By Tim Bannon, Tribune Newspapers
8:16 PM EDT, September 10, 2013
Busch Gardens Williamsburg in southern Virginia is one of the world's most handsome amusement parks, but to make your experience equally attractive, you need to make smart decisions.
Buy a $20 Quick Queue (a pass that allows you to bypass long lines) until you get inside the park. If weather is questionable, crowds might be smaller and waits shorter. The day we went, storms were forecast, so our waits never exceeded 10 minutes.
Buy the $50 Unlimited Quick Queue. Just buy the regular $20 pass, which entitles you to one line-jump per ride. Though on the day we used it, most ride operators didn't even inspect the card to see which rides we'd been on and waved us through.
Pay extra for preferred parking. It saves you only a few yards of walking and gains you no exit advantage.
Bother to wait in what often are long lines for the Curse of DarKastle. It's a 3-D "ride" and pretty lame.
Sit in the front row of at least one roller coaster, preferably the Griffon, which features an initial 205-foot drop straight down. It hesitates five seconds at the apex, letting the 10 front-row people dangle before the big plummet.
See a show. And perhaps the best show is "Celtic Fyre," a rollicking 30 minutes of Irish dancing and singing. Plus, on a hot day, it's nice to sit in the cool darkness.
Take the Rhine Cruise and stroll through the animal reserve, both nice respites from the noise and activity in the park.
Ride each of these coasters more than once: Apollo's Chariot, Griffon, Alpengeist, Loch Ness Monster, Verbolten. When you know what to expect, you appreciate it even more.
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