Have you ever stood on top of a roller coaster? Well, that’s exactly what we did a few weeks ago. On May 16th, we visited Busch Gardens Williamsburg. We arrived early in the morning, around 8:30am, before the park even opened. After a long wait at the toll plaza gate, waiting for them to let us in as early-birds arrived at the park and surrounded us, another person on the tour finally went up to the gate, and finally they let us in for the roller coaster insider tour. They drove us up to the priority parking lot and we went into the park. After a quick bathroom break, we were on the tour…
When we entered the park, they were still preparing for daily operations. These little creatures were being herded across Scotland.
The park is a lot different without guests roaming through it.
We went by the Loch Ness monster on our way to the Griffon.
This is probably one of the best logos for a roller coaster.
I see you back there Griffon!
Next, the tour went into a staff only zone, we passed by the Loch Ness lift chain on our way over to Griffon.
For the lift chain nerds out there…
We also passed under the train tracks. The tracks have a beautiful steel truss underneath them.
How many roller coasters are there in this picture? (Comment Below)
Here we are, the Griffon!
On the right half of the lift hill, there’s a unique looking extension with thin steel beams, this is the elevator that takes you to the top of Griffon.
Since I only took video on top of the Griffon, here’s some shots that our tour guide Sarah took which came on a free DVD at the end of the tour. The views were spectacular, just look at the James River (I think) in the background.
You can really get some great views of Griffon from up there. Unfortunately, there were no shots of the other rides from up there. but stay tuned for my video from up there! (Subscribe on our YouTube)
As we came down from the top of Griffon, Alpengeist began testing.
Next, we visited the Griffon machine room. Standing under a multi-ton dive machine car is pretty awesome!
They even let you touch the wheels and parts of the car! You could spin them around 360 degrees. The motions of the wheel system help make Griffon a much smoother ride.
Here’s the chain dogs or anti-rollback devices for the Griffon. The two sets on the sides are for reaching the top of the lift hill. The one in the middle is kept up on the lift hill in order to prevent interference with the lift chain, but is bumped down to work on the hanging stop before the drop on the Griffon. These devices make the infamous clicking noise on the lift hills of coasters. They may sound scary, but they have a very important job for the safety of riders.
In the shop, they have a large number of new and used wheels. The worn wheels are recycled and reused on the ride.
On the left, there are large metallic magnets. These magnets are part of the magnetic braking system at the end of the ride. Also, if you look at the grey bolted section, you can see where the wheels turn around. Finally, on the right, there’s a metal bar. The metal bar supports the entire weight of the train, so it floats above the machine room.
You get a unique view of the Griffon train when its sitting right above you!
I love how you can just come in and stand under the Griffon! (That is not me, he is a random person on the tour. If you see this I’m sorry for putting you on my website!)
From this side of the Griffon’s station, you can see the mechanisms that raise and lower the floors of the ride.
Griffon has such an iconic and beautiful drop section!
Busch Gardens has so much B&M glory!
Here’s the magnetic brakes on the ride. As the metal strips (as seen earlier) slide through these slits, which contain highly attractive magnets, the car slows down significantly.
Who else loves a good Immelmann loop?
The “hang time” on the edge of this drop is fantastic!
In the back of Griffon, they have a pool filter for the water brake/splashdown of the ride. Without its splashdown, the ride wouldn’t be able to slow down enough to stop. The engineers for the Griffon need to be certified in pool maintenance for them to have this element of the ride.
Next, we were some of the first riders of the day on Griffon (we were in the control room while the VIP tour happened to get on the train before us). We rode twice and as always had an amazing ride! I think I may have greyed out a little bit!
Next up was Alpengeist.
On our way to Alpengeist, I got some more shots of the Griffon.
Coming out of the Immelmann loop!
It’s awesome how close you can get to this inversion on Alpengeist! You can feel the roar of this classic B&M invert!
This is my favorite part of Alpengeist. I love the beautiful flume next to the awesome zero-g roll.
This is such a picturesque part of the park!
There are so many twists, turns, and inversions in this picture!
Next, we visited the Alpengeist machine room. When they built Alpengeist, B&M helped Busch Gardens Williamsburg reroute the piping for Le Scoot under the Alpengeist station.
We should’ve shut the flume water off! 😉
Inside the machine room, there’s a special seat that demonstrated how the restraints on Alpengeist work. These springs lock the restraints of the seats on a ride.
They also had a cut up wheel and a magnetic brake demonstration in the room.
Look at the special columns on Alpengeist. They aren’t just themed to ski lift supports, they were specially designed to fit the location of Alpengeist, which wouldn’t work with the standard B&M support system.
Next, we walked through an excellently themed Germany section of the park.
Along the paths, there were special signs that told the history of the park. In the circle is a long removed coaster of the park.
This was another roller coaster at Busch Gardens. Glissade was a Schwarzkopf coaster that was in the place of Curse of DarKastle. It is currently the Tornado at Selva Mágica in Mexico.
Next, we visited Verbolten. As always, it was a great ride! The theming and drop make this coaster one of the most unique ones in the world.
We walked around to the back of Verbolten and watched the cars launch through a secluded section of the ride.
Here’s the old station from Drachen Fire. We were told that the park has no plans to use this station for anything besides a Halloween haunt. Sorry rumor spreaders!
Wait, the Dark Forest is just a building???
After watching a few more cars launch, we went inside of the building. Sadly, they wouldn’t let us take pictures from inside the building. You could really see a lot once your eyes adjusted!
Fun fact, Verbolten uses a similar, if not the same, layout as its predecessor, the Big Bad Wolf. I think that some of those concrete blocks are the old supports for the Big Bad Wolf (or on top of them).
This is the shot that everyone has to take at Busch Gardens.
Look, it’s the NEW HOTNESS!! It’s Tempesto!
I couldn’t stop looking at this new ride!
It looks nothing like any of the other rides at the park. It has steep and awesome drops everywhere!
After riding Apollo’s Chariot, finding out that Tempesto was not included on the tour, and finding out Loch Ness Monster was stuck and wouldn’t be fixed soon, we visited the machine room on Loch Ness Monster.
After visiting Nessie’s unique machine room and even sitting on the maintenance track segment, the tour was over! We had an amazing and unique experience! The review will be after these pictures!
Next, we made our way to lunch in Germany. We passed through the valley of coasters (as I like to call it), including Alpengeist, Griffon, and Loch Ness Monster.
So much Nessie!
The crews of Loch Ness Monster used to be able to time the cars to go through the interlocking loops at the exact same time, but when they installed computer systems to the ride, it became impossible to time this correctly.
Busch Gardens has this type of beautiful decorations everywhere!
Isn’t the track of Verbolten so beautiful!
And now it was time for us to ride Tempesto!
After riding, we visited the gift shop.
Here’s the shirt I bought! I just love the Tempesto goggles design!
Tempesto had some great moments on it! The stall on this drop was one of them!
The stall on this turn was another highlight of the ride.
The flip here is SO SLOW that it makes this ride one of the most unique. It’s definitely a prominent and amazing moment of the ride.
90 DEGREES STRAIGHT DOWN!
It’s hard to describe how this ride is. It’s nothing like anything that I’ve been on.
Next, we rode the Tea Cups! I want to brag to the Periscope commenter (I streamed the ride) that wanted me to drop my phone. I still have it! 🙂
Next we rode the train from Italy to New France. Here’s Nessie from the train truss.
New France is nice and shady. It’s a nice place to rest on a sunny day at Busch Gardens Williamsburg.
The Maple Leaf of apples is pretty impressive!
Next, it was time to ride Griffon again! I did a little bit of testing on filming in 4k!
What a fun moment of the ride!
Oh the beautifulness of B&Ms!
Next, we took the chairlift over to Germany.
Alpengeist, here we come!
The ski lift passes in close proximity to the coasters! What great views!
They’re about to go through the best part of the ride!
As we began to get tired, we stopped to get some crepes in France.
Okay, this shot was a miracle. I have no idea how I got this good of a picture. It’s unedited! 🙂
There were so many delicious crepes. It was a favorite of ours from last year’s Food & Wine festival that it seems they’ve made a permanent addition!
Next, we went back to Italy for one last ride on Apollo’s Chariot! On they way, you pass through a beautiful and flowery stretch of path. Busch Gardens Williamsburg is the most beautiful theme park after all!
They had yet another history sign over here! All of these are fascinating and great little details for the park!
Escape from Pompeii is a great and well themed ride!
It also provides a great splashdown!
SQUIRT THE RIDERS!
Tempesto almost looks and feels like a flat ride. It’s extremely compact and it’s nothing like your average coaster.
Okay, the track on Tempesto is BEAUTIFUL! Nice design Premier Rides!
Here’s the trains for Tempesto!
For the roller coaster bolt nerds out there…
The curves on this coaster!
Well, it was time to go. Sadly we were too tired to stay for fireworks.
We left nice and early on the day that Busch Gardens Williamsburg celebrated its 40th anniversary.
One more thing, we got the BEST non-bus parking spot in the whole park!
Later in the night, we went over to Go Karts Plus. We arrived right before closing time and got a ride on the only coaster in Virginia that I hadn’t been on, the Python Pit.
They also had a Zamperla Disk’O. I just have one question, is this a roller coaster? I think it is, but I’ve heard otherwise! Let me know on social media!
Reviews and conclusion:
Roller Coaster Insider Tour:
The roller coaster insider tour was fantastic. We rode each coaster at Busch Gardens Williamsburg twice in a row, without lines (except Tempesto, the park said they wanted “every guest” to enjoy Tempesto, so we would have to wait in line). We also went to the top of the Griffon and into multiple machine rooms for rides. The tour teaches you so much about roller coasters (shoutout to our awesome guides, James and Sarah) and you have so much fun. The price isn’t too too much (especially compared to other tours). The preferred parking was included, you get a free quick queue pass for after the tour, and a completely awesome and unique experience for $80 per person. It’s not cheap, but it’s definitely worth it for the incredible experience. For a coaster lover or someone who wants to learn more about rides, this tour is fantastic.
Go Karts Plus:
Although it’s just a small roadside attraction, Go Karts Plus is a great little stop in Williamsburg. It has multiple Go Kart Tracks and some great little rides. The management was also very friendly. We arrived twenty minutes before closing time and they let us ride a few things. After riding the Python Pit coaster and the Disk’O, we didn’t have enough tickets to ride anything else. They didn’t make us leave with extra tickets, as it was closing time, and they didn’t make us buy more tickets, they let us ride the Go Karts even though they were closing! Go Karts Plus was a friendly and fun Williamsburg attraction!
We had an amazing time visiting Williamsburg. It has such fantastic attractions such as Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Go Karts Plus. Everyone was friendly and we were able to ride so much! We had yet another fantastic visit to Busch Gardens Williamsburg and a great time at Go Karts Plus. The next day, as we drove home, we made a quick stop at Kings Dominion in order to ride Intimidator 305. What a fantastic weekend! We look forward to visiting Busch Gardens again (hopefully later in the month)! Thanks for reading the blog! Be sure to follow us here on WordPress and share with the buttons below! Also, you can find us on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and Tumblr!
bert · March 8, 2016 at 7:17 am
Nice to hear, in 2018 we are going on a coaster tour with couple of friends. BGW will be on our list and maybe the coaster tour.