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Busch Gardens' Verbolten drops (and drops) on May 18

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Published: April 5, 2012 at 8:53 AM

Busch Gardens Williamsburg just put out the word. Verbolten will open on Friday, May 18.

Verbolten train
Verbolten's coaster train. Photo by TPI member Tom Rigg

The Virginia theme park's Zierer drop coaster will be the nation's first, featuring a free-fall drop inside a show building in addition to familiar elements borrowed from its predecessor, Big Bad Wolf.

We're planning to be on site for Verbolten's media day next month so keep reading Theme Park Insider for reviews, photos and video when the coaster opens.

Readers' Opinions

From Ben Horner on April 5, 2012 at 9:07 AM
The guy on the video says the technology for the free fall drop doesn't exist anywhere but I'm pretty sure that's exactly what Th13teen at Alton Towers has and that's been open for two years.
From Brian L on April 5, 2012 at 9:14 AM
Quick question; is the media day the same as the opening date of May 18? I live in the Hampton Roads area and would love to ride this opening day, but would feel stupid if I got turned away because it was media only.
From 86.160.104.199 on April 5, 2012 at 9:55 AM
the free fall drop is denfindly on thirdteen at Alton Towers as i have been on it
From Robert Niles on April 5, 2012 at 10:12 AM
Ben, I believe you are correct, though I don't know if there is some tech difference that distinguishes the two drops. But, yeah, the concept's pretty much the same as far as I can see.

FWIW, US parks have a habit of promoting things as "first anywhere" if they're just "first" in the US.

Also, we haven't heard yet about when the media access will be. Often at regional parks, the "media day" is just early media access in the AM, followed by public access later in the morning. But I'd plan on visiting Saturday if you want to be totally safe on getting in to ride. Also, you won't have the deal with the slooooww capacity issues on media days. (Parks typically slow cycle times down a lot when they're shuttling reporters and photographers on and off the ride.)

From Rod Whitenack on April 5, 2012 at 10:40 AM
This is the ride I'm most excited about for 2012. I hope the indoor portion of the ride lives up to the hype and makes up for what could be a really short ride time.
From 94.175.131.230 on April 5, 2012 at 11:27 AM
Typical US arrogance there - ignoring the rest of the world!

Looks like a run ride, though.

From Tim Odom on April 5, 2012 at 12:31 PM
This hurts. I love BGW, and have been looking forward to this ride. To have it open on my birthday and not be able to go hurts. It's a deep pain, buried deep in my soul.
From James Rao on April 5, 2012 at 2:48 PM
Tim, pain is a warning sign. Do something quick.... like make plans to go!

I won't be there for the media event, but I do expect to hit BGW sometime mid to late summer during my annual VA Pilgrimage. Choosing between a retro-fitted I305 (I rode it with trims during its first summer of life) or a brand new Verbolten is a no-brainer. Gotta go with the shiny new ride in the better overall park - it's a Williamsburg life for me!

From 94.2.171.103 on April 5, 2012 at 2:56 PM
I know this has been brought up already, but Thirteen at Alton Towers has a freefall section, and it's been open for a good couple of years now...so unless they recorded this footage 3 years ago...

they're wrong...

still, it does look quality though!!

From Tom Rigg on April 5, 2012 at 6:39 PM
I know in one of the past hardhat tour videos I have watched they mentioned that the drop isn't exactly a free fall, but rather will use magnetics to pull the drop coaster faster. I don't know if that is different than the drop coaster at Alton Towers in any way.

But at any rate here's the video from Coaster Crew:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DCta3ri67w&feature=player_embedded

From Brad W on April 5, 2012 at 7:45 PM
One of the guys does specify "in North America". Perhaps the other guy just forgot about that when filming.
From Tim Odom on April 6, 2012 at 6:01 AM
Oh, I want to make plans to go. But, my earliest opportunity won't come til next year, have other, more pressing, expenses.
From Frank Forrester on April 7, 2012 at 1:33 PM
The one thing I am looking forward too other than the ride itself is the tour. They are planning on offering a Verbolten only tour in which you will see the control room and sections of the coaster where the public isn't allowed. The big thing that makes this tour a must do is that you will be able to go inside the building where the Black Forest is while the coaster is running. They design an area inside the building specifically for this.
From Mike Seary on April 8, 2012 at 6:16 PM
"Typical American Arrogance"

-Well that is just rude and unnecessary. To begin with, making the "first in the world" claim and it being discovered as false (which would be quite easy once the ride is open to the public) will SERIOUSLY injure BGW's credibility in the press. Now I don't know anything about the technical side of this, but I don't think it a stretch of the imagination that if they are making the claim, then it is possible that there is some technical (possibly behind-the-scenes and unnoticable) aspect of the experience that differs from Thirteen and allows them to justify (albeit only technically) such a claim. If that truly is the case, then it's not "Typical American Arrogance" so much as "Typical Business Competition".

What IS arrogant is to assume something before you have all the facts.

...just sayin, chief.

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