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Busch Gardens, Williamsburg

Busch Gardens, Williamsburg, is a beautiful family vacation spot covering over 100 acres located near Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia. The park is elaborately themed and decorated to reflect 17th century Europe, with sections of the park dedicated to the atmosphere of Ireland, Italy, England & Scotland, Germany and France. Each section includes detailed styling appropriate to that country, including architecture food, themed attractions, and park attendants costumed in accurate period style.

The park currently features 4 major steel rollercoasters, including 2 large modern B&M coasters and 2 classic Arrow designs. A 5th coaster, Drachenfire, was been removed from service in 1998 and dismantled in 2002, due to high maintenance costs and complaints of rider discomfort.

Apollo's Chariot

1999 (Go to Apollo's Chariot photos)

In 1999 coaster manufacturers Bolliger & Mabillard opened their very first example of the steel hypercoaster style coaster which began gaining popularity with other manufacturers as well as with coaster riders. With a 210 ft first drop, Apollo's Chariot features a sprawling out-and-back layout through a secluded wooded area near the edge of the park, in the San Marco, Italy section. The ride has a total of 9 hills, each with an incredible airtime pop and speedy decent. The turnaround at the far end includes a fast climbing and diving helix with highly banked turns and entry, taking full advantage of the flipping effect when riding the end seats of the 4 across cars.

After riding Apollo's Chariot for the first time in 2000, this coaster was immediately entered on Dexter's short list of "favorite coasters".


1997 (Go to Alpengeist photos)

With a name translating from German into "Ghost of the Alps", Alpengeist was added to Busch Gardens in 1997 as the parks first large steel B&M coaster. Located in the Aquitaine section of the park within "France", this B&M inverted style coaster broke several coaster records the year it opened. Due to construction constraints regarding height and noise regulations in order to not disturb the theme park's neighbors, Alpengeist was built in a sunken area of the park and landscaped with trees and shrubbery to prevent the spread of noise. The ride also includes special noise-deadening features in its design, including filling the box-beam track support structure with dampening material and specially designed "quiet riding" wheels. This results in a muffling of the signature B&M "roar" that typically announces the operation of one of these monster rides throughout the park.

(no longer operating)

1992 (Go to Drachenfire photos)

Built in 1992, Drachenfire was a unique Arrow designed steel looper with pastel blue track and bright red low-slung trains.

In 1998 the ride was shutdown; the park sited high maintenance costs and low ridership. Originally planning to modify the coaster to attract riders, the park decided to sell the coaster instead. When no buyer was found, Drachenfire was dismantled for scrap in 2002.

Big Bad Wolf

1984 (Go to Big Bad Wolf photo)

An Arrow Dynamics suspended coaster built in 1984, Big Bad Wolf features tight turns and twists through and above a small Bavarian village built as a part of the ride's theming. Located in the Rhinefield, Germany section of the park, Big Bad Wolf's layout includes 2 lift hills. The first puts the trains twisting through the village, and the second lift drops riders down a steep plunge swinging over the Rhine River.

Loch Ness Monster

1978 (Go to Loch Ness Monster photos)

In 1978, Busch Gardens unveiled the Loch Ness Monster, the biggest, baddest, steel looping coaster to date. Still one of Arrow's best known coasters, the Monster was the first coaster to feature two vertical, interlocking loops. Located in the Heatherdowns, Scotland section of the park, the coaster sits in a low valley over a large body of water. A walkway across the water gives park visitors some spectacular close-up views of the coaster.

All coaster specs and descriptions are gathered from park info, manufacturers specs, ACE and other coaster literature, and the Roller Coaster DataBase project at

All photos unless otherwise noted were taken by Dexter. Park logos and other graphics are from the parks' official websites.

All pages, images and info © Copyright 1997 - 2009 David W Creighton.
All rights reserved.