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Apollo's Chariot
Apollo's Chariot (Busch Gardens Europe) 01.jpg
Apollo's Chariot First Drop
Location Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Type Steel - Hypercoaster
Status Operating
Opened March 27, 1999
Manufacturer Bolliger & Mabillard
Designer Werner Stengel
Track layout Out and Back
Lift/launch system Chain lift hill
Height 170 ft (52 m)
Drop 210 ft (64 m)
Length 4,882 ft (1,488 m)
Max speed 73 mph (117 km/h)
Duration 2:15
Max vertical angle 65°
Capacity 1750 riders per hour
Cost $20,000,000 USD
Max G force 4.1
Height restriction 4 ft 4 in (132 cm)
Apollo's Chariot at RCDB
Pictures of Apollo's Chariot at RCDB

Apollo's Chariot is the first Bolliger & Mabillard hypercoaster, located at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, in James City County, Virginia.



Apollo's Chariot is the first roller coaster to incorporate the "T-shaped" clamshell harness design, which is a type of tight lap restraint rather than an over the shoulder harness, or the traditional "U-shaped" lap bar. This allows the rider to experience more freedom and movement of the body. Opened in 1999, it soon became a favorite roller coaster of many enthusiasts and riders. The roller coaster uses an out and back design with a helix. Notably, the first drop is actually longer than height of the lift, the drop being 210 feet, and the height of the roller coaster 170 feet high. The ride with its purple track and yellow supports is easily noticeable from nearby roads.

Ride experience

After riders hear the dispatch send-off, "Thank you, and enjoy your voyage to the sun on the wings of Apollo's Chariot," (in 2009 it says, "Hold on to your seat, as Apollo's Chariot celebrates its 10th anniversary this year"), they climb a 210 foot lift hill. At the peak, riders drop down a few feet in a pre-drop. The pre-drop serves to reduce the stress and pull of the chain. After the pre-drop, riders drop 210 feet toward a water-filled ravine at a 65 degree angle and reaching speeds of 73 mph. At the end of the ravine, riders go up a second airtime hill with a 131 foot drop. The riders then enter a short tunnel at the bottom of the second drop. Then after the third hill, they go down a 144 foot drop, which tilts sideways as it descends. Then there is a large, upward helix which pulls 4.1 Gs. Coming out of the helix, there is a small drop, then a climbing right turn into the block brake. A sudden dive off the block leads into a bunny hop parallel to the ride's initial plunge. Then, the ride features an overbanked turn under the lift hill, just dodging one of the support columns. After this, the train makes a left hand turn, and at the end the riders go into a camel hump hill and drop into a ditch where the on-ride photo is located. Then the train gently hits the final brakes and after a u-turn, the riders return to the station.

Parts of Apollo's Chariot cross over Roman Rapids, a River rafting ride. To prevent riders on the Rapids from being hit by loose articles from riders on Apollo's Chariot, nets are present on the segment of track from the left hand turn after passing under the lift hill to the final drop, as well as on the predrop at the top of the lift hill.

Goose incident on opening day

Apollo's Chariot is known for an accident that occurred during the coaster's opening day on March 27, 1999. The coaster's opening ceremony was attended by fashion model Fabio Lanzoni, who also rode the first car of the coaster's train for the maiden ride. During the rapid descent on the 210 foot drop after the lift hill, a goose struck Fabio in the face, leaving his nose covered with blood. However, he only received a one inch cut on his nose. [1]


Golden Ticket Awards: Best Steel Coaster
Year 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009


  1. ^ "Bird slams into Fabio's face". Showbuzz (CNN). March 31, 1999. Retrieved 2007-07-08. 



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