IMG_3814So, with today’s blog, I have decided to venture into completely uncharted territory and write a review of the new roller coaster at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, InvadR.

I should probably start by saying that I am in no way an expert on roller coasters as my own personal coaster credits only tally up to 78 and of those 78, 12 are now defunct.  What is crazy is I would probably list 4 of those 12 defunct coasters (Drachen Fire, Big Bad Wolf, Texas Rattler, and Son of Beast) in my top 15 coasters ever ridden.  I hope to increase my coaster count within the next year as there are several coasters at Kings Dominion that I haven’t been on yet and that park is only an hour and a half away from us.

Despite not being an expert, I am probably somewhat of a coaster nerd.  I follow several coaster sites and podcasts and I try to stay up to date on what is being built and where (at least in the U.S.). When it comes to coasters, I know what I like and what I don’t like.  While this is not an expert review, this is my honest assessment of the newest addition to Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s already strong coaster lineup.

InvadR is a wooden coaster built by Great Coasters International (GCI).  It features a 74 foot drop and a top speed of 48mph. The ride also features 9 moments of airtime.

I’ll be very honest.  When the ride was first announced, I was excited.  GCI makes fantastic coasters (I had ridden 4 of theirs prior to InvadR) and a wooden coaster was definitely the one thing missing from the coaster lineup at BGW.  Then these stats came out along with an animated POV and I became underwhelmed very quickly, especially when Mystic Timbers at Kings Island was announced around the same time and appeared to be a much better ride at first glance.

Roller coaster statistics are just that.  They are numbers.  The true test of the coaster is the ride experience itself, so I took my family to BGW on spring break to get my first ride on InvadR.  I have to say that I was very pleasantly surprised.  For an admittedly smaller GCI coaster, this ride packed a decent punch. The airtime moments were amazing, the theming on the ride is great (although once the trees grow in a bit it will be even better), and for a brand new ride, I have to say that operations were surprisingly efficient.

What I really liked the most about this ride is the fact that it has a very high level of re-ridability.  It doesn’t beat you up so much that you don’t want to get back on it, but at the same time the ride itself is anything but boring.  I don’t know how to word any better than to say that it is a fun roller coaster.  Here are a few shots that I got that day.  I would have taken more, but the park was so crowded it was tough to get many really good shots.

Now, for a few tips on riding the coaster.  There are lockers just inside the entrance to the queue.  Use them.  If you manage to slip past the attendant directing people to use the lockers and find yourself at the loading station with loose articles, you will be sent back to the lockers.  There is no leaving items on the other side of the platform.  Also, the station is designed without very long queues for each row.  Basically, when you reach the top of the stairs, you’re in position to choose your row.  Because it’s a smaller station, even on a crowded day, the line for the front and back rows wasn’t longer than the other rows.  I personally recommend the front row on this one.

The repurposed trains from the now defunct Gwahzi at BGT are very comfortable.  I’m a pretty good size man, and I didn’t have any trouble getting into my seat.  The lap restraint isn’t too hard which on a ride with a good amount of airtime is very important.  If you aren’t sure that you can fit into the train, please try out the test seat before you get into the queue.

Having added another GCI coaster to my credit list, I’ll finish this post by ranking the 5 GCIs that I’ve ridden.

  1. Lightning Racer (HersheyPark)
  2. Gwahzi (Busch Gardens Tampa – no longer operating)
  3. InvadR (Busch Gardens Williamsburg)
  4. Wildcat (HersheyPark)
  5. Roar (Six Flags America)

*If you’d like to see some more theme park type entries in my blog, let me know and I’ll do a few of them as the opportunity presents itself.