Blog / Random thoughts and musings.


It’s roller-coaster season!

Yesterday we drove three hours south-east to visit the Busch Gardens amusement park in Williamsburg, VA. Our main motivation was to experience their newest roller coaster, the Griffon, which just opened a week or two ago. The coaster features a respectable 205 foot height, but more importantly, a 90 degree straight down first hill. To heighten the tension, the cars stop completely just after the first car starts down the hill, leaving you suspended looking straight down for a couple seconds before the brakes release. Unlike a normal “long-and-narrow” coaster train with many 2-person wide cars, the Griffon seats 10-across and has only three rows. The advantage here is that far more people can enjoy the front-row experience, which as always is significantly better than the other rows. We also tried the back row and middle row. The back row was quite good also, having more speed in many key turns and more G-forces. The middle row was fun but didn’t compare to the front or back.

Of course there’s 4 other coasters at Busch Gardens as well as many other attractions, rides, and shows, so we had a pretty full day. My favorite coaster there is Apollo’s Chariot — it’s got some great hills, is fast, and smooth. We timed our trip so we’d be there on a weekday before school lets out for the summer, since we don’t enjoy spending hours waiting in lines. Our longest wait was probably 20 minutes, and that was for the front row of the Griffon just after arriving, so it worked out well. I wouldn’t want to see what the lines are like in late June!

Busch Gardens Williamsburg has been voted as the world’s Most Beautiful Theme Park for sixteen consecutive years by the National Amusement Park Historical Association, and it shows, especially when compared to some of the parks that are just a couple square miles of concrete. This makes it a much more enjoyable place to stroll around, with plenty of trees, shade, gardens, and wildlife, including a habitat for four rescued bald eagles that can no longer fly due to injuries. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes amusement parks or coasters. Just don’t go expecting to have dozens of coasters like Cedar Point or the Orlando area.


1 Comment

  1. falcon
    May 31, 2007

    Ah, coaster fanatics… unite! :) Our favorite coaster destination is Cedar Point Amusement Park ( – frequently referred to as the roller coaster capital of the world. It’s been a while since we’ve been there, but their Millennium Force is one of our favorites! :)