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Busch Gardens Tampa Bay (BGT Discussion Thread)

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

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So we're gonna be there on the 22nd, I know the hordes will have descended by that time so planning on QQ. Am I safe to wait until we get there that day or is there a sell out risk. The ONLY reason I am even hesitating to buy ahead of time is if just in case we end up switching to the 23rd due to unforeseen long ass family vacation plans getting moved around.

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^^We went yesterday and if you want to ride Cheetah Hunt, then yes, you'll want Quick Queue. But how long you'll be waiting for it with QQ is a mystery.

Operations at this park continue to be the worst in the industry, sadly. Cheetah Hunt just came back up from it's rehab and re-painting that the park put all over social media...to run one station and consistently stack two trains. Wait time was posted 155 minutes, we waited about 65 minutes the first time with QQ, about 20 minutes the second time with QQ due to operations and the inconsistent way they managed the QQ line. Despite having a station grouper, they randomly fill the station either completely or halfway so even with QQ you have to deal with that clusterf*ck. Sometimes they pulled about 20 from the QQ line, sometimes it was like 4 people.

I'd definitely say it could be worse, as being platinum passholders we only paid $130 total for two of us for QQ for the day, which the website told us was 60% off. But if that's true and the non-passholder QQ price is really that much, you're better off just taking your money and buying a one-day ticket to Disney or something. There'd be more value in QQ if the lines were managed properly when the park is busy. Kumba had the best operations (and doesn't have a grouper) and you might save 10-20 minutes if the line is completely full, Montu has a grouper but they just let people run past them from the regular line while lazily checking your QQ and you basically wait the same as everybody else 90% of the time. SheiKra is a little bit better post-grouper but also people were just skipping under to the QQ side and nobody was even checking/scanning QQ there.

Sometimes your station wait is like 10 minutes, sometimes more like 30 depending on how dispatches are going and it changes throughout the day.

Also I have literally no idea how it is possible for 3 B&Ms to simultaneously go down, but we were waiting in line at SheiKra and they went down, and after about 15 minutes we went to Kumba. We were next in line and Kumba went down, but the only techs working that day were busy at SheiKra still so they didn't know how long it'd take them to finish there and come over and fix Kumba. So we were planning on just leaving anyway and decided to hit Montu on the way out. And we were in the station and it went down, too.

I don't know, man. I used to love this park and I still really want to like it, but to quote my boyfriend as we were walking out of there yesterday, "I feel like there's always something, every time we come out here".

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There must be a big disconnect in park operations from weekdays to weekends. I've been going very often, every few weekends, for the last 6 months and have never had a bad experience. Cobra's Curse was down for a bit over the summer and obviously Cheetah Hunt the last couple months for paint/maintenance but otherwise everything has always been open and running consistently and pretty efficiently with multiple trains. I will admit Cheetah Hunt is a hot mess sometimes. I've seen it on 4 trains, 2 stations and working like a well-oiled machine, and also like you described with one station and heavy stacking. But I've had no issues on any of the other rides.

Not trying to blindly defend the park nor discount your experience at all, but I always hear horror stories of the operations from people (who almost exclusively visit on weekdays) - and my weekend visits, which is all I do because of my work schedule, have been awesome and very minimally negative aside from just general crowdedness. And that's from an out-of-towner who never visited the park until 6 months ago. Interesting I guess.

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My two cents:

The week before and after Christmas are insanely crowded. Orlando had a day of rainy weather so now there are people who planned to go to the park one day and had to push it to the next. 
I've been to BGT dozens of times over the last 20 years. Yes, there have been crappy days, but it is FAR from the worst run park in the world.
Again, insane crowds this week are to be expected. That's why I avoid the parks this time of year.

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On 12/22/2021 at 12:38 AM, xVicesAndVirtues said:

^^We went yesterday and if you want to ride Cheetah Hunt, then yes, you'll want Quick Queue. But how long you'll be waiting for it with QQ is a mystery.

Operations at this park continue to be the worst in the industry, sadly. Cheetah Hunt just came back up from it's rehab and re-painting that the park put all over social media...to run one station and consistently stack two trains. Wait time was posted 155 minutes, we waited about 65 minutes the first time with QQ, about 20 minutes the second time with QQ due to operations and the inconsistent way they managed the QQ line. Despite having a station grouper, they randomly fill the station either completely or halfway so even with QQ you have to deal with that clusterf*ck. Sometimes they pulled about 20 from the QQ line, sometimes it was like 4 people.

I'd definitely say it could be worse, as being platinum passholders we only paid $130 total for two of us for QQ for the day, which the website told us was 60% off. But if that's true and the non-passholder QQ price is really that much, you're better off just taking your money and buying a one-day ticket to Disney or something. There'd be more value in QQ if the lines were managed properly when the park is busy. Kumba had the best operations (and doesn't have a grouper) and you might save 10-20 minutes if the line is completely full, Montu has a grouper but they just let people run past them from the regular line while lazily checking your QQ and you basically wait the same as everybody else 90% of the time. SheiKra is a little bit better post-grouper but also people were just skipping under to the QQ side and nobody was even checking/scanning QQ there.

Sometimes your station wait is like 10 minutes, sometimes more like 30 depending on how dispatches are going and it changes throughout the day.

Also I have literally no idea how it is possible for 3 B&Ms to simultaneously go down, but we were waiting in line at SheiKra and they went down, and after about 15 minutes we went to Kumba. We were next in line and Kumba went down, but the only techs working that day were busy at SheiKra still so they didn't know how long it'd take them to finish there and come over and fix Kumba. So we were planning on just leaving anyway and decided to hit Montu on the way out. And we were in the station and it went down, too.

I don't know, man. I used to love this park and I still really want to like it, but to quote my boyfriend as we were walking out of there yesterday, "I feel like there's always something, every time we come out here".

That was my experience over 2 weekend days in June, too. It's such a bummer to have a park so beautiful and filled with elite attractions ... but also comes with the worst operations/management in the industry. Cheetah Hunt was down 75% of day 1, Montu was down 75% of day 2, Sheikra went down off and on as well.

Really hoping the park rebounds in 2022 with Gwazi opening.

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No complaints about my visit on Wed Dec 8. Probably helps that no one else was there. Used the $10 QQ I purchased to skip a couple 10 min lines. Rest of the time everything was a walkon, even Cobra.  Cobra and Fury also ran pretty much all day without down time.

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So we went back to the park on the 23rd and I will say we had a better experience than we did last week in terms of operations moving faster. So as @thrillseeker4552stated, maybe they really do reserve better staff/have more oversight/make more of an effort on the busier days. However, had we not needed one more visit to secure our entry to whatever the VIP Iron Gwazi party turns out to be, we would not have visited again until Iron Gwazi opened based on our last visit...so consistency is definitely needed.

Kumba actually did have a grouper this time and they were doing a pretty decent job of keeping the station wait a maximum of two trains. Montu was kind of the same thing per usual, they let the station get absolutely mobbed before cutting off the regular line, so station waits were still 5-6 trains. Cheetah Hunt was still running two trains with one station, so the posted standby line was about 120-150 minutes all day. When we got there, the greeter suggested not even waiting for QQ because they filled the entire QQ line and they said we'd likely be waiting as long as the regular line...ok. We came back much later in the night and got on in about 20 minutes. The park was considerably more crowded and they seemed to do a bit of a better job managing it.

On a side note unrelated to the park, I'll shoot myself before I ever drive from Tampa to Orlando again the night before Christmas eve. So many people hogging the left lane on I-4 going 10-20mph under the speed limit, random cars passing furiously on the right to get around the idiots holding everyone up. 0/10 would not recommend.

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13 hours ago, xVicesAndVirtues said:

So we went back to the park on the 23rd and I will say we had a better experience than we did last week in terms of operations moving faster. So as @thrillseeker4552stated, maybe they really do reserve better staff/have more oversight/make more of an effort on the busier days. However, had we not needed one more visit to secure our entry to whatever the VIP Iron Gwazi party turns out to be, we would not have visited again until Iron Gwazi opened based on our last visit...so consistency is definitely needed.

Kumba actually did have a grouper this time and they were doing a pretty decent job of keeping the station wait a maximum of two trains. Montu was kind of the same thing per usual, they let the station get absolutely mobbed before cutting off the regular line, so station waits were still 5-6 trains. Cheetah Hunt was still running two trains with one station, so the posted standby line was about 120-150 minutes all day. When we got there, the greeter suggested not even waiting for QQ because they filled the entire QQ line and they said we'd likely be waiting as long as the regular line...ok. We came back much later in the night and got on in about 20 minutes. The park was considerably more crowded and they seemed to do a bit of a better job managing it.

On a side note unrelated to the park, I'll shoot myself before I ever drive from Tampa to Orlando again the night before Christmas eve. So many people hogging the left lane on I-4 going 10-20mph under the speed limit, random cars passing furiously on the right to get around the idiots holding everyone up. 0/10 would not recommend.

We were there on the 22nd and had very similar experience. I would say the QQ was worth it for us strictly due to the massive crowds and the fact that we live a 1000 miles away and can't go on a regular basis. Not sure I would have dealt with the crowds but we were already in Clearwater Beach with the rest of our family. FF and Sheikra went down for very short periods but were back up quick. Montu was down all day. Cheetah hunt def had the longest QQ wait with the one station, two train being a big factor as stated. 

The holiday food booths were pretty good quality wise but were a little too heavy on just desserts versus savory items so to speak. Fine for snacking but not enough to really replace a meal in my opinion. In fact one indication of how crowded it was and prices probably getting to people, etc. The Olive Garden across the street had a 15 minute wait at 9:45 pm 🙄

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I will be there on a Sunday, specifically May 1. Hope it won't be toooo crazy. The only time I went park was jammed and I had to buy a fast pass (most things were 60-90 minutes) though that was a Saturday and during a busier time, also that food and wine festival was happening. So I assumed it was just a bad time, hope it will be better and some of the above stories will be ironed out. It is indeed a wonderful park with an increasingly good lineup, would be a shame if it was somewhat sullied by bad ops/running. 

 

Anywho if anyone has an idea of what its generally like that time of year please let me know! 

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^You should be ok in May; typically we try to go on a weekday in general so it's hard to speak for the weekends. Late spring is pretty slow season in Florida since spring break is done but people aren't on summer trips yet. If you were to go just one day later, a Monday, you'd likely have the run of the entire park to yourself, Iron Gwazi (hopefully) included, with everything a walk-on.

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On 12/27/2021 at 2:37 AM, xVicesAndVirtues said:

^You should be ok in May; typically we try to go on a weekday in general so it's hard to speak for the weekends. Late spring is pretty slow season in Florida since spring break is done but people aren't on summer trips yet. If you were to go just one day later, a Monday, you'd likely have the run of the entire park to yourself, Iron Gwazi (hopefully) included, with everything a walk-on.

Thanks! This was my thinking, glad to hear it's not too off base. Oh I wish, I always do weekdays when possible esp not in peak season, sadly this time it was not in the cards.

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  • 3 weeks later...

How is BGT in regards to plus size people? Might make a stop there in Feb and the wife is concerned about making the walk of shame. For reference, she failed the test seat on Raptor and Millennium Force, but has ridden every other ride at CP except TTD (always closed). She's also fit on other Intamin's with no issue (ROS, Hagrids, Velocicoaster). 

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The B&Ms have big boy seats.  If she's used those before, same here.  (OTS with 2 seatbelts)

Cheetah Chase and Cobras Curse can be a tight fit.  Think most rides have testers.

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1 hour ago, tndank said:

The B&Ms have big boy seats.  If she's used those before, same here.  (OTS with 2 seatbelts)

Cheetah Chase and Cobras Curse can be a tight fit.  Think most rides have testers.

Looking at photos of them, she's had no issues with Cheetah Hunt style restraints (Maverick, Storm Runner). She's ridden Valravn and Apollo's Chariot, so I would think Sheikra and Kumba would be fine, Montu I think would be the only one she'll struggle with as she didnt fit comfortably on Raptor or Alpengeist. 

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Montu reopens the 18th or 19th. Sheikra is also closed the entire month of February.

Kumba’s belts are shorter than Montu and Sheikra.

Cheetah Hunt also has shorter belts than other rides with the same restraints like Kingda Ka. 

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Her main issue with Alpengeist and Raptor was the narrowness of the seats, cant remember if she got the belts in.  Although if Montu and Sheikra are both closed while were there we'd probably not bother going.

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Busch Gardens Tampa Bay has announced that Iron Gwazi will officially open on March 11th, 2022! 

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https://buschgardens.com/tampa/roller-coasters/iron-gwazi/

IRON GWAZI

THE BEAST AWAKENS MARCH 11

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NORTH AMERICA'S TALLEST, WORLD'S FASTEST & STEEPEST HYBRID COASTER

Just in time for spring break, Iron Gwazi, North America’s tallest and the fastest and steepest hybrid coaster in the world, will open on March 11. Iron Gwazi takes thrills to new heights, plunging riders from a 206 foot-tall peak into a 91-degree drop and reaching top speeds of 76 miles per hour. Riders on Iron Gwazi will experience a dozen airtime moments, including three inversions, as they sink their teeth into crocodile-inspired thrills.

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Welp, I know what I'm doing for Spring break which conveniently is the week of the 14-18. Also it's nice to see the passholder preview schedule announced this far in advance and it's pretty extensive. As frustrating as it's been waiting on this thing to open it's nice to have some opportunities to get on it before it opened to the public.

 

I wanted to go ahead and get my oldest a Busch Gardens/SeaWorld pass this year so we might just go ahead and grab one and hit a preview. Ice Breaker opens the 18th, so might be fun to knock out IG and IB on the 19th, seems doable. 

 

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I can't believe it's finally going to open. Like is this a dream?

 The bf and I made enough visits to go to the Passport to Thrills event. Definitely excited since it's a new coaster and apparently they're going to feed us a free snack. I wonder if it'll be busier at the event than say, just going to the park on a weekday any month that isn't summer or christmas season.

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