from Pompeii (which I forgot to ask yesterday about reopening and I will) is now called The Vesuvius Grille. I swear it was the Greek something before. The food is basically the same but I didn’t remember them having Dippin’ Dot FLOATS and Sundaes. So I wanted to point that out.
Other Important Dates
Food and Wine Festival – May 17 – June 30- My reader Mary sent me a picture of the sampler they had to try! Here is my post from last year if you want to see what to expect!
Bier Fest– August 16 through September 2
Howl-O-Scream– September 13 through October 27