Busch Gardens Williamsburg will welcome guests for the first time in 2020 next month, but only for hard-ticket special event.
A day after parent company SeaWorld announced a phased reopening of the park, it unveiled the “Coasters and Craft Brews” event. For Thursdays through Sundays from Aug. 6 to 16, guests can make reservations to enjoy some of the park’s outdoor sections, specifically Ireland, Scotland, France and New France. Three roller coasters will be open (InvadR, Griffon and Loch Ness Monster) along with three other rides (Finnegan’s Flyer, Le Catapult and Li’l Clydes). Animal exhibits, barbecue and a selection of local and craft beers will also be available.
Virginia has yet to budge on its reopening restrictions, which limit events and venues to 50 percent of capacity or 1,000 people, whichever is lower. With a typical capacity of 24,000, Busch Gardens Williamsburg had previously said opening under existing restrictions wouldn’t be financially feasible.
“In compliance with Virginia’s phase 3 safety guidelines for reopening businesses, the park will operate with enhanced health and safety protocols for cleaning and sanitizing, physical distancing, face covering requirements and temperature screenings,” Busch Gardens said in a press release. “Special event capacity will be extremely limited to create ample space for guests to enjoy their experience, while maintaining physical distancing in a safe environment.”
Tickets for the event will cost $45, though spots are being reserved for guests with memberships, annual passes, and Fun Cards. Visitors will be limited to four-hour reservation windows: a 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. slot on Thursdays, and either a 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. or a 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. slot on Fridays, Saturday and Sundays.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that the park does not have an update on when it will fully reopen. Regional rival Kings Dominion, owned by Knott’s Berry Farm owner Cedar Fair, told the Dispatch that it will remain closed due to the state’s capacity restrictions.