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Ultimate Rollercoaster > Discussion Forums > Roller Coasters, Parks & Attractions > Busch Gardens Europe TR 7/15/13

Busch Gardens Europe TR 7/15/13

alpengeistno3

Posted:
7/17/13 at
8:18:37 AM

Hey guys. At first, I figured I wouldn’t bother posting a BGE TR (there have been more than enough), but I just started a Flickr site, so I want to test the picture adding feature.

So I was poking around my room and look what I found…my old Drachen Fire SOP.

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From my 1st year working at Busch.

I also still have the one that I received from the last year of operation in 1997, but I only worked there for 2 weeks before moving to Alpengeist.

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TOP SECRET...but here is a peek :)

My mom and I arrived at BGE around 9:45. She is not a coaster rider at all, but she loves the park and wants to tag along in her motorized wheelchair. We took about 20 mins to get the wheelchair and I went straight to Griffon.

Here is the opening schedule, by the way.

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Notice that everyone arriving at the park before 10:30 has no choice but to go through Ireland to France and Germany and Verbolten does not open until 10:45

Griffon, other than the front queue was completely empty. I rode 7 times in various places all over the last row before deciding the line was long enough (more than 1 cycle) to move on.

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Griffon, a one trick pony, but that 1st drop is an amazingly good trick!

Next up was Alpengeist. I had my nervousness about Alpengeist since the shortened seatbelts have been catching up with me. I heard that Busch decided to put in a sensor system to electronically make sure all the harnesses are fully closed, thus enabling them to lengthen the seatbelts. I believe this is a first for a US inverted coaster. The new sensor bar has been added to the right side of the train in the loading station. I took my usual seat in the back, loading side (the “G-seat”) and buckled the seatbelt myself with no problem. Of course, I got a recheck alarm from the board, but a good hard shove cleared it. SOOOO much easier than last year, having to sometimes get 2 ops to get the seatbelt to click, if they were even willing.

So, I noticed A LOT of rattle in the back, especially on the tunneled transition between the vertical loop and the cobra roll. Really shocking how bad it has become in the 16 years since the ride was put in. The block flop is still nasty, but I’ve learned over the years to pick up my legs and make a ball to absorb the shock. (this works on Anaconda, too, by the way) The block brake was on hard all 5 rides I took (I stayed at Griffon just a little too long as the crowd was starting to catch up to me. If the train has less than 8 people on it, the trim is supposed to run open.) After 5 rides, I moved on.

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Most intense cobra roll ever. Love it!!

I moved on to Darkastle. The Entrance cast member said there was “no wait,” but I think "no wait" meant “none that I can see from here”. The line went from the doors to just inside the covered portion of the castle (about 3 cycles or 20 mins) This turned out to be my longest wait of the day. Having just come from Universal, it was fun to compare all the similarities of scenes to those in Spiderman (and how poorly Busch pulled them off compared to that great ride.) There were so many opportunities for them to have made Darkastle with the same level of effects as Spiderman, but clearly, they did not have the budget for that. Oh well, at least it was air conditioned!

I decided to go to Verbolten next (it is around 12:30.) Mach Tower had not yet opened and was parked around 10 feet off the ground. I was surprised to see Verbolten's line only at the bridge just outside the station. (I guess opening Italy at 10:30 discouraged most people from going straight from the front gate to Verbolten.) I rode in the back of the A station. The helix inside the building was super intense. I got “Storm” for my 1st ride then “Wolf” for the other 3 rides as I went around and quickly got back in line while the wait was still short. I found that there is a very short dispatch window when running 5 trains and when boarding in the B station, we regularly got set up after the vertical drop portion. I was curious where the holding area would be since only 4 trains can fit on the final brake run until they dispatch one to the holding brake. The park added a sound effect of the car struggling to start to hide the fact that we were holding before rolling into the 2nd launch.

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Verbolten’s final drop still looks odd sitting on BBW’s old footers!

Meanwhile, Mach Tower managed to open after my 2nd ride on Verbolten, so I figured I had better get my ride on that before anything else could happen to it. This was actually my 1st daylight ride on Mach Tower (didn't open on my 2011 visit and I did not want to deal with it until the line was non-existent last year.) The view is quite impressive, especially of Alpengeist just beneath it. If only they would allow pictures :(

The brake run has been shortened this year, so the drop is actually decent now. It is no Drop Zone, but it is just long enough to give you some terror that it might not stop. A vast improvement, but I still think Busch wasted their money. Too bad they can't trade it in for a version of Falcon's Fury that BGT is getting (or maybe they can. Afterall, BGT did make Sheikra floorless after BGE got Griffon.)

The line for Verbolten doubled after 4 times, so I left to eat lunch at the Pretzel shop (the ham and cheese pretzel sandwich is DELICIOUS!) Mom and I watched the Festhaus show. The band was off today, so we were stuck with the revamped Entwined show. They changed things slightly from last year to include more singing and dancing, but it is still BAD “Broadway”. They even dim the lights so low, it was almost impossible to see what you are eating (fortunately, all I had was a sandwich and chips, but if I had sauerkraut, it was literally too dark to see where to stick the fork!)

After lunch, temps were soaring in the high 90’s (I was drenched in enough sweat from walking around for so many rerides earlier). We went to Apollo and the line was completely in the station, maybe 2 cycles for the back row. I took 5 rides (in the back of course). The airtime was probably the best I have had on Apollo, especially on the return run after the block brake. The drop off the block brake was nearly ejector level and the one back down to the Rhine was very forceful for a change (normally it is kinda weak.) Sometimes the trim brake before the dive next to Roman Rapids would catch and other times it remained open so the small 16 foot drop actually produced some serious air as well. And I just love the last drop. It has always seemed just a click longer than it should be.

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Didn't get a chance to take a picture today, so here is an old one

From Apollo, I noticed how empty the park was with only the Ireland parking lot completely full. No wonder the lines were so short with 2 train operation (5 trains for Verbolten)

At this point, it is excruciatingly hot, so I decided to take a ride on Pompeii. Again, the line was only about 5 mins long. I assume they had 4 of the 5 boats running. Most of the fire effects did not go off on the right side of the boat (either the op stationed inside manually disabled them or the park has completely disabled them since people have had more problems keeping their hands inside of the boat over the years.) When we reached the final drop, our boat paused before opening the doors (guess they were set-up when they got behind on the loading sequence). We did finally proceed to the drop about 5 seconds after the music ran out.

I went on to Loch Ness to be greeted by an almost empty station (1 group per row with several middle seats empty. I rode in an empty row in the front of car 6. The 1st lift is just painfully slow now. I think Griffon was able to dispatch both trains in the time it took for us to reach the top. I love a slow, dramatic climb to the top of the lift as much as anyone else, but when it is on the “smallest” coaster in the park, it loses some of its appeal. The drops delivered as usual. The pullout from the 1st loop has become so brutal. It is the only thing that could be considered “rough” about Loch Ness. I found myself unable to comfortably ride in the back seat since that combined with the cramped leg space made it very uncomfortable to brace for. The block brake was on very light, so we flew through the mountain sequence. It seems as though the 2nd lift has been slowed as well as we actually seemed to come to a complete stop before the chain dog engaged and just creeped to the apex.

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Loch Ness, only one loop at a time from now on.

I rode 8 times before just being exhausted from having to walk around (Busch was enforcing the “no switching seats” rule despite the station being close to empty. Once, I decided to bite the bullet and ride in Row 5 just to take a break from walking around.)

It’s around 5:30 and I decided it was time to find a place to cool off. Unfortunately, Europe in the Air has been closed for an early Halloscream makeover (must have been a last minute decision because it is blacked out on the attraction list on the back of the map and is still included on the front of the map. Pirates has also been ended to act as overflow seating for the Squires Galley. And the Irish show did not start until 7:15. So, I just sat in the shadow of Castle O’Sullivan downing cup after cup of ice water until the show started.

In the meantime, Illuminights started at 6:00. The celebration has been cut down to just Ireland and Italy (in the past, every country had something.) I failed to see the connection that what looked like a construction crew had with Ireland, but I guess you had to just go with it. They had a flautist, couple of guitars and a bodhran player, which I guess was supposed to be the connective touch, but they were drowned out by the contemporary backing track. Mom, being the show connoisseur, was very disappointed!

After the Irish show (and refreshing AC), the plan was to make a run of the park’s coasters, spending a half hour at each before closing (I had just done Loch Ness 8 times, so I didn’t need to stop there again.) Griffon was 1st. I got 3 rides, only waiting 2 trains before boarding each one. Next was Alpengeist. The crew was a little slower, but I managed to get 3 rides there, usually boarding the next train out.

Verbolten proved to be a challenge. The park put out a sign saying that the ride would close at 9:20 to prepare for the fireworks then reopen after they were done, but what they did was cut off the line at the grouper area at 9:00 and empty the station (I presume by 9:20), but once I realized what was happening, I left for Apollo to try to make up the ½ hour there.

I got to Apollo around 9:25. I had hoped to watch the fireworks from Apollo, but I actually hopped in the 3rd row with no wait. Not taking the time to check the time, we arrived back in the station right as the 9:30 fireworks started. I went around for another ride, opting for row 8 this time. I could have got on the train that was loading, but my 3rd row ride bored me to tears. (B&M hypers have NO airtime in the front) Well, it turned out a good thing I waited because as soon the train dispatched, the ride shut down, stranding that train on the lift about a 3rd of the way up and the train I had just got off of on the safety brakes at the end of the course.) Either someone hit an E stop, or the ride completely shut down for other reasons. The board op looked very confused as he called the lead up to address the situation (he appeared to not even realize the lift had shut down until the other train returned and stopped instead of proceeding around to the station.) I didn’t have time to see what they were going to do, but just as I started walking out, they made the closing spiel and I don’t think they got the ride back up before the park closed in 20 mins.

I headed back to Verbolten, pretty disappointed that I had only received one ride in a crappy seat during the last hour of my closing plan. The fireworks had just ended as I left Festa Italia, so it was a struggle to fight my way back to Germany against the masses heading for the exit (which seemed huge considering that none of the rides had any wait all day.) I did finally get back to Verbolten just as they had started reloading, so I jumped in whatever line I could get on the quickest (turned out to be the back of the B station). After my ride, it was 9:59, so I just narrowly got back in line before they closed the line for the night. I decided to play “Verbolten Roulette” and opted for the short queue in the B station to try to score a reride in the A station when we returned. My plan worked as the last group was in the front row of the A station when we returned!

I made the LONG walk back to the front gate and took mom back home. She said she had a great time seeing the shows, as usual. In all, it was a very good day.

Thanks for reading and hopefully, all the pictures came out. When I get back to MD, I am going to scan all my old Drachen Fire pictures since I have tons from onride (back when onride pictures were perfectly allowed) and from the lift when we had evacuation practice.)

Paul

* This post was modified at 7/17/13 8:35:01 AM *

Re: Busch Gardens Europe TR 7/15/13 by frontrow frontrow Profile at 7/17/13 3:01:03 PM
Great report Paul. I love Busch Gardens. I've been very fortunate that every time that I have visited, the crowd was very minimal. I would love to visit that park more often. It seems that I get to BGE about every 5 years. Reading your report makes me want to go back.
Re: Busch Gardens Europe TR 7/15/13 by alpengeistno3 at 7/17/13 3:11:47 PM
Thanks, Ken. BGE is a very underrated park due to the lack of rides in their collection. I am all for quality over quantity. When I ride like Loch Ness can be considered your "worst" adult coaster, that is about as high a quality collection as you can get.

Paul

Re: Busch Gardens Europe TR 7/15/13 by GoYanks34 GoYanks34 Profile at 7/17/13 9:29:26 PM
So, how much for you're operator's manual? I wonder what you could get for that on e-bay, LOL! Glad you and mom got through the heat and had a good day. What the hell happens at that place at night? I swear something always happens to everyone towards the end of the day there. Perhaps it's the ghost of BBW screwing with people. ;-)

I don't remember Nessie being painful at all when I was last there in 2011. I remember the seats being ridiculously small but I don't recall any real discomfort - is that "out of the loop" pain new?

SO jealous of your rides on Griffon - you know I LOVE that coaster! Hoping for a big brother of his next year for 2014 but I realize it's probably a drop tower (not that that's bad - I'll take it, I would just prefer a dive coaster!).

Jen

Re: Busch Gardens Europe TR 7/15/13 by alpengeistno3 at 7/17/13 11:33:12 PM
GoYanks34 said:

So, how much for you're operator's manual? I wonder what you could get for that on e-bay, LOL!

You know, when I found it, I thought "I bet this 1997 one could fetch a nice penny at some auction someday." Maybe I should try to put it up at some ACE convention in 2017 (25 years after DF was built)? I was hoping I had one for BBW (imagine what that would have been worth!!), but I was afraid that if I got comped at another coaster, it would give them more of an excuse to send me away from my "home" coaster when they were short staffed. The crews at BBW and Loch Ness were nowhere near as cool as we were :)

GoYanks34 said:

Glad you and mom got through the heat and had a good day. What the hell happens at that place at night? I swear something always happens to everyone towards the end of the day there. Perhaps it's the ghost of BBW screwing with people. ;-)

Idk, usually my night run goes without a hitch (other than the late Alpengeist ride op telling me "we can't keep squeezing you into these smaller seats" last year (when there was no one in the station other than the front row, jerk!) I now know that Verbolten has to be the last ride of the night because of the fireworks and Apollo was a fluke (at least the people stuck on the lift had the best seat in the park for the rest of the firework show, lol).

Never thought of the ghost of Wolf haunting the place, but since Wolf used to be the best night ride, it makes sense :)

GoYanks34 said:

I don't remember Nessie being painful at all when I was last there in 2011. I remember the seats being ridiculously small but I don't recall any real discomfort - is that "out of the loop" pain new?

It has always had that compression coming out of the 1st loop. It was particularly bad for me because my legs would not fit completely behind the seat in front of me, so I had to sit a little side-saddle, with my butt slightly on the seat divider. That hurt bad, so I was determined not to do it again. Everyone behind me let out an "ouch" or something like that for the rest of the rides I took in cars 6 and 7, so it wasn't just me who was uncomfortable with it.

GoYanks34 said:

SO jealous of your rides on Griffon - you know I LOVE that coaster! Hoping for a big brother of his next year for 2014 but I realize it's probably a drop tower (not that that's bad - I'll take it, I would just prefer a dive coaster!).

It was a really good Griffon day. I could have rode that ride all day if it was not for the heat. I doubt the line ever got over 15 minutes long. I would rather see a high capacity Dive machine at Gradv than a low capacity drop tower that will be overrun with flash pass users.

Jen

Re: Busch Gardens Europe TR 7/15/13 by Cyclone_Phil Cyclone_Phil Profile at 7/18/13 1:36:20 AM
Nice tr, makes me nostalgic for my last trip there in 2009. I agree about vb looking odd using bbw's footers.
Griffon, yeah, no arguments here, all it has is one extra immelman and it is slightly better ride wise over sheikra, but to me i like sheikra's splash pool being accessible and its setting. That is very good for photo ops.

Ac, i could never get a decent shot of that coaster unless it's from outside the park.

Lnm, sucks about the issues you had with it. I don't think i had any problems with it when i last went. Though that's 4 yrs ago, so not sure how much has changed about it.

Totally agreed about darkastle. When you ride spiderman at universal ioa, it puts darkastle to shame. If they only had the flame effects, then it would be up there, but they missed that.

Re: Busch Gardens Europe TR 7/15/13 by alpengeistno3 at 7/18/13 1:55:08 AM
Cyclone_Phil said:

Lnm, sucks about the issues you had with it. I don't think i had any problems with it when i last went. Though that's 4 yrs ago, so not sure how much has changed about it.

I wouldn't call the high G's coming out of the 1st loop an issue for me. Sitting the last row was more of an issue, but sitting in the row in front made it fine. I was more commenting about GP, who certainly had more of an issue with it.

Cyclone_Phil said:

Totally agreed about darkastle. When you ride spiderman at universal ioa, it puts darkastle to shame. If they only had the flame effects, then it would be up there, but they missed that.

It is funny, I was comparing the rides scene by scene. At one point, Ludwig hurled a blue fireball at you as you turned, just like the explosion in Spiderman. If Busch had put the money (and space as I am sure that Darkastle is a much smaller building than Spiderman), they could have easily put the same fire effects to sync up with the movie. They could have added physical objects hanging from the ceiling when the skeletons throw the knives at you and the moving walls could have been incorporated when you scale to the top of the castle for the finale.

I am sure the ride was way out of BGE's budget as it was (notice Tampa has yet to add a copy of their own). I seem to recall reading it was the most expensive single ride added to the park, but can't remember the source.

Paul

Re: Busch Gardens Europe TR 7/15/13 by Cyclone_Phil Cyclone_Phil Profile at 7/18/13 11:49:54 AM
Oh ok.

Yup, i think i remember hearing somewhere each ride vehicle costs as much as a ferrari (now which type i dunno). So that alone is pretty expensive. I never knew it was a space issue, but i agree that costs would be pretty high to maintain the flame effects. Even the water effects was cheap when ludwig was frozen and shattered.
I guess you could say it comes down to invest in a dark ride like that or a b&m coaster that really stands out. I dunno if the tampa one can get something that can fit the theme there. Plus with universal a few miles away, it doesn't seem necessary. Bgt has some room to build and doesn't seem to need it, imo.

Re: Busch Gardens Europe TR 7/15/13 by LoneStar LoneStar Profile at 7/18/13 4:56:26 PM
Loved the pics and TR. A few questions and comments:

I'm impressed with your energy and effort to get in so many rides. I'm totally jealous, too. That's sounds like an unbelievable day!

I disagree that Griffon is a 1-trick pony. To me it has 4 amazing elements, and is a "complete" coaster, much unlike the 1-trick ponies of Krake or Oblivion.

The 2 immelmans are some of the best inversions out there - especially on the outer seats. I loved Griffon and think that beyond the incredible first drop, it is an all-around top notch ride.

Sorry to hear Alpie is getting rough. It is by far my favorite B&M inverted. And I totally agree-that is the best cobra roll around.

So how good is Spiderman? I was nearly blown away by Darkastle, so I can't imagine how thrilling Spiderman is. I'll have to get to IOA.

What are the A&B loading stations on Verbolten? Is it a double-load system like Mr. Freeze?

And I agree about the air in the front of Apollo. In fact, of the 2 B&M hypers I've been on, I've never been impressed with their air - AC and Raging Bull.

Thanks again.

- Pat-O

Re: Busch Gardens Europe TR 7/15/13 by alpengeistno3 at 7/18/13 6:39:21 PM
LoneStar said:

Loved the pics and TR. A few questions and comments:


I'm impressed with your energy and effort to get in so many rides. I'm totally jealous, too. That's sounds like an unbelievable day!

Thanks. I'm afraid I am getting soft in my "old" age. I used to be able to spend the whole day riding with only a short break for lunch. It was nothing for me to ride Drachen Fire 30-50 times a day when the lines were that short.

LoneStar said:

I disagree that Griffon is a 1-trick pony. To me it has 4 amazing elements, and is a "complete" coaster, much unlike the 1-trick ponies of Krake or Oblivion.

I guess our definitions differ. I consider Griffon a 1-trick pony because the drop totally upstages anything else the ride does. Griffon is nice enough to do it twice, but the Immelmans are totally outshadowed by the drop and there is not much else to it. Nothing wrong with that, (it is still a great ride), but I am far more impressed with the park's other Beemers than Griffon.

LoneStar said:

The 2 immelmans are some of the best inversions out there - especially on the outer seats. I loved Griffon and think that beyond the incredible first drop, it is an all-around top notch ride.


Agreed there. My favorite side is the unloading side as the pullout seems to give a nice pop of extra acceleration. It is hard seat to get as a single rider due to the loading starting from that end, so it was amazing that the lines were short enough that 4 of my 7 early rides were all on that side (I was able to walk around and be 1st on the next train out.)

LoneStar said:

Sorry to hear Alpie is getting rough. It is by far my favorite B&M inverted. And I totally agree-that is the best cobra roll around.

I remember when the ride 1st opened how the most used comment about the ride was "smooth". In recent years, it has been known to rattle going through that tunnel when running empty, but this year, it was literally bouncing!! And it was fully loaded. People riding near me were noticeably shaken, especially by the flop into the block brake. The cobra roll has not let up on its intensity at all (despite the trim brake at the top of the lift always being active), but I wonder if Busch has been entertaining methods to tame it (I hope not!)

LoneStar said:

So how good is Spiderman? I was nearly blown away by Darkastle, so I can't imagine how thrilling Spiderman is. I'll have to get to IOA.

Darkastle is good for what it is, a modern take on the old-school haunted house rides. The only way Spiderman is superior is that they use several physical props in combination with the 3D effects. There is a fireball that goes off with the onscreen explosion, there are levitating crates that move when you are being attacked with the gun. Just a nice touch to tie the different screens together, whereas Darkastle sort of ignores that as you move from scene to scene.

LoneStar said:

What are the A&B loading stations on Verbolten? Is it a double-load system like Mr. Freeze?

Actually, it is a dual load like Maverick or Ricochet at KD. They load 2 trains at a time and dispatch both. The A station train will immediately enter the course while the B station train sits on the holding brake until the A train is clear of the block.

LoneStar said:

And I agree about the air in the front of Apollo. In fact, of the 2 B&M hypers I've been on, I've never been impressed with their air - AC and Raging Bull.

Thanks again.

- Pat-O

I haven't rode a B&M that I thought was a superior front seat ride. I really think all the "forceless" comments regarding them come from people who don't ride the back.

No problem. Thanks for reading and commenting on the whole thing!

Paul

Re: Busch Gardens Europe TR 7/15/13 by HamptonRoadsRider HamptonRoadsRider Profile at 7/22/13 11:19:26 AM
alpengeistno3 said:

I haven't rode a B&M that I thought was a superior front seat ride. I really think all the "forceless" comments regarding them come from people who don't ride the back.

No problem. Thanks for reading and commenting on the whole thing!

Paul

Yup, i was a bit amazed reading about not much airtime. AP has tons of airtime, at least in the rear half of the train. Its been awhile since i've ridden up front, i usually go for the back or near the back due to the shorter waits and first drop. I believe last time i rode up front it was raining - NOT FUN!! Spent the entire time trying to shield my face from the piercing rain!

Re: Busch Gardens Europe TR 7/15/13 by Cyclone_Phil Cyclone_Phil Profile at 7/27/13 9:57:42 PM
Edit: posting glitch.

* This post was modified at 7/27/13 9:58:48 PM *

Re: Busch Gardens Europe TR 7/15/13 by HamptonRoadsRider HamptonRoadsRider Profile at 7/28/13 1:25:36 PM
alpengeistno3 said:

I haven't rode a B&M that I thought was a superior front seat ride. I really think all the "forceless" comments regarding them come from people who don't ride the back.

No doubt. The back of AC is full of airtime. That last little drop into the gully at the end is what really pushes it over the edge for me. The airtime cherry on top.

Re: Busch Gardens Europe TR 7/15/13 by frontrow frontrow Profile at 7/28/13 6:48:19 PM
HamptonRoadsRider said:

alpengeistno3 said:

I haven't rode a B&M that I thought was a superior front seat ride. I really think all the "forceless" comments regarding them come from people who don't ride the back.

No doubt. The back of AC is full of airtime. That last little drop into the gully at the end is what really pushes it over the edge for me. The airtime cherry on top.

My daughter and I both liked the front of Leviathan better than the back. That coaster is all about speed, so that's probably why we liked the front so much.

Re: Busch Gardens Europe TR 7/15/13 by chitlins73 chitlins73 Profile at 7/28/13 8:27:07 PM
I think Nitro is far more superior in the front than the back!! The middle is just plain boring. Try the front at night. Now Apollo's Chariot is the opposite.The back is an airtime machine on Appollo's Chariot!!