WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (August 23, 2006) -- Teased since early July with park billboards touting "Like Nothing Else in the World," Busch Gardens Europe took the plunge and unveiled its latest steel marvel, Griffon, the world's tallest and only floorless dive coaster. Currently under construction, this diving, driving force in roller coaster engineering will debut at Busch Gardens late spring 2007.
Griffon will send riders through an extraordinary journey 205 feet up and 90 degrees straight down at more than 70 mph – and that's just the beginning. The name Griffon evokes the power and speed of a mythical beast that is part eagle and part lion. The ride twists, turns and plunges – giving riders a breathtaking adventure unlike any coaster experience in the world.
"With its adrenalin-pumping vertical drops, high speed, a mid-air pause, multiple coaster elements and overall experience, Griffon is certain to fulfill thrill seekers' expectations," said Donnie Mills, executive vice-president and general manager for Busch Gardens Europe and Water Country USA.
Griffon will incorporate two Immelman loops (a simultaneous loop and roll, the name of which was derived from the World War I German flying ace who invented the tactical maneuver). The world's first floorless dive coaster also incorporates a second 130-foot dive and one water feature with spectacular viewing platforms where ride watchers can share in the thrills. Each floorless coaster car will consist of three, 10-person wide rows.
"The view will be spectacular and every seat on Griffon will offer an excellent ride," said Mills.
The roller coaster is being constructed by Bolliger & Mabillard of Monthey, Switzerland on the former LeMans Raceway site in the French section of the Williamsburg theme park. Griffon is the fifth member of the park's family of renowned coasters.
Construction began July 6, 2006. The most recent roller coaster to debut at Busch Gardens was Apollo's Chariot in 1999.
Busch Gardens Europe and Water Country USA in Williamsburg are Anheuser-Busch Adventure Parks. Other Anheuser-Busch Adventure Parks include Busch Gardens Africa and Adventure Island in Tampa Bay; SeaWorld Adventure Parks in Orlando, San Diego and San Antonio; Sesame Place, a children's play park near Philadelphia; and Discovery Cove in Orlando, a family vacation experience featuring interaction with dolphins and other marine animals. For more information, visit buschgardens.com or call (800) 343-7946.