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.
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.