Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sabrina's Brochure Spotlight: Busch Gardens, The Old Country 1990

No, this is not one of the newly acquired brochures that I alluded to in my tweet earlier today. This brochure and I have known each other for all 19 years of its existence! It's like a dear old friend to me, and the value of friendship cannot be overestimated. On that warm and fuzzy note, let's turn back the clock and take a peek at the Busch Gardens Williamsburg of 1990.

Before we get to the new, let's acknowledge the old--the Old Country, that is. Before it was "Williamsburg", then "Europe", then "Williamsburg" again, this park was known as "Busch Gardens, The Old Country". But old or not, it was still welcoming new rides. Making its debut in 1990 was Questor, and something tells me we're going to learn more about it on the next panel.

Well what do you know--I'm psychic! Unfortunately, the one-line description provided in this copy is so whimsical, it hardly conveys what the ride actually was. Questor was a simulator ride that took its travelers on a journey aboard a "fantasy ship", during which they were invited to assist an elfish creature in finding a much sought after magic crystal. Although I never had the pleasure of experiencing this attraction for myself, it continues to have quite a large fan base, even today. It was replaced by a new simulator ride, King Arthur's Challenge, in 1996. (Today the site is occupied by an even more immersive 4-D simulator, Corkscrew Hill.)

In 1990, Busch Gardens consisted of four themed areas: England, France, Germany, and Italy. (Questor was actually located in a section of the England area which has since been transformed into Ireland.) Going back to our warm and fuzzy theme, there was a lot of both to be had in England between the Clydesdales, the Royal Preserve Petting Zoo, and the Loch Ness Monster. (What do you mean the Loch Ness Monster isn't warm and fuzzy? Show Nessie some love, people!)

By now you can see that the emphasis in this brochure is placed not on the rides, but on the entire Busch Gardens experience. And why not? If you've ever visited this park, you know that it's simply stunning. The antique cars and log flume are woven seamlessly into this spread featuring the France area. It almost makes you feel as though there should be a log flume around every corner in the actual country of France! (And if any country were to actually do that, it would immediately become my personal favorite tourist destination.)

Germany! Well apparently this country is extra exciting, because there's an exclamation point! Somehow, the marketing gurus who designed this brochure must have known that a half-German blogger chick who shares their excitement would be analyzing it 19 years later. That's really the only logical explanation. And you wonder where I get my sweet tooth--Check out that dessert tray! The best part is that you can enjoy those delicacies while listening to a Bavarian Oompah band and watching Schuhplatter dancers. [First sign that I'm only half German: Had to double-check the spelling of "Schuhplatter" about 15 times before getting it right.]

Before moving on to the next page, let's also observe a moment of silence for our long lost friend, the Big Bad Wolf. He was warm and fuzzy too, at least in my book, and I shall miss him.

Hmm...An exclamation point for Italy too, eh? No Italian blood runs through these veins, so I guess that effectively blows my original theory out of the water. (It also brings into question why England and France are not worthy of such celebratory punctuation, but that's another matter altogether.) Beautifully themed like the rest of the park, the Italy area of 1990 featured many of the same attractions found at Busch Gardens today--with a couple notable exceptions, of course! Even Roman Rapids is themed to an Italian canal. Simply gorgeous.

I never noticed this before, but the operating schedule which appears on the back of this brochure is actually a sticker. I guess that's one way to solve the problem of not having your hours finalized before the brochure goes to print! Even in 1990, this park had a pretty long season. It's a good thing too, because I'm sure most guests wanted to spend lots of time in Germany and Italy. Not to mention England! And France! (Don't mind me, I'm just compensating for the lack of exclamation points on previous pages.) With that, it's time for this dear old friend to retire to his storage chambers. I hope you enjoyed him!