April 8, 2017
My friend Jeff and I got to the park before the parking lot opened. We waited about 10 minutes, then they opened the lanes (parking was $15) and we found a spot. We took the tram to the entrance, and Jeff bought his ticket at the self-pay kiosk. I bought mine online a few days earlier. It was $85.99, which is steep!
The gates opened and I got a locker. We waited at the front for my friend Jill, whom I hadnít seen since around 2004 when I worked at Cedar Point. I gave her a doughnut I got from Duck Donuts (somehow the park let me walk right in with a box of doughnuts), and we headed to the parkís newest coaster and only woodie, InvadR.
We waited two or three trains for the back two rows. This GCI uses the hard seats, which I donít like. Iíd rather feel like Iím sitting in a couch like Lightning Racer. Whatís unusual is it doesnít have seat belts. It begins with a right turn out of the station and up the lift. The lift slowed a little as it waited for the second train to clear the block. The ride drops slightly, turns to the left, rises up and into a tunnel and down the first drop. It drops below grade and under its own structure, into a right turn and through some little hops with a bit of airtime. It follows the terrain with some turns and features a little more airtime before entering the brakes. Itís a nice addition to the park but is nothing spectacular. 6/10.
We went to Griffon next. There was next to no wait for the back row. This is my favorite dive coaster. The scenery is pretty, itís got a nice layout, and the water splash is fun. We hopped over to Alpengeist and rode in the back row. This is such a ferocious coaster. I think B&Mís best coasters are inverts, and this stands above many. Itís probably my No. 3 B&M invert behind Raptor and Montu.
We went to Verbolten, with its surprising drop in the middle. We waited around 10 minutes for the back row. Only one station was loading, but it wasnít too busy. Jill freaks out in the drop in the dark and grabbed my arm. I like it when other people ride with emotions. Iím afraid Iíve become so seasoned to coasters, I donít make much noise and move a lot on rides, so itís enjoyable seeing other people do that. I also like Verboltenís homage to Big Bad Wolf, the drop over the water.
We grabbed our cameras from the lockers and roamed around taking pictures. We rode the Rhine River Cruise, which is relaxing and offers nice views. After getting shots around the park, we put the cameras back to ride some more.
We went to Apolloís Chariot, but it was down, so we walked next door to Tempesto. Tempesto is an odd coaster. Itís got multiple clones, a low capacity and a bad restraint system that includes a lap bar and a shoulder harness. But we rode it because it was there. We waited a few trains and boarded the uncomfortable seats. Apolloís Chariot was stopped on the lift hill and evacuated, so we didnít know how long it would take to get on it. Tempesto was all right. Itís a multilaunch ride with an inversion and a wild drop.
The classic Loch Ness Monster was next. There was a bit of a line, but itís got a decent capacity, so we werenít waiting long. Itís a fun ride. The interlocking loops are the highlight, but I also enjoy the triple helix in the tunnel.
We walked back to Festa Italia and got Dole Whip. We wanted it inside a pineapple, but they were out of pineapples. Trip ruined. Wait, the trip canít be ruined because thereís Dole Whip. Yum.
We rode the Busch Gardens Railway for the views of InvadR, with its drops and turns and hills, and then I rode Bench: The Ride. We entered a shop and learned that it features wine tastings. Jill said we were doing this, so she paid for us to have some fun. The wines were ice wines, which is made when the grapes freeze and are then harvested. Iím not a wine person, but these were enjoyable, as you can see on my face. They were extremely sweet. I made a note to buy some when I got home.
We went in Festhaus for lunch. I got a chicken sandwich, strawberries and a Yuengling beer. It was delicious and expensive. Our cashierís name tag said she was from Germany, so I asked where in Germany. She said Munich. I said, ďSo this place must feel like home, huh?Ē She gave me a deadpan ďnoĒ in a way only a German could.
After the unusual show (the just brought kids on stage and danced) at Festhaus, we walked to Apolloís Chariot, which was open! We waited a few trains for the back seat. I love this coaster. I havenít been on many B&M hypercoasters (Diamondback, Raging Bull), so I canít really compare, but it is enjoyable and loaded with airtime. The drop off the block brake is interesting because in the back seat, it pitches you forward on the way down and then back as it levels out.
We rode two more times, in the back and the last time in the middle. I was hoping the middle would have gentle, sustained airtime like it does on Diamondback, but it wasnít that good. Back row from now on. On one ride, we met another coaster enthusiast, named Andy. We split after the second ride but exchanged contact info because he said he was going to Kings Dominion the next day as well.
We headed to Invadr again, but the line was so long, it spilled into an extended queue separate from the main queue. We skipped it. Good thing we went early.
We rode Alpengeist and Griffon again as the sun went down. We hopped on the sky ride and walked around taking pictures. Inside the horse stables was a dog that did some tricks. We headed out as the park closed. We did a full open-to-close day. It was a good time going with old friends and making a new friend. Busch Gardens is top of the line and beautiful.