Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Two New Attractions May Be Headed To Busch Gardens

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JAMES CITY-Busch Gardens appears to be making plans to open two new rides within the next few years, both slated for the Germany section of the theme park.

At its next meeting on Tuesday, April 12, the James City County Board of Supervisors will hear a request for a Height Limitation Waiver extension from Anthony Loubier of Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc. on behalf of SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, LLC. The extension request is for three years, setting up the possibility for Busch Gardens to open one new ride to coincide with its 50th Anniversary in 2025.

The Board previously approved the Height Limitation Waiver for a proposed new attraction in June 2019, a ride that could reach a height of 355 feet above finished grade or 435 feet above sea level. Busch Gardens is asking for an extension on the waiver, citing delays on the proposed ride due to the covid-19 pandemic. The current waiver is set to expire on June 11, 2022.

“The originally planned start of construction was anticipated in the summer of 2020,” Loubier wrote in a letter dated March 18. “Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic closed the park’s operations for nearly six months with a slow reopening back to normal operations. The lockdown has delayed the completion and start of construction of several projects, including this one.”

No specific details on the attraction have been released, though the proposed new ride would be located on the site that used to house the Drachen Fire attraction. Drachen Fire was a roller coaster located behind Das Festhaus that was in operation at the park from 1992-1998.

Rumors have also been swirling online for months about a potential new ride replacing DarKastle, which is also located in Germany. Fans are speculating that Busch Gardens will utilize the existing building for a new indoor roller coaster that may open in 2023, though nothing official has been announced by Busch Gardens. Peninsula Chronicle reached out to Busch Gardens regarding the potential new ride at DarKastle with no response.

Electrical and plumbing permits have been filed for this ride with James City County. The permits request approval to “install electrical system per plans for BG 2023 ride” and “renovation to plumbing within old Dark Castle [sic] ride for new ride.”

DarKastle closed in 2018 after 13 years in operation.

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