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Busch Gardens Tampa Bay (BGT Discussion Thread)

p. 348 - Iron Gwazi POV!

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Personally I'd love for you to be right. Tidal Wave is a massive eyesore right now. I'd love for the park to do something with that and Gwazi, even if that "something" is just a complete demolition.

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Holy crap you nerds are a tough crowd.  It looks like a coaster that will make me hoot and holler the entire time I'm on it while simultaneously trying to throw my fat ass as far from the train as pos

It means that you can look forward to a fun-filled day riding Kumba, Montu, Cheetah Hunt and Sheikra and while you're in line for one of those you might be able to watch an Iron Gwazi POV on your phon

I actually agree with many of you talking about how the RMC's are all very similar.  And that's fine. There's nothing wrong with building a ton of very similar kick ass rides when most people who ride

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So finally getting to this park (even more shameful given I've lived 4ish hours away for 2 years now). Will be the 28th of this month.

 

What can I expect in terms of crowds/wait times for the coasters? Is there any type of fast pass and if so do ya think it's necessary (aka can I get on every coaster, ideally more than once for biggies, and have time for other rides etc)

Anyone have a general plan of attack? Part of why this place is great, seasoned vets/locals for every park that always know the best way to do things.

 

Thanks, and looking forward to finally getting here!

I asked my parents many times when we were on vaca and eventually got "OK next year" and we never went back to FL again lol

 

Edit: Should add, not a cred whore, I am perfectly ok skipping certain ones like the wild mouse, kiddie ride and possible even cobra's curse (is it worth a ride?)

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Edit: Should add, not a cred whore, I am perfectly ok skipping certain ones like the wild mouse, kiddie ride and possible even cobra's curse (is it worth a ride?)

 

it's a perfectly fine family coaster, and the theme thruout the queue makes it worth getting in line for (the moving Hieroglyphics room is pretty impressive).

 

tho, if it's working, I'd walk right by it to get on Montu (which will be a walk on, if Cobras' Curse is up. . if not, everyone that would be in that line goes to Montu)

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So finally getting to this park (even more shameful given I've lived 4ish hours away for 2 years now). Will be the 28th of this month.

 

What can I expect in terms of crowds/wait times for the coasters? Is there any type of fast pass and if so do ya think it's necessary (aka can I get on every coaster, ideally more than once for biggies, and have time for other rides etc)

Anyone have a general plan of attack? Part of why this place is great, seasoned vets/locals for every park that always know the best way to do things.

 

Thanks, and looking forward to finally getting here!

I asked my parents many times when we were on vaca and eventually got "OK next year" and we never went back to FL again lol

 

Edit: Should add, not a cred whore, I am perfectly ok skipping certain ones like the wild mouse, kiddie ride and possible even cobra's curse (is it worth a ride?)

 

There are wait times posted in front of all the major rides. They have a quick queue add if you want. Quick queue unlimited if you want a lot of re-rides. You should be able to ride every ride without quick queue though. Just keep in mind this park is huge, and if you plan to do more than ride rides, like see animals and stuff, which you should do, then get a game plan...This park is hard to walk twice around in a day and do everything. Always ride Cheetah Hunt first...It always carries the longest wait. Cobra's Curse is definitely worth the ride...It's a fun coaster! Ride it next. Montu after that, never much of a wait there. I would also suggest Falcon's Fury, Scorpion, Kumba and Sheikra.

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So finally getting to this park (even more shameful given I've lived 4ish hours away for 2 years now). Will be the 28th of this month.

 

What can I expect in terms of crowds/wait times for the coasters? Is there any type of fast pass and if so do ya think it's necessary (aka can I get on every coaster, ideally more than once for biggies, and have time for other rides etc)

Anyone have a general plan of attack? Part of why this place is great, seasoned vets/locals for every park that always know the best way to do things.

 

Thanks, and looking forward to finally getting here!

I asked my parents many times when we were on vaca and eventually got "OK next year" and we never went back to FL again lol

 

Edit: Should add, not a cred whore, I am perfectly ok skipping certain ones like the wild mouse, kiddie ride and possible even cobra's curse (is it worth a ride?)

 

That's the last weekend of the Food & Wine Festival. There's also a concert (Flo Rida) going on so the park will be busy. Spring Break busy? Not likely, but will be much more crowded than a weekday.

 

They have Quick Queue that would be good if you feel the lines are too long. I was there this past Saturday and EVERY coaster had an hour-90 minute wait at times, even Cheetah Hunt & Cobra's curse had 65-70 minutes posted at 9:30pm. Kumba's queue was full at 3pm (which I hadn't seen in years), with Montu having an almost full queue at 4. Mind you it was Easter weekend/spring break. Even if it's likely to be busy, I would still arrive at the park before purchasing Quick Queue Unlimited. It's $69.99 that day:

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As far as a plan of attack (if you're more about the rides of course), if you end up getting Quick Queue, then you can just go counter-clockwise around the park and ride at your leisure. If you're wanting to see the animals, most are more active in the morning, especially the Gorillas, Tigers, Lions and Kangaroos.

 

Otherwise (without QQ), Cheetah Hunt will be the first coaster to post a huge wait time shortly after park opening. If you're there before the park opens head there first. They usually open the parking lot 30 minutes before opening and will let you into the front plaza area through the "turnstiles" some days. Go to the right as soon as the rope drops. You might get a couple rides in before the line swells. It's not uncommon for the wait time to jump to an hour within 20-30 minutes. Next I would ride Cobra's Curse. It's definitely worth at least one ride. I was actually surprised with it. After that you'll be tempted to ride Montu since it's there. If the place looks dead get on it. Otherwise I'd wait and go straight to Scorpion as it only has one train. I'd then ride Falcon's Fury as it gets a pretty long wait by lunch and perhaps Sand Serpent if you want the wild mouse since it's right there. After that you can do the rest as you get to it. Don't forget about Stanley Falls Flume. It's one of my favorite log flumes. The Skyride is great to get a view of the park from above, and a great way to rest up a bit from all that walking. The train is great too to see the animals on the Serengeti that are hard to see from the paths and others that can only be seen while riding it.

 

When riding Kumba, back row left is generally the best seat on the ride. Montu back left usually is too for me, but I did back right last week and it was the best night ride I've ever had on it since I started going regularly in 2007. The front row in the middle of SheiKra is generally the best visually on the first drop. Cheetah Hunt: back row...gives great airtime on the 2nd launch into the the tower and 3rd launch into the airtime hill. I've only done Cobra's Curse a couple times, but the back seemed to be great, especially during the spin section.

 

Another hint I can give regarding wait times, is that during the concert, they'll likely go down substantially since it's not spring break anymore. Most of the people in the park once that starts (7PM) will be there for the festival. The festival area (Bird Gardens/Gwazi Park) will be crowded anyway with people sampling food, wine, beer & liquor.

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Nice, thanks all!

Seriously that's why I love this place, the info is invaluable.

Sounds like it might be a worth while investment, this is just a one day thing (and actually I doubt I'll stay the whole day as I am meeting people later in St Pete) so I'm out just to maximize everything. I actually don't have too much of an issue with lines, even up to an hour or + depending but this is a case where Im solo and just out to marathon. And I love animals, if there's time that's good to know but I'll likely skip it.

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Back from Tampa and our trip to Busch Gardens. Thanks again to the members of this board for providing some great tips, helped quite a bit. A few thoughts:

I hadn't been to Busch Gardens in almost 30 years. What a great park. Awesome thrill rides, great layout, great theming. The park is massive, so I'm glad we booked for two days, as initially we only planned on one day. We hit the smokehouse both days for lunch. That wasn't the plan, but it was so good we said why not. Also, we were sure to get the pretzels in Pantopia (tip from this site) and we were not disappointed. The food and wine setup was impressive with the layout and presentation. We didn't participate but wish we could have. Really great ambiance throughout the festival.

 

A few negatives.

-The Busch Gardens app is worthless. I couldn't find the wait times. If the wait times are on the app, then it isn't intuitive. I spent a while on the app, then gave up.

-Wait time boards. Because the park is so massive, they could use more wait time boards throughout the park to help manage the day. In two days, I only spotted one board outside of Sheikra. Maybe there are more in the park, if so, they need to be bigger and more visible

-Why no single rider lines? It would help their capacity big time. Every roller coaster train had empty seats as it departed the station. This is frustrating when the average wait time last saturday was 45-75 minutes. Also, the staff wasn't really interested in managing capacity in the loading area.

-The two deserted rides make for quite an eyesore in an otherwise beautiful park. I know there is a plan for these eventually, but the sight of Gwazi in the middle of the beautiful food and wine festival was a buzz kill.

-The staff at Busch wasn't particularly great. Not that they were bad, it just doesn't compare to the service you get at Disney or Universal. They go above and beyond imo, the staff at Busch compares more to Six Flags than that of Universal or Disney.

 

These are just some observations, not meaning to rip the park. We would recommend this park to anyone. In fact, we are planning to hit Williamsburg next. But in my opinion, I think Busch belongs in the same category as Disney and Universal, and that's a compliment. But by the same token, that means they need to up their game with the app, the overall service of the staff, ride capacity, etc. (Yes, yes, I know of the current financial difficulties).

 

Thanks again to this board for helping us plan our trip! It never lets me down.

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My family and I have spent the past two days at the park, and thoroughly enjoyed it, but we were confused when we saw that Jungala's Treetop Trails and Wild Surge were removed from the map... and yet they were still present and operating as normal.

 

A search later and seeing that both Screamscape and Busch Garden's site report that those two atttactions were closed until further notice, and I'm about as confused as an alligator sunbathing and having people stare at them.

 

Anyone have a clue what exactly is up with that section of Jungala?

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-The Busch Gardens app is worthless. I couldn't find the wait times. If the wait times are on the app, then it isn't intuitive. I spent a while on the app, then gave up.

The app used to be great with showing wait times and other information. It even had a "find my car" option on there that came in handy (I know there are other apps for that, but it was nice to be included in one I was already using). They have simply made the app the same as the mobile site (that you can look up on your phone's browsers). It's the same with the SeaWorld app as well. My only thought is that it was a cost saving measure. I know it can be frustrating, especially when you're used to using it. I've deleted both apps now since I can look up the same info on Chrome without taking up extra space.

 

-Wait time boards. Because the park is so massive, they could use more wait time boards throughout the park to help manage the day. In two days, I only spotted one board outside of Sheikra. Maybe there are more in the park, if so, they need to be bigger and more visible

There is also a board across from the Moroccan Theater under Cheetah Hunt's windcatcher tower (the figure 8 thing). Those were put in a few years ago. It wouldn't hurt to put a few more.

 

-Why no single rider lines? It would help their capacity big time. Every roller coaster train had empty seats as it departed the station. This is frustrating when the average wait time last saturday was 45-75 minutes. Also, the staff wasn't really interested in managing capacity in the loading area.

Since they have QQ, I'm guessing they don't think they need it. I've been going since 2007 and honestly didn't need one even when I go on rides alone. I usually go when it's not busy either so I never thought they'd need one. I can see how it would help on busy days like it's been over Spring Break. The staff can be hit or miss with trying to push capacity. I was there last Saturday and they were doing pretty good on Montu around 9pm. They had 3 trains running and even with the station almost full I still got on within 10 minutes. However I've been there other times when they just had no hustle at all.

 

-The two deserted rides make for quite an eyesore in an otherwise beautiful park. I know there is a plan for these eventually, but the sight of Gwazi in the middle of the beautiful food and wine festival was a buzz kill.

You missed several other "deserted rides". I suppose that's a good thing? There are closed attractions all over the park that are well hidden to first timers, well some of them. Obviously you can't hide the massive structure of Gwazi. Tanganyika Tidal wave isn't as bad as it can blend in with the trees some, but you noticed it (I'm assuming that's the other one you saw), so maybe it's not as hidden as I thought for first timers. At least it's on the edge of the park.

 

Just to name a few others:

*There is/was a Simulator ride right across from the Serengeti Overlook Restaurant that you walk right by on the way to Cobra's Curse/Montu on the right side. It's used for Howl-O-Scream I believe now.

 

*There is Rhino Rally which has/had it's entry beside the elephant habitat. It was an off road safari ride where you could see rhinos and other animals not seen on regular display. It also used to have a raft portion where it would "float" down a river. Cheetah Hunt uses that section now where the twisty part is before the last launch.

 

*Nocturnal Mountain. This was an animal exhibit that featured snakes, bats and others that were more of a nocturnal nature. It was dimly lit and creepy inside that kind of resembled walking through a cave. It's across from the Nairobi train station.

 

-The staff at Busch wasn't particularly great. Not that they were bad, it just doesn't compare to the service you get at Disney or Universal. They go above and beyond imo, the staff at Busch compares more to Six Flags than that of Universal or Disney.

I can agree that the staff is not up to par with some others. It has gone downhill in general since InBev forced their hand and took the parks and sold them. It was much better when I first started going in '07. They aren't all bad however. Many still go out of their way to make sure guests are tended to. It's just not uniform across the board. I would still put them above Cedar Fair & Six Flags.

 

 

I'm glad the few negatives you encountered didn't spoil your trip. Hopefully in the years to come things will look brighter. It's my favorite park (hence my screen name).

 

 

 

My family and I have spent the past two days at the park, and thoroughly enjoyed it, but we were confused when we saw that Jungala's Treetop Trails and Wild Surge were removed from the map... and yet they were still present and operating as normal.

 

A search later and seeing that both Screamscape and Busch Garden's site report that those two atttactions were closed until further notice, and I'm about as confused as an alligator sunbathing and having people stare at them.

 

Anyone have a clue what exactly is up with that section of Jungala?

Those attractions were reopened temporarily to help with handling spring break crowds most likely. I saw them open last weekend also, They've done this in the past. They'll likely be closed off again soon, probably tomorrow & going to weekends only until the Food & Wine Festival is over. It is confusing, especially since it's shown on the website that those attractions are closed. I'm sure someone will post something soon on if it has once again closed again. If I see it, I'll share if I'm not beaten to it.

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A few weekends ago I had the chance to visit Busch Gardens Tampa for the Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival... Along the way I enjoyed the park's many animals, fantastic rides and lots of tasty food and drink options! This event really brings out the best in this park and adds another option when it comes to ways to enjoy your time here. We also were able to check out the park's newest ice skating show, Turn It Up, which was well worth the visit!

 

The Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival continues to run for the remaining weekends in April, so if you have a chance to get out to the park, I highly recommend it! Between the rides, shows, animals and delicious food and beverage choices, you'll definitely not be disappointed!

 

Check out the following link for the delicious full event menu: https://buschgardens.com/tampa/events/food-and-wine-festival/cabins/

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It was so busy on the day we visited that we had to park at Adventure Island and shuttle over.

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They really do spruce up some of the less-frequented sections of the park for this event!

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Another topiary in the park.

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Special roaming characters are out and about during the Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival!

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And there are special photo ops throughout the park!

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This used to be the Marrakesh Theater where many shows had been performed over the years. The theater is now walled off from guest view.

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No new activity at Gwazi these days...

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Gwazi is still totally visible from all angles in the park.

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The Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival brings with it several neat topiaries.

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There's also this living statue that is fun to watch.

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New this year is addition of pieces created live throughout the park by local artists.

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It isn't a visit to Busch Gardens Tampa without a stop at Walkabout Way!

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I love seeing the kangaroos and joeys in the Kangaloom!

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Friendly emus!

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Just hanging out...

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What's this?

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Tree creatures!!!

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And they do a special rope drop ceremony for the opening of the Food & Wine Festival area in Gwazi Park!

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This path has been used for events like the Food and Wine Festival, Howl-O-Scream and Christmas Town over the years and it provides an up-close view of the former Gwazi dueling wooden coasters.

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Tourist topiaries!

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New this year was the addition of artists creating new large scale works of art live throughout the festival.

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The bison slider with sriracha ketchup was our absolute favorite dish of the event!

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Still so strange to see the coaster not actively running anymore...

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The track has definitely seen better days.

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Lots of tasty options to choose from along the Food & Wine Festival path!

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Set up similarly to other theme park food & wine festivals, you order from ahead and bring your receipt to the counter for your item to be served fresh.

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Lots of great beer, cider and wine choices throughout the event as well!

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The permanent pavilion in Gwazi Park (often enclosed and used for Howl-O-Scream mazes in September/October was being used for concert merchandise and additional beverage options!

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More live art to watch come to life!

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Even more...

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Frog legs and hush puppies!

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Steak and a delicious cauliflower cake!

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Also new for us this visit was "Turn It Up," the park's newest ice skating show.

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The show is a modern take on ice skating with the focus being highly choreographed scenes set to popular music across different genres.

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The sets are just as dynamic as the skaters dancing in and around them.

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Definitely an enjoyable show and a great break from the Florida sun!

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Well worth your time if you're at the park!

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Busch Gardens Tampa is known for their animals too!

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You can't visit Busch Gardens Tampa and not stop by Falcon's Fury...

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Or should I say, drop in!

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Some of the Jungala attractions had quietly closed, but have since reopened after a short downtime.

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Sheikra is still one of my favorite coasters in all of Florida.

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Some delicious lamb chops!

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And a light and fluffy duck bao bun for good measure!

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Coca-Cola is a big partner of the SeaWorld Parks and their presence at the Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival can definitely be felt...

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Especially in the form of two new food booths with menu items infused with flavors created with Coca-Cola products. This Baked Brie was served with a Strawberry Fanta Coulis.

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The Orange Fanta Whoopie Pie was a winner for us!

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The Minute Maid Apple Glazed Pork Belly was perfectly cooked!

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A local vendor had chocolate covered bacon available for purchase along the festival path!

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A full list of the locations where food, drinks and merchandise can be purchased throughout the event.

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Who knows if we'll ever see any life in this structure again...

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Frozen jack & coke? Sold!

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Goo Goo Dolls was set to perform on the evening of our visit.

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Looking back at Gwazi one last time...

Edited by jedimaster1227
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Great report!

 

That food really looks fantastic. That glazed Pork Belly

 

I wish they would do something with Gwazi already. Its been a really long time for the coaster to just be sitting there dormant.

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So are the Jungala rides open again? Good news to hear any part of it has reopened!

 

Tree Top Trails and Wild Surge were reopened during spring break (which ended yesterday technically) to help with crowd capacity. Jungle Flyers hasn't reopened. I see them being closed off again today and perhaps only weekends for the rest of the Food & Wine Festival at best. They still state on the park's website that they are closed.

https://buschgardens.com/tampa/park-info/ride-attraction-schedule/

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Here we go again! It's the coaster rumor that will never die, made ever more apparent by the fact that the OTHER rumor that would never die turned out to be true. Maybe I'll drive over there and spray some beige dots on the structure myself, stir the pot a bit.

 

Seriously though, isn't the structure basically a lost cause at this point?

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Seriously though, isn't the structure basically a lost cause at this point?

 

 

Gwazi is only 19 years old. Colossus was 36 years old when it got RMC'd and it sit in basically the same kind of heat. Everything that was stripped from Gwazi is not needed if RMC comes in and does their magic.

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I mean I'm skeptical until we see something more concrete... there's gotta be a reason why they haven't just demo'd it by now, but instead left it sit for 3 years. Its sitting on prime real estate right in the front of the park. No one believed MS was actually happening, even when photos of RMC trucks were on site surfaced... not until iBox track actually showed up.

 

I love this park and holy crap if they get an RMC. A racing/dueling one omgomgomg

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Seriously though, isn't the structure basically a lost cause at this point?

 

That's been the prevailing rumor for the past couple years. But even if that's true and it is too far gone, RMC can still do magic when replacing a lot of the structure.

 

Look at Twisted Timbers, 80% of that whole coaster is built with brand new wood. I think I've heard RMC say that a large cost-saving aspect to their conversions simply comes from reusing the old footers (which I'm sure are just fine on Gwazi).

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