In 2017, a great battle will ensue in the trappers' village of New France. Vikings will invade, forcing the trappers to defend their village. Invade new territory on the first wooden coaster at Busch Gardens ® Williamsburg. The 74-foot drop makes it a force to be feared and nine airtime hills wait to be conquered by bold warriors. Chart a course through the winding frontier at 48 mph and claim eternal glory for your crew.
InvadR ™ is Coming... Look Below for New Updates
New Animated POV Video
These are exciting times here at Busch Gardens Williamsburg.
The lift at InvadR, the park’s first ever wooden coaster, is crossing the railroad tracks and nearing the top of the lift hill. Visitors can see and appreciate the size of the lift hill which will give InvadR all the energy it needs to provide the sensation and excitement of a Busch Gardens thrill ride! The recent weather has allowed our team to make great strides on InvadR construction, with more than 40% of the track in place. The well themed station standing majestically above the New France Village is just asking for riders to come visit, and still much more exciting things to come.
As the lift hill is topped out, we will begin construction of the first drop: a straight dive with a great vertical curve. The track shape will use centrifugal energy to create great airtime during the drop. The initial drop will include another first for us at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, a covered drop! Some have taken to calling this the second tunnel. We have already talked about the first tunnel at the bottom of the drop under a service road, this tunnel will start at the top and continue about three-fourths of the drop giving the riders an outside/inside/outside/inside/outside speed effect we think will be very thrilling!
Very careful observers have noticed a special wood in several sections of the track. This is called Ipe (pronounced: ee-pay) wood. This is currently in place at the bottom of the first drop and on the first curve after the first drop. This beautiful exotic wood from Central and South America is known for being strong, heavy, hard and durable. It’s naturally resistant to rot, abrasion, weather and insects. Instead of being nailed, the wood must be drilled for all fasteners as normal nail guns will not penetrate this material. The wood is being used in strategic areas to insure the great ride you have on opening day will stay that way for years to come.
We are nearly complete with remanufacture of the trains, and they look fantastic. I say remanufacture, as these trains, or frames, used to travel around the track at our sister park in Tampa. They were brought to Williamsburg last summer. The train cars have been completely stripped, inspected and updated to current technologies, with the added theming and comfortable seats, to produce a great ride on InvadR.
January will be a great month for visual progress. The lift hill will be complete, with the first drop, and the entire ride will finally begin taking its full shape. Installation of the ride mechanical systems will begin, with the brakes, transfer track, and chain lift installed. Expectations for that first train over the top will really start to become reality. Stay tuned, more to come!
Design and Engineering
InvadR Cars Test
It's been a very busy few weeks at the InvadR construction site. Rather than update you on what's going on at the project site like previous posts, I would like to take a moment and talk about three character qualities: talent, skill and dedication. The Busch Gardens maintenance team exemplifies those three qualities and they deserve recognition for their hard work in bringing InvadR to life. We mentioned previously that the InvadR trains were gently used for a few seasons at our sister park, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. Our maintenance team had been tasked with re-building these trains in order to make them look and run as if they were brand new. There's quite a bit of work involved in refurbishing these trains and I am happy to report that they look amazing!
I have enjoyed observing so many of our talented team members taking ownership of these trains. Rebuilding them has involved quite a number of people and departments such as the park ride mechanics, painters, carpenters, welders, ride supervisors, the SEA creative studio and support from the Busch Gardens and ride vendor engineering teams. Even our Park President, David Cromwell was able to lend a hand at turning a few bolts this week (photo below)!
The photo below shows what a completed lead axle chassis and first coach chassis looks like. I am very pleased with how these trains are coming together.
With all of this progress on the trains, there were many of us who wanted to take the trains for a test drive. Below are a few photos of the Busch Gardens design team (including me) testing out one of the new trains.
Some of you may ask, "What about the theming on the trains?" I think our fans will be very excited to see what we have in store with this; Suzy from the engineering department will have more to share on that at a later date!
Design and Engineering
Become the Face of InvadR
You didn’t think we were done asking for your help, did you?
As you know, our first wooden roller coaster, InvadR ™, is coming in Spring 2017. We asked you to help us with the name, keep tabs on construction progress, pick out the ride logo, and now we are looking for you to become the Face of InvadR. Thank you for your participation -- voting is now closed.
We are very excited to announce that the InvadR ride structure has gone vertical this week! The engineering team here at Busch Gardens calls the ride structure “bents.” Bents in the wood coaster world are structural members that support the ride track and consist of vertical posts, horizontal ledgers and diagonal members. There will be over 300 bents on InvadR and the majority of them will be constructed of galvanized steel. We’ve begun ride structure installation for several areas on the ride; the pre-lift section just after the station and the underground tunnel. We’ve also begun erecting the station and transfer building which will be easily visible in the New France section of the park.
Please be sure to check back on further updates as we get closer to bringing InvadR to life.
August 2016 Construction Update
Big things are happening at the InvadR site since our last update. We have begun constructing foundations for the beginning portion of the ride, which includes the station building, transfer building, the entry to the lift hill and the lift motor house. For the most part, the ride foundations consist of below-grade strip footings with round pedestals. If you look through some of the construction fence openings by the entrance of Le Scoot, the pedestals are the circular concrete foundations that sit slightly above grade or dirt. It's certainly very exciting to see the ride finally coming to life!
There are many cool features that will differentiate InvadR from many other wood coasters. For starters, the lift hill for the coaster will actually ascend above the log flume ride. Imagine riding Le Scoot and travelling through a massive lift hill structure which will surround you as your boat travels along the flume trough. If that doesn't get you super excited, the InvadR ride structure will cross or “bridge” over the Busch Gardens Railway a total of four times and will also cross a maintenance road twice. Working on a design that not just utilizes our park's beautiful terrain, but interacts with several of our rides and roads takes very careful planning, engineering and teamwork.
Typically, my favorite part of any coaster is the first drop, and I can say that InvadR's drop is certainly going to deliver! What will set this drop apart from others at Busch Gardens is the 74 foot drop descending at a 56 degree angle into an underground tunnel. As you ride the Busch Gardens Railway into the New France Caribou station, look to your right and you will see a very large concrete tunnel structure that extends from one side of a hill to another. The bottom 'step-like’ foundations are complete and we are currently working on forming and pouring the tunnel’s side walls. The tunnel structure itself contains approximately 350 cubic yards of concrete and 20 tons of rebar; it is massive.
Another milestone that we have crossed is that the ride structure is starting to be fabricated. If you have been on Mach Tower in the last week, you’ve probably noticed something going on at Festhaus Park. Wood coaster track structure construction is much different than all of our steel coasters in the park. The majority of the ride structure, or as we call them “bents,” consists of heavy-duty galvanized steel angles, with heavy timber posts at the top where the ride track will be installed. All of this is fabricated on-site, unlike the majority of steel coaster columns and track. We should be setting a few of these bents on the already poured ride foundations very soon. The engineering department calls this exciting phase of ride construction “going vertical!”
In closing, I have a question for you. We’ve decided to add another tunnel for riders to soar through. We already know where this second tunnel will go, but where do you think it will be added? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter where you think this added element will be located and check back here and on our social channels to see if your guess was correct.
Design and Engineering
The Results are In: InvadR's Logo
For the first time in our park’s history, we’ve left the final decision up to you. It was a close vote, but in the end you picked the dragon emblem as our official logo for InvadR. Thanks for voting and stay tuned for your next Decide the Ride opportunity.
Decide the Ride: Logo Vote
For the first time ever, Busch Gardens Williamsburg is asking its fans to help choose the logo design for the new wooden roller coaster, InvadR. There are four different variations to choose from. All you need to do is vote for your favorite design, and you can vote once per day from 8/10 until 8/15. Whichever logo you choose as a group will be the new logo for the ride opening Spring 2017. We look forward to your decision. Poll is now closed.
InvadR Artwork: Find Your Name
Thank you for submitting your names to be part of the InvadR construction wall. The art is hanging in the park near the entrance of Le Scoot in New France, but we wanted you to see how the design turned out. Head to Busch Gardens and find your name.
A Great Wooden Coaster Requires Great Trains
There certainly has been a lot going on at the InvadR construction site in the last few weeks. If you have been on the train recently, you probably noticed that tree clearing has reached completion and that we have begun preliminary site demolition for the entry plaza where the station, locker and photo buildings will be located. We’ll share more about that soon.
Right now, we’re very excited to share the arrival of our ride vehicles at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. One fascinating bit of information with this attraction, is that the trains being used for InvadR were actually located at one of our sister parks, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. The trains were gently used for a few seasons and are in amazing condition to be used for our new ride. Let me go into some geeky engineering detail on what makes these wooden coaster trains so great:
In the past, wooden coaster trains were not designed to articulate to their tracks very well, thus creating long-term maintenance issues. The trains we are using for InvadR are the most advanced trains in the wooden coaster business and provide a very smooth ride experience, while allowing us to keep the track in sound condition. This is definitely not going to feel like your grandfather's wooden coaster experience!
We will have two trains for the ride and each train will be provided with eight individual coaches and one lead axle, or lead car. The train coaches are designed in a trailered configuration which allow full articulation between these coaches. We define these motions as pitch, roll and yaw. Pitch is the motion that occurs when the trains moves through valleys and crests of hills. Roll is the motion that occurs when the train navigates in and out of banked turns. Yaw is the motion that occurs when the train navigates around turns. Because these coaches can fully articulate, they will provide the most advanced wooden coaster ride experience.
As stated above, all of the coaches for each train have arrived to the park this week and we have begun the process of refurbishing the coaches. Some updates the trains will be receiving are, new foam-molded seats, new front banisters for the two lead coaches, new knee guards for each seating row, new paint and a restraint-monitoring system. Another detail I am very excited about is that we will be utilizing magnetic brakes. This will involve mounting a new copper-composite fin underneath the train, which allows us to slow down the ride vehicles without using any power, resulting in saving a great deal of energy. We will also be completely re-theming these trains and we’re excited to share that information with you very soon. Until then, be sure to ride the Busch Gardens Railway in the coming weeks and check out the progress with this very exciting attraction.
Design and Engineering
Clearing the way for a Viking invasion
Blog Post from Project 2017 Engineer Jon S.-
It is very exciting to say that this week we started the first phase of bringing InvadR™ to life in the park. I can’t wait to ride this coaster, but before we begin constructing ride foundations and erecting structural bents, we must prepare the entire project site. That’s exactly what we are working on right now. Our project team has spent the last three weeks working with our landscaping department and general contractor carefully selecting trees that can remain in order to increase the ride experience and maintain the topography of our beautiful park. We have evaluated just about every individual tree on the project site making a determination on its location relative to the ride foundations. Trees that are too close to the ride foundations need to be removed for safety reasons, but we’re happy to report that it’s been determined that many can remain. It is certainly much more work to keep trees along the ride layout and work around them rather than clearing the entire site, but this effort will make the journey through the woods on this coaster much more exhilarating. So, for us, it’s definitely worth the extra effort.
Stay up-to-date throughout the construction of Project 2017 and check back here for the latest details and news.
See Your Name in Artwork on the Construction Wall
You're helping to decide the ride and we want to give you the credit! Submit your first name, last initial and home state to be featured in artwork on the fence surrounding construction on InvadR. Take a peek through the fence over the next few months to see the progress on our newest coaster coming in 2017. #DecidetheRide #InvadR
First Look at InvadR: An Animated Point of View
We’re excited to share one of the first looks of our new wooden coaster, invading in 2017. InvadR will feature steel supports, a wooden track and a 74-foot drop. Hold tight and take a ride aboard InvadR with this animated point-of-view footage. We hope you enjoy your day here at Busch Gardens.
You Decided InvadR™ as the Ride Name
Busch Gardens’ new wooden coaster invades in 2017. Check back for more opportunities to #Decidetheride later.
Decide the Ride - Name the Coaster
The Plans - Part 2
Arrrgh! Looks like our engineers tried to sneak one by us and submitted updated site plans for #BGPROJECT2017. Enough is enough. These plans weren’t in the folder that was found earlier this month, but we have even more to reveal tomorrow, March 19, at Pass Member Preview Day. Come find out the details at 11 a.m. in the Abbey Stone Theatre (if you are a Pass Member) or check back here for updates later in the afternoon.
The plot thickens as Dan goes to new lengths to find more information on Project 2017. Find out what Dan found on Pass Member Preview Day, March 19.
Dan followed the engineering team into the park to see if we can get closer to figuring out what #BGProject2017 is. Do you think they saw him?
Our investigation into #BGProject2017 continues with this exciting update.
Something is going on in the Engineering department and Dan Dipiazzo, Marketing VP, is going to find out what they are up to. Stay up to date with the latest news here. Shhh, don't tell anyone. It is TOP SECRET.