As we wave goodbye to 2013, today seems like a perfect time to look back at some of the year’s most notable Busch Gardens Williamsburg-related news. Though there were a ton of stories that made their way out of the park this year, it would be a huge challenge to find any two people who could agree on what all was positive and what all was negative. That said, one thing I believe everyone who follows Busch Gardens can get behind is that 2013 was an extremely chaotic year for our little park in Williamsburg, Virginia. We saw everything from a major ride closing without a single day’s notice to a large fraction of a show’s cast walking off the job and even a few rather notable leaks- one for 2014 and one for 2015.
Overall, looking back, I’d consider 2013 to be a fairly rough year for the park. Don’t get me wrong, the high points of this year were amazing (Food & Wine and Blood Banquet are two things that instantly come to mind), but that almost made the lows even worse (IllumiNights, a good chunk of this year’s Howl-O-Scream, etc.). Chaotic, inconsistent, and polarizing are the three words I’d use to describe the park’s 38th operating season. That said, from BGWFans’ side of things, I’ll be honest with you: It was a fun ride. Thanks to our network of internal park sources we were able to obtain a long list of exclusives and leaks throughout this year making 2013 one of the best years for BGWFans yet. All that said, I now give you the five most notable BGWFans posts from this year. Enjoy![hr]
Over the last few years the park has begun to hold an annual announcement event at which the park’s leadership team takes to the stage in front of what is often a capacity crowd of pass holders inside Das Festhaus to present what their teams have been doing over the last year to improve the in-park experience for their guests. This event, dubbed Pass Member Appreciation Weekend, returned as expected once again this season. Though there wasn’t a ton of new information announced (especially if you already knew about London Rocks in February of last year), it still certainly deserves a place on this list. Our official coverage of Pass Member Appreciation Weekend 2013 can be found here in case you missed it. Thought it’s a bit outdated now, many of those videos are still worth a watch.
In addition to Pass Member Appreciation Weekend, the park also added another announcement event this year. Busch Gardens Williamsburg has long had a Pass Member Preview Weekend before the start of every new season, but this year they mixed it up a bit and added a collection of presentations conducted by the park’s leadership at the start of the season as well. You can check out BGWFans’ full coverage of all four of this year’s presentations here if you’d like.[hr]
This is one of those crazy stories that made 2013 a rather chaotic year. On the opening day of IllumiNights 2013, Europe in the Air, the park’s 4D simulator attraction in Killarney, shut down without even a day’s notice. I won’t rehash the entire story here, but needless to say, things didn’t go smoothly. You’re more than welcome to read our full story on the ride’s closure here if you missed the news earlier this year.[hr]
This is the one story of the year that can top the sudden closure of one of the park’s three dark rides. The Mix it Up cast walk-off story is easily one of the craziest occurrences at the park that I’ve ever written about. For anyone out there who’s unaware of the situation, the full story is well worth a read. All I can hope for is that it was a true turning point for the park’s Entertainment department and that brighter days are ahead come 2014.[hr]
Colossal Curl is the only announced physical attraction addition coming to the historic triangle in 2014. Because of this fact, though it’s not the most interesting ride around, it still manages to win a spot on this list. This was an especially notable story for BGWFans because, as we’ve developed a tendency for doing, we managed to leak full details and plans for the attraction before it’s official announcement. If you missed the leak or the official announcement, you can check them out here and here respectively.[hr]
Lastly, we have a story hardly anyone saw coming. We had seen a few hints that something may be happening, but when we broke the story, I don’t think anyone expected what we managed to dig up. Though there’s still a lot we don’t yet know, what we do know is that there’s a 154ft tall attraction coming to Festa Italia in 2015. As you could probably guess, though this was a big story this year, I have a feeling that this will be the story next year. Anyway, our full post on Project 2015 is here if you’d like to read through it.[hr]
I hope you all enjoyed our roundup of BGWFans’ most notable stories of 2013 and worry not, news is returning soon. In fact, we have some very interesting things are in the pipeline right now. Stay tuned- 2014 is going to be a grand year for BGWFans and The ParkFans Network in general!