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Photo TR: Behind the scenes Busch Gardens Coaster Tour


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Hey TPR, this is Alex Mann again. I love this website and love any chance I can contribute to it! This weekend I got a behind the scenes coaster tour of Busch Gardens coasters! It is mostly kept on the down low, but you can find it on the Busch Gardens Site. Heres the link...

 

http://www.buschgardens.com/bgw2/CP/?page=CoasterTour

 

It costs a bit much but it was worth every penny and is totally worth it. You get to enter the park at 7:45 before the park opens. Behind the scenes tours of restricted areas and maintenance bays are provided, as well as Q&A sessions with a Loch Ness Monster mechanic, ERT on Nessie, Griffon and Alpengies. One of the more unique features of the tour is walking on the catwalks at the top of Griffon. And guess what, at the tours end, you get a fast pass that allows you to ride any coaster with no lines in the row of your choice for the rest of the day, EVEN after the doors open.

 

Remember, I am using a crappy outdated Coolpix camera from 2001, and the exposure gets worse and worse. In some of the early morning shots of Loch Ness, the exposure was going a little haywire, so please try to ignore those terrible shots. Also, many of the photos were taken in a split second without planning since the tour was moving so fast. Some of the shots i wasn't able to get the flash on the right setting fast enough so a few of the maintenance bay shots could seem a bit washed out. If you are interested in checking out my other two TRs, here they are.

 

http://www.themeparkreview.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=51522&highlight=

 

http://www.themeparkreview.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=51542&highlight=

 

Thanks, and remember I'm only 14 and still have a lot of improvement in my coaster photography, so be nice....

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I will leave you with this LNM theming... It took me 2 hours to upload and caption all these photo's so give me some feed back and make it worth while. Leave me some comments!

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AHA! SLEEPING ON THE JOB?

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A rare sight. A horse without an erection. Seriously, every time I come here the Clydesdale is VERY happy to see me.

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WOLF

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I wish the ride was in my backyard

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Griffon was very Griffony today.

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Weee.

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O HAI THAR DROP! NICE TO MEET YOU!

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DO WANT.

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90 DEGREES!

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I think this is New France.

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BOOBS...

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Yes ladies, he's single.

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GERMANY TIME.These guys were there.

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I like to notice little things like this topiary.

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Running out of caption ideas. OH NO!

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Like I said, Italy is awesome.

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THE. MOST. INTENSE. RIDE. IN. THE. PARK!!!!

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Why yes, yes it is.

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Italy theming is pretty yummy.

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Gypsy cart?

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It has been ten years since Apollo's Chariot opened. It has also been ten years since Fabio broke his nose at the bottom of the first drop via GOOSE.

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Cringe again Fabio!

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I'm Kanye West...

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NOO PEOPLE ARE HERE. Oh well, we still don't have to wait in lines. They handed us each a special kind of fast pass you CAN'T get on their website. The only way to get your hands on them is to take this tour.

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I think this bridge is part of the Railroad.

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Take your last look. Big Bad Wolf is being removed.

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Boat boat boat boat boat boat boat. Original caption, am I right?

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It had to be taken.

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Busch Gardens Europe scenery is awesome.

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This bit of track had the ability to flip completely over for some reason.

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OH NOES!

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As the only Jew on the tour, they decided to play a game where one them got into one of the German planes and chased me around in circles till I passed out.

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NOTED! Wait, am I even aloud to do that?

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BGE is VERY conservationist. The condensation from the mist machines in the ride is put into this tank, where it settles into water and is used to water plants. That's right, BGE plants are watered with fog from DarKastle.

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A sight that is hardly ever seen. An unthemed side of DarKastle.

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Not really sure if this photo was invading his privacy but I posted it anyway...

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This guy was up to something...

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UPSTOP WHEEL!

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They keep these around. Sorry if it's a little blurred, it's hard to tell with a thumbnail.

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Lonely Alpengiest road wheel.

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And if you haven't guessed yet, we are in the Alpengiest maintenance bay.

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Just in case you didn't know what nuts and bolts looked like.

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I don't have a shot of it, but one of the things that make Alpengiest cool is that originally, the lift hill didn't fit the jagged terrain. So, instead of putting the classic B&M poles, they used a four post lattice system.

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This water pump was exactly where they wanted to put Alpengiest. It couldn't be moved, so they scooted the ride over a bit.

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The ERT on this ride was delicious.

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How did this photo get here? Oh well, here it is anyway.

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The liars at Busch Gardens told me that no one had ever died on one of their rides. HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN THIS, HUH?!?!?!?

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Once we were done with our Griffon ERT, we headed to Alpengiest.

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Big immelmans make my dreams come true. (I don't know how to spell it, and neither does spell check).

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Sexy.

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OH HI THERE

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The put a train up there just because they love us. Those road wheels don't seem so big now do they?

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James River shot.

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...

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YAY!

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Careful now. In order to take this picture I had to put both hands on the camera which meant not holding onto the railing.

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These are some seriously bulky anti-rollbacks. I should have put something in there for scale.

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Yes. Another thing about Griffon, is that when it gets stuck it HAS NO FLOORS. There are little slides that go between the rows already up there, in case employees have to BUILD A FLOOR to get riders down.

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And all of the sudden we are on top of Griffon! And yes, we were pulled up backwards.

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And higher...

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BEER BEER BEER! Wait, wasn't I in the middle of something? Oh right. And higher...

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And higher...

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And higher (sounds like a Bob Dylan concert)

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Alright. We are now in the trolley that takes us to the top of Griffon. It is there to take riders DOWN if the ride gets stuck. We start on the ground, and slowly get higher...

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I am just going to smile and nod...

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MUST. PRESS. BIG. RED. BUTTON.

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At first, these train had floors. But testing proved that the floors made the trains too heavy because of the extra seats, and so B&M decided to make the ride floorless.

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This tire gets the train out of the station house. I am very regretful that I didn't get a photo of the train coming out of the storage area. IT IS SERIOUSLY SUCH AN AWESOME PROCESS! Take the tour and you will see.

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THESE ROAD WHEELS ARE HUGE.

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The wheels on Griffon are more awesome than you think! Seriously, take the tour and you will never look at this ride the same again!

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These water scoops not only creates a cool effect, but they are essential in slowing down the coaster at the end of the ride. It's funny how some B&M elements are so technologically advanced, and some are as simple as skimming water to slow down!

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Anyone who is not in awe of Griffon needs to go on this tour! The technology that keeps this ride smooth as glass is purely amazing!

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Griffon time!!!! Okay, check out the wheels. the entire set of wheels is able to rotate 360 in order to negate those awesome B&M turns. Loch Ness Monster doesn't have this kind of wheels, in fact, these wheels are unique to Griffon. Without them, Griffon would probably shuffle. If you don't know what shuffling is, sit in the front of Nessie

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This is an area normally restricted to the public.

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Yes, this train is retro. That's what makes it awesome.

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Ah ERT. The most wonderful feeling in the world. Riding a coaster without a crowd.

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This is what they use to test the rubber in the wheels. Often times, after extended use, it hardens and changes shape. If it no longer fits this device, it is replaced with a new wheel

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It's good to see what bangs my head around deconstructed.

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Arrow indeed...

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There are Arrow blueprints all over. This is a goldmine for a geek like me!

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This chassis is under maintenance right now...

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This is the chain and chain dog, and in the back you can see the anti-rollback.

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These are the wheels. Can you tell which road wheel is worn and which is new? (insert email Dan comment that only Robb can do and I won't even attempt) These wheels are so small! In a bit, you will see how much bigger Griffon's are!

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This guy was an ex-marine/trucker who worked on Loch Ness Monster. He gets up every morning at 4:00 am and checks to make sure that the chain dog and anti rollback are secure. He also checks each wheel and inspects the breaks. He is actually explaining how the breaks work in this shot. LNM uses primitive pneumatic brakes.

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Just in case you forgot what ride this was...

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This is one of the shots where my camera's exposure screwed up. Please try not to judge the entire TR by this crappy shot.

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Yes. Yes they were...

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They were testing empty trains.

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This is actually the most photographed ride in the world. I'm surprised it wasn't Corkscrew at Cedar Point!

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I think this is one of Arrows better coasters. Funny story, Arrow screwed up when they first built it. When they shipped the piece of track curving into the station to BGE, BGE discovered it was curved the wrong way... Kind of embarrassing

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This shot didn't really come out how I wanted it to, I only included it because I thought the sun looked really cool poking through the ride...

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Alpengiest is honestly my favorite inverted coaster. I don't really know why, it just always has been.

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The first coaster we checked out was Nessie, which was running really well. This might be because the just put a few new wheels on and also replaced the chain dog...

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This is such a beautiful coaster. Somewhere in the world, Fabio is cringing...

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I have honestly never seen these gates so empty.

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Outstanding TR, my man! I feel like I've taken the tour myself now. It was really cool to see all of that behind-the-scenes stuff. And I've never noticed the extra padding on the shoulder harnesses on the first row of each car on Loch Ness Monster. I'm guessing they put that there to keep back-row riders from getting their fingers pinched when getting in?

 

And you did just fine with the photography. I've been taking pictures of rides for almost 20 years, with everything from disposable to film to digital cameras. You just have to do what the professionals do: take tons of pictures. And frankly, for TPR, you just have to make sure you get your "through the trees" shot and your "nerd" shot of wheels or chain dogs or lift motors, which you did quite thoroughly here.

 

Good job!

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Totally amazing and VERY well done. I really enjoyed seeing your behind-the-scenes tour, and just so you know your pics are really great! I almost even felt a little dizzy looking at your photos from the top of Griffon haha.

 

Thanks for sharing!

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Thank you guys so much! I might be uploading some Dorney Park photos soon as well. And for those of you thinking about taking the tour, you simply must, it's too awesome to pass up. Even if you saw a lot of the stuff on this TR, I couldn't possibly get a photo of everything, and you can't experience ERT and flashpasses and free parking with photos... seriously, the set back about theme parks is that most of your time is spent in line. On this tour, just about none of it is! This gives you a lot of time to really experience the ride for what it really is. And many things that I learned I just can't describe. like just how awesome Griffon really is. The only way to get all this is to take the tour yourself. It is only on Fridays and Saturdays and they only accept 16 people at a time, so I would advise getting your tickets early. It costs about 75 dollars and you still need to have a ticket to the park, so it helps if you either have a season pass or lots of spending money. But it is really, really worth it!

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Did you get to go on the tour because of someone you knew or can anyone do it? And if anyone can do it, how much did it cost?

 

When you park a B&M in for the night, does it just slide back on the chassis or how does it move if it isn't using rails?

 

The price that I saw on the website was $80 a person, but that seems wrong, considering Six Flags' VIP tour is around $200 per person.

 

EDIT: Here's the link, commerce.4adventure.com/EStore/Scripts/Skins/BGW/upclosetours.aspx, and it is only $80 a per person, but that for some reason does not include general admission and parking.

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Did you get to go on the tour because of someone you knew or can anyone do it? And if anyone can do it, how much did it cost?

 

When you park a B&M in for the night, does it just slide back on the chassis or how does it move if it isn't using rails?

 

The price that I saw on the website was $80 a person, but that seems wrong, considering Six Flags' VIP tour is around $200 per person.

 

EDIT: Here's the link, commerce.4adventure.com/EStore/Scripts/Skins/BGW/upclosetours.aspx, and it is only $80 a per person, but that for some reason does not include general admission and parking.

 

While you are right about general admission, they let us park free! And we got the closest parking space in the park!

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$80 is definately worth it! That is what you will pay for a Gold Flash Pass at Six Flags, which is the closest thing that Six Flags offers to the front of the line pass. $130 total seems like a great deal.

 

Great Photo TR btw.

 

Thanks, and it is worth it. In BGE they make riders with fast passes sit second row. But when you take this tour, they give you a pass that allows you to sit front row! Most of the ride ops didn't believe us until we showed them the ticket. It's fun telling a ride op what to do for a change!

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Did you get to go on the tour because of someone you knew or can anyone do it? And if anyone can do it, how much did it cost?

 

When you park a B&M in for the night, does it just slide back on the chassis or how does it move if it isn't using rails?

 

You can find all the info you need in my original post.

 

And B&M coasters have a high tech transfer track that slides in front of the train, then the train is pushed onto the track, and the track is put into the station. this goes visa versa when storing it...

 

Here's something interesting I forgot to mention. Nessie only has one break run, and only one train can be on it at a time. This means the have to load each train in under 90 seconds. If a train is taking too long to load, they will stop the other running train on the second life hill until the first train is ready to go. Running three trains, which they sometimes do on busy days, is even more dangerous. This is why things might seem a bit rushed on LNM.

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AWESOME UPDATE!!!! I've really wanted to do that morning backstage tour at BGE due to the fact that Griffon is my absolute #1 favorite roller coaster on this planet. Doing an update like this has made me want to do it more!!!!!!! Maybe when we go next year I can convice my dad to do it with me in the early AM and we can do it next year. (Hopefully they'll still be doing these next year! )

 

Thanks again for the great update.....I love Griffon!

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