Three years of research, strategic planning and guest feedback culminates this spring with the debut of new rides at Busch Gardens and Water Country USA. Busch Gardens’ Mäch Tower℠ and Water Country USA’s Vanish Point℠ were announced Sept. 18 in front of 2,000 park fans inside Busch Gardens’ Das Festhaus. Fans also heard details of a completely rejuvenated Oktoberfest area that will feature a new restaurant, beer garden and performance spaces designed to complement Mäch Tower.
Contractors broke ground on both attractions last fall, and work is on schedule for completion this spring. Today, the sounds of heavy equipment emanate from inside the Williamsburg theme parks as jackhammers and bulldozers make way for the two new thrill rides.
Long before construction crews began working, Busch Gardens’ officials were hard at work researching how to enhance the guest experience. The strategic planning began more than three years ago for Mäch Tower and Vanish Point.
The decision to build one attraction over another comes down to consumer demand and what fits appropriately with the parks’ overall themes.
“When we develop a new attraction plan we look at what we’ve done in the past, what rides resonate with theme park goers today and what would make an appropriate addition to the parks’ future,” said Larry Giles, vice president of design and engineering at Busch Gardens and Water Country USA. “After taking several inspirational, fact-finding trips to theme parks around the world, and gauging the interests of our guests, we decided 2011 was a perfect time to introduce new thrill rides at Busch Gardens and Water Country USA, and to rejuvenate Oktoberfest village.”
Once the project was selected, the team put together pictorials with a proposed full-color scheme and design. They also produced videos simulating the ride experience. The proposal was then presented to focus groups comprised of people who have visited the parks, and people who have never experienced Busch Gardens and Water Country USA.
Focus groups provide a test for an idea that can be used to make adjustments based on the group’s reaction. Phrases like, “I can’t wait,” and, “My kids will love it,” were typical reactions about the possibility of a Mäch Tower and a Vanish Point-like ride.
“Focus group attendees typically reference their kid’s enjoyment when evaluating rides and experiences,” Giles said. “That’s how we know we are on the right track.”
Guests will get their chance to experience Mäch Tower and Vanish Point this spring. Until then, fans can visit www.facebook.com/BuschGardens
for the latest news and construction updates for Mäch Tower. Water Country USA fans can visit www.facebook.com/WaterCountryUSA
for Vanish Point information.