In order to truly appreciate the new roller coaster at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, you need some background information. Have a seat, and I’ll tell you all about it.
I’d like to introduce you to Gerta and Gunter Schwartzwald. They are eccentric siblings who run a Bavarian visitor center in the Germany area of Busch Gardens Williamsburg. They also run the post office, gift shop, garage, and Black Forest Inn.
Every morning, Gunter hikes into the Black Forest to collect samplings that he grows in his office. Gerta has also planted seedlings from the Black Forest in her gardens that have grown at an alarming rate.
Both of them have been strangely attracted to the Black Forest and it has turned into an obsession. Gunter has gone so far as
installing cameras in several forest locations to gather proof that a mysterious spirit dwells in the darkness. This spirit has been rumored to shift trees and branches to trap unsuspecting victims.
Their rental cars from the tours they sell keep disappearing in the forest and the passengers are never seen again. To cover up this secret, Gunter collects the personal effects of the missing people from their crumpled cars and sneaks back to the center where he hides the items away in the messy clutter of his office and garage.
Now you get to experience one of their tours first-hand on Busch Garden’s newest roller coaster, Verbolten. You enter the ride through the visitor’s center, enjoying the sights of Gunter’s office and garage along the way.
As you board your sleek German car (one of five sixteen-seat custom-designed coaster trains), everything appears normal. You accelerate slowly out of the station taking a scenic, leisurely tour of the Bavarian country-side. After you round the last turn your car launches straight into the Black Forest.
The first drop inside the Black Forest gives a nice pop of air-time, especially at the back of the train. Part of the Black Forest is completely dark. The rest of the Black Forest is themed to one of three themes: Lightening, Spirit of the Forest, or Wolf. I was fortunate to be able to experience all three today during different rides and they all provide a unique experience inside the forest. Here’s an inside secret: The three themes rotate in a cyclical pattern, so every third train will get the same scene.
You come to a sudden stop in the Black Forest. After a long pause, you plummet in a free-fall drop, the first of its kind in the United States on a roller coaster. After you come to your senses, you roll out of the Black Forest and are then launched at 53 mph up towards a decrepit bridge. The bridge doesn’t hold up and you plummet 88 feet towards the Rhine River. Once again, the back of the train gives a nice pop of air-time over the top of the hill. After a few twists and turns, some of you return safely to the station.
The theming of the entire area including the Black Forest makes this a great addition to Busch Gardens Williamsburg. When I toured this during the construction phase, I was sure this was going to end up being a mild family coaster. I was pleasantly surprised at the level of intensity that is maintained through the entire ride while continuing to appeal to everybody in the family who is 48” or taller.
Here is an approved on-ride video of Verbolten for your enjoyment.