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Busch Gardens Tampa Bay (BGT Discussion Thread)

p. 348 - Iron Gwazi POV!

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^ I don't remember if I read it, heard it at a presentation, or heard it as a rumor from some nerd in line but I was always under the impression that the MF trains were actually a lot heavier than PTC trains. To me they feel heavier while riding for some reason if that's even possible to feel, but think about a pre lift section on a GCI (Kentucky Rumbler) compared to something running PTC's (like Raven), the MF trains gets up to speed much quicker over even subtle elevation changes than the PTC's. I think it has something to do with moment of inertia, but I was probably asleep (hungover) during that dynamics class.

 

Now if only someone at TPR had some knowledge of GCI trains that could possibly solve this debate for us ...........

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Well it looks like things are not looking good for Gwazi, rumor has it it will be removed very soon. Screamscape reports that during a behind the scenes tour a visitor was told by the park Gwazi will be removed to make way for a speed coaster to be built around 2015/2016. The trains for Gwazi are said to be shipped to the Williamsburg park for a future wooden coaster going in there in the near future. I'm quite sad Busch never considered trying the Rocky Mountain treatment to make this ride rideable.

 

Source: http://www.screamscape.com/html/busch_gardens_tampa.htm

(4/8/13) While Busch Gardens has still not been willing to make any comments or answer my questions about the future of Gwazi in the park, one reader claims to have seen what appeared to them to be one of Gwazi’s inactive trains taken apart and the cars mounted to wooden platforms and set alongside one of the park’s backroads, as if they were being shipped out somewhere.

 

There is an interesting rumor claiming that if Gwazi’s was shut down at some point in the future, the trains (which are only a couple of years old) would be shipped to Busch Gardens Williamsburg. This would be a very intriguing move since that park has no wooden coaster at all, but has long been rumored to be interested in building one on the former site of Drachen Fire, possibly as part of a whole new land themed to Spain, or part of an expansion of the existing German themed Oktoberfest area. For more on what the future of BGW may hold… make the jump over to that page.

 

As for the future of Gwazi, a reader took the early morning Roller Coaster Experience tour at the park not long ago and during the Gwazi portion of the tour, did ask a few questions about the future of the ride. According to the mechanic who talked to the group at that portion of the tour, the Tiger side is closed permanently. They also told the group that the coaster was expected to be removed in the next year or two to make way for a new “Speed Coaster” that would open in 2015 or 2016.

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While I may have a nostalgic soft spot for Gwazi and remember it being a pretty fun addition when it first opened, it has been nothing but a headache for the park to operate. Back when the trains would duel, the loading procedure was slow. The Florida heat + constant years of PTCs abusing the twisted tracks just took its toll on the track despite BGT's best efforts to keep the ride running well by retracking the hardest impacted sections.

 

I thought MF trains would ease the problem, but alas, it didn't make much of an impact.

 

Here's hoping that "speed coaster" rumor is true, it's just kind of weirdly depressing hearing about the way Gwazi is run now.

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^The loading procedures have been slow, even when they weren't dueling the trains. It really was inexplicable why this was always the case, considering that every other ride in the park (except for maybe Scorpion) pushes people through the lines so efficiently.

 

I personally never thought Gwazi was ever unbearably rough, though I did experience a few runs (mostly on the old PTCs) where I was shaken a bit more than I'd normally enjoy. Unlike Son of Beast, which I think deserved to fall, I really hope that the structure for Gwazi doesn't go to waste. The current ride might not hold up to some of the newer thrills anymore, but knowing what insane things Rocky Mountain Construction is doing with old woodies, it seems a loss to take a good layout and a solid structure and tear it down for a "speed coaster" (whatever that is). There are so many possibilities out there that could ensure that Gwazi is salvaged in some capacity. I truly hope Busch Gardens explores some of those options before sending in the bulldozers.

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Totally fine with Busch Gardens getting rid of Gwazi. Seems a bit drastic and I'm not sure I totally buy the rumor, but I can't imagine them putting in anything worse! I think BGT could really use a DarKastle type ride and would love to see something like that instead or in addition to a coaster.

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I didn't think Gwazi was quite as bad as I'd heard it was when I first rode it in 2006, but I did think it was worse with the Millennium Flyers, which surprised me. Perhaps the rider was too far gone to be redeemed by the time it got them.

 

As for BGW, we shall see. They haven't formally announced anything regarding the old Drachen Fire space, and I imagine they won't until the end of summer.

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That's just too bad. I hope I can make time to get down there for a few spins in case that rumor comes to pass. A "speed coaster", though? Wasn't that the selling point Busch focused on for Cheetah Hunt?

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Yeah I like the idea of a dark ride at BGT. You could get some shade and it be a nice place to stay out of the rain for a bit. Plus they could use a few more family style rides. Although I am curious what a "speed coaster" is considering they have cheetah hunt. I just wish they could of asked GCI or RMC to try something with Gwazi before they gave up on it.

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I'm kind of torn on the future of Gwazi, part of me would love to see it restored or renovated to run like it did in it's opening years, but part of me kind of wants to see it removed. With some of the recent attractions built by Seaworld Parks (Manta, Cheetah Hunt, Antartica when it opens) I'd love to see what their design team could do with that plot of land. Gwazi always was in a bit of a strange location in the park to, you can see all of the backstage areas from the ride, it makes usage of the field for special events a bit awkward at time. I bet if you gave the management team the opportunity to start over they would probably utilize that plot of lad a bit differently.

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^I've always felt like Gwazi fit really awkwardly into the park's layout as well.

 

I never found the ride to be as bad as people made it out to be, with the PTCs or when I rode last year with the Flyers (I actually rerode last year because there were some nice little pops of air scattered around). I wouldn't be particularly sad to see it go though, especially if it gets replaced with something that's got a nice theme to it, coaster or dark ride or what have you. SWP&E has been doing some pretty good stuff lately!

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Yeah I like the idea of a dark ride at BGT. You could get some shade and it be a nice place to stay out of the rain for a bit. Plus they could use a few more family style rides.

 

I agree with this. Something "DarKastle-like" would be nice to see in Tampa.

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I looooved Gwazi in it's glory days. It was a great wooden coaster when it was new. But time has not done good things for it. I've always said I'd much rather have it torn down than a RMC makeover. The land it sits on is a huge footprint, and with the space around it, the potential for a new 'land' or themed area with more than just one coaster would be great! Some flats, indoor dark ride, ect. I don't know how they'll fit a 'speed coaster' on that plot of land though, but heck, more power to them if they can! I'm more excited for something new, over trying to save it.

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Actually quite excited about this rumor which is odd because I LOVE Gwazi, but I would trade Gwazi for a B&M Hyper coaster any day of the week. I do agree that BGT is due for Darkcastle type ride rather than another coaster, but considering the area a Hyper would make a good backdrop for events like Bands Brew and BBQ. Who knows, maybe more than a coaster is in the works, such as a permanent outdoor amphitheater type setup?

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The trains for Gwazi are said to be shipped to the Williamsburg park for a future wooden coaster going in there in the near future.

 

If this rumor is legit, call me excited. It's about time Williamsburg gets a wooden coaster. Shouldn't be too surprising to see rumors pointing to Tampa finally putting Gwazi on the chopping block. The ride ran pretty poorly last year when I rode. I'm looking forward to seeing what its replacement is.

 

- It would be an interesting spot for a new coaster or the planned drop tower.

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The thought of another coaster in that area is depressing...especially a possible cookie-cutter B&M.

 

Since they finally stepped out of Africa with the addition of Walkabout Way (aside from the Bengal tigers), I'd LOVE to see Gwazi replaced with a huge Asian themed area which incorporated pandas. There's not a single zoo in Florida where you can see pandas, so BGT would have a great marketing possibility there....and they just happen to be one of the few places that could deal with all the red tape involved in acquiring them from China. The facilities they could build would obviously be top notch, and a great benefit to panda research.

 

Just make the area BGT's answer to SWO's Antartica. Dark ride, immersive panda exhibit, bring over the Komodo dragons, throw in some King Cobra enclosures, maybe even a drop tower (finally?), add a great Asian-inspired restaurant, and then surround it with typical Asian architecture and Angkor Wat-type theming. Boom. Done.

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^I like this idea. If they could come up with a Yak and Yeti quality restaurant, that would be great (food at BGT is a bit hit or miss, but better than what you get at SeaWorld).

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