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Russell Meyer

Tempesto Challengs Daredevils at Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Published: April 24, 2015 at 8:35 PM

Are you a daredevil?

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That is the question Busch Gardens Williamsburg's newest roller coaster asks of riders as they ponder boarding the strange-looking contraption known as Tempesto. The teal-tracked launched shuttle coaster from Premier is like nothing else in the Williamsburg, Virginia theme park. Evoking the turn-of-the-century stuntmen of Italy, Tempesto rises to a striking 150 feet above the ground, and reaches speeds of 63 miles an hour. Serious roller coaster aficionados would probably call Tempesto a one-trick-pony, but that trick is pretty harrowing. As a contributor to Theme Park Insider and member of the park's Ambassador Blogger program, I was invited to the media preview of the new roller coaster.

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Riders start by boarding Tempesto's 12-person trains. They are a little tricky to get into, with tight rows and kick-plates on the side of the train that may cause some to trip up a bit, particularly to those used to the zero-entry trains of Verbolten and Apollo's Chariot. Then there's the "comfort collar," which is a soft-padded over-the-shoulder restraint that is like the top half of a racing harness that riders must remember to lift before sitting down. Once seated, however, the seats are cozy, yet comfortable, with a lap restraint that secures across the rider's waist and has a soft pad across the rider's shins. The "comfort collar" then buckles into the lap restraint and after a quick check, the train is cleared.

Tempesto starts out with a forward launch up the structure until the train stalls. This launch was not nearly as intense as I was expecting, as it feels more like a car accelerating from a stop light under normal conditions, instead of an intense, pedal-to-the-metal launch you might expect. However, after the forward stall, Tempesto really kicks into gear. As the train falls and approaches the station, the LSM launch system accelerates the train backwards.

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Those that have ridden Intamin inverted impulse coasters, such as Wicked Twister and V2, will be surprised by the intensity of the backward acceleration of Tempesto as the train speeds through the station. After the backwards launch, the train approached the top of a non-inverting loop. Where the train stalls on the backwards launch is a lot farther than I had expected, and gives every seat on the train good hang time before gravity again takes over and starts pulling the train into the station.

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The train then receives one final jolt of acceleration that provides enough speed to reach the very top of the structure, 150 feet up. Once at the top, the train negotiates an inline twist at a very slow speed. The twist is not terribly intense, but the visual is impressive, as riders gradually turn upside down over the station far below.

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The train then plunges down a near-vertical twisting hill and into the non-inverting loop (like Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit at Universal Studios Florida), and back through the station.

As I noted when Busch Gardens announced Tempesto earlier this year, one of the issues with the new coaster is going to be its very low capacity. The low capacity is further magnified by the difficulty passengers will likely have getting in and out of the tight trains and tricky "comfort collars." The hope would be that as guests get more experience on the coaster, the loading process will gradually get faster, but long lines are almost certain for much of this season. However, those willing to wait will be treated to a pretty unique experience, and while Tempesto is dwarfed by nearby Apollo's Chariot, it packs a pretty good punch. Another great aspect of this coaster is a variability of ride experiences from the front to the back, so those with patience will be rewarded with much different sensations on future rides in different seats. This is probably not a ride worth trekking across the country to experience, but those in the mid-Atlantic region or already planning trips to Busch Gardens this year will be treated to a great addition to the park's already notable lineup of thrill rides.

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So, are you enough of a daredevil to take on Tempesto?

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Robert Niles

SeaWorld Orlando Announces New Coaster for 2016

Published: April 24, 2015 at 7:38 AM

New SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby isn't wasting time getting down to business. The chain's Orlando flagship just announced plans for its first new thrill ride in years.

Here is the statement:

"Something is stirring beneath the surface at SeaWorld Orlando, preparing to rise from the ocean depths and soar to thrilling new heights. Get ready for the frenzy of SeaWorld’s new 200-foot-tall coaster. In 2016, this thriller will take its place atop the food chain as Orlando’s tallest, fastest and longest coaster. More details on the new addition will surface in late-May. SeaWorld is a one-of-a-kind theme park with a variety of attractions including awe-inspiring animal encounters, thrilling rides and spectacular shows. Follow #nothingfaster as the frenzy starts."

SeaWorld Orlando's most recent coaster, Manta

This will be SeaWorld Orlando's first new coaster since the Theme Park Insider Award-winning Manta debuted in 2009. Manta is a Bolliger & Mabillard Flying Coaster, and SeaWorld Orlando's other non-kiddie coaster is also a B&M, the floorless Kraken, which opened in 2000. SWO also has a Mack custom water coaster, the original Journey to Atlantis, which opened in 1998.

Since Manta's debut, SeaWorld Orlando has opened animal habitat-focused attractions, including Turtle Trek and its most recent new attraction, Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin.

What are you hoping to see for SeaWorld's new coaster?

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Robert Niles

King Triton's Concert Debuts at Tokyo DisneySea

Published: April 24, 2015 at 5:08 AM

Tokyo DisneySea today premiered its latest Little Mermaid-themed live musical show, King Triton's Concert.


Playing in the Mermaid Lagoon Theater in the Triton's Kingdom indoor area of the park's Mermaid Lagoon land, the show is set in a concert hall at the bottom of the sea. Ariel and her friends "swim" in the air above the stage, thanks to the use of harnesses, puppetry and stagecraft, as they perform songs from the film.


(Photos courtesy Tokyo Disney Resort.)

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Robert Niles

America's First Launched Wing Coaster, Thunderbird, Debuts at Holiday World

Published: April 23, 2015 at 11:51 AM

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Robert Niles

Top Tips to Help Your Mobile Phone Battery Last All Day

Published: April 21, 2015 at 9:07 PM

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Eric Freilich

Clyde and Seamore Make the Grade at SeaWorld Orlando

Published: April 21, 2015 at 2:25 PM

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Robert Niles

Weekly Top 10: The Best Theme Park Rides in Asia

Published: April 20, 2015 at 9:40 AM

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