An epic battle creates a winning attraction.
Busch Gardens Williamsburg was looking for a new experience for its guests; something that would be thrilling enough to lure experienced park goers and still draw in younger guests looking for their first “real” coaster experience. Located on the outskirts of the New France hamlet, the wooden rollercoaster is nestled in the woods behind and within the original log flume attraction. Dubbed InvadR, it needed to be more than just another ride; it needed to make an impact on the hamlet, strengthening its story.
GuernseyTingle started by setting the scene with a stockade (the outer fort wall) that protects the surrounding village. We then needed an icon, something that would tell a story without words. The new area is now dominated by a 25’ tall dragon-styled battering ram bursting through the stockade. There’s no question the village is under attack! Walking under the ram, freshly peppered with villager arrows, visitors are transported outside of the fort where a battle has just taken place. The fortress on the right is a lookout tower adding scale to the ram and serving as a backdrop for the Viking color. The storage sheds on the left once housed weaponry and now hold lockers. Both buildings are authentic heavy timber and log construction.
An elevated walkway meanders passed the old sawmill into the woods. Furthering the illusion of a recent attack, the surrounding queue is battle damaged and set on fire in places. The path is purposefully obscured by the building to give a sense of being shrouded in the wilderness surrounded by the battle and attraction itself. The back queue surrounds the station house, which is themed to resemble an old converted sawmill, clad in heavy, half-log siding and a shake roof. The attached transfer building looks like a more recent, but still ramshackle, addition. It’s clad in rough sawn boards and a rusted metal roof.
Climbing the stairs toward the load platform reveals the scene where the armies clashed with Viking graffiti, weapons, and broken shields cluttering the area. Two coaster trains enter the station; one Viking, the other Villager. The two foes continue in an endless battle, chasing each other through the rolling hills and back to the sea. Following the ride, visitors pass through the station, disembark, and walk down the ramp passing signs of the Villagers victory — proudly displayed flags and a guard tower holding retail souvenirs.