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Busch Gardens Williamsburg (BGW BGE) Discussion Thread

P. 468: Loch Ness Monster Media Day Report

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In the video on http://www.buschgardensnews.com/page/verbolten, I noticed they put theming outside the event building that looks like you're going through a stone tunnel. Does anyone know if the entire event building will be enclosed in this theming, or will it only be the entrance?


From the plans that leaked last year, and pictures i've seen of the site it looks like that themed wall will resemble an overpass and only covers the entrance to the event building. It would be nice if they extended that theming to the exit as well, but it doesn't look like that's the case.

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Verbolten, Busch Gardens’ new attraction for 2012, has been thought of as a bit of a “sleeper” in the coaster enthusiast community since it was first announced as just a “multi-launch coaster” two years ago. Based on what I saw and heard during a “hard hat tour” today, I think “sleeper” is too modest a term. Verbolten, thanks to its potentially immersive theming and elaborate backstory, is the most “Disney-like” ride Busch has ever attempted. But before we look at that story, let’s review some facts for all you coaster geeks out there (and you know who you are):


Ride Manufacturer: Zierer (Deggendorf, Germany)

Type of Ride: Multi-launch coaster (as promised)

Special Features: two launches; environmental theme elements; sound and light effects; high-speed turns; free-fall drop; and an 88-foot final drop to the water.

Track Length: 2,835 feet

Maximum Speed: 53 mph

Seats/Train: 5 trains, 16 seats per train (it was mentioned that the capacity should be about 1,400 riders/hour)

Ride Height Restriction: 48 inches (same as the Loch Ness Monster)

Location: Oktoberfest Village

Ride Opening: Spring 2012 (it will not be ready for guests on opening day)


By the way, the park has, indeed, been testing the ride, not just doing "pull throughs."


Those are the basic facts—but what’s the “true story”? It all begins in a quaint Bavarian travel center run by a rather eccentric pair of siblings: Gerta and Gunter Schwartzwald. Gerta is the actual “brains” of the business, which also includes a gift shop and the second-floor Black Forest Inn. As children, Gerta and Gunter were fascinated with the dark Black Forest, and often explored its mysterious depths—despite their parents’ warnings. In fact, samplings from the forest that Gerta planted in the travel center’s courtyard are creeping over the building’s walls and poking through its windows.


Gunter, now 38 years old, remains obsessed with the Black Forest and the dark forces at work there. But 40-year-old Gerta has become so paranoid about the place that she often scares their customers away.


And she has good reason. The center’s rental cars keep disappearing, and the passengers are never seen again. Gunter covers this up by collecting the missing motorists’ personal effects from their crushed, vine-entangled cars, which he hides amid the clutter of his office and garage. He installed video cameras in the forest in strategic places, the better to watch the dark forces of the woods at work.


He also lounges around in “a rumpled shirt and oil-spattered lederhosen.” Sounds like one sick puppy.


Here's the park's press release from the tour:




Verbolten’s Surprise Elements Revealed


WILLIAMSBURG, VA (March 1, 2012) – Busch Gardens opened the construction gates today for an exclusive first look at Verbolten℠, the park’s new multi-launch, indoor/outdoor roller coaster. When the coaster debuts this spring, it will feature design elements never before seen in the United States.

One of Verbolten’s main surprises is a free-fall drop hidden within the ride’s massive indoor special-effects building. Larry Giles, Busch Gardens’ vice president of design and engineering, promises this innovative drop will take riders’ breath away.


“It will be like someone pulled the track out from under you,” he said of the sensation riders will feel when the entire train drops 16 feet in complete darkness.


The drop’s design uses high-powered magnets to suspend the coaster train and a special section of track at the top of the special-effects building. To the surprise of riders, the magnets release and the train and track drop to the floor. They come to rest momentarily before the train is launched out of the dark Black Forest at speeds approaching 55 mph.


Other highlighted design features include a covered bridge that plays into the ride’s Black Forest-inspired theme. The bridge is one of the final elements of the attraction and sits atop a nearly 90-foot drop over Busch Gardens’ Rhine River. The drop pays homage to the final drop experienced on The Big Bad Wolf, which previously operated on the site. Recreating the drop also allowed design engineers to minimize Verbolten’s environmental impact by reusing the existing concrete foundations along the banks of the river.


Verbolten is unlike other coasters at the Virginia theme park. The ride narrative draws guests in from the time they enter the ride’s station house until they see their expression on the on-board video system when they exit the ride.


As riders enter the ride area, they will meet a German brother and sister team who run a small inn and visitor center at the edge of the Black Forest. Dire warnings of supernatural happenings within the forest dare riders to enter. Brave passengers are whisked away for a scenic tour of the German countryside only to fall into the clutches of the Black Forest’s inhabitants when they make a verboten detour.


Audio-visual special effects, scenic elements and other controls inside the darkened special-effects building create the illusion of a forest that has come to life. Verbolten’s two electromagnetic launches provide a zero to 55 mph rush of adrenaline at key times during the ride to advance the ride’s narrative.


Verbolten is the capstone attraction of a two-year rejuvenation project in Busch Gardens’ Oktoberfest village. Mach Tower, the park’s 240-foot drop tower, joins the launch coaster as the park’s newest thrill attractions. A new pretzel restaurant and new performance spaces that opened in 2011 completes the Oktoberfest village transformation.


I think the phrase "Get excited!" applies--let's take a closer look at Verbolten!


Well, don't get too excited yet. This is just the shuttle to Oktoberfest.


The uber secret entrance by the Festhaus beckons us.


"Remember that this is a working construction site. So, grab your hard hats and your shovels and get to work, people!"


If only we could harness all this coaster-geek energy to solve the world's fuel crisis.


Park president Carl Lum welcomes the group.


Larry Giles, the park's vice president in charge of attractions, kicks off the tour.


Here's the former BBW station, which is receiving an extensive makeover.


Our first stop: "Gunter's Creepy Office" (or, the queue). Many of you, no doubt, realize that this is BBW's old partially enclosed queue.


There's still some work to be done in Gunter's office--it's going to get a lot creepier and messier!


Here's a little info about the ride and Gerta and Gunter's business.


Like I said: "Gunter's Creepy Office"!


It looks so strange to see this station without an overhead track running through it.


. . . Baby. (That's for all you U2 fans.)


A look at the ride's layout and "Gunter's Creepy Office."


Sorry for the picture quality, but this should give you an idea of what the first section of the ride should look like: a peaceful ride through the Bavarian countryside . . .


. . . that goes horribly, . . .


. . . horribly wrong!


Here's where the "peaceful" part leaves the station.


Looks nice and relaxing, doesn't it? Well, . . .


. . . that won't last when you hit the first launch!


The "Black Forest" show building is huge.


Do we dare go in? Huh? Do we?

Edited by cfc
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Can your heart stand the eerie darkness that is the Black Forest? If not, then turn back now!




Remember--you have been warned. So be it!


I believe the operative word here is "whoa."


Sorry--couldn't resist. Moving right along.


Here's the free-fall drop section. According to Larry Giles, it will be enclosed, and the rest of the thematic elements in this building will keep riders from being able to see the track.


Larry Giles describing the Black Forest. He couldn't give us any specifics about the theming yet--it's still top secret.


They've just started installing the theming, too.


Twisty, curvy--pick your favorite adjective. Once all the work is done, you won't know which way you're going, anyhow. ;)


Sorry that this picture is a bit dark and mysterious--but it is the Black Forest, you know.


This building does remind me a bit of Flight of Fear's "spaghetti bowl" and Mummy's "arena."


Much work has been done, but there's quite a bit to do yet.


You know, I believe them when they say you won't be able to see the track. Hell, you can barely see it now with the work lights on.


"Er, this isn't the way out, sir."


Heading past the station to the Rhine River Bridge.


Hmm--what's that I see hiding behind those trees?


Yes, they've started work on the "collapsed bridge" portion of the final big drop.


More of the bridge's structure, ready to be hoisted into place.


Larry Giles talks about the big drop, and how it's actually a bit taller that BBW's old drop.


Antother look at the ride's climax. One of the things that excited BGW the most about Verbolten is the pacing--it's just gets crazier as the ride goes along.


Here's more track--you know you want it!


How about a sexy close up? Like BBW before it, Verbolten is going to be quite photogenic.


Oh, so sexy!


Looks like Gunter's doing a little work on his collection of vintage European sports cars--he's a secretive little Bavarian.


One last look at a wee airtime hill--because you know you want it!


And here's another view of the station--it's going to look great when it's finished! My thanks for Busch Gardens for this opportunity to check out Verbolten!

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So Today, March 1, was the Verbolten Hard Hat tour for the media, as well as those involved in the Busch Gardens Social Media Facebook contest. I was involved with the later. Busch Gardens decided to select 10 winners (originally 5 winners) from well over a hundred essays written to them about why they should be selected. Apparently I had a strong case! My A's in college writing classes finally paid off!

Today was a freakishly warm day for March, as it was pushing 75 degrees outside, under mostly sunny skies with windy conditions. Much better than the very heavy rain eastern Virginia dealt with yesterday. '


Arriving at around 11:15am, I entered through the old entrance used back in the 1990s, which has now become the employee entrance. Once I arrived, I jumped on the short tram (similar to a short bus since me and Chuck were on it) we would be using to shuttle us to the Festhaus area of Oktoberfest. Once in Oktoberfest, we were met with part of the tour team and instructed to pick up a helmet and Verbolten fact sheet.


We then walked back toward the ride. Immediately I was amazed by how differently the old BBW station and queue house appeared. The whole line appears like it will be themed in a similar manner to LNM. Something BGW has not done with a coaster since, well LNM. Unfortunately, the line is not ready yet, so no real pictures were taken of most of the line because, well, all that exists is a small room where much of BBWs queue was and lots of dirt. Inside that small room is the "visitor center/travel agents" office. This is where Gerta and Gunter Schwartzwald (long backstory behind these two) try to sell you a countryside cruise in a German Sportster. Lots of luggage from people that have gone into the Black Forest, never to be seen again will decorate the room. One thing I was impressed with was how much better the ride and new structures/revamped structures involved with the ride are making that area of the park look SO much better.


Inside the station is beginning to look amazing. Gone is the old wooden floor of the BBW and in is the new concrete floor. The decorations on the wall look great so far, but there is still a ways to go. In here, there were lots of signs talking of facts about the ride that I don't believe were released until today. One thing I noticed from here was how much shorter the brake run and stacking area is on the ride than I expected for a 5 train ride. There are also only 3 train storage areas off of the transfer track.


So after the station, we went down to the event building. On the way down, I noticed the enclosed first launch where the driver of the car "accidently turns right" into the Black Forest instead of left. The tunnel looks awesome around the launch. It has the look of an actual rock wall that has been driven trough to get into the Black Forest. Once inside the building, we could see something nobody will see from here on out. All of the track from anywhere in the building. Apparently, there will be so much theming in this building as the final product, there will be no way to see most of the track! Upon entering the building, the entrance track will be very inclosed and as this is happening, you will experience 1.8 seconds of airtime in this tight feeling space! After this you will go around a turn or two, and enter into a helix that is not quite 90 degrees on purpose. Apparently, the park wanted this helix to feel almost like the forces you would feel on a flat ride, so while you are being pushed into your seat, you will also experience 0.5gs of lateral forces. The park has at last publicly announced the drop track section, that we all knew was coming. There apparently will be a lot lightning in this building as you are touring the Black Forest as well. This is where the "bolt" in Verbolten comes from. Sounds intriguing. I wonder how they will create it.


After the Inside tour, we marched on to the Italy-Oktoberfest bridge, where we were able to hear facts about the drop and finale, interview the park managers and get interviewed by media, or the park's social media team.


Unfortunately, we were not able to keep the Verbolten hard hats, as they would not have fed us lunch if we had.


Busch Gardens did a great job with the event, and I thank them for the opportunity!


More interesting facts:


-Verbolten's running wheels will be spring loaded for a smoother ride.

-Verbolten will have at least 3 areas of airtime.

-The drop is 10 feet taller and steeper than BBW's.

-The inside portion of the ride will be between 30 and 45 seconds.

-The ride will be one of the most expensive in Seaworld Parks and Entertainments history, as well as BGW's most expensive.

-The parks reused the same footers from BBW in effort to prevent sedimentation downstream and into the Chesapeake Bay.

-The new ride footprint did not perfectly fit some footers, so support beams support the footers in some places. These beams are driven about 50 feet into the ground.

-Train 5 arrived at the park today, however the park declined to comment on what color it is.

-Verbolten has no "lifespan" that is known of because it will not exert the same forces as BBW. Larry Giles commented that BBW was doing things no other suspended designed in that period was doing, and the track was not really designed properly for these forces. The choice for a new, more exciting ride (Verbolten) was made 2.5 years ago. Before BBW's closure was even announced.


Hope you enjoyed the report!

On to the pictures!

There will be 2 parts.



The tour begins!



Our head protectors! In case the Black Forest attacks, we do not want to lose any brain cells.



Spiffy...dare I say...Swag?



The revamped BBW station and Verbolten's new gift shop and on ride photo booth.



Oh? Whats all this then?



Part of the story behind the ride...slightly blurry, hopefully readable



More, clearer, theme information



Even more info.






3 (hiding) trains appear to currently be on the track. Only 3 storage tracks, interestingly.



Building theming



Ride information for the media



More theming information. Didn't realize the flash was going to affect that badly. First launch information



more camera flash :/



This one is very interesting to me. Sounds like we may be talking near holding-brake type thing going on here, and theming and such in the bridge perhaps?



In station theming looks pretty awesome!



Larry Giles speaking to the crowd about the ride



This used to look a lot different.



The fun starts HERE



Meandering through the woods...its a nice drive so far



The themed tunnel launch into the building lies ahead, to the right!





Part 2!! Just what lies inside that big building? Note: less than 1% of theming is complete inside the building. These views you will never get to see again. Most of the track will not be visible once the theming is installed.


That is a big ass building!


There is black track inside this building!


This hill should give 1.8 seconds of pure airtime!


The track gets very close to the floor


A lot of dust in here, made pictures hard to take at times. This is looking toward the helix.


The drop track! About the best picture you could get of it though.




the curve after the midcourse brake and drop. Next stop? Drop track!


I can't stand here after the ride opens! Think..roadkill


90 DEGREES??? Almost..


Very "Intaminesque" rapid turns right after the 2nd launch! This looks fun!


Final drop bridge under construction in the distance, airtime hill right at the very end, then into the brakes!


Final turn!


3 storage tracks off of the transfer track


Final drop! Steeper and faster than version 1! Now 99% less swingy.


Decrepit bridge roof. Apparently roots and vines from the Black Forest are going to be trying to take over the bridge


me posing with sir park President Carl Lum. Great guy. Just like Larry Giles.


This reporter from WVEC is interviewing Larry Giles after she interviewed me. Clearly I was more important


The winners of Busch Gardens Social Media contest! We were all happy. It was an awesome day.


Who is going to be there for Verbolten's opening? THIS GUY!


Verbolten is part of this balanced diet! This is the lunch they provided for us. Hope you enjoyed the report.

Edited by Hhappy
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So much for the "family" part of this ride! Between the very creepy theming and exciting almost-extreme elements I'm not so sure I'd say this is a more calm ride than LNM and maybe even Apollo's Chariot (sorry B&M hyper fans). From a coaster enthusiast standpoint, this makes me thrilled but I can imagine kids being terrified of this ride already. The theming of the queue (creepy), the big indoor building (fear of the unknown), launches (a first for BGW & probably a lot of guests), that rumor that "the track drops down!" (the free-fall), and then the big final drop that families will see while walking to Oktoberfest just seems like its going to cause concern in those who think the park is missing a "family" coaster since the Wolf left.


I'm not complaining, I was just stating that I'm in shock as I was expecting more of a "Backlot Stunt Coaster" family ride, not a scarier version of Expedition Everest.


Anyways, thank you both for your reports! I can't wait until this thing opens up!

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Man, this thing is looking awesome! I'm really excited to back to the park to check it out, along with all the other awesome coasters. Love this park! Thanks a bunch for the reports, guys!


I remember some talk about this before, but don't recall if we ever found out for sure or not. Do we know if the waterfall will makes it return or not?

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In the third picture from the bottom, are those mini-LSMs? Or are they just some kind of sensor?


Edit: Looking closer I see tires.

Wicked at Lagoon has those to Power the Onboard Monitoring System and to Charge the Rear Lights on the Trains. I'm interested to see if Verbolten's Trains have the same Charging System for the Onboard Lighting as BomBora's, which are Rumored to have been built by Zierer.


cfc and Snowboard83, was there any mention of a Flywheel Inverter?


- Sid

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In the third picture from the bottom, are those mini-LSMs? Or are they just some kind of sensor?


Edit: Looking closer I see tires.

Wicked at Lagoon has those to Power the Onboard Monitoring System and to Charge the Rear Lights on the Trains. I'm interested to see if Verbolten's Trains have the same Charging System for the Onboard Lighting as BomBora's, which are Rumored to have been built by Zierer.


cfc and Snowboard83, was there any mention of a Flywheel Inverter?


- Sid


They'll most likely use very powerful capacitors to charge the train in the staion ala HRRR and most other "onboard extra" coasters.


My jaw HIT THE FLOOR multiple times while looking at this update! I cannot believe how incredible this attraction is turning out! Really make me hope we'll see a little of what Verbolten has to offer experience wise in Manta!


And a couple of those indoor pics I spotted some of the already installed theming near the top as noted in the update...not sure what it is but it looks sinister as heck!


Fantastic job to the entire team of people working to get this mega attraction open!

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In the third picture from the bottom, are those mini-LSMs? Or are they just some kind of sensor?


Edit: Looking closer I see tires.

Wicked at Lagoon has those to Power the Onboard Monitoring System and to Charge the Rear Lights on the Trains. I'm interested to see if Verbolten's Trains have the same Charging System for the Onboard Lighting as BomBora's, which are Rumored to have been built by Zierer.


cfc and Snowboard83, was there any mention of a Flywheel Inverter?


- Sid


They'll most likely use very powerful capacitors to charge the train in the staion ala HRRR and most other "onboard extra" coasters.

That's what I said about BomBora.
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This ride looks epic. Very impressive. Definitely seems like a much more cohesive take on Thirteen. And I'm looking forward to this one more than most of the other roller coasters new in 2012! It's cool to see more dark ride coasters continuing to show up at more traditional theme parks.


Also, this ride is going to be killer at night. Roller coasters in the woods are always so much more thrilling in the nighttime darkness. I remember how much I loved riding The Beast at night, and Verbolten will be great at night "Braving the Black Forest"

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The winners of Busch Gardens Social Media contest! We were all happy. It was an awesome day.


Amen to that--the tour was great. Nice meeting you yesterday.

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other than being the largest investment in Busch Gardens history was an actual number ever attached to this project? I was curious how it compared to something like Everest or even Wild Eagle or another major coasters at a seasonal park.

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The barn and loading station are themed to be a garage, and those were the only storage tracks I noticed. They had a Verbolten banner covering the other end of the barn, though.

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Thanks for the trip reports and photos! Great stuff, i've been looking forward to this since you announced you were going. I'm getting really pumped up to ride this thing, summer can't come soon enough.


I was comparing the leaked plans to the latest photos to get an idea of what to expect from the final ride. I noticed something in the show building that i hadn't seen before. It looks like there's going to be some theming element on the floor in the center of the helix... It's labeled 'vortex' and looks like swirling branches... Looks like that part of the ride is going to be a pretty intense experience. There's also something in that area called the 'moon box.' Any ideas what that might be?

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