How to tour Busch Gardens Williamsburg?

I’ve never been to Busch Gardens Williamsburg. I have a trip planned for July 5-8. I already did a search here to see if I could get any tips for touring the park. Only a couple threads, all from previous years. Wondering if anyone can offer any new/updated insight on how to tour this park.

Hello - I ran across your thread because we just got back from our first trip to BGW, and was checking here and another forum to see if there were any good, recent threads before writing something extensive about our experience since there wasn’t a lot of good planning info out there. I will try to make a more comprehensive post in the next couple days, but I had a few key observations specific to planning your tour. Our visit was three days; first day we were there noon-ish to close after driving down/second day rope drop-4:00 and 7:15-close/third day rope drop-12:30.

-Pantheon, the new coaster this year, is the key driver of crowds at rope drop. If you really want to ride it, get there for rope drop (9:15 am to line up at the parking booths, which opened at 9:30 am for a 10 am opening), get into the park, get up to where they are holding guests, and then follow the crowds left toward Escape From Pompeii and then into Festa Italia to line up for it. If it is “opening late” you are likely better off waiting for them to admit people than leaving and coming back, although our kids lucked out by stumbling onto a late-morning opening of it when most others had given up.

-If you don’t care about riding Pantheon, it’s still the key driver of crowds and getting there at rope drop had pretty much everything else walk-on for the first hour. This includes the other coasters in Festa Italia, but those coaster queues filled up really quickly the day they told people not to bother waiting for Pantheon because they didn’t know when it would open.

-It may have been a function of not being fully staffed for summer and the diversion of staff to the Food and Wine Festival, but many of the usual snack stands were closed and the queues for restaurants serving meals were 45 minutes to an hour long. We had a package with hotel, three days in the parks, and three meals pp. Based on our experience, I wouldn’t recommend unlimited dining based solely on wait times.

-If you are staying somewhere close to the park, going leaving for a hotel pool dip and dinner then returning for the evening was definitely worthwhile.


I was there last July 3rd and 4th.


This is great! I look forward to your full review.

I did find this when I searched. Thanks!

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@RotR so glad you brought this up…Just booked room for Labor Day and have no idea where to start the planning process :face_with_peeking_eye:or even how necessary it is.

@jjackson52779 was 3 days enough?

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Granted - we went when Covid was still a little on the radar so maybe it was less busy (but it was also 4th of July…)

We didn’t do pre-planning and we rode as much as we wanted to.

A cursory image of the park layout in your mind would help.
Understanding the all day locker thing would help.
And having some ideas about where you’d like to eat might help. We enjoyed all day dining, but like any dining package it’s easy to talk yourself into or out of it.

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Any suggestions guidebooks ect for the park/area- the unofficial guides were my go-to for years but not so much outside Orlando in years HINT HINT TO THE POWERS THAT BE ( and yes I still order and read them annually)


I read a few reviews online, but really just used the app and website to look up names of the coasters and restaurants. We had a half day and a full day. We just did random things with short lines the evening we went, and then we started the next day with coasters.

How to Maximize Your Visit to Busch Gardens Williamsburg (

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Here’s a hack that I have used since the 80’s but still worked for me recently when we have gone during Christmastown - which is a bit different time because half of the rides are closed.

Use the skyliner and the train to help get from one land to the other, when their lines aren’t long. Busch Gardens is beautiful and spread out. The skyliner runs in one direction around the park and the train in the other so you can use these to help move efficiently.


Thank you. Very helpful.

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Just a small warning- loved my trip to Williamsburg but Dam I wasn’t expecting those hills!