Busch Gardens Williamsburg is unveiling Pantheon little-by-little, revealing the majority of the roller coaster’s track has been constructed and is on schedule to welcome riders in time for spring.
“In the next couple of days the track will be 100 percent complete,” said Kevin Lembke, president of Busch Gardens and Water County USA, during a media tour Thursday.
Dubbed as one of the “most anticipated coasters in the country,” Pantheon’s four launches and top speeds up to 73 mph breaks records as the world’s fastest multi-launch coaster.
Lembke said the coaster’s “switch track” is also unique, used only once in China and at Universal Studios Florida. The track at one point automatically moves laterally switching from a banked element to a straight element in a matter of two seconds.
“Really a one of a kind ride,” Lembke said. “Completely custom that takes in the topography of the park, truly a one of a kind experience.”
Busch Gardens Williamsburg announced last July Pantheon’s more than 3,300-foot track was coming to the Festa Italia village featuring 15 airtime hills, a 95-degree drop, and two inversions during the 150-second ride time.
Pantheon’s station and queue are located over a bridge in Festa Italia and where Lembke said animal pastures were reconfigured to accommodate the park’s ninth roller coaster but haven’t gone far.
Lembke said riders will pass by the pastures in the queue and while on the ride as one of the banking elements brings riders close to the ground and over a stable of highland cattle making the views of the landscape one of the ride’s features.
“We have very tall columns at the high areas but there are also really short columns down by the water so taking advantage of our terrain and our topography,” said Suzy Cheely, senior director of Design and Engineering and Pantheon’s project lead.
Launching out of the station at 36 mph, Pantheon takes riders on bank and inversion elements where they’ll hang for a few seconds before being launched three more times, and once backward at 61 mph, up to a 178-foot reverse spike, before being launched again up and over a 95-degree “top hat element.”
“It’s really nonstop action from beginning to end,” Cheely said.
A specific date hasn’t yet been set for Pantheon’s opening but the team plans to start cycling trains through for testing within the next month.
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