I was lucky to be given the opportunity to take a hard hat construction tour of the new roller coaster at Busch Gardens Williamsburg yesterday.
The day started out early so I could make it in time for check in at the park.
As the sign says, Busch Gardens is the worlds most beautiful theme park. You will find that the people are also very friendly.
This spring Busch Gardens Williamsburg will launch an epic family adventure. People of all ages 48 inches and taller will be able to experience Verbolten, a multi-launched roller coaster, located in the Oktoberfest area of the park.
Guests to Bavaria will meet Gerta and Gunter Schwartswald, two quirky siblings who own and run the visitor center as well as other businesses in the village. Their primary job is selling tours through the beautiful Bavarian countryside in sleek German sports cars. They will warn you to stay clear of the black forest.
That is the base storyline of this highly themed roller coaster. I will save all of the details for the full debut in late spring. Try as we might, we couldn’t get park officials to comment on the exact opening date, so stay tuned! In the meantime, let me walk you through Verbolten.
Here is a look at where the queue line will soon be with the station in the background.
Once your ‘German sports car’ leaves the station, it will take you on a leisurely stroll through the beautiful countryside… until someone in your party makes a wrong turn. In the distance you can see the beginnings of the first linear induction launch…
You will enter on the upper track that the bucket lifts are hanging over. I want you to experience firsthand all the twists and turns of the black forest on your own, so I’m not going to walk you through them. I will share a few shots for your enjoyment.
You will note that this is probably the last time anybody other than the workers will see the inside of the building so open. In the last picture above, you can see the red pieces, which are the start of the special effects scenery. According to Larry Giles, the vice president of design and engineering, those pieces we can see are about one percent of the total scenery that will be installed on the ride. The lighting inside the building will intensify the specially painted scenery and there will be other special effects such as lightning.
Here’s the most unique part of the experience. The train will stop on this section of the track, and then the track and the train will literally drop straight down like the floor has gone out from underneath you. That is sure to be a rush!
You will fly up a steep hill and approach a bridge in disrepair. Once you enter the bridge, you will plunge 88 feet down towards the Rhine River and into a sweeping turn. You can see the roof for the bridge on the ground to the right of the structure that hasn’t been lifted into place, yet. For those who remember the Big Bad Wolf that used to occupy this same area, you will note that the footers in the river are in the same spot. Since the Rhine is in a resource protected area, Busch Gardens reused the same footers so they didn’t have to disturb any of the riverbed for this construction.
Looking at some of the technical specs, Verbolten is manufactured by Zierer from Germany. Five 16-person trains made specifically for Busch Gardens Williamsburg will run in 40 second intervals to provide a capacity of 1,400 riders per hour. While exact figures won’t be released, park officials did note that this ride is the biggest investment that the park has made on any single attraction in the park’s history.
There are still more surprises to come, and this 2,835 foot long adventure is one that you are not going to want to miss! It will be full of excitement throughout the entire ride. I look forward to the opening of this family friendly thrilling roller coaster.
I would like to thank all the staff of Busch Gardens for their hospitality and the opportunity to take a sneak peak into the construction of Verbolten.