A Visit to Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Go Karts Plus (May 16th, 2015)

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…

Photos:
DSCN1733
When we entered the park, they were still preparing for daily operations. These little creatures were being herded across Scotland.
DSCN1734
The park is a lot different without guests roaming through it.
DSCN1735
We went by the Loch Ness monster on our way to the Griffon.
DSCN1736
This is probably one of the best logos for a roller coaster.
DSCN1737
I see you back there Griffon!
DSCN1738
Next, the tour went into a staff only zone, we passed by the Loch Ness lift chain on our way over to Griffon.
DSCN1739
For the lift chain nerds out there…
DSCN1740
We also passed under the train tracks. The tracks have a beautiful steel truss underneath them.
DSCN1741
How many roller coasters are there in this picture? (Comment Below)
DSCN1742
Here we are, the Griffon!
DSCN1743
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)
DSCN1746
As we came down from the top of Griffon, Alpengeist began testing.
DSCN1747
Next, we visited the Griffon machine room. Standing under a multi-ton dive machine car is pretty awesome!
DSCN1748
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.
DSCN1749
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.
DSCN1750
In the shop, they have a large number of new and used wheels. The worn wheels are recycled and reused on the ride.
DSCN1751
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.
DSCN1752
You get a unique view of the Griffon train when its sitting right above you!
DSCN1753
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!)
DSCN1754
From this side of the Griffon’s station, you can see the mechanisms that raise and lower the floors of the ride.
DSCN1755
Griffon has such an iconic and beautiful drop section!
DSCN1756
Busch Gardens has so much B&M glory!
DSCN1757
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.
DSCN1758
Who else loves a good Immelmann loop?
DSCN1759
The “hang time” on the edge of this drop is fantastic!
DSCN1760
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.
DSCN1761
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!
DSCN1762
Next up was Alpengeist.
DSCN1763
On our way to Alpengeist, I got some more shots of the Griffon.
DSCN1764
Coming out of the Immelmann loop!
DSCN1766
It’s awesome how close you can get to this inversion on Alpengeist! You can feel the roar of this classic B&M invert!
DSCN1767
This is my favorite part of Alpengeist. I love the beautiful flume next to the awesome zero-g roll.
DSCN1768
This is such a picturesque part of the park!
DSCN1769
There are so many twists, turns, and inversions in this picture!
DSCN1770
SPLASHDOWN!!!!
DSCN1771
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.
DSCN1772
We should’ve shut the flume water off! 😉
DSCN1773
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.
DSCN1774
They also had a cut up wheel and a magnetic brake demonstration in the room.
DSCN1775
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.
DSCN1776
Next, we walked through an excellently themed Germany section of the park.
DSCN1777
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.
DSCN1778
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.
DSCN1779
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.
DSCN1780
We walked around to the back of Verbolten and watched the cars launch through a secluded section of the ride.
DSCN1782
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!
DSCN1789
Wait, the Dark Forest is just a building???
DSCN1788
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!
DSCN1790
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).
DSCN1791
This is the shot that everyone has to take at Busch Gardens.
DSCN1796
Look, it’s the NEW HOTNESS!! It’s Tempesto!
DSCN1797
I couldn’t stop looking at this new ride!
DSCN1798
It looks nothing like any of the other rides at the park. It has steep and awesome drops everywhere!
DSCN1799
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.
DSCN1800
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!
DSCN1801
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.
DSCN1802
So much Nessie!
DSCN1803
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.
DSCN1805
Busch Gardens has this type of beautiful decorations everywhere!
DSCN1806
Isn’t the track of Verbolten so beautiful!
DSCN1807
And now it was time for us to ride Tempesto!
DSCN1808
After riding, we visited the gift shop.
DSCN1810
Here’s the shirt I bought! I just love the Tempesto goggles design!
DSCN1811
Tempesto had some great moments on it! The stall on this drop was one of them!
DSCN1813
You can find my full review of Tempesto here: Tempesto Review
DSCN1814
The stall on this turn was another highlight of the ride.
DSCN1815
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.
DSCN1816
90 DEGREES STRAIGHT DOWN!
DSCN1817
It’s hard to describe how this ride is. It’s nothing like anything that I’ve been on.
DSCN1818
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! 🙂
DSCN1821
Next we rode the train from Italy to New France. Here’s Nessie from the train truss.
DSCN1822
New France is nice and shady. It’s a nice place to rest on a sunny day at Busch Gardens Williamsburg.
DSCN1823
The Maple Leaf of apples is pretty impressive!
DSCN1824
Next, it was time to ride Griffon again! I did a little bit of testing on filming in 4k!
DSCN1825
What a fun moment of the ride!
DSCN1826
Wheeeeee!!!!!!!!!!
DSCN1827
Oh the beautifulness of B&Ms!
DSCN1828
Next, we took the chairlift over to Germany.
DSCN1829
Alpengeist, here we come!
DSCN1830
The ski lift passes in close proximity to the coasters! What great views!
DSCN1833
They’re about to go through the best part of the ride!
DSCN1834
As we began to get tired, we stopped to get some crepes in France.
DSCN1835
Okay, this shot was a miracle. I have no idea how I got this good of a picture. It’s unedited! 🙂
DSCN1837
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!
DSCN1838
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!
DSCN1839
They had yet another history sign over here! All of these are fascinating and great little details for the park!
DSCN1840
Flower Power!
DSCN1842
Escape from Pompeii is a great and well themed ride!
DSCN1843
It also provides a great splashdown!
DSCN1844
SQUIRT THE RIDERS!
DSCN1848
Tempesto almost looks and feels like a flat ride. It’s extremely compact and it’s nothing like your average coaster.
DSCN1849
Okay, the track on Tempesto is BEAUTIFUL! Nice design Premier Rides!
DSCN1850
Here’s the trains for Tempesto!
DSCN1851
For the roller coaster bolt nerds out there…
DSCN1852
The curves on this coaster!
DSCN1853
Double Dives!
DSCN1857
Well, it was time to go. Sadly we were too tired to stay for fireworks.
DSCN1861
We left nice and early on the day that Busch Gardens Williamsburg celebrated its 40th anniversary.
DSCN1864
One more thing, we got the BEST non-bus parking spot in the whole park!
IMG_3332
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.
IMG_3331
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!

Overall Conclusion:

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 YouTubeFacebookTwitter, InstagramGoogle+, and Tumblr!

One thought on “A Visit to Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Go Karts Plus (May 16th, 2015)

  • March 8, 2016 at 7:17 am
    Permalink

    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.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *