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Busch Gardens Tampa Bay (BGT Discussion Thread)

P. 372: Serengeti Flyer swing ride announced!

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So I'm an enormous BGT fan and this is my first post on this site, and I think removing Gwazi is one of the best things they could do.... If they had the budget. With the ride photos being closed to tiger, it just got worse every visit. And with Gwazi park and the old critter castaways show open too, a gigantic not just coaster, but land could be built, and its sad to know thats not the case for now. I would be fine demolishing that entire section of the park besides the Garden Gate Cafe. Also with rhino rally closing for a possible coaster and tuts tomb for a possible dark ride and the old Akbar's Adventure Tours across, alot could be built at the park. Egypt and The gwazi area are probably the last places in the park that need in update in means of rides, and I hope down the road something incredible can be built. Hope Busch's attendance can really grow this year, they need it

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I think it's amazing to have three pages of "omg it's a great ride defense" when there was one comment about how it's a bit underwhelming.

I think it's because we've heard it over and over and over and over again from selfish coaster geeks that Cheetah Hunt wasn't what THEY wanted. But seeing it have so many supporters is a nice change.

 

Kind of sounds like most people have talked themselves into it, no? Admit it, we're coaster enthusiasts and we'd probably rather it be a 54 inch height requirement, 80 MPH, inverted top hat, 2 zero g rolls and airtime hills Maverick-level ride. We all know what Intamin can build.

Not me. I was actually VERY happy when Busch didn't build a "Maverick Killer." They already had three VERY good 54 inch height requirement rides, two nice 42" rides, a kiddie coaster and really nothing of quality for the middle ground.

 

Cheetah Hunt was PERFECT. And I personally love it as I feel it rounds out their coaster collection and brings a near-perfect balance to their selection of coasters. And removing Gwazi will actually help IMPROVE the overall quality of the rides there.

 

And just like with Cheetah Hunt, I actually hope that the park replaces it with another 42" or 48" coaster that is accessible to younger ages because I feel that is what the park needs. I refer to Cheetah Hunt as "Florida's California Screamin'" (and I love that ride, too!) It's long, it launches, it has one inversion, has something for everyone, and all riders gets off smiling other than grumpy coaster geeks, and it's overall just a kick-ass ride every time I go on it!

 

BGT doesn't need a Maverick-Killer, it doesn't need a hyper coaster, it needs something for everyone, and THEN I feel they can build another "big ride."

 

Maverick was the perfect ride for Cedar Point, and Cheetah Hunt is the same for BGT. And I love them both equally for different reasons.

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I happened to see an ad for Falcon's Fury at SeaWorld Orlando, and they marketed it using two phrases: "Don't look down" and "The tallest free-standing drop tower". I expected "The world's first drop tower to tilt people at 90 degrees down". Who knows why they did their ad this way.

Because the GP would have no clue what they were talking about.

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^After the major investment that was Falcon's Fury/Pantopia last year and the current financial standing and restructuring that SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment is undergoing, I'm not banking on anything major for 2015. I'm also very curious to see if whatever 2016 addition was intended for the park (construction would need to begin sometime this year) may be put on ice as well.

 

The first confirmed casualty of the cutbacks in the parks was the resumed closure of the Crown Colony Restaurant which had reopened around the beginning of November for the busy season. Gwazi is the next to go.

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I think it's amazing to have three pages of "omg it's a great ride defense" when there was one comment about how it's a bit underwhelming.

I think it's because we've heard it over and over and over and over again from selfish coaster geeks that Cheetah Hunt wasn't what THEY wanted. But seeing it have so many supporters is a nice change.

 

Kind of sounds like most people have talked themselves into it, no? Admit it, we're coaster enthusiasts and we'd probably rather it be a 54 inch height requirement, 80 MPH, inverted top hat, 2 zero g rolls and airtime hills Maverick-level ride. We all know what Intamin can build.

Not me. I was actually VERY happy when Busch didn't build a "Maverick Killer." They already had three VERY good 54 inch height requirement rides, two nice 42" rides, a kiddie coaster and really nothing of quality for the middle ground.

 

Cheetah Hunt was PERFECT. And I personally love it as I feel it rounds out their coaster collection and brings a near-perfect balance to their selection of coasters. And removing Gwazi will actually help IMPROVE the overall quality of the rides there.

 

And just like with Cheetah Hunt, I actually hope that the park replaces it with another 42" or 48" coaster that is accessible to younger ages because I feel that is what the park needs. I refer to Cheetah Hunt as "Florida's California Screamin'" (and I love that ride, too!) It's long, it launches, it has one inversion, has something for everyone, and all riders gets off smiling other than grumpy coaster geeks, and it's overall just a kick-ass ride every time I go on it!

 

BGT doesn't need a Maverick-Killer, it doesn't need a hyper coaster, it needs something for everyone, and THEN I feel they can build another "big ride."

 

Maverick was the perfect ride for Cedar Point, and Cheetah Hunt is the same for BGT. And I love them both equally for different reasons.

 

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I just paid my first visit to BGT this past fall since the last time I was there, which was sometime during the Carter administration. Regarding Gwazi, I opted to not ride for two reasons - one is that I have a bad back, and I didn't want to throw it out of whack for my long drive home. Second, I was suffering from the flu (yes, I got the shot but apparently it doesn't offer much protection for this year's virus), and for those two reasons I passed on riding it. I'm not that much of a credit junkie, though if I had been feeling better I probably would have suffered thru one side of it. So yeah, another credit missed, but oh well.

 

But I did ride Cheetah Hunt. I was fully expecting a snooze-fest based on some enthusiasts' reactions to it, but I was pleasantly surprised. Granted, it's no heavy duty thrill ride, but it does have good pacing, and the inversion caught me off guard because I had forgotten that it had one. I was also worried about the OTSRs bashing me upside the head (as happened to me on Maverick) but thankfully that didn't happen. Actually, in some ways, Cheetah Hunt is IMO one of the most re-rideable coasters in the park (as said, I skipped Gwazi, not that it would have ever been a contender for re-rideability anyway, and Scorpion was closed for repairs when I was there).

 

As an aside, I also enjoyed Sheikra (obviously very similar to Griffon, the main difference I noticed is of course the theming and setting) and Montu (yes, this is indeed a testament to the potency of older B&M inverts - it sure did clear out my head for a few moments, anyway). Kumba was OK, but it didn't really impress me that much (in kind of a reverse to my feelings on Cheetah Hunt, I had higher expectations for this coaster and it failed to meet them). It is very photogenic and does fit well into the landscaping, though.

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It is such a shame that Busch neglected this coaster to this point. It should have been an amazing, unique dueling experience and a much needed high capacity ride. GCI coasters are normally interesting and ride well. Racing/deuling coasters are always more exciting because you get the extra feel of speed of the opposing train.

 

This coaster is 100% the result of neglect and budget cutting (at the cost of the guest experience). First one side was closed, ruining the whole concept of the ride. Last time I was there they were only running 1 train out of 4. The loading operations were the most horrible of anywhere. When they did run 2 trains, they couldn't run two trains without looooooooong stacking so it was really no different than running 1.

 

The ride could be salvaged and made one of the best wooden rides out there (with newer style track), but it doesn't seem like Busch is interested in investing much in better guest experiences these days. The new coaster at Williamsburg is a small investment and it is not going to provide a great experience given its low capacity.

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^While neglect is certainly a part of it, the ride was a victim of its own design. It was designed with track movements not fit for the PTC trains it hosted for years. Those trains were not designed to navigate GCI-style maneuvers (as they were new designs for an old-style train to handle). You can't say that Busch Gardens didn't try to salvage the ride, considering several ongoing retracking efforts before a comprehensive retracking was done in preparation for the arrival of the Millennium Flyer trains, built specifically for Gwazi.

 

There are a lot of factors that led to Gwazi closing--neglect, poor operations, low guest satisfaction and an increasingly rough ride experience all contributed to this.

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^After the major investment that was Falcon's Fury/Pantopia last year and the current financial standing and restructuring that SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment is undergoing, I'm not banking on anything major for 2015. I'm also very curious to see if whatever 2016 addition was intended for the park (construction would need to begin sometime this year) may be put on ice as well.

 

Aren't they getting a clone of Colossal Curl for Adventure Island in 2015?

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Yep. It is slightly different in layout than Water Country's due to differing dimensions though. The Pantopia Grill, being rebranded the Dragonfire Grill, is also under construction to become a more food court-esque option, like Expedition Cafe at SeaWorld.

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I've always been a fan of the Desert/Pantopia Grill,I hope they don't screw it up too much.I saw a pic of the entire place empty and under construction,supposedly the stage,seating and bar are staying the same so the changes will be to the design,the way you get your food and the menu which is apparently getting a more international makeover,Asian,Mexican,Italian and American,which until I actually see the food I can't approve or disapprove.

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I never got to ride Gwazi, but it seems to be regarded as one of GCI's worst creations, from the people I've talked to anyway. I have to wonder if it's because Busch Gardens doesn't seem to care too much about wooden coasters in general, and just let it go to rot over the years. Busch seems to heavily favor steel, along with a lot of other corporate parks, and an RMC job is probably the only way we'll see any wood in one of these parks, if at all.

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Rode Gwazi yesterday for the last time.

 

Now I had ridden it on opening day YEARS ago and felt it was good, but not GCI great. Over the years it got worse and worse.

 

Then I rode it 4 years ago with the new trains. It was GREAT! Smooth, enjoyable, fast. That didn't last long.

 

And yesterday I rode it in the front seat, thinking it would be the smoothest. Wrong.

 

It was rough. It was shaky. It just sucked.

 

I will NOT miss what this ride has become.

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Empty station.

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They are only running one side but they decided to use on of each train (Lion and Tiger) til it closes.

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So does it count as two credits? :)

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Rode Gwazi yesterday for the last time.

 

Now I had ridden it on opening day YEARS ago and felt it was good, but not GCI great. Over the years it got worse and worse.

 

Then I rode it 4 years ago with the new trains. It was GREAT! Smooth, enjoyable, fast. That didn't last long.

 

And yesterday I rode it in the front seat, thinking it would be the smoothest. Wrong.

 

It was rough. It was shaky. It just sucked.

 

I will NOT miss what this ride has become.

They have been running one of each trains since the tiger side closed

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Busch Gardens Trip Report.

 

I am flying home from our trip to florida and thought i would share some thoughts on busch gardens. I went with some friends and their 9 year old son Markus. They aren't coaster nerds (yet) and Markus had limited coaster experience what with being 9 and all. We had been to disney and went on the barnstormer and the mine train as a warmup.

 

We went last wednesday, and my advice to people is, go in january on a mid week day when kids are in school! The park was pretty empty and we got to explore the concepts of 'walk on', 'reride' and 'marathoning'. One of the neat things about busch gardens is that it shows the evolution of coasters, and i set about taking my friends to Coaster school.

 

First up was air grover as a warmup and review of the previous day. Start small and work up.

 

After watching people get wet from ShaKeira we took the train to Nairobi and walked to Pantopia to our first real coaster. Sand Serpent is an off the shelf wild mouse coaster and we were able to discuss the concepts of block sections, trim brakes and then get into banking, lateral and normal g forces with a brief mention of bunny hills and airtime pops. They liked it so much that we switched front and back and rerode. It may be a common coaster but they all had fun.

 

We then had a brief talk about Werner Stengel and Anton Schwarzkopf and made our way to Scorpion. We discussed the clothoid loop and a bit about banking and lateral g forces as well as helixes. This coaster was a big thrill, and we rerode, first front then back. It was decided that we liked the back better for how you get pulled over the loop and through the helixes.

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Thank you Mr Schwarzkopf

 

We had a little look at falcons fury. It hit all of the marks: nice and tall, lots of noise and lots of screams. I don't personally like drop towers and we didn't go.

 

Then we walked down to Cheetah Hunt. We got to see the LIM fins and discuss how they worked. They appreciated being able to watch first to better know what to expect. After a very short queue (3 or 4 trains) we got almost on when they unloaded the passengers and went down. Apparently light rain had tripped out some of the sensors and they were cycling some trains to get the computer happy. We agreed to wait for 5 trains before bailing and were rewarded for our patience when they started up again and we got the first train out. I took the opportunity to explain more about heartlining and the idea that when Scorpion was made in 1981 computers to calculate banking and even rail bending were primitive. We have come a long way and the result is some really smooth and exciting coasters. We were having a good visit up to this point, but they were blown away. Mom demanded a reride in the front row. This is a really fun coaster, smooth as glass with a lot of really nice banking, and a few nice little inversions. The part where you follow the river bed and twist right and left was spectacular. Without the concept of heartline it wouldn't have been possible. We got a few little pops of airtime, but it wan't particularly forcefull. Everybody including myself loved it and wanted to reride several times!

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Cheetah Hunt, it's heartline roll and airtime hill on the return trip.

 

Next we hit Montu and discussed B&M and inverted coasters, and elements of all kinds. Dad sat out and the rest of us enjoyed our introductions to the B&M invert, and we hit the final brake run with huge smiles. Mom was a little dizzy but really liked it. I put it in by top 3 B&M inverts. It had some great clothoid loops and dive loops, and zero g rolls. After the MCBR it lost a bit of pacing and lagged in a few spots, but was otherwise pretty great. For this reason Batman @SFGA and it's clones edges it out for #1. It edges out Talon at dorney park, and Great bear at Hershey. After lunch Markus and i rerode in the back this time, while mom sat out. The phrase 'walk on B&M invert' is a really nice one to hear!

 

We then took the skyride to the back of the park, and took a spin on the stanley falls flume, and briefly discussed Arrow Dynamics. I have fond memories of riding Python with my dad when i was 9 or so, and maybe it is better as a memory.

 

After a brief stint on Ubanga Banga bumpercars we rode Kumba the B&M sit down. It was interesting to compare to Montu. It was a really nice ride with a lot of forceful elements and some Nonstop pacing. It was a nice introduction to coasters and a good B&M 101 course. Later in the week we went to Seaworld and rode Manta and Kraken to cover the flying and floorless B&M's just to be thorough. It is also a reminder of the awesome forceful but balanced coasters B&M made working with Ingeneurburo Stengel…

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Kumba peeks out of the bushes and gardens.

 

On our way back we watched ShaKeira, but didn't ride. I don't really like the hang you over the top and drop you element, and since this was a one trick pony that does this twice along with an immelman and helix, i didn't feel i needed to ride (despite it being a walk on B&M drop coaster, which would probably make somebody somewhere crazy). This reinforced the concept of If you don't feel comfortable with a ride then don't do it. It is supposed to be fun!

 

On our way to the front we did Gwazi. I can cover it in more depth in a separate post, but Markus and i actually enjoyed it. It was rough not in a lateral neck breaking way but rather in a vibrating square wheels/ missing a few ball bearings way. It even did this all of the way up the lift hill. We rode it twice as the ride ops almost outnumbered the riders. We were able to discuss GCI and the concept of duelling coasters, and were glad to have had the chance to ride.

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For some reason they are promoting ride on lawn mowers near the thatched roof of Gwazi. Coincidence?

 

Having rerode the coasters we liked 2-3 times, We made our way for the exits with a solid day of rollercoaster school under our belts. I had as much fun sharing the info with them as they did in learning it.

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Goodbye Gwazi. Your future is uncertain.

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According to Travis Clayor (Public Relations Manager), “Yes, I can confirm that Rhino Rally has been closed permanently. No decisions have been made on what will be done with that area of the park, but we’re always looking for ways to enhance the guest experience.”

Screamscape

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I just thought I would post a quick report of the other day at BGT. It was thursday, the weather was great, (83 degrees) and we were bored, so we thought, heck, why not go and ride a few coasters? So the following is just a few pics of our adventure. First off, is our drive across the bay from St Pete to Tampa, always beautiful.100_0241.thumb.JPG.eae539f7d49b2c884787beabca2d9574.JPG

crossing the bay

AAh , We're almost here, Shangrila ! But first we gotta stop and get some monies.100_0244.thumb.JPG.9e2ea3cda38d84f2614c4ed2efefabcc.JPG

Uh, yeah,it can be sketchy on the way there

Our first ride up at 2:00pm today is of course this beauty.100_0246.thumb.JPG.9da6f352d543cefdbe4c877cf6f0baf0.JPG

I love this ride

I wonder how long it's going to take to get on ?100_0249.thumb.JPG.d364b24ed9826908dd2a7118c8e2fedb.JPG

Look at that couple laughing at all those that bought fast pass today !

So yes, the park was very slow today and every thing was walk on. We did the rides multiple times as there was no wait ,until we were ready to leave. For our last ride of the day we thought, seeing as it's going away soon, Hey, lets ride Gwazi! Hmmm, I wonder how long the wait is going to be ?100_0253.thumb.JPG.8df2fbf86b44936b83d88fa05597f7e0.JPG

OOOH NOOO ! You have got to be kidding me !

Aaand so, this was the wait in the station. Somebody was getting their ha-ha's obviously.100_0255.thumb.JPG.9d9ddd52361617de2b6bba1902d5720a.JPG

Uh ,yeah. 90 minutes ?

And today, my chiropractor said there isn't much hope for me. He did suggest however, that if I re-rode it again, my spine "might" be jostled back to the way it was before ! Oh well, I only have a few days left to re-adjust everything, or totally destroy myself!

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