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 Review of Loch Ness Monster @ Busch Gardens Williamsburg
3 Rating Posted by: Canobie Coaster on 10/9/2006 12:14:00 PM
When you hear Loch Ness Monster, what do you instantly think of? Do you think of the famous monster who allegedly dwells in the Loch Ness whetting the appetite for crazy scientists who pursue this mythological creature? Well, I for one don’t think of that Nessie instantly. Instead I think of the gigantic yellow mass of Arrow track located at Busch Gardens that has been thrilling riders since 1978, and despite its age, roller coaster junkies year after year give lofty awards to this legend. In fact, I was skeptical prior to my visit due to Arrow’s less than stellar track record for providing great rides that have served the test of time, but thanks to its ingenious layout, thrilling ride, and the absence of the typical Arrow roughness that plagues almost all of their coasters, Nessie is truly a world-class coaster worthy of the hype!

Dwelling in Scotland, Nessie is simply one of the most picturesque coasters gound anywhere with its incredible location right above the water and twisted mass of yellow track, highlighted by the record-breaking interlocking loops that simply is one of the most incredible sights for a coaster enthusiast. It’s simply a Mecca for coaster enthusiasts. The colors, while not bright, strong, or vibrant, fit in perfectly with the ride’s theme and compliment the attraction’s surroundings very nicely. But what I really love is that while the ride’s major drops and famous inversions can be seen offride, almost the entire rest of the ride is totally hidden from view, leading to some neat surprises occurring during the ride.

So how are lines for this record-breaking coaster? Well, thankfully the park had a two train operation; however, dispatch intervals were far too long as a result of the incredibly long length of the ride itself. Ultimately, this resulted in about a 15-20 minute wait for about any seat, with the wait for the front being about an extra 5 minutes or so. Personally, I enjoyed the back best because of the full effect of the drops, but there is no roughness in absolutely any seat so don’t hesitate to jump for the shorter wait since you will still have an enjoyable ride.

After ascending the daunting and once tallest coaster in the world’s lift hill, Nessie begins with two incredibly tall plunges that provide amazing ejector air and just seem much longer than they really are thanks to how they literally skim across the surface of the water. Now most Arrows give a little air, but this was flat out amazing ejector air that was pure bliss thanks the ride’s relatively loose restraints. What an incredible beginning to a true classic, and immediately following is the first of the ride’s two iconic vertical loops, and this one is taken at breakneck speeds, leading to it being the most forceful loop I’ve experienced on an Arrow anywhere.

For most Arrows following their superb drops, the ride is downhill, especially when there’s a helix involved. And guess what Nessie features? Hidden deep within the park’s lush landscaping is a very-nicely themed cave, which features one of Arrow’s dreaded helixes, and unfortunately this one can’t break the curse, yet other than being a tad bumpy this one is quite smooth. So why is it so poor? Despite being enclosed in almost total darkness and including a cool strobe effect, the downward helix simply is a bore thanks to the snail-like pace it negotiates the entire helix at. That being said, I will take a duller helix over a violent one any day, but still it simply wasn’t overly enjoyable when in comparison with the rest of the superb ride.

Last but not least comes Nessie’s glorious finale which definitely redeems the attraction and recaptures the excitement achieved at the very beginning. After a second albeit short lift hill, another great and surprisingly steep plunge ensues, yet again providing great ejector air. Following comes the second of the ride’s famous interlocking loops, and while equally forceful as the first in my opinion, this one was just much more disorienting thanks to it being noticeably tighter than the first. After a quick turn, the beast tames down, coming to a rest on the brake run following a highly enjoyable and very long ride.

Despite Busch adding taller, more intense B and Ms over the years that now gain much more acclaim, the Loch Ness Monster still is one of the best attractions the park has to offer, and that’s saying a lot because of the park’s quality. Nessie’s uncharacteristically smooth ride, incredible drops, and disorienting loops are a winning combination that had me getting back in line time and time again. In fact, after Apollo, this was my favorite attraction at the entire park! Yeah, it’s that good! Definitely reserve some time for Nessie during your visit and you will wonder why other Arrows aren’t nearly as sensational! Who ever doesn’t believe the legend of the Loch Ness must get down to Busch Gardens, and trust me, they’ll be believers.
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