So, anyone who hasn’t read Dan Dipiazzo’s blog post, “Taking a Risk — Project 2017,” should do so immediately. It seems that the park has been as smart and daring in their marketing as we have always hoped they could be.

As all y’all probably know, I am relatively new to BGWFans. What you may not realize, however, is how frustrated I have always been at the palpable animosity between the park and it’s primary fan site. Honestly, the competition was not healthy and served no one, especially our mutual “customers,” the enthusiast community. Reading today’s post from Dan was like a breath of fresh air. Since he is taking so many risks and laying his cards on the table, let me open my kimono a bit too. Today is the first time I have felt hopeful that we might be able to sit down and talk to Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s marketing team, since I signed on to write for BGWFans.

We have all been wondering why we have seen such a dramatic shift in information sharing from BGW. I have heard a variety of theories, and I suspect we will never get the whole story. Regardless, the one thing I can say for sure is that we are already seeing more excitement for Project 2017 than we ever did for Tempesto. The plans have only just been submitted to James City County, and people are even more enthusiastic than they were when they could see steel structures rising in the middle of the Festa Italia path. I personally attribute the difference to Dan’s bold, new approach, rather than to the attractions, themselves.

I think the thing that I appreciate the most about his approach to marketing Project 2017 is his willingness to trust us, the park’s loyal fans. He is giving us credit for understanding that “no battle plan survives contact with the enemy” (and no, BGWFans is not the enemy; I am referring to budgets and weather and whatever else could slow or change project implementation). I know my readership is well informed about theme parks. I have seen how the enthusiast community watches every phase of ride production like hawks. I have absolute confidence that his trust in us is not misplaced, and I commend him for understanding us well enough to put himself and his reputation on the line to share so much already.

So, maybe I am just clinging to the hope inspired by his pretty words, but I am really looking forward to developing a real partnership (and perhaps a bit of friendly competition) with Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s marketing team, as Busch Gardens Williamsburg Project 2017 evolves from paper to steel.