Railroad Fire Shuts Down Part of Busch Gardens
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Guess who’s back, back again BGWFans back, tell a friend
I’ve created a monsta, ’cause nobody wants to see reviews no more They want leaks, opinions are chopped liver Well if you want leaks, then this is what I’ll give ya A little bit of analysis mixed with some hard data Some hypotheses that will jump start the discussion quicker And get ready ’cause this stuff is about to get heavy
That’s right, I just opened a news article with a cheesy Eminem reference and you’re all still reading. That’s the power of good content right there!
As you can probably guess from the title of this post, right on the heels of the BGW Project 2019 and Project Madrid articles, we’re back (back again) to shed some light on what Water Country USA has planned for 2019.
With that in mind, before I go any further, I want to thank the handful of sources within the Williamsburg SEAS parks that leaked this news to us back in May and enabled us to speak publicly on it long before we had any solid proof that we could publish here on BGWFans’ frontpage.
Anyway, lets start things off with what is being removed to make way for WCUSA’s 2019 attraction…
Out With the Old…
The demolition plans for Water Country USA’s 2019 project clearly show the removal of the park’s existing inline family tube slide, Meltdown.
Below I’ve included the demolition plan itself alongside a composite version I put together by overlaying the plan onto a satellite image of the area and highlighting the major items slated for removal.
What is incredibly remarkable about this demolition plan is just how few things are actually being demolished. As the site plan above shows, the only things coming down seem to be trees, the existing slide, its supports, most of its footers, and a planter in front of Vanish Point’s entrance.
Meltdown’s splash pool, tube lift, ride tower, pump house, and even many of its existing paths appear to be untouched in this plan.
In With the New…
Now we get to the main event: the major new attraction coming to Water Country USA in 2019. Below you’ll find a site plan for the new slide alongside a second version of the same plan with the new attraction highlighted in blue.
If your initial reaction to the photos above is “I don’t know what the hell I’m looking at,” that’s fine. I’m going to do my best to break it down.
Here are my initial takeaways from the site plan above:
This new attraction will reuse a lot of what Meltdown leaves behind. The list of reused elements seems to include Meltdown’s exit pool, pump house, innertube lift, and entry tower.
This ride is longer than Meltdown. This is easily visible thanks to the existence of the “existing slide” outline displayed on the site plans above.
Meltdown’s replacement seems to follow a very similar path as Meltdown did before it. Considering the topography in the area, that makes a lot of sense.
That said, a closer inspection of the blueprints displayed above allow us to draw up some far more interesting hypotheses…
After a couple hours studying the site plans for Water Country USA’s 2019 project, I’ve developed what I believe to be a pretty solid understanding of what is shown in the plans above.
The easy part was identifying the five circular elements located at many of the slide’s changes in direction. These are almost certainly ProSlide FlyingSAUCER 45s. For anyone who hasn’t experienced them, they are (fairly intense) high-speed, downward, 180 degree turns. I’ve included a ProSlide marketing photo of one of these FlyingSAUCER turns below.
FlyingSAUCERs, however, are only part of the story. The site plan also includes a few long, straight sections with new plumbing running to them and small staircases attaching to them. This heavily suggests that these straight sections are, in fact, launches.
A quick look at ProSlide’s website reveals an offering that seems to directly match our analysis thus far: a RocketBLAST/FlyingSAUCER hybrid water slide. Below I’ve included a marketing video from ProSlide advertising this exact combination.
There’s an important detail here to pick up on: While the layout depicted in the site plan seems to have more in common with some recent RocketBLAST installations, we cannot rule out the possibility that this is a HydroMAGNETIC ROCKET instead of a RocketBLAST.
What’s the difference you ask?
RocketBLASTs are a newer ProSlide offering that utilize water to propel rafts up hills instead of the magnetic launches that were used on the HydroMAGNETIC ROCKETs.
Though ProSlide doesn’t list it as an option on their website, as a commenter on this very article points out, they did build a HydroMAGNETIC ROCKET with FlyingSAUCER turns for Hersheypark in 2018.
Anyway, armed with all of the information laid out above, I’ve put together a composite site plan displaying our “best guess” assessment of Water Country USA’s 2019 attraction.
And because it would just be basic malpractice not to include a composite version of our “best guess” map, you can find that below.
When I first started hearing rumors about Meltdown’s impending demise, I was very apprehensive. It is truly one of my favorite rides in the park and it’s unlike anything you can find at other water parks in the area (read: Ocean Breeze and Soak City).
After spending some time looking through the documents above though, honestly, I think this plan is brilliant. The attraction depicted appears to be a straight upgrade over Meltdown. We aren’t losing anything Meltdown featured and we’re gaining three launches, bigger drops, and faster turns. It’s just a win-win in my honest opinion.
Additionally, I want to take a moment to appreciate all of the recycling that is happening as part of this project.
SeaWorld Parks is, frankly, a chain that has long struggled with fiscal responsibility. The attraction that appears in the site plan above is almost a perfect model for stretching an attraction’s budget as far as it can possibly go. By reusing so much of an existing attraction, SEAS has been able to invest every cent of the budget into building the best, longest, most exciting slide possible. If projects like this are the path forward for SEAS, I’m completely onboard.
August 16th, 2018 Update
That didn’t take long!
Following the leaking of Water Country USA’s 2019 project in the article above, Busch Gardens Williamsburg published a video (included below) formally announcing Meltdown’s closure on September 9th.
Additionally, in the video description, the park mentions that the announcement for Meltdown’s replacement (read: a ProSlide RocketBLAST/FlyingSAUCER hybrid) will happen at 7pm on September 5th via Facebook Live.
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