If a European vacation isn’t in the cards for you this year, a visit to Williamsburg, Virginia could do the trick. At Busch Gardens Williamsburg, visitors are transported — by train, no less — through Germany, France, Italy, Ireland, Scotland, and England. You can build a loaded baked potato at Ireland’s O’Tators before digging into a cannoli in Italy’s Marco Polo’s Marketplace. Then, head to Germany for OktoberZest, a show that promises to entertain with music and dancing that celebrates the German culture.
Once the novelty of a European-themed park has worn off — there are the rides. And the Busch Gardens roller coasters don’t disappoint. The park is home to rides like Griffon, which drops passengers 205 feet at 75 miles per hour, and Apollo's Chariot, which is consistently given top marks by Golden Ticket Awards.
Ready to strap in for a thrilling trip to America’s little Europe? Here’s everything you need to know before visiting Busch Gardens Williamsburg.
When to Visit Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Busch Gardens in Virginia is a seasonal park, so it closes in early January and reopens in mid-March every year. As you’d expect, the park is busiest over summer holiday weekends — including Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day. But keep in mind the park is also packed during their Halloween-themed Howl-O-Scream weekends (running late September through late October) and Christmas Town weekends (Thanksgiving through early January).
If you want to avoid the crowds and maximize the number of rides you can take, visit during the week (particularly on Tuesdays and Wednesdays) or plan your trip around a non-holiday weekend. Regardless of when you visit Busch Gardens Williamsburg, arriving at the park before it opens will ensure can get in at least a few rides before it gets crowded.
How to Select the Best Busch Gardens Williamsburg Tickets
If you’re planning a summer or fall visit, the standard Busch Gardens 1-day ticket gives you access to the Virginia park for one day between March 15 and Nov. 1, 2020 for $88.99. During the Christmas Town season (November to January) ticket prices typically vary between $34.99 and $59.99, depending on the day.
Regardless of when you plan your trip to Virginia’s Busch Gardens, buying tickets online and in advance will ensure you secure the best prices.
Simplify the Busch Gardens Experience
Depending on what sort of park experience you have in mind, you might want to buy ticket add-ons in advance. If you want great seats to Celtic Fyre, an Irish step dancing show, paying a little extra will be well worth a reserved seat. And if you already know you and your crew are all about the food — add on an All-Day Dining Deal + Drinks, which will ensure you can get an entree, a side or dessert, and a drink every 90 minutes. Virginia’s Busch Gardens also offers quick queue access so you can enjoy priority status at your favorite rides and roller coasters.
To make life even easier, Busch Gardens Williamsburg has a Transferable Ride Locker Pass so you can secure your belongings while you hop on a ride, and a Quick Pay Cashless Wristband, so you can make purchases without fumbling for your wallet.
Hotels Near Busch Gardens VA
When it’s time to escape the buzz of the park, a hotel near Busch Gardens is the perfect place to stay. For a taste of luxury, a stay at the nearby Kingsmill Resort is in order. The property is Williamsburg’s only AAA Four Diamond Condominium Resort, and it boasts two championship golf courses, a spa, three pools (and a lazy river!), four restaurants, and most importantly, a location near Busch Gardens Williamsburg. The shuttle to and from the theme park is complementary and the service is top-notch.
In terms of proximity to the park, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Williamsburg is impossible to beat. The hotel has its own indoor and outdoor pool, 24-hour fitness center, game room, and an internet cafe. For an additional fee, you can hop on the daily shuttle to and from Busch Gardens.
Where to Eat at Busch Gardens Williamsburg
You can’t bring your own food into the park (other than single-serve sized snacks and water), so use it as a welcome excuse to eat at one of Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s many European-themed eateries.
Meat-lovers can head to New France’s Trapper's Smokehouse for barbecue ribs, chicken, and brisket. And everyone in the family will leave happy after a visit to the Marco Polo’s Marketplace — where you can choose from Italian, Mediterranean, and Asian meals.
Busch Gardens Roller Coasters You Won’t Want to Miss
In addition to tried and true Busch Gardens roller coasters — Apollo’s Chariot, Verbolten, Griffon, Alpengeist, and the Loch Ness Monster — you’ll want to swing by the new Finnegan’s Flyer, which swings passengers 80 feet into the air.
And, starting in 2020, Busch Gardens Williamsburg visitors can experience the fastest multi-launch roller coaster in the world. The Pantheon will have four launches, two inversions, a 95-degree drop, and will move at speeds up to 73 m.p.h.