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New drop ride and launch coaster highlight Busch Gardens Williamsburg's expansion plans

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Published: September 18, 2010 at 10:44 AM

Busch Gardens Williamsburg has announced the details of its two-year expansion plan, including expansions for Water Country USA.

We knew that a tower ride was coming for spring 2011, and now we know the details. Mach Tower will debut mext year, a 245-foot drop tower located in the Oktoberfest section of the park. It will be an outdoor drop tower.

Also in the Oktoberfest section, Busch Gardens will be refurbishing and updating the look of that section of the park, including changes to the stores and games located there.

In 2012, Busch Gardens will debut a new roller coaster. This roller coaster will be a multi-launch roller coaster.

At Water Country USA, they will debut Vanish Point in 2011. This is a 75 foot tower with two drop options. You can stand in a sky box, and you start as soon as the floor gives out. The other option is to start horizontally on a speed slide.

You can find out more details of these new updates on the Busch Gardens Williamsburg website.

Readers' Opinions

From Ryan S on September 18, 2010 at 11:03 AM
The drop tower sounds like it will be like the one at Six Flags over Georgia, only taller. My guess it the surprise at the top is the seats tilting out. Just speculation though
From Joshua Counsil on September 18, 2010 at 12:17 PM
A drop tower in Oktoberfest?
From David L. on September 18, 2010 at 12:47 PM
alas, SFOG looses the claim of having the only one in the country(i think). But good for Busch Gardens! Also, why does the busch gardens parks copy each other so much?(Intamin Coaster) every time a new ride pops out in Florida a bigger duplicate will appear in Virginia. (notice the claim of "many 'firsts' " on the website). I can't wait to see both of these when they come out!
From Frank Forrester on September 18, 2010 at 1:50 PM
The Drop Tower will be where Der Katapult is right now and will be 246 feet above Oktoberfest and will drop you at 60mph. The cool thing about the tower will be that instead of just going straight up and and then dropping the seats will rotate around the tower to give you a panoramic view of the entire area. This is similar to the way the Skytower at Seaworld goes up.
From James Rao on September 18, 2010 at 2:37 PM
The coaster sounds like a fine addition, but the drop tower not so much. I thought they were going to put in some heavily themed version of a tower like Disney's Tower of Terror? Something that would transcend the genre? And where's the new land that was rumored? I hate to complain, but I am a bit underwhelmed.

However, perhaps the final result will exceed my expectations. We'll see.

From 98.166.247.78 on September 18, 2010 at 7:20 PM
The drop tower is very much a mirror of Drop Zone at Kings Dominion. Can't wait for the new coaster in 2012. For the question about why the parks copy each other, it's because Busch Gardens builds it's coasters in twos now. What was Wild Izzy in BGW is now Cheetah Chase at Tampa. SheiKra was built before Griffon, and now Cheetaka at Tampa with the new coaster in BGW being the mirror.

As for the rumored new country, that has been a rumor for years. It's have the space but don't have the space for a new country. I'd prefer the updating personally but I thought it might have been Festa Italia, but Octoberfest makes sense with the new addition.

From Formula 40 on September 18, 2010 at 8:41 PM
I was hoping the drop ride would be more like Disney's TOT...but it still might not be a bad ride. I'm anxious to hear more about this roller coaster though :)
From 173.189.8.163 on September 18, 2010 at 8:48 PM
Neithor of these additions sound very family friendly. Both come across like they are mainly for thrill seekers, unless the launch coaster is not too wild. I bring this up because having taken out the Big Bad Wolf, they are not really replacing it with something that would satisfy those riders who have lost that ride and the adults who could ride it with thier kids.
I kind of think it would be cooler to have put in the flying coaster and take advantage of the land layout (especually since Tampa seems to be getting the same ride). The multi-launch ride sound fun..... but since it is going to be in Tampa too, it's hard for me to get that excited about it coming to Virginia personally. Maybe having low expectations will mean they will be able to take me by surprise and really wow me and the version there will be different from the Tampa version. I do hope they eventual address the lack of a more family friendly (or starter / transitional) coaster in the park.
From Jason Jackson on September 20, 2010 at 12:09 PM
Well they do have a starter coaster in Grover's Alpine Express...
From 173.189.8.163 on September 20, 2010 at 12:31 PM
Can adults ride that roller coaster (grover's whatever you said) with thier kids without considering it a kiddie ride? I'm thinking something the level of Big Thunder Mountain or even a wooden coaster that is not excessive with the hieght and speed.
From 173.189.8.163 on September 20, 2010 at 12:40 PM
Well, I went and watched a youtube video of Grover's Alpine Express and I will say it is a better kiddie coaster than the name makes it sounds. It looks like it is a great started coaster, but it still is themed in such a way that makes it seem very kiddie land. I still think it's a big jump to go from it to whatever the next least intense coaster in the park (Loch Ness?) would be considered since Big Bad Wolf is gone. I do think they need something eventually to fill that gap. It also will allow the parents riding the transitional coaster with thier kids (who may not ready for Apollos Chariots huge drops or Alpengheists many inversions or even tall enough) to have a little dignity (or even the kids to have some dignity) that they are not riding in a coaster with Elmo in the front seat (no offense to elmo, or any elementry school kids who may be to reading this)......lol.
From Mike Gallagher on September 20, 2010 at 6:02 PM
I rode Grover last Saturday for the first time (coaster # 276!) Nice example of its type, and I fit fine (I'm a big guy.) I rode with my friend Debby's 11 y.o. son. Nothing special, but since it's new, it a pleasantly smooth way to kill a minute or so at the park. The only surprise was getting only one circuit..unusual for the type. Hell, even GAdv's Blackbeard, a much larger junior steelie, gives you two laps.

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