This is part of a new series I’m wanting to put up on the blog about visiting other theme parks. Sure, nothing else will be Disney, but for many people Disney is a vacation that is far away and expensive – which means it doesn’t happen that often. But if you enjoy theme parks, there are many other nice locations you can visit!
Busch Gardens Williamsburg is probably the closest theme park I’ve been to that shares some of the qualities that makes Disney so special. First of all, it really is a theme park, rather than an amusement park. To me there is a big difference – a theme park is all about the themeing, where as an amusement park is just random rides thrown together. Busch Gardens is broken into themed areas based around different countries, mostly European. You have Italy, Scotland, England, Ireland, France, “New France” (Canada), Germany, and of course that classic country “Oktoberfest”. 😉
A lot of the decorations are really nice and the areas are themed well. It has a rather Epcot feel to it, except instead of small spaces for the countries it consists of the whole park. Epcot does have more variety to it though, but Busch Gardens does a very nice job.
If you love roller coasters, Busch Gardens does have a one-up on Disney here. They have some really fantastic roller coasters, and I’m a pretty big enthusiast. Their newest one, Verbolten, was incredible – I won’t spoil it! We also really enjoyed Apollo’s Chariot, Alpengeist, and Griffon (well, I was mostly terrified of that one, but my husband loved it!).
They have other rides as well if you’re not a roller coaster fan, though most of them are more typical amusement park type rides, like kiddie coasters, a log flume, a rapids ride, river cruise, sky buckets, and swinging pirate ship. They don’t have the creativity and uniqueness that Disney has, but it’s still fun.
As for food, I will say this: it doesn’t come close to Disney standards, but it’s pretty far above many of the other theme park restaurant foods I’ve eaten. Thanks to the theme of various countries, there is at least some variety above typical cheeseburgers and French fries. They just have counter service locations, no sit-downs like Disney. But the standout place is probably Das Festhaus, a Biergarten type restaurant where you buy your food and then can sit down at one of the many long tables and enjoy a German show while you eat.
We didn’t get to partake in any of the shows or entertainment when we were there, mostly because my husband just wanted to ride the roller coasters instead of seeing shows! But they have a couple of shows that I’ve heard very good things about.
And one other thing that I’m really excited for – I found out that Busch Gardens offers a Food and Wine Festival like Disney’s does! Theirs is in the spring and I’m hoping to get back there to visit for that.
Overall Busch Gardens Williamsburg is a really great theme park. It may not be Disney, but nothing will be – and in the meantime, you can have a ton of fun here! Great themeing, rides, and decent food make it one of my top parks.
Have you visited Busch Gardens Williamsburg? What did you think?