Apollo's Chariot

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This article is about the roller coaster. For the mythological chariot of Apollo, see Solar deity.
Apollo's Chariot
Apollo's Chariot logo.png
Apollo's Chariot (Busch Gardens Europe) 01.jpg
The first drop of Apollo's Chariot is at an angle of 65°.
Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Park section Festa Italia
Coordinates 37°14′05″N 76°38′29″W / 37.23480°N 76.64130°W / 37.23480; -76.64130Coordinates: 37°14′05″N 76°38′29″W / 37.23480°N 76.64130°W / 37.23480; -76.64130
Status Operating
Soft opening date March 27, 1999 (1999-03-27)
Opening date March 30, 1999 (1999-03-30)
Cost US$20 million
General statistics
Type Steel
Manufacturer Bolliger & Mabillard
Designer Werner Stengel
Model Hyper Coaster
Lift/launch system Chain lift hill
Height 170 ft (52 m)
Drop 210 ft (64 m)
Length 4,882 ft (1,488 m)
Speed 73 mph (117 km/h)
Inversions 0
Duration 2:15
Max vertical angle 65°
Capacity 1,750 riders per hour
G-force 4.1
Height restriction 52 in (132 cm)
Trains 3 trains with 9 cars. Riders are arranged 4 across in a single row for a total of 36 riders per train.
Quick Queue available
Single rider line available
Apollo's Chariot at RCDB
Pictures of Apollo's Chariot at RCDB

Apollo's Chariot is steel roller coaster at the Busch Gardens Williamsburg theme park in James City County, Virginia, United States. The ride was the first Hyper Coaster designed by Swiss firm Bolliger & Mabillard. It officially opened to the public on March 30, 1999.

The 4,882-foot-long (1,488 m) ride is characterised by eight air-time hills, with heights ranging between 49 and 131 feet (15 and 40 m). Riders ascend 170 feet (52 m) on the chain lift hill before dropping 210 feet (64 m) at an angle of 65°. Apollo's Chariot is generally well received with it consistently rating highly in industry rankings.

History[edit]

Apollo's Chariot was announced on September 5, 1998, as the tallest and fastest roller coaster at Busch Gardens Williamsburg.[1] On January 23, 1999, the ride was nearing completion with approximately 20 pieces of track left to be installed.[2] Apollo's Chariot opened as the first Hyper Coaster from Swiss manufacturer, Bolliger & Mabillard.[3]

Busch Gardens held Apollo's Chariot's opening ceremony on March 30, 1999. Italian fashion model Fabio Lanzoni was brought in to promote the new roller coaster. During the ride's inaugural run, a bird struck him in the face leaving his nose covered with blood. He was treated at a nearby hospital for minor cuts.[4]

Characteristics[edit]

The 4,882-foot-long (1,488 m) Apollo's Chariot is a Bolliger & Mabillard Hyper Coaster. The park's existing terrain is utilised to allow a 170-foot-tall (52 m) lift hill to be translated into a first drop stretching 210 feet (64 m). With a top speed of 73 miles per hour (117 km/h), the ride features eight air-time hills. Riders of Apollo's Chariot experience up to 4.1 times the force of gravity on the 2-minute, 15-second ride. Apollo's Chariot operates with three trains with nine cars per train. Riders are arranged four across in a single row for a total of 36 riders per train. This configuration of trains allows for a theoretical capacity of 1,750 riders per hour.[5] Riders are restrained by a lapbar and the seats are elevated so riders’ feet don't touch the ground.[1]

Ride experience[edit]

The final drop on Apollo's Chariot

After departing from the station, the train begins to climb the 170-foot (52 m) chain lift hill. When the train reaches the top, it drops down a few feet in a pre-drop. The pre-drop serves to reduce the stress and pull of the chain. After the pre-drop, riders drop 210 feet (64 m) toward a water-filled ravine at a 65 degree angle and reaching a top speed of 73 miles per hour (117 km/h). At the end of the ravine, the train enters a second airtime hill with a 131-foot (40 m) drop. A short narrow above ground tunnel is at the bottom of the second drop. After the tunnel, the train descends a 144-foot (44 m) drop, which banks to the left as it descends. Riders then experience 4.1 Gs in an upward helix. Coming out of the helix, the train drops 102 feet (31 m) then travels right and upward into the mid-course brake run. The train drops 48 feet (15 m) out of the brake run followed by another drop at 87 feet (27 m) toward the ravine. The train then banks right, makes a 38-foot (12 m) dip, turns left and goes through a small 16-foot (4.9 m) dip. The train then makes one last 49-foot (15 m) drop before climbing up and into the final brake run.[6][7] Riders experience about 26 seconds of weightlessness during the 2 minute and 15 second ride.[8]

Reception[edit]

In the ride's debut year, Busch Gardens Williamsburg had lower attendance levels than they were expecting. This was attributed to prolonged periods of inclement weather. As a result of this, the park planned to re-launch Apollo's Chariot in 2000 in an attempt to drive attendance.[9]

In Amusement Today's annual Golden Ticket Awards, Apollo's Chariot has consistently ranked highly. In its debut year, it ranked position 20. For the 13 years since, its ranking has always been higher peaking at position 4 several times.[10][11]

Golden Ticket Awards: Top steel Roller Coasters
Year 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Ranking 20[10] 9[12] 7[13] 5[14] 5[15] 5[16] 4[17] 5[18] 4[19] 4[20] 5[21] 4[22] 7[23] 4[11] 5[24] 7[25]

In Mitch Hawker's worldwide Best Roller Coaster Poll, Apollo's Chariot entered at position 6 in 1999, before dropping to a low of 32 in 2012. The ride's ranking in subsequent polls is shown in the table below.[26]

Mitch Hawker's Best Roller Coaster Poll: Best Steel-Tracked Roller Coaster[26]
Year 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Ranking
4
N/A
6
8
13
7
14
18
12
20
16
22
N/A
32

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Deacle, Robin (September 5, 1998). "New Ride Not For Mere Mortals". Daily Press. Retrieved January 28, 2013. 
  2. ^ Deacle, Robin (January 23, 1999). "Sweet Chariot". Daily Press. Retrieved January 8, 2013. 
  3. ^ Marden, Duane. "Roller Coaster Search Results  (Hyper Coaster)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved February 10, 2013. 
  4. ^ Wee, Eric (March 31, 1999). "During photo shoot, Fabio does more than look at birdy". Washington Post. Retrieved February 10, 2013. 
  5. ^ Marden, Duane. "Apollo's Chariot  (Busch Gardens Williamsburg)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved June 28, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Apollo's Chariot Front Seat on-ride widescreen POV Busch Gardens Williamsburg". Coaster Force. YouTube. 17 October 2009. Retrieved January 28, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Apollo's Chariot at Coaster-Net". Coaster-Net. Retrieved January 28, 2013. 
  8. ^ McDonald, Sam (April 2, 1999). "Apollo's Ride Screams Fun". Daily Press. Retrieved January 28, 2013. 
  9. ^ Powell, Tom (September 13, 1999). "Williamsburg Busch Gardens Unveils 'Huge' Halloween Promo". Amusement Business 111 (37): 33. 
  10. ^ a b "Top 25 steel roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 7B. August 1999. Retrieved September 10, 2014. 
  11. ^ a b "Top 50 steel roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today 16 (6.2): 36–37. September 2012. Retrieved September 10, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Top 25 steel roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. August 2000. Retrieved September 10, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Top 25 steel roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 7B. August 2001. Retrieved September 10, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Top 25 steel roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 7B. September 2002. Retrieved September 10, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Top 50 steel roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 14–15B. September 2003. Retrieved September 10, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Top 50 steel roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 18–19B. September 2004. Archived from the original on April 3, 2007. Retrieved September 10, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Top 50 steel roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 26–27B. September 2005. Retrieved September 10, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Top 50 steel roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 26–27B. September 2006. Retrieved September 10, 2014. 
  19. ^ "Top 50 steel roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today 11 (6.2): 36–37. September 2007. Retrieved September 10, 2014. 
  20. ^ "Top 50 steel roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today 12 (6.2): 36–37. September 2008. Retrieved September 10, 2014. 
  21. ^ "Top 50 steel roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today 13 (6.2): 32–33. September 2009. Retrieved September 10, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Top 50 steel roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today 14 (6.2): 34–35. September 2010. Retrieved September 10, 2014. 
  23. ^ "Top 50 steel roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today 15 (6.2): 38–39. September 2011. Retrieved September 10, 2014. 
  24. ^ "2013 Top 50 steel Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today 17 (6.2): 34–35. September 2013. Archived from the original on October 19, 2013. Retrieved September 10, 2014. 
  25. ^ "2014 Top 50 steel Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today 18 (6.2): 46–47. September 2014. Retrieved September 10, 2014. 
  26. ^ a b Hawker, Mitch. "Steel Roller Coaster Poll 12 Year Results Table (1999 - 2012)". Best Roller Coaster Poll. Retrieved August 4, 2013. 

External links[edit]