Busch Gardens Williamsburg Photo Update
On Sunday, April 12, I visited Busch Gardens Williamsburg. It was still two weeks before the opening of Tempesto, the park’s new Premier Rides launched coaster, but with my work calendar busy for the next few weekends, I wanted to get away while I still could. Despite being one of the closest theme parks to me outside of my home park, Carowinds, I hadn’t been to Busch Gardens Williamsburg since the park’s Howl-O-Scream event in 2012. I was long overdue for a visit, and wanted to document my visit with photos. Enjoy!
Tempesto wasn’t open yet, but there was a billboard outside the park looking for Daredevils brave enough to conquer the new coaster.
The park’s entrance plaza is themed to England.
My first stop was the B&M Floorless Dive Coaster, Griffon. It was the first dive coaster in the Busch Gardens Chain to feature floorless trains, and it features rows that are 10 across, rather than SheiKra’s 8 across seating.
I rode Griffon three times. Front row left most seat, front row right most seat, and third row right most seat. It’s been my second favorite roller coaster for years because of how smooth and enjoyable the ride experience is.
The views around Griffon make it one of my favorite roller coasters to photograph.
I headed to Alpengeist next. Entering its 18th year of operation, this B&M creation. still holds the record for tallest inverted roller coaster.
I rode twice, once in the first row, and once in the second row. Still an incredible ride, and just as I remember it.
From Alpengeist, I headed to Curse of DarKastle, a 3-D Simulator Ride similar to Spider-Man at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. I may have caught the attraction on a bad day, but two of the scenes weren’t working, and a stop towards the end of the ride caused the final scene’s audio to play twice, out of sync both time. I’ve ridden this attraction plenty of times before, so I wasn’t incredibly disappointed. Still a good ride. I think it could use a Digital 3-D upgrade similar to what Spider-Man received recently.
Verbolten, Busch Gardens’ soon to be second newest roller coaster, was next on my journey around the park. I won a contest in spring 2012 to attend a grand opening party for Verbolten, and marathoned it a little bit, riding it 10 times in just over 2 hours.
For those who may not know, Verbolten is a Zierer coaster that features multiple LIM launch elements, as well as a section of track featuring a freefall drop.
Portions of Verbolten’s track, including its signature drop towards the park’s Rhine River, were built on the same concrete footers as Big Bad Wolf, an Arrow Suspended coaster that was closed in 2009.
After seemingly back-to-back-to-back-to-back roller coaster rides, I was starting to get a little dizzy, and needed a break. I decided to sit out Mach Tower, Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s Rotating Moser’s Drop Tower.
I stopped for a snack at Beste Brezeln und Bier, whose pretzel nuggets are one of the best theme park snacks that I have ever consumed. I’d be willing to put them up against any theme park snack, and yes, that includes Dole Whips.
Over in the Festa Italia section of the park, construction walls were still up around Tempesto, the Premier Rides launched roller coaster set to open on April 25.
Tempesto is themed after an Italian Daredevil that did Bicycle Stunts.
The new coaster looks equal parts exciting and terrifying. I can’t wait to get back and ride it soon.
Tempesto’s gift shop also doubles as the Busch Gardens Williamsburg 40th Anniversary Shop. There were several shirts for sale that commemorated Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s opening day attractions. (It took a lot of restraint to not buy both the Loch Ness Monster and Big Bad Wolf shirts.)
I couldn’t complete a visit to Festa Italia without a ride on my favorite B&M Hypercoaster, Apollo’s Chariot. Less than a month after riding Fury 325 at Carowinds, I needed to ride Apollo’s Chariot, which has been my favorite roller coaster of all time for years, just to compare the two. Apollo’s Chariot, while still an incredibly exciting ride that’s jam-packed with airtime, seems tame after riding Fury 325. It will continue to hold a place in my heart as one of my favorites.
I took the Busch Gardens Railroad from Festa Italia clockwise around the park to the Banbury Cross station. It was time for Loch Ness Monster, the Arrow looper that is the only roller coaster in the world to feature interlocking loops.
Seriously. Look at those loops. They interlock. It’s crazy.
I walked down to get a better look at the loops, and then walked up a giant hill near the Rhine River Cruises to the park’s Skyride, that took me right by those interlocking loops.
It was time for me to head home, but as soon as I got to the parking lot, Tempesto started making test runs.
From far away, this inversion looked incredibly slow. I can’t imagine how amazing it will be once the coaster opens on April 25.
We’ll be back soon for Tempesto’s Media Day, so be sure to stay tuned to Coaster101 for more great Tempesto content!