Busch Gardens Williamsburg's latest roller coaster, which opened in 1999, is themed to the ancient Greco-Roman myth of Apollo - the sun god - and his horse-drawn chariot.
Apollo's Chariot is a Bolliger & Mabillard designed hyper-coaster, which features nine drops designed to provide maximum airtime. The ride stands 170-feet in the air and features a 210-foot first drop into a ravine, speeds of 73 mph, and an track length of 4,882-feet.
As I walked through the rides queue, I caught a glimpse of Apollo's impressive first drop into a ravine. And soon thereafter, I reached the station and dedicated to wait for the front seat, which was only a two-train wait.
While I waited to board, with my anticipation building, I noticed the very open train design. The sideless cars feature elevated, reclining seats and clam shell-style lap bars.
Finally, the air-gates opened and I took a seat in the far left seat of the front row. The reclined seats allow your feet to dangle well above the floor of the car, and the open design provides a maximum feeling of exposure - there is nothing to obstruct your view.
Our restraints were soon checked, and before long the train was dispatched.
As we were heading up the lift-hill, I couldn't help but notice the coincidence that this ride is themed to the god of the sun, and the early morning sun was beating down on us, making it difficult to look straight ahead. Anyways, to avoid being blinded, I looked left and caught a glimpse of the park's other coasters - Alpengeist, Loch Ness Monster, Big Bad Wolf, and Drachen Fire (which is no longer operating).
Soon we reached the apex of the lift, headed down the standard B&M dip, and began plunging down Apollo's giant 210-foot first drop with tremendous speed. Coming out of the drop at speeds of 73 mph, you soar into the ride's first camelback, which provides an extreme amount of airtime. Next, the train flies back down towards the ground into a small tunnel.
Coming out of the tunnel, you immediately begin heading back up into another hill, this one featuring a 144-foot twisting dive back towards the ground. Flying along ground level provides an excellent sensation, especially in the front row.
Next up, you head into the awesome spiral, taking you round and round a high-G banked turn. Riders tear through the spiral at very high speeds, and the strong positive Gs are very apparent. After twisting back towards the lift, you drop 102-feet down towards the ground.
At this point, riders travel up into the mid-course brake run. Coming out of the brakes, you plunge down an 48-foot drop, which lifts you high off your seats. Next, you head over another hill, which drops you 87-feet and takes you back over the water gully.
Coming out of the sixth hill, you take a severely banked veer to the right, and then drop back down 38-feet. From here, you head back up towards the sky, head down a small 16-foot dip, and take one final 49-foot airtime-filled plunge into a deep ditch.
You then head back up and hit the brake run, concluding your extraordinary journey.
Apollo's Chariot is a remarkable coaster that delivers a massive amount of airtime that is unparalleled by most other coasters. The ride is filled with a relentless amount of camelbacks, bunny hops, and twists that are sure to please any thrill-seeker.
With that said, the ride does have a few flaws. Apollo's Chariot is relatively shorter than most other hyper-coasters. But the major drawback is the excessive amount of trim brakes, which reduce the amount of airtime this ride was designed to provide.
But even with these drawbacks, Apollo's Chariot is still an incredible hyper-coaster that should not be missed. And with the addition of Apollo's Chariot, Busch Gardens Williamsburg definitely has one of the best coaster collections on the east coast.