Busch Gardens Williamsburg to add Verbolten coaster for 2012

Los Angeles Times staff writer

The Verbolten multi-launch roller coaster debuting in Spring 2012 at Busch Gardens Williamsburg will take riders on a high-speed drive along the German autobahn before detouring through the forbidden Black Forest.

> Photos: Verbolten coaster at Busch Gardens Williamsburg

The themed family coaster at the Virginia theme park will feature two launch zones and an indoor section of the ride with special effects. The 3-1/2-minute ride will travel along a 2,800-foot-long track twisting and turning through the woods. Despite Verbolten’s autobahn theme, the new family coaster’s top speed will be closer to U.S. highway speeds: 55 mph.


A teaser video for the coaster shows a red sports car racing through the forest, dodging obstacles along a fog-shrouded road.

The Verbolten name is a play on verboten, German for forbidden. A bolt of lightning figures prominently in the stylized V logo for the ride.

Riders will travel in a sports car-themed coaster train on a scenic drive through the German countryside, then will take an unexpected detour on a closed road that runs through a dark and forbidding forest.

The Bavarian-designed station is expected to feature an automotive theme with signs made from old mufflers and vintage hubcaps, according to concept art and architectural blueprints discovered by the BGW Fans theme park enthusiast website. As with any early designs, the plans are subject to change.

After departing from the station, the coaster will be electromagnetically launched up a hill into a 26,000 square foot building where riders enter a tunnel with sound and lighting effects simulating bad weather.

Inside the indoor section of Verbolten, riders will zip past a series of wraparound murals on painted velour depicting Germany’s Black Forest, with each mural designed to hide one scene from another or disguise an upcoming drop or turn.

Along a double figure-eight track, riders will encounter a falling tree struck by lightning, a set of fiery eyes and an illustration of the Spirit of the Forest before diving into a 720-degree vortex encircling a creepy tree and a low-hanging moon.

After passing under tree branches that look like a skeleton’s hands, the train will come to an abrupt stop just short of a gaping hole in the wall. Just when the riders feel safe, the train will drop on a free-fall platform (similar to the elevator effect on the Thirteen coaster at Alton Towers in Britain) before continuing on the journey outside the building.

The highlight of the outdoor section of the coaster will be an 88-foot drop from a dilapidated-looking covered bridge that sends riders plunging toward the river below.

Verbolten replaces the beloved 25-year-old Big Bad Wolf suspended coaster, which closed in 2009.

Built by German manufacturer Zierer, Verbolten is under construction in the Oktoberfest section of the park.