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Busch Gardens Tampa Bay (BGT Discussion Thread)

p. 375: Phoenix Rising family inverted coaster announced for 2024!

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but having gone to college in Tampa, and then transferring down to Southwest Florida, I know there are a lot of differences between not only the ecosystems but the land we're on.


I know the Tampa Bay area has been in the news a lot for having a lot of problems with sink-holes, but I can't imagine that stopping them from building a tower vs. a 200ft Dive Coaster. I'm sure the same concerns have been brought up before. This isn't something new.


The state of Florida is known for having Karst topography in many places. The reason why sinkholes form is because the natural acidity in surface water eventually sinks down to the limestone most of Florida sits on and erodes it away. Most of them happen in central Florida, which is probably why Busch might be hesitant of building too big since sinkholes tend to make headlines whenever someone's house gets swallowed. This article gives a brief overview about Florida's geology and that it's basically similar for most of the state except for maybe the northern parts where there are hills and the Everglades.


I never thought I'd learn something from Earth science class.

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If Busch decides not to build a drop tower I am sure sink holes will have played no part in that decision.


The sink holes are not necessarily caused by construction, you yourself said it was a water thing. If designed properly building it will have no adverse effects on neighboring soil stability.

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I don't want to beat this one to death, but just wanted to put another Engineers' stamp on it... Bear with me as I nerd out on this.


As part of the design for any large foundation, be it for a building, bridge or large ride, soil borings are made to determine the soil properties at different depths. In a case like this, one large foundation would only require one or two borings to be pretty accurate, unlike a long bridge that may have nearly 100.


A tall structure doesn't necessarily need deeper piles, it all depends on the soil. Looking at old pictures from Dragster construction, I believe each leg of the tower is on one large spread footing. Most, if not all of the foundations for Cheetah Hunt are spread footings as well. I've worked on quite a few foundations in the Tampa area that only consist of 30'x30' spread footings, some supporting upwards of 2.1 million pounds.


That's not to say piles couldn't be necessary. Florida gets pretty unique in terms of Geotechnical Engineering, as we usually don't have any rock layer to bear on, usually just a very dense sand layer. The really long piles have most of their capacity from the friction between the soil and the surface area of a pile. Take the bridge on SR 408 over Lake Underhill by the executive airport for example. That lake is really just a sinkhole. The bridge is supported on piles 30" square nearly 200 feet in depth, the longest in the state of Florida. The first 100 feet of soil is so weak, it's considered to add no capacity to the pile.


I've seen many foundations in quite a few states - you could put me down as surprised if the foundation became cost prohibitive.

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I appreciate engineers chipping in their actual knowledge than my amateur analysis.


In other relevant rumors, Screamscape just posted this...


Late 2013 to Mid 2014 - Drop Tower / Desert Dive - Planning - (4/17/13) More changes have been made to the park’s rehab schedule, especially the dates for the four Tumbuktu attractions. All four of those rides (Sandstorm, Bush Flyers, Desert Runners and the Kiddie Train) are all listed as closing down on June 3rd. However... a more important change is the fact that the Sandstorm is now listed with a December 31st reopening date. So far we have assumed that this meant the other three attractions would be removed from the park entirely, but previously the park was intending to move Sandstorm to a new location instead, as it still is really the only true thrilling flat ride in the entire park.


That said... this does match up to the strange rumor I received a couple of weeks ago and was not ready to believe at the time. According to that secret source, the plans for Sandstorm had changed and it too would be removed from the park, and would find a new home up in Sesame Place instead for next season.


Granted, there's also Phoenix too as a "thrilling flat ride," but it would suck to lose Sandstorm if you ask me since it is a fun ride. I always felt BGT never had much in the flat ride department. But if it does happen, it would fit in at Sesame Place quite well since it is a great family ride.

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^Yeah, I'm not even a huge flat ride fan but I've always thought BGT's selection was a bit lacking. Even the sparse selection of flat rides they have are all isolated to TImbuktu. Would be nice to see them put something in Eypt or even Stanleyville or the Congo.

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Sandstorm was one of the few rides that I would willingly go on as a kid (along with the Crazy Camel), even before I was alright riding roller coasters. I'll admit that I haven't given it the time of day during my last few visits, but I do feel that it'd be a shame to see it go...

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Sandstorm is going to have a super long rehab. They changed it and it opens towards the end of the year now. It is also rumored to be going to Sesame place for the next season. I hope it stays because it and Phoenix are the best flat rides in the park. Nothing has been heard about Phoenix moving as it better stay. It's a really sick ride.

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I don't know about the drop tower, but I would love to see a frisbee type ride go into the park, something like Maxair at Cedar Point. As for Sandstorm I don't ride it much since the last time I did I got a bad headache. I guess it must be old age setting in or something. I remember when I was younger I rode spin and puke rides no problem, but didn't care for upside down rides or coasters. Now it's the opposite, I love upside down and all the coasters.

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I'm really curious as to the rumor of other flat rides like Phoenix in Timbuktu leaving as well. Assuming a drop tower is in the park's future, and the ride's location relative to Sandstorm, that opens up the space to even more use.


That being said, I still think it'd be a smart idea to utilize the massive Timbuktu Theater space (home to Sesame Street 4D and Pirates 4D) for something more. Timbuktu could make for a great location for a Busch-style dark ride like DarKastle.


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While I think that Phoenix is a great ride it might get unprofitable due to its age someday soon. Something like a Technical Park Loop-Fighter would be a cool replacement.


That said I think many US parks I've visited so far lack flats compared to EU parks - they should file some orders at Technical Park, KMG or Huss to stack up the variety.

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Perhaps you meant popular, not profitable?


Phoenix is a very reliable ride with decent capacity for a flat ride with one vehicle. Not to mention quite fun! Not only for riders, but onlookers as well.



^^I remember Crazy Camel!!


I wish they were able to save the simulator. Let's face it, when they put in Akbar Adventure Tours the ride went downhill. I do believe that building would be PERFECT for a drop tower, or a pair of drop towers.

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As for Akbar's Adventure Tours, I never had the chance to give it a try sadly...

Akbar's was a pretty fun simulator ride, cheesy fun for sure and great for families. I do have a few pictures of the attraction shortly before it was closed for good from a visit back in 2004, but I gotta dig through my burnt CDs for it. Never did anticipate Webshots going down for good years ago...

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^I remember those days well! I personally think the Dolphin Show was more entertaining than anything that has ever played in the 4d theater to be honest with you.


Finally found my Akbar's pictures. The ride opened in 1998 as a family attraction for the Egypt section replacing Questor. The ride operated regularly until around 2002-03ish when it went to a more seasonal operation, operating during peak days. Akbar's was also closed in October since the queue line and building were used for houses during Howl-O-Scream. By around 2005, Busch removed Akbar's for good and the building now houses the park history museum and a house during Howl-O-Scream.


The ride itself was cheesy fun, starring Martin Short as Akbar, who makes a living as a tour guide. I thought it was a great family attraction and I wish Busch would place more family oriented rides throughout the park, especially since there are not many "family friendly" rides in that corner of the park and again, lacking in flat rides.


The photos below were taken in the queue and exit areas of Akbar's.


The bus in front of Akbar's entrance. It still stands today as the "Montu Express" and the only visible remnant of Akbar's.


Some of the queue theming, full of Egyptian market knick-knacks and posters advertising Akbar's tours.


How many simulator rides can say they were piloted by three baby brothers and padded with Persian rugs?


The exit path, lined with more ads for Akbar's.


"Gotta get away from heeeerreee...."


You'll certainly never be the same again, I still have recurring nightmares caused by this ride


On a serious note, did you know Mother's Day is in a few weeks?


At the end of the exit path, there's a photo op with one of the gags from the film. Not sure if it's still around.


I'll end this with another old photo I found of Sheikra's construction. This was from December 2004.


I hope you enjoyed this look at a past attraction.

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I remember Questor!


Not sure about now, but when I worked there in 2001-2002, the crystal was still in the old exit of Questor. The exit was converted to storage when they re routed it toward Egypt.


See the dolphin show many times! Always loved the mime before the show!

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