Busch Gardens: First Wooden Roller Coaster Coming in 2017

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The Vikings are planning an invasion of New France, and Busch Gardens is asking thrill-seekers to help defend Trappers’ Village.

Coinciding with the opening of the 2016 season, Busch Gardens announced Saturday a new roller coaster  – the amusement park’s first wooden coaster – will open in 2017.

In an unprecedentedly early announcement of the park’s new ride, Busch Gardens is promising park fans they will have a say in the “world’s first crowdsourced ride.”

The crowdsourcing begins with a vote on the name of the park’s eighth roller coaster: Viking Raider, Invadr or Battle Klash. Click here to choose a favorite before voting closes April 1. In the coming months, fans will also be able to voice their opinions on attraction details, theme elements and the marketing campaign.

“Honestly, it’s a big change for us, and not common in our industry, to leave so much in the hands of consumers,” said Dan Dipiazzo, vice president of marketing.  “But we respect our fans.  We know they love this park and want to be part of our success.  This will be their ride as much as ours.”

The engineers have already determined the major components of the ride: It boasts 2,118 feet of track, a 74-foot drop, nine airtime hills and a tunnel.

The wooden coaster’s theme is based on the Vikings’ exploration of North America, and park guests are asked to join the battle between the Vikings and the villagers who are protecting their land.

“Busch Gardens has a reputation for creating unique ride experiences, and our new family coaster will certainly continue that tradition,” said Larry Giles, vice president of engineering. “The dynamics of a wooden coaster, combined with the many ways it will interact with the terrain and nearby attractions, will make this a one-of-a-kind thrill.”

To stay current on construction updates and crowdsourcing opportunities, bookmark the project’s website or follow the hashtag #BGProject2017 on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.