Apollo Should Have Been the Roman God of Airtime
After having not ridden one of my top coasters for over three years I was excited to see that it still shined. All of the pluses that had made it one of favorite roller coasters were still there. Apollo’s Chariot was designed by the legendary Bolliger & Mabillard, it offers one of the airtime-packed rides anywhere, and it’s located at one of the most critically acclaimed theme parks in the world. Needless to say if you’re a coaster enthusiast, Busch Gardens Europe should be on your trip schedule. Especially, with Griffon opening in a few months.
A Lively Station and Unique Trains
Like some of the other top rides I’ve ridden, Apollo’s Chariot still has a hyped up station that’s buzzing with excitement. It takes so little to have ride ops that simply ask how your ride was and offer a little personality. But it can add a lot to the excitement level of the experience. The trains are different from non-B&M hyper coasters. They have nine rows of four seats across that helps with ride capacity and keeps the line moving. They are also THE most comfortable seats and restraints out there. Not to mention they are elevated and open allowing your legs and arms to swing freely.
The Trip Out
The small drop off of the chain lift before the first drop is good because it allows the train to fall down the hill without the last couple cars still being stuck on the chain. The breathtaking 21-story drop to the ravine below (something Fabio would like to forget) is great. The train climbs up a second hill and drops into a tunnel. Your trip out ends with a 144′ banked, twisting drop that has the train speeding along side the ground. If you sit on the left side of the train, you get the full effect of this drop with the ground whizzing by you. All the while, Apollo offers one of the smoothest rides you’ll find anywhere. Especially in the 70+ mph category.
The Airtime-Packed Trip Home
Next, you rise up into a funky helix and drop down into the brake run. You only slow down for a moment as your trip home is one to remember. They didn’t just tack on an ending to Apollo’s Chariot, some would say that they saved the best for last. After the flat track of the brake run, you fall immediately into the first of many airtime drops. The negative g-forces are undeniable as you hit three of these shorter but more intense drops back-to-back. There’s one more relatively shallow drop followed by more straight track. At this point you’re near the station and first-time riders probably assume it’s all over now. But there’s one more great airtime drop left where the camera snaps pictures of the surprised riders at the very end of the ride.
Aside from Superman: Ride of Steel at Six Flags New England, I haven’t ridden a steel coaster with so much airtime. Best of all, you can really embrace ride because of the openness of the trains. Quite often, you’re over 100′ in the air and your legs, arms, and upper body is completely free to move. Nitro at Six Flags Great Adventure, another B&M hyper coaster, offers a similar experience, but I still give the nod to Apollo’s Chariot. I’d have to say this is one of B&M’s signature rides as it has everything that makes their rides great from the design to the theming. It’s fast, smooth, and thrilling with great views. What else could you ask for? Final Rating – 10 (Superior)
Apollo’s Chariot is rated ‘IN’ for Intense. It’s a 4 out of 5 on my Thrill Scale for of its height and speed.
What’s Your Take?
Have you ridden Apollo’s Chariot? Leave a comment below. Photos 1 & 3 courtesy of CoasterImage.com