Thursday, December 1, 2022

Busch Gardens Williamsburg Unveils DarKoaster, New All-Indoor Straddle Coaster

(WYDaily/Dominic Catacora)

WILLIAMSBURG — Ever since Curse of DarKastle officially closed down in 2018, fans and frequent guests of Busch Gardens Williamsburg have been pondering what would happen to the dormant castle that dominates the German-themed area of the park.

(WYDaily/Jillian Appel)

Those questions were finally answered on Sept. 6, when Busch Gardens Williamsburg officially revealed the plans for the park’s tenth rollercoaster, aptly named DarKoaster.

Construction is well underway, with various pieces of track already positioned in place. The new attraction is housed in the Curse of DarKastle building and the park claims it will be the world’s first all-indoor straddle coaster, the first straddle coaster built in Virginia. Busch Gardens Williamsburg has plans to open this new experience for guests to enjoy some time in 2023.

“We’re so excited,” said Busch Gardens’ Director of Design and Engineering Suzy Cheely in an interview with WYDaily. “We all missed DarKastle, and to have another ride in here is going to be awesome.”

(WYDaily/Jillian Appel)

The coaster is manufactured by Swiss amusement ride and attraction design company Intamin Worldwide. Once construction is complete, DarKoaster will feature four accelerating launches with speeds of up to 26 mph and a grand total of 2,454 feet of track.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg states that DarKoaster will be a family-friendly attraction — the height requirement for the new straddle coaster is 48-inches (4 feet).

(WYDaily/Jillian Appel)

The theme park plans to build upon the history of the original Curse of DarKastle ride. The original ride featured 3D animations and special effects that gave Busch Gardens’ guests a unique experience. It was a ride that garnered many fans during its operational years.

There are a lot of elements that are still unknown about DarKoaster, such as the story among other planned features. What is known is that the coaster features snowmobile-themed carts that will take groups of riders on a race through complete darkness. According to Cheely, there will be surprises at King Ludwig’s abandoned fortress, paying homage to the original Curse of DarKastle.

(WYDaily/Dominic Catacora)

“There’s definitely nods,” said Cheely. “You’re going back and you’re visiting the DarKastle. You’re on an exploration on snowmobiles in a storm that kind of starts brewing, and you encounter different things along the way. There’s definite nods to the old story.”

Thus, guests will soon be able to experience the DarKastle theme in a very new and different way. And since the ride is indoors, it will be open year-round, including during the park’s Christmas Town celebration in the winter season.

“What’s really so exciting about this is that it is completely different from anything that we have in the park,” said Busch Garden’s Williamsburg President Kevin Lembke in the park’s official presentation. “It’s all indoors, as you know with the heat of the summer, and now with Christmas Town being open in the winter, this is just an amazing opportunity for this park and an amazing opportunity to build on the legacy of a fantastic structure.”

For more updates and information from Busch Gardens Williamsburg, check out the park’s official website.

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