Busch Gardens Williamsburg Launching New Membership Program
Busch Gardens in Williamsburg Virginia is now the latest park to offer a membership pass option. The park’s new Membership Plans program will provide guests with an unprecedented level of access to the parks. Starting on February 8th, consumers can choose from 3 plans that offer guests admission to both Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Water Country USA, Christmas Town event, as well as the old “platinum style” options with other exclusive benefits.
“More than a pass, Membership means more access and more benefits,” said Dan Dipiazzo, vice president of marketing at Busch Gardens and Water Country USA. “We’re listening to our guests who say they want more value and simpler choices. Membership allows our guests to take full advantage of the parks’ amenities including all of our seasonal events. It’s what consumers are asking for.”
The three plans being offered are Basic Membership, Unlimited Membership, and Premier Membership at a special monthly rate of $10, $15, and $20. After April 1st, the monthly price will rise to $12, $17, and $22 respectively.
The benefits vary depending on the plan chosen. The benefits will include:
- Basic Membership: Park admission with select blackout dates throughout the year, half-price general parking, special offers, exclusive events, in-park discounts, and guest ticket discounts.
- Unlimited Membership: Park admission with no blackout dates throughout the year, free general parking, two free guest tickets per year with discounts on additional guest tickets, and all the other benefits found in a Basic Membership
- Premier Membership: Park admission to 11 parks in the SeaWorld family, free preferred parking, three free guest tickets per year with discounts on additional guest tickets, and all the other benefits found in a Basic Membership
For guests that join before March 17th, they will be able to attend the first Member Sneak Peek event which includes a Special St. Patrick’s Day celebration, exclusive time to enjoy park attractions, two special concerts, Irish-themed food, plus additional surprises! However, future Member Sneak Peek days, including Howl-O-Scream and Christmas Town, will only be open to participants in the new Membership Program. AND… since the new membership program includes Christmas Town, there will no longer be a Christmas Town pass available to pass members. We expect the price of the Christmas Town event to increase in 2018, so that may be another deciding factor to switch to the new program as well.
Guests who have active Annual Passes can keep their passes, or they can convert to a new plan with the expanded benefits. Depending how long you have had your current annual pass will determine if a membership will be cheaper or not. All three membership plans will be discounted $2 per month ($24 per year) until March 31, so it’s important to make a decision about switching over soon. Any guest that purchased an annual pass within the past 12 months, will be allowed out of their current pass contract. When the pass is converted to the Membership Program, it will restart the initial 12 month agreement. The new membership pricing will be locked in for 12 months. After 12 months, the park has the option to increase the price of everyone’s Memberships simultaneously or leave the pricing the same.
So what exactly is the difference for current Platinum Pass Holders? The new program will likely cost slightly more depending how long ago you purchased your pass. (for us it’s $5.00 more per month).
What Premier Membership will include that current Platinum Passes don’t:
- Christmas Town, and special member only days to Howl o Screams and possibly other events.
- 3 Free guest tickets
- Increased discount on additional guest tickets
- A variety of short-term exclusive benefits for Program Members throughout the year
Busch Gardens is allowing current pass member to visit before opening day to switch over to the new program. Pre-processing at the park will be available March 1-4 and March 8-11. If you decide to switch to the new plan, we recommend calling customer service or visiting the park in person before opening day as we expect customer service lines to be very long.
So, still scratching your head as to why the change? Dan Dipiazzo, Vice President of In-Park Revenue Marketing at Busch Gardens Williamsburg said the decision was not based solely on financial reasons. He explained that Busch Williamsburg has the highest percentage of pass holders in the SeaWorld Parks family, and they wanted to reward those loyal pass holders. The park has been trying to incorporate Christmas Town into the annual passes for quite some time, so execs agreed on creating a membership program. No other SeaWorld entertainment parks will be using this system just yet… But the premier membership will still act as “Platinum Style” passes at other SeaWorld parks.
The mebership program sn’t the only thing new at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. 2018 will bring the debut of an all new Action VR Ride. Battle For Eire will be an immersive 360-degree virtual reality adventure. The Otherworld needs a warrior. So, guests will team up with the last fairy guardian, Addie, and set out to rescue the sacred Heart of Eire. Riders will soar above the lush landscapes and mystifying powers of the Otherworld as they prepare to battle the dark forces!
Here’s a quick behind the scenes look at the new rides creation process.
How do you feel about the introduction of the Membership plans? We would love to hear your feedback! Let us know on our socials!
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