Okay, if we're all done talking about the coaster that might be coming in 2021, why don't we concentrate on the one that's definitely opening in 2020 at Busch Gardens (probably in the spring): Pantheon! I was at the hard-hat tour today, and from what I heard and saw, this ride is going to be fantastic.
Suzy Cheely, the park's senior director of design and engineering and the new coaster's project lead, said that the ride is about "90 percent finished," and that sounded right. I noticed on one section of track that needed to be installed (at least in the area surrounding the tour). Also on hand were Kevin Lembke, president of of Busch Gardens and Water Country USA; Jonathon Smith, corporate director of engineering, SeaWorld Parks; and Elizabeth Ringas, ACE's communications director.
It was great to walk around under Pantheon. The layout looks crazy--in a good Intamin way--and the coaster should be a big winner for the park. Here are a few facts from the presentations today:
1. The coaster is a custom design to take advantage of the park's hilly landscape. At one point, it swoops down toward the Rhine River.
2. It will have a 52-inch height requirement, so expect something considerably crazier than Verbolten.
3. This will be the fastest multi-launch coaster in the world, with speeds ranging from 30 to 73 mph.
4. They're expecting 15 air-time moments of all types. For example, at one point riders will be launched backward up a spike, then experience five seconds of weightlessness as they start the trip back down (similar to what you experience on Finnegan's Flyer).
5. The ride will be about 150 seconds of craziness, and will use two trains with 83-second dispatches and a two-second switch track for the spike section.
The park will hold some ERT sessions for membership guests (details to follow later). For now, let's have a look at what I think could become the park's best ride.
My thanks to Busch Gardens Williamsburg for this behind-the-scenes look at Pantheon.
Hmm--people milling around in hard hats. I guess I'm in the right place.
We head toward Pantheon . . .
. . . under the watchful eyes of Santa.
Behold Intamin and Busch Gardens' offering to the Roman gods!
"Er, you folks know we're still buildin' this bad boy, right?"
A look at the station and the spike. They mentioned that the station will be themed, and that there will be some suprise theming elements in the queue.
The Transfer Track of the Gods!
"Oh, just ignore that sign. Surely, one of you has a carrot or an apple. Just toss it over the fence while they're not looking."
I don't know the "official" name of this element, so I'm going to call it the "OMG."
Now that's a high hat. I can say that with some certainty. You''ll be launched part way up, roll backward and up a spike, and launched back over it for at least two of those 15 moments of air time.
Of course, thy'll have to connect this section . . .
. . . with this one before that will work. This is technical, engineering-type stuff.
Kevin Lembke talks a bit about Pantheon.
I spy, with my little eye, four coasters in this photo.
A glimpse of the sick, twisted, beautiful mind of Intamin.
I included this photo to show you how close this ride gets to the ground. It'll be pretty cool to be on the train when Pantheon zips by!
I think there will be much screaming here, which will tick off some people who like to watch coaster POV videos in reverent silence. Too bad! ;)
Pantheon has so many ways to mess with you.
Jonathon Smith explains some of the more technical stuff about the new ride.
Er, mind thy head here!
Suzy Cheely addresses us from on high.
Jon discusses how the switch track works.
Here's a closer look at the switch track.
They've already been testing it.
I like the gold track a lot--great color choice.
Here's another look at launch area for the spike and high hat.
This looks really messed up--in the right way.
So, for those of you who want to get up close and personal with Pantheon, . . .
. . . here's your chance.
Here's where it heads toward the Rhine River. They didn't take us down there (it's a bit treacherous).
And remember, as you visit Busch Gardens, be sure to work for peace on Earth, . . .
. . . to appreciate Apollo's Chariot's new paint, . . .
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