I spent the morning promising “2020 news” on Twitter and ParkFans. Well, I must admit that was slightly (intentionally) misleading. While there was Pantheon news today (track is on site!), the “2020 news” I’m writing about today is probably more accurately described as “news from 2020“—specifically news that we expect will be announced in 2020 regarding Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s follow-up to Pantheon, Project 2021. Better yet? This is yet another blockbuster BGW Project 2021 story—we’re revealing some serious new information and confirming some details we’ve been suspecting for a while now. Anyway, without further ado, lets jump in!
As you may remember from our Pantheon coverage, Busch Gardens Williamsburg is required to submit a partial site plan to the James City County Stormwater & Resource Protection office when future construction projects may impact the Rhine River. That’s exactly what we have today—part of the site plan for Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s new-for-2021 attraction.
So what is BGW’s 2021 project? Well, at this point, we can say pretty conclusively that it is, in fact, a roller coaster—a big one too by the looks of it. While this news shouldn’t catch anyone off-guard who has been following the project over the last handful of months, we still shouldn’t undersell the importance of this news—this is an official filing from the park depicting roller coaster footers in Festhaus Park for a project we expect to open in 2021, just a single year after Pantheon opens. That is insane.
Anyway, if we expand out from the cropped down version of the site plan above, we start to see some helpful context.
First off, lets provide some location information. The RPA impacts area depicted above parallels the Rhine between Verbolten’s Rhine River drop and the Busch Gardens Railroad’s Rhine River Trestle. As you may be able to see from the faint terrain contours in the map above, there is a sizable ravine that cuts into the Project 2021 site from the Rhine River. The footers in the site plan above seem to bisect that exact area. Below I’ve included a Google Map that shows the general area we’re talking about here.
Next, lets dive into the actual foundations depicted in the document itself. The green areas, as you likely guessed, are planned impervious areas in the site plan (read: solid foundations) that will encroach into the resource protection area.
Given the terrain in that area and the width of the coaster footers depicted, the long contiguous green area is almost certainly a valley of some sort in the coaster’s layout. As the footers get wider at either end of that strip, we would expect the track to gain altitude. We know from the height waiver documents that the highest point of this coaster will be located off to the left of the RPA impacts area. With that in mind, it seems to us that the footers in this plan are for the element immediately before or after the 355-ish foot highest point of Project 2021.
In addition to the impervious areas highlighted in green, astute viewers may notice that there are three other squares depicted in the lower right side of the document. For now we’re going to assume that these were accidentally left behind in the submitted version of this document despite not being in the resource protection area. It’s not impossible that they could represent some existing feature on the site (leftover Drachen Fire footers possibly?), but we have yet to see any evidence to support that idea. If we assume those are 2021 footers, it would suggest that there’s a turn next to the railroad tracks to the right of the depicted RPA impacts.
Putting this all together with the 2021 station floor plan we obtained back in August, I created our current “best guess” approximation of the two track segments we can currently take a stab at.
Which direction the train will travel through the newly-revealed Rhine River-adjacent track section or how that area of the coaster will connect back to the station is currently anyone’s guess. That said, if this is a roughly 355 foot tall giga coaster with a drop down into a ravine next to the Rhine River, I’m sure many people don’t need to know the whole layout just yet to be incredibly excited.
To stay up to date with this potentially mind-boggling new roller coaster, make sure you’re following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram—each of those accounts tend to get slightly different content so it’s worth checking them all out from time to time!
BGW Project 2021