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Busch Gardens Tampa Bay (BGT Discussion Thread)

P. 359: Iron Gwazi opens on March 11th, 2022!

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The last few times (yes, few times - I'm a glutton for punishment I guess) I've ridden Gwazi, it has only succeeded in pissing me off. It should still be an awesome ride, but it is just unacceptably rough. I would get off the ride, and while taking an aspirin, think to myself "what a waste."

 

I've been hoping for RMC lovin' for it, but really, closing it as it is is not a loss....at all. It's been REALLY bad for the last couple of years and something has to change. If not being re-built and overhauled - it needs to go.

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I would be more OK with the announcement if they announced what was going there. Even vague terms like "A Roller Coaster more exciting than Gwazi times 10" or something like "The most incredible coaster to hit Florida."

 

Didn't they pretty much say what was going there? Gwazi is staying there SBNO for the foreseeable future due to budgetary constraints.

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It just so happens I am going to the park in 2 weeks, just before Gwazi closes. I am not really a credit nerd, but may as well ride it for the first and last time.

 

I gather it may be a bit rough... Is there a seat that is less chiropractor visit inducing? I found last year riding wilde beast that the front car was less rough, probably because it didn't have cars in front and behind pulling it back and forth from side to side.

 

Reading this, i heard several people say they like it in the back (don't take that the wrong way).

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^By sitting down in the train, you pretty much acknowledge that there is no guarantee of a good ride, no matter where you sit! Honestly, it isn't the worst wooden coaster I've been on but it is down there on the list after years of wear and tear from the PTCs and later the Millennium Flyers. Go in with an open mind and brace yourself--there's no seat that will particularly prevent it from being a rough experience, but it is an experience that is worth having at least once.

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It just so happens I am going to the park in 2 weeks, just before Gwazi closes. I am not really a credit nerd, but may as well ride it for the first and last time.

 

I gather it may be a bit rough... Is there a seat that is less chiropractor visit inducing? I found last year riding wilde beast that the front car was less rough, probably because it didn't have cars in front and behind pulling it back and forth from side to side.

 

Reading this, i heard several people say they like it in the back (don't take that the wrong way).

 

My advice: Go on it, enjoy your ride of hell, and go off Gwazi and come on TPR saying you ride it.

 

I recently rode it and I agree, the back is better.

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Alright, i'm on a mission.

 

I have been on wildcat at hershey park, and didn't think it was too rough. I really liked the track.

 

i also went on the one at sf America in washington. It was pretty rough, too much to want to reride. I felt it was a fun track layout, but the roughness took too much away from the experience.

 

I got to thinking why so many of cgi's coasters are this way. Somebody a few pages back was asking if there was such a thing as lateral airtime, due to banking up and floating out. I wonder if the guidewheels on most wooden coaster trains just aren't meant for this (the ones pushing on the inside of the track to keep the train straight). On a metal train they swivel and must stay the precisely same distance apart at all times(track gage). If on a wood coaster they are fixed to the train. As the train goes around a tight curve, the car body rotates but the wheels are not precisely perpendicular to the track, and therefore cannot touch both rails at once. It would allow them to 'hunt' or bang from right to left as it goes around the corner. When it does this enough, the track takes a beating, like when there is a bump in the highway, and when every heavy truck hits the bump the wheels hammer down as they come down and eventually make a bigger bump. The trains are actively ripping the track apart every time they go around.

 

So, you now realize that it is remarkable that it lasted this long. 15 years at a year round park is probably like 25-30 years at a seasonal.

 

Hmmm... something to think about... While your head is being banged around...

 

I wonder if they could do like 6 flags and put adverts on the ride to cover it's retracking costs. maybe Rub A5-35, or the the Tampa Chiropractic college?

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^My ride on Wildcat this summer was worse than my recent (last) ride on Gwazi. KT however felt Gwazi was rougher. We rode in the very front seat for both coasters. I just feel the GCI's didn't end up aging as well as we all thought they would.

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^My ride on Wildcat this summer was worse than my recent (last) ride on Gwazi. KT however felt Gwazi was rougher. We rode in the very front seat for both coasters. I just feel the GCI's didn't end up aging as well as we all thought they would.

 

They were also designed with PTC's in mind before changing over the Millennium Flyers.

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Well, i can give my perspective on Gwazi soon. We are looking at going on the thursday jan 15.

 

I will be going with some friends and their 9 yr old son, who i have confirmed is 5' tall and eligible to ride everything (my girlfriend is hanging back at the condo with his younger sisters). It may be his first rollercoaster experience, so i want to work our way up, and teach him about different coaster types and how they have evolved and developed. I am looking forward to this almost as much as riding.

 

I had read a post saying the train and skyride are good ways to get across the park and take a break. Does anybody know how frequently the train runs this time of year?

 

here is my plan:

go left at the start to Air Grover (18).

Go up and right to the Stanleyville train station(28) and watch SheKeiRa(24), not sure if it is my favourite type but we can debate riding later, check out the back of Scorpion, and maybe see a bit of Kumba and Jungle hunt.

Take the train to (57) and walk up through Nairobi and ride Sand serpent(45), then Scorpion(49).

We can then walk back down toward Egypt and ride Cheetah Hunt(70) and Montu(65).

We can then take the skyride(71) for a break, which takes us up and over to Jungalia, with a great view of the park.

 

Stanley falls flume is scheduled to be down for maintenance, but Tanganykia Tidal wave (27) is nearby, maybe (wild surge and treetop trails) and then we can go up to the congo, and ride the Congo river rapids (38).

 

can you get disposable rain jackets for these, or do you get really wet?

 

We can hit Kumba(39), Ubanga-Banga Bumpercars(40), and then the train (41) can take us back down through Stanleyville(28), or we can stay on back to Nairobi(57).

 

We can ride SheKeiRa(24) in stanleyville, and then back on the train to Nairobi(57) and go to Gwazai (2)

This drops us near the front gate, and we can then go back to our favourites, or head home from there.

 

Does this sound like over programming? I wanted to take the coasters in this order to work our way up to the bigger ones.

 

What i hadn't considered is food. I don't look to theme parks for great food, nor do i look to great restaurants for great coasters. My friends are pretty good at trying not to teach their kids to eat crappy food, and i want to try to respect that. Are there places to eat that people can recommend?

 

Also, are some of the shows/ safaris worth seeing?

 

 

 

After that, on sunday we go to seaworld and ignore the animals to ride kraken, manta and journey to atlantis!

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Elissa, do you mean the early GCI's that originally ran with PTC's or all GCI's in general?

 

I really feel like all of them in general. I rode quite a few the last two years and they all have this brain hurting rattle and you can't just throw your arms up and have fun. Now, it is possible that I'm spoiled by the RMC and Intamin Woodies that give you all the awesomeness of a wooden coaster plus more and none of that brain jarring pain but I really believe the rides are getting rougher. Even Thunderhead which everyone loves was getting so rough I could only do one ride on it. KT rode at least five of them this year and only wanted to ride one more than once (Kentucky Rumbler).

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Elissa, do you mean the early GCI's that originally ran with PTC's or all GCI's in general?

 

I really feel like all of them in general. I rode quite a few the last two years and they all have this brain hurting rattle and you can't just throw your arms up and have fun. Now, it is possible that I'm spoiled by the RMC and Intamin Woodies that give you all the awesomeness of a wooden coaster plus more and none of that brain jarring pain but I really believe the rides are getting rougher. Even Thunderhead which everyone loves was getting so rough I could only do one ride on it. KT rode at least five of them this year and only wanted to ride one more than once (Kentucky Rumbler).

 

I got a minor headache on Renegade at the beginning of the season (I pretty sure that Renegade was just having a bad day), but the ride seemed to improve as the year went on. Maybe I was just getting used to it, but by the end of the season I was marathoning it for an hour +.

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^

Renegade did improve a lot last season due to some offseason retracking and maintenance. In 2013, I could only ride it one or two times before getting a small headache, but last year I was able to ride it many more times in a row. I think it's maintenance that can make some woodies run better than others, and since BGT has doesn't have the offseason that other parks have, they might not have as much time to maintain Gwazi, but that's just a guess and there are probably some other reasons it is brutally rough.

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Having ridden Gwazi in comparison to other GCI installations, I believe there are a few factors working against it.

 

1. GCI loves a twisted layout that reminds us of those twisters from the 1920s. You need some good articulating trains to make those maneuvers comfortable, and PTCs were not the ideal trains for early models. I will support PTCs more than the average person, but I do not find them ideal for the typical GCI layout. Millennium Flyers can't save beaten track unless there is extensive re-tracking.

 

2. Florida heat, humidity, and torrential rain wreaks havoc on wooden coasters. In a more temperate climate where I work, wooden coaster engineers still trace most re-tracking needs to the effects of weather. Fast changes in weather are not nice to wooden coasters as it expedites wood rot. I'm not saying Gwazi was dangerously rotting away, but there might have not been enough resources diverted its way to stay ahead of the wear and tear brought on by weather.

 

3. Gwazi was an earlier installation of GCI. I'm sure their engineers were some of the best in their fields at the time, but there is also a learning curve. Seven years after a wooden coaster installation in my place of work, engineers are still working with us to perfect some of fine details such as ledger angles to make our coaster smoother. No coaster was ever built perfect, especially the temperamental wooden ones.

 

Gwazi was a huge undertaking for a newer company and for BGT. Unfortunately a lot was working against it. I'm glad I got the chance to ride is beautiful coaster that did have some neat layout elements, but in the end it just couldn't make the grade in terms of comfort.

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I had read a post saying the train and skyride are good ways to get across the park and take a break. Does anybody know how frequently the train runs this time of year?

The train varies even throughout the day, but it shouldn't be more than 30-45 minutes between trains.

 

Stanley falls flume is scheduled to be down for maintenance, but Tanganykia Tidal wave (27) is nearby, maybe (wild surge and treetop trails) and then we can go up to the congo, and ride the Congo river rapids (38). Can you get disposable rain jackets for these, or do you get really wet?

Tidal wave gets you pretty wet, while on Congo it ranges from not a drop to absolutely soaking wet. There is a gift shop next to Congo that sells ponchos, and I believe there is one by Tidal Wave also, but with the prices you pay for it, I highly recommend buying them outside of the park. They usually come in packages small enough to fit into even a large pocket.

 

Does this sound like over programming? I wanted to take the coasters in this order to work our way up to the bigger ones.

You are going during the off season while school is in on a weekday. You should have absolutely no problem with lines and will be able to do everything multiple times. Don't worry about planning it and just do what you feel like doing.

 

What i hadn't considered is food. I don't look to theme parks for great food, nor do i look to great restaurants for great coasters. My friends are pretty good at trying not to teach their kids to eat crappy food, and i want to try to respect that. Are there places to eat that people can recommend?

There are healthier options such as flatbreads and salads at almost all of the restraints there. You should have no problem finding healthier options for food.

 

Also, are some of the shows/safaris worth seeing?

Iceploration and Opening Night Critters are wonderful shows that you should definitely see. Madagascar is OK if you have kids with you, but don't make a point to see it if you don't. As for animals, you should have no problem having enough for time for all of the rides and the animals. If you get there around opening and head straight to the animal care center in Nairobi, there might be a procedure going on there. There isn't always something going on, but if there is, it's almost guaranteed to happen around 10:30-11:30am.

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A question:

How long are the queues at BGT in summer in mid July? And do you have any tips, which day or which ride first?

 

Go on a day that's either threatening rain, is raining, or has just had a storm pass through. People clear out in the rain. I've been three times in July and all three times it was less crowded than the times I have been in the dry month of January.

 

If you can't go on a day like this, just get there early and ride Cheetah Hunt first. Chances are it will rain at some point during the day even if its just a small passing storm so wait it out until then and enjoy a cleared-out park afterwards.

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