Located just a few miles from Williamsburg proper, Busch Gardens Williamsburg is the sole recipient of Amusement Today’s prestigious Golden Ticket Award for “Most Beautiful Park.” Okay, admittedly they only had that particular category for one year (2004). I guess they dropped it because it sounds absolutely ridiculous.
We don’t get up there as often as we should, but when we do we always enjoy it.
The last time we were there was 2009, so you’ll have to excuse some dated photos.
While the Busch Gardens park in Tampa is themed to Africa, the Williamsburg park is themed to the many countries of Europe.
What this means is that each individual section of the park is environmentally themed to particular European countries – Ireland, Scotland, Germany, Italy, France, and the UK. Guests enter the park in the UK-inspired Banbury Cross section.
The most prominent feature of this area is a pseudo-replica of St. Stephen’s Clock Tower (Big Ben). I guess I can see the similarity if I squint my eyes the right way.
Obviously when you’re doing a theme park representation you have to keep it simple. That means you stick with the basics – common architecture, big red phone booths. Fine, it’s kind of dated and quaint, but it gets the point across in broad strokes.
It took me ten minutes to figure out that “London Britches” was the name of the gift shop in this picture. I’m a dummy.
The Brewmaster’s Club is unfortunately gone. Here, guests could sign up for a beer sampling and learn about appropriate pairing. Some folks are really, REALLY still pissed about this going away. They’re called drunks.
The most popular (and only) attraction in this section of the park is this recreation of Shakespeare’s Globe Theater. For years, they ran different 4D movies. At the time of this picture, they were showing “Pirates 4D,” which was a mildly entertaining lark starring Leslie Nielsen and Eric Idle. Currently, there live stageshow consisting mainly of British music entitled “London Rocks.”
I ain’t saying a damn thing here. She knows where I live.
In addition to the one-off “Most Beautiful Park” award, Busch Gardens Williamsburg has won the Golden Ticket Award for “Best Landscaping” for the last 16 or so years.
Landscaping’s nice, but these stairs are a bitch. Let’s go up and see what that pretty yellow track is.
The Scottish area is smallish, but it contains one of the biggest treats in the park: the Loch Ness Monster coaster.
The theming here is pretty obvious, so I’m going to instead take this opportunity to instead be annoyed that I couldn’t find a way to slip in a “Synchronicity II” reference.
When Nessie opened back in 1978, she was the world’s tallest coaster. That initial drop of 114 feet must have been absolutely terrifying.
What really makes her unique, though, are these two interlocking loops.
Loch Ness Monster doesn’t get the respect it deserves. It’s just one hell of a fun ride.
I guess Loch Ness Monster has the same problem as Six Flags Over Georgia’s Mindbender coaster: when you’re an older coaster in a park full of younger, sexier B&M machines, it’s hard to get the attention you deserve.
Part of what I really love about this coaster unfortunately cannot be shown. In between the two loops, the train enters a lengthy tunnel section. While inside this tunnel, the train passes through a massive helix with nearly three complete rotations.