A new one-of-a-kind roller coaster, due for launch at Busch Gardens in spring, has began construction and gave an early insight into the treats in store for guests. Verbolten, the Virginia theme park’s new multi-launch, indoor/outdoor ride, is said to feature aspects to its design completely new to the United States.
The ground-breaking ride is expected to feature a “massive indoor special-effects building” which culminates in an unexpected, heart-stopping, free-fall drop. This state-of-the-art, 16-foot descent is so shocking it will literally take rider’s breath away, according to Larry Giles, Busch Gardens’ vice president of design and engineering.
“It will be like someone pulled the track out from under you, ” he said.
Verbolten’s sensational drop will occur in complete darkness, completely taking riders by surprise and promising an amazing adrenaline-fueled experience. The innovative design uses high-powered magnets to hold back the train and part of the track at the pinnacle of the special-effects building.
The car is suspended briefly before suddenly dropping, as the magnets release and the train plunges into darkness towards the ground.
The car then momentarily comes to a halt, before being propelled forwards out of the dark “Black Forest” at speeds of up to 55 mph.
Another notable feature of Verbolten is the covered bridge, which plays into the Black Forest theme. A penultimate element of the roller coaster is when the car sits on a drop of almost 90 feet over Busch Garden’s Rhine River and plays homage to the previous theme park attraction which sat on the same spot, The Big Bad Wolf.
This recreation of the drop enabled the Verbolten’s design engineer’s to make use of existing concrete foundations, thus minimising the impact on the environment.
The new Virginia roller coaster is completely new and distinctly different from other roller coasters at the attraction. Verbolten features an on-board video system and a ride narrative which will captivate guests from beginning to end.
The storyline has visitors meeting a German brother and sister who are hosts of an inn and visitor centre set at the edge of the Black Forest. Riders are regaled with warnings of supernatural events should they dare to enter the dark forest. However, whilst the scene begins innocently enough on a tame tour of the German countryside, it’s not long before riders find themselves within the grasp of the Black Forest inhabitants.
A plethora of scenic audio-visual elements and special effects all culminate to offer the rider a special journey through the forest, which appears to have come alive before their eyes. Verbolten’s two electromagnetic take-offs add to the experience by providing a 0-55 mph adrenaline-rush in order to further progress the narrative at key moments.
“Verbolten is the capstone attraction of a two-year rejuvenation project in Busch Gardens’ Oktoberfest village. Mach Tower, the park’s 240-foot drop tower, joins the launch coaster as the park’s newest thrill attractions. A new pretzel restaurant and new performance spaces that opened in 2011 completes the Oktoberfest village transformation, ” Busch Gardens said in a statement.
Busch Gardens is part of the SeaWorld Parks and Entertainments group, which owns and operates ten theme parks across the USA. The attractions play host to around 23 million guests annually and include: SeaWorld parks in Orlando, San Diego and San Antonio; Busch Gardens parks in Tampa, Fla. and Williamsburg, Va.; Discovery Cove and Aquatica in Orlando; Sesame Place near Philadelphia, Pa.; and water parks Adventure Island in Tampa and Water Country USA in Williamsburg.
SeaWorld employ 20, 000 people across their attractions and care for more than 60, 000 animals at their wildlife parks. The company has contributed over $50 million to conservation, has rescued more than 18, 000 orphaned, injured or ill animals over the past 40 years and animals in their care include 200 endangered or threatened species.
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment is a portfolio company of The Blackstone Group (NYSE:BX).