Alpengeist @ Busch Gardens Williamsburg | Coaster Reviews

Roller Coaster Reviews

Alpengeist: The F-22 of Roller Coasters
From the first time I saw the ominous white lift high above the surrounding trees while on Loch Ness, I knew it would be a ride to remember. In my opinion, this is the king of the inverted roller coasters not just because of its height and speed, but because it delivers thrills with every ride. On inverted coasters riders are situated below the track in ski-lift style trains. I have to say I’ve grown to respect some of the more compact inverts out there, but Alpengeist is still the best.

First there’s the intimidating (almost 200′ tall) lift hill where you find yourself wondering when you’ll get to the top. The view past your dangling feet of the ground and even trees far below is pretty unnerving. After the lift hill you fly down an enormous swooping drop that puts the train on its way to breaking the sound barrier (at least it feels like it). Then an Immelman inversion so tall and smooth you can just barely feel the inversion, followed by a tall vertical loop with some great g-forces. And now you’re on the way to meet Loch Ness down by the Rhine River where you hit an extreme, sometimes rough, cobra roll featuring two back to back inversions. Next, you move through a mid-course brake run, drop out of the run with a little pop of airtime through a short themed tunnel and into a sweet zero-g roll. The roll is followed by a nice corkscrew and helix combination. The sequence after the brakes is one of the best around in my opinion.

Where some rides tend to peter out towards the end, this one delivers right up until your uproarious return to the station. So Alpengeist gets a rare 10 from me because: it’s a terrain ride (meaning it wasn’t just plopped down on a parking lot or some flat lot of land), it’s massive (over three minutes of ride time), it’s fast, it’s themed pretty well (with little touches manySuperior Coaster Reviews won’t even notice), and it’s relatively smooth. You may experience an occasional headbang, but it’s far from a head-bang-athon like all of those Mind Eraser installations all over the country. On top of all that it delivers thrills and gives you a unique experience. That’s a 10 in my book! Final Rating – 10 (Superior)

Intense Roller Coasters - For Adventurous RidersAlpengeist is rated ‘IN’ for Intense. It’s a 4 out of 5 on my Thrill Scale for of its height, speed, and loops.

What’s Your Take?
What do you think about Alpengeist? Leave a comment below.

Founder of CoasterCritic.com. My favorite coasters are B&M hypers and gigas. I'm also a huge fan of terrain roller coasters.

33 Comments

  1. Alpie's now one of my favourite inverts. I don't remember being all too impressed on my last visit, but on my recent one I came off buzzing. Ties with Montu, in my opinion.

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  2. Alpengeist is the best inverted roller coaster, perhaps for me tied with volcano. Maybe c c should do a roller coaster showdown between volcano and alpengeist. Two highly themed and thrilling inverts. Alpengeist does have some head banging in the cobra roll like c c said and in the turn into the mid course break run. Also, it does put some pressure on my legs at such a high speed on an invert. But i can look past that for the incredible and thrilling ride it delivers. It is one of the best of the inverted roller coasters because it has great height, speed, and a good number of inversions and elements. Plus the themeing is excellent.

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  3. Two major Q's: First (Dad factor talking here) my son's eleven, is this one (Alpie) totally safe for those who are just making the height cut off by an inch or two? Namely slip out risk is a total Zero? Secondly, I have a back problem at the very base where lumbar meets sacrum (hip area) that I can sense really wouldn't like big compression forces so I'm wondering a bit about dangling legs / inversion aspect taking away any ability to somewhat control this. Anybody got any views on this or whether more traditional upright seated coasters would be better or just stay the heck off coasters entirely? Thanks.

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  4. This coaster is ridiculously intense! I have never been so clueless about what's coming next on a coaster before. Even in the 2nd row it's hard to tell what's happening. How about the special sound she makes. It's a weird whirring sound, So cool! Also I think she must have gained intensity with age. Yesterday was my first rides, and I can't imagine calling one moment of this ride "Forceless"

    FYI… The furthest right seats seem to be more intense than the left.

    Hey Mike, you may want to avoid it. It has a couple of rough jerks, Especially into the brake run. Also some very strong compression G's. Also avoid the loch ness she has a weird spot into the 2nd loop that tweeks my lower back a bit. Griffon and Apollo's Chariot are both super smooth, and super sweet! Griffon is best in the last row for airtime. The front is a must for the hang time. And I'm not sure about Verbolten yet. With that "vertical track drop" Section inside i'd be cautious. The rest of the ride will be no problem for you. the layout looks really smooth in person. I will be riding it when it opens and let you know. You may want to ask someone about the similar drop on Alton towers "th13teen"

    Also..

    No chance of slip out on Alpie. Very deep seats, high sides and crotch with a seatbelt connecting the bottom of the OTSR. (over the shoulder restraints) I saw some tiny kids riding her yesterday.

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  5. I loved Alpengeist, but I still have to give Montu the edge for inverted coasters. The batwing puts it over the top for me.

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  6. I rode the Alpengiest last week and when I went over the first loop the safety harness released from my chest. Thank goodness for the seatbelt as a second safety or I would have died. Not only did this happen but the park manager called me to tell me that it didn’t happen. He said that it would have broken and would not have worked after that and their investigation did not show that it was broken. Very disappointed in the way the situation was handled.

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  7. I am wondering if anyone who has already ridden thinks I will be ok on this. I simply won’t go on Apollo’s Chariot; I hate big drops one right after the other. I’m thinking the first big drop on Alpengeist might be different because you’re under the track? Also, I don’t mind jerkiness, and speed is pretty much ok too. I really, really don’t like the weightless feeling, but I can deal with it for a second or something. Thanks everyone!

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    • (In case you haven’t ridden it yet…) Oh yeah, if the main thing you want to avoid is “floater” airtime, you’ll be fine on Alpengeist. You’ll be subjected to a little of that weightless sensation coming off the mid-course brake run, but that’s pretty mild, thanks to how heavily the train slows down at that point. You’ll probably enjoy the coaster!

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      • Thanks for replying! :). I rode Alpengeist about a month ago I think, and I loved it!! It’s my favorite coaster now, so now I’m trying to convince myself to go on Apollo’s Chariot and Griffon. How do those compare to Alpengeist? Thanks!

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  8. Alpengeist will always be special to me. I was 11 years old when it opened, and I made such a big fuss about the ride at the time that my aunt arranged to take my cousins and me on a 300-mile road trip to go out and ride it. And boy did Alpengeist live up to my expectations. Fast, powerful forces on the inversions, great pacing, and even a nice moment of airtime. In 1997, this coaster was king.

    Sadly, upon my subsequent visit to BGW years later, I learned that the ride experience just isn’t the same today. The trim brake after the crest of the lift hill kinda waters down the experience of gliding down that winding first drop, though the first half of the ride is still manages to feel intense. But it’s the rest of the ride that really suffers. Interestingly, while you specifically state that the second half doesn’t peter out, I think the park’s heavy use of the MCBR nowadays causes the second half of the ride to do just that. In the coaster’s debut season, the train pretty much ripped through those last two inversions (causing a little head-banging on corkscrew—but hey, it was worth it), but now it glides through somewhat gently. Consequently, my rating of the ride has fallen a little over the years.

    But I choose to remember my first few rides during Alpie’s opening season. Truly amazing.

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  9. I rode this six times during two visits to Busch Gardens this summer, and loved it more and more each time. Absolutely fantastic from the front seat, especially in the early section where you go diving down toward the trees. I agree with your assessment of the use of terrain. This is in my Top 5 for sure.

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