First of the good. The reenactments were awesome. With 10,000 reenactors, over 100 cannons, and 700 cavalry you were able to see the scope of these Civil War battles. They were very well organized. I thought that the reenactors did an amazing job.
The living history tents were packed with great information. The reenactors in these tents, knew a great deal of information about the characters that they portrayed. I learned a lot from them.
Now for the bad, as great as the reenactments were this event was overshadowed by a total lack of organization and thought for the people shelling out the money to attend.
Parking was a mess. The people directing traffic were not coordinated and almost directed me into another moving car. Leaving the events, I sat for two hours. Just horrible designed, thank goodness there wasn't an emergency.
The heat index on many of the days was over 100. You are not allowed to carry a bag or cooler. You are allowed to carry in one bottle of water, which each of my family members did. Keep in mind that we were at the event from 9:00 am until 7:00 pm. There is no shade in the entire park. Water is 3.00 a bottle, the first day there I spent over $30 on water and shaved ice. My son got sick from the heat and spent much of the day in the medical tent. The medical tent was full of people suffering from the same thing, just no where to get in out of the sun. The worker in the medical tent told me that I wasn't giving my son enough water. He had plenty of water, but got a headache from the lack of shade.
The second day I carried in a book bag full of water, security kind of gave me a hard time, but I explained the previous days problems and they let me in.
Grandstand seating is a must for this event, but you have to find a seat at least an hour before the battles begin. The main seats are directly in the sun again with no shade. They sold enough tickets for both sets of grand stands, but you cannot see from the lower set. This meant that twice as many people were trying to sit in main grandstand. They were overcrowded, sitting elbow to elbow for several hours while the heat index was over 100 degrees. Many people got sick and had to leave, which was difficult in the over crowded bleachers. My wife and I actually thought that the bleachers would collapse, as we could feel them shaking.
Food vending was another problem. There just weren't enough of them. The food options and food quality was not good either. Don't get me started about the prices. Keep in mind that we had to eat two meals a day at the reenactment. Once you buy your over priced food, there is nowhere to sit and eat. No picnic tables, only two shade tents with 100 chairs each. There were over 20,000 people at this event per day. We found shade under a trailer and ate there, very ungratifying experience.
My kids were bored out of there minds. With four hours in between reenactments, there is honestly nothing to do for kids. I tried to listen to some of the speakers, but again a tent that holds a few hundred while there are tens of thousands of people. The tents with speakers were also about one half mile apart, so if you tried to listen to one speaker and then another, well forget about getting to the second one. Overall not a family friendly experience.
The UGLY. I am absolutely disgusted with the greed of this event. The GAC actually has the nerve to brag about donating $50,000 dollars to charity. 80,000 spectators came to this event. This donation is less than one dollar per ticket sold. The event would have raised nearly $3,000,000 just off of admissions and only donated $50,000 back to local museums and battle field conservation. I thought the event was to raise money for these charities, not to line someones pockets.
I love reenactments and thought the reenactments were great, but there is no way that I would return. There is much to see at Gettysburg and learn at Gettysburg.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.