This article can also be seen on the Theme Park Syndicate
This is an extension of an earlier article I posted about the removal of the Clydesdales from the Busch parks.
It’s not uncommon for theme parks to remove existing attractions and replace them with something new, name any park and you’ll be able to find an example. Here at Busch Gardens Williamsburg we had that happen fairly recently with the removal of Le Mans Raceway to build Griffon and it’s likely to be happening again with the removal of the classic suspended coaster, The Big Bad Wolf. However, this article is not about the rumored replacement project for the Big Bad Wolf/Festhaus Park area of the park, rather, it is about a project that may be even further down the line for the park.
With the sale of all ten Busch Entertainment parks it’s been made clear by management that there would not be any significant changes in day to day operations. One thing that was confirmed is that the famous Busch Clydesdales will no longer be housed in the parks. If you’ve visited Busch Gardens here in Williamsburg you likely walked by the stables in the Heatherdowns section. Many people probably don’t stop to think about where the horses actually live. The stables that are viewable to the guests are too small to comfortably accommodate the horses. That job falls to a large group of stables and grazing area viewable only via the train ride around the park. Obviously the fact that the horses will no longer be in the park means the stables and grazing areas are no longer needed and it leaves a huge area of empty, pre-cleared land.
Here’s an overhead image to give you a better idea of how much land will be left empty:
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Click To Enlarge
The blue circle is the area currently rumored to be undergoing a transformation to a new country. The red circle is where the stables are currently located. You can see the area left by the removal of the stables is just about the same size as the Big Bad Wolf/Festhaus Park area.
One of the reasons cited for the failure of Drachen Fire was the fact that the entrance was out of the way and not easy to find and while this is not a legitimate reason for the famous coaster’s demise (plenty of people can find Festhaus Park during Howl-O-Scream), it would not be possible to build a new country if it utilized only that entrance. While the rumored new country would have expanded entrances even if the stables were still in existence, a third crossing of the Rhine River would increase accessibility even more. However, for there to be a third crossing, there would have to be something on the other side of the river to connect to.
There was some concern among the community of Busch-goers here in Williamsburg that the removal of Festhaus Park would lead to a decline in quantity of attractions for Howl-O-Scream and that the summer concerts in the park would go the way of the Dodo bird. It would seem, however, that with a newly empty plot of land that is already fairly cleared it would be simple enough for Busch to convert it into an area capable of hosting concerts and multiple Howl-O-Scream attractions until more permanent plans are made.
Using the newly emptied plot would be beneficial for Festa Italia as well. Festa has felt stagnant for the past few years. It is essentially a dead end that survives only because it houses two anchor attractions in Apollo’s Chariot and the Roman Rapids. Adding a “Festa Park” (to resemble “Festhaus Park”) would lead to an increase in traffic in the section and perhaps encourage the park to make some renovations to it. Adding a legitimate new country would mean Festa would no longer be a dead end and would become part of the outer circle of the park given that a third river crossing is built.
Here’s a video of the stables as seen from the train:
These things take time to work out and Busch is not the type of company to rush into any attraction or addition without making sure it’s the highest quality possible. Obviously more information will come down the pipeline as time goes by, but I expect that within the next two to four years, we will know what the initial plans for the land are. What do you think? Discuss it in our FORUMS.