Busch Gardens Plans New Thrill Ride

April 29th, 2010 by Kim Lenz

King’s Dominion’s Drop Zone takes riders up 305 feet, then sends them down in a controlled plummet.

As Busch Gardens prepares to unveil its new ride, Europe in the Air, on Friday, it seems the park is already planning for its next new attraction.

Busch Gardens submitted a height waiver application Tuesday to James City County to construct a “thrill attraction of a single tower not to exceed 260 feet above ground level.” The proposed tower ride would be located in the Oktoberfest section of the park and would become the park’s tallest ride, besting the 205-foot Griffon roller coaster.

The park is located in a zone that limits construction of structures higher than 60 feet. The Board of Supervisors have granted waivers to the park before, however; the Loch Ness Monster, Alpengeist, Apollo’s Chariot, Griffon and the Sky Ride that connects England, France and Germany are all taller than 60 feet.

In its application, the Virginia Beach-based LandMark Design Group said, “These earlier park expansions have become exciting and successful additions to the park with many becoming guest favorites.” The application goes on to say the new attraction meets all of the other requirements in the zoning ordinance.

The application does not indicate the exact location of the ride, but Senior Planner Leanne Reidenbach said proposed maps show the ride placed next to the Der Wirbelwind swing ride. In September 2009, the park closed another Germany attraction, the Big Bad Wolf roller coaster, fueling rumors a new ride would be built on that site.

Last Thursday, the planners at Busch Gardens let the county planners know they’d be conducting a preliminary balloon test to see how visible the ride would be at 260 feet. Reidenbach says the planning office will likely conduct a second balloon test that will be advertised to the public. Height waiver applications are not reviewed by the Planning Commission, so the application will likely be reviewed by the Board of Supervisors at a June meeting.

Tower thrill rides simulate the sensation of skydiving by raising riders slowly into the sky, only to release them in a plummet toward the ground. Nearby King’s Dominion boasts the largest drop ride in North America, the 305-foot-high “Drop Zone.” Busch Gardens Tampa features “Wild Surge,” a tower ride that launches guests above a waterfall.

The new ride would be the first major construction since Anheuser-Busch InBev sold the park to Blackstone Group in October. On Friday, the park will unveil Europe in the Air to media members and Gov. Bob McDonnell. The 4-D ride, which simulates traveling through Europe by air, replaces Corkscrew Hill in the Ireland section of the park. The ride will open to the public in early May.

11 Responses to Busch Gardens Plans New Thrill Ride

  1. Anonymous

    April 29, 2010 at 12:54 pm


  2. Anonymous

    April 29, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    Looks awesome.. 😆 😀

  3. Anonymous

    April 29, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    Anybody remember the Gettysburg tower? Eyesore.

  4. Anonymous

    April 29, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    i can hear the williamsburg anti-change, anti-progress, anti-tower of any type crowd just chomping at the bit to fight this…might ruin their precious view of the park or brewery or something ridiculous like that… :-*
    sounds like fun ride, hope it goes through without a hitch…

  5. Anonymous

    April 29, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    This is fantastic! It goes further to my point about Busch Gardens and its water park being the real draw for Wmbg’s future. Let’s try to persuade them to build another theme park. CW has clearly become an “also ran”. Want to promote tourism and growth? This is the route to go! They are putting real money into making Wmbg the place to be with your family. That means more hotel rooms and more restaurant covers !!!! Good for all of us.

  6. Anonymous

    April 29, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    Just please don’t ever make me get on that ride!

  7. Anonymous

    April 30, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    Remember folks, change is inevitable but not always for the best. I showed this to a person from the midwest and he told me it eventually will become unsafe. Great America had a similar ride and it caused a customer to lose their foot in a tragic accident. I’m sure the builders will say it’s perfectly safe, but is it?

  8. Anonymous

    April 30, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    Maybe they can lease space at the top to cell phone providers and eliminate the Kingsmill tower issue.

  9. Anonymous

    April 30, 2010 at 4:48 pm


    It’s time to grow up and stop comparing a history museum to an amusement park. Enjoy your summer job.

  10. Anonymous

    May 3, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    Williamsburg needs an attraction for the whiners, maybe an amusement park just for them. It could be built out by the airport and they can call it The Whinery!

    “It will eventually become unsafe.” I bet the person in the Midwest said the same thing about air travel or automobiles. Really? Come on. I know someone in the Southwest who knew someone that drowned in a pool. Should we close all the pools??? 😮 😛 😮

  11. Anonymous

    April 16, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    who cares if it will be unsafe the more thrill it is

You must be logged in to post a comment Login