June 13, 2009, 4:06P

ridemcoaster

ridemcoaster's avatar

With the good weather this weekend, my Wife got me into the official BGE VIP Roller Coaster tour this morning, so I had a chance to see what it was like though its whole paces to accurately report on it. Let me tell you the official tour is amazing.

Our BGE Guide was one of the Park Ops team members and he did an amazing job of showing us around and answering any questions that were thrown at him.

First Up:

We hit good ol, LNM. He took us around the restricted areas including the maintenance area underneath the queue lines. There we were able to see the old Python frame ready to be rebuilt when the time to swap out the trains occur. The ride maint. crew also showed us a pop up hatch that allowed them to inspect the ride (including the anti roll back and chain dog) while the train is actually still in the station. We then were given two rides on the coaster. A train all to ourselves! Finally they took us below the lift hill to "inspect" the lift chain and show the modifications that were made recently that allow the chain to run in idle mode (runs at a slow pace until the train catches it) to save electricity and wear. They borrowed that from Griffon as it uses the same function. (Ive also seen other non BEC parks do something similar)

Next Up: Griffon

We took a back way to Griffon where we went directly to the EVAC Car. After a brief overview of what it will involve, we then took our seats in the EVAC car and made our way up to the top of the lift hill at a very suprisingly quick rate. We then hit point 205, and there was treated to, IMHO, the most spectacular view ever. I could do this a thousand times and this part would never get old. They even had one of their trains up there near the first drop-off so you can take a photo that you rarely get to see; you standing next to an empty train at the top of the first drop.

We stayed up there about 15 mins where I took lots of pans and single image shots. Then was back down the EVAC.

Once at ground level, we went inside the maint/storage for Griffon, where 1 of the 3 trains was waiting for our close up inspection of the underside. It interesting that the ride actually rests on beams so they can work on the wheels unobstructed by track. While there the maint. crew explained a great deal about the trains and how they are serviced.. Quite impressive, but not surprising for Busch the detail they go into. After a load of questions its ride time. A train all to yourself on Griffon? Heck Yeah! 2 rides later, we got a view into the controls for Griffon. Totally computer operated and touch screens everywhere showing train locaton on track, as well as a load of other ride safety information. Nearby was touch control monitors for all the cameras throughout the ride. Pretty cool!

Next Up: Alpengeist.

We were first taken on the ride as the park was getting ready to open and they wanted to make sure we got our rides before public shows up. You just cant hate that ride.. Especially when no one else is on it! Then back to the maint/support area. Like Griffon, Alpie sits on beams so the track doesnt hinder access to the wheels. They even had a lay out (as they did on the other 2 coasters) of the differnt type of wheels on the coaster. Let me tell you the Load Wheels are some heavy beasts for Alpie. Griffon you really needed 2 hands.

This is one of those tours I just didnt want to end, however, as time was nearing its end, he gave us a walk over to Big Bad Wolf and described some of the systems that operated BBW, some quite impressive for a 25 year old coaster.

At conclusion we got front of line passes, which could be used for Apollo's and Big Bad, so while you didnt get an ERT for those, you could go up to the front of the line. We opted to give ours to a really nice family we met while in the park who were from out of town. They were very grateful as it was their only day there.

Throughout the VIP event a couple of BGE Team Members take lots of photos of you, however, you are free to take as many photos you want anywhere with your own camera. Can even bring a tripod up to top of Griffon if you have +$1000 camera set-up. (cough Jeff/Gonch). However if you arent a big photography dork, you can get a disk of all the photos the team members took of you at the end of the tour.

I think this tour will become very successful once word catches on. The price for the general public is very cheap, and even the price they charge the passholders is very generous for what you get.

I dont want to give misconceptions of it being just you on the tour.. You do run the chance of being booked with others on the same day, but they limit it to 16 people at most. This # is also chosen due to EVAC only holding 10 people. 16 allows for 2 shifs of 8 to go up at a time. You also wont have any feeling of overcrowding or it being non personal. Currently they only do this Fri-Sundays, but theres talk of expanding those days if it becomes popular.

I have my first round of pictures posted. I took so many Im trying to sort through them so I can post the ones that show best what the tour is like. I will post more later im sure..

If you want to do this tour you can book it at http://www.buschgardens.com/bgw2/CP/?page=CoasterTour.

Good Times though.. I know I will be back at 205 again!

Last edited by ridemcoaster, July 31, 2009, 12:18P


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June 13, 2009, 11:04P

Lord Gonchar

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Sounds pretty damn cool. :)


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June 13, 2009, 11:36P

Vater

Vater's avatar

Sounds like a really cool experience. Awesome photos, too. Did anyone on the tour ask about Big Bad Wolf's future?

Hmm...what a nice Father's Day gift this would make... :)

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June 14, 2009, 1:25A

Jeff

Jeff's avatar

Such a beautiful park. I really need to get out there again soon.

I don't think photos really do justice to the enormity of those Griffon trains. They had one car at IAAPA last year at the B&M booth, and I was just amazed at the size. It just doesn't seem right that something so big and heavy is on wheels.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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June 14, 2009, 1:46A

Vater

Vater's avatar

That's pretty much how I feel when I go to the airport. ;)

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June 14, 2009, 6:35A

ridemcoaster

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Vater: It was pretty much my wife and I (and a few extra BGW team members in training) on the tour and oddly that question never came up with any of us ;)


Jeff: Totally agree with size comparison. Even when you are sitting on it, it really doesnt give you a good sense.. It wasnt until I was underneath the train, that I truely got an idea of that scale.. That an attempting to pick up a load wheel.

It was interesting what B&M and Busch went back and fourth on for the design of that coaster. There was some very interesting information given by the Park Ops on the tour that I never knew :::glares at wife for witholding information::: :)

Last edited by ridemcoaster, June 14, 2009, 6:38A


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June 14, 2009, 12:12P

LostKause

LostKause's avatar

Well, are you going to tell us or just let us wonder? :)

Sound like a really fun tour. I can get comp tickets to BG, so I don't know if I'll ever get around to taking the VIP tour. Free vs. a lot more (how much is it again?) makes for a very difficult decision.


Travis - www.youtube.com/travsaun
You don't know me.

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June 14, 2009, 1:53P

ridemcoaster

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Tell you what? I thought I described the VIP tours quite well ;)

I dont know if I would call it "lots more" for what you are getting. $75 if you dont have a pass, $67 if you do. For 3 hours of VIP treatment, I would call that a good deal and worth it.

Last edited by ridemcoaster, June 14, 2009, 1:55P


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June 15, 2009, 8:38P

DaveStroem

DaveStroem's avatar

Nice shots and great TR. I wish that we could do this when we are there in 2 weeks but the kids are too young and I won't go by myself and leave them waiting for me.

I hope to see you down there.

Dave

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June 15, 2009, 9:15P

Raven-Phile

Raven-Phile's avatar

I'll tell you what. How about I hit you over the head with that Griffon wheel and steal that polo shirt? :) (I'm assuming that's you in those pictures)

Steamboat Willie is the next phase in my tattoo, BTW.


R.I.P LeRoi Moore 9/7/61 - 8/19/2008
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June 15, 2009, 9:34P

ridemcoaster

ridemcoaster's avatar

LOL!!

Yep, that's me. Grey goatee and all.

Told ya im a Disney Geek.. That shirt was custom made too ;) Steamboat is my fav. We have one room in our house thats black and white and has lots of Steamboat Willie trinkets.


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June 15, 2009, 9:41P

Raven-Phile

Raven-Phile's avatar

Steamboat is my fav, too. I really want a polo shirt with him on it now.

This is going in to our spare bedroom sometime soon:

http://www.disneystore.com/adult-vintage-black-and-white-mickey-mou...617/59529/


R.I.P LeRoi Moore 9/7/61 - 8/19/2008
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June 15, 2009, 9:54P

ridemcoaster

ridemcoaster's avatar

Ahh yes.. The B&W collection.. Yep.. Lots of my money went into vintage collection.. Those darn Disney Store emails are killing my wallet.

The Busch folks get on my wife because her office has way more Disney Stuff in there than Busch.. What do they expect her to have in there?? Lots of beer cans??


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June 16, 2009, 2:56P

LostKause

LostKause's avatar

ridemcoaster said:


...It was interesting what B&M and Busch went back andfourth on for the design of that coaster. There was some veryinteresting information given by the Park Ops on the tour that I neverknew...

LostKause said:
Well, are you going to tell us or just let us wonder? :)

ridemcoaster said:
Tell you what? I thought I described the VIP tours quite well ;)

I see that winkie. Why keep it to yourself? Become a hero and spill the beans. :)

VIP is only $75? That's a great deal, considering that 5 front-of-the-line passes (1 for each ride) alone run $25! Tickets to the park run $59.99, so adding $25 for FotL tickets would cost more than one would spend on a VIP tour.


Travis - www.youtube.com/travsaun
You don't know me.

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June 16, 2009, 3:13P

Lord Gonchar

Lord Gonchar's avatar

LostKause said:
VIP is only $75? That's a great deal, considering that 5 front-of-the-line passes (1 for each ride) alone run $25! Tickets to the park run $59.99, so adding $25 for FotL tickets would cost more than one would spend on a VIP tour.

I think it's same to assume you'd have to buy park admission ($60) in addition to the VIP ($75).

And while $75 for the tour looks to be good fun and a great price, it's not the same as the full-day VIP experience other parks give for hundreds of dollars.

Then again, in enthusiast circles this experience may very well be considered the better experience.


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June 16, 2009, 3:51P

ridemcoaster

ridemcoaster's avatar

Lord Gonchar said:

Then again, in enthusiast circles this experience may very well be considered the better experience.

Ironically more non "enthusiasts" have signed up for the VIP Coaster tour so far than the card holder enthusiasts. Last weekend they had a family from NYC.. The family just did the VIP tour so they could ride coasters without the crowds. The father of one group was interested in the back stage talk but the rest of the family was wanting to ride and go.

Was quite amusing as I thought to myself, "wow, its funny the cool information they are getting, yet they really dont care".

Really reinforces the "to each his own interest" theory.

I think it's same to assume you'd have to buy park admission ($60) in addition to the VIP ($75).

If you dont have a pass, you do have to purchase an admission ticket. This is true. Obviously its totally worth it if you have a pass and already met the price break. Park does have to make money for having rides open early and tourguide/photographer. But i think on the scale of VIP tours this price is a gimme.

But yeah for $300, you can get the full day which includes the coaster tour. So far only 2 groups have been on that one.. One of them had their secretary call Busch and "make an appointment". Silly rich people.


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June 16, 2009, 4:14P

Lord Gonchar

Lord Gonchar's avatar

ridemcoaster said:
Silly rich people.

I still chuckle everytime someone equates the VIP thing with being rich. :)


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June 16, 2009, 7:30P

ridemcoaster

ridemcoaster's avatar

Actually you are equating my expression with the wrong thing. I dont think anything about VIP tours vs being Rich.

My remark is from the gentleman's personal secretary calling the park to set up time for his family to do the VIP tour..

That is what I find silly, and typically inherent to the wealthy.


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June 16, 2009, 8:24P

Lord Gonchar

Lord Gonchar's avatar

I'll have my secretary write up a response explaining my understanding. :)


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June 16, 2009, 8:29P

ridemcoaster

ridemcoaster's avatar

lol.. you do that please.. I will notify my secretary that a response is on its way. ;)


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