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Is Busch Gardens Surrendering the Battle for Eire?

After Just Two Short Years of Operations, Could this Innovative, Immersive, One-of-a-Kind, Virtual Reality Attraction Have Already Given its Final Rides?

After Just Two Short Years of Operations, Could this Innovative, Immersive, One-of-a-Kind, Virtual Reality Attraction Have Already Given its Final Rides?

This post is going to feel hauntingly familiar.

Back in late 2017, we wrote The Curse is Fading, an article outlining the early, tentative evidence suggesting to us that Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s beloved darkride, Curse of DarKastle, may have already seen its final riders. Back then, Battle for Eire was right on the horizon—in fact, it’s likely that Eire’s impending arrival in the Spring of 2018 was part of the unspoken justification behind DarKastle’s untimely, unannounced, unceremonious termination.

Since its debut in early 2018, Battle for Eire has not had an easy life. It opened to mediocre reviews, numerous technical issues, and widespread complaints of discomfort and nausea. Due to the hefty time and money investments required to keep both of its simulators running, especially in the ride’s second season, Battle for Eire frequently operated with only one of its theaters online.

Typically such a dramatic cut in an attraction’s capacity would be a major issue. The sad truth of the matter in Battle for Eire’s case, however, was that few people even noticed—let alone cared. Following the initial surge of interest around the time of Eire’s opening, it was not popular. There are plenty of potential justifications for this—its lack of rerideability at a very locals-dominated park, its poor reputation for rider comfort, its inability to easily accommodate riders with glasses, its fairly nondescript entrance, etc. Regardless of the cause though, Battle for Eire seems to be in league with Mäch Tower as an attraction that most Busch Gardens Williamsburg visitors simply never really cared about.

Making matters even worse for Battle for Eire, it is a member of a dying breed. Though Eire is only a couple years old, the simulator system on which it was built is quite dated. Once upon a time, many SeaWorld-owned parks operated ride systems nearly identical to Battle for Eire’s. Busch Gardens Tampa lost theirs years ago. SeaWorld San Diego announced back in 2019 that their sim was being retired as well. Though not official, rumors abound suggesting that SeaWorld Orlando’s Wild Arctic may not be long for this world either.

And that was all before COVID-19.

Naturally, due to Battle for Eire’s indoor setting and shared VR headset system, when the coronavirus hit US shores, it quickly became clear that Eire would not be reopening with Busch Gardens Williamsburg in 2020. Even now, as we finally start to move out from under the cloud of COVID, reopening Eire would likely feel a bit premature to many folks. That said, until today, we’ve been working under the assumption that it was only a matter of time—that we’d likely see Battle for Eire back online in June or July of this year.

What changed? Well, as the result of a recent website update, according to Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s rides listing, Battle for Eire no longer exists.

Until this most recent change, Battle for Eire had been listed as “Temporarily Closed” alongside numerous other major, currently non-operational Busch Gardens Williamsburg attractions such as Mäch Tower, Roman Rapids, and Aeronaut Skyride. Within the last couple of days, that has changed. Battle for Eire is now entirely omitted from the park’s rides list. Worse yet, Eire hasn’t just vanished from the listing, its old ride page has been entirely erased from the park’s website—old links to it now just redirect to the main rides page.

Whenever this has happened previously, it has only meant one thing: the attraction in question is dead.

Much like was the case back in 2017 when we wrote our article on Curse of DarKastle, we don’t want to project overwhelming confidence here. There are more benign explanations to be sure—it could always just be a simple mistake by the web team—but we do want to make clear that a lot of signs are pointing pretty squarely in the direction of Eire’s demise—way too many for us to just ignore. Is it possible that Battle for Eire will reopen? Certainly. Do we think it’s likely? Not really.

What are/were your thoughts on Battle for Eire? Would you be sad to see it go? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or in the Battle for Eire thread on our forum,!

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  1. I’d be heartbroken if it closed for good! When I visited for the first time a couple years ago, it became my favorite ride in BG. I love the coasters but a charming and fun storyline-based ride nestled next to Grogan’s Pub made Ireland the richest and most enjoyable area of the park for me. Save Battle for Eire! 🙁

  2. Honestly no love lost here. Certainly they put a lot of effort into the technology behind the ride, but nothing about the ride really struck my interest. The story was generic, the VR set plus moving platform made me nauseous, and the ride itself didn’t seem to add anything to Ireland. I do hope they utilize the space for another attraction of some sort in the future. I do understand it is supposed to be a kids ride. But I would still have loved to ride something like Dark Castle instead.

  3. Busch gardens needs more dark rides popular or not if this gets removed there wont be a darkride at all anymore never mind anyride that has an indoor queue. However if they closed this ride and used the space for a nice themed resturant, maybe a medieval castle with feast style food, of course this section of the park could use a proper pub as well, maybe an expansion that gave grogans some good food and a place to sit un addition to good beer.

  4. It’s the only rides like this one and the dark castle that a lot of people can have fun with since it’s virtual reality and not that physical. Most people I come across complain that these attractions are unavailable but don’t take the time to give feedback on a website. Please use my options for the hundreds of others out there who would love to see these attractions come back to life. It would draw so many more people to Busch Gardens

  5. I hope they keep it, my first visit to BG was only acouple of years ago and I loved that ride. We are currently planning a trip for July this year but we won’t be going to BG if the ride remains closed.

  6. We came from Kentucky and were excited to try the ride, partly my fault that I didn’t check to see what was closed, but a ton of rides were closed the day we went. We really wanted to try Battle, so it just added to the mounting disappointment of the park experience. Most of the rides were closed and many of the animal experiences were as well. The customer service for ticketing was a 16 minute hold time (took 134 minutes to get the correct information). And the signage was non-existent, and the park is so dark at night you can’t see where poles are, curbs are, then the parking lots were somehow darker and were just Blackout dark. Terribly confusing and so ridiculously unsafe. Our one and only trip to this BG, and the experience was so bad, I think BGs are likely out forever.