Disclaimer: I was given passes to Busch Gardens Williamsburg for my entire family in exchange for this post, but all opinions are my own… or my kids’!
So… this has been the summer of the amusement park for my kids. But I have to tell you…
Busch Gardens? It’s been our absolute favorite. I say that in part because it’s the only one we’ve been to as a family, but also, because it was non-stop action from the time we drove through the gates to park.
We left the beach that morning at o-dark thirty. Thing 1 wanted to be parked and through the gates by the time they opened and we were. It’s the first time that we’ve ever been there when the park opened. Busch Gardens Williamsburg is 4.5 hours from home, and so we’re typically rolling in a little, or a lot, after they open.
Some more firsts?
Thing 4 (age 9) is FINALLY able to ride on ALL the rides.
And by all the rides, I mean this one….
I lost count how many times they rode the Griffon, but I can tell you, as the official bag holder and photographer of the group, it’s the best ride to get a picture and you know when you need to be ready to watch for them at the exit… because I snapped that shot as they hung there for five seconds before plummeting to
their death straight down. (Know how I know it’s five seconds? Because my girls — Thing 4 and the two on the right of her — would stop and count it down.)
I rode of two rides the entire day… the Curse of DarKastle which was AMAZING… even for me the big-fat-scaredy cat. Yes. It was a scary castle, but the 3D animation was AMAZING. And it was a great ride to slip in out of the heat and cool off.
I also rode the Verbolten. Um. Wow. According to the hubs, it’s catapult driven. I didn’t know this until after he got off the ride and said, “I would’ve been on that sooner had you told me it was catapult driven.”
I mean seriously? How am I supposed to know these things?
It’s been years since I’ve been to Busch Gardens. In fact, the last time I was there, Verbolten wasn’t there and The Big Bad Wolfe was.
The thing I LOVE about Busch Gardens is something that sets them apart from other amusement parks. In each country you’ll find rides for all ages (and those that are KIDsiderate – just for kids!) and thrill levels. For us, it was great. I could sit in one central location as they all went and did what they want in that country and then we’d move on.
They do have a children specific area… Sesame Street Forest of Fun.
And while Thing 4 technically could still ride on all those rides, once you’re old enough for the Griffon, Elmo’s Alpine Express really doesn’t offer much.
She rode it to appease me… and to say she rode them all!
And then, Thing 2 rode it as well.
There’s a great water area in there for kids – my kids just wanted to get back to the big rides!
The Loch Ness Monster was the first loop-to-loop roller coaster I’d ever ridden on. That happened when I was just a bit older than Thing 4 and it was the favorite ride of Thing 3. My record was thirteen times in one day and had he had his way, he would’ve beaten that. Unfortunately, there were votes amongst the five kids and the Loch Ness didn’t always win.
Can you believe that ride has been there about THIRTY YEARS?
Yes. I’m that old.
As far as food goes, when you get to the park when it opens and you’re planning on shutting the place down (which we did) the cost of feeding seven people can be pricey. We found an all you can eat pizza, pasta, and salad buffet. For $12.99 for adults and $8.99 for kids 10 and under, we chose to eat a late lunch and get out money’s worth. The food was great! There were various kinds of pasta, pizza and dessert pizzas. A drink came with the meal. We also splurged on some kettle corn as well in the evening.
You can find the buffet in Festa Italia.
After you eat, do what we did… take a ride on the train around the park and take it all in… and grab a snooze while your stomach settles before you get back on the rides.
Or catch a show.
This is the first time that a child asked to watch a show, but Thing 1 asked to catch the show with the chefs in Italy. Mix it Up
It did not disappoint.
Of course, it didn’t hurt that it was all percussion and marching band type.
We all loved it.
No one rode on this ride…
That’s Davinchi’s Cradle. It didn’t bother me. When I was 10, I rode that ride and then promptly lost my lunch at the feet of the hot guy my babysitter had been flirting with all day…
Some memories just can’t be erased.
But new memories were made and I had VERY happy children…
That picture was taken as they were forcing us out of the park… yes.. we shut the place down.
A few notes for when you take your trip to Busch Gardens:
- Bring your own water bottles. There are lots of places to fill them up and you’ll save on soda. (But if you’re a soda person, they have a refillable cup for $10 and 99 cent refills.)
- During the summer, it’s not very crowded during the week. We had very little wait time.
- They have an app! And it will help you navigate the park… Download it before you get to the park. Also, I noticed there was wifi in the park (although I can’t confirm if it was everywhere.)
- They do have cell phone charging lockers (but it will cost you!)
- There are family dryers ($5) if you get drenched on the Roman Rapids or the Escape from Pompeii. (Please don’t think there’s only a chance you’ll get wet.. you will.)
- Take a picture of the spot where you park. A full day of rides will have you second guessing if your’e in Italy or Ireland and if it were row 39 or 49.
- The cost to park is $15.
- Start at the back and work your way forward.
- Water Country is NOT part of Busch Gardens in that it’s not within the same park. You have to drive to get there. (I say this because there are many parks who have water parks within their park.)
And most importantly.. Busch Gardens doesn’t close at the end of the summer. Howl-o-scream begins on Friday, September 12th and runs through October 26th and Christmas Town starts November 21st and goes through December 31st.