A Report from ACE Dives 2019

ACE Dives, an American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE) Mid-Atlantic event, was held on June 1, 2019, at Busch Gardens Williamsburg.

ACE Dives group photo at Busch Gardens (Credit: Jill Ryan)

Wack-a-Hun competition (Credit: Jill Ryan)

I had an amazing day at this event. There were so many different people in attendance and so many things to do. This was one of the best days I have ever had, because everyone treated me so well. I am not an ACE member so I just went as a guest, but everyone treated me equal to everyone else. I believe the highlight of the day was the picnic in the Black Forest picnic area. There was a buffet with amazing food, and the door prizes included some stuff I would’ve done anything to have. I won a copy of the 40th anniversary documentary for the park. The highlight of the picnic was hearing Kevin Lembke, Busch Gardens park president, speak on different ideas the park has had and where the ideas come from.

Nighttime ERT on Griffon (Credit: Seth Angelilli)

The day included tons of different ITOTs (informal takeover times) on all 7 roller coasters, a Whack-A-Hun Tournament, and Griffon and Apollo’s Chariot ERT before and after the park was open. This event was something that I’m never going to forget and has made me realize just how amazing it would be to be an ACE member. Every person that I met was incredibly nice to me and is the kind of person I strive to be.

All I want to say is that I had an absolute blast at ACE Dives and I will come back every year.

– DJ Delk of Newport News, Virginia


ACE Dives is an annual event held by the Mid-Atlantic region, which welcomed 92 attendees from 8 states and DC this year.  We were honored that our members invited 14 guests to share in the fun of our event.  We hope that they will consider becoming ACE members themselves and that we will see them all back next year as members.

Cutback ERT group photo at Water Country USA (Credit: Becky Angelilli)


Busch Gardens Williamsburg Reveals New Launch Coaster Pantheon

MMXX has been revealed! Pantheon is speeding into Busch Gardens Williamsburg in 2020 as the fastest multi-launch coaster in North America. In true Busch Gardens style, theming is essential. Pantheon will feature the combined power of five Roman Gods – Minerva (3 forward launches), Pluto (inversions), Mercury (reverse launch), Neptune (178-foot spike), and Jupiter (95-degree drop).

What can you expect from Pantheon? Non-stop action was my first thought after viewing the blueprint.  With a top speed of 72.5 mph after the top-hat portion of the ride, it will be the fastest multi-launch coaster in North America. According to Larry Giles, Senior Director, Design & Engineering, “We’ve designed it so that the experience is changing all the time and will keep riders wondering what’s next.”

Riders will enjoy two inversions, four launches both forward and backward, and a 95-degree drop. The two highest points of the ride are only a few feet in difference – the 95-degree drop and the reverse launch into the spike.

Pantheon will use Taron trains, and riders will be secured with a lapbar only.

Construction has begun on this Intamin Worldwide coaster, which will be in the Festa Italia portion of the park. On a tour during today’s announcement, steel rebar could be seen throughout the construction site as well as a lot of dirt as the foundation portions of the ride are begin installed. No track or supports are on site yet.

The coaster is located on the far side of the train tracks surrounded by the Rhine River, horse pastures, and the Italy Gardens of Flatrides on three sides. Much of the coaster will be alongside the Rhine River to enhance the already beautiful location.


Click here to watch a video of the announcement

Click here to take a behind-the-scenes look at the construction

– Elizabeth Ringas

Firebird Rises

Firebird rises at Six Flags America this summer! Firebird offers a new ride experience with the addition of a new B&M floorless coaster running on the track of Apocalypse, which was a reinstallation of Iron Wolf. Finding new life as a floorless coaster, it is exciting to see its continued operation of B&M’s first roller coaster. The new color scheme and logo breathe new life into this treasure with its firey red and orange track. The addition of a strike of fire near the end of the ride adds a perfect splash of theming and excitement as you prepare to roll into the brake run as well as a great visual from the nearby walkway.

As Six Flags America joins the new trend to convert the B&M stand-up coasters to floorless, we gain increased ridership, more rerides, better guest feedback and a more pleasant ride experience; this is all for a win for our local Six Flags park! Don’t hesitate to grab a ride in the back two rows, which received great reviews from ACE volunteers on media day.

Two New Additions for Coaster Lovers at Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Did someone say coasters? Although neither of Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Water Country USA’s new additions is a roller coaster, both offer some of those roller coaster features that we love so much.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg features a S&S Worldwide Screamin’ Swing, Finnegan’s Flyer. It’s not just an airtime monster, but a beautiful addition to the Ireland area with fantastic theming to blend it into the area. Beauty abounds in the view high over Ireland. Rising next to the Ireland bridge, riders are catapulted to 115 feet above the creek (80 feet above the loading platform) at 45 miles per hour. Two pendulum-like arms lift 32 riders to above 90 degrees. Want a more powerful ride? Ride in the orange arm, which has more propulsion due to the ride design.

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Just a little west, riders can be found swishing down Cutback, the new Proslide RocketBLAST slide. This 850-foot slide features 3 drops and 5 flying-saucer turns where you will reach the maximum speed of 35 feet per second and all the g-forces you love in a helix. Cutback will power you downhill from the tower previously used by Meltdown. It is always admirable for parks to reuse old equipment to reduce the impact on the environment and the cost of installation. And are you ready to get wet? The RocketBLAST propulsion system will blast you uphill so that you can go down again using water sprayed into the pockets on the sides of the 4-person raft, so prepare for a quick cool down on a hot Virginia day.

Kings Dominion Debuts New “Hybrid” Roller Coaster Twisted Timbers

The wait is over for guests looking to get their thrill fix on Kings Dominion’s newest roller coaster, Twisted Timbers. Wood and steel intertwine into twisting barrel roll drops, dynamic inversions and gravity-defying weightlessness on the park’s newest coaster, which is set to open to the public on Saturday, March 24.

Twisted Timbers is an innovative hybrid coaster that uses the latest technology to combine wood supports with a steel track to give riders an exhilarating experience with maneuvers previously unimaginable on a traditional wooden coaster. The coaster was designed and built by Rocky Mountain Construction of Idaho, a company renowned for reimagining wooden coasters. Features of the ride include:
  • 109 foot tall barrel roll drop
  • Over 3000 feet of track
  • Top speed of 54 miles per hour
  • Three loops
  • Three overbanked turns
  • 20 airtime moments

Twisted Timbers is located in the Candy Apple Grove section of the park and is themed to an abandoned apple orchard on the edge of town. The story behind the coaster is that an unknown force – supernatural or natural– destroyed the harvest years ago and froze the orchard in time; now the strictly “off-limits” orchard has reopened for tours, with the twisted ride as its highlight.