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Busch Gardens, Williamsburg, VA

Busch Gardens, Williamsburg, VA

Busch Gardens (Tampa, FL) is in many ways better than Williamsburg, but Williamsburg has a lot of cool stuff. Michael and I spent a day at Busch Gardens Williamsburg (BGW) as part of the big trip of 2001. When browsing through what other people have to say about BGW, they all say that Alpengeist is their favorite ride in the park (it often ranks real high on best of lists--on many just after Millennium Force.  I thought Alpengeist was really cool, but my favorite at BGW was Apollo's Chariot, which I consider one of the best coasters of all times.  I'll describe it below. There are a few other minor coasters at BGW (listed below) and some other fun things (like the dancing German women in the Das Festhaus ... there might have been some dancing guys also, but I didn't really notice).  There was also one of the coolest simulators I've ever been on (an Irish adventure) and a cool steam locomotive that goes over a really neat bridge.  But Michael and I went there for the coasters and we weren't disappointed.

The funniest part of BGW is the t-shirts that Michael and I purchased.  The slogan is "Fear the Four" meaning that they have four fierce coasters that should be feared.  Truth be know, they have two, Apollo's Chariot and Alpengeist.  The Lock Ness Monster and The Big Bad Wolf are not to be feared (though Lock Ness has some historic value). But then I had to laugh when I went to BG Tampa recently and saw that they had their own Fear the Four t-shirts--they count each of the dueling wooden coasters.  Anything for a buck (and it worked, as Michael and I bought one).

Apollo's Chariot (Rating: 9.1)

This is the only coaster on my top ten list beside Millennium Force that has no inversions.  The reason it is on the top ten list and why it gets a rating of 9.1 is largely due to the seat restraint design. The seats are so cool--you just have a little lap bar that comes down and locks you in.  There is nothing on your shoulders and if that bar were to fail ... well you would be dead.  That adds a lot to the excitement.  The drops in this coaster are really cool as well.  The first one is 210 feet and you get up to 73 MPH.  With so little holding you in the seat, that's fast and far!  Another bonus to this coaster is that Fabio got hit in the face with a bird while riding it.  See the article: Fabio Hit By Flying Bird on Apollo's Chariot .  This was clearly my favorite at BGW--I think it was Michael's also.
  

 
 


 

Statistics
 

My totally subjective rating: 9.1
Type: Steel
Status Operating since 3/27/1999
Builder Bolliger & Mabillard (B & M)
Categories: Hyper coaster (with cool seats)
Length (feet): 4882'
Height (feet): 170'
Drop (feet): 210'
Inversions: 0
Speed (mph): 73
Duration (m:ss): 2:15
G-Force (g): 4.1
Capacity (riders per hour): 1750
Other Information: 9 Drops: 210, 131, 144, 102, 48, 87, 38, 16 and 49feet. The seats are what make this ride really cool--see picture, below.


Click on this image below to get a good
look at the seats!

  click  

 

Alpengeist (Rating: 8.4 FS, 8.1 BS 8 M)

Alpengeist (pronounced alpine geist, but all at once--I had to ask an attendant), is a very cool coaster, even though I scored it at an 8.4. It is a lot like Montu, but has some shortfalls, which I'll get to in a second.  First, on the positive side, it rides through some really pretty scenery and has some cool inversions. If there were no Montu, this coaster would be much higher on my scale.  I have to admit that it would also probably be higher on my scale if I rode it before I rode Montu.  However, my scale is totally subjective, so I'm sticking to it.  The largest negative to Alpengeist is that it is a really rough ride.  Montu is incredibly smooth even when you are going through inversions, rolls, corkscrews and the like.  Not so with Alpengeist.  It is rough, jarring your neck and back.  It is still fun, but it loses a point and a half for the roughness.
  

 


 

Statistics

My totally subjective rating: Rating: 8.4 FS, 8.1 BS 8 M
Type: Steel
Status Operating since 3/22/1997
Categories Inverted
Builder Bolliger & Mabillard (B & M)
Length (feet): 3828'  
Height (feet): 195'  
Drop (feet): 170'  
Inversions: 6  
Speed (mph): 67  
Duration (m:ss): 3:10  
G-Force (g): 3.7  
Capacity (riders per hour): 1820  
Other Information: Elements (In Order): Immelman inversion, 106 foot tall vertical loop, Cobra roll, zero gravity roll and corkscrew.
 

Lock Ness Monster (Rating: 5)

This is built in 1978 and is the world's first interlocking double-looping, steel coaster (a little bit of coaster history). The seats were too small for me--I wasn't very comfortable.
  


 

Statistics

My totally subjective rating: Rating: 5
Type: Steel
Status Operating since 1978
Categories old
Builder Arrow
Length (feet): 3240'
Height (feet): 130'
Drop (feet): 114'
Inversions: 2
Speed (mph): 60
Duration (m:ss): 2:10
Angle of Descent (degrees): 55
G-Force (g): 3.5
Other Information: First roller coaster in the world to feature interlocking loops.
 

Big Bad Wolf (Rating: 3)

The Big Bad Wolf would be better named the little purring kitten!  Every park has a coaster that needs to go, this is the one for this park. Actually, it is good for kids and the end is better than I expected. Still not a great coaster. The sad part is that Williamsburg recently did get rid of a coaster that was closed when Michael and I were there called Drachen Fire.  That coaster looked cool and everything I've been able to read about it, it was cool.  Why do parks make bad choices?  Oh well, Michael and I did ride Big Bad Wolf once, so it makes my list.
  


 

Statistics

My totally subjective rating: Rating: 3
Type: Steel
Status Operating since 1984
Categories Suspended (I would add old and stupid)
Builder Arrow
Length (feet): 2800'
Height (feet): 100'
Drop (feet): 80'
Inversions: 0
Speed (mph): 48
Duration (m:ss): 3:00
G-Force (g): not sure it went much above 1
Other Information: good kiddy coaster
 

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