Busch Gardens Williamsburg
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment
General Park News - (10/16/18) Naked and Tazed… that’s how one man is going to go down in the history books after he took off all his clothes and began to run naked around the Busch Gardens Williamsburg parking lot the other night. Once a police officer showed up he apparently become “combative” and it was time to break out the tazer to make the arrest. Looks like a guest was on hand with a cell phone cam to capture the final moments, as he was tazed and still was trying to fight his way out and others had to help keep him down.
Unfortunate for him, he was later identified as a 21-year old sailor assigned to the USS George H.W. Bush, who it seems went on a bit of a drinking binge before getting naked and going on a rampage in the parking lot. According to the police report he was intoxicated with “alcohol and illegal narcotics”. If think this is bad so far… just wait until the Navy get a hold of him.
2019 - Finnegan's Flyer & Cutback Water Coaster - (5/25/19) Water Country USA opened their new Cutback Water Coaster attraction this week. You can catch a POV of the new RocketBLAST slide in action below.
(5/6/19) Coaster101 has posted some photos of the new Finnegan’s Flyer ride, now open at Busch Gardens Williamsburg.
(3/19/19) J-Forces has posted a new video from Busch Gardens Williamsburg this week, showing off the progress on the new Cutback Water Coaster and Finnegan’s Flyer attractions.
(2/17/19) Busch Gardens Williamsburg tweeted a progress photo of the new Cutback Water Coaster slide that is quickly coming together at Water Country USA.
(9/6/18) Busch Gardens Williamsburg confirmed a few hours ago new attractions on the way to BGW as well as the Water Country USA waterpark for the 2019 season. Finnegan's Flyer, an S&S Screamin Swing ride, is coming to the Ireland village area. The 32 passenger twin-arm swing ride will rock riders up to 80 feet in the air on each end, and hit a top speed of 45 mph.
Meanwhile at Water Country USA, new Cutback Water Coaster will open next year with an 856 foot long RocketBLAST slide with a top speed of 35 feet per second on 4-passenger rafts and a total drop of 76 feet over the course of the run.
(9/1/18) BGWFans has released another update this week with more details on the 2019 plans for Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Water Country USA. Make the jump for the details, but they are confirming the previous rumors of an S&S - Sansei Screaming Swing (32 Seat Park Model) is coming to the Ireland part of BGW that will swing riders over and out over the waterway below in a very visually dynamic location starting below the entry bridge to the land, but allowing for the riders to swing out and way up over the bridge in height at the top of the swing. The official announcement looks like it make take place on Sept. 5th.
Meanwhile they have also confirmed their previous rumor of a hybrid slide coming to the WCUSA waterpark, so check that out as well.
(9/1/18) BGWFans has confirmed that the new slide coming to the park is indeed a ProSlide RocketBLAST / Flying SAUCER hybrid slide that will feature three uphill water-blast fueled sections and five of the high-speed saucer turns. The official announcement may take place on Sept. 5th.
(7/27/18) More evidence seems to indicate that an S&S Screaming Swings attraction may be coming to Busch Gardens Williamsburg for 2019.
(6/14/18) BGWFans has uncovered new documents that point a clearer picture about what kind of new ride the park may be planning for 2019. While the details are still very vague... what is known is still leading to the conclusion that the park may be adding something from S&S Worldwide... just not the tower rides as I was previously thinking. Instead, what would you say to a giant park-sized Screamin' Swing attraction instead in the Ireland section of the park?
Follow the link to read up on the latest details that have leaked out about the project and what has led them to come to this conclusion thus far.
On a side note, you can also check out BGWFan's lengthy report on this year's Food & Wine Festival as well.
2020 - Pantheon - (9/18/19) Special thanks to Carl Stieren for sending in current pictures of Pantheon under construction. Currently there is no vertical construction, but a lot of ground moving, footers along with prep work for the pedestrian bridge.
(9/16/19) A new concept art image of the Pantheon coaster was released by Busch Gardens Williamsburg this week, giving us an artistic look at some of the coaster’s primary elements, inspired by the legends of the Roman Gods.
(7/31/19) Busch Gardens Williamsburg has announced the new 2020 coaster will be called Pantheon, and themed around the legends of five different Roman gods: Pluto, Neptune, Mercury, Minerva and Jupiter. While an exact layout or animation was not made available, the park does mention details about a number of the ride’s impressive features, and that at 72.5 mph, it will be the fastest multi-launch coaster in North America.
All together, they say that Pantheon will feature four launches, forwards and backwards, two inversions and a beyond vertical 95º drop. The overall track length will be 3,328 feet and take riders up to 180 feet in the air at the highest point. The coaster is from Intamin and will be able to run two trains at once, with each train able to hold 20 riders. You can see one layout on the official website.
(7/26/19) Busch Gardens has released several more of the Roman flag animated teasers, representing different Gods, on their social media channels. There are now flags for Jupiter, Minerva and Neptune.
(7/3/19) Following the teaser about Pluto for the BGW 2020 coaster project comes another teaser, this one themed to the Roman god, Mercury, which takes us back to Rome… and the existing theme of the area just outside the proposed entrance to the new coaster next to the Roman Rapids. So I guess the hope for the new Greece theme land was short lived, as it looks like they will be keeping this all Rome.
Since they have already mentioned two gods so far… I’ve got a feeling more are to come between now and July 30th.
(6/27/19) Busch Gardens Williamsburg has posted a quick teaser for their 2020 coaster project that ends with a bunch of Roman Numerals that I believe are giving us the announcement date for the ride: 7/30/2019.
There are a few other hints you might notice in the post, such as the description text that says “Escape Pluto’s twisted Underworld and be immortalized in the garden of the Gods”. Pluto is an interesting clue, as Pluto is the Greek God of the underworld who is more widely known under his previous name, Hades. There are some differences between the use of the two names, but for intents here, both names apply to the God of the Underworld. Meanwhile in the short animation from the park the banner flag has an interesting symbol on it, where the top half seems partially inspired by an ancient symbol for Pluto, and also features a Grecian Fret pattern across the top.
So in addition to the announcement date, we also seem to have a clear theme for the ride, which is Greek in origin, which suggests that the ride may be the start of the new ‘Greece’ themed area for the park going forward.
(3/30/19) BGWFans has uncovered new documents that list revised heights for Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s 2020 coaster plans. There is still some uncertainty due to the terminology used in the documentation when referring to the ride’s “elevation” and height above “grade” due to the unusual terrain it will be built across. So despite asking for an initial height waiver to build something up to 315 feet above grade, they believe the maximum height of the ride, which will be for the spike track, may only be about 179 feet tall, and a top hat element that will be about 159 feet “above grade”, with a best guess that the big drop from the top of the top hat down to the edge of the Rhine River would be somewhere around a 190 foot drop.
Follow the link to read all the technical details and check out the tweet below to see the official color palette to be used for the coaster as well. Click on the image to see all seven colors that would be used for the project.
(3/19/19) While nothing has officially been said yet, Busch Gardens Williamsburg did show off a strange “MMXX” logo and handed out some free hats with it as well, as the teasing begins for the park’s 2020 mega coaster project. Oh, and for those that don’t get it… MMXX is 2020 in Roman Numerals and it just so happens that the coaster is going into the Italian section of the park.
(3/14/19) BGWFans has posted a new update about the BGW 2020 multi-launch coaster project in development, which we’ve also heard that the park itself may release some kind of teaser about it this Saturday. The article is very detailed, going so far as to offer an element by element breakdown of what we can expect from the new coaster. Check it out!
(2/10/19) After a lengthy period of leaks that latest information to leak out regarding the mega coaster planned for Busch Gardens Williamsburg in 2020 paints an impressive picture. Since 2017 the coaster has been referred to on internal documents as “Project Madrid” and BGWFans have been on the forefront of digging up all the latest and greatest information on this project.
From what they are reporting the plan is now simply for a new coaster, and will not include include a new land theme to “Spain” or anything. (Or at least not right now, you never know, they could add stuff around the ride in a future project…) If you scroll down on their project update you’ll see their best guess as to the coaster’s layout, based on the location of the various footers marked on a project map. Based on this guess-work, the coaster appears to have an initial launch section near the start of the ride, and then an interesting second launch zone in mid ride that appears to use a rapid track switch system that will activiate after the train passes into the launch area to ‘switch’ so that the train will hit some kind of hill without enough speed to make it over, roll-back through the launch zone again, over the switch and backwards up a large spike track for a brief freefall moment before plunging down again into the launch zone a third time where it will get the full boost needed to make up over and over that large hill or top-hat element. From there will come the biggest drop of the entire ride, as the train will plunge from it’s highest point down the cliff edge of the Rhine River for a near-brush with the water’s edge before before climbing back up the cliff to complete the rest of the ride’s high-speed layout.
Intamin is making almost the exact same style mid-ride shuttle-launch zone for a project announced for Parc Asterix in 2021, and actually starts off the Soaring With Dragon coaster in China with this same style launch system concept too. With that in mind, I’m guessing this also adds more credit the rumor from last fall that indicated that Intamin was behind this new coaster as well.
(9/27/18) While little is known about the planned launched/shuttle coaster coming to BGW in 2020, a popular rumor going around this week claims that the ride experience could be from Intamin and end up being something similar to the "Soaring With Dragon" coaster they built in China. You can see a pretty good POV of this coaster below to get an idea of how this kind of ride might work in Williamsburg, but with an added big drop down to the river and back as the big finale at the end.
As you can see in the video, the experience from this kind of coaster is simply all about pure raw speed, rather than big hills or inversions, as it blazes across the landscape.
(9/25/18) A graphic leaked about BGW's 2020 coaster plans is interesting and backs up those earlier rumors claiming it would be a multi-launch shuttle coaster. Other factors include a 54" height limit (standard for a big thriller like this), that will be promoted as being the park's fastest coaster with a top speed of 76mph. It will hit that top speed during the "final drop" of the ride, which will be seen from the "Italy Bridge". One interesting factoid about the graphic however is that it lists this as a "Family thrill coaster".
(9/16/18) According to an interesting new rumor posted to WildGravityTravels, the new coaster planned for Busch Gardens Williamsburg in 2020 is said to be a "multi-launch shuttle coaster" experience with a top speed of 76mph. Given the size this ride is expected to reach, I'd be surprised if this is a true traditional shuttle coaster style layout, and maybe something quite next-gen where it may start things off with a forward/backwards style shuttle launch segment to get up to speed and utilize some kind of transfer track to get there, with the rest of the ride being a more traditional one-way track affair. Perhaps something like the Star Trek: Operation Enterprise coaster that opened in Germany last year that does all of this on a much smaller scale... but add in a drop off the cliff in Williamsburg for a near-miss with the Rhine River and I could see it hitting that kind of speed easy. The one odd thing is that the permits for the ride asked for a 315 foot height variance, but a ride that tall would be able to reach 90mph and not just 76mph, so something isn't quite adding up here.
(8/10/18) According to the latest developments for Busch Gardens Williamsburg, a report posted by BGWFans claims for certain that new documents filed for "Project Madrid" will involve a new roller coaster being built in the park's Festa Field area. The documents only show part of the overall area to be built upon, but what you can clearly see unmistakably looks to be a series of coaster footers. And do remember that the park was previously given permission for an attraction that would rise 315 feet above grave level for Project Madrid, so the guess here is that this new coaster will feature another signature drop down to near the water level of the Rhine river, much like Verbolten (and Big Bad Wolf did) on the opposite side of the river. Scroll down at the link to see where they transpose the document drawing over an aerial image of the park and you can see the same series of concrete footers used for Verbolten.
(5/5/18) Another interesting item was found in the documents filed for the Ireland Expansion height variance. While nothing was directly even mentioned about this, if you look at the overhead drawing of the park, the Festa Field area, which was previously granted a 315 foot height variance in 2017 appears to have a massive structure drawn into that location. The problem is... it doesn't look anything like a thrill ride, or anything that would be 315 feet tall. Instead it looks very much like a large semi-circular amphitheater. Based on the size of it, this would be an even bigger venue that the current Royal Palace Theater, and I suppose could serve as a good replacement for the older entertainment venue if they were looking to free up space on that side of the park for another future expansion. Anyone know more about just what exactly is going on here, as this seems to be going against their previous plans to build something tall in Festa Field.
(8/12/17) Good news for Busch Gardens Williamsburg... the Board of Supervisors approved the park's request to build their new 315 foot tall attraction. Now if only we knew what this was, or when it might be coming...
(8/3/17) The local news reports that Busch Gardens Williamsburg will request the height variance for a new 315-foot tall attraction at a 5pm meeting on August 8th at the County Government Center Board Room (101 Mounts Bay Road). If anyone is local to the area and wants to attend, you might get a sneak peek. If granted, the park has 36 months to begin construction, so this doesn’t necessarily mean that attraction will open in 2018 attraction. According to a local news report, photos submitted of the height balloon test show that the new attraction would be no more visible than Mach Tower, Griffon or Apollo’s Chariot from outside the park.
(7/7/17) Some interesting news has come to light regarding the future expansion plans of Busch Gardens Williamsburg over the past few days. For starters a permit for an attraction height wavier was submitted by the park for a staggering 315 feet, which is kind of surprising for BGW. As rumored, the location for the permit is a site referred to as "Festa Field" which is currently used for animal use between Festa Italia and the Rhine River.
You can see an image of the permit posted to Facebook on the BGWFans page, which is where the next interesting factoid comes up... the title of the permit is "Busch Gardens Madrid". It's been no secret that the park has long been rumored to have plans to expand by building a new country area themed to Spain. Over the past decade I think Screamscape has posted rumors that a Spain themed expansion was on the way no less than three times, only for the project to get delayed or be put on hold for a variety of reasons. As I recall, the last time we had heard about a Spain expansion, the rumor was that it would be built up in two phases, one phase would include the majority of the themed land and some smaller attractions while the other phase would involve the construction of a very large roller coaster. Could this finally be coming to pass?
And could we be seeing a new B&M Gigacoaster at last?
2021 - New Tall Attraction - Planning - (4/4/19) BGWFans has posted the first update about a possible 2021 attraction project in the works for Busch Gardens Williamsburg. According to the update the park has applied for a new height waiver to build a structure up to 355 feet above grade for a project labeled as “Busch Gardens Project 2021”. The location of the tallest point of the structure is said to be in the Oktoberfest section of the park.
With a coaster in the works for 2020, I’ve got to think that the park could be looking to add something entirely different in 2021, which would likely involve a large tower. With a drop tower already in place at the park, and since no one seems to build observation towers anymore, I’ve got to wonder if they are planning on adding something like a Star Flyer or Giant Wheel to the park.
2021?? - Sesame Place Williamsburg - Rumor - (4/3/18) Ever since SeaWorld parks mentioned in May 2017 that their extended partnership with Sesame Workshop included a plan to build a new Sesame Place theme park somewhere in the United States by 2021, the big question everyone has been wondering about is, "Where?"
We know it wont be in Florida, because at the same time they also announced a plan to open a Sesame Street themed land within SeaWorld Orlando by Fall 2022, and California's crowded theme park landscape also seemed a bit unfriendly to the concept.
So would you believe... Williamsburg, Virginia? According to an excellent posting at BGWFans, SeaWorld Parks has been sending out online surveys to guests of Busch Gardens Williamsburg asking for their feedback on the possibility of adding a Sesame Place park to their Williamsburg park property, creating a third gate.
Please do jump over to BGWFans to read the details and see some of the graphics included in the survey, which show off a basic layout of the park where the existing Forest of Fun area of Busch Gardens would be walled off from the rest of the park and linked up to three new lands to create this new mini park property. The new lands would include a separate main entry land, full of shops and restaurants, a couple of lands with dry rides, shows and other attractions and finally a wet themed land with water fun and a couple of waterslide attractions. As a whole, it looked like this new park would take up the current "France" parking lot.
The idea is interesting, as there has been past interest in building a new park focused on small children in the Williamsburg area in the past, as the region was considered as a possible location for the first Legoland park in the US before the California site won out. Disney too was almost lured to the nearby region with dreams of building the "Disney's America" theme park concept once upon a time. The Williamsburg region has proven to be popular with tourist almost year-round, so perhaps there is a need here. BGWFans also continued with a second article sharing their own thoughts about the Why and Why-Not aspects of building a Sesame Place park here... though perhaps the biggest reason not to build it may simply be because the existing Sesame Place park may be a bit too close for comfort, located just a 5 hour drive away, just north of Philadelphia.
Again, this is just a survey to get feedback on the location, and in reality they may opt to build in an entirely different location. Time will tell...