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Photo TR: Busch Gardens Williamsburg Coaster Insider


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I finally find myself with some free time after visiting Busch Gardens Williamsburg last month for my first time. To say I had an awesome day would be a total understatement. When purchasing tickets online ahead of time, I decided to spring for the Ultimate Coaster Insider VIP tour. That was one of the best decisions I have ever made. That morning we met outside the toll plaza at 8:15 and were escorted to our parking spots, which were located in the first row across the foot bridge from the main entrance. Our tour started down on the Rhine river where we looked at Old Coaster Technology (Loch Ness) versus New Technology (Griffon and Alpengeist). We then had a tour of the maintenance facility for Loch Ness.

 

From there we walked behind the scenes over to Griffon. At Griffon we had the pleasure of boarding the evac trolley and riding to the top of Griffon. Once at the top we were allowed to wander around, un-restrained, the entire length of the platform. The views were breathtaking, and it was definitely scarier than than the ride itself. After posing for some unique photo opportunities, we returned to earth where we saw the inside of the Griffon Maintenance Bay. After watching a Train transfer on, we were ushered into controls for Griffon where the day-to-day operations were explained. Upon the final ok from both maintenance and operations, we (3 of us) boarded Griffon and set out on our First ride of the day in the front row. This is a solid ride! I've been on Griffon's sister Sheikra, and Griffon is definitely the better ride of the two. When we returned to the station, we moved to the back row to try it again. 9/10.

 

Now that the park had opened to the public, we made our way over to Alpengeist, where once again, we saw the maintenance facility. I must say that I am 100% impressed with how organized and clean all the maintenance facilities were maintained. We then had front and rear row rides on Alpengeist without waiting in line. I was sort of distraught by this ride, as it started out so awesome, but then towards the end it just completely dies and crawls back into the station. 8/10.

 

We then made the lengthy journey over to Apollo's Chariot. Here we had no maintenance tours, just rides in the front and back. The front row made for a smooth fun ride. The back row made for the ride I was expecting, full of speed, force and airtime. This was one of the better B&M hypers I've been on. I would give Apollo's Chariot a 9/10.

 

The last stop of the 'regular' tour was 2 rides on Loch Ness Monster. And, you guessed it, we rode front and back. It wasn't too bad in the back, but the front actually provided a decently fun ride. The helix in the dark was my favorite part of the ride. Overall it was my favorite Arrow Looper, by far, and one of the best Arrow's I've ridden in general. 7/10.

 

Since we had paid for the 'Ultimate' coaster insider tour, we were also entitled to continue the tour with a visit to Oktoberfest to ride Verbolten. Since nobody on our tour had ridden Verbolten before, we rode first before seeing anything behind the scenes. The two launches take you by surprise as they are more intense than you would have expected. The indoor portion is pretty forceful, and all 3 stories told in the barn are pretty cool. The star of the show is definitely the vertical drop. After riding once, we went in controls for a few minutes before being escorted into the building. We watched several trains pass and experienced the 3 stories multiple times before heading up to the bridge for a photo opportunity. Verbolten gets a 9/10.

 

The rest of my day seemed pale in comparison to the morning I had, yet this visit was one of my best trips to a park ever. The food at both the Smokehouse and Festhaus was plentiful and delicious. In addition to a Photo CD from the tour, we were also treated to a Quick Queue pass for a third ride on 4 of the coasters. I must say the park is very deserving of the Most Beautiful Golden Ticket, and it should be noted that the park was also very clean, and everyone was super friendly. You could tell each and every employee WANTED to work at Busch Gardens. I stayed around for the Howl O Scream event, and did three of the mazes. My favorite was 13: Your Number's Up. I should not that the Pompeii water ride is not to be missed, and you don't even get that wet.

 

Despite being so crowded, this day at the park was incredible. This is now one of, if not my favorite parks in this country. If you haven't been, What are you waiting for? Here are some pictures of my day:

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Arrow Track in the Morning

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Alpengeist Soars over the Rhine River

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The Griffon train at the Top of the Ride

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It's a long way down

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The view is great up here first thing in the morning

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Greetings from the sky

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Water

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Group shot on Alpengeist

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This is just kind of a nerd shot of the Maintenance Bay

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One of my favorite dark rides

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One of the Howl O Scream dining experiences

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Verbolten Bridge Drop

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This place is so photogenic

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Water Ride

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Mach Tower

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Verbolten

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Posing with Verbolten

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Some sort of show, which I did not watch.

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The Pirates took over Italy

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No BGW Photo TR Would be complete without Apollo's Chariot

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Apollo on the Rhine

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Awesome Parking!

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Awesome Nighttime atmosphere

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Found a souvenir, but Security wouldn't let me leave it it. :(

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The top of Griffon is a very cool place I got to accompany a tour up there when I worked at BG for a summer(got paid for going on the tour too). The scariest part for most people was the open grate stairs you have to use to climb out of the trolley and onto the top platform, you could look straight down right through them.

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