Busch Gardens Williamsburg Shutters Curse of DarKastle

Busch Gardens Williamsburg announced this week that the park’s Curse of DarKastle dark ride will not reopen in 2018 and that its building will be transformed into a special events venue.

The park made the surprising announcement on Facebook and shared an on-ride video as a sendoff:

Rumors swirled late last year that the ride may not return after it was closed and used as a haunted walk-through attraction during the park’s Howl-O-Scream event:

It did not reopen for the park’s “Christmas Town” event either, yet there was still hope that it would reopen for the 2018 season.

The ride opened in 2005 and replaced the park’s “Wild Maus” coaster, which reopened at Busch Gardens Tampa as Sand Serpent.

Up to eight guests seated in golden sleighs were taken on a journey through an abandoned Bavarian castle — “a pulse-pounding adventure featuring 3-D visuals and special effects that pushes the envelope of theme park technology,” according to the park’s website.

The description of Curse of DarKastle on the park’s website read:

A castle frozen in time that will freeze you with fear.

Buckle up and brave Curse of DarKastle – our newest, most intense thrill ride ever. In this castle, there are no “happily ever-afters.” Just an all-too-vivid afterlife…that’s after you. Designed with state-of-the-art technology and eye-popping visuals, this bone-chilling chase is a relentless assault on your senses.

And a test of just how much you can take before the Curse of DarKastle takes you.

The ride featured: “dizzying simulated drops, fog, shattering ice and pyrotechnic displays generates a multi-sensory experience unlike anything else.”

The sleigh vehicles were similar to those found on The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

Curse of DarKastle and its set pieces were designed by Falcon’s Treehouse of Orlando. The ride’s 3D digital effects were designed and produced by Los Angeles-based Super 78 Studios. It was manufactured by Oceaneering International.

I was fortunate enough to ride Curse of DarKastle in the summer of 2015. It was a fun ride — not groundbreaking — but it provided me a much-needed break from the heat.

The theming both inside and out were immaculate, especially for a non-Disney/Universal park.

Even the outdoor queue was well designed:

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While the official reasoning behind the ride’s demise was not released, budget cuts, diminishing popularity and high upkeep costs are all plausible guesses.

What do you think about Curse of DarKastle’s closure? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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1 Response

  1. Jeremy says:

    My bet is maintenance costs. Very sad to see a unique attraction go so suddenly.

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