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Yesterday, August 7th, was the the first day of Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s Pass Member Appreciation Weekend. As we’ve come to expect from the event, the park held an elaborate presentation inside Das Festhaus at which they announced the details for both of their upcoming seasonal events, Howl-O-Scream and Christmas Town, as well as teased the park’s new show for 2014: London Rocks. Unfortunately, all three of these announcements had been leaked, in some cases, months ago. In other words, if you have been keeping up with our forum or even just the blog, there’s likely not going to be any surprises for you.
That said, though most of the presentation was a rehash of things we already know, I think we can all agree that anytime Scott Gasparich takes the stage, at least part of the presentation is worth watching. If you’ve enjoyed watching or just cringing and grimacing at past announcements presented by Mr. Gasparich, I guarantee you that his part in this year’s presentation won’t disappoint. I assure you that it’s every bit as confusing and gaudy as we’ve come to expect from his past announcements. That, combined with the fact that Scott really was the only person to present anything anyone really cared about explains why the bulk of this post will likely be dedicated to his section of the event. Now, don’t take that to mean the other presenters didn’t do a solid job, because they did, they simply didn’t put on a glitter and confetti filled spectacle like our good friend Scott Gasparich has done. Say what you will about his ideas and style, Scott knows how to keep an audience interested.
Anyway, without further ado, enjoy the post!
As any good presentation should, Saturday’s announcement started out with an introduction by the park’s president, Carl Lum. Though there aren’t any stunning revelations to be found within his very short speaking part at the event, I do have to give him credit for really doing quite a good job on-stage. As I’ve come to expect from Mr. Lum, he delivered a very eloquent introduction that came off as sounding completely honest and sincere. Say what you will about the direction his park is moving, but you’d have a hard time convincing me that he doesn’t care what his customers want or that he doesn’t truly have the park’s best interests in mind.
To be perfectly honest, Jack Hanna’s part in this year’s presentation came off to me as being irrelevant filler. Don’t get me wrong, Jack Hanna has a fantastic stage presence and, in all honesty, may have actually provided the most enjoyable part of Saturday’s event, but it simply didn’t seem to be very relevant to the park. I would have loved to see him onstage alongside the park’s zoological VP to talk about some of the changes and additions that their department will be making over the next year, but instead, it was just Jack Hanna talking about Jack Hanna. Again, he did truly do an absolutely fantastic job, but it just didn’t feel like it fit with the announcement.
I’m just going to come out and say it: Dan Dipiazzo’s chunk of Saturday’s presentation was horribly boring. He had more speaking time than both Carl Lum and Jack Hanna combined and nothing to share that really justified that length of time. For the record, I’m not saying Dan is a sub-par speaker by any means, but I do think he got handed a very lackluster list of things to present. In fact, I think the entire event would have flowed better if Dan’s marketing and retail-focused section was placed right after Carl’s introduction or after Scott’s confetti extravaganza. In my opinion, the off-topic nature of Jack Hanna’s talk followed by the less than exciting bullet-point list of items Dan was handed to present made for a very weak “core” of the announcement.
Don’t get me wrong, there were some important things sprinkled through his talk, but, in all honesty, even with those gems in there, I wouldn’t even say that the video below is necessarily worth watching. Basically, if you’re going to skip one of these four videos, make it this one. Like the two videos above, there’s a highlights section below Mr. Dipiazzo’s video which will point out any high-points in his presentation and give you a nice, quick, glanceable guide to the important bits of his talk.
This is a must-watch. Like most everything Scott Gasparich does, he managed to turn his 25 minutes of announcement time into a massive glitter and confetti-filled spectacle. I don’t know what exactly to think of the whole thing, but that’s really beside the point. This is one you’re just going to have to watch and form your own opinion on.