Register or Login to Hide This Ad for Free!

ControlsEE

I probably should be working...
Oct 2, 2018
1,359
3,150
250
[DISCLAIMER] I am going to do something rarely done on the internet: Tell the truth. The truth is that I did NOT hear this first hand, but rather second hand, a day or so after the following discussion. At BEST, this is completely true. It does make sense to me, so I don't see why I shouldn't mention it on this site. At WORST, it is a theory concocted by either my former coworker or someone he knew/talked to. This story seems too detailed to me to be a lie made up on a whim. You can make your own opinion based on the evidence I provide, however, I will not be changing my mind based on what someone on the internet says. This story involves people, myself included, who at the time were employed by Busch Gardens Williamsburg in various capacities. Therefore, I will only be describing the roles that these people were in at the time and will not be posting any names or any other identifying information of these people. That said, let's begin.[/END DISCLAIMER]

Backstory: I was made aware of this information about this time, three years ago, while I worked at the park in a supervisory role, from my coworker, an intern at the park. Both of us in Park Ops. He told me that he heard this from the VP of Park Ops at the time, who he had more access to as an intern than I, or other supervisors at my level had. He simply asked the VP "Why does Busch not have any other Intamin rides newer past 1995 and why does BGT have an Intamin coaster and we do not?" After all, there are loads of rumors why, from Larry Giles just hates them, to Intamin botched Pompeii. Anyways, he responded with (roughly) the following story.

All of this started as a petty feud between Busch Gardens and... Kings Dominion. The two parks have always been at odds, given their proximity to each other. Keep in mind the roller coaster race of the 1990's, so both parks wanted to undermine the other to gain an edge. This being the case, Busch Gardens is looking for a new kind of ride to add to their lineup and they go to manufacturer B&M (Most of you probably all know that already). What you might not know is that in order to stick it to Kings Dominion, they have B&M sign an exclusivity contract when they are starting the Alpengeist project to (and this is important) not be able to build and open any new ride from the contract's signing until after, drumroll please, December 31, 2019, and within a radius of 61.25 miles, the exact distance from the center of Busch Gardens to the outer most edge of KD's property. Effectively, this stops KD from building a B&M ride for 24 or so years. This is why KD does not have a B&M coaster, other than Dominator, which was originally built in Ohio and transplanted to KD upon CF closing that park. [Speculation Break] This seems to be as to why KD had Intamin build their inverted coaster, all the rage of parks in the 90's.[/End Speculation] Of course, KD was not very happy with this, so they decided that they would make their next coaster manufacturer sign a similar agreement. The next ride that they put in was Intamin, for Volcano. Busch had stayed away from Intamin at the time since they were not (and still not really) known for their reliability. Keep in mind that back then, AB was running the parks a lot more like the Disney parks, requiring perfection at every level, including ride reliability. B&M was barred from building at KD until almost now and Intamin was barred from Busch too. Now, the contract are expiring and BGW is finally able to get an Intamin, which means that I am just waiting for KD to finally announce a B&M.

Now I have not worked at the park since that season, but I would like to mix in another speculation. I would not be surprised if KD started this all over again with RMC and Twisted Timbers, so I would not be surprised if BGW does not see an RMC for quite some time. We'll see what happens if that is the case and BGW decides to retaliate.

Hope you enjoyed that and again, this might be true, it may not be, but it makes a lot of sense to me and I hope it does to you too. Again, I have been sitting on this info for three years debating when I should share and I had decided on the day the BGW announces an Intamin, just to make sure I had the dates right. When I first heard this, I mentioned to my coworker that I wouldn't be surprised to see BGW open an Intamin in 2020 He agreed and I guess we were right to say that. Now to why BGW doesn't have a coaster/ride over 300'? I have absolutely no idea. B&M has made them for years, so have others. Maybe 2021.

Now, I should probably get back to work.
 
Last edited:

b.mac

Indiana Beach Vibe
May 14, 2011
4,776
7,094
250
BFE, Virginia
I don't necessarily believe the exclusivity range for the B&M and Intamin side of things, but I do believe there was some type of exclusivity contract between B&M and Busch Gardens (the company, not the park). My understanding of the whole story was that B&M and Busch's agreement only pertained to Dive Machines in North America, and that the agreement was only good for 10 years.

The whole B&M and Intamin not working with KD / BGW I felt came from the differing management styles of the companies at that time. BGW did not have the best relationship with Intamin, especially after the fiasco that was Pompeii. That can be shown with their more recent additions ala Mach Tower and Verbolten, two rides that would've fit right into Intamin's wheelhouse but instead were made by expy companies who could imitate that same product. When SEAS restructured their management was when Intamin finally came back onto the table, because those who were around when Intamin built Pompeii are now mostly gone or in other roles in the chain.

On KD's end of things, Paramount never really built many B&Ms at their parks during their tenure. There's only 3 to my knowledge that opened during their ownership (Afterburn, Flight Deck, and what is now Patriot). Only Carowinds and California's Great America both had B&M coasters prior to their purchase by Cedar Fair, and I believe that was more because Paramount wanted cheaper coasters instead of investing the $15+ million at the time required for a ride like Dominator, or any B&M of similar size like Alpengeist or Apollo's. KD I feel got Dominator because they were the only park in the Cedar Fair chain that could realistically accommodate it at the time, and haven't gotten one before or since because of how substantial of an investment it would be in respect to KD's overall performance. i305 was an outlier addition for them, as was Volcano and that rumored B&M Invert in the mid 1990s (prior to the timeframe of this supposed agreement).

I also don't think RMC would willingly cut a similar deal to the one you proposed because they have their own problems with the quality of their products, Twisted Timbers, Steel Vengeance, and their 2 Raptors made that clearly apparent. They likely haven't gotten any business with BGW because BGW doesn't feel they're worth the risk of investment when they need to be babysat by the park during construction and their restraints have an alarming habit of registering closed when they can still be opened. BGT is only doing it because they have a giant wooden coaster that's been sitting for years and they've always been more willing to take the risks with rides compared to BGW, look at Cheetah Hunt, Falcon's Fury, and Cobra's Curse, for example.

I don't think any manufacturer at this point in the industry would willingly cut out a potential customer from their business. Asking for exclusivity on a certain product would make more sense, as then business could still be conducted normally with other products on offer until the agreement expires.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Eric

GrandpaD

Curve Flattener.
Aug 3, 2017
4,344
9,357
250
Newport News, VA
Exclusivity is nothing new in any business. I think what surprises me here is the length of the duration. There certainly had to be some financial considerations to B&M to close them off for such a long period of time unless, of course, it was for a certain type of ride.

I appreciate you taking 30 minutes of time off of work to provide this. You can see a few people have read it. ?
 

BGWnut

Advisory Panel
Sep 24, 2018
2,862
5,948
250
As someone who at one time worked in a position where I would have had knowledge of such an agreement I can tell you unequivocally that no such agreement ever existed. If it did then almost no one who works at BGW knows about it. Also interns really don't have much more exposure to park VPs than other leadership (source: I was an intern for a year)

@b.mac presents a more plausible scenario. BGW continually choose other manufacturers because they had a terrible experience with Intamin. Conversely they had a much different experience with B&M.

It's also more likely that when KD built volcano they wanted B&M to build it but KD wanted a launch coaster for their concept which B&M did not build at the time. So they went to Intamin. Similar think for I305. At the time B&M had never built a giga and wouldn't for a few more years. That to me is the more plausible scenario as to why they never built a B&M. I absolutely think they would have for either of those two projects if B&M were willing to build them which B&M was not.
 

horsesboy

DarKoaster stalker
Advisory Panel
Silver Donor
Jun 16, 2013
4,861
11,081
250
The dive part is true it was pretty well documented when BGT built their's but I think the rest is urban legend.
 
Consider Donating to Hide This Ad