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The 8 Thrilling Busch Gardens Williamsburg Roller Coasters Ranked

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Busch Gardens Williamsburg Roller Coasters

Having just ranked Kings Dominion’s coasters, it’s time to turn to the other Virginian park and likewise rank the Busch Gardens Williamsburg roller coasters.

There are 8 world-class roller coasters at Busch Gardens that’ll be examined: Loch Ness Monster, Alpengeist, Apollo’s Chariot, Griffon, Verbolten, Tempesto, Invadr, and Pantheon. Soon, DarKoaster will join the lineup too!

If you’re overtly curious as to which Busch Gardens roller coasters ranked the highest, I present to you Apollo’s Chariot, Pantheon, Griffon, and Verbolten.

All of these rankings are based on objective factors I’ll explain below. And, despite Verbolten being my spirit coaster, I won’t let that sway the scorings.

So, let’s dive into my home park! Here’s the ultimate ranking of Busch Gardens Williamsburg roller coasters.

Related Reading: How To Visit Busch Gardens Williamsburg On A Budget

Busch Gardens Roller Coasters Ranked

The criteria these rankings are based on are the coaster’s comfortability, thrill, uniqueness, smoothness, capacity, reliability, and popularity. (Did I miss anything?)

  • Comfortability: enjoyable forces and re-rideability (10 = comfortable)
  • Thrills: speed, height, and inversions (10 = most thrilling)
  • Uniqueness: noteworthy features (10 = most unique)
  • Smoothness: …smooth versus rough (10 = smoothest)
  • Capacity: riders per hour (10 = quicker line)
  • Reliability: will it be open likelihood (10 = often open)
  • Popularity: by what park guests flock to (10 = popular)

Now, the rankings…

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Loch Ness Monster Roller Coaster

Loch Ness Monster

The legendary Loch Ness Monster is the park’s oldest roller coaster, built in 1978 by Arrow Dynamics. It is a standard looping coaster that’s most famous for its interlocking loops. Nessie’s stats include 114 ft drop, 60 mph speed, 3.5 G-force, and 3,200 feet of track.

Comfortability: 6/10
Thrills:
7/10
Uniqueness:
10/10
Smoothness:
6/10
Capacity:
7/10
Reliability:
7/10
Popularity: 7/10

Notes: Loch Ness’ iconic interlocking loops, cave segment, and utilization of the nature around it are what carried its uniqueness score. This old gem is a park classic!

TOTAL RANKING: 7/10

Alpengeist

Alpengeist is a staggering inverted roller coaster themed to an Alpine ski lift gone rogue. Opened in 1997, the attraction is the tallest complete circuit inverted coaster in the world and sports a 170 ft drop, 67 mph speed, 4.5 Gs, 6 inversions, and 3,800 ft track.

Comfortability: 7/10
Thrills:
9/10
Uniqueness:
8/10
Smoothness:
7/10
Capacity:
5/10
Reliability:
8/10
Popularity: 8/10

Notes: So… Alpengeist’s capacity score is what ate at its overall score. The throughput is only 1,000 riders per hour. And while that’s a big number on its own, compared to other coasters that can do 2,000…

But just keep in mind that while its total score is the same as Nessie’s, it’s for different reasons. Alpengeist’s ride experience beats Loch Ness undoubtedly, but on the flip side Loch Ness’ uniqueness and better capacity is what made the numbers balance.

TOTAL RANKING: 7/10

Apollo’s Chariot

The first sight you’ll see pulling up to Busch Gardens, Apollo’s Chariot is the park’s hyper coaster located in Festa Italia. Apollo opened in 1999 with a humorously infamous maiden voyage it’ll never be able to live down. But, the coaster features impressive stats including a 210 ft drop, 73 mph speed, 4 Gs, 4,900 feet of track, and 9 hills.

Comfortability: 9/10
Thrills:
9/10
Uniqueness:
7/10
Smoothness:
9/10
Capacity:
10/10
Reliability:
8/10
Popularity: 9/10

Notes: Apollo’s Chariot is a people eater! And, it’s an absolute airtime blast.

TOTAL RANKING: 9/10

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Griffon Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Griffon

The mythical Griffon roller coaster is a floorless dive ride that opened in 2007 in the France section of Busch Gardens Williamsburg. It’s impressive–and intimidating to some–both to look at and to ride. It boasts a 205 ft 90 degree drop, 71 mph speed, 4 Gs, 3,100 feet of track, and a splash down feature.

Comfortability: 6/10
Thrills:
9/10
Uniqueness:
8/10
Smoothness:
7/10
Capacity:
6/10
Reliability:
9/10
Popularity: 10/10

Notes: While Busch Gardens Tampa has Griffon’s sister coaster SheiKra, which features a very similar layout, Griffon still has enough differences that I didn’t flag it for being a clone (like Tempesto). The dramatic pause at the top before descending the first hill and the splash down at the end of the ride are some pretty unique features.

TOTAL RANKING: 8/10

Verbolten

I’m a sucker for indoor launch coasters, even if they have outdoor segments too. I think it’s both the launch and intricate theming, but…

Verbolten is a multi-launch indoor/outdoor roller coaster themed to the mysterious lore of the Black Forest and featuring North America’s first free-fall drop (where the whole track drops). While its drop is only 80 ft, Verbolten hits top speeds of 53 mph and features 2 launches, 4 Gs, the drop track, 2,800 feet of track, and 3 different shows/scenarios in the event building (Spirit of the Forest, Big Bad Wolves, & Lightning Storm).

Comfortability: 7/10
Thrills:
8/10
Uniqueness:
10/10
Smoothness:
7/10
Capacity:
10/10
Reliability:
7/10
Popularity: 9/10

Notes: Verbolten has five trains that carry 16 people each, so it can pump people in and out like clockwork. Its thematic sets (both in queue and event building), multiple shows/scenarios, drop track, and Gerta’s spiel are about as unique as a coaster can get on the score card.

TOTAL RANKING: 8/10

Related Post: Inside Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s Verbolten

Tempesto

Tempesto is a Sky Rocket II model launch coaster tucked under the wing of Apollo’s Chariot. It opened in 2015 and is loosely themed to the wild stunts of an Italian daredevil. The coaster’s stats are: 135 ft drop, 62 mph speed, nearly 900 feet of track, a heartline roll, and 2 non-inverting half loops.

Comfortability: 6/10
Thrills:
7/10
Uniqueness:
3/10
Smoothness:
7/10
Capacity:
3/10
Reliability:
8/10
Popularity: 6/10

Notes: Tempesto, while enjoyable, is an off the shelf clone not uncommon to see at other parks. It also has only one train since the ride is short, and those trains are small. So, both factors impacted its score.

TOTAL RANKING: 6/10

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InvadR Roller Coaster

InvadR

InvadR made its Viking invasion debut in 2017 in Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s New France section. It is the park’s highly anticipated wooden roller coaster featuring a 74 ft drop, 48 mph speed, and 2,100 feet of track. It is designated as a family coaster, but still packs a punch.

Comfortability: 7/10
Thrills:
7/10
Uniqueness:
7/10
Smoothness:
6/10
Capacity:
6/10
Reliability:
8/10
Popularity: 7/10

Notes: Despite InvadR’s small stature, that coaster is a wild little thing. Wooden coasters tend to be a more untamed experience and InvadR is no different, regardless of its size or family-based target market.

TOTAL RANKING: 7/10

Pantheon

The long overdue shiny new pony of Busch Gardens’ coaster lineup, Pantheon is a multi-launch coaster that opened in 2022. Its model type is a Blitz coaster, and blitz is the perfect word to describe the nature of the ride. Pantheon sports 4 launches, 5 hills, 95 degree drop, max height of 178 feet, max speed of 73 mph, and 3,300 feet of track. It’s a monster.

Comfortability: 8/10
Thrills:
10/10
Uniqueness:
8/10
Smoothness:
8/10
Capacity:
7/10
Reliability:
7/10
Popularity: 10/10

Notes: Pantheon falls short in the theming department, but the variety of ride elements are what holds its uniqueness factor.

TOTAL RANKING: 8/10

DarKoaster

DarKoaster is an upcoming straddle-seating indoor launch coaster slated to open in 2023. Its theming carries over from the lore of the dark ride, Curse of DarKastle, it’s replacing (located in the same building). A brief gist of that lore is that the eccentric King Ludwig haunts the Neuschwanstein castle after both he and his party guests disappeared one night long ago. And, to this day the castle remains frozen in time.

Comfortability: TBD
Thrills:
TBD
Uniqueness:
TBD
Smoothness:
TBD
Capacity:
TBD
Reliability:
TBD
Popularity: TBD

Notes: Curse of DarKastle was apex.

Related Reading: The Top Rides At Busch Gardens Williamsburg

TOTAL RANKING: TBD

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Verbolten Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Summary

Before we conclude the list, honorable mentions go to the two (major) defunct Busch Gardens roller coasters, Big Bad Wolf and Drachen Fire.

Big Bad Wolf would’ve inevitably ranked the best in uniqueness and popularity. In its later years, the reliability score would’ve dwindled. But, I imagine it’d still have ranked a solid 7-8 out of 10.

And for Drachen Fire, the reliability score would’ve been a surefire blow to its total. But, the coaster would’ve excelled in its thrills and uniqueness scores.

Overall, Busch Gardens has an amazing roster of roller coasters–one that’s rapidly expanding!

For a brief summary of the Busch Gardens roller coaster rankings:

Tier One

  • Apollo’s Chariot

Tier Two

  • Pantheon
  • Griffon
  • Verbolten

Tier Three

  • Alpengeist
  • Loch Ness Monster
  • InvadR

Tier Four

  • Tempesto

If you have any thoughts about this ranking of the Busch Gardens roller coasters, let me know in the comments! I’m curious what other riders rate them by.

What’s your favorite roller coaster at Busch Gardens?

For more coaster content, you can also check out:

Thanks for reading!

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7 Comments

  1. Lochness is a classic, near and dear to my heart. However, Apollo and Griffon are my favs! Being suspended in limbo just prior to the first drop on Griffon is exhilarating…especially on the front row, with a bird’s eye view of people below. Apollo is smooth, fast and generously offers airtime, making it a must ride!

    1. All three are peak Busch! That’s the fun part with the BG coasters, pretty much all (bar Tempesto & InvadR) are musts and not just kind of filler attractions. You’d probably really like Pantheon too, if you haven’t ridden it yet.