Trip report from my visit last Monday, November 5th.
We made our way from Orlando and timed our arrival perfectly. We arrived 10 minutes before the gates opened and we had already purchased the Busch Gardens Sea World combo ahead of time. There may have been 35-50 people waiting at metal detection, if even that. As we went through metal detection, we unfortunately came across a rather unhappy security officer. He had a bad attitude, talked in a loud mono tone voice, and was snapping at everyone for every little thing. He told one man to move quicker, was getting exasperated with a woman that CLEARLY had a child with special needs, was putting his hands in people's bags, and then gave me hell because I started taking my items out of the basket even though he pushed it towards me, but then decided he wasn't done checking it yet. I understand everyone has an off day here and there, and I BEYOND know the struggles of working a metal detection/ security checkpoint in a large public place, but he his attitude was uncalled for, but of course we didn't let it ruin our day... luckily this was the only downfall to the day.
First thing first, off to Cheetah Hunt. It had been 12 years since I was last at the park, so of course this was our main excitement for the trip. But we couldn't be more excited that it was a walk on. There were 2 people waiting for front row, so we decided to go for front row for first ride. I haven't been this excited to ride a ride in quite a while. I was slightly surprised by the weak first launch and then creeping through the turn, just expected a little more oomph through there, but of course the second launch was perfect. Overall, great ride, not top notch, but definitely one hell of a good coaster. The one other surprising thing was that for an Intamin, I thought it was a tad tame, I expected a little more punch. IMO, it just seemed that it lacked a good punch or snap here and there. Anyway, we got right back in line, only for it to still be a walk on, so this time we sat back row. Of course back row gave it a tad more snap in a few spots and a little better airtime on the hills, but still not what I expected. But as I said, by no means a bad coaster at all, definitely one of my new top 10 favorites. We rode one more time, back row, and then headed for Montu.
Couldn't be happier arriving at the station to see yet another walk on. 2006 being the last time being here, I expected Montu to really have aged and given a rougher ride. I'm not saying it was smooth by any means, but not as bad as I thought. Still has good force and packs a good punch. The one thing we did notice though, and I may just never have noticed before, but there was a loud clacking noise throughout the entire ride, kind of like a train on railroad tracks. I’ve never heard anything like it before, and it wasn't a faint sound, actually pretty loud. Anyway, I'm not a huge fan of inverts, but for some reason, I really like Montu, such a great layout. I'm not sure if its the dips in to the ditches or what, but I this is tied in my book with Banshee... yes, call me crazy. We only rode once more before heading to Cobra's Curse for the fact that getting old makes this ride harder to be rerideable lol.
Cobra's Curse... again, walk on. Now, I know it’s a family ride and I didn't expect much going in to this coaster, just a fun little ride. I thought the first part was good with the tilting through the first turn before going in to the first drop and tight little layout elements. The second half, backwards half, was a tad slow, but again, I understand they didn't want it to be too intense. As far as the third part, I was a tad disappointed. Our car barely spun. And then the 3 same 180s was a bit boring, but I think that was because we didn't spin. Normally I wouldn't ride a coaster like this a second time, but since it was still walk on and we were only 40 minutes into the day, why not, right!!?? The second ride was better for the fact that we spun on the third part of the course and that made the 180s much better. Overall, a great little addition.
We then jumped on the train at Nairobi station for a ride through the Serengeti. We were a tad let down for the fact that all we saw were a few rhinos and an ostrich. The Congo station was closed, so we got off at the Stanleyville station. Of course there’s priority when in this area… Sheikra. This is the only drop coaster I’ve ridden, but loved it 12 years ago, so I was stoked to finally get to ride her again. Front row was a 2 train wait. All I can say is I can’t get enough of this coaster. I’m all about coasters with air time, so for me to love this coaster this much is untypical. It just makes me want to plan a trip to Cedar Point and Canada’s Wonderland next year. We ended up riding Sheikra during this time frame 3 times, once in each row.
Then it was time to find something to eat and check out some animals. We aren’t picky and don’t expect much from amusement park food and we also going cheap and don’t like wasting time, so since we were in the area, we settled for Sheikra eats. We both had the chicken fingers and fries… both fresh from the fryer, it wasn’t Raisin’ Cane’s, but surprisingly good. During lunch, just as many other parks, it’s expected that the local wildlife likes to be scavengers. Of course the Ibis’ were all over, and of course the occasional squirrel, but what I WASN’T expecting was to be minding my own business, enjoying my Busch Gardens chicken fingers, to suddenly feeling needles in my legs. Turns out a squirrel hadn’t quite gotten my attention enough, so it decided to climb up my leg and sit on my lap. Easy fix, I’ll just throw a fry on the table… nope! It wanted to be hand fed. After numerous attempts to get it to its rightful place on the ground, it finally exhausted itself enough of begging to settle for what was on the table and ground.
Off for a little walk to explore some of what separates BG from other parks, the animals and the great landscaping and scenery. We made our way over to the Orangutan exhibit, and we couldn’t have arrived at a better time. They just let out a male and female, and the female was carrying a very small baby. We made our way to the indoor viewing area just in time for the male to be right up at the window as a trainer was dropping apple slices into a box for him to retrieve. So awesome to see this up close and personal, especially his facial gestures when she wasn’t giving him his food fast enough. Mom and baby were in a rope hammock under the floor glass, but too eventually made their way over to the male, right up to the glass. Such an awesome experience. Our walk then took us over to Stanley Falls. I don’t know exactly what it is about this flume, but I just love it. I know it’s nowhere near the best, I guess it’s just the layout and scenery around it.
We then made our way to Kumba. I’ve ridden this beast many times over the years, but for some reason, this is one of only a handful of coasters that gets my heart pumping even before getting on. Couldn’t believe it, yet another walk on, not even full trains on this one. But as I was settling in my seat, I had worry on my mind. I mean, she’s one of the oldest B&Ms out there, and all the others that aren’t even as old as her are just BLAH now… has she lost any of her punch, how rough has she gotten, has she slowed down?? Well, all I can say is wow. The old girl still has it. The forces, the speed, not that rough at all…. She is just one bad mama!!! We ended up riding 3 times in a row, 2nd row, last row, 1st row. I wanted to ride again, but I guess I’m a wuss, she was starting to kick my a$$, needed a break. The only thing that kind of sucked, and I know this is kind of dumb to whine about, but since Congo River Rapids was drained and closed, the Cobra Roll path was blocked off… took away from getting some great pics.
Now it was time for a quick recovery period from the ol’ girl and we decided to take it all in on the Skyride. We stopped and filled our souvenir cups with our free refills of Icees (such and awesome perk) and then arrived to the at the Jungala Skyride station. I love these rides, but especially here. Such a great way to get aerial views of the park, really take in the Serengeti, and just relax. The one thing I was also looking forward to was the great views and interaction of Cheetah Hunt. They really did a great job with interacting these 2 rides, makes both that much better. And that’s saying a lot considering its almost impossible making a skyride better. Anyway, we debated if we should ride back and go straight over to Pantopia or walk back… after a few seconds of deliberation, it was a no brainer to walk to go see more exhibits.
We went to see the cheetah’s but none were out, just one in its small glass enclosure, was hoping to see the speed test demonstration. Then we made our way to the Gorillas. As you can see in the picture posted, this one particular Gorilla was feeling very photogenic and was quite the exhibitionist. Next was the animal care center, where there were quite a few sloths… who doesn’t love sloths, right!?... or is it just me?? They also had some baby penguins, a tortoise, and a lemur currently inside.
Jumped back on the Skyway to venture through Pantopia. Now, my past 3 visits to BGT, Scorpion has been down every time. Twice for maintenance/ mechanical, once due to storms most the day, so I’ve never ridden it. Crazy as it may seem, I’ve only ridden 2 Schwarzkopf coaster, Mind Bender and Greezed Lightnin’, so I was a little pumped about this. This was actually our first wait of the day, 2 train wait, nothing bad at all. What I WASN’T expecting was how much oomph that double helix had. I thought it was a great little coaster, a tad rough, but nothing major, overall a good little Schwarzkopf with a kick.
Next was Sand Serpent, no wait, and nothing else to really say for a typical Mack Wild Mouse… mehhh
Now it was time for Falcon’s Fury. I absolutely LOVE drop towers, so I was pumped about this one. But had disaster finally struck on this visit??? Yup, she was down for maintenance. Normally I wouldn’t it sweat it too much, but there were 5 maintenance workers there, never a good sign with that many. Well, easy fix to this solution, Kumba!!!! Again, NO WAIT!!! As we exited though, we saw that Falcon’s Fury was in test mode and running. We rushed our way back over, for what I’m not sure because it was still early in the day. As we got there, they were letting the first batch of riders on and we managed to get on just as they were about to close the gate. I have never had the anxiousness for a flat like this before. As we reached the top, seats retracted, heart was racing. Then the drop. I enjoyed this drop over any other. The one thing that made this ride different than others, besides dropping face first, was the lack of losing your stomach for a few minutes. I guess it’s because you’re stomach has nowhere to go where on a typical drop tower, it ends up in your throat. We definitely wanted to ride again, and it was amazing that in 2 short minutes the line grew to a whopping 5 minute wait lol.
At this time, it is only 3PM, and we want to make the most of the day. We made a slow walk to the bird garden area, cutting back through Jungala and Stanleyville and just took in the sights and sounds. The one bad thing about a dead day at a park is the people watching just isn’t as good. But that was ok, it gave us more time to really take in the beautiful landscaping, get some good pictures, and not get mad at stupid people.
As we made our stroll, we ended up back by Cheetah hunt for yet 2 more rides, 2-3 train waits. We then took the Skyway back to Jungala and then back to Cheetah Hunt. Final stop was to go see the kangaroos. I never got the time to be up close and personal with these guys on past visits, so I had to take the opportunity to do this. I never realized how soft these little guys are. Was able to get some good photo opps with them as well.
It was now 5PM, so we did a little shopping and then made our way to the car.
Overall, this was by far my best trip ever to this park. The no waits, not having to fight crowds, not having to be elbowed out of way trying to see the animals. The downside to BGT IMO is the lack of a few more good flats. Just 2, maybe 3 would really make this an all-around solid park. Food options are good, not a huge, but good variety of animals, great landscaping and atmosphere. The other nice change I noticed about this park was the more upbeat and friendly employees than in the past… well, all except for the security guard at the beginning of the day. We were always greeted with smiles, upbeat attitudes, thank yous, and helpful staff. We couldn’t have asked for a better day!
Also, Gotta love the new maps and what it says where Gwazi is... hmmmm....
The great exhibitionist
Who doesn't love penguins??
The one shot I was able to get without the Ibis's horning in
Sexy beast... such a great drop on these
My uninvited lunch partner
Green is the new sexy
Drop it like its hot!!!
"hey, can I have some more?... PLEEEEAAAASE!"
Too damn cute
I'm ready for my close up!
Sorry, not the greatest shot
I could say so much here...
Can't wait for 2020!!!!!!