It only takes three minutes and 25 seconds to brave the Black Forest. Gerta and Gunter warn travelers (waiting passengers) to avoid the dark forest at all costs. But there's something magnetic about these mysterious woodlands that can’t keep even the most cautious onlooker from a treacherous fate. And then there comes Verbolten.
This well-crafted storyline takes riders on a journey that is more than a simple roller coaster ride. Indeed, it’s a unique experience for the entire family.
VERBOLTEN: QUEUE THE ADVENTURE
Visitors aren’t just eagerly waiting for their chance to ride the Verbolten (which is a play on the Germanic term verboten meaning forbidden), but they also become a part of the story themselves.
This is an aspect of the ride that is unique to the Busch Gardens theme park experience.
From the queue house, visitors immediately enter into Gerta and Gunter’s (a brother and sister) tour and rental business where they can see an introduction from Gerta on a recording playing from an early 1900s television set.
As the enthusiastic visitors progress through the queue house, they can spot elements of the mysterious Black Forest on every inch of the building. The walls are of colorful and bright leaves and various other forest and wildlife objects.
Encased behind glass windows forms into a twist and eerie branches and mysterious findings that Gunter secretly retrieved from the forest.
In the back of Gerta’s visitors center, they can also spot Gunter’s office and car rental shop. Unfortunately, there’s no sign of Gunter, but previous guests left a large stack of suitcases after taking a wrong turn and winding up in the clutches of the evil dark forests. They were never seen again.
DEATH OF THE BIG BAD WOLF: OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW
September 7, 2009, marked the last year of the beloved Busch Garden’s roller coaster called Big Bad Wolf. This suspended family-friendly Oktoberfest thrill serviced the community for over 25 years and they later repurpose for the construction of the Verbolten.
With a height of 113 feet, a speed of 48 miles per hour and a 99-foot drop, it was obvious that this adrenaline-producing machine would be a tough act to follow.
SOFT OPENING OF THE VERBOLTEN
The early release of this autobahn-inspired speedster gave adrenaline junkies a chance to experience the terrifying fahrt (the Germanic term for journey) through an age-old southern German tale. May 11, 2012, was a huge turnout for the much-anticipated thrill ride.
WITH THE DESTRUCTION OF ONE FAMILY-FRIENDLY COASTER, MUCH CONSIDERATION WENT INTO THE STRUCTURE OF THE GERMAN-THEMED RIDE TO ENSURE THAT IT, TOO, COULD BE FUN FOR THE ENTIRE FAMILY.
The height requirement of 4 feet tall, zero upside-down turns and elevated seating means that everyone can enjoy the ride without compromising safety standards. On May 18, 2012, the Verbolten was ready for the general public.
This 53 miles-per-hour, German, automobile-themed coaster is unique in its style and design. The five various colors of the trains (red, green, yellow, orange, and blue) signify another hidden and unique aspect that this coaster has to offer, so it’s recommended that visitors go along for the ride more than once to experience all the thrills and chills and excitement.
BEHIND THE SCENES OF THE CREATION
The shortcomings of the older Busch Gardens’ roller coasters are evident in the technological advancements seen within the infrastructure of Verbolten.
Depending on the theme of the ride, passengers might experience the eerie howling and glowing red eyes of the wolves that follow riders throughout the Black Forest and also serve as a tribute to the Big Bad Wolf coaster that once stood in its place.
Or they may brave the Black Forest through dramatic and violent weather changes, thunderous lightning, and spooky dark images and forest sounds.
tHEMATIC CHANGES AND INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGICAL DESIGN AREN’T THE ONLY UNIQUE ASPECTS ABOUT THIS JOY RIDE. THE DESIGNERS MADE SURE THAT THE DECONSTRUCTION OF A WELL-LOVED PASTIME WOULDN’T ALSO MEAN THE DEVASTATION OF A NATURAL RESOURCE.
The engineers reused the second half of the Big Bad Wolf foundation. They did it by placing the tracks for the new coaster right on top of the old foundation. Doing so helped minimize any disturbances to the natural wildlife present in the area. This resource protection area gave the Big Bad Wolf another avenue to shine throughout the experience of the Verbolten.
With a recycled foundation, the designers were able to recreate a bit of the adrenaline rush. The true Big Bad Wolf lovers enjoyed this for many years.
TAKING THE FORBIDDEN FOR A TEST DRIVE
Before they opened Verbolten to the public, it had to undergo rigorous testing and retesting of each mechanism and moving parts to ensure that they are following high safety requirements and the journey was enjoyable from beginning to end. At a German facility, the engineering crew tested a portion of the roller coaster for exceptional quality.
Brian Morrow, the creative director, and Michael Denninger, the corporate ride engineer of Busch Gardens, traveled to Germany (the home of Zierer, the manufacturer of Verbolten) to test the ride blindfolded, simulating the experience the passengers would have on the coaster before launching to the public.
Back at Busch Gardens theme park, a crew of 150 men worked continuously to ensure that this major project is complete by launch date. Freezing temperatures, storms, and the natural environment proved no match for the tireless dedication of the entire team.
THE PROJECT TURNED OUT WELL AND IT PLEASED THE CREATIVE DIRECTOR. HIS INITIAL MINDSET FOR THE RIDE PALED IN COMPARISON TO THE REALITY OF THE POWER, SPEED, AND PURE INNOVATION OF THE COASTER. For this reason alone, they made multiple alterations to the design until the crew settled on the current layout.
They did a test one week before the big launch of the ride. It was Brian Morrow and vice president of design and engineering Larry Giles who rode the Verbolten. This was from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m., making show edits until they were satisfied with the experience.
When visitors board the Verbolten for the first time, the theme park takes pride in its testing and quality procedures.
BUSCH GARDENS FOLLOWS A COMPLETE THREE-STEP PROCESS TO ENSURE QUALITY AND SAFETY CONTROL:
1. Manufacturer tests the ride.
2.The ride is accepted by the manufacturers and tested by the theme parks’ teammates.
3. The ride is tested once again before finally being released to the public.
COULD YOU BRAVE THE BLACK FOREST?
The train leaves the station and tilts to the left into a smooth S-curve. After the S-curve, the coaster arrives at the first launch before entering the show building (the Black Forest).
The forest takes passengers on a wild ride with an anxiety-inducing lift before diving into a multitude of erratic turns. This is followed by a corkscrew loop that guides the train onto a brake run. Bright, large leaves appear in the darkness followed by the sounds of nature and wildlife.
The train dives into another S-curve on a medium-sized hill followed by another brake run.
The passengers are shrouded in an eerie display, brightly colored trees with large branches and sounds from the haunted forest. The ride suddenly comes to an abrupt stop in complete darkness before making an 18-foot vertical drop. This is the spooky imagery will differ slightly depending on the theme that the ride is on.
After the drop, the train rolls into a small dip, launch, and quick acceleration out of the Black Forest.
The ride takes passengers on a series of high turns up a hill. This is before coming down to another brake run that looks like an aged, rusty bridge. It takes a steep 88-foot dive from the rusted bridge and makes another quick S-curve. It then small hop into the last turn before arriving at the final brake run.
A FAHRT FOR THE ENTIRE FAMILY
Busch Gardens is home to beautiful scenic displays of landscapes from countries all across Europe. This theme park has representations of countries. Such as Italy, France, Germany, Scotland, England, and a few others as well. Also, the kid-friendly menus and adult beverages serve as a fitting getaway for everyone.
Since May 1975, this theme park has serviced the Williamsburg, Virginia, community with over 50 attractions and seven roller coasters. Verbolten being the most unique. The storyline of this German-themed ride will thrust visitors into a world of folklore, mystery, and fright.
THE CHEERY ATMOSPHERE OF OKTOBERFEST EMBODIES THE HAPPY-GO-LUCKY ENVIRONMENT OF THE GERMAN-THEMED SECTION OF THE PARK. BUT THERE ARE TWISTED BRANCHES BREAKING ITS WAY THROUGH THE VEHICLE OUTSIDE OF VERBOLTEN’S QUEUE HOUSE. THEREFORE IT SHOWS JUST HOW TREACHEROUS THE BLACK FOREST CAN BE.
The innovation of the design brings the forest to life in a never-seen-before, thrill-inducing experience that is new to Busch Gardens, and the best part is that the whole family enjoys the ride. From bright, thematic colors, images, and sounds to gravity-defying turns, dives, and spins, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Because this roller coaster offers three random and different themes, it’s worth the trip to take the journey multiple times. These themes are the spirit of the forest, wolves, and lightning storms.