A Classic Steel Coaster
That’s An Ageless Wonder
For a steel coaster from the 70′s Loch Ness is amazing and still rocks in 2006! Busch Gardens Williamsburg does it again. Even the park’s ‘dinosaur’ so to speak has some pretty cool elements. A steep 11-story drop to the Rhine River and the world’s first set of interlocking loops. You really have to give Busch and Arrow credit. In 1978 most looping coasters were mild loop and screw coasters. Park goers were excited just to be turned upside down, so not much attention was payed to the layouts of these early steel loopers. Loch Ness uses Busch’s rolling terrain and the river to make for an exciting coaster, miles away from mild.
Also, Nessie features one of the longest downward helices you’ll find anywhere. And did I mention it’s in a dark cave? Not some short tunnel or covered section. I couldn’t see my hand in front of face, now that’s dark! And it’s a great surprise for new riders as it’s cleverly not on park maps and thanks to Busch Garden’s foliage and topography it’s hard to see from footpaths. In the tunnel you keep spiraling downward in the darkness. It gets even the most benign train riders screaming. As you exit the cave at the bottom of the helix, they used to have a light mist that would spray riders. I’m not sure if this was off because I went late in the season or because they took it out all together. Then you hit a second lift which kind of kills the momentum the ride had up to that point. It’s really too bad they couldn’t have used tire propulsion or something to get enough speed up so you didn’t need another lift. Maybe they’ll make that adjustment for the 30 year anniversary in a few years.
After the second short lift hill you drop right into the second loop as your picture’s taken, then it’s right into the station breaks. I have to say after all of these years Nessie has aged gracefully, especially for an Arrow looper. I expected the loops to be as rough as the loops on the other water-loving serpent just up the road, but I’m glad to say that they weren’t. They were fun with great g-forces and virtually no headbanging. Loch Ness is a classic steel coaster that’s showing real longevity. She’s definitely an oldie but goodie. Final Rating – 8.0 (Great)
Check out the rest of my rating scale here. Got some comments about Old Nessie, leave em’ below. Also, check out this roller coaster video of Loch Ness Monster. It doesn’t do the ride justice and it’s pretty shaky.
What’s Your Take?
Have you ridden Loch Ness Monster at Busch Gardens? Leave a comment below.