USA 04/19 – Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Busch Gardens Williamsburg
After an extremely dense but otherwise amazing pancake breakfast, we made our way to the 2nd park of our trip, Busch Gardens Williamsburg.
While maybe not as exciting as it’s Floridian cousin, the Willamsburg park had always really intrigued me, with Alpengeist, Big Bad Wolf, Verbolten, Griffon and Drachen Fire being legends of the coaster World. Enough talk, let’s go explore this beautiful Virginia park.
It was raining to start today, which meant the car park was almost empty and we got to park in the special premium car park for lazy people free of charge.
The crowds really never picked up throughout the day, which lead to a very relaxed day with a healthy ride count.
Grover’s Alpine Express
Due to staggered openings of certain areas of the park, we started things off with the park’s Sesame Street themed Zierer coaster.
We were unsure if we were premitted to ride the coaster, so we slowly slithered our way into the station waiting for any of the ride team to give us any kind of reaction. They didn’t, they didn’t even look at us, thankfully the children already seated in the train welcomed us onto the ride and demanded we joined them in putting our hands up the whole way round, which of course we did.
Loch Ness Monster
Next up was the legendary Loch Ness Monster.
The morning’s rain reached it’s peak while we waited at the empty airgates but this didn’t deter us from riding in the front row. What followed was a hilarious mix of drowning, riding blind and badly thought out transitions, which combined to create a rather enjoyable, if hard to replicate experience.
Battle For Eire
After our battle with Nessie, we battled for Eire on the park’s simulator based VR attraction, which was far better than I was expecting.
Firstly you are given the helmet which later becomes the VR headset while you are queuing, this massively reduces faff later on and allows everyone plenty of time to get it adjusted correctly.
Secondly the ride itself is good fun, featuring a charming story that’s nicely enhanced by the VR aspect but unlike other VR attractions, Eire doesn’t push the tech out of it’s comfort zone.
Think I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, Dive Coasters, with the exception of Valkyria, do very little for me. Big drop, long drawn out forceless inverions, end and sadly Griffon is no different, though it does look fantastic.
Alton Towers’ Wicker Man had soured my opinion of the once unstoppable (in my eyes) GCI, InvadR was to be the first of many GCI’s in 2019 that would once again disappoint me.
Now please don’t get me wrong, it’s fine, a good coaster even, it’s just got nothing on the likes of Wodan, Troy, El Toro and most frustratingly Efteling’s Draak. I say Draak because they are the same exact height, almost the same length and both were built to cater to the family audience, sadly though Draak kicks all kinds of ass while InvadR’s fine I suppose.
I was so excited to finally get to ride this legendary B&M Invert.
Much like Volcano from the previous day, I had seen Alpengeist on TV when I was a kid and had dreamed of riding it one day, well today was that day and we all know the saying about never meeting your idols right?
Alpengeist is very good, as almost all Inverts are but it’s nowhere near as impressive as I wanted it to be. The layout doesn’t flow with the vicious intensity that other examples do, leading to several off putting dead spots.
Sadly however the biggest issue with Alpengeist is it’s rough. That awful old school B&M rough that leads to instant headaches in me. There’s every chance I may have warmed up to the coaster’s layout issues if I was able to ride it more but I really didn’t want to spoil the rest of my day at the park with a nasty headache.
Verbolten, the coaster I was not so secretely the most excited for, ended up being my favourite at the park.
This Zierer coaster, built on the old site of the legendary Big Bad Wolf, throws so much at you over it’s 3000 feet of track. A pre launch section long enough to get you nervous, a forceful launch into pitch darkness, airtime and crazy laterals in the dark, special effects, a drop track, another forceful launch, time to take in the surroundings before the big drop, the big drop itself and finishing with a very enjoyable section back to the station.
In parts it’s great, as a package it’s fantastic fun and a breed of coaster I wish we had more of in the World.
Don’t care much at all for Premier Sky Rockets, it didn’t break my back like Sky Scream though, so fair play.
I’m stating this now before I upset anyone, B&M Hypers do very little for me personally. I’m not a fan of floater air (I’m all about being ejected) and I get little enjoyment from the so called sensatation of speed these coaster models offer. B&M Hypers also mostly just blend into each other in my head, all featuring a big drop followed by various floater hills before you hit the brakes. I say this now because Apollo was the first of many Hypers on this trip.
Apollo’s Chariot was fun, I enjoyed it, can we please go back to riding Verbolten though?
Thanks to the rain we had managed to ride everything we wanted by lunch time.
After lunch, which was much better than the farce at King Dominion, we went for rerides, before deciding we were satisfied and happy to leave mid afternoon.
Busch Gardens Willamsburg is a lovely park, beautifully themed and landscaped, with a great selection of rides. As amazing as Verbolten is though, it does feel as though the park is missing a truly stand out World class coaster, one that will perfectly compliment the park’s current line up and push the park to an elite level. Wait.. What’s happening in 2021? Oh god, Verbolten I’ll see you soon.
Our logic with leaving the park early when we were done was to get some more night rides on Twisted Timbers, however when we got back to Kings Dominion we were presented with a locked gate and a massive sign saying “closed early for rain”, you’re not telling me they pull this crap in yet another country…
Thanks for reading, click here for the next part of my report, when we visit the awesome Hersheypark.