Greetings gourds, long time no post.
Frau Punkinstein and I ventured forth to Busch Gardens this Saturday (16 June 2012) with our friends the Cains to enjoy our first BG trip of the season. There was much to recommend a trip to BG and as our friends have a young daughter I was able to experience portions of the park I had never seen before, such as Dragon Land or some such. It's a kid thing.
Times change, tastes change and it is important that parks change with them. Disney updated POTC to conform closer to the films with a disregard for tradition and quality so flagrant that you'd have thought Johnny Depp animatronics were on sale that year. Should not Busch Gardens also change with the times?
Of course they should?
For as long as I can remember the Festhaus in the Germany section has featured good food at reasonable prices and average beer at premium prices and topped all of that off with an Oktoberfest polka show. The show, kitschy but fun, fit the atmosphere and environment of the zone. Starting last year BG remodeled Germany a bit turning their more Bavarian side of Germany into a full Oktoberfest section. This was a nice touch as a beer and pretzel shop opened with some truly tasty selections. This year they continued the trend by changing the decor in the Festhaus and replacing the polka show with a new fairy tale inspired show called Entwined. With Once Upon a Time on ABC and Grimm on NBC this seems timely and topical. Entwined is a show that, well, entwines several traditional fairy tales into one show where Red Riding Hood and Hansel and Gretel get lost in the woods and an evil queen looking like a peppermint bedecked version of Malificent entices them with song and sweets and the good fairy godmother is about sodding useless.
It is charybdic.
The musical selections are Disneyfied versions of pop songs performed semi-competently (the evil witch's cover of Willy Wonka's classic Pure Imagination song was particularly insipid) by the cast held together by one or two lines of weak dialog. The Big Bad Wolf looks like a basketball mascot in purple and gold lederhosen (a Minnesota Vikings fan no doubt) and the three bears look like teddy bears. The gnomes have no beards and the dancing gingerbread men...well at least they were creepy.
The whole show really is an insult to both the source material and musical theater everywhere.
I'd rather have my nuts slammed repeatedly in a door than have to endure it again. I'm all for a fresh show, but it is entirely inappropriate to the setting and the world of good taste.
Then there is the Verbolten, BG's newest roller coaster experience which took over the real estate from the Big Bad Wolf which was taken down due to being too old. Verbolten is a pun of sorts, a play on the German word verboten meaning forbidden. If I'd had my way, and I did not, replacing the beloved Big Bad Wolf would have been verboten. The Verbolten is a multilaunch coaster that reaches a top speed of 53 mph and is themed as an automobile tour of the Black Forest with attendant spooky-weird effects. The queue is impressive being decorated with vintage televisions, luggage, maps and touring items. The backstory is told through the running loop on the televisions and the setting has many auto related features. The coaster cars are built to look like an extended car as well. The majority of the ride takes place in a dark tunnel (building) with psychedelic multihued blacklit leaves and such plastered around the walls. The high point is when the car stops dead in the dark and then the entire track drops several feet. Exhilarating but ultimately disappointing, I'm afraid. The ride has 3 different themed effects, but I experienced only one (and sadly it was not the Big Bad Wolf theme). The reason I find it so disappointing is that the ride does not do justice to the theme. Now that coasters are themed so thoroughly with interesting queues and immersion tactics I expect more of a full immersion ride experience. The Verbolten tries but it fails. Space Mountain with its old projector effects on the walls or Big Thunder Mountain Railroad with its canyon walls and old west feel provide far more immersion than does Verbolten. The ride it replaced, the Big Bad Wolf, whisked riders through a German hamlet as the sounds of wolf howls accompanied the ride. As a suspended coaster the Big Bad rocked and swung with the track. It was a great coaster and ultimately a more satisfying ride to me.
But I might be biased.
I guess taking the Big Bad Wolf out of Germany was why they ended up with that neutered cartoon wolf in Entwined after all.
Till next time keep your pumpkins lit.