On September 6th Busch Gardens Williamsburg held their annual Pass Member Appreciation Weekend announcement event. Historically this has always been the event at which the park announces their Howl-O-Scream and Christmas Town plans for the year in addition to unveiling any attractions they’re working on for the following season. In the past we’ve always seen large, elaborate, forty-five plus minute presentations inside Das Festhaus where the park has announced everything from massive attractions like Verbolten to small dinner shows like Blood Banquet. This year, for the first time ever, broke that trend.
Instead of a large announcement presented by a handful of park vice presidents explaining what their teams have been working on lately, we only saw Carl Lum speak this year. Instead of unveiling previews, logos, teasers, details, etc. for upcoming attractions from the people who created them, all we got this year were names and marketing descriptions read off what might as well have been the park’s website. After years of truly doing something special, this year’s Pass Member Appreciation was a huge letdown.
Worse yet? The idea of these events is to give pass members a first look at what the park currently has in the works whether it be a new show, a new coaster, etc. This year, despite the fact that we know there’s a coaster being built, and there’s already plenty of construction visible, Carl Lum didn’t even so much as tease that another announcement would be coming soon. Somehow they made what should have been a huge announcement of their new coaster into a watered down welcome speech mentioning only two new shows- one of which had already been announced in detail by the park and the other not garnering a single ounce of enthusiasm from the crowd upon its unveiling.
Speaking of the other guests at the event, I need to say this as well: For years I’ve seen Pass Member Appreciation Weekend presentations fill Das Festhaus to capacity. Last year crowds were slightly lighter, but it was still clearly a very popular event. This year, however, the abysmally low attendance was painfully obvious. The crowd, at its peak, didn’t even come close to filling half of the plaza in front of Das Festhaus. After years of incredibly excited pass members swarming the event, it was truly a very sad sight to behold.
All that said, I hope the park will seriously reevaluate this year’s format when next year’s Pass Member Appreciation Weekend rolls around. This year was clearly a complete blunder.
I guess we should move on to the actual presentation now, no? First I’ll provide you all with a full video of Carl Lum’s remarks and then I’ll round up the items he mentioned with links to pages where you can find more information about them. Enjoy!