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News & Rumors


Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Williamsburg, Virginia
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment




----    THE LATEST BUZZ    ----
    (11/12/2023) Busch Gardens Williamsburg Orders New Site Testing For Future Attraction (MORE...)
    (11/11/2023) Loch Ness Monster Track Removal (MORE...)
    (11/5/2023) Last Day To Ride Loch Ness Monster (MORE...)
    (10/3/2023) Busch Gardens Williamsburg Confirms Loch Ness Monster: The Legend Lives On for 2024 (MORE...)


icon_STOPGeneral Park News - (11/12/2023) BGWFans reports that a new round of soil testing has been ordered for the Festhaus Park area, which is typically a sign that a new ride is being planned for the former Drachen Fire site. Of course, this is hardly the first testing or planned attraction for this area, but for whatever reason the plans for this area always seem to get paused along the way. It should be interesting to see what they may have in store for this area now, as previously I believe the last concepts for this area was the long rumored “Drachen Spire” coaster and whatever the
“Burgermeisters” project was going to be. Whatever it is, I’d say it is probably for the park’s 2025 season.

    (9/29/2023) Congratulations goes out to the SeaWorld and Busch Gardens parks this weeks as the SeaWorld park’s Howl-O-Scream was voted as the #1 Best Halloween Theme Park event, followed by the Busch Garden’s park’s own Howl-O-Scream event coming in at #2.
    (6/10/2023) Guests at Busch Gardens Williamsburg can now get a break from the heat by enjoying the park’s Roman Rapids ride once again. The park’s river rapids ride sat closed during the first years of COVID, and ahead of an attempt to reopen the ride for the 2022 season the park replaced their entire boat fleet with new 9-passenger rafts, retiring the old 6-seater fleet. Unfortunately the slightly bigger boats had numerous issues traveling through the flume, which had to undergo an extensive makeover as well, keeping Roman Rapids closed.
    The good news is that Roman Rapids finally reopened to guests a couple of weeks ago, and you can see a POV of the new experience in the video below. Comparing this video to some other videos shot in 2019 or before, it appears that the the various ramps and weirs remodeled and the water depth had to be increased by several inches and to accommodate the heavier load of the new 9-passenger rafts.



icon_STOP2024 - Loch Ness Monster Refurbishment - (11/11/2023) BGWFans has posted some incredible photos of the Loch Ness Monster at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. As you can see in the photos below, large sections of original track for the roller coaster has now been removed as part of the big 2024 refurbishment project. According to the description, the missing track includes essentially the bottom half of the entire first drop, most of the first of the two interlocking loops and sections of the second one.
    As previously stated by the park, they were going to replace about 900 feet of track as part of this refurbishment, and replacing these sections does make sense as they are probably the parts of the ride’s layout that receive the most intense forces. I believe it was revealed previously that the new track for Loch Ness Monster would be engineered by Premier Rides.

    (11/5/2023) Just a reminder that today is the last day you can ride the original version of the Loch Ness Monster at Busch Gardens Williamsburg before it gets renovated for the 2024 season.

    (10/3/2023) Busch Gardens Williamsburg just posted all the details about their 2024 project… Loch Ness Monsters: The Legend Lives On. The long talked-about refurbishment for the park’s famous roller coaster has been confirmed and the details were finally released. In short, Loch Ness Monster will return next season with “new elements, storytelling, and surprises.”
    For starters… over 900 feet of original track on Loch Ness Monster will be replaced with brand new track fabricated for the ride. (Note: Nothing was said about who they have hired to do the track fabrication work however…) For those keeping “track” this replacement will be about 28% of the ride’s total track length of 3240 feet.
    The new storytelling will begin as soon as you enter the queue, with all new elements being added throughout the queue to enhance the guest experience. Speakers will be added to the lift hill in order to play all new soundtrack audio created just for the ride as you climb into the sky. During the first drop you will “catch a glimpse of something monstrous lurking under the water” below you. Following the first of the ride’s two interlocking loops, guests enter the spiraling tunnel track, “traversing a helix and coming face-to-face with the monster in a shadowy cave lair.”   
    To begin work on this special project, Loch Ness Monster will close to regular guests on October 31st. There will be a “last to ride” event for Passholders on the weekend of Nov. 4-5th, and another first ride event for passholders in 2024 when the ride is ready to reopen.

    (9/10/2023) Busch Gardens Williamsburg has confirmed their plans to perform an epic restoration on the iconic Loch Ness Monster roller coaster for the 2024 season. Unfortunately, the details about how much this will entail are still a secret.

    (8/13/2023) BGWFans has posted a rumor regarding the future of the park’s Loch Ness Monsters. According to the post the park may be planning to perform some extensive renovations to Nessie that is expected to involve some track replacement, amongst other upgrades. The plan would see the renovated coaster reopened in time for the 2024 season.
    If anyone knows more about what might be planned, be sure to reach out and share the details… anonymously of course. Personally I’m curious if the plan may involve any new trains with more open restraints, or perhaps some theme and effects enhancements to the tunnel.



2024/2025 - Project Burgermeisters - Status Unknown - (8/31/22) BGWFans latest report confirms that the park’s plans for 2024 may be changing and growing into something even bigger than the long rumored “Drachen Spire” project. The park has now filed for a new height waiver with the FAA that is apparently very different from their previous request.
    According to the new application, construction for this ride is listed to take place between February 2023 and March 2024, with a proposed height of 220 feet above grade, with the highest point being located in the Festhaus Park area. There is also a humorous project name… ‘Busch Gardens Burgermeisters”.


2024/2025 - Drachen Spire - ON HOLD - (4/14/22) Good news for Busch Gardens Williamsburg fans. As we previous mentioned, the park was applying for an extension to their previously approved height wavier that would allow the park to build a new roller coaster up to 355 feet above “finished grade”. With the arrival of COVID and the planned 2020 opening of Pantheon delayed until 2022, an extension of the waiver was needed to keep the plans for their next big thrill ride alive.
    On Tuesday the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to extend the waiver for 36 months. So with the ball now back in Busch Gardens court, lets see if the rumored new shuttle coaster concept, affectionately nicknamed “Drachon Spire” by BGWFans can be turned into reality, or if the park has come up with another design concept instead.
    (3/12/22) BGWFans has posted a new small update regarding the proposed “Drachen Spire” coaster project. If the height waver extension is approved, the park would be allowed to begin construction on the coaster as late as Mid-2025, with a possible opening as late as 2026. Based on the timeline for the original waiver giving a 36 month construction start time, they believe some of that may have just been extra padding to the window and the plan may be to start construction much sooner than that however, which could see the coaster open between 2024-2025.
    Before this one opens however, remember the park is also said to be working on the rumored dark coaster to go inside the former DarKastle attraction structure as well that could be ready for 2023. If the Spire coaster were to open in 2024, that would actually see the park open three back to back coasters in three years. Of course Busch Gardens Williamsburg will also want to celebrate their 50th Anniversary in 2025… so take that for what you will.
    (4/4/21) According to a post at CoasterNation, it appears the next coaster project intended for Busch Gardens WIlliamsburg is still alive. They uncovered that an extension request to the FAA for the height variance for the proposed coaster project was granted on Mar. 22, 2021 for the project, which had not had time to proceed under the original timeline granted.
    I’m not sure about the layout itself, other than it seems to be a launched coaster that will sent the train up a very large vertical spike track that spirals. There is an animation on the site showing off an example, but I really hope that isn’t all the park is planning, because I haven’t seen a layout that dull since Superman: The Escape at Six Flags Magic Mountain. And while some park fans have been calling it Drachen Spire, they could end up calling it “Uninspired” in the long run.
    (3/10/21) According to CoasterNation the long term plans Busch Gardens Williamsburg had in place for a “2021 coaster” have obviously not happened and are in some kind of holding pattern. The project was given approval to go ahead back in December it seems, but currently the project is now listed as being “On Hold” according to the permit sites.
    This begs the question… how long will it be on hold before they begin to work on it? Or will it ever be revived at all? After all there is always the chance that the project could be shelved due to the current economic climate. While we wait, the park does still have Pantheon to open still in 2021 and then judge just how good (or slow) business is at the park once when the time comes to return to full capacity before they make a final choice about future expansion projects.

    (1/24/20) Another new update regarding the BGW 2021 coaster project has been posted to BGWFans this week, revealing even more details!
    (1/21/20) The latest updates from BGWFans on the park’s 2021 coaster project shows that they have uncovered what appears to be the layout for the coaster project. According to the description, it seems to be a multi-launch shuttle coaster, where the train will move out of the station onto a launch track, shoot forward up a hill, roll-back through the reverse-launch and up a spike, and then forward again through the launch very fast this time, over the hill and into a couple of turns before shooting up a very tall spike before rolling backwards through the whole layout and back into the station. Based on the documents, they say that it looks as if the coaster may even re-use the old Drachen Fire coaster station.
    Sounds like an interesting coaster, but as a follow-up to Pathenon, which also features a multi-launch section, the design choice here is a little odd to me, as it seems a bit too similar to what the park is opening in 2020. More on this as it develops.
    (10/11/19) According to a local news report Busch Gardens Williamsburg has begin filing stormwater plans for a “Project 2021”. While we don’t know what it is yet, they say that the location of these initial plans show mark a site “near the Rhine River”, likely taking over some of the empty site leftover from the former Drachen Fire coaster.
    I missed it last week, but usually our goto source for all things BGW related woudl be BGWFans, who is already on the ball with this story, reporting that this seems as if it could be another large roller coaster planned for the park, which is impressive as Pantheon will open in 2020, so to add another large coaster a year later epic news indeed.
    Before this, the only thing we knew about Project 2021 is that the park applied for a height wavier for something that would have a structure up to 355 feet above grade, with the tallest portion said to be in the Oktoberfest section of the park.
    (4/4/19) BGWFans has posted the first update about a possible 2021 attraction project in the works for Busch Gardens Williamsburg. According to the update the park has applied for a new height waiver to build a structure up to 355 feet above grade for a project labeled as “Busch Gardens Project 2021”. The location of the tallest point of the structure is said to be in the Oktoberfest section of the park.
    With a coaster in the works for 2020, I’ve got to think that the park could be looking to add something entirely different in 2021, which would likely involve a large tower. With a drop tower already in place at the park, and since no one seems to build observation towers anymore, I’ve got to wonder if they are planning on adding something like a Star Flyer or Giant Wheel to the park.




Track Record

Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Williamsburg, VA
SeaWorld Parks & Ent.

Abbreviation: BGW

Formerly known as: Busch Gardens: The Old Country and Busch Gardens Europe

Read our trip report & reviews of Howl-O-Scream 2007 and
Howl-O-Scream 2006.

Newest Developments:
2023 - DarKoaster

2022 - Pantheon &
Aquazoid Amped

2019 - Finnegan’s Flyer &
Cutback Water Coaster

2018 - Battle For Eire
2017 - InvadR

2015 - Tempesto

2012 - Verbolten

2011 - Mach Tower

2010 - Europe In The Air

2009 - Sesame Street 4D & Forest Of Fun

2007 - Griffon

2005 - Curse of DarKastle



Copyright © 1996 - 2023 by Lance Hart &  All rights reserved.