Behind the Scenes at Some of the Biggest, Baddest Roller Coasters

Griffon, the worlds tallest, floorless dive coaster at Busch Gardens.Busch Gardens Europe
Griffon, the world's tallest, floorless dive coaster is the newest steel marvel to debut at Busch Gardens Europe in Williamsburg, Va. Griffon carries riders 205 feet up, then hurtles them 90 degrees straight down at more than 75 mph before passing through a water brake finale, making the dive coaster fun for onlookers as well as riders. Griffon debuts to the general public on Friday, May 25, 2007.

Imagine free-falling 205 feet through the air at speeds up to 75 miles an hour -- and then doing it again, and again and again. That's just a typical day at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Va., where thrill seekers from across the globe -- including "Good Morning America's" Melissa Rycroft -- have come for a dose of adrenaline.

Rycroft's first stop was the Loch Ness Monster, a double loop roller coaster with speeds up to 60 miles per hour. Passengers travel for more than a half mile through loops, over water and into a cave.

VIDEO: Melissa Rycroft looks at the roller coaster at Floridas Busch Gardens.Play

"Today, it remains the only coaster in existence that has double locking, interlocking loops," said Lindsay Morgan, a village supervisor at Busch Gardens and Rycroft's tour guide for the day. "It's actually possible for two trains to be going through the loops at the same time."

The Loch Ness Monster is also the only roller coaster that rides on the inside of the track.

"Your guide wheels are going to be on the inside of the track for Loch Ness because you're running on the inside of the rail. In contrast, when you're looking at some of our other coasters later on, the guide wheels are going to be on the outside," Morgan said.

Next, Rycroft moves onto the Griffon, the world's tallest floorless dive coaster. Named after the mythical creature that is half lion and half eagle, it has an initial drop of 205 feet followed by a second dive of 130 feet -- all at a 90-degree angle. Each ride can reach a speed of 75 miles per hour.

Should there be an emergency on the ride, there is an elevator that comes up to rescue the passengers.

"This is all part of our safety features ... in the event that we have to get guests off in an unusual manner. Obviously, with this being a floorless coaster, it presents a unique set of problems. We have to go and build the floor to get them off the ride," Morgan said.

The elevator is part of the behind-the-scenes tour. From the top, you can see amazing views of the park and surrounding trees and waterways.

Engineers use dummies that are filled with water in order to replicate a person and test the rides. Each dummy weighs 180 pounds, the average weight of an American.

Do you remember the sound of the "clicks" as you slowly make your way to the top of the roller coaster? Those clicks are caused by the anti-rollbacks, otherwise known as chain dogs.

"That's what a chain dog is for, it helps enclose you on the train. Every train that goes up has a chain dog," Morgan said. "This is what's making you go up the lift."

After eight rides on three roller coasters, Rycroft calls it a day.

Busch Gardens offers behind-the-scenes tours Friday and Saturday mornings before the park opens, for $74.95.