Busch Gardens submits revised plans for unannounced 2021 project

New documents reveal the full layout of an unnamed attraction potentially coming to Busch Gardens in 2021.

On Monday, Busch Gardens Williamsburg Fans announced they had obtained documents that showed a full plan for Busch Gardens’ next attraction, which is speculated to be a roller coaster.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg Fans is a group of park and coaster enthusiasts that monitors happenings in the park.

Ellen Cook, principal planner from the James City County Planning Department, confirmed the plans had been submitted.

Cook said in an email the site plan was submitted on Oct. 30, 2019 after which it went through one full round of county review and comment. 

A revised site plan was then resubmitted based on response from the county and it is now going through its second round of review. She said if the second round indicates that all county review comments had been addressed, then the site may be ready for approval.

The project is described in the documents as improvements to the Old Drachen Fire Site in the Germany section of Busch Gardens. Drachen Fire was a roller coaster shut down in 1998.

There are proposed mechanical pads depicted in the Layout and Materials Plan section of the documents, which Busch Gardens Williamsburg Fans hypothesizes are to be used for track switch segments. If true, these potentially would be featured in the ride as well as to send and retrieve the attraction’s carts.

Cook said the documents show what would be put in the ground from a bird’s-eye view; they do not show any structural components for something that would be built.

News of the new attraction first broke in October 2019 when a post from Busch Gardens Williamsburg Fans discovered the site plan, which was filed on Oct. 2 with the James City County Stormwater and Resource Protection Division. 

In June 2019 the James City County Board of Supervisors approved a 355-foot height waiver application from the Seaworld-owned park, making it the tallest height waiver the county has ever approved. At that time, Busch Gardens officials described the attraction as being spire-like and of “lattice-type” construction.

While representatives from Busch Gardens have not commented on the nature of the attraction, Busch Gardens Williamsburg Fans speculates based on site plans, it will be a roller coaster and the park’s first-ever shuttle coaster.

“We are not in a position to discuss future business expansions,” said Cindy Sarko, spokeswoman for Busch Gardens Williamsburg.

A shuttle coaster means most of the ride will be experienced forwards and then riders will be taken through the track again backwards.

The group also speculates that based on the large spike near the top of the layout, which would use the full 355-foot height allowance, the potential roller coaster is “going to be unlike anything else the industry has seen,” the site said.

In the meantime, the park is preparing for the unveiling of its new 180-foot tall roller coaster, the Pantheon. 

The Pantheon is set to be the fastest multi-launch coaster in the world that sends riders forward and backward at speeds up to 73 mph.

Guests of the park can expect to experience Pantheon this spring when it opens. 

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