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We’ve Moved!

September 20, 2010

We have a new look and a new home for you to visit.

Head to our new blog at and explore all of its new features. Take our poll, read our Facebook updates, read about the latest news and more. Do all of this while still reading your favorite blogs from our park bloggers. We’ve stepped it up a notch, and we want you to check it out.

This old blog will be disappearing soon, so make the switch today. We’ll see you there.


Take Your Best Guess

September 13, 2010

We’ve got some big announcements coming up Sept. 18 about our two-year expansion plan for Busch Gardens and Water Country USA. And if you think you know what we’re going to reveal, you might win a great prize from us.

We’re going to keep our secret until the announcement, but feel free to take your best guess right now. Send us an e-mail with your guess of what we’re announcing. Be specific, and you could win a pair of tickets to Busch Gardens for our regular 2011 season (excluding Christmas Town).

• E-mail us at
• Make sure the subject line reads: My Guess is Big News
• Only make one guess and be specific.
• Include your name, e-mail address, phone number and age.
• You must be at least 18 years old to enter.
• Full rules can be found here.
• Must enter by noon ET, Sept. 17.

Here’s our only hint … good luck!

Those Amazing Cyclamen!

September 9, 2010

Cyclamen are a welcome sight in our area in January. You tromp into a nursery, or even the floral department of the grocery store, happy to find any glimpse of spring. After enjoying them indoors, cyclamen can be transplanted into the garden. However, they usually crash with the summer heat.

Here we are, struggling with the heat, and there are still cyclamen in the park. They’ve made it through. No, they aren’t blooming, but I think you’d agree that the foliage is worth keeping them around.

The ones that are surviving in the park now are in containers, in shady locations, enjoying moist soil conditions. They may not survive to bloom again, but it’s nice to know that, somehow, they’ve been able to bring a smile to summer as well.

Landscaper at Busch Gardens

Your Williamsburg Parks Undergo Big Changes

September 8, 2010

I know the rumors have been circling for some time, and today I want everyone to know the wait is almost over. Soon, we’ll unveil our two-year expansion plan for Busch Gardens and Water Country USA.

We’re re-imagining the look and feel of some of the most recognizable areas of Busch Gardens, and we’re revitalizing both parks with new attractions for your enjoyment. Here’s a video to whet your appetite …

We’ll share all of the details on Sept. 18 during our Pass Member Appreciation Weekend, on this blog and on our website –

Work will begin soon after the announcement. Construction will take place when the park is closed, but observant guests will see evidence of the work when they visit during Howl-O-Scream and Christmas Town.

Mark your calendars for Sept. 18. We can’t wait to share the details with you.

John Reilly
Park President
Busch Gardens and Water Country USA

“Very deep in the Alps lies a terrifying force”

September 1, 2010

Harnessed 190 feet above the ground, workers complete construction on the roller coaster's lift.

Those are the words you will hear while waiting in the queue at Alpengeist.  The video playing overhead tells the story of the legendary snow beast rumored to terrorize the Swiss mountains.  Alpengeist, German for ‘Ghost of the Alps,’ has thrilled guests for more than 13 years, since opening on March 22, 1997.   

Alpengeist is still the world’s tallest and fastest full-circuit inverted roller coaster. What does full-circuit mean exactly? The ride is one continuous track, in which the train goes up a lift, through elements, and returns to the station after passing through a series of brakes. 

Alpengeist was designed by Bolliger and Mabillard, commonly referred to as B&M.  B&M has designed some of the top roller coasters around the world, and they are highly respected for their remarkable design and precision when it comes to these high-speed thrill machines.

Alpengeist, themed as a run-away ski lift, was designed specifically for Busch Gardens.  The lift supports at Alpengeist that resemble a ski lift, are also unique to this ride. The structure has a specific purpose other than theming.  Because traditional coaster supports would not fit into the area, support beams would have been scattered throughout the village of Germany.  As a result, B&M altered the plans and designed the tower-like structures that support the lift. 

Sparks fly at Southern Ohio Fabricators in Batavia, Ohio as a craftsman puts the finishing touches on a section of the coaster track.

In my last blog, History of the Loch Ness Monster, I mentioned that technology has improved over the years.  Engineers have upgraded from slide rules to computers, and coaster track is now cut by lasers and bolted together rather than welding. All of these elements speed up the construction process, increase the accuracy of the design, and improve the ride experience.

Engineers were off by 6 feet when the last piece of track came together at the Loch Ness Monster in 1978.  Nineteen years later at Alpengeist, the difference was only 1/16th of an inch.  However, engineers did have one issue during the design of Alpengeist; the train was too light to maintain speed and make it back to the station. That is why Alpengeist is one of only two coasters in the world to have a ‘zero car.’  The zero car, located at the front of the train, weighs 1500 lbs. and allows the train to maintain the speed needed to complete the ride circuit.

Zero car

Alpengeist has always been my favorite ride at the park.  Not only is it a thrilling ride, but it is where my career at Busch Gardens started.   What do you like most about Alpengeist?

Park Operations Manager at Busch Gardens

Q and A with Emily Osment

August 27, 2010

Fans and followers,

Thanks for sending in all of your questions for Emily Osment. It was an amazing concert weekend; we hope you were all there. In between shows, she took some time to answer some of the most popular questions. Hopefully she answered one of yours.

Do you have a favorite “Hannah Montana” episode?
You know there’s been 101, so it’s kind of difficult to pick just one. There’s been definitely a lot of memorable ones. We’ve had a lot of really cool guest stars in the past. Anytime there is anyone out of the ordinary is always really fun and it brings a lot of color on set. But I don’t know if I could pick a favorite. This last season, season four, we had some of the best episodes we’ve ever had. The writers really kicked it up a few notches. It really came out super well. I think the second and third episodes of season four are probably my favorite.

What are your future plans after “Hannah Montana?”
Well I have a lot of future plans actually. I’m doing some of them right now. I’m here at Busch Gardens and I’m about to do a show. I went on tour immediately after Hannah Montana ended, and I have plans to go on tour again. I’m going to Europe in two days, and I’m traveling a whole lot. Just a lot of moving around. That’s always nice.

Are you doing any projects with your brother in the future?
We’re both very busy actually. We’re both working on our own careers right now, and both have some work lined up for awhile. Of course I would love to work with him. We’ve done some voice-over work in the past, but we haven’t done anything really on-screen together. I think that would be very interesting. I would love to do that. We always have.

If you weren’t a singer or actress, what career would you choose?
That’s always an interesting question. I get that one a lot and I can never really say. I’m 18 years old. I’m going to college but I would just be doing that right now. I wouldn’t have to really make that mature decision for a career until a few years from now, so my thinking might change. Right now, I’m very happy with the career that I’ve chosen.

What a Summer!

August 26, 2010

This was my first year at Water Country USA. I have 17 seasons at Busch Gardens under my belt, but this year was many firsts for me. I started the last week in January and immediately began taking classes to be certified as a shallow water guard at our park. Since then, I have been constantly learning about aquatics and water safety.

The leadership team at Water Country USA was amazing and I enjoyed learning along side them this summer. I continue to be impressed with their commitment to guest safety. The goal for our team is that you, our guests, get to enjoy your day without worry. We take care in making sure you are safe.

One of my favorite things to do in the park is just stand back and watch the children play at the children’s areas or ride water slides. Their faces light up with so much excitement. It makes me love my job.

This summer was a scorcher and the park was busy. We are looking forward to the rest of this year and planning for next summer.

I’d love to know, what was your favorite memory of Water Country USA this summer?

Park Operations Manager at Water Country USA