As promised in our general photo update on Tuesday, we’re circling back today to provide status and maintenance updates on all of the park’s main attractions. This is especially important right now given the recent delays in ride reopenings that have plagued Busch Gardens Williamsburg.
When the park originally announced their March attraction lineup a couple weeks ago, it included a number of rides that have, since, had their openings pushed back to “later in March.” The table below features both the originally announced St. Patricks Day Celebration attraction lineup and the most recently updated list from the park’s website.
Each ride is color coded by its announced operating status—green for attractions that are supposed to be open starting March 4th, yellow for attractions that are supposed to open “later in March,” and red for attractions that aren’t expected to reopen during St. Patricks Day Celebration at all (ending March 27th). Attractions whose anticipated statuses have been changed recently (read: delayed since February 16th) have been italicized.
2:16 PM UPDATE: Busch Gardens Williamsburg just added InvadR to the list of operating attractions! This article has now been updated to reflect this change. Huge thanks to @zstrasbaugh on Twitter for the tip!
|Original Lineup||Current List|
|Apollo’s Chariot||Apollo’s Chariot|
|Grover’s Alpine Express||Grover’s Alpine Express|
|Loch Ness Monster||Loch Ness Monster|
|Battle for Eire||Battle for Eire|
|Aeronaut Skyride||Aeronaut Skyride|
|Busch Gardens Railway||Busch Gardens Railway|
|Rhine River Cruise||Rhine River Cruise|
|Da Vinci’s Cradle||Da Vinci’s Cradle|
|Der Autobahn||Der Autobahn|
|Der Wirbelwind||Der Wirbelwind|
|Finnegan’s Flyer||Finnegan’s Flyer|
|Kinder Karussel||Kinder Karussel|
|Le Catapult||Le Catapult|
|Mäch Tower||Mäch Tower|
|The Battering Ram||The Battering Ram|
|The Flying Machine||The Flying Machine|
|The Trade Wind||The Trade Wind|
|Turkish Delight||Turkish Delight|
|Escape from Pompeii||Escape from Pompeii|
|Le Scoot||Le Scoot|
|Roman Rapids||Roman Rapids|
|Der Autobahn Jr.||Der Autobahn Jr.|
|Der Roto Baron||Der Roto Baron|
|Elephant Run||Elephant Run|
|Flutter Sputter||Flutter Sputter|
|Land of the Dragons||Land of the Dragons|
|Li’l Clydes||Li’l Clydes|
|Oscar’s Whirly Worms||Oscar’s Whirly Worms|
|Prince Elmo’s Spire||Prince Elmo’s Spire|
|The Little Balloons||The Little Balloons|
|The Little Gliders||The Little Gliders|
As you can see from the listing above, Alpengeist, Tempesto, Finnegan’s Flyer, and The Flying Machine have all been moved to the “later in March” category since the original event announcement on February 16th. All told, at the start of St. Patrick’s Day Celebration, the park is now only expecting to have three family/adult coasters open to the public—Apollo’s Chariot, InvadR, and Verbolten—which is a notable reduction to the originally-announced five.
So what’s keeping these attractions closed? Most of the delays can probably be attributed to seasonal maintenance taking longer than anticipated. Between the park’s inexperience with year-round operations and the continued staffing shortages, it’s not hard to imagine that many of these attractions just simply aren’t ready for their 2022 seasons yet.
In fact, walking around Busch Gardens Williamsburg last weekend, work was evident on a number of the park’s attractions. You can find a few such examples below. Enjoy!
The cause of Alpengeist’s continued closure may be its ongoing paint job. As we covered in January, Alpie is receiving a top to bottom repaint that’s changing its support colors from a dark blue/green color to a light blue. The photos below offer a good look at the before and after.
Given how much more work is still required here (the ride’s second half hasn’t even been touched yet) and the fact that Busch Gardens Williamsburg now lists Alpengeist as reopening before the end of March, it seems very likely that Alpie will end up operating before its painting is complete. That sorta suggests that there may be another maintenance or staffing reason for its recently announced opening delay. BGW has a history of painting coasters during the week and running them on weekends—why this wouldn’t occur here is unknown.
Like Alpengeist, Griffon is also receiving paint this off-season. Unlike its neighbor, however, Griffon is keeping its original color scheme—blue on blue.
Griffon looks a little further along than Alpengeist, but paint crews still have a lot of work to do here too. Again, this could explain the anticipated “later in March” reopening, but we sorta doubt it as repaints often haven’t kept coasters closed on weekends previously and we’re skeptical of the park’s ability to finish this repaint before the coaster’s currently announced opening by the end of March.
Over in Festa Italia, Tempesto isn’t receiving paint, but its reopening has also been delayed from March 4th to “later in March.” Taking a look into the ride’s station last weekend immediately shows why.
Tempesto’s trains are still off the track and in pieces. This just looks like normal seasonal maintenance to us, but it’s unfortunate that it couldn’t be completed by March 4th as originally announced.
Unlike the rides up until this point, there’s no expectation of Escape from Pompeii opening in March. For years now Busch Gardens Williamsburg has delayed water ride openings until temperatures get high enough that people actually want to ride them—a perfectly reasonable approach in our book to be clear. Anyway, a shot of some ongoing Escape from Pompeii lift work can be found below.
Roman Rapids is in interesting case as it’s one of the only attractions that still has yet to reopen since the pandemic. This prolonged closure has generated a lot of speculation amongst less informed communities regarding the ride’s future. Thankfully, we can confidently report that Roman Rapids is expected to reopen this season once the weather gets warmer. Better yet, Busch Gardens Williamsburg has had a new fleet of rafts on site for Roman Rapids since 2020. We expect those to debut when the attraction reopens.
If you’re still not convinced, the photo above shows some recent evidence of work—most notably what looks to be fresh wood on the station turntable.
Leaving Italy and heading over to Ireland, Finnigan’s Flyer has been down for a little while now and just recently had its anticipated March 4th reopening pushed back to “later in March.” This seems to be another delay that we can attribute to delays in off-season maintenance. Strolling past the ride right now, you’ll find that all of the restraints are still missing from the attraction.
Also on the flat ride front, we have The Flying Machine. This thing has been taunting us for months now. Originally slated to reopen in January and then again in February, The Flying Machine was initially included in the March 4th St. Patrick’s Day Celebration attraction lineup as well. Unfortunately, within the last few weeks, it has been delayed again and is now anticipated to open sometime later this month.
That said, taking a look at the current state of the ride (above), there is clear reason for hope at this point! After months of what looked like stagnation, The Flying Machine has finally been reassembled! Hopefully we’re on the verge of being able to ride the park’s Tivoli Orbiter again soon!
Another Italian flat ride, The Trade Wind, is also down right now. It’s expected to reopen at some point this month, but judging by the appearance of the project from park paths, this is quite a sizable refurbishment. This ride has been receiving a lot of love lately with lighting upgrades and the like—excited to see how good it looks after all of this new work is completed!
The Trade Wind’s little sibling, Elephant Run, is also receiving a full teardown right now. This rebuild offers onlookers a neat glimpse at the attraction’s typically-hidden track. Like The Trade Wind, Elephant Run is anticipated to reopen sometime later this month.
The last ride I want to highlight today is Little Balloons over in Da Vinci’s Garden of Invention. Not only is it receiving an off-season teardown and rebuild, but its ride platform is also being replaced this year. Its neighbor, Little Gliders, received this same treatment last year so it will be nice to have both of these ride pads looking nice and fresh.
For the sake of completeness, I just want to quickly run though all the other currently closed attractions at the park. Hopefully this answers any lingering questions you may have about the status of your favorite rides that weren’t addressed in more detail above.
Anyway, I hope you all found this attraction status round-up post helpful! If you have any questions, don’t heasitate to ask them on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram! Alternatively, you can find us over on ParkFans.net as well! Thanks for reading!
Some of the extended down times for these attractions, may be due to supply chain issues. Especially if they are waiting on parts from Italy or Germany for some of these rides. I know that Italy has gone thru multiple lock downs due to COVID that has delayed production at a lot of manufacturing facilities. Shipping materials from Europe is also taking a lot longer these days too due to ocean container shortages.