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Busch Gardens Williamsburg Closed Due To Capacity

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https://www.facebook.com/BuschGardensVA/posts/10154134276123315

 

At this time, Busch Gardens Williamsburg is closing due to capacity. We apologize for the inconvenience.

 

Grab some popcorn and have fun reading the comments. While I feel bad for people who are affected by this, some of the comments are ridiculous - particularly the passholders complaining that they're not open during the week this time of year...

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It's actually not unusual that BGW fills to capacity during Howl-O-Scream and Christmas Town. I'm actually a little surprised this didn't happen sooner.

 

On one hand, I get where guests' frustration comes from. On the other hand, I can't help but feel like it almost should be expected at this point? I sincerely can't think of another park that deals with capacity issues as often as BGW does during HOS. This whole rigmarole will probably happen every weekend through the end of Howl-O-Scream--the park will fill to capacity and issue a statement on Facebook that will bring on comments of "I spent $___ on tickets and I can't get in?! I'm never going to Busch Gardens again! Kings Dominion, here I come!"

 

Obviously, it shows that BGW's Halloween event has more demand than it can meet. Beyond continuing to expand the park as normal, I really don't know what they could do to resolve this. I know Islands of Adventure has additional paths that are opened on the busiest days so crowds have somewhere to flow, but BGW's layout and location don't really allow for that kind of thing. This is an interesting problem.

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There is no way I would go to any major park on a Saturday in October if the weather is ok. Even if a park isn't at capacity, 2+ hour lines for the big coasters is not worth it to me.

For the people on Facebook saying they should open during the week, it is almost impossible to get enough people to staff the park on weekdays in the Fall, even if enough people showed up for it to be worthwhile. Great Adventure 2 - 3 years ago decided to open Tuesday - Thursday after Labor Day when all schools were in session. Besides minimal staffing like no Flash Pass and no ride greeters and many food places closed, they actually had to get workers from Six Flags New England and Six Flags America to help run the rides in addition to some managers help running a few of the coasters.

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I remember visiting Busch Gardens' Christmas Town the very first year it was offered. It was a very cold year with an unusually high snowfall, but the park was empty. My friends and I made some tremendous memories that year. Three days, no coasters. Just food, shows, DarKastle, lights, space heaters, meeting Santa... And back then, they only opened half the park! There were a few dozen cars in the lot, all parked right in front of the gate. It felt like we had 'discovered' some hidden gem that just hadn't caught on yet.

 

I especially cherish those memories because every year since then, the park's Twitter is just a series of "closed for capacity" notifications almost every day of Christmas Town, and that's now that it's expanded to the whole park!

 

I'd also guess that Busch Gardens must have a pretty conservative threshold for capacity (lower than required?) given that they close almost every weekend of Halloween, Christmas, etc. but much smaller parks with similar attraction capacity (Universal Studios in Orlando and Hollywood, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Busch Gardens Tampa) close maybe one or two days a year (Christmas and New Years Eve, usually). I don't know...

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It's certainly not the park's fault they had to close for capacity, but from reading the comments on Facebook, it definitely sounds like the traffic situation could have been handled much better. Many people have been complaining about sitting in traffic, sometimes without moving, for a hour or more only to THEN find out the park was closed.

 

FWIW, they posted at 8:20 PM that they were back open: https://www.facebook.com/BuschGardensVA/posts/10154134701033315 The complaints continue in the comments of that post.

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There is no way I would go to any major park on a Saturday in October if the weather is ok. Even if a park isn't at capacity, 2+ hour lines for the big coasters is not worth it to me.

For the people on Facebook saying they should open during the week, it is almost impossible to get enough people to staff the park on weekdays in the Fall, even if enough people showed up for it to be worthwhile. Great Adventure 2 - 3 years ago decided to open Tuesday - Thursday after Labor Day when all schools were in session. Besides minimal staffing like no Flash Pass and no ride greeters and many food places closed, they actually had to get workers from Six Flags New England and Six Flags America to help run the rides in addition to some managers help running a few of the coasters.

 

I visited Universal on a beautiful October Saturday and the longest line I waited in was 35 minutes for Hulk.

 

Granted, MCO had been closed the two days prior because of Hurricane Matthew, which no doubt contributed to greatly reduced crowds.

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