Survey points to changes at Busch Gardens Williamsburg


Howl O Scream at Busch Gardens Williamsburg has taken guests to the “Dark Side of the Gardens” this year, and the response has been phenomenal. Sell out crowds, steady lines for shows and huge wait times for houses. Many who have attended the event have said that the park has really amped up the fear and the fun. But could guests be paying more for that fun in the years to come?

According to a post on the official Busch Gardens Williamsburg Facebook page, by a fan, an email poll has gone out asking passholders if they would attend Howl O Scream as much as they currently do if the park charged for the event(click here if you are a passholder and wish to take the poll). Currently Howl O Scream at Busch Gardens Williamsburg is included in park admission. The daytime festivities are known to be family friendly.

After 6p.m. the park takes on a more sinister tone, and the event becomes less family friendly, even though the Sesame Street Forest of Fun is open, complete with a show all about Halloween until 8p.m. which gives those with families something to do.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of this, as the rumor has been circling around for years. With the proposed upcharge for Howl O Scream the park would close to those without a Howl O Scream ticket. This opens up the possibility of families with smaller children leaving the park, and it also gives the chance that the event will become even more intense. This year the park has added the “Naughty Nurses” of Fiends to the mix, as well as started serving alcohol (besides just beer). In contrast, Busch Gardens Tampa currently has Howl O Scream as an upcharge event, serves alcohol and has a lot of adult oriented themes. The event is also noticeably gorier than Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s event.
But the real question is, will the family friendly market that Busch Gardens Williamsburg caters to, pay the extra fee? Personally, it would be a wise decision to agree to pay just a few dollars more if you’re a passholder. Having an extra ticket event lessens the amount of people in the park (to an extent) thus making lines for houses less. It also gets children and teens out of the park. Closing down the Sesame Street area could open up a possibility of more scare zones, or another haunted house as well.

Also included in the survey was a question about ChristmasTown. Christmastown is currently an upcharge Holiday event at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Under the proposed change, it would make the event free to passholders.

There was also another version of the survey that went out to Fun Card members asking that if the events were no longer free to Fun Card members, would they consider upgrading their pass to a level that would allow them to attend the events for free. So, it seems as if the park is testing the waters to see exactly what people would or would not pay. The Tampa event only gives the first weekend free to passholders. After the first weekend, the event price for passholders is around $40 dollars (depending on the night). We’ve heard several years in a row that BGT was going to go the family friendly route and make Howl O Scream part of the daily admission price. With Legoland now open, and providing more of a family friendly atmosphere, as well as a ton more kid friendly activities, it seems a logical step for Busch Gardens Tampa. Brick or Treat will start at Legoland Florida next year, which gives kids free trick or treating in the park.

Also on the proverbial chopping block are the concerts, as much of the survey asks about whether or not the concerts influenced the decision to purchase passes or not.

It’s worth noting that none of this has been announced, and it is merely a survey asking opinion. There is no need to panic or write nasty letters one way or another. But it’s interesting to see that the thought is indeed out there.
What do you think? As a passholder, would you pay a little extra for Howl O Scream at Busch Gardens Williamsburg? Let us know in the comments below!