Busch Gardens Williamsburg:
Soft open around April 20?
From Kat Olson
Posted March 2, 2012 at 8:04 AM
Went on the hard hat tour today. It was awesome. The theming of Verbolten is going to knock your socks off as will the ride! A full update can be found here: http://www.buschgardensnews.com/page/verbolten
BTW, park officials told me after the tour that they plan a soft opening of Verbolten April 20 if everything remains ahead schedule, which is currently the case. They have time built into to the schedule in case complications pop up (hopefully, nothing like Mach Tower). The official opening is scheduled for Memorial Day Weekend with Media Day Tuesday May 22, 2012.
Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.
From James Rao
Posted March 2, 2012 at 7:20 PM
Gratz on the tour and thanks for the update. Looking forward to visiting this coaster sometime in late summer. It looks like a real winner.
Don't forget to submit a trip report (no spoilers) after you ride!
Looks like it will be an excellent ride, a worthy successor to the heralded Big Bad Wolf, probably even better. Just love Busch Gardens Williamsburg. It's as good as Universal or Disney.
From Kat Olson
Posted March 13, 2012 at 10:40 AM
I am super excited! I just got invited to BGW for the Verbolten commercial shoot next week! Sounds like we get to ride the coaster too! I didn't think it was going to be ready so soon! I didn't even know they completed testing! Hopefully, we're not the crash test dummies!
The email said, "congratulations you have been selected to participate in a commercial being filmed at Busch Gardens Williamsburg on March 2X. Please report to the park via the employee entrance no later than 7:30am on March 2X. You must show photo ID and this email to the guards. No exceptions! The guards will direct you to the parking area. Please bring a couple changes of clothes (at least 2, shorts ok, no tank tops, no logos on anything) so the producers can select what looks best for the commercial shots. No cameras, cell phones, or other recording devices permitted. Plan on being at the park until at least 3:00pm, possibly later. Lunch will be provided, however no one will be allowed to leave the park until the production concludes! If you can not abide by these rules, please decline this invitation. The commercial shoot will entail numerous repeat rides on our new coaster, Verbolten. If you are physically unable to handle the demands of riding a roller coaster repeatedly, possibly for several hours, please decline the invitation. Please respond by 5:00pm March XX confirming you are able to attend.
This is going to be so cool! I will give a full report next week!
From James Rao
Posted March 13, 2012 at 10:42 AM
WOW! I both hate and admire you at the same time! ;)
Have a great time!
Kat: Fantastic. Imagine being forced? to ride an alluring one of a kind new coaster repeatedly through the world's most beautiful theme park. It's a tough job but we know you can do it...Heh, have fun & enjoy...Busch Gardens Williamsburg is underrated by many, but it is perhaps my favorite individual theme park overall. BGW has a great balance of fab shows, excellent coasters, very good themed thrill rides and good food in a park that is just filled with ambiance & charm.
I'd comment, but envy is one of the Seven Deadly Sins...
Have a blast, Kat! Ride the back seat for me..I probably won't get there this year.
From Kat Olson
Posted April 4, 2012 at 10:10 AM
I rode it! OMG the ride is amazing! (BGW filmed the commercial last week.) It is beyond anything I can describe here. Unfortunately, I signed a non-disclosure agreement prior to filming the commercial so I am not allowed to post on social media, blogs or other websites any specifics about the ride until after Media Day. I will say, that you will not be disappointed. One thing I can tell you is they are ahead of schedule. The official opening is going to be May 18, with Media Day, May 16 or 17 (still waiting on confirmation) They are looking at a soft opening the weekend of April 20. I'll let you in on a little secret. If you are at the BGW before the official opening and a weird looking guy (Gunter) or woman (Gerta) asks you if you want to visit the Black Forest, say, "Yes." This is how they will select guests to ride Verbolten during the soft opening!
From Tim Odom
Posted April 4, 2012 at 8:52 AM
So jealous. And I have to figure out a way to get to Busch on May 18. I mean, that's my birthday!
I am going to Busch Gardens on Saturday, April 7th. It will be intersting to see what the ride looks like from the walkways.
I was at Busch Gardens on April 7th. My friend talked to an employee at the ride. The employee said the ride needed to be slowed down after using crash dummies to simulate various things. There is also a sign that says opening May 18th.
I took multiple pictures of the track. It appears they didn't add any space to what was already there, meaning, the same general area Big Bad Wolf was in and not tearing down any more trees.
From Kat Olson
Posted April 25, 2012 at 10:38 AM
Good news and bad news.
First the bad news. You might have heard there was an incident during Verbolten testing last week. The yellow train was stuck so they attempted to use a winch on a truck to move it. A cable snapped and the yellow train derailed causing some minor cosmetic damage. A worker also received minor injuries when the cable snapped and was taken to hospital as a precaution and due to BGW policy, but thankfully he is fine. The yellow train will be out of commission for a few weeks until new parts are received, which may or may not happen by the official opening date which is still May 18.
Now the good news, there will be a soft opening of Verbolten this weekend April 27! Not sure which days yet as they are still working out the kinks from testing and it will be very intermittent, but if you are at the park don't hesitate to walk by Verbolten and see if you can get a ride.... (Also while someone in authority at the park told me this, it is subject to change , i.e. not happen, based on a number of factors.)
Well I am afraid I have some bad news. Numerous significant testing issues have been identified the last couple of days. This includes problems with the launches, braking and the drop track. A certain number of runs (which represents a couple of days of error free operations) have to be completed without issues before BGW will accept the ride from the manufacture. Technicians are working around the clock to resolve the issues, but the errors keep happening. The manufacture's head engineer has been flown to BGW in an effort to resolve the probems and everyone has their fingers crossed.
Due to these testing issues Verbolten did not have a soft opening and the possibility of a soft opening has been pushed back to May 11 at the earliest. Right now, Media Day is tentatively scheduled for May 17, but will not be confirmed until the testing issues are resolved. Also, if the testing issues do not get resolved this week, the official opening will get pushed back to May 25 with Media Day May 24.
I'll post more as I get updates from my sources at the park.
Well I have exciting news. The Head Tech from Zeier (sp?) was here and most of the issues have been resolved. Verbolten ran flawlessly yesterday and Tuesday. So everything seems to be back on track. However, another issue cropped up this morning with the blocks and it does not look like BGW employees will get to ride today May 3. There may be a soft opening next weekend but we will have to wait and see!
Media Day is still confirmed for May 16. Invitations should go out soon. There will also be a VIP event on May 17 for winners of the BGW Verbolten contest. The formal opening is still scheduled for May 18!
From Tim Odom
Posted May 3, 2012 at 6:40 AM
BGW posted a Youtube clip showing off the testing (and showing the "freefall drop".) And, no matter what I do, the video won't show up, so instead I shall link it.
Tim, thanks for the video link. Did I see this right, the ride drops onto a track? If so, I have never heard of this on any ride at any park. I am going to Busch Gardens for the 2nd time this year on May 6th (taking advantage of a 50% coupon I got for one of my friends, I have a 2 year season pass to that park and the others in their network).
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