Music students will attend the Busch Gardens trip for the first time in 2 years


Arya Takalkar

Visitors enjoying ‘Escape from Pompeii,’ a water ride in Busch Gardens, Williamsburg in August 2021. (Courtesy of Arya Takalkar)

The music students of RCMS who have purchased tickets will be attending a full-day field trip at Busch Gardens, Williamsburg on June 3 after a two-year break due to COVID.

Busch Gardens, Williamsburg, is a 383-acre, European-themed amusement park located in James City County, Virginia. It’s split into mini villages: Oktoberfest, Germany, New France, France, Ireland, Festa Italia, England, Scotland, and Italy.

“I like Busch Gardens. I think it’s very pretty and it also has a lot of dining options,” said Mrs. Devyn Grimes, an orchestra teacher at RCMS. “Even if you’re not that into rides, there are other options there too.”

Busch Gardens has a total of 53-attractions in the various villages, including performances, animals, kid-friendly attractions, restaurants, and roller coasters.

Mrs. Grimes is looking forward to finally being able to organize the field trip properly. 

“Before, there was COVID, but now this year it’s exciting since we’ve been able to get everything organized,” said Mrs. Grimes. “All music teachers are organizing it with charter buses.”

Chaperones will also be at the location to track their designated group with multiple check-ins throughout the day.

Students will depart at 8 a.m. and return at 8 p.m. They will be going on a 3-hour drive on charter buses that include TVs.

They should bring snacks for the bus, money, their music t-shirt, comfy clothes, a light jacket, a water bottle, and sunscreen.

“The weather was really hot when I last went to Busch Gardens so it was uncomfortable and not as fun,” said Keya Shah, a seventh grade chorus student on the Champions team. “[So, during the field trip,] it’s probably not a good idea to wear jeans or puffy jackets, and remember to drink lots of water so you don’t get dehydrated.”

Amiti Jain, 22, of Philadelphia, went on the Busch Gardens field trip in 2014. She remembers doing a variety of different things during the time span of the trip and having an enjoyable experience with her friends.

“I just remember waiting in line with my friends, playing games, going on rides, and overall having fun,” she said.

Amiti also liked going around to different places and getting snacks, but she recommends bringing your own food as it will be more convenient. 

“We just got a bunch of snacks throughout the day like Dippin Dots,” she said, “But everything was over-priced, so I would also 100% suggest bringing your own food too.”

Amiti’s most memorable moments during the trip were spent strolling around the park and socializing with friends.

“The most fun part for me was just roaming around the park with my friends and having the autonomy to do anything,” she said.

Many current music students, such as Nora Read, a seventh grade band student on Legacy, are excited about the field trip and the opportunity to experience Busch Gardens for a full day. 

“I’m really looking forward to going on all the rides with my friends, and meeting new people,” said Nora.

Similarly, Keya is excited about the field trip as well. She’s looking forward to having a whole day of roaming the park without much interference from parents, guardians, or even siblings.

“It’s really cool that we don’t have to have parents or guardians around us, and have more freedom while hanging out with friends at the park,” she said.

Because Busch Gardens is a large park with numerous activities and places, many students are trying to prioritize and organize their time well.

“I would try to go from the least scary rides to the most intense, but I would skip out on a few rides,” said Nora. “I will try to get as much as I can in.”

Keya is also determined to go on most of the rides during the duration of the trip.

“I think I wanna go on as many rides as I can, and I also think it would be cool to buy something from the park as a souvenir,” said Keya. 

Many students have previously gone to Busch Gardens and experienced many rides. 

“There was this one ride that was kind of scary and dark (Verbolten), which had a really cool drop in the end, and that was really fun!” said Keya.

Verbolten is a 54-million dollar Autobahn-themed multi-launch roller coaster. The ride has three storylines: The Spirit of the Forest, Lightning Storm, and The Big Bad Wolf. In the ride, you will venture through a forbidden dark forest. Once you enter, you’re surrounded by darkness but illuminating, neon lights will flash around you. Soon, you will experience a sudden vertical free-fall drop nearing the end of the ride. 

Water rides are also another quality attraction at Busch Gardens. One water ride called Escape from Pompeii which is highly recommended by Nora.

Escape from Pompeii is a thrill-packed adventurous water ride. First, you go into a dark tunnel and travel on a lazy river. At some point, you can see fire flickering around ancient ruins. You don’t get burned, but you can feel the heat. In some places, there will be props falling around, indicating burning ruins. Finally, there’s a huge drop at the end in which you will most likely get wet. 

“I don’t recommend going on a water ride right before you leave since you will get wet,” said Mrs. Grimes. 

According to the official Busch Gardens website, even if you do get soaked during the ride, there will be a large family dryer to dry you off after.

Furthermore, another ride is called Apollo’s Chariot. It has elevated seats with multiple air-time hills over 825 feet tall. 

“The drop is really good, it gives you a lot of adrenaline, but it’s not that intense at the same time,” said Nora.

On the other hand, Nora disliked a ride called Da Vinci’s Cradle and doesn’t recommend it. 

“I hated Da Vinci’s Cradle,” she said, “the stomach flip is so intense in that one.” 

Nora had mixed feelings about another ride called Invadr.

“Invadr was also pretty good, but isn’t worth the wait time,” she said.

Nora is eager to try out the Pantheon, the all-new multi-launch coaster that opened on March 25.

“It’s the fastest multi-launch roller coaster in the world currently,” she said, “and I’m going to try to go on it.”

Mrs. Grimes is looking forward to having a good time in Busch Gardens.

“It’ll be a fun experience for everyone!” she said.