WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — In honor of National Roller Coaster Day on Wednesday, 8News Daytripper Morgan Dean traveled to Busch Gardens Williamsburg to check out the amusement park and those big thrill rides from behind the scenes.
Tour guide, Hayden Marushi, first took Morgan to The Loch Ness Monster. Marushi says the roller coaster opened back in 1978 and it was the tallest and fastest coaster in the world.
“Right now, it is still the only operational coaster with two interlocking loops,” Marushi said. “We pride ourselves of that.”
Marushi then took Morgan into the maintenance shed for the Loch Ness Monster.
“The first wheel we have is our road wheel — that’s what sits on top of the track,” Marushi said.
8News cameras went behind the scenes at the park for one of the coaster insider tours where fans can get up close and personal with their favorite thrill rides and learn how they work.
Standing under the massive dive coaster, Marushi told Morgan, “The Griffon train weighs 9 tons; its pretty massive.”
Even Morgan was able to go underneath one of the Griffin trains and learn what slows down the coaster.
“You know what this is, it’s a water brake. When you come off that hill and hit the water, it catches the water and funnels it up through here and that’s what slows down the train,” Morgan said.
The tour also gives visitors a chance to see the park in a whole new light from a whole new height at the top of the Griffon.
It starts with a ride up on the train and then at the top, some incredible views.
“Right now, we’re standing at 210 feet,” Marushi said. “This takes you over to 205 feet for the drop.”
The tour also includes the chance to ride all the coasters you’ve just learned about.
“You start off at Loch Ness Monster, then you’re going to go to Griffon, then going to Alpengeist, followed by Verbolten and then Apollo’s Chariot,” says Tourist Supervisor Sara Wright.
If coasters aren’t your speed, maybe something else in the park would be — like animals.
“We have a lot of zoo tours at the park,” says Assistant Curator of Zoological Operations Tim Smith. “Aiden, here, is part of our Clydesdales and Collies tour. If you come to Highlands Stable and do the tour, you will get to meet Aiden.”
The tour is an extra cost on top of a park ticket for the day, but again, you get special access. If you aren’t crazy about heights, like Morgan, you can do the tour without making the trip to the top of Griffon; it will save you a few dollars to stay on the ground.
If you’d like to learn more about the tours, check them out here.