Photo TR: Zo's First Visit to BGW and KD

June 12-13, 2013
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Photo TR: Zo's First Visit to BGW and KD

Postby The Great Zo » Sat Jul 13, 2013 7:42 pm

Last month, I made a trip east with a friend to make my first-ever visits to Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Kings Dominion. Each was a park with several roller coasters I'd been looking forward to riding for many years, so it was great to get the chance! We opted to go during the second full week of June, which was the last week of school for most districts in southeast Virginia. Because of this, and going on weekdays, the crowds were extremely light.

I'll start with BGW, and get KD pics/report up in a day or two.

Few, if any, complaints about a great day at BGW. All vehicles were being funneled into the Italy parking lot, which isn't the closest to the park, and we had our longest wait of the day just waiting for the tram to arrive. It was pretty much smooth sailing once we got into the park. The weather was great -- a 20%-30% chance of storms that did not end up affecting our area, as was most likely, and temps maxing out in the upper 80s. Almost all of the rides had one-or-two train waits, we only waited 10 minutes three times -- once for Verbolten's front row to start the day, our first ride on Griffon, and Le Scoot. I loved the overall theme of the park, and found it to be well-run and generally in very good visual condition. No surprise that they win landscaping awards, as the immersive environment was broken only briefly at the tops of the roller coasters.

Apollo's Chariot -- I think I have a new favorite hypercoaster! The only other B&M hyper I've been on is Diamondback, and I prefer this one by a small margin. I think the return leg is more interesting, even without the splashdown. The back row is the place to ride this -- the air was very forceful (we tried it once in the front and it was more floaty there). It's no contest between this and the Arrow/Morgan hypers I've been on -- this is what Magnum should be, if it were smooth and didn't kill your thighs with every jolt of air. Blasphemy for a person who lists Cedar Point as "home park?" Perhaps, but this was my big surprise favorite of the two-day trip.

Griffon -- I knew what to expect, having been on Sheikra, and found the experiences quite similar (and very fun). I prefer the back for the extra whip around the drops. Just enough force on the inverting elements to keep it interesting, but overall it's very smooth and very re-ridable. I also enjoyed the views of the James River from up top, at least until you circle to the drop and get a great big view of a beer factory instead.

Alpengeist -- I've been wanting to ride this since seeing it on a coaster show in the late 90s. Originally thinking (based on its size) that it was the king of the B&M inverts, I of course have learned that size isn't the only way to rate a coaster. I was slightly underwhelmed by Alpengeist -- it's no Raptor or Montu, and I think it's the pacing. I wasn't a fan of the first drop, which isn't particularly steep and twists way too much to make an impact. I also don't know about starting right off with an enormous and slow Immelman. The end helix has nothing on Raptor's. We found it quite rough in the back row, and much more fun in the very front.

Verbolten -- My friend went in blind on this one, and though I knew what was coming, I didn't tell him about the drop. It was worth it for his reaction the first time! I thought the first half of the ride (in the darkness) was actually pretty intense. The second half underwhelmed me -- I wish it did a little more outside, and slowing to a crawl on the bridge right after a launch was odd. Overall, though, it was fun -- and fits a niche in that it's not too "scary" for younger riders. In many ways, it reminded me of Expedition Everest, both in its "fright" level and the heavy theming -- but frankly, of the two, I preferred Verbolten.

Loch Ness Monster -- A classic Arrow, and despite its history, one ride was enough for me. My favorite part was the never-ending-helix. Overall, it wasn't particularly smooth, and I came off plus one headache and minus one cell phone (thankfully, recovered from the front seat by the ride ops, and returned safely to me when I came back just a half hour later). I'm taking that as a learning experience regarding what I thought were tightly secured pockets, but a good lesson to have before going on the big Texas/Midwest trip in two weeks. As for Nessie? Got the credit, but I can't say it did anything more for me than any of the other drawn-out Arrow loopers.

Escape from Pompeii -- If upper 80s outside weren't hot enough, all the fire up top sure accelerates your desire for a splash! This is much better than the typical soaker boat ride -- just going up and coming back down. My favorite part, though, is that it's ridiculously photogenic. Lots of great vantage points for pictures of the splashdown.

Le Scoot -- I have a soft spot for the classic log flumes, and I enjoyed the height of this one -- plus, the first drop is a nice bonus.

Europe in the Air -- Akin to watching an Imax movie in an earthquake. Do I get bonus credit for riding in what, I believe, was its final full week of operations?

Curse of DarKastle -- My first ride of this type, and I thought it was pretty fun. Had no desire to go a second time, which speaks for its re-ridability (or lack thereof), and I thought the story was hard to follow. However, the effects were really well done, much more convincing than I was expecting. The 3D wasn't working on one screen in the second half of the ride, which had everyone in the car adjusting their glasses as if it was going to help (hey, I tried too).

Mach Tower -- Closed all day. We saw the vehicle at the top of the tower once in the early afternoon, but without riders.

And now the scorecard for the day...

Busch Gardens Williamsburg -- Wednesday, June 12, 2013
In -- 10:45 AM
Verbolten [Front]
Verbolten [Back]
Curse of DarKastle
Alpengeist [Front]
Griffon [Front]
Europe in the Air
Loch Ness Monster [Front]
Escape from Pompeii
Apollo's Chariot [Back]
Apollo's Chariot [Front]
Verbolten [Front]
Autobahn Bumper Cars
Alpengeist [Back]
Alpengeist
Le Scoot Log Flume
Griffon [Back]
Griffon [Back]
Griffon [Back]
Griffon [Back]
Sky Ride x3 (complete circuit)
Verbolten [Back]
Apollo's Chariot [Back]
Apollo's Chariot
Apollo's Chariot
Apollo's Chariot
Out -- 7:20 PM

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Welcome to Busch Gardens.

More photos coming shortly.
-- Andy
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Trip Reports: 2013 BG/KD -- 2013 TPR -- 2014 KI -- 2014 TPR -- 2015 TPR
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Re: Photo TR: Zo's First Visit to BGW and KD

Postby The Great Zo » Sat Jul 13, 2013 7:50 pm

Now for a whole bunch of pictures.
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Apollo at the entrance.
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Arches on the way in. I love all the detail in the park like this.
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Columns over near Apollo's Chariot and Pompeii.
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I don't know what this is, but it's neat.
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Looking over the Rhine at Griffon and Nessie.
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By the way, is Nessie an acceptable nickname? I know most coaster nicknames are pretty lame (Maggie, Rappy, all you CP fanboys) -- but this one has history on its side!
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Mach Tower, down for the count. Not a surprise.
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The Verbolten theming was awesome!
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Heading out of the station.
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Through the trees and into the Black Forest.
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The Black Forest looks like the Green Box from this angle.
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My friend rode Drachen Fire many years ago. To him, it's a legend. To me, it's an empty station.
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A festive atmosphere, but an un-crowded park.
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DarKastle looms.
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Looking up!
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The entryway to Alpengeist.
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Alpengeist part 1.
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Alpengeist part 2.
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Alpengeist part 3.
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Alpengeist part 4.
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Alpengeist part 5.
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Le Scoot, which had the toughest-to-find entrance of the day.
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Griffon up top.
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Griffon down low.
-- Andy
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Trip Reports: 2013 BG/KD -- 2013 TPR -- 2014 KI -- 2014 TPR -- 2015 TPR
Trip Reports: 2015 CP -- 2017 FL -- 2017 CP -- 2017 TPR -- 2018 FC -- 2018 CA

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Re: Photo TR: Zo's First Visit to BGW and KD

Postby The Great Zo » Sat Jul 13, 2013 7:59 pm

More from BGW.
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Griffon and Alpengeist.
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Alpengeist dives out.
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Griffon at the top.
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Griffon splashes down.
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After the splash -- rainbow effects!
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Fright? Enjoyment? Screams? All of the above?
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Twisted track.
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Over the station.
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Tough shot -- thing's moving 70 MPH-ish past here!
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Heading up on the sky ride for some aerial views.
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Griffon at the bottom of the drop.
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A view of the splash from the sky ride.
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If only Alpengeist was quite as glorious as it looks in this picture.
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Big wheels turning. (I'm listening to ELO as I write this).
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Parts of the sky ride get lost in the trees, and you'd almost not know you were in the middle of a huge theme park operation.
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Interlocking loops!
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Over-the-Rhine.
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The approach into the never-ending helix of darkness.
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Rock work around the helix.
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Long train running.
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Ireland from the air (which is better than Europe in the Air).
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Lift hill and transfer track.
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The Griffon station, just before getting off the sky ride. One more batch of BGW pics to be posted below.
-- Andy
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Re: Photo TR: Zo's First Visit to BGW and KD

Postby The Great Zo » Sat Jul 13, 2013 8:10 pm

Last batch from BGW!
233.jpg
Porcupine.
235.jpg
Bird. Sorry I can't be more specific. Need to brush up on my bird species.
243.jpg
Red-crested something-or-other. Several of these in the Lorikeet Glen area.
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And of course, the Lorikeets -- the most ridiculously photogenic birds in the world.
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This was sort of a disjointed mess, and the motion-simulator part wasn't great. Was it nice to see some European landmarks at that size, though? Sure.
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A beautiful park, no question.
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Sky ride!
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Yup, several of these guys hanging out near (I think) the Scotland section.
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Though I was there on a weekday, and unable to take part in the culinary specialties, my Greek heritage required a picture of this.
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Pompeii is an interesting ride, inconsistently wet, and fun to photograph.
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The splash begins.
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The splash grows. I took this picture from just outside the glass wall, and had to jump back extremely quickly to avoid getting soaked myself.
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The splash expands!
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Mist in the air.
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Waiting to get soaked. Water's better than ashfall and pyroclastic flows.
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Yup, you're pretty much going to get it if you're out on that platform.
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The mist falls.
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Verbolten makes the Big Bad Wolf dive to the river.
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Great views of Verbolten from the bridge.
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The final turn into the station.
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Scenic.
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Not many good places for pictures of Apollo's Chariot -- though I'd have loved to take my camera into the queue -- so this shot will end the day at BGW. Very good park and I'm glad I visited.
-- Andy
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Trip Reports: 2013 BG/KD -- 2013 TPR -- 2014 KI -- 2014 TPR -- 2015 TPR
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Re: Photo TR: Zo's First Visit to BGW and KD

Postby cfc » Sun Jul 14, 2013 11:00 am

Great pictures of my home park--thanks! Verbolten is a very good "family" coaster and a good replacement for the Big Bad Wolf.
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Re: Photo TR: Zo's First Visit to BGW and KD

Postby yay101 » Sun Jul 14, 2013 2:30 pm

The Great Zo wrote:It's no contest between this and the Arrow/Morgan hypers I've been on -- this is what Magnum should be, if it were smooth and didn't kill your thighs with every jolt of air.


Magnum XL-200 is my all-time favorite coaster! And yes I have been on Apollo's Chariot. Both are great coasters, but I think Magnum had better airtime, and my thighs were completely fine on the ride. I didn't have any problems with the ride. But that's fine; opinions are opinions and I respect them.

Great trip report, I love the pictures of the animals since I didn't see then when I went last year. And great pictures of the roller coasters too!
Favourite Coaster: SkyRush
Other Favourites: Storm Chaser, Lightning Run, Blue Streak (CP), Voyage, Alpengeist, Apollo's Chariot, Phoenix, Goliath (SFGAm), Storm Runner, Raptor (CP), and Magnum XL-200

KD's Shockwave>KD's Delirium

If Magnum XL-200 dies we riot

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Re: Photo TR: Zo's First Visit to BGW and KD

Postby cfc » Sun Jul 14, 2013 3:37 pm

I like Magnum, even though it is a bit "clunky," but Apollo's Chariot is the better of the two.
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Re: Photo TR: Zo's First Visit to BGW and KD

Postby The Great Zo » Sun Jul 14, 2013 6:50 pm

cfc wrote:Great pictures of my home park--thanks! Verbolten is a very good "family" coaster and a good replacement for the Big Bad Wolf.


Thanks for reading, and totally agree about Verbolten! I missed out on Big Bad Wolf, this being my first visit to the park, but from watching a video I'd have a hard time saying it wasn't replaced by a superior ride.

yay101 wrote:Magnum XL-200 is my all-time favorite coaster! And yes I have been on Apollo's Chariot. Both are great coasters, but I think Magnum had better airtime, and my thighs were completely fine on the ride. I didn't have any problems with the ride. But that's fine; opinions are opinions and I respect them.


I'll agree that the second-half air is more intense on Magnum, but in that jolty Arrow way that isn't as smooth as a B&M. I know not everyone has issues with the lap bar, but I have yet to figure out how to ride Magnum in a way that's comfortable. Being rail thin probably doesn't help!
-- Andy
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Trip Reports: 2015 CP -- 2017 FL -- 2017 CP -- 2017 TPR -- 2018 FC -- 2018 CA

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Re: Photo TR: Zo's First Visit to BGW and KD

Postby TBpony414 » Sun Jul 14, 2013 10:26 pm

Nice photos, glad you had a great day at the park. The last photo of Pompeii is great! Looking forward to your report from Kings Dominion, which has more intense rides but is nowhere near as nicely themed. It's a trade-off for sure.

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Re: Photo TR: Zo's First Visit to BGW and KD

Postby The Great Zo » Mon Jul 15, 2013 10:49 pm

TBpony414 wrote:Nice photos, glad you had a great day at the park. The last photo of Pompeii is great!


Thanks. I had a ton of fun taking pictures of Pompeii, definitely my favorite of the park for that purpose.
-- Andy
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Trip Reports: 2013 BG/KD -- 2013 TPR -- 2014 KI -- 2014 TPR -- 2015 TPR
Trip Reports: 2015 CP -- 2017 FL -- 2017 CP -- 2017 TPR -- 2018 FC -- 2018 CA

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