Busch Gardens Williamsburg Touring Plan Request

GrandCanyon

New member
Howdy, we consider ourselves Disney experts (other than the new FastPass system), but we're making our first trip to Williamsburg in late July. This will be the first three days of a multi-day vacation: Williamsburg (2.5 days) > Washington DC (4 days) > NYC (3.5 days). Everyone has been to DC, but the first time as a family, everything is planned and timed tickets have been bought. Everyone has been to NYC a couple of times as a family--we've got that leg all figured out. This is the first time to Williamsburg, and we plan on one day at Colonial Williamsburg and one day at Busch Gardens. We have four nights reserved, but will probably push on to DC after a couple of days. We plan on doing Busch Gardens one day, and Colonial Williamsburg one day. Here are my questions: 1) We will be there by 2:00 Saturday afternoon, all day Sunday, and all day Monday. What day would you do Colonial Williamsburg and what day would you do Busch Gardens? 2) Does anyone have a touring plan for Busch Gardens? Thank you.
 

ptlohmysoul

Active member
Howdy, we consider ourselves Disney experts (other than the new FastPass system), but we're making our first trip to Williamsburg in late July. This will be the first three days of a multi-day vacation: Williamsburg (2.5 days) > Washington DC (4 days) > NYC (3.5 days). Everyone has been to DC, but the first time as a family, everything is planned and timed tickets have been bought. Everyone has been to NYC a couple of times as a family--we've got that leg all figured out. This is the first time to Williamsburg, and we plan on one day at Colonial Williamsburg and one day at Busch Gardens. We have four nights reserved, but will probably push on to DC after a couple of days. We plan on doing Busch Gardens one day, and Colonial Williamsburg one day. Here are my questions: 1) We will be there by 2:00 Saturday afternoon, all day Sunday, and all day Monday. What day would you do Colonial Williamsburg and what day would you do Busch Gardens? 2) Does anyone have a touring plan for Busch Gardens? Thank you.
Sorry, I don't have a touring plan. Essentially, BG is a circle and we tour the circle either clockwise or counter clock wise depending on when we want to see specific shows and/or when we want to eat at specific places (Germany for 1 meal for sure while watching the show there). I would choose a weekday over a weekend at the place I want to do more at. Busch Gardens depends on the age of the kids and whether roller coasters are essential vs. shows, etc. During busy summer season, I would doubt you could do it all in one day. Colonial Williamsburg you can go to and walk around outside without paying for it (if you just want to explore on one day). You can also eat at a restaurant there without paying for it (Colonial Williamsburg tours not the restaurant). Separately, there is Jamestown and Yorktown (driving distance away). CW also offers different programs on different days so you might want to decide based on the schedule and what you want to see/do. We rode across (and back) on the free car ferry just to do it (we and the kids enjoyed it) - that is near Jamestown.
 

UTBlonde

New member
Most of the programs in CW occur in the morning and early afternoon. I believe you can get a program guide online from their website. Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry are my two favorite programs. The actors portraying these patriots are incredible. My favorite buildings are the Governor's palace, Capitol, and the Wythe House. Not all buildings are open everyday. Highly recommend Christiana Campbell's tavern for lunch if you like seafood. Try the peppermint ice cream in the historic district. You'll really want to plan your day based on the programs you'd like to see. The evening programs such as the Ghost Tour, and the concerts at the palace and Capitol are lovely. My FIL is on the board at CW, and we've been going for over 20 years. Message me if you have questions. We did BG and didn't really have a plan. It wasn't nearly as crowded as Disney. Great park!

And you must have a ticket to go into any buildings in CW. There's really no point in even going if you don't buy a ticket. All the proceeds to back into the historical society, so please buy one!
 

runDisneygirl

New member
Excellent questions, if you don't mind me hopping on and asking one more.... Does the Ghost Tour go inside any buildings? And safe to assume any weekday is less busy at CW than weekends?

We're on a tight budget and are tentatively planning on not buying tickets - for a family of 5 - to CW. I know for a fact my 7 and 10 year old would be bored after the first two buildings and then my 12 year old and husband will be bored after the next two buildings. They're more interested in the shopping aspect and maybe dining there rather than just walking around a "bunch of old buildings." I was hoping the Ghost Tour may be more enticing and it is a lot less money too.
 

UTBlonde

New member
Honestly, if you're not into history, there's not much to do in CW. Even I love history, and I can get bored in CW. What type of shopping do they want? Maybe just do a meal at one of the Taverns. I haven't taken the ghost tour in a few years, but I remember it starts in the Raleigh Tavern and then They take you to several different locations throughout the historic district, on a walking tour. There's another cool show where they show a witch trial.

CW is defintely less crowded Monday-Thursday, with crowds picking up Friday-Sunday.
 

GrandCanyon

New member
Our family has not been there, but I did scout it out on a business trip last August, just myself. I can tell you that Sunday and Monday are what I would call "dark" (kinda like broadway). There are things they don't do and shows they don't have on Sunday and Monday. Two things that I loved, my family won't be able to experience because of when we will be there. (1) Order in The Court, and (2) the Fifes and Drums. I only found out after I had planned our trip that they don't do those on Sundays and Mondays. There's a pretty active Williamsburg forum on tripadvisor .... regarding the ghost tours. I've not attended one, but they say the "Tavern Ghost Walk" which they saw is historical and interesting, and the "Ghosts Among Us" ... no one has been able to tell me why the Tavern one is family friendly, and why the Ghosts Among Us is not. GAU they say goes inside of buildings which is cool, but TGW is the only one that's family friendly. So the tripadvisor forum is pretty active, but I don't seem to get any information that I kind get myself by looking on the Colonial Williamsburg web site ... http://www.colonialwilliamsburg.com/discover/
 

runDisneygirl

New member
Great info, thank you. I love the history, but just know the kids will be bored after 45 minutes. Shopping for kid stuff, puzzles, keychains, stuffed animals, candy, the sort of things kids like. I'll check out the menus and pick a tavern too I think. I'll check out the trip adviso info. Thanks!
 

bandzmom

New member
Watch Groupon for CW tickets. We picked up ours there last summer and got a great deal. I think that's a fairly frequent offering.

We did Busch Gardens in one day, and I would suggest a weekday over a weekend for crowd levels. We didn't have a touring plan, and I don't remember much wait, at least when compared to Disney waits. We did a lot of the roller coaster type rides.

We did Williamsburg Walking Tours' Ghost Tour, and I don't know that I would do it again, but it was fun for a one time thing. We were the only family on that night, so we got a personalized tour. We did not go inside any buildings and didn't expect to. After reading reviews, I decided this would fit our crowd more. I would also recommend eating in a tavern. There are a variety of price/types. Check out the TripAdvisor forum for reviews, and the Colonial Williamsburg site for prices and menus.
 
Hi there, I'm a William & Mary grad. My favorite way to spend a day was sandwiches at The Cheese Shop (try the turkey with house dressing), coffee at Aromas (the dogstreet is amazing if they still have it) and a ride on the Jamestown Ferry. A stroll through the William and Mary campus is lovely too. Also, BG tickets are the same price for single ticket or unlimited visits until 9/1 so if you think your group might be bored by CW you might think about two park days and just soak up some colonial atmosphere before or after your time in the park. The Colonial National Parkway is a nice drive with some quick historic sights along the way.
 

KBO

New member
We went to CW mid-May with a group discount and were allowed to walk around and visit inside the buildings. I can tell you that it was a bit frustrating that not all of the buildings were open that day. My children are 10 and 8 and they both seemed bored. I have taken them to Jamestown a couple of times and we've had a tour guide. I much prefer having a guide over just walking around a historic area. The guide was able to keep the interest of the group (including my children). I don't know if CW offers a guide, but if they do, I would suggest getting one.

Busch Gardens is a beautiful theme park...with lots of walking which can include hills! We have season passes and I come home every time exhausted (even though I haven't stayed all day)...it's a great work-out. July will be very hot here. You may want to include some water rides. The Roman Rapids will probably get you soaked. FYI---there is also a water park (Water Country, USA) which is close to BG. IMO: The best food in BG is in New France at the Smokehouse. We usually work our way around the park starting to the left after we enter. You can take the train or the sky rides to get to other areas (just know that both only go in one direction-- and the sky ride has three stations, but does a triangle in one direction). Instead of FP, they offer Quick Queue. Also, Sunday, July 20th - Lynyrd Skynyrd will be there and on Sunday, July 27th - LeAnn Rimes. These may make the park more crowded!!!...I would suggest only going on these days if you want to see them.
 

crewsn

New member
Yeah something local to me that I can contribute to :RpS_biggrin: I would hit up Pierce's Pitt Saturday after you get settled. Sunday Colonial Williamsburg in the AM. Lunch at one of the taverns. Wander the merchants square. Then possibly go to Jamestown, wander by Yorktown, etc then you can have dinner in Merchants square. Though honestly there are other great restaurants throughout. Monday would be Busch Gardens. Personally I always go to the right through Scotland on to Griffon first then make my way to Alpengist, etc. My pick for lunch would be the smokehouse too. As the PP said Busch Gardens is beautiful and part of what leads to that beauty is its terrain and space. There is lots of walking and hills. The various countries are spread out. So overall I have rarely ever felt crowded there. On a Monday you should be ok with crowds as long as nothing is planned.
 

vatmark

wears a coca-cola shirt to club cool just in case
Hope it's ok if I hijack your thread? :RpS_biggrin: We are looking at a Busch Gardens/Williamsburg trip July 21st-25th on our way home from NJ. I feel stressed with not really knowing much about Busch Gardens and not having any kind of tour plan. :RpS_blink: We are probably going to get the bounce pass. We will hit RD at Busch Gardens but does anyone know what rides we should hit first? My 2 kids are both teens so we will be riding the coasters. Also are there any opinions on the quick queue pass you can purchase? Has anyone down the Williamsburg winery and your thoughts?

Ann
 
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vatmark

wears a coca-cola shirt to club cool just in case
Gah! Well this Busch Gardens tour plan is going to be more difficult to put together then I thought. Apparently different countries in the park open at different times.

Ann
 

kristenb

Member
Gah! Well this Busch Gardens tour plan is going to be more difficult to put together then I thought. Apparently different countries in the park open at different times.

Ann

This is the case and really a pain - the main entrance opens first and all that gets you is walking around scotland and england to see the sights/sounds/stores. Most people there for "RD" are there for the coasters and walk through Italy to the RD (later than entrance) for Germany and Verbolten. Boys were 7 and 10 last summer and loved it, went this spring and they still liked it a lot...it's one of the few thrills my youngest is tall enough for. You might look up the height requirements so you don't waste time getting to a ride and waiting if it's not in the cards for any of your group - the height requirements at BG are much taller than WDW. When we go (one-two times a year), we hit the thrills first and wander after - landscaping is beautiful, lunch options at the Festhaus are plentiful for the family and the AC is kicking. Summer heat and humidity rivals florida in Williamsburg - we often are "done" in every way by 2 or 3p and head back to the hotel pool.

Also a W&M grad (and VA resident) i second the advice of others to enjoy DOG Street/CW to the extent that it's free (we dip in and out over the years with the kids and never get the tickets - just not worth the expense at their ages) and you've lost nothing if the youngers get bored and want to move on. The Cheese Shop is a great sandwich place in Merchant's Square. The Trellis, Season's, and Barrett's are good upscale options (food/cost but not so fine that kids can't enjoy it or you feel out of place - it's tourist season after all). The Wren Building on the campus of W&M is right at the apex of DOG street and free to wander. The Bakery on DOG Street is open to the public without a ticket and a good spot for a drink/snack. There are a million restaurants in town (along Richmond Road) for every taste/preference, but we do usually get some Pierce's Pitt BBQ packed on ice for the trip home!

If you are looking for a resort-type stay, we really enjoy Kingsmill - there is a pool, small waterpark, tennis, golf, and shuttle to BG included in your stay. It's close to BG if you'd chose to drive, but the ease of shuttle and not paying for parking is nice. Resort amenities are located right on the James, so it's got great views, too.
 

vatmark

wears a coca-cola shirt to club cool just in case
This is the case and really a pain - the main entrance opens first and all that gets you is walking around scotland and england to see the sights/sounds/stores. Most people there for "RD" are there for the coasters and walk through Italy to the RD (later than entrance) for Germany and Verbolten. Boys were 7 and 10 last summer and loved it, went this spring and they still liked it a lot...it's one of the few thrills my youngest is tall enough for. You might look up the height requirements so you don't waste time getting to a ride and waiting if it's not in the cards for any of your group - the height requirements at BG are much taller than WDW. When we go (one-two times a year), we hit the thrills first and wander after - landscaping is beautiful, lunch options at the Festhaus are plentiful for the family and the AC is kicking. Summer heat and humidity rivals florida in Williamsburg - we often are "done" in every way by 2 or 3p and head back to the hotel pool.

Also a W&M grad (and VA resident) i second the advice of others to enjoy DOG Street/CW to the extent that it's free (we dip in and out over the years with the kids and never get the tickets - just not worth the expense at their ages) and you've lost nothing if the youngers get bored and want to move on. The Cheese Shop is a great sandwich place in Merchant's Square. The Trellis, Season's, and Barrett's are good upscale options (food/cost but not so fine that kids can't enjoy it or you feel out of place - it's tourist season after all). The Wren Building on the campus of W&M is right at the apex of DOG street and free to wander. The Bakery on DOG Street is open to the public without a ticket and a good spot for a drink/snack. There are a million restaurants in town (along Richmond Road) for every taste/preference, but we do usually get some Pierce's Pitt BBQ packed on ice for the trip home!

If you are looking for a resort-type stay, we really enjoy Kingsmill - there is a pool, small waterpark, tennis, golf, and shuttle to BG included in your stay. It's close to BG if you'd chose to drive, but the ease of shuttle and not paying for parking is nice. Resort amenities are located right on the James, so it's got great views, too.
Thanks! I am the smallest in the bunch at 5ft tall so I don't think height requirements will be a problem. We will want to do the coasters so I am not sure which coaster to hit first and with the countries not all open at RD it makes it harder to know which to go to without knowing which countries are open. My DH is a hilton honors member so we will be staying at the Hampton Inn Central I believe it's called. I'll check out some of your restaurant suggestions. We are going to get the bounce pass and go to both CW and Busch Gardens. We will not be doing Water Country since none of us are into water parks. With DD starting college in August as a history major she will certainly enjoy CW. She loves US history. I think DS16 will enjoy it as well. Pierces Pitt BBQ sounds like a must for us. We really enjoy BBQ.

Ann
 

kristenb

Member
Thanks! I am the smallest in the bunch at 5ft tall so I don't think height requirements will be a problem. We will want to do the coasters so I am not sure which coaster to hit first and with the countries not all open at RD it makes it harder to know which to go to without knowing which countries are open. My DH is a hilton honors member so we will be staying at the Hampton Inn Central I believe it's called. I'll check out some of your restaurant suggestions. We are going to get the bounce pass and go to both CW and Busch Gardens. We will not be doing Water Country since none of us are into water parks. With DD starting college in August as a history major she will certainly enjoy CW. She loves US history. I think DS16 will enjoy it as well. Pierces Pitt BBQ sounds like a must for us. We really enjoy BBQ.

Ann
I was sort of responding to both you and the other poster who's planning a summer visit (who may have younger children, i think) generally on issue of CW for kids and ride height at BG. Here, elementary aged kids go to Williamsburg in 4th and 5th grade (and we visit a lot), so it's possible "most" younger kids wouldn't find it as appealing as ours do but certainly high school and college-aged students would find it interesting.

As far as touring, Griffon, Verbolten, Alpengeist, and Apollo's Chariot are the biggies. They're far apart in terms of location. Verbolten is the newest so that's usually where a wave of people head when the internal rope in italy drops (we've done this and walked on twice in a row before the wait is longer than we're willing to endure). Loch Ness is nostalgic for DH and me, so while it's dated, we like it and our kids love it. Fortunately, it's centrally located in Scotland and is generally open when the park opens, but we usually don't stop for it until after hitting the bigger roller coasters. Le Flume is popular, but nothing compared to Splash and worth skipping if there's a wait.

For someone like me, who likes having a WDW touring idea/plan in the a.m. and letting it ride the rest of the late morning/afternoon, it's slightly unsettling that BG just doesn't lend itself to that. Plus the relatively late opening allows all of "them" to be right beside you at RD. If you can get a two-day pass or hand stamp to return later, that might alleviate concern about hitting the highlights without major waits.
 

vatmark

wears a coca-cola shirt to club cool just in case
I was sort of responding to both you and the other poster who's planning a summer visit (who may have younger children, i think) generally on issue of CW for kids and ride height at BG. Here, elementary aged kids go to Williamsburg in 4th and 5th grade (and we visit a lot), so it's possible "most" younger kids wouldn't find it as appealing as ours do but certainly high school and college-aged students would find it interesting.

As far as touring, Griffon, Verbolten, Alpengeist, and Apollo's Chariot are the biggies. They're far apart in terms of location. Verbolten is the newest so that's usually where a wave of people head when the internal rope in italy drops (we've done this and walked on twice in a row before the wait is longer than we're willing to endure). Loch Ness is nostalgic for DH and me, so while it's dated, we like it and our kids love it. Fortunately, it's centrally located in Scotland and is generally open when the park opens, but we usually don't stop for it until after hitting the bigger roller coasters. Le Flume is popular, but nothing compared to Splash and worth skipping if there's a wait.

For someone like me, who likes having a WDW touring idea/plan in the a.m. and letting it ride the rest of the late morning/afternoon, it's slightly unsettling that BG just doesn't lend itself to that. Plus the relatively late opening allows all of "them" to be right beside you at RD. If you can get a two-day pass or hand stamp to return later, that might alleviate concern about hitting the highlights without major waits.
Does the park map show when the different countries open? I would hate to walk to get to a ride and find out the country is not open yet. If there is information on the map about when each country opens we can play it by ear and hit the biggies as soon as possible when the countries open up. So Italy opens at RD then? I had read some stuff about Germany opening the latest of all the countries but it was information from a few years back so not sure that is the case still. Do you know if the park gets less crowded in the evening? The time we plan to go the park closes at 10pm. If it does get less crowded in the evening with shorter lines we could do RD, take a break and return in the evening. We will more then likely have more then one morning at BG but not positive at this point. We were so spoiled by knowing how to tour Disney. My family does not do well without a plan. We have the best time with some sort of plan.

Ann
 

KBO

New member
Does the park map show when the different countries open? I would hate to walk to get to a ride and find out the country is not open yet. If there is information on the map about when each country opens we can play it by ear and hit the biggies as soon as possible when the countries open up. So Italy opens at RD then? I had read some stuff about Germany opening the latest of all the countries but it was information from a few years back so not sure that is the case still. Do you know if the park gets less crowded in the evening? The time we plan to go the park closes at 10pm. If it does get less crowded in the evening with shorter lines we could do RD, take a break and return in the evening. We will more then likely have more then one morning at BG but not positive at this point. We were so spoiled by knowing how to tour Disney. My family does not do well without a plan. We have the best time with some sort of plan.

Ann
I believe the park map that you pick up at the entrance shows the times the countries open "that week." Also, I believe that Germany opens later...it is in the back of the park. If you are there on Friday or Saturday, it gets busier as the day goes on. Sunday, I notice, gets thinner in the evening. This may or may not be the norm for the summer...but it was for this spring. Also, BG will start having nightly fireworks starting in July...so that may keep some people around longer in the evening. Know which thrill rides are a must for your group and plan around those.

Verbolten (in Germany) always looks like it has a long line, but it has two loading areas when you get inside the turnstile. You get to pick where you want to sit on the coaster and stand in that line for that seat. Usually, I go for the back coaster loading area (to the left after entering the turnstile), as the first loading area seems packed with people not knowing where to go (just say "excuse me" and go around them). It's a fun coaster, but more fun the first time if you don't know the specifics about the ride (IMO).

Loch Ness is going to have longer lines in the morning, since it's the first coaster/ride that people can get to or see. Save it for later in the day. It's about 30 years old and it's not a smooth ride like the new coasters.

Europe in the Air made me feel sick---it's a combination of Soarin and Star Tours (the wide screen and the motion seats). I won't ride it again, but my kids love it!

The Irish step dancing show is awesome.
London Rocks is their new show, with effects like your seat rumbling or air being blown out of the head rest. It's really loud music, mostly older rock music (I'm 45 and I knew all the songs...my kids didn't--and I didn't think that all of the story-line was appropriate for younger kids--but I'm very conservative too).

You can ask for free water at places that have soft drink dispensers or buy bottled water at just about any location.
 

vatmark

wears a coca-cola shirt to club cool just in case
I believe the park map that you pick up at the entrance shows the times the countries open "that week." Also, I believe that Germany opens later...it is in the back of the park. If you are there on Friday or Saturday, it gets busier as the day goes on. Sunday, I notice, gets thinner in the evening. This may or may not be the norm for the summer...but it was for this spring. Also, BG will start having nightly fireworks starting in July...so that may keep some people around longer in the evening. Know which thrill rides are a must for your group and plan around those.

Verbolten (in Germany) always looks like it has a long line, but it has two loading areas when you get inside the turnstile. You get to pick where you want to sit on the coaster and stand in that line for that seat. Usually, I go for the back coaster loading area (to the left after entering the turnstile), as the first loading area seems packed with people not knowing where to go (just say "excuse me" and go around them). It's a fun coaster, but more fun the first time if you don't know the specifics about the ride (IMO).

Loch Ness is going to have longer lines in the morning, since it's the first coaster/ride that people can get to or see. Save it for later in the day. It's about 30 years old and it's not a smooth ride like the new coasters.

Europe in the Air made me feel sick---it's a combination of Soarin and Star Tours (the wide screen and the motion seats). I won't ride it again, but my kids love it!

The Irish step dancing show is awesome.
London Rocks is their new show, with effects like your seat rumbling or air being blown out of the head rest. It's really loud music, mostly older rock music (I'm 45 and I knew all the songs...my kids didn't--and I didn't think that all of the story-line was appropriate for younger kids--but I'm very conservative too).

You can ask for free water at places that have soft drink dispensers or buy bottled water at just about any location.
Great tips! Thank you. Me and DH are 46 so I am sure we will know most of the songs at London Rocks. My teens will more then likely know many too since they have heard them at home.

Thanks for the tip about Europe in the Air. Do you normally get motion sickness or was it this ride in particular? Me and DS usually take dramamine in the morning at theme parks so we should be ok but DD doesn't take anything and is not prone to motion sickness.

Can you tell me about what they have you do with park bags? I have read stuff about $1 lockers. We will more then likely need a locker. What kind of payment is used at the lockers-coins, bills, credit card?

We will be at BG during the week so I am hoping the crowds won't be as bad as a weekend day. Do you know anything about the Quick Queue you can purchase. I am up in the air as to whether we should spend the money.

Ann
 
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