Busch Gardens Williamsburg
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment
General Park News - (7/10/15) The local news has posted a report from a guest claiming that their shoulder straps came loose on Tempesto at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. While this may be cause of concern on most other rides, what the "general public" doesn't know is that Tempesto's shoulder straps are actually not part of the safety system for Tempesto, but rather were an addition added to the ride at the park's request "for guest comfort, not safety."
All the other clones of Tempesto that Premier Rides, the coaster manufacture, has built to date only have lap-bar restraints and not shoulder straps. The way the belt is installed, from what I'm told, a guest can press the release button in mid-ride and find themselves in the same situation... but they are still 100% safely locked in as it is the lap-bar and not the shoulder straps that are really the thing holding the riders in. Given that the release button is attached to the lap-bar next to the big red grip area, it is easy to see how a guest might accentually cause this to happen in the middle of the ride, especially if they are scared and clawing away to get a better grip. So far the park has not indicated that they are looking to change the way the restraint works yet.
In other news, you can see a photo of the 4D photo op set up outside Curse of DarKastle at ParkFans, which includes a three-dimensional roller coaster car with seats sitting on top of a huge artwork background placed flat on the ground.
(7/8/15) While I haven't see a picture of this yet, I'm told that the project set up outside Curse of DarKastle is a giant photo-op, where you take your picture on a giant decorated mat which makes it look like you are on a coaster.
(7/6/15) A couple of odd-photos from Busch Gardens Williamsburg posted to the Coaster Studios Facebook page show off some kind of odd project going on next to Curse of DarKastle, including a sign that says "Something Thrilling is Coming Soon!" Anyone know what is going on?
(6/18/15) The Howl-O-Scream website for Busch Gardens Williamsburg has been updated with the new event theme for this year, "Unearthed", along with a story about how park maintenance crews were stopped in their tracks when they hit upon a mysterious object while digging in a back area of the park. Curious to know what exactly they have Unearthed? So am I.
Returning haunts include Bitten, Catacombs, Cut Throat Cove and Deadline, with new 2015 haunt information still to come.
(5/13/15) Busch Gardens Williamsburg shows off a preview trailer for "40 Years of Fun" a new documentary all about the theme park, bringing back past as well as current park execs to talk about the park and their experiences along with fans. Look for it to preview later this month.
(4/17/15) BGW ParkFans has reported that the somewhat controversial VP of Entertainment at BGW, Scott Gasparich, has left the company, along with some others from both the Entertainment and Marketing departments.
(2/21/15) BGWFans has posted an update regarding Busch Gardens Williamsburg's 2015 operational calendar. I personally don't follow this kind of thing myself very often, but they report that the usual opening day for the season has been pushed back by a week, but so has the final opening date in the fall, so it all balances out. Meanwhile the park will close an hour earlier than normal at 9pm on weeknights in the summer instead of 10pm, and the hours posted for the later half of the year suggest fewer dates for the Howl-O-Scream and Christmas Town events, though there is still time to alter those dates as the events get closer.
(1/6/15) BGWFans reports that Busch Gardens management is said to be canceling the This is Oktoberfest show for the 2015 season, which has played in Das Festhaus in one form or another since the 70s. The park previously tried to cancel it back in 2012, but was met with such backlash from the passholders and guests that they put it back. Now they are trying to cancel it again.
(12/22/14) Reports of new budget cuts from Busch Gardens Williamsburg are a bit sad to hear. According to a number of reports so far, instead of some cuts that one would expect to hear from the park after the last couple of years, we are hearing instead about a number of proposed cuts to the park’s Zoology / Animal Care department. According to these reports a number of the park’s animals may soon be shipped off either to other parks in the chain, or have been sold to other zoos and wildlife parks instead. This doesn’t mean that the park will have no animals when it opens in 2015, as we are told that the staples are expected to remain (horses, sheep, wolves, eagles) but beyond this, you may find the rest of the park’s animals removed either from in-park displays, or from behind the scenes habitats for those animals seen only in special displays and toured around the park by staff.
(10/14/14) Is Busch Gardens Williamsburg up to something? BGWFans reports that the park did a height check with a survey balloon the other day. Best guess is that the balloon was raised somewhere between the Festhaus and Festhaus Park… the former location of Drachen Fire, but… it only appeared to be about 60 ft or so in the air. So… a height check for something not very tall… in an area that once held something much taller. Seems odd to me…
2015 - TEMPESTO - (4/28/15) A great photo and trip report from the now-open Tempesto coaster at Busch Gardens Williamsburg can be found at Coaster-Nation and a quick video report has also been posted by our friends at CoasterRadio which you can watch below.
(4/20/15) Tempesto apparently opened briefly to a few lucky preview riders over the weekend at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, ahead of the grand opening on April 25th. You can also see a POV video of the entire ride experience below.
(3/23/15) Finally... Busch Gardens has announced Tempesto as their new coaster. You can see a video of the live in-park announcement posted down below. Look for Tempesto to open on April 25.
Meanwhile our friends at Behind the Thrills have posted a little more information about the coaster, an interview with the park about it, a look around the station at the new coaster train (along with a test launch), and details about the major overhaul the park's log flume has been getting which will include a new track system for the flume as well as all new boats to ride in. The interesting thing here is that the new "logs" for Le Scoot will be made from actual logs... which may be a first for a modern flume ride.
(3/18/15) Just as I noticed in the artwork, the first picture of a Tempesto train was posted to Facebook by BGWInsider a few hours ago, and you can clearly see hardened rubber looking over the shoulder belts and how they will attach to the lapbar with a seatbelt style buckle.
(3/11/15) Rumor has it that Busch Gardens might finally announce their new coaster on March 21st... at a Passholder Preview event. Apparently the park had marketing people at the Washington DC Travel & Adventure Show running a booth... and even there they refused to admit that the park would open any kind of new ride this summer.
On another note entirely, BGWFans has done a little more digging into what I pointed out on the leaked promo art... that the coaster's trains would have some kind of shoulder strap system. According to their latest discovery, these wont be just belt straps, but will be a "stiff, rubberized-plastic" style over the shoulder restraints.
(3/2/15) While Busch Gardens Williamsburg may STILL not have announced their new Tempesto coaster to the public, the execs did confirm it during the year-end earnings conference call. Click here to hear the part of the call discussing new 2015 attractions for the chain.
(2/20/15) A piece of leaked concept art for the new, and still unannounced, Tempesto coaster at Busch Gardens Williamsburg was posted to the ParkFans forum the other day. I don't know if this is a final or near-final piece of artwork, but the train style is interesting as the normally flat fronted Premier Rides train is shown with a decorative nose-cone. Even more interesting is the fact that they have added a pair of restraint belts going from the lap bar up and over each rider's shoulders. This makes me wonder if we will see a modified restraint system put to use here instead of using the standard lap bar only system.
(1/6/15) The latest update on Tempesto, the park's new 2015 coaster (still not announced) can be found at BGWFans this week, taking pictures of the project from just about every angle. Both tower ends are now in place and they just have to bridge the gap and install the rest of the track.
(12/31/14) A new construction progress video from Busch Gardens Williamsburg was posted by our friends at In The Loop below for what they are jokingly calling the “Landscape Project 2015” since the park has still not confessed to building a new coaster.
(12/28/14) A construction video from Busch Gardens Williamsburg was posted by Coaster Studios to YouTube (see below) as a signifigant amount of structure and track are now in place for the unannounced new 2015 coaster.
(12/22/14) A great video from Busch Gardens Williamsburg shows off the latest construction progress on the park’s new 2015 Roller Coaster, which has STILL not been officially announced or even confirmed by the park, despite the glaring construction project being visible for all to see.
(12/9/14) A new video report from the Busch Gardens Williamsburg coaster construction site was posted by InTheLoop.
(11/26/14) Tempesto is now rising at Busch Gardens Williamsburg at last, as the blue and orange steel is starting to rise into the sky next to Apollo’s Chariot. You can find some pictures taken on site posted to BGWFans.
Oh, and bit of fair warning to anyone planning on going to the winter Christmas Town event in the park, I’m told that both The Curse of DarKastle and Europe in the Air (the park’s only two fully indoor climate controlled rides) are both closed for the winter. Talk about bad planning…
(10/10/14) In The Loop has posted a new construction video from BGW this week, showing off the construction site for the 2015 coaster. Later on they also discovered some rehab work taking place on the park’s Le Scoot log flume ride where they have removed the entire splash-down portion of the flume for replacement.
(9/24/14) I’ve got a couple more picture to share from the new coaster construction site next to Apollo’s Chariot, sent in fresh from over the weekend.
(9/19/14) While the park hasn’t made the news public, BGWInsider reports that it did announce the details about the new 2015 coaster to park employees on Thursday. The final name is Tempesto and it will be the coaster we already heard about, standing 157 feet tall, 60 mph and with 3 inversions. Look for the official public announcement to come any day now.
(9/16/14) BGWInsider has posted some new pictures from the 2015 coaster construction site this week.
(9/4/14) Coaster Crew has posted a new video from Busch Gardens Williamsburg showing off the new 2015 coaster construction site clearing next to Apollo’s lift hill, before they wander off and look at the latest Howl-O-Scream installation work.
(8/25/14) Our first sighting of the new BGW coaster track was made over the weekend. Check out the picture of it, still on the back of the flatbed truck making the delivery.
(8/21/14) Ground clearing has begun at Busch Gardens Williamsburg to make way for the 2015 coaster. You can see a picture of the clearing going in alongside Apollo’s lift hill here.
(8/7/14) The whole Diavolo name / theme now makes a bit more sense after being explained to me. Apparently Diavolo was a daredevil / stunt bicycle performer who would perform loop stunts on a bicycle in the early half of the 20th Century. Check out a picture of one of the stunts and promotional Diavolo (Italian for Devil) poster art here. Ok... while the name and theme makes more sense now... it still seems a bit of a stretch to try and promote this new coaster as being themed to a century old daredevil that has been almost entirely forgotten about.
(8/6/14) Everything you might want to see or know about Diavolo, the rumored new coaster coming to the park can be found at BGWFans this week. This includes signage, fašade work, and more… but I’m very confused by the bicycle graphics being mixed in with the Diavolo… because the last thing I think about when I’m looking at a giant high speed coaster is going for a bike ride. Talk about a worst possible combination… but I have to say it… I think this is going to look just ugly. I could be wrong… but that’s my gut take on all this right now, along with a sense of confusion.
(8/1/14) The latest find by BGWFans posted to Twitter seems to confirm the rumored and disliked new coaster project planned for Busch Gardens Williamsburg, showing off a 3D rendering of the new coaster project layout envelope and station building. Now don’t get me wrong... by all accounts this Premier Rides coaster design did wow most coaster fans when it first opened at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom two years ago as Superman, but you’ve got to have the right coaster designed for the right park. So if that design, with limited capacity, has huge lines at one of Six Flags’ smallest parks, just imagine how long the lines are going to be at a larger park like Busch Gardens Williamsburg. In my open humble and expert opinion... this is not the right coaster for this park. SeaWorld Texas maybe... or Sesame Place... but not Busch Gardens.
(5/13/14) News Plus Notes spotted an interesting new trademark filing by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment this week for something called TEMPESTO. They report that the Italian sounding word loosely translates to storm. They’ve come to the same conclusion as I have, that this would be a perfect sounding name for that rumored new coaster planned for the Festa Italia section of Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Just something to keep an eye on at the very least.
(4/26/14) When I first heard the rumor about two weeks ago, I didn’t want to believe it. I really didn’t… because I feel deep down that this may be a horrible decision. Others have since backed up the rumors, so I can only assume they are true.
So what is this terrible rumor? To many of you, it may not seem that terrible… but it seems that the new 2015 coaster project coming to Busch Gardens Williamsburg into the Festa Italia section will be a clone of the Premier Ride’s built Superman: Ultimate Flight at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. While this is an excellent ride for a smaller park like SFDK, it really does not have the capacity required for a large park like Busch Gardens Williamsburg. For those not aware, the trains are small… only two cars long, each one holding six riders, for a total of 12 per train… and due to the design it can only run one train at a time. A little quick math will tell you that if they can manage to dispatch a train cycle every 3 minutes, the ride only has an hourly capacity of 240 riders per hour. Now compare this to the theoretical capacity of Apollo’s Chariot, which is said to be capable of up to 1,750 riders per hour. It hardly seems fair doesn’t it? Even if the park is open for 14 hours (10am to Midnight), assuming zero downtime, this new coaster will only thrill 3,500 park guests maximum in a single day. When the park racks up 18,000 to 30,000 guests a day during the busy summer season, only a fraction of the park’s guests will be able to ride this thing.
In any case, I just don’t like the idea. This would be a perfect coaster for Six Flags America… but I just can’t justify this for Busch Gardens Williamsburg. BGWFansite has been following this for quite some time and now BGWFans has a new report about it as well with layout plans as well.
(10/10/13) According to this local news report the new attraction permit BGW filed refers to the ride as a 2015 attraction, so that rules out a mad rush to have it installed for 2014. This begs the question… will the park install any new major attraction for 2014 or opt to let things sit stagnant for another year?
(10/9/13) BGWFans reports that Busch Gardens Williamsburg is preparing some kind of expansion and renovation to the park’s Festa Italia area. The project will include a new 156 foot tall attraction according to permits filed by the park. BGWFans takes a look at where markings have been found on the park, where soil testing is said to have been taking place and more to try and come up with an idea of what may be in the works for 2014 or 2015.
???? - Water Country USA Expansion - Planning - (11/22/11) The expansion plan proposed by Water Country USA was given unanimous approval from the local Board of Supervisors. No timeline was given as to how the expansion will take place, other than it will be done over five phases.
(10/14/11) BGWFans has posted a nice map showing off the new proposed master plan for Water Country USA over the next decade.
(10/12/11) The local news reports that Water Country USA has filed paperwork seeking to expand the waterpark’s size by 43 acres, in addition to the park’s current 41 acres of attractions. Keep in mind, this is for a new overall master plan for the entire park site that will shape everything that is to come over the next decade or two and not a plan for one giant expansion that will happen over the next year or two.