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Drachen Spire Stirs

Tales Tell of a Dragon in the German Countryside

Tales Tell of a Dragon in the German Countryside

Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You

Back in November, we wrote about Project Drachen Spire’s COVID-induced slumber. In that article, we discussed the history of Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s thoroughly-leaked, Intamin-made, multi-launch, shuttle, giga coaster that was originally slated to debut just one year after Pantheon in 2021.

As described in our November piece, COVID derailed those original Drachen Spire plans by delaying Pantheon by two full years and pushing the park to pursue year-round operations. In the wake of the pandemic and due in large part to the park’s recent operating calendar expansion, Busch Gardens Williamsburg opted to pursue a smaller, indoor project to immediate follow Pantheon instead—an Intamin-made, quad-launch, multi-lap, indoor, family coaster we’ve since leaked as Project DarKoaster.

Throughout all of this, we’ve continuously stuck to our guns on one thing: Despite all the delays, Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s intention—to construct an absolutely enormous coaster on the former site of Drachen Fire before the park’s 50th anniversary in 2025—has remained unchanged.

Rumbles From the Spire

Yesterday, after nearly a full year since the last public record sign of life from Drachen Spire, Busch Gardens Williamsburg filed for an extension of the project’s height waiver with James City County. Just like they did back in 2019, with this new application, the park is requesting permission to construct a permanent structure towering 355 feet above grade. An image of the application can be found below.

Now, before we project too much optimism here, we have to note a few things.

  • The existence of a height waiver does not guarantee that a structure will be built. It’s not impossible that the park could simply be filing to extend this waiver to keep their options open.
  • The proposed structure height is a maximum height, not a set height. Infamously, Pantheon used only part of the 315 foot height waiver that was originally requested and approved to accommodate its predecessor, the cancelled Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Rhine-crossing, full-circuit giga coaster project in development in the late 2010s, Project Madrid.
  • There is still plenty of time for plans to change. This extended height waiver, assuming it is approved, would almost certainly not result in an attraction opening before 2024. Even if Busch Gardens Williamsburg is full steam ahead on Drachen Spire for 2024 right now, there is plenty of time for timelines to shift or plans to change.

So, what should you take away from this article? This new filing from the park is a very promising sign for anyone who wants to see the long-planned Busch Gardens Williamsburg giga come to fruition. It’s not sure-fire evidence that Drachen Spire, as leaked pre-pandemic, is happening, but this is a required step on the path to making such a coaster a reality. It’s highly unlikely that this height waiver would have been renewed if Busch Gardens Williamsburg wasn’t still deep into development on a major attraction for Festhaus Park within the next couple years. Optimism is warranted in my assessment, but make sure you don’t get your hopes up too high just yet.

It’s hard to believe that we’re juggling three coaster projects right now! About a month ago, we exclusively published a collection of some of the first-ever Pantheon rider reviews, just yesterday we updated you all on Project DarKoaster, and today we’re reporting on Project Drachen Spire! Truly wild times!

To stay up to date with all of the excitement surrounding Busch Gardens Williamsburg right now, hit us with a like or follow on our primary social media pages: Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. If you’d like to interact with us more directly or you just want to read along with the community’s BGW findings, concepts, discussions, and more, join us over on our partner forum,!

Oh, and stay tuned for part two of our late February photo update—it should be live within the next couple days! This Drachen Spire story sorta came out of nowhere after I published yesterday. I’m sure you’ll forgive the interruption to the previously promised programming though. 😉

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  1. I was never impressed by Drachen Spire’s design. It felt rushed and lacked originality. I think they should create a new design, something with a complete circuit.

  2. I think a giga would seal the deal on BGW being the dominant park in Virginia over Kings Dominion….if it already isn’t now with the opening of Pantheon over there 2021 release of Tumbili 😎😎😎

  3. I think a coaster should be built in the old DF area, but not this concept. It’s a bit boring and doesn’t really do much. We need a full circuit, river crossing, tall monster coaster!

    1. I’ve been waiting for far too long for someone to tell me that this layout was a joke. Unfortunately, I’m still waiting.