Home > Virginia > Busch Gardens Williamsburg > Loch Ness Monster > Review Comments

 Review of Loch Ness Monster @ Busch Gardens Williamsburg
2 Rating Posted by: Timberman on 8/25/2007 5:35:00 PM
Most roller coaster enthusisasts can probably recall the one roller coaster that first captured their imagination, the one a mere glimpse of which on television gave them butterflies and sweaty palms. For me, that roller coaster was the Loch Ness Monster. I had been on a few roller coasters by the time Nessie started showing up on TV commercials in our neck of the woods, and I watched those commercials with a mixture of fascination, horror, and dismay. One of the dark secrets of my childhood is that while I began riding roller coasters relatively early in life, I didnt start really enjoying them until I was well into my teens. Those early rides were often gut-wrenching experiences provoked not by an appreciation for all the things I later came to love about roller coasters but by the sure knowledge that chickening out would subject me to hours of ridicule during the car ride home, followed by even more shaming at school. I therefore felt tremendously put upon when Nessie first started showing up on TV. Busch Gardens was in day-tripping distance of our house, and I knew the day would come when I would have to make that awful Hobsons choice of enduring two minutes and ten seconds of teeth-grinding terror, with the attendant nauseous anticipation for days ahead of time, or be exposed, finally, as a coward. Surely, I thought, the designers of these instruments of torture must appreciate the dilemma to which they subjected young children. What sort of sick, twisted psychopaths, I wondered, would intentionally plague innocent kids this way?

In the early days of the Loch Ness Monster, I would relentlessly interrogate any of my friends who had ridden it for details or hard-won survival tactics that could prepare me for my own looming showdown with this beast. One by one, each of my friends had their fateful rendevous. Some came back triumphant and emboldened; others, like stony-faced combat veterans, had little to say. Their silence was the most awesome testament of all, as it eloquently expressed that some things simply had to be experienced to be understood.

As fate would have it, I managed to dodge Nessie throughout elementary and junior high school, and when I was finally eager for the challenge in my later teens, events always intervened to place me elsewhere. Last Wednesday, however, nearly 30 years after I first watched those synchronized Arrow trains negotiate those terribly beautiful interlocking loops, the day had arrived. I would finally face the monster that had for so long haunted my childhood.

By this time, however, I had nothing to prove. I instead approached Nessie with a sense of curiosity and nostalgia, albeit colored by a healthy respect for the potential rigors of any 130-foot-tall first-generation Arrow looper. My initial impression upon finally seeing the ride in person was that being in its presence certainly would have had me quaking in my Keds back in the day. Busch Gardens has wisely stuck with the original black and yellow paint scheme, which has been lovingly maintained year after year. This is without a doubt the finest-looking Arrow of its vintage I have seen. As with BGEs other roller coasters, it also makes excellent use of its surroundings. The intial drop into the gulley is beautifully rendered, and the loops are artfully placed above the water. Even the trains looked showroom new.

The ride itself, alas, is another matter. My karma for having avoided Nessie all those years is that I probably missed experiencing it running at its untamed best. This coaster has an atypical layout for an Arrow looper and strikes me as having been inspired by a wooden terrain coaster. Its drops are unexpectedly sharp and abrupt, and the helix feels tighter than what is typical for a full-sized steel coaster. The loops are also quite tight, and each comes at the base of a respectable drop. Unfortunately, as was the case with all the roller coasters at BGE on the day of m

Review Comments

Ooh Sexy on 8/25/2007 6:46:26 PM said:
I love the childhood fear of rollercoasters part. And like yours, mine was an Arrow looping coaster called the Orient Express, which also had interlocking loops. I wasnt scared before it but when I was on it I was holding on for dear life, being only 8 at the time. I just got back into riding coasters and experienced that same fear you had before riding Top Thrill Dragster. However my sister is 8 and could ride any coaster so what do ya know?
ginzo on 8/25/2007 7:24:13 PM said:
I remember thinking the Vortex at Kings Island was huge. For a good long while it was the tallest coaster in the park. I think Nessie is special; perhaps the second best Arrow looper Ive ridden (behind Tennessee Tornado), and certainly the most unique. I didnt even know Nessie had a helix until we went into that dark place and found out while riding. I really like the fact that Arrow actually put a lot of thought into the design of this ride. The vast majority of their loopers just seem formulaic to me, like they had a standard checklist of elements that they had to run through. I didnt notice heavy trimming on Nessie, but I rode in rain so thick I could barely keep my eyes open. BGE, in fact, shut the ride down right as we got off. I think a 7 is a pretty fair rating for this coaster. It certainly doesnt measure up to the near perfection of Mind Bender. And BBW gives a much crazier ride.
Timberman on 8/25/2007 11:43:44 PM said:
Yeah, nothing like standing in line with seven and eight year olds to put the "conquest" of riding a new roller coaster in context. Although the newer designs are bigger and faster, I still think the old Arrows were scarier, however, because of their tendency to hand out a beating now and then.

Ive never ridden Mind Bender, but Sooper Dooper Looper was my first inverted coaster. Although hardly a thrill-machine, it was a huge confidence builder at the time.

ginzo on 8/26/2007 10:05:44 AM said:
Oh, yeah Ive seen plenty of kids under 10 on KK and TTD. And totally nonchalant about it as well. Lets face the fact that were pseudo thrill seekers. You know that train is coming back, and youll be walking off with all limbs attached.

SDL is a pretty decent family ride, but nowhere in the league of Mind Bender. Mind Bender is one of those rides that I think really benefited from not being designed on a computer. The drops are UNREAL in the back seat. I think I grabbed on to the lapbar on my first cycle, which I seldom do. The loops are more intense than on Arrows, and bless Anton S. for hating OTSRs as much as I do. It has a pretty disorienting helixy sideloopy thing that I think they used to try to pass off as an inversion. In the front seat you get some really vicious ejector air as you ascend into the turn arounds. Just pure coaster brilliance, and from a ride that looks like nothing until youve actually been on it.
Post Review Comment
You must login or create an account to post a review comment.

Clicky Web Analytics