Insider's Guide to Busch Gardens Williamsburg

November 21, 2021

Always at the forefront of innovation, Busch Gardens has added exceptional new experiences for the 2020 amusement park season. From entertainment to thrills, the new attractions at Busch Gardens Williamsburg do not disappoint.

Stunning architecture, spellbinding nature, and European charm intersect seamlessly at one of America’s most beloved theme parks: Busch Gardens® Williamsburg. Consistently voted the ‘world’s most beautiful theme park’ since 1990, a vacation here means top-notch rides, exciting live entertainment, and exotic animal encounters.

Explore 383 acres of family-friendly paradise, as you meander through nine villages centered around six European countries. Whether you are searching for the adrenaline rush of Apollo’s Chariot®, hankering for some schnitzel at Das Festhaus, or entertaining little ones in the Sesame Street® Forest, there is truly something for everyone at Williamsburg Busch Gardens.
Related Post: Ultimate Guide to Busch Gardens Williamsburg: Coupons, Discounts, and Deals

To make sure you don’t miss a moment of family fun, keep this official Insider’s Guide to Busch Gardens® Williamsburg handy and get ready to plan your trip!

Wide shot of the historic Governor's Palace in Williamsburg, Virginia, USA

photo credit: Christian Alvarez via Unsplash

Williamsburg, VA

Stately Williamsburg, VA was once the capital of the original Virginia colony and is over three hundred years old. So if you’re not a Virginia local, do yourself a favor and spend a few nights appreciating the historical preservation and unique appeal of the ‘Colonial Capital.’ 

Related Post: Current Events and Festivals in Williamsburg, Virginia

No matter your vacation lodging preference, there is a medley of options for Williamsburg hotels and resorts

You can opt to stay close to Busch Gardens® or Colonial Williamsburg and cut down on your theme park commute. Or choose one of many hotels in Historic Williamsburg, VA, and delight in first-class dining, shopping, and gallery viewing, all within walking distance.

kids playing on dinosaur eggs at busch gardens williamsburg

©2016 SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

About the Park

At nearly fifty years old, Busch Gardens® Williamsburg is an iconic east coast theme park with a fascinating history. When the park first opened in 1975, it was owned by beer giant Anheuser-Busch, who owned a beer plant facility next door. 


Today the park offers over fifty rides, including nine roller coasters and three water rides. The parks nine European themed villages are:

  • Oktoberfest
  • Germany
  • New France
  • France
  • Ireland
  • Scotland
  • England
  • Italy
  • Festa Italia
Guests take the plunge and cool off after they Escape from Pompeii at Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Guests take the plunge and cool off after they Escape from Pompeii® at Busch Gardens® Williamsburg. ©2016 SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

When to Go

Unlike many other theme parks, Busch Gardens® Williamsburg operates seasonally. This means that they are only open specific months of the year:

  • March - September
  • October - special hours for Howl O’ Scream 
  • November & December - for Christmas Town events

As always, we suggest double-checking the official Busch Gardens® Williamsburg calendar before purchasing your tickets to keep up with any last-minute schedule changes or event updates. 

Related Post: What to Bring to Williamsburg: 5 Packing Lists for the Best Trip Ever

Generally, to avoid heavy crowds and long lines, we advise:

  • Visiting later in the season
  • Avoiding holidays, summer masses, and weekends
  • Arriving early, when the park first opens
  • Picking a cool(er) day to visit - dipping temperatures mean fewer crowds!

guests on Alpengeist Inverted Roller Coaster at Busch Gardens Williamsburg virginiaTickets/Ticket Packages

Now that you’ve picked the perfect day to visit, it’s time to buy your Busch Gardens® Williamsburg tickets

We offer a variety of ticket options ranging from one-day park passes to two park three-day passes that include sister park, Water Country USA. If you’re planning on a more extended stay in historic Williamsburg, try bundling your activities and accommodations together with one of our Williamsburg vacation packages

Related Post: 12 Best Places to Visit in Williamsburg VA with Kid

Who says family fun can’t be educational? Take a deep dive into America’s colonial history during your stay in Williamsburg, VA, and seek out some of their very best attractions and entertainment, including Colonial Williamsburg and America’s Historic Triangle Pass

fireworks behind roller coaster at busch gardens summer nights in williamsburg virginia

Photo Credit: Busch Gardens Williamsburg / Facebook

Park Strategy

While Busch Gardens® Williamsburg may not be as massive as some other theme parks (we’re looking at you, Mickey), it still pays to strategize your park visit. Of course, your own unique ‘park plan’ will vary depending on if your group is more into spending time with Elmo in the Sesame Street® Forest of Fun or flying high in the sky with Finnegan’s Flyer!

Our go to park strategy consists of:

  • Arrive early, at least 15 minutes before the park opens
  • Hit the ‘big rides’ first, when the lines are shortest
  • Take an early lunch as soon as restaurant dining opens
  • When the crowds thin in the late afternoon, hit any remaining rides or attractions you missed!
Aerial view of Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia, USA

photo credit: Busch Gardens Williamsburg via Facebook

Quick Queue

If you’re anticipating your Busch Gardens® Williamsburg visit coinciding with heavy crowds and long wait times, it could be helpful to invest in a Quick Queue pass. Quick Queue allows you to get to the thrills faster by allowing you one-day, single priority access to Busch Gardens’ most popular rides.

Related Post: 5 Fun Things to do in Williamsburg VA for Toddlers

For a whole day of nonstop riding fun, you can even purchase an unlimited Quick Queue pass, which affords guests an entire day of unlimited priority access.

Two people clinking beer mugs at Busch Gardens Bier Fest in Williamsburg, Virginia, USA

photo credit: Busch Gardens Williamsburg
via Facebook

Popular Add ons

Want to take your Busch Gardens experience to the next level? Customize your very own theme park escapade with some of the most popular Busch Garden® Williamsburg add-ons and upgrades. 

Foodies and beer aficionados will flip for the All-Day Dining deal and Bier Fest Sampler. At the same time, animal lovers will appreciate getting up close and personal with their favorite critters on the Clydes & Collies Animal Tour.

Close up photo of roller coaster seat at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia, USA

photo credit: Busch Gardens Williamsburg
via Facebook

Can’t Miss

Honestly, there is not much that can be missed at Busch Gardens® Williamsburg! This humble park strikes the perfect balance of culture and family fun with its amazingly lush gardens, picturesque European villages, and exhilarating roller coasters. 

Related Post: Top Attractions in Williamsburg, Virginia

However, if we had to whittle down our Busch Gardens® Williamsburg greatest hits, we can never skip:

  • Loch Ness Monster (ride)
  • InvadR (ride)
  • Apollo’s Chariot (ride)
  • Griffon (ride)
  • Finnegan’s Flyer (ride)
  • Verbolten (ride)
  • Food & Show at Das Festhaus 
  • Animal Encounters - the grey wolves by Ireland and the Clydesdales by Scotland
Point of view of being the first seat on a roller coaster going down hill in the fall at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia, USA

photo credit: Busch Gardens Williamsburg
via Facebook

What’s New

Whether this is your first or your fiftieth time visiting Busch Gardens® Williamsburg, there is always a new ride, attraction, or show to enjoy. The newest additions to this esteemed park include:

  • Tempesto (ride)
  • Battle of Aire (Virtual Reality ride)
  • Pantheon (ride) - Coming Soon!
Wide shot of a roller coaster at Busch Gardens with the sun setting behind it in Williamsburg, Virginia, USA

photo credit: Busch Gardens Williamsburg
via Facebook


A day of traveling and trekking all over ‘Europe’ will undoubtedly build up a hearty appetite. Although you are allowed to enter the park with unopened snacks and water bottles, you would be remiss in bypassing some of the incredible dining provided by Busch Gardens® Williamsburg.

Related Post: The Best Way to Spend a Weekend in Williamsburg VA

So let us introduce you to our four-star foodie recommendations:

  • Quick bite - Beste Brezeln und Bier
  • Festive German fare & entertainment - Das Festhaus
  • Finger-licking-good BBQ - Trapper’s Smokehouse 
The Count from Sesame Street greeting a little girl and her father at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia, USA

photo credit: Busch Gardens Williamsburg
via Facebook

What to Bring

Preparation is the key to a successful theme park day. To make the most out of your Busch Gardens® Williamsburg vacation, it pays to pack a fully stocked day pack. Essential items that always save the day include:

  • Portable phone charger
  • Water bottle & snacks
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Poncho, raincoat, or jacket (weather dependent)
  • Bandaids
  • Stroller (if required)

Pro Tip: Don’t fret if you forget your portable charger! Busch Gardens® now provides a reusable, portable charging system called Fuel Rod, available for purchase at specific locations parkwide.

Virginia may be for lovers, but theme park lovers will find all they desire and more at Busch Gardens® Williamsburg. 

Related Post: 9 Romantic Things to Do in Williamsburg VA for Couples

This idyllic park is packed with 17th-century charm, state-of-the-art rides, and unparalleled animal encounters. 

Regardless if you are experiencing a multi-sensory dash through the Black Forest on Verbolten, or making friends with the gentle giant Clydesdales, a Busch Gardens® Williamsburg trip simply can’t be beaten.

Now that you are armed with our best tips, tricks, and insider knowledge, it’s time to reserve your own Busch Gardens® Williamsburg vacation

isis with mural in background

Written By Isis Maya

A New York native, Isis-Maya spent most of her professional life working in TV production until a vacation whisked her away to Central America and her love o ...

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