Busch Gardens Europe’s Griffon Soars Busch Gardens Europe has unveiled their first new roller coaster since 1999. The long-awaited addition, introduces America’s second dive coaster. With SheiKra, at sister park Busch Gardens Africa, being the first. I rode SheiKra not long after it opened in 2005 and I was a little underwhelmed. So, I was nervous when my favorite park announced it was installing its own dive coaster that was to be very similar to SheiKra. Luckily, BGE has pulled through once again with a great roller coaster. As usual Busch Gardens has done an excellent job integrating the new roller coaster into the park. You wouldn’t know that Griffon had only opened about a month ago. When I visited, the station, landscaping, and shops of New France were all complete. I arrived at the park as it was opening on a Tuesday morning. My first ride was in the farthest to the right seat of the second of the three 10 seat rows. I only waited about 10 minutes. I boarded the floorless trains, that boasted stadium-style seating so riders in the second and third rows had improved views. The steep climb was slow and foreboding. The view was amazing. A large body of water I didn’t remember seeing from other lifts was easily visible in the distance. As was Alpengeist’s ridiculously high peak, down below! The train crept around the tall summit and then came to an abrupt halt. Then it slowly pulled over the edge and locked in place. Riders screamed in fear at the sight of the ground 20-some stories below. After a long five seconds, the train was released and the ensuing drop was enormous. (I found it fun in the middle row, but much better in the back row.) The train plummeted down 205 feet at 90-degrees offering a lift of air on the way down. Onlookers offered “oohs”,”aahs”, and all kinds of expletives as they watched the strange-looking mass of 30 screaming riders take the ultra-steep plunge. At the bottom of the drop, the train dove into a trench that passed under a walking bridge packed with people gawking at the sight. On the other side, the train climbs up an immelmann. It’s a kind of inversion or loop. I prefer SheiKra’s extra-large 145′ immelmann, but Griffon’s is still fun. After leaving the loop, the train screeched around a corner and up into the brake run. After passing through the short brake run and the train crept towards the second 90-degree drop. It’s much shorter (140′), but still fun and offers a little bit of air. The following immelmann is smaller and tighter than the first and is more like the fighter jet maneuver the inversion was named after. After exiting the loop a short bunny hill offers some good floater air as the train charges into the water splash section. It’s very cool to look at as a bystander, but it has little effect on the actual ride, other than slowing the trains down. Riders in the back may get sprinkled lightly, but that’s about it. Kids love waiting in the nearby walking path so they can be soaked by the resulting deluge of water. After the splash, there’s a banked turn to the left followed by another bunny hill. This short hill offers a last moment of air as riders face an structure that creates a headchopper effect. After safely passing under the structure, the train enters the station brakes and the ride is over. All-in-all Griffon is a great addition to Busch Gardens Europe’s already stellar lineup. It’s not the Second Coming, but it does meet the high standard of the park’s other world-class roller coasters. Even if it is on the short side. Final Rating – 8.5 (Great Approaching Excellent) Griffon is rated ‘IN’ for Intense. It’s a 4 out of 5 on my Thrill Scale for of its steep drop, loops, height, and speed. What’s Your Take? Have you ridden Griffon? What did you think? Leave a comment below. 24 Responses Anonymous March 28, 2008 I just got back from BGGE and after riding the griffon i would say that i loved the drops and i think it is a great ride but i do agree that it is a bit short Reply Anonymous July 7, 2008 I love Griffon.The hangtime before the drop is amazing and I just love the 10-person wide row seating. AWESOME! Reply BR April 13, 2009 The Griffon isn't the best coaster at BGE, but man, during those heart-pounding five seconds of over the side, I'm thinking "Wow, what a horrible way to die, on a ROLLERCOASTER- Ahhhhhhhhhhh! Reply malcolm June 9, 2009 ^hahaha! sheika only has 8 seats across but i do know how you feel BR lol Reply JaMeS June 12, 2009 the climb i think is probably longer than the actual ride. it is still a good ride, but not great. i think sheikra was better because the second loop on griffon seemed kind of out of place. Reply Krysta; June 25, 2009 That ride is the Best i love the drops and every thing about it!! Reply Matthew June 29, 2009 2 words: short intense. I love intense roller coasters building the adrenaline. But i hated that it had to be that short. Than wait in that 45 minute line again Reply malcolm July 13, 2009 as much as i love all busch parks for their world class roller coasters and even though i haven't been to BGE yet i really hate how they get all of the bigger coasters. now i know size doesn't really matter with coasters but maybe we can have a coaster that is bigger next time but there's something that they wont ever have…..KUMBA!!!!!! Reply Matthew July 13, 2009 Alot of people have told me that that is such a good ride. I really want to go to Tampa and ride that Kumba ride Reply JaMeS October 2, 2009 sheikra's splash area is longer, and has a cooler surrounding, being by a smokehouse Reply Quil February 10, 2010 oblivion@altontowers loooks resalyt short. Reply JaMeS February 10, 2010 yeah… it goes around a corner, climbs up a hill, turns, drops, goes into a tunnel, and its over. but it still is probably better than sheikra Reply Quil February 10, 2010 I seriously doubt it was even near Shreika. JaMeS February 10, 2010 im not going to start a "fight" but that is my opinion, because i think sheikra sucks Reply Quil February 11, 2010 sorry, what sucked about it? Reply The Coaster Critic February 11, 2010 Sounds like a comment for the Sheikra vs Griffon post. 🙂 Reply CFC August 5, 2010 Just reporting a typo. SheiKra's immelmann is 165' tall, not 145'. Reply mr.smiley August 22, 2010 griffon is awesome 10 Reply DRU April 25, 2011 This was my first drop coaster and I was amazed at how Cool and intense this short ride was. The anticipation from the pause is great. The ride on the ends is best I think. I'm curious why you think the last row is better than the middle row? I felt the middle was better. I couldn't wait for the front it was a Easter Saturday. Though they were very good at keeping the lines moving considering it was very crowded. All coasters had 3 trains operating. Reply DRU April 4, 2012 I was dead wrong about the rows. The back row has way better air time. I was pinned 3 inches out of the seat the whole way down both drops in the back row! Also you get whipped over the edge in the back row. Reply Matt July 3, 2011 I didnt think it was that short. It could've been longer but it wasnt kingda ka short. It is a great, intense, and fun ride. I liked it more than i thought i would. That first drop is insane! Reply Luci November 9, 2011 The griffon is much better than shireka I'm going on it this spring Reply NewCoasterLover August 24, 2013 Ooh, I LOVE Griffon! It was my second roller coaster ever (I’ve only been on three; I can’t wait to ride more!). I hope I can sit up front next time (I sat in the middle row when I went on it). 🙂 I just found this site, btw, and I want to say that I love it! Reply fnafgaming1233 September 10, 2017 Hello, I’m going to BGW (Williamsburg) I need advice for griffon how much airtime is there in the front row, cuz I’m gonna film the ride/mah reaction, I’m also nervous for the first 2 dives! Please answer fast! Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.