It has finally happened. After months and months of waiting, Busch Gardens Williamsburg has finally managed to get headlights and tail lights working on all of Verbolten’s trains. As some of you may remember, when Verbolten had its soft opening back in May of last year, the blue train had working headlights. Well, the following weekend (the ride’s grand opening) they had gone dark. Since then, we kept hearing whispers that they were on thier way but never saw any evidence of it. Well, as of the last few weeks of Christmas Town, they’re all working.
Now, the obvious question: Do they actually change the ride experience?
Put simply: Unless you’re in the very front row, not at all. When navigating through the curves leading up to the event building (the darkest section of the ride’s course doing Christmas Town) the only notable difference is the reflection of the lights off the track about 5 feet in front of the train. If you weren’t looking for it on-ride, you probably wouldn’t even notice that there’s light coming off the front-end. Somewhere inside the first launch tunnel, the headlights turn off leaving riders to experience the event building in complete darkness. After the drop-track as the engine noises begin to play, the headlights flash on and the train dips down into the second launch. That is, by far, the most notable aspect of the headlights from an on-ride point of view. Seeing those headlights come back on after surviving a trip through the Black Forest is a very neat effect. Following the 2nd launch, the headlights are more or less completely unnoticeable though I do look forward to experiencing the headlights alongside the fog they pump into the Rhine River drop area during Howl-O-Scream. It should make for a splendid effect.
With all that said about the on-ride experience, the effect the headlights have on the off-ride experience should also be noted. As you may expect, they look fantastic. In the past, after dark, you would hardly see Verbolten’s course from the Rhine River bridge. After the recent addition however, each passing Verbolten train catches your eye as it plunges off of the bridge and then swerves through the trees as it heads towards the brake run. It really does give the ride that nighttime curb appeal that it had formerly been lacking. Anyway, below is a short video showing them in use. Enjoy!