Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Water Country USA Announce New Attractions for 2019

Edited: September 6, 2018, 10:13 AM

Sea World Parks and Entertainment announced their upcoming 2019 additions for their Williamsburg, VA parks yesterday via a Facebook Live broadcast. Despite pushing their new "Memberships" throughout 2018 that touted early access, events, and news regarding new and upcoming attractions, the 2019 new attraction announcements were made on a day the parks were closed and with little media fanfare.

Water Country USA had already announced a couple of weeks ago that it would be removing Meltdown at the end of this season (luckily we had a chance to ride the family toboggan slide over the holiday weekend). In its place will rise Cutback, which will be Virginia's first water coaster. Cutback will be similar to Crush 'N Gusher at Typhoon Lagoon with a water propulsion system instead of the LSMs featured on Krakatau at Volcano Bay. The water coaster will feature toboggan-style rafts similar to those found on Meltdown, and a number of saucer shaped elements that will allow rafts to speed along the edges before dropping down the inclined shape into the exit slide. Water Country has needed another big modern slide to take some pressure off the uber popular Colossal Curl, which has an extremely low capacity and slow load time (we never rode it over the weekend, because the line never got shorter than @45 minutes), but with so many saucer turns (the concept drawings suggest there are 5 of them), Cutback will have a similar issue with capacity with additional headways needed between rafts due to the unpredictability of rafts traveling through the saucer elements. Nonetheless, Cutback fills a need for one of the most popular water parks on the East Coast, and should still deliver a solid experience.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg announced the addition of Finnegan's Flier to Ireland in 2019. The S&S Screamin' Swing is a smaller model than those found at many Cedar Fair parks with a maximum swing height of 80 feet and top speed of 45 MPH (Cedar Point's Skyhawk has a swing height of 125 feet with a top speed of 65 MPH for comparison). The ride will be installed near the Killarney Bridge with the swing arcs taking riders over the creek that runs between Loch Ness Monster and Griffon. That location probably limited the size of the attraction that could be installed due to the presence of the Sky Ride and so as to fit in with the scale of the Killarney Bridge. The installation of a Screamin' Swing had become a prevalent rumor over the past month despite the hints that the park would finally add a new country (and giga-coaster) after flying 300+' test balloons behind the backstage stables near Festa Italia earlier this year. However, this attraction helps to balance the ride collection in the park by adding a thrill ride to the otherwise ride-light west side of the park. It looks like fans will have to wait yet another year for the long-rumored Spain/Madrid expansion, but this addition fills a gap in the park's lineup of aging flat rides lacking modern thrills. Finnegan's Flier has a decent capacity with 32 guests per cycle (2 more than Mach Tower), and based on rider height restrictions for Screamin' Swings at other parks (mostly 48"), it should provide a good thrill ride for those not quite tall enough to take on the park's biggest coasters like Griffon, Apollo's Chariot, Alpengeist, and Tempesto.

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