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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.