Without a single mention from the park, Europe in the Air, Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s European-themed Soarin’ rip-off, closed yesterday, June 30th. As of the morning of July 1st, there has still not been any mention of the closure from the park but, according to what we’ve been told by sources within the park, it’s not expected to reopen- at least not anytime soon. Naturally, because an announcement of any kind has yet to be made, we don’t have an official reason for the closure; however, according to sources familiar with the matter, the shutdown seems to be a direct result of budget cuts handed down from the corporate offices.
Anyone who has been keeping up with the park lately is probably well aware of the budget constraints Busch Gardens Williamsburg is currently facing, but I don’t think anyone expected things to go this far. Over the past month or so we’ve seen IllumiNights, the park’s summertime event that is debuting later today (July 1st), have its budget and lineup slashed to bits and, according to leaked information from various trusted sources within the park, Howl-O-Scream’s budget has taken a formidable hit as well. While those clearly paint a bad picture of the park’s financial situation, the fact that the park is closing one of their three dark rides as they move into the peak season without even a single day’s notice is a horrendously bad sign of just how bad things are right now.
This is still a developing story and, despite IllumiNight’s debut tonight, we’ll do our best to keep this post updated with any new information as best we can. In the meantime, feel free to discussion this rather shocking news on the ParkFans Forum, here. Additionally, any updates that are made to this post will be sent out via our Twitter and Facebook accounts. If you’d like to follow us, you can do so here, and if you’d rather like us on Facebook, you can do that here. Stay tuned for more…
The official park website now lists Europe in the Air as being closed “for the remainder of 2013”. You can see it for yourself here. Additionally, two pictures provided by one of our forum members, ChickenKing, can be found below. Major props to him both for the pictures and running to the park first thing this morning to confirm all of this for us!