Updated: Apr 6, 2022
A Coasters and Craft Brews Review
The biggest note I can make is to be a pro-active and well-informed traveler! If you have not read my post about this topic please check it out here. #coastersandcraftbrews #buschgardenswilliamsburg #buschgardens #amusementpark #virginiaisforstaycationlovers #virginiaisforlovers
I will be sharing my review of our recent jaunt to Busch Gardens Williamsburg in two perspectives. First as a general traveler sharing both our views of the process and the experience. Secondly, as a business owner I hope to provide some insights that provide travelers with some additional understanding. If you want to see our visit, check out this video!
As the general traveler. The Good!
The service was outstanding! Everyone was super kind and eager to smile with us.
The BG team was very conscious of maintaining distances between themselves and between various guests.
The BG team did an excellent job with signage and social distancing markers.
In the retail and dining spaces there were large green signs indicating single-direction traffic flows. 'Enter' and 'Exit' signs were large, green, and attached to the doorways. Large circular floor markings (about 10" in diameter) indicated either a directional arrow and/or a 6' social distancing marking.
In the line, or queue, awaiting your turn for an attraction, there are the larger roughly 10" markings for the 6' indicators then green dots continuing the path forward. Note, these dots are actually 8 feet to help ensure parties who's spacing would expand beyond that dot still keep within social distancing parameters. I thought that was a smart move.
The BG team has done a nice job of keeping everything clean and sanitized.
I even noted the members sanitizing between guests, especially if they have come into contact.
All-in-all we felt safe visiting as just us adults but I am not sure if I would venture to bring my kiddos yet. That lacking of certainty is not in any way a reflection of their cleanliness but based upon how much my kids could engage with.
This brings me to the Cons.
While the animal attractions were open for viewing, of the four attractions that are available to ride only 1 of my three kids would be able to enjoy them. My kiddos are 2, 6, and 13 with the eldest being the one able to enjoy the most. Furthermore, their guidelines stipulate any person over the age of 2 must wear a mask. I appreciate the concern to maintain safety, but I also know how difficult it would likely be to keep their mask on my 2-year old. My 6 year old, though tall for his age, would not have much to enjoy and would likely be board.
The only other con beyond this that I have was that only half of the park was open and of the park that was open, they were the ones containing less thrill attractions. Please read more!!!
From a logical and business minded perspective:
I wish I would have reviewed the event details. As a Busch Gardens member and one who is already familiar with their version of a Beerfest or Oktoberfest I reviewed the FAQs, the COVID-19 regulations and guidelines, and visitation information noting the requirement of a reservation. When I reviewed the website, mobile version specifically and I also have the app, the scrolling ticker at the top reflecting the event resevation requirements and ticket purchase option, none of these specified the parks option. For that information, you must scroll to the green box event posting click to learn the details. Not a bad way to share the information however I heard a lot of people mentioning that they didn’t know the park was only partially open. My assumption is that most people might not scroll to the more details section and will also utilize the ticker as I noted from other visitors that day.
At this point most all locations of this nature require both admission AND a reservation as they are monitoring capacity levels to keep within the state-regulated population allowed to visit. If I would have read the event details I would have noted the parks limited attractions and, more specifically, which parks were open. KEEP IN MIND, as a visitor you are paying $44.99 per ticket which is 48.90%, or just about half, the cost of a ticket which I was told would be $91.99. Perhaps this rate is based on the previous ticket cost which would likely bring it closer to that 50% mark as I believe last year's cost was $89.99.
The parks that were open; England, where you enter and mostly consists of retail, interactions, shows, and some dining; Scotland, Ireland, France, and New France.
Snacks and most of the beer choices were located in Grogan's Irish Pub with more grab-n-go options are found at Three rivers Snacks.
The only full-dining option is Trapper's Smokehouse located in New France at the back of the park near the InvadR wooden rollercoaster attraction.
I inquired why these were the selections chosen to be made available to the guests when all the the smaller more child-friendly rides and more thrill attractions are located in the other half of the park. The response I was given was so logical and I understood. The other half of the park is larger and possesses a lot more attraction per space and therefore requires a much larger staff and energy to maintain it. Given the economic and physical limitations upon locations like this, remember they are hindered not only by the CDC guidelines but more directly by state-mandated regulations. It would cost the company far more and likely be more difficult to regulate with the other portions of the park open.
Let's face it, it gets a bit boring seeing the same four walls, the same streets, the same grocery stores, the same parks, the same, you name it. I DO wish they would have made it more visible when you arrived regarding available attractions. I say this because we overheard and talked with others who felt it was a let down for them as well. They agreed they too were members who were familiar and did not look into the event details and some were sad about the lacking fun their children could have.
Though a disappointment to not have as many attractions available I do believe they are trying to both provide that escape and fun most of us seek. Be an educated traveler and read all the details and not only the COVID-19 updates. I would go back for more events this fall should they determine it possible, especially if Virginia opens the population regulations allow for more people to visit.
Thank you #BuschGardensWilliamsburg for keeping us safe, being so kind, and giving us some excitement.
Cheers to more fun in VA!
Vintage Concierge Travels