Park #2 on the Rollercoaster Road Trip Birthday Thingie is BUSCH GARDENS, BAYBAY (Day 3!)
Busch Gardens was the second-most anticipated part of the trip! I’ve only been there once before, in 2015–remember the TIMESHARE that we suffered through a presentation for just to get free tickets to Busch Gardens and then we ended up falling prey to the spiel anyway and wound up with a timeshare that we used once and then…
Anyway!! There weren’t very many new coaster credits for Chooch to get here because he was tall enough to ride everything the last time, but they do have a new wooden coaster and apparently a new kiddie coaster (lol).
Let’s just focus on how beautiful this damn park is though, ok? Because I really believe that it’s the prettiest, best-themed park in the US aside from like, I dunno, Universal Studios. So in today’s vacation recap post, we will be enjoying the Euro-themed goodness of Busch Gardens.
I have 100% never skied before in my life (I mean, I just spent 3 minutes fighting with spellcheck because I wanted to spell it “skii” in the worst way) but I love love love the area around Alpengeist, the park’s VISCIOUS B&M invert. Jesus Christ, I forgot how intense this coaster is! You’re meant to be an out-of-control ski lift and yep, B&M nailed it.
This was me, about to ride it for the second time, directly after eating pizza.
It was a really strange day at Busch Gardens because when we first arrived, the parking lot didn’t look too stuffed. But then we got into the park and it seemed pretty crowded. The first ride we went to (Loch Ness Monster) had a really long line and I was like OH GREAT, GOOD JOB HENRY, THANKS because everything that went south on this trip was his fault.
Literally! Our original itinerary didn’t have us going south at all but then he axed Six Flags Great Adventure due to El Toro and Jersey Devil being down, and also deep-sixed Luna Park on Coney Island because you can only buy four-hour blocks of time there right now and he made the unilateral decision to go there another time. So that’s how the southern leg of the trip came into fruition. You know, in case you were wondering.
Anyway, we walked to another area of the park and realized that everyone was just congregating over by Loch Ness because it was near the entrance I guess, and everything else was pretty much a station wait or a walk-on! We decided to live it up and waited a bit extra for the front row of Griffon, the park’s dive coaster, and it was only about 15 minutes! If we had opted for any other row, it would have been almost a walk-on.
Plus? Ops at Busch Gardens are AMAZING. These people know how to hustle and safely send trains out of the station.
That bad bitch, Griffon aka Better Than Valravn. Sorry, Cedar Point, but you can’t always be the best at everything! Henry didn’t ride this the last time we visited, probably because he forgot to eat his POWER PRUNES that time and was too scared. So this was actually his first dive coaster, what a lamer.
Verbolten was Chooch’s and my favorite coaster the last time we visited and we talked about it all the time for the rest of the summer like it was a pet we had to get put to sleep. That is how much we missed it! So we were stoked to stuff our butts on this bitch again! Look at the theming in the queue! It’s so wonderful!
We had to wait about 20 minutes for this one but that’s OK, it’s worth it. And again, ops are great at Busch Gardens and also no one there was annoying us that day either.
We were triggered at the sight of the gnomes because the day before at Carowinds, one of the things we had to do during that Plants v. Zombies ride was find golden gnomes for extra points and again, our team sucked so bad and we were CRUSHED by the Plants team.
YES, TO BE IN THIS STATION AGAIN!! Henry had to ride by himself and at the last minute, a single rider squeezed through just as the gates were closing and plopped down next to him. CHOOCH AND I LOVE WHEN THIS HAPPENS!! WILL THEY ACKNOWLEDGE EACH OTHER? WILL THEY GIGGLE AND SCREAM TOGETHER??
In this case, no. But Henry was annoyed because his seat partner was really quiet until the train left the station and then he started screaming.
Wow. Imagine people….SCREAMING….on a roller coaster. What a barbarian.
Fun fact: we did not take a carouselfie at Carowinds because that park made me angry and I don’t want an ANGRY CAROUSELFIE on my wall of happiness.
Oh shit, this ride was pretty good! Busch Garden’s first wooden coaster and it was wild. Henry rode by himself on the train before ours, lol, he doesn’t even bother trying to get on the same ride as us anymore.
Also – new credit for Chooch, since this was built two years after we last visited!
OMG there was DRAMA when we were line for Escape from Pompeii! FIRST, there was several girls in line who were wearing crop tops and the ride operator got on her microphone to announce that shirts must be worn on this ride, and bikini tops or sports bras or shirts that could pass as sports bras ARE NOT ACCEPTABLE. The girls in line were like DA FUQ and even I, the Ageing Prude, thought that the girls were appropriately covered. I mean, it’s summer – crop tops and belly shirts are everywhere. They definitely did not look scantily clad to me, nor did their shirts even remotely resemble bikini tops!?
I stopped paying attention so I don’t know what happened after that but I think they must have pled their case because I did not see them leave.
Then the ride operators eased up on the fashion policing because the security footage showed them that someone on one of the in-flight boats HAD STOOD UP INSIDE THE BUILDING AND WAS SWINGING OFF THE BOAT whatever that means?!!?
There is all kinds or pyrotechnics poppin’ off inside the ride building so I can only imagine the dangers that could have befallen them, not to mention they endangered the other people in the boat!
The BOAT IN QUESTION happened to return right when we were boarding ours, so I got to hear one of the ride operators stroll over there in FULL ON BAD COP persona and demand, “So which one of you was it” and they all played dumb. I’m so pissed that we were already boarded and not still standing in the line because I wanted to see how this was going to play out!!
Chooch’s memory of this ride was much richer than what it actually is. I mean, yeah the building part is cool but it’s no Splash Mountain. (Gotta throw Disney a bone every now and then, I’m not a total monster!)
Anyway, that’s us in the backseat. I was super smug because I managed to keep my pink lemonade Vans 100% dry, Mary!
We walked past this ride about 10 minutes later and IT WAS SHUT DOWN. Was it because of the BOAT SWINGER!?!
But then we found this kiddie coaster that wasn’t there the last time because the entire kiddie area is new. Henry said it’s not new but Chooch and I are always right and I definitely do not remember an entire Sesame Street area? Go on and Google it if you want and let me know if I’m a liar, Linda, because I don’t care enough to do it myself.
Anyway, we got yelled at kind of because it was a station wait, but then it looked like there was an open seat on the train that was being loaded so we shrugged and decided to just take it because who cares about waiting for the front row on a fucking Grovermobile, but as we went to step inside, not one, not two, BUT THREE ride attendants yelled, “NO NO NO” and batted us away. Apparently, the seat was already taken by a parent and little kid who had to step across to the other side of the station in order for the kid to be measured AND GUESS WHAT THEY DIDN’T END UP RIDING IT ANYWAY, THANKS FOR SCOLDING US FOR NOTHING, ASSHOLES.
Chooch was so angry with me because he had wanted to wait for the front seat anyway and I was the one who was like WE AIN’T GOT TIME FOR THAT SHIT LET’S JUST STEAL THIS SEAT HERE BRO.
Anyway, one of the ride attendants was actually getting trained and we learned here that when an attendant needs to cross the track to the other side of the platform, the have to make an X with their arms and yell CROSS.
I was really excited about this.
Also, the guy who was doing the training looked mean. Well, he DID yell at us, so that may have swayed my opinion.
Um, this ride was supposed to open last year, then this summer, but it’s not even being tested daily so who knows!? But it looks so good and I already can’t wait to go back once it’s open.
The one and only negative thing (aside from the understaffing resulting in a bunch of food places being closed) was the lack of hand sanitizer around the park. I mean, we are still very much in a pandemic and even though many of us are vaccinated, we are not invincible! Hand washing and sanitizer will forever be something I do obsessively now and I was so angry every time I pushed down on ANOTHER empty sanitizer pump. Ughhhhh.
And yeah, the understaffing thing is such a problem at every park, and it is really sad. I am trying to give parks a pass when it’s clear that Covid is directly correlated with me having a bad time at a park, so I cannot dock points from Busch Gardens because I was unable to deep throat an ice cream cone because their ice cream shop was closed for the entire day/probably whole season.
But come on, do better with the sanitization amenities, Busch Gardens, jeez. What do you think this is, 2019??
Then we ate pizza at Festhaus which was a MISTAKE because we all got sick from it. It was so good but way too much. Also, Chooch snuck that $5 pickle log on his tray and then only took two bites.
Then a storm rolled through and we had to take cover but I will be back for my post-storm thoughts later because Henry just had the audacity to sneeze without warning me and now my evening is ruined. That motherfucker.