Refurbs and paint jobs aside, there is also one thing to really look forward to this year….PANTHEON. The parks newest, fastest, multi-launch coaster.
Located next to the Festa Italia train station Pantheon, themed for the Roman Gods Pluto, Neptune, Mercury, Minerva and Jupiter, takes will take riders through 3,328 feet of track at speeds of 73mph, through four launches, two inversions, a 95 degree drop, and a 180 foot drop. For those airtime fans, while there may not be a lot of hills, but we’ll still see fifteen, yes, FIFTEEN, opportunities for airtime, as the trains race over, under, and around the terrain.
Once you leave the station, the ride takes you through twists and turns before finally entering its first launch and inversion. As the trains make their way to the top hat hill element, you’ll find the trains rolling backwards up to the top of the reverse launch, where the track will actually shift into a launch track, sending the trains up and over the top hat, down past the Rhine River, similar to Verbolten’s second drop, sending riders into what is called a ‘Top Gun Stall’, where the train inverts, hanging riders briefly, before continuing on, and finally finishing back at the station. The entire ride will be about two minutes in length.
If you rode the train during last season and followed Pantheon’s construction, you’ve probably noticed that it sits in the area that was previously used as pastures for the parks Clydesdales, sheep, and Highland cows. Have no worries, the park didn’t completely displace our beloved animals. They still have plenty of pasture space next to the ride. In fact, you’ll probably get a chance to see them as you walk over the Festa train station to get to Pantheon.
While we were not given information regarding the themeing we were told that there will be themeing at the station and queue area. And if you’re worried about the trees that were removed for construction we asked about that too. The park works with the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Program that requires that they replace trees that are removed. So while it may not be immediate, they will work to replace the landscaping around the coaster.
While there may not be an official opening date released just yet, the park is hoping for a spring opening. There’s still quite a bit of work to finish before they can begin testing though, including completing the last section of track. My guess is maaaaaybe a spring break opening if we’re lucky, but hopefully no later than Memorial Day.
Busch Gardens opens March 14 for members, March 15 for general public. If you haven’t purchased a membership yet, now is the perfect time to buy them as the park is running a sale on memberships AND fun cards. https://buschgardens.com/williamsburg/annual-pass/