It may only be April, but, as of today, we know what Busch Gardens Williamsburg is building in 2015 and, better yet, we have the plans to prove it.
For months now we’ve known the park had a medium-sized attraction project of some kind on the way for 2015 but, until today, we really didn’t know what exactly to expect. All early signs pointed to a large flat ride of some sort but, after one of our forum members pointed out the similarities between the graphic provided alongside the height waiver filings and the shape of Superman: Ultimate Flight at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom– a layout that has already been cloned once before at Holiday Park in Germany, people began to wonder if maybe, just maybe, we were looking at something a little more noteworthy.
Not long after that connection was made on our forum, a story was published by another theme park fansite claiming that they had seen plans confirming those suspicions. In addition to having seen the plans, the report also claimed that the coaster would be named Diavolo and have a color scheme consisting mainly of black, yellow, and red. More on that in the coming week but, for the time being, take that information with a spoonful of salt.
Anyway, rumors are all fine and good but, to be honest, I’ve never been one to report on rumors as fact and, especially when dealing with big news like this, I don’t like to publish news without proof. Well, today, we have the proof to verify part of the report from a few days ago. Proof you ask? Yes, we have the overhead site plan and, in normal BGWFans style, we intend to share it with the world.


Now, unlike some of the attraction plans we’ve leaked before, these aren’t exactly the easiest ones to decipher to the untrained eye. In light of that, I’ve put together a color coded version below.

The footer layout and the size of the attraction are, as far as we can tell, essentially identical to Superman: Ultimate Flight at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom and Sky Scream at Holiday Park. Based on that information, it’s pretty safe to assume that we’re looking at a Premier Rides clone. Yes, an off the shelf coaster at Busch Gardens Williamsburg as an e-ticket attraction. They really did just go there.
Regardless of the rather disappointing nature of the ride itself, I suppose I should rattle off the specs and talk about the attraction a bit anyway.
The coaster will be 150 feet tall, 863 feet long, have one inversion, and launch at a speed of 62 miles per hour. It runs one train which holds 12 riders per cycle, and a ride cycle, excluding loading times, is about 50 seconds. Notable elements include an inline twist and a non-inverting loop. A few renders of the installation of the same model at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom are included below. Pictures courtesy of Six Flags.

In addition to the pictures above, we’re also embedding some b-roll footage from Discovery Kingdom’s installation of the ride, below.

 
Now, though the news of it being a clone is a huge disappointment, to be perfectly honest with you, I personally believe that it’s the least of this addition’s problems. Let me explain…
As you can see from the site plans, the park has managed to wedge this coaster into an unbelievably small area- something that’s extremely out of character for the park. Know what’s even more out of character for the park? The complete decimation of the park’s trees and greenery. This addition will, as far as I can tell, require the clearing of every tree in the entire vicinity of this attraction which, considering it’s being added to Festa Italia, an area of the park that is already notoriously devoid of trees, is incredibly disappointing.
As you can tell by the embedded Google StreetView images below, at the moment, there are actually quite a few trees back there. That said, all of them are about to come down.
[streetview width=”100%” height=”250px” lat=”37.234532″ lng=”-76.64217200000002″ heading=”19.086060334500328″ pitch=”3.167084150216178″ zoom=”1″][/streetview]
The site plans call for the conversion of the water balloon game shown above to a plaza dedicated to the ride. By the looks of it, a large five pointed star will be printed on the center of the plaza directly in front of the ride’s entrance and exit. Additionally, off to the right of the star and next to the Coke Market there’s another small building in the plans as well- I assume that will be the photo sales booth for the ride.
After looking at the visual issues with the ride and it’s location, there’s a good chance that this addition is already sounding like a fairly bad decision to a lot of the Busch Gardens Williamsburg fans out there. Well, I wish the bad news stopped there but, sadly, it doesn’t. In fact, the worst is yet to come.
What could be worse than a destructive, ugly, cloned coaster at Busch Gardens? A coaster with unimaginably low capacity. This coaster has unimaginably low capacity.
I won’t rehash my entire analysis of the ride’s capacity (I’ve already done so here if anyone is interested), but the important thing to know here is that it basically provides less than 1/3rd the hourly capacity of the other major coasters in the park. Furthermore, assuming the same unload and load times as Grover’s Alpine Express (likely an unrealistically hopeful assumption), Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s 2015 coaster will have lower capacity than the park’s kiddie coaster. It truly is that bad.
When the rumors began to hit suggesting that Busch Gardens could be looking at an off-the-shelf Premier Rides LSM launch coaster, there was speculation that Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s could utilize a similar sliding station setup as was installed on the Mr. Freeze clones at Six Flags St. Louis and Six Flags Fiesta Texas. A look at the sliding station platforms on the Mr. Freeze clones can be seen here if you’re interested. It’s a nifty idea that, theoretically, could likely increase the capacity of this model considerably as well. That said, judging by the site plans, a dual loading station is a no-go. More very bad news.
Essentially, the story here is that this attraction is simply not suitable for a large (and arguably even medium) sized park. Furthermore, its location will further degrade the appearance of Festa Italia which is already widely considered to be the worst looking area of the park. Then, as icing on the cake, it’s a clone. I’ll be completely honest with you all: I wholeheartedly believe that this is one of the worst mistakes the park has made in recent memory. For the life of me, I can’t figure out a single positive aspect of this addition.
If clearing trees and building an off-the-shelf coaster with laughable capacity doesn’t throw up red flags to signify just how bad things at Busch Gardens Williamsburg are right now, nothing will. As far as largescale attraction additions go, in my honest opinion, this is a new low.

38 thoughts on “Busch Gardens Williamsburg's Project 2015 Revealed

  1. Whelp, this makes it official: Busch has taken even more of a turn for the worse.
    I hope everyone enjoys their 5-hour wait opening weekend!
    I’ll be down here in Florida, enjoying my 4-hour wait on a broken Falcon’s Fury stuck dropping in the fixed position.

    1. 5-hour? SheiKra was a 7hr wait on opening day with MUCH higher capacity.
      How about a 12-hr wait? Open to close. That sounds more likely.

      1. That’s a BS figure. After media day Thursday, we went back on Saturday opening weekend, and we only waited 3-4 hours in the middle of the day each time and rode it twice. SheiKra had a “7 hour” line early morning because it was mostly Fun Card residents trying to get in line. They are numerous other factors as well, such as that was pre-recession, SheiKra was the parks largest single investment at the time, aggressive marketing, etc.
        The bottom line is guest are only willing to wait so long. Capacity doesn’t always dictate queues, as much as guest willingness to queue. Case and point? Go look-up the wait times for Mach Tower and get back to me.

    1. The footer layout shown in the site plan is, as far as we can tell, identical to that of Superman: Ultimate Flight at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom.

  2. Very sad news! How can they go from something brilliant like Verbolten, to a cheap county fair thing like this? I don’t get it.

    1. One word: Desperation. 🙁
      Attendance-wise, Verbolten was a massive flop, bringing only a 4% increase in its opening year. For comparison, Griffon brought a 12% attendance increase the year it opened. This is made far worse when you consider Verbolten cost $54 million while Griffon cost less than half that.

      1. Ah, I had no idea. I only go during early spring or fall, so I never see the rides that full. Seems like they just would have out in some more float rides instead or forcing an award coaster until they get a big plan. I’ll still go, but this ride seems a mis-step.

  3. Well, if the rumor is correct, they at least they did a good thing with the name. I think it is pretty cool to give a ride a name written in Italian. That being said, I also hope they can take advantage of the cheapness by theming it like crazy. As far as tree loss, I suppose they probably could put some Italian Cypresses where you expect the trees to be taken out, as those are quite narrow and can make the section look 100X more Italian.

    1. I completely agree. Busch Gardens is great at theming. They can make this ride 10X better than the other clones.

  4. These coasters shouldn’t be cloned! They look like a coaster still in construction with the scaffolding supports, low captivity and the colours fad quick on premier coasters! In 3-4 years it will be quite rough like MFRB and spaghetti bowl coasters, there’s places in the park were it could be a lot better, like the green patch before you get to AC. I guess it’s still a coaster though. Have fun in your 8 Hour lines.

    1. That rumor is likely based off early theming documents. SEAS coasters often have a different final name than the names shown in the theming docs. See: Elementum becoming Verbolten, Cheetaka becoming Cheetah Hunt, etc.

  5. Who cares if it’s a “clone”? Who’s to say that BG won’t improve the ride with a new way to decrease wait times? Superman: Ultimate Flight reaches a height of 106 feet- ours reaches 150. They have the opportunity to make changes to their coaster, and I’m extremely optimistic that they will. I’m sure they will.

    1. You’re actually incorrect. Superman: Ultimate Flight at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom is 150ft tall. You can see its RCDB entry, here: http://rcdb.com/10139.htm
      Additionally, and more importantly, the footer layout is identical. Because of that alone, the layout will almost assuredly be identical.

    1. They’ve had some bad ones in the past. Wild Izzy was the last one that was really bad and they hauled that off to Tampa to put in Darkastle. I have no idea why they don’t put something in the footprint of Drachenfire.; I guess they don’t give out visitor surveys like other parks.

      1. Izzy was only supposed to be a temporary thing for the Olympics. It ended up being a decent success so they kept it around until they used the land for the next attraction.

        1. It was my “once a year” coaster. I liked it, but I just can’t stand that sensation of being tossed out of the car at each turn. I would love a spinning coaster though. I think they need to do a few smaller things and then do something outrageous and multi-year in the next decade. They have a ton of land to expand on, yet don’t seem to use it.Seems like they could even put a wooden coaster on the back end of the park.

  6. I don’t see how you guys are even getting the superman ride at all out of the plans. The plans call for a much smaller footprint

  7. The ride looks boring and small. I would not even go on the ride if it had a 20 minute wait. Looks like I wont be going to Busch Gardens for a couple more years until they build an attraction worth seeing.

  8. 30 second load/unload/clear?! Where did you get that number from? That’s extreamely unrealistic right their. Maybe for Grover’s alpine express, but very extreamely un realistic for the rest. Working at three coasters at Busch, I think I might know.

    1. Oh, I certainly agree that 30 seconds is unreasonably optimistic but to be honest, I didn’t have a good starting point to work from with my numbers. Have a better estimate you can pass along? Feel free to email me ([email protected]) or message me on the forum if you don’t want to post it publicly- I’d honestly be very interested to know.

      1. I wasn’t trying to come off as mean, but with doiong coasters, I was just shocked to see 30 seconds. When I was at Griffon, the most recent one, it would take close to the 30 seconds to just get people off, if not closer to 45 seconds if the person on the exit side for some reason didn’t open the gates at first. To load, you have to factor in, that people do not realize that their are 10 seats. No more, no less, as you know. So, if to many, if the gates are closed, you have to walk to load and open them back up, and tell the people to get back in line, close the gates, and then go check harnesses, possably take shoes(ew), buckle if they forgot to, which happens all the time, check the light curtin on the exit side then get your box. So, depending on if you are running two trains(1 1/2 rows) or three trains(one row), the time adds up. With that said, if you have the right combonation of people on platform and up in controls, I want to say, a little over a minute, pushing two minutes. To me, thats more realistic.

        1. Thanks for the perspective- it really does help quite a bit!
          Also, it makes the capacity of Project 2015 look far more grim than it was before…

          1. Yeah, no problem.
            If they do follow thru with it, which they can always change there minds, yeah it does look bad.

  9. The ride capacity is the biggest flaw. The clone aspect really only affects coaster enthusiasts as few people will ever ride both of those coasters. So the clone thing isn’t a realistic criticism as it relates to a normal park attendee.

  10. I wonder if they will add a second way into Festa Italia. As you come across the bridge from Germany into Italy, they could build off to the right. They’d have to build another bridge over the train tracks but it’s doable. One of the biggest problems with this area of the park is that it’s a dead end.

  11. I believe BGW is going to funktify this ride like never before. They may just bring the stand up cars back in style along with a launch system. They should make it stand up with both cars facing back to back. It would also be cool if it the made the tracks with a 120ft tall upside down extremely narrow loop on addition to the 360 degree circular loop. Busch Gardens never disappoints. They are up to something funky.

  12. It Looks like it could be a Boomerang Coaster Also Because of the Layout but as Always Busch Gardens Never puts in any good coasters like at six flags and all that

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