Busch Gardens Williamsburg is calling back to one of its classic attractions with its new coaster for 2023 - DarKoaster.
The Virginia park announced the new attraction this morning, with a name calling back to the Curse of DarKastle motion base dark ride that it closed after tne 2017 season. [Busch Gardens gives up on its award-winning Curse of DarKastle]
Curse of DarKastle won our 2005 Theme Park Insider Award for Best New Attraction of the Year. However, the maintenance costs on motion base dark rides can be insane (I have heard it can cost in excess of $1 million per ride vehicle per year), so Busch Gardens owner SeaWorld pulled the plug on the ride after just over a decade of operation.
Roller coasters are quite a bit cheaper to build and maintain, especially when you order another installation of a model that you've already bought. Busch Gardens is calling DarKoaster "the world's first all-indoor straddle coaster," which might seem like an odd flex. But the Intamin ride vehicles that SeaWorld themed to the water scooters ("Jet Ski" is a trademarked brand name, in case you didn't know), for Wave Breaker: The Rescue Coaster at SeaWorld Texas will be themed to snowmobiles here.
Located in the
Curse of DarKastle building, "King Ludwig's abandoned fortress resurfaces as strange weather patterns have been recorded near the cursed castle grounds," Busch Gardens said in its press release. "Only the bravest souls will embark on snowmobiles in this dark expedition to discover the mysterious phenomenon. A supernatural force is imminent as explorers discover that they are evading more than just a raging storm."
DarKoaster will feature four launches with a top speed of 36 miles per hour.
"DarKoaster will be an exciting and unique addition to our world class lineup of coasters," Busch Gardens Williamsburg Park President Kevin Lembke said. "As an indoor attraction, DarKoaster complements our collection of thrill rides and offers a new experience to enjoy throughout the year. Plus, with only a 48-inch height requirement, DarKoaster is a ride for the whole family to conquer together."
Busch Gardens said that DarKoaster will have over 1,400 feet of track but that riders will experience a total of 2,454 feet of track, so that suggests that there is going to be an extra lap of some sort here. (I have not been on Wave Breaker, so I would love to hear in the comments from readers who have and can suggest how that experience might translate here.) DarKoaster will open in 2023.
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