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Between 2018 and 2019, we embarked on a journey to start traveling to conquer the world’s best roller coasters. All across the United States, Canada and even Japan, we’ve had the most amazing experiences, pushing us beyond our fear and anxiety. It’s been a surprisingly healing and transformative time. That’s why we’re so excited that Pantheon, North America’s fastest multi-launch roller coaster is coming to Busch Gardens Williamsburg in 2020!
Pantheon harnesses the respective powers of five mighty Roman gods — Pluto, Mercury, Jupiter, Minerva and Neptune — to create a truly unique ride experience. Designed for the most daring thrill-seekers, Pantheon will be the fastest multi-launch roller coaster in North America. You can ride it when the season opens at Busch Gardens Williamsburg in Virginia.
While we live in Idaho now, Josh is from Virginia. He considers Busch Gardens (and to a lesser extent, King’s Dominion), his home park. We’re planning to get out there soon after the launch so that we can experience Pantheon for ourselves. Having been on Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, which holds the record for most launches, at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, we’re looking forward to a “grown up” version of the ride.
Pantheon Ride Specs and Details
Originally called “Project MMXX” and then “Project Madrid,” Pantheon will be located in Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s Fest Italia Village in 2020. Fans were really excited when the initial planning application was filed in February 2019, before Pantheon was officially announced on July 30, 2019.
From pictures posted on the Busch Gardens Facebook page, it seems that track construction began in October 2019. It’s funny that Tempesto can be seen in the background of this photo. Despite being season pass holders and living in Virginia, we never got to ride it before we moved away. It opened in 2015, is a multi-launch steel coaster and reaches a max speed of 63mph. Unfortunately, every time we queued up, the ride broke down. It was really strange. Even when we went back to Virginia to visit last year, the same thing happened. Maybe we’re not meant to get on Tempesto. Hopefully, Pantheon won’t have the same problems.
Here are the latest specs for Pantheon (which could change at any time):
- Manufacturer: Intamin
- Type: Steel
- Height: 178 feet
- Drop: 180 feet
- Launches: 4
- Inversions: 2
- Max Speed: 78 mph
- Max vertical angle: 95 degrees
- Length: 3328 feet
- Duration: 2 minutes
We also know that Pantheon will have two trains with five cars. There will be a total of 20 riders per train with riders arranged two across in two rows for each train (so, four people per train). Based on what we’re seeing online, there will be no over-the-shoulder harnesses.
Is It Really the Fastest Multi-Launch Coaster in the World?
The current record holder for fastest multi-launch roller coaster in the United States is Maverick at Cedar Point which reaches a speed of 70mph. We list it among our Top 5 Rides at Cedar Point! If you watch our park review video, you’ll see that the ride really took us by surprise! The first launch takes you straight into a 95-degree drop! It will be interesting to compare the experience to what’s coming on Pantheon.
Meanwhile, the fastest multi-launch roller coaster in the world is currently Taron at Phantasialand which races along at 72.7mph. In case you’re hoping to ride, you’ll need to book flights to Germany where Phantasialand has been open since 1967. If you’re not a theme park enthusiast, you may not have heard of it, but it does attract an impressive 2 million visitors every year!
In the original press release on the Busch Gardens website back in July 2019, the park listed Pantheon’s max speed as 72.5 mph. Even just by 0.2 mph, that’s slower than Taron. A new blog post published on November 19, 2019 has changed everything. Just look at this wording:
After consulting with Mercury, the swift messenger of the Roman gods, it was determined Pantheon will hold the title as the “World’s Fastest Multi-Launch Coaster.”
Apparently, after realizing they were thisclose to having the world’s fastest multi-launch roller coaster, Busch Gardens and Intamin must have found a way to add that half a mile per hour to the ride’s speed. You KNOW Phantasialand is probably going to send some testers out to see if that’s really true, though. I know I would!
Why We Love Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Year after year, Busch Gardens Williamsburg wins “Most Beautiful Theme Park” and it’s easy to see why. As you stroll through different parts of “Europe,” you’ll be struck by the amount of effort and detail they put into building and maintaining the structures. On top of that, the landscaping is impeccable. It’s hard to beat the lushness of Virginia!
It’s also some to some truly great rides (check out our Top 5 Rides at Busch Gardens Williamsburg!), delicious food and absolutely phenomenal seasonal events such as Howl-O-Scream and Christmas Town. As a Canadian, I really loved strolling through the New France area, even though it was a little cheesy and inaccurate. It just felt nice. For the five years that we lived in Virginia (and for Josh’s entire life), this was one of the best places to spend a sunny day. If you’ve never been, it’s time to plan a trip!
So, in the spring of 2020, you’ll have the best reason to head Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Get that maximum thrill and see if the world’s fastest multi-launch coaster lives up to the hype. Yes, Pantheon will only be 0.3 mph faster than Taron, but to thrill seekers, every increment of speed counts. Just ask people who have ridden both Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point and Do-dodonpa at Fuji-Q Highland!
We know that we’re planning to go sometime in July. We’ll take that familiar drive from Richmond to Williamsburg, stopping for some Bojangles breakfast biscuits along the way. Then, we’ll probably break for lunch at The Cheese Shop or one of our other favorite hangouts (read: Where to Eat in Williamsburg). Yummmmmm. Seriously, we can’t wait for a full day of fun and adventure at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. We’re so excited that a park we love so much is going to have the world’s fastest multi-launch roller coaster. Yay! See you there!