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A soft-opening look at Busch Gardens' Verbolten

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Published: May 14, 2012 at 9:43 AM
Busch Gardens Williamsburg' s Verbolten had a soft opening this weekend starting on Friday May 11th. It was open all three days of the weekend for the soft opening. I heard about the soft opening from a friend on Friday and even saw posts on Twitter & Facebook from Busch Gardens about it.

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

I got to the park around 3pm on Friday and the wait time was shown to be around 45 minutes. It seem as the day went along the wait time got shorter. I rode it three times before 5pm. I was able to ride it in the middle row, front row and back row. The queue and the station for the ride have a lot of little details in it. They were running four trains on Friday and like Cheetah Hunt in Tampa they loaded two trains at a time. This helps make the line move a lot quicker. You will need to go through the queue multiple times to be able to see all the little details that are in it. After I saw the final showing of the day of Celtic Fyre I came back over to the ride and rode it twice more. On my final ride the car before me had about half the cast from Celtic Fyre in it as they had come over to the ride after the final performance of the show that day.

The ride itself is different depending on which scenario you get in the Black Forest. There are three different scenarios you could encounter in the Black Forest and they are a Storm, a Spirit or the Wolf. I only encounter two of them in my five rides, but know of people who encountered all three of them. The experience for the ride is basically the same for every train except if you are at the loading station and get in the back train instead of the front train. The back train will pull out of the station and stop for a few seconds and you will hear sounds like a car engine trying to rev up. The train will then head down the track toward the Black Forest building. Right before you enter the Black Forest is the first launch of two. Inside the Black Forest it will be dark and you will see different lighting effects. Before you exit the building you will get one of the three scenarios while you are stopped and than the train will drop. You will then go down a little incline before being launched out of the building toward the worn down bridge. When you reach the bridge the train slows down and you hear the sound of creaking like the bridge is going to give out before you go down the drop over the Rhine River.

They didn't have the video available during the soft opening, but you were able to buy a photo of yourself on the ride. They have also added sound effects to the wrecked car outside the queue. The ride itself seems short, but is a worthy replacement for the Big Bad Wolf. I expect this ride to top many peoples top coaster lists after they ride it.

The seats on the train are comfortable and when you pull the restraint toward you it isn't tight like Apollo's Chariot. They do have a seat outside the building that you can try out before you get in line.

Readers' Opinions

From 75.89.234.183 on May 14, 2012 at 12:01 PM
Finally saw a POV that someone posted of this on youtube today.

About how big is the free fall drop would you say? I don't enjoy free fall rides but I'd really like to be able to ride this roller coaster. I am more concerned about the free fall drop than the 90 foot drop from the bridge at the end.

From Mike Gallagher on May 14, 2012 at 1:17 PM
My friend Debby was there with her 13 y.o. Zach on Saturday. He's a budding coaster junkie (thanks mainly to me, no lie) He rated Verbolten a 9 out of 10, and said he loved what he called the "drop tower effect."
From Frank Forrester on May 14, 2012 at 3:08 PM
It's about a 12 foot drop, so it isn't that high of a drop. Make sure that when you go through the queue to check out all the little details and look for the upside down Christmas Tree.
From 75.89.234.183 on May 14, 2012 at 7:15 PM
Great info, thanks Frank! I think I can handle 12 foot. I can handle small drops, but I don't like those 10 story free fall rides and stuff. This looks to be a fun family ride, and it kind of seems to feel a void left by the departure of Big Bad Wolf. I'm even more impressed by this than I was by Cheetah Hunt so far.
From 75.89.234.183 on May 14, 2012 at 7:29 PM
http://youtu.be/nKcfNgwciw0

Just found this POV of the ride that must have just been posted and the poster says they have permission from the park (in case that is of concern.... they even say it in the video).

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