Williamsburg. It's not exactly the most exciting place in the world. In
fact, unless you have a passion for cannonballs or wig-making, it can be
downright prosaic. Having gone to college there for a while, believe me I
know. I would actually drive back down to Richmond each day (which is a
far cry from Action Central, U.S.A.) just to get away from Williamsburg
for a few hours.
is one really cool attraction to be found there, and that is the
internationally-themed Busch Gardens. One minute you're surrounded
by riverdance music in Ireland and the next minute you're stuffing your
face with bratwurst in Germany... only to puke it all out on a
rollercoaster shortly after. Sure they don't feature all of the countries
that I'd hope to see... such as Ethiopia. It could be a wonderful area of
the park where they don't serve any food whatsoever. And when you consider
the wretchedly overpriced food that they normally dish out at theme parks,
that really wouldn't be a bad thing.
able to go on a tour from country to country is fine 'n dandy, the real
attraction at Busch Gardens comes in October. Yes, they have some
rollercoasters that are definitely noteworthy, but it's their
Howl-O-Scream festival that really makes a trip to the park
worthwhile. They really go all out come Halloween every year, and I
finally got to check it out this month...
As soon as I
arrived at the park around 11am I was greeted with a massive Grim Reaper
statue. This thing towered over all of the cars, and I gotta say
the attention to detail that went into it was pretty friggin' impressive.
If this was any indication of what I could expect inside the park, then
this was gonna be one hell of a day.
parking our car in "Italy", which look exactly like "America" or "Walmart",
we hopped aboard a train which brought us into the park. The old conductor
dude ran through his speech about how the weather was perfect and how we
couldn't have picked a better day to visit the park. One of the first
things I took notice of was a fenced-in coach in a graveyard that was
being driven by a skeleton. And while that was a cool enough prop, the
tombstones on the ground were the real eye-catcher.
It was at
this point that I realized I was either in for a really long day,
or they were just getting the crappy stuff out of the way first. "Peter
Puked a Peck of Pickled Peppers" Now
what kind of loser would use pickles and alliteration to make a
joke? Gotta love the Hurricane Isabel one too since our region was hit
really hard by it. Way to create those gags that the locals can really
relate to! This was definitely worth the trip!
entering the park, I had to check out the warning sign that everyone else
was ignoring. I particularly liked the "those who may be adversely
affected by these types of conditions should not attend Howl-O-Scream
evening events" line. I always thought that the whole point of a truly
good Halloween even was to have the crap scared out of you. It was also
nice to know that the "unusual creatures" haunting the park wouldn't
attempt to rape me. Well, at least not on purpose. With that in mind, I
wasn't planning on raping them either... no matter how much the undead
turned me on.
security guards were done checking through my bag for weapons, drugs, and
my own stash of food that would save me from having to spend $20 for a
shitty sandwich, I proceeded through the ticket check area. I was
awestruck when I saw the skeletons they had hanging underneath the
security cameras. Was this perhaps a warning to anybody who dared an
attempt at sneaking into the park? Could this be their fate? Whatever the
case may have been, these were some badly dressed skeletons. I'm pretty
sure the skeleton on the left died without any pants and only a pink
ribbon to cover his genitalia.
And then right
there before me, in the "Piratical Purgatory" section of the park, stood
the majestic skeletal statue of a mighty pirate captain. The statue just
commanded respect and was a worthy homage to the greatest pirates ever. Unfortunately, this pirate captain must've had the most flamboyant crew in
the history of mankind. Either that, or somebody at Busch Gardens misread
"piratical purgatory" to be "piratical purgaytory". Don't believe
me? Just look at what lurked right around the corner...
NAKED GAY PIRATES
BATHING IN JEWELRY!
call it Howl-O-Scream for nothing kids. It was bad enough that they had
poles going directly into their rectums, but to my amazement, this was
merely the beginning of the most tawdry display of skeletons on earth...
were, standing on a street corner next to a rainbow assortment of hats,
flaunting their gaudy jewelry and trashy clothes like they were god's gift
to lonely sailor skeletons. Could this be what skeleton pirates were truly
may not be able to spell "treasure maps for sale" properly, pirate are
still fully capable of ripping your rich ass off. Upon closer inspection
of the treasure maps, it was quite clear to me that they weren't maps at
all, but simply rolled up pieces of old brown paper with nothing
written on them! Dirty pirates... you just can't trust 'em.
skeletal sexual innuendo. The clothes and headbands that made them look
like homosexual aerobic instructor rejects were bad enough. So was it
really necessary to have phallic items placed so close to their groins
too? Hah! You think that's bad???
THAT'S JUST GOING TOO FAR!
my eyes raped by the piratical purgaytory, I decided to move onward
in hopes that the scars would eventually heal. Granted, it was highly
unlikely that I'd see anything more horrific than those pirates. I mean,
it's not everyday that you see a bunch of characters that you always
thought were peg-legged, backstabbin', sea-sailin' swashbucklers get
represented as peacockish prostitutes with poles in their rectums.
One-Eyed Willie must be rolling over in his watery grave.
can't say that all the ghosts in the trees looked too scary. Then again,
it was still morning and I had just seen Gaybeard the pirate and his
cohorts. However, it definitely shows the kind of effort they were putting
into this thing when you see that some of the ghosts were easily 40-50
feet up in the air or higher. It had to suck to be the person responsible
for climbing the trees to get the ghosts way up there. Especially since
they probably pay people in plastic doubloons and funnel cakes.
were scattered all over the park, but it only served as a teaser of things
to come because all of the spooky events wouldn't get going until 6pm...
so there was plenty time left to wander aimlessly around the park. First
stop was Doctor Rot, the local dentist.
Doctor Rot changed the sign to say "painfull" instead of "painless"? Yo
doc, it's "painful" with one L ok? I guess Doctor Rot might've made it
through dental school, but whether or not he made it through basic English
is another issue entirely. Sadly, he was nowhere to be found. I could only
hope to see the good doctor later on that night.
It may not
have been dark out, but that didn't stop this Halloween gift shop from
having their smoke machine smoke machine cranked to the max. I found it
ironic that they would sell costumes in Busch Gardens, yet their warning
sign strictly says "Guests may not wear costumes or masks." Eh, I
guess it doesn't matter since most of the items were your run-of-the-mill
Halloween novelties that you can find in just about any basic Halloween
shop for way less. They did have a cool little box that screamed when you
opened it, but the batteries were low so the voice was distorted. I swear
it sounded like a pissed off Gary Coleman was trapped in there. Looking
back on it now, I should've bought it... but Gary wasn't worth 5 bucks to
And here he
is... THE HAUNTED OWL OF HOWL-O-SCREAM! Actually, he was just one
of many helpless birds that had their legs tied to the ground with rope.
It was pretty depressing to look at, and I swear he was so miserable that
he was turning his neck around so far only in hopes that it would
eventually snap and end his life. Then again, maybe he became a
bloodthirsty Were-Owl anytime there was a full moon... so perhaps the
restraints were necessary after all.
nobody told me Michael J. Fox died! Why wasn't I informed!? Oh wait, maybe
they actually meant Jason Batemen from "Teen Wolf Too". That's fine...
screw him. I won't even bother commenting on that Steppenwolf... er... "Steppin
Wolf" grave. I'm still trying to pretend it was a figment of my
imagination — along with the piratestitutes.
definitely no shortage of pumpkins at Busch Gardens, they were all over
the place. And then there was this giant one out in the middle of the
street. There were no signs near it and I couldn't see any real reason for
the giant pumpkin to be there other than for tourists to gawk at it while
pickpocketers had a field day.
only has four roller coasters, but they were all top notch rides: The Big
Bad Wolf, The Loch Ness Monster, Alpengeist, and Apollo's Chariot. Out of
the four, i'd have to say Alpengeist was my favorite. Not only was there a
big nest of angry hornets at the top of the first big hill which was an
unexpected scare, but it made my intestines feel like they were in my
throat on a few of the wild turns. And as far as rollercoasters go, I
think that's a good thing. The Alpengeist also had this photo opportunity
didn't want to fork out way too much money for a low-quality photograph of
you wetting yourself on the rollercoaster, you could take your own picture
here. Granted I haven't gone skiing in quite a while, but I'm not that
rusty and I would certainly have a better sense of fashion. At the very
least, I'd look better than those pirate skeletons from earlier.
about the prizes? A theme park's not a theme park without tons of crappy
prizes for you to win as long as you spend your life savings!
That's what I'm talking about! Backstreet Boys on Tour trading cards?
N*Sync booklets? Sign me up! After playing several games of skeeball, I
ended up walking away with 3 eyeballs and two sets of fangs. I should've
just walked out with the skeeballs and sold them on the black market.
Little known fact: if you crack open a skeeball, you'll discover that
it has tasty 90-year old scotch stored in the center. So just remember
that the next time you toss them back into oblivion in exchange for those
Backstreet Boys trading cards.
choking on the three eyeballs which I was sure I could fit in my mouth, I
decided it was time to head back outside. And it was finally starting to
get dark out, because some big smoke machines were blasting the crowd.
Either that or somebody finally had the sense to set that display of
piratestitutes on fire.
The Sea Dog
Cemetery was already starting to look fairly spooky, even if one of those
damned gaudy pirates was hanging out underneath the sign. At least someone
was good enough impale one on a spear. Maybe the other pirates will see
that and take it as a warning to shape up or ship out. Maybe... but not
likely. The sun was setting and my stomach was starting to growl at me.
Apparently spending all day on rollercoasters and eating funnel cakes with
soda just wasn't enough to keep it quiet. So I was off to get some
extremely bad amusement park dinner and then head out into the night to
see what ghoulish scares awaited me!
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