“Forgot this was a thing.” — @thatcoasternerd
That was a comment in response to our Instagram post Thursday about Water Country USA’s Cutback Water Coaster, and it was hardly out of the norm.
Busch Gardens Williamsburg is currently building and designing two thrill rides—Finnegan’s Flyer and Project 2020—that are large enough to overshadow Cutback, their sister project just up the road. As exciting as BGW’s new flat ride and roller coaster are, WCUSA’s new attraction looks fun and unusual and deserves its share of attention, too. Luckily, BGWFans was invited on Thursday to participate in a hard hat tour of the site of this nearly-complete water park attraction.
As everyone who has kept up with our forum or read Zachary’s August 2018 article on WCUSA’s Project 2019 knows, the park is installing a new ProSlide RocketBLAST/FlyingSAUCER water coaster, called “Cutback.” As we already reported, it replaced Meltdown, even reusing some of the old infrastructure (including the raft beltlift and some plumbing). This unusual attraction is scheduled to open in May 2019, possibly with the park.
We were able to see the ride in person, and it looks curvy and wild. The coaster boasts three uphill launch sections and five high-G centrifugal saucers. It is also very pretty with a surfing-inspired color scheme, and down-turned disks that can be easily seen from the path.
There are lots of of fun, colorful slides at WCUSA, so why should it matter that this project has gotten lost in the dry park hype? Water coasters, in general, are not all that common. Cutback, however, is particularly rare.
If you have ridden one of the few such attractions at parks like Dollywood’s Splash Mountain or Universal’s Volcano Bay, you know how cool it is to experience coaster-like forces on a water ride. How often do you get launched up a hill, while getting drenched? Besides, who doesn’t want to enjoy a high-G ride, without having to dry off and leave the park?
So, what makes Cutback unusual, even among water coasters? Most use hydromagnetic launch systems. Cutback, instead, relies on a water jet propulsion system. Without making any claims about the engineering, we can say with confidence that the launch tubes with big, external water nozzles, and the in-line, four-person rafts with water “pockets” look cool. As my poly-sci brain understands it, the water from the nozzles catches the pockets and forces the raft uphill, setting it up for more downhill turns and slides.
Cutback is also incredibly photogenic. Finnegan’s Flyer may have great airtime, but this ride is just so much easier on the eyes.
In addition to delivering interesting forces, the saucers are offset from the pretty blue-striped tubes with contrasting beachy yellows and oranges. The colors are meant to blend with the surrounding attractions, while also fitting in with the planned surf-themed decorations.
The white, almost “ribbed,” launch tubes also stand out, adding interesting texture to the overall look. Really, after having walked all over the construction site, we were unable to find a single bad angle on this architecturally-appealing water thrill ride.
While we won’t know how the area will look, before it is completed, we were told to expect trees, grass, small decorations, and new signage to fill out the site. Up top guests will find a recently-installed shaded deck and start tub, as well. That said, a few more trees may be sacrificed near the path, so people can admire the sparkly, new slide.
Having, myself, ridden a few water coasters in the past, I am, personally, excited to have one so much closer to home. They are fundamentally different than any other attraction at the park, and, in my opinion, a great addition.
So, everyone who loves coaster forces should for a moment pull their attention away from the big, metal structures dominating the news over at BGW, and take a ride on WCUSA’s Project 2019, Cutback Water Coaster. It should be as fun as it is eye-catching, and, yes, it is a thing.