In 1997, in order to revitalize the underperforming SeaWorld San Antonio (San Antonio, TX), Busch Entertainment ordered an Inverted Coaster for the park. Now, attendance wise, it does not approach the larger parks in the chain, so Busch went with a slightly modified Batman: The Ride for the park. Great White features the same elements, but is over 100 feet shorter and is viewed as some to be more intense due to the tighter turns and more rapid fire elements. Interestingly, they kept the 8 car trains even if the ride is more intense.
Flex provided us with this picture of the Great White logo.
The train going down the first drop. This picture was shot by Flex.
David Stepanek shot this picture of the train going down the first drop from another angle.
David Stepanek shot this picture of the train in the middle of the first loop.
In this other picture from David, you can see how low to the ground the second half of the ride is.
The first Flat Spin. Picture by David Stepanek.
The waiting line is outdoors and under shade covers. The station is the same and the Busch touch is seen in the start of the ride: the Zero-G-Roll goes right over a park path and it is a signature of the chain; Busch always took great care to make their rides spectator friendly and easy to photograph. The ride was painted two tone of blue and the under portion of the chassis has teeth’s painted, giving a unique visual when the ride goes upside down.
Flex provided this amazing shot of the painted chassis.
For Busch Gardens Williamsburg, B&M designed a custom roller coaster that was designed to break records: Alpengeist. Built in the Rhinefeld area of the park, the ride is themed to an out of control ski lift in the German Alps. Alpengeist is the legendary snow ghost of the Alps and he takes control of our chair lift.
The ride lift hill with ski lift style supports. Picture by Flex.
The base of the lift hill.
The ride is 195 feet tall and the lift is unique among coasters thanks to its giant supports that minimize the ride footprint on the ground. Things get underway with was an intense 170 feet drop where the train spirals down 270 degrees toward the Immelmann inversion. Unfortunately, the park soon started using the brake at the top of the drop to slow down the train, minimizing the intensity. After the Immelmann, the ride executes a 106 feet tall vertical loop before dropping into a wooden chalet that hides the next element: the Cobra Roll. After the Cobra Roll, a Raptor-esque series of turns leads to the mid-course brakes where the train is trimmed hard.
Flex took this shot of the train exiting the lift hill.
The train going down the drop. Picture by Flex.
The 106 feet vertical loop.
The Cobra Roll, the ride most intense element.
David Stepanek took this shot of the Cobra Roll. The yellow ride is the Loch Ness Monster and the ride in the background is Griffon, the park B&M Dive Coaster.
The train then drops to the right into a Zero G Roll over the park log flume retention pond and the ride theming is apparent as fake snow is present whenever the train goes low to the ground. A flat spin and helix concludes the ride. The one thing that makes Alpengeist unique is that due to the 67 mph top speed and sustained forces, B&M installed a separate zero car on the trains.
The Zero G Roll.
The Cobra Roll and final spiral in the background. Notice the fake snow. Picture appears courtesy of http://www.negative-g.com/
The ride theming is present in the waiting line, themed to a skiing chalet in the Alps and even on the trains. Like on a chairlift, skis and poles are mounted on the ride cars.
The skis mounted on the cars. Picture appears courtesy of http://www.negative-g.com/
The ride entrance plaza.