Busch Gardens Williamsburg teases its new thrill ride for 2020

June 25, 2019, 6:53 PM · Busch Gardens Williamsburg is teasing its new attraction for 2020, widely tipped to be a new thrill ride.

If you're not up on your Roman numerals, that final screen says, "7 30 2019," which doesn't take a lot of sleuthing to assume will be the date when Busch Gardens announces its plans for that 2020 attraction.

Codenamed "Madrid" at one point, this new ride will be an expansion of the park's Festa Italia land, which explains the Roman numerals and reference to the Roman god of the underworld: "Escape Pluto's twisted Underworld and be immortalized in the garden of the gods."

Tipped to be a multi-launch Intamin coaster (yikes!), the soon-to-be-named thrill ride is also slated to include a mid-course track switch and spike track, like a certain new coaster down in Orlando. But we should learn more for certain when Busch Gardens follows through with its official announcement next month.

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Replies (8)

June 26, 2019 at 2:28 AM

Why before even reading the article could i guess it would be another coaster. Coasters are cheap, lick of paint, call it 'cheater' or something exotic, make it go fast - the end. It appeals to the lowest common denominator and look ugly.

June 26, 2019 at 8:02 AM

The Busch Gardens/Sea World parks have some of the best roller coasters in the world. Despite all of its downtime, Hagrid's is being lauded as the best new attraction of the year (beating a certain non-coaster attraction at Disneyland). So while you might find them "ugly" and appealing to the "lowest common denominator", well-designed and themed roller coasters are extremely popular and quite en vogue these days (WDW is building 2 right now in addition to another one coming to IOA). BGW in particular has a long history of highly ranked world class roller coasters, and I have high expectations for this newest installation.

The real question will be what elements will this coaster have. BGW has been pretty conservative with its recent coasters (InvadR - family woodie, Tempesto - single inverting shuttle, and Verbolten - non-inverting launching drop-track), leaving the record breaking and extreme intensity to their Cedar Fair neighbors to the north (KD) and south (Carowinds). However, the park received a variance recently from James City County to go as high as 355 feet for a new "coaster-style" attraction, which is atypical for most launching coasters aside from rocket coasters (like TTD and Kingda Ka). I'd also question the rumored placement of this coaster into Festa Italia. That land is already populated with two coasters (Tempesto and Apollo's Chariot) and a bunch of other attractions dead-ending at Roman Rapids. While a lot of the groundwork occurring for this new coaster is happening behind Roman Rapids and in the backstage stable area, it doesn't really make sense to stuff another headlining attraction into an already over-crowded land. While the Roman Numerals and reference to Pluto cement the Roman/Italian theme and likely proximity to Apollo's Chariot, I wouldn't be surprised to see the entrance to this coaster being placed in the Italy section on the main walking loop (near Davinci's Cradle and San Marco Theater) instead of on the Festa Italia extension.

June 26, 2019 at 9:46 AM

Ok, the coaster will be only under 200ft. The 355ft waiver is for another attraction for 2021. I appreciate your passion, but your information is horribly lacking. The entrance of the new coaster will be behind the teacups(Turkish delight) and go over the train at Festa Italia.
For more info from reliable sources go to https://bgwfans.com/2019/project-2020-revealed/

June 26, 2019 at 10:56 AM

I wasn't doubting the validity of the rumored placement of the coaster in Festa, just that it might be misguided, and that perhaps they may choose to relocate the entrance to a more visible location on a main path versus a dead end when all is said and done. There is only a small employee break area behind Davinci's Cradle (also temporary storage area for F&W Festival booths), and if you look at a map, an entrance there would not only place it along the park's main pathway, but it would also eliminate the need to build a railroad crossing. The only conflict would be with the underground pipeline bisecting this area of the park.

Again, I'm not necessarily contesting the accuracy of the rumors, just pointing out the feasibility of where it appears they are situating this coaster and its entrance. BGW has learned its lesson about putting a coaster on dead ends (Drachen Fire), and perhaps they feel a placement in Festa is not as risky with so many other attractions nearby. However, until they create an outer loop/second bridge to connect Festa directly with Germany (through the old Drachen Fire site to create the long-rumored Madrid expansion), any new attraction in Festa is going to be out of way. In talking directly with Kevin Lembke at the Cutback Water Coaster and Finnegan's Flyer media previews, he continually emphasized the park's desire to integrate new attractions into existing guest areas and to optimize the flow of guests around the park. He specifically cited Finnegan's Flyer's location as a way to balance the flow of guests around the park along with the striking visuals both on and off the attraction. Burying the entrance to what may be a record-breaking coaster over a bridge and across the railroad tracks in Festa would be contrary to this philosophy.

Also, there is no clear height for the coaster with even BGWFans unable to pin down the height of any of the elements. Unless they're building a 355-foot tall StarFlyer for 2021 (possible but seemingly out of place for this park), I doubt a height exemption of this magnitude would be for a 2021 attraction - just a year after a potential record-breaking coaster. Either the exemption is for this new coaster or for a project much further down the road.

June 26, 2019 at 1:19 PM

I follow the BGW blogs and I seem to remember a while back, it being mentioned that the 355ft height waiver was for a 'lattice' structure which some then concluded meant a starflyer ?

I haven't seen much of anything on this since then, so I'm still as much mystified as the next person. I do know a lot of clearing was going on alongside the river (I went on the boast ride) and the possible track layouts as shown on the BGWFans web page seem to fit in with what I saw. Admittedly it was very early days in the clearing process, and as we all know a lot can change.

SWE certainly has a lot of construction going on at the moment. At SWO the area around Mango Joes is all cleared and being prepped for the new coaster.

Update .... here is the write up from WYDaily (Williamsburg/Yorktown Daily) .....

"A new attraction up to 355 feet tall at Busch Gardens Williamsburg has cleared another hurdle. The James City County Board of Supervisors gathered for its regular monthly meeting Tuesday, voting unanimously to approve a 355-foot height waiver application from the Seaworld-owned park."

"The proposed attraction, which Busch Gardens officials have said will be spire-like and of “lattice-type” construction, gained opposition at the May 14 Board of Supervisors meeting because of the noise it could generate"

"In recent years, the park has requested several height waivers, including one for the recently-opened Finnegan’s Flyer and another for a 315-foot-tall ride called Madrid.

The Madrid project will not come to fruition, and was replaced with another 180-foot-tall coaster currently called Project 2019"

June 26, 2019 at 6:22 PM

Russell, I respect your dead end vs. main path idea. First, on the map I see trees, that those that love BGW for it's landscaping would throw a fit. Second, I feel Italy gets congested on even the slowest day. Putting a coaster entrance there would create havoc for those wanting to get around the people wandering through Italy. Lastly, I feel that again with attendance playing a role, there is plenty of room the put the entrance behind teacups. Festa Italia as a whole isn't too busy, just the coasters. Now about the bridge connecting Festa to Octoberfest. Yes! They wholeheartedly should. Hopefully that is part of the 2021 plans!

June 27, 2019 at 6:10 AM

Not wanting to be that guy, but isn't Pluto a Greek god, not a Roman one?

June 27, 2019 at 7:21 AM

Hades is the Greek god of the Underworld while Pluto is the Roman analog.

There really aren't a lot of trees, especially if the main portion of the entrance area was built around/over the pipeline right of way between Davinci's Cradle and Marco Polo's Marketplace (that area is required to remain clear of all major structures and vegetation). Even if trees were removed adjacent to the pipeline ROW, they would be ones that are currently backstage. If you've followed any of the construction thus far on the project, that would dwarf what has already been removed for footers and clearing for the track and station. That "gardens" section of Italy (area around the kiddie rides and Battering Ram, Flying Machine, and Davinci's Cradle) does have a tendency to be a bit crowded, but I think the addition of a major attraction would not significantly affect flow through this area. A lot of the crowds are due to guests milling around waiting for those riding the flat rides, so the addition a major coaster here, would probably end up with the same people hanging out in the gardens while their friends and family ride the new attraction. I also think BGW would be significantly increasing their budget having to build a bridge over the railroad tracks, and based on the concept drawings "leaked" by BGWFans, the bridge is designed in such a way where it needs to have ADA ramps. I've always thought of BGW as one of the most ADA-friendly parks in the world with most ride stations and attractions build at grade (instead of on high platforms like most Six Flags and Cedar Fair rides), and aside from a few hilly sections like the path through the center of the park and the Grey Wolf valley, those with mobility issues can easily navigate the park and experience all of the attractions with limited issues. While the ramps meets the ADA requirements, the wall of stairs on either side of this bridge would be a psychological barrier not only for wheelchair-bound guests, but those that have other mobility issues. An entrance in Italy versus Festa would also provide an anchor for the land instead of bringing a 3rd headliner to a land that doesn't really need it.

We'll see what happens as they start to do more cosmetic changes in the area through the second half of the summer, but I think if BGW has a choice, they would be wise to avoid putting the entrance to this coaster in Festa as rumored.

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