Busch Gardens Europe, Fri 7/20

Associated parks:

First I'll give an overview for those of you that just want the basics. Also a little disclaimer: Busch Gardens is my home park.

Busch Gardens Europe - Friday July 20th

  • Arrived right about opening, 10am.
  • First up, Griffon. Rode in the front. Great ride. Only complaint is that it seems too short.
  • Alpengeist. I've ridden it a bunch of times but never realized that it has 6 inversions!
  • Darkastle. Solid attraction, but I don't like the changes they made last year, particularly to the ending.
  • It started drizzling a bit and my friends rode Big Bad Wolf. They sat in the front, in the rain, and loved it. I'm not a big fan because of the lack of visibility.
  • We had to hit the bumper cars and the swings while we were in the area.
  • Escape From Pompei. The pyro is cool, but nothing special about the ride itself.
  • Apollo's Chariot. Even with the arrival of Griffon, this is still my favorite ride at the park.
  • Loch Ness. I had forgotten how sweet the tunnel is.
  • Watched the Irish Thunder show. The instrumentalists weren't really playing! That was a bit of a bummer.
  • Back to Griffon. Rode in the back. Much better ride in back. Faster drops, more airtime.
  • Then Alpengeist one more time to cap off the day.

Busch Gardens wins in my book for their cleanliness, landscaping, customer service, food service, and 3 world class coasters. It was a bit crowded in the park for an overcast Friday, but we didn't wait more than 20 minutes for any ride, including Griffon. They had all 3 cars running for Griffon and the 3 attendants were working their butts off to keep the line moving. The professionalism of the workers there is unmatched at any park I've been to, including Sea World and The Magic Kingdom.

Negatives at Busch Gardens are the lack of a wooden coaster, and that 4 of their 5 coasters require shoulder restraints. Another thing that bums me out is that they continue the trend of removing existing rides to make room for new ones. They have a lot of land there and I wish they'd invest a bit in spreading things out and adding attractions. Granted, Le Mans for Griffon isn't a bad tradeoff, but I still miss Le Mans. Wild Maus for Darkastle was a bummer though. 3D/4D rides/attractions just aren't as thrilling as even the simplest of coasters.

As to the rides themselves, Griffon is extremely impressive. I had the fortune of being on the far right "wing" both times and the Immelmann's are sweet when you get swung out like that. Both 90 degree drops are breathtaking, but the back row just gives a better ride experience IMO. In the front you have better visibility, but the drops feel slow, like it takes awhile for you to pick up speed. In the back it feels more like you're being "pushed" over the edge rather than "dropped." I just thought it was more fun. I noticed the floorless aspect when we raced over the water toward the end of the ride, but other than that it was a non-factor. If only it were a bit longer, maybe just another hill and/or another inversion. Oh well. Definitely a ride to experience if you haven't yet.

Apollo's Chariot is one smooth hyper coaster. I sat in the 3rd car and it seemed slower than usual. I didn't get any airtime and the helix didn't produce any G's. I'd have to say that the best seat is either in the front row, or toward the back.

Inverts aren't my favorites, but Alpengeist is my favorite invert. Once again B&M produces a fast, smooth ride. Now that I'm getting more familiar with coaster elements I was able to enjoy the cobra roll. That's my favorite section as it can really get you turned around.

Last point to make. I found out that both Griffon and Alpengeist have a few seats for larger folks on each train. They can be identified by the double buckles on the shoulder harness. So, even if you can't fit in the demo seat, you'll probably fit in one of the double buckled seats which can be found in the center seats on the center cars on Alpengeist and in the center seats on Griffon.

Ok, that's all for now.

^The double-buckled seats, otherwise known as the "big-boy (or big-girl) seats." I believe it's usually row 4 or 5 that has the bigger seats on an inverted train. If Busch were smart, they'd purchase an extra bigger seat and park it next to the regular seat like they do for MaxAir at Cedar Point. That way no one's time would get wasted.
Acoustic Viscosity's avatar
Some parks use the "big boy" seat as the "test" seat, such as SFFT for Siperman Krypton Coaster.

AV Matt
Long live the Big Bad Wolf

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