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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 park is really in an iffy part of Tampa 

 

I hope you don’t end up with massive hospital bills from getting mugged because you wanted to save a few bucks from renting a car or uber and wanted to walk to the park

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2 hours ago, AndrewA86 said:

The airport is too far away. The uber costs would wipe away any savings from the hotel price.

I'm going to stay about 2 miles away. I can walk that distance no problem.

Not sure you understand.  You're uber'ing to the park/area regardless.  Staying at the airport doesn't add an additional uber.  

Or, you can find a cheaper hotel further away from the park.  Save on the hotel, save on the uber to get there, and have enough to uber to the park instead of walking. 

You seem to be limiting yourself.  Best of luck.  Have a great trip.

 

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You have to walk by the whole park to get to the entrance from the USF la quinta. You are right, about 2 miles total to the entrance, plus 2 miles back, plus another 2 miles to do 1 lap around the park. The walk back probably won't be so fun, and if you're doing it at night, I would say at least take a Uber back to the hotel. Save on 2 additional miles of walking after a long day, and as others have said it's not the greatest of areas. I don't think you'll get mugged taking a walk down McKinley but if you're doing it alone I would probably feel a little uneasy at night.

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From Screamscape

Quote

As theme park fans descend upon Busch Gardens Tampa this season to give the new Iron Gwazi a try, I do have one request. Be sure to ride KUMBA while you are at the park. In fact, give the old girl 2 or 3 rides if you can. 
    While B&M first entered the minds of coaster fans in 1992 with the creation of the first Inverted Coaster (Batman: The Ride at Six Flags Great America), they really shattered the idea of what could be done with traditional sit-down roller coaster design when they opened Kumba a year later in 1993. Until that point, the look and idea of what was possible on your standard steel roller coaster had been entirely defined by the work of Arrow Dynamics and Vekoma. 
    Kumba set a whole new standard for roller coaster design from that moment forward, in terms of engineering, design, inversion elements, and even a new definition for what a modern roller coaster should sound like with the iconic Kumba “roar” as the trains passed by. So the next time you visit the park, hopefully sooner than later, give Kumba some love, because Screamscape has been hearing things… 
    Very bad things… 
       So ride Kumba while you still can.

I really hope this is just "Screamscape nonsense"...

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Here’s to hoping that when the time comes, Busch gives Kumba the Incredible Hulk/Nemesis treatment and not the Dueling Dragons treatment ☹️

People still really love the ride. While it doesn’t get a line like Sheikra gets, it’s fun to listen to comments about how much fun it was on the final brake run nearly 30 years later. 

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16 hours ago, AndrewA86 said:

Thanks for all the recommendations. I am flying into Tampa and looking to stay within walking distance from the park. I looked at that Hampton right next to the park but it's too expensive. And I am not renting a car as it is cheaper to uber to and from the airport. It looks like the Holiday inn right by USF is where I'll be. Not right next to the park, but still within walking distance. Really excited to get back to the park and check out Iron Gwazi!!!!

No idea how crusty it is but if you really want to save money there is an Econo Lodge that is both significantly cheaper and significantly close than the Holiday Inn. You'd be looking at a half mile walk instead of 2 miles.

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What lmao?? Kumba just was repainted and they just got to 10 coasters for the park, it isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Pretty sure B&M coasters have a long life span as well. It is also running very smooth then in previous years and there is only one rough spot that could be fixed with two track replacements. I don't believe this one bit.

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I really hope not too. And as stated above, if they are at a crossroads in terms of it's viability, I too hope they go with the repair route instead of the scrap yard. Kumba still to this day is the best B&M and so much better than some boring B&M wing or hyper they may be considering replacing it with (if something like that is on their minds).

To the hotel guy, people are right, the area immediately surrounding Busch Gardens, a few streets south, and a few streets west are quite murder-y, particularly at night. I'd also say that the assumption that Uber will be cheaper is a mistake. Airports are particularly prone to Uber surge pricing and starting 3/16 they will be raising fares to compensate for additional fuel expenses (read: fares are going up and will stay that way).

I live about 20 minutes/12ish miles from Orlando airport and while I can often get a morning Uber to the airport for $25-30, the return trip is almost always surge-priced and sometimes it's $40, but sometimes it's $75. With having to take additional Uber rides to/from the park (which themselves may be subject to surge pricing), which, as has been stated, you will have to do, it's really a good idea to go on Expedia or a travel site and look up affordable rental cars. You may be cursed with a small, slow, crappy car, but at least that'll then open up the options of hotels that are a little further out and cheaper. Maybe check out the Brandon/Riverview area as there are hotels by the malls and shopping centers. That area is residential and you could likely find something like a Hampton Inn/Home2Suites/Courtyard by Marriott for cheaper than you'd pay in the city.

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10 hours ago, bert425 said:

The park is really in an iffy part of Tampa 

 

I hope you don’t end up with massive hospital bills from getting mugged because you wanted to save a few bucks from renting a car or uber and wanted to walk to the park

I grew up in SW Detroit and walked to and from Michigan Ave and Livernois to Holy Redeemer school every day. That's as iffy as it gets. So I'm not worried about walking 2 miles from the park past some condos. The area north of the park up to USF doesn't look that bad at all.

8 hours ago, tndank said:

Not sure you understand.  You're uber'ing to the park/area regardless.  Staying at the airport doesn't add an additional uber.  

Or, you can find a cheaper hotel further away from the park.  Save on the hotel, save on the uber to get there, and have enough to uber to the park instead of walking. 

You seem to be limiting yourself.  Best of luck.  Have a great trip.

 

It add's additional Ubers because I am staying 3 nights and visiting the park for 2 days. So instead of 2 Ubers, it would be 4. And that wipes out whatever I would save on a cheaper hotel. I looked at hotels further away from the park, anything cheaper than 115 a night has bad reviews. And if I stay too far from the park the extra uber costs wipes out what I would save. 

8 hours ago, anonymouscactus said:

You have to walk by the whole park to get to the entrance from the USF la quinta. You are right, about 2 miles total to the entrance, plus 2 miles back, plus another 2 miles to do 1 lap around the park. The walk back probably won't be so fun, and if you're doing it at night, I would say at least take a Uber back to the hotel. Save on 2 additional miles of walking after a long day, and as others have said it's not the greatest of areas. I don't think you'll get mugged taking a walk down McKinley but if you're doing it alone I would probably feel a little uneasy at night.

The park closes at 6 when I'm visiting so I don't think it will be dark. But yeah if I'm tired a couple 2 mile Ubers instead of walking is a good idea!

7 hours ago, teacherkim said:

No idea how crusty it is but if you really want to save money there is an Econo Lodge that is both significantly cheaper and significantly close than the Holiday Inn. You'd be looking at a half mile walk instead of 2 miles.

That Econo Lodge has really bad reviews. Sounds like a very disgusting place.

3 hours ago, xVicesAndVirtues said:

 

To the hotel guy, people are right, the area immediately surrounding Busch Gardens, a few streets south, and a few streets west are quite murder-y, particularly at night. I'd also say that the assumption that Uber will be cheaper is a mistake. Airports are particularly prone to Uber surge pricing and starting 3/16 they will be raising fares to compensate for additional fuel expenses (read: fares are going up and will stay that way).

I live about 20 minutes/12ish miles from Orlando airport and while I can often get a morning Uber to the airport for $25-30, the return trip is almost always surge-priced and sometimes it's $40, but sometimes it's $75. With having to take additional Uber rides to/from the park (which themselves may be subject to surge pricing), which, as has been stated, you will have to do, it's really a good idea to go on Expedia or a travel site and look up affordable rental cars. You may be cursed with a small, slow, crappy car, but at least that'll then open up the options of hotels that are a little further out and cheaper. Maybe check out the Brandon/Riverview area as there are hotels by the malls and shopping centers. That area is residential and you could likely find something like a Hampton Inn/Home2Suites/Courtyard by Marriott for cheaper than you'd pay in the city.

I use Momondo to check out rental cars, that site is supposed to search everything.. cheapest I could find was 173 (plus gas) for the days I would need it. An uber trip right now from the airport to the park is 45. Even if that rate doubles it's still the less expensive option. I figure $70 at the most for an uber to and from the park to the airport. That's $140. I'm paying $115 a night for the Holiday Inn. Anything cheaper than that within a reasonable distance to the park has really bad reviews. So for 3 nights stay and 2 uber rides I figure at the most I'm looking at $485. I looked at hotels with free shuttles to the park, the Courtyard Tampa North was the cheapest at $131 a night. $50 more expensive than the Holiday Inn. I'd rather walk to and from the park and spend the $50 on merchandise or food.

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^Sounds like you've got it planned out! One thing I'd highly recommend for affordable but great eats is Taco Bus. They're a local chain and if you're staying up close to USF,  they have a location on Fletcher Ave, although for some reason we've always found the food quality to be best at their original location in Seminole Heights on Hillsborough Ave. The Fletcher Ave location is likely within walking distance but ofc Uber Eats is always an option too.

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Hmmm I assumed it was just enthusiasts doing their usual silly crap but screamscape? Haven't they sometimes been right? Granted they may be wrong more often lol can't say I really follow em. Well I hope Kumba is going nowhere, still a damn fantastic ride and I was shocked it wasn't really that rough at all even in like 2018. I'll be getting a few rides when I go regardless, which is a bit over a month from now! 

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It makes perfect sense that Kumba may be reaching the end of its service life. It has to be the most cycled B&M at this point. It is starting its 30th year of year-round operations in a harsh climate.

Like others, when the time comes, I really hope the park does a partial or full track/train replacement ala Hulk, Nemesis, etc. Kumba is so well-integrated in the landscape and pathways and is better than most, if not all, B&M loopers built in the last decade. They just replaced a few sections of track on SheiKra (and it rides very well in that area now), so I hope this shows the park's willingness to repair and replace track on their aging steel coasters.

One rough spot I could see them doing this for is the valley between the MCBR and the first corkscrew. Other than that the entire coaster is smooth, but of course I don't know how much maintenance and wear/tear there is behind the scenes that we can't notice from riding. Fingers crossed. I always take Screamscape with a grain of salt because they are definitely not always right, but they are also not always wrong either.

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I hope thats the case, rode it in the front and rear on my most recent visit and it was fantastic. If they do retrack it I hope they leave the imperfection of the zero g roll. Such a classic ride, I got giddy to ride it almost as much as IG when we got there.

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I really hope Kumba is not going anywhere!  I will be devastated!

That was the coaster that got me hooked!  

I had never ridden a roller coaster, but the paper in my home town had Kumba on the front page. I KNEW I had to ride it! 

June 12, 1993 was my first trip to Busch Gardens, and was so excited to finally ride it!

We rode Scorpion and Python, (and all the other rides) to work my way up to it.  As we were walking to get into the queue, a train flew over the g-roll and down to the Cobra Roll, and I said “Nope!”

I ended up not riding it that day. 

I finally talked my parents into taking me again later that summer to ride. I managed one ride that day, because it was so insane!  

To this day, it is probably the coaster that I have the most rides on. Wish  I had thought back then to keep count

So mad than I can’t get down there any sooner than June.

Don’t remember if I’ve posted it in here, but here’s my car, Kumba!  

 

 

 

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18C42478-E7EB-4D58-AA87-EFC843D55B96.jpeg

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Quote

While my last post about Kumba was a bit cryptic, the message was clear.
    Ride Kumba while you still can.
    Screamscape was sent some disturbing news about Kumba, and while I felt compelled to send out a warning right away, I wanted to dig a little deeper and check in with some other sources before revealing the bigger details. If you follow Busch Gardens Tampa’s rehab schedule then you may have noticed that Kumba was slated to go down for its own rehab just as SheiKra and Montu came back into operation from their downtime. In addition to regular maintenance Montu received a new paint job and SheiKra actually had a few new pieces of track installed to replace some sections that were suffering from wear.
    From what I’m told, like Montu, Kumba was expected to get repainted using some slightly new shades. The repaint was put on hold, because B&M reps were in Tampa for the SheiKra track replacement and while they were on-site they performed inspections on Montu and Kumba. While it was too late to stop the paint on Montu, they did ask for the park to not paint Kumba until they had a chance to inspect it.
    I’m told that the sad news from the inspection was that Kumba was deemed to have essentially reached the end of its lifespan. Universal Orlando had the same issue come up with Incredible Hulk and Dueling Dragons, and in their case they opted to rebuild Hulk from scratch and replace Dueling Dragons with something new. Alton Towers in the UK is also dealing with their same issue with their Nemesis inverted coaster, and like Hulk, the plan is to close the popular ride and rebuild it from scratch.
    Apparently Busch Gardens response was to cancel the pending rehab entirely and limit Kumba to one-train operations going forward, other than the occasional rare exception, to extend what the operational time left on Kumba. The unfortunate problem is that most of the suits no longer see Kumba as a marketable ride, and rather than rebuild and keep Kumba for future generations, they are going to simply run it for a while longer and then shut Kumba down for good.They believe that Kumba is “not Iconic” enough to save.
    The goal is to run Kumba through the summer, and Howl-O-Scream if the trains last that long, and then close the gates for good on Nov. 1st, 2022. Kaput… end of story… no 30th Birthday for Kumba in 2023. The sad thing is that they want to keep this a secret, as they don’t want the bad press about closing a major ride to follow the opening of Iron Gwazi, especially after they delayed the opening of Iron Gwazi by two years. So no last ride tribute, no going out with a bang, the plan is simply and quietly to close Gwazi and leave it SBNO for awhile until they determine what to do with the site. Busch Gardens Tampa pretty much did the same thing with Rhino Rally and the original Gwazi itself, long before they ever decided to create Iron Gwazi.
    So again, I say this, ride Kumba while you still can. It’s safe, being deemed “End of Life” doesn’t mean it’s dangerous, it just serves as notice from B&M to parks that they have 18 months left to schedule a replacement or plan the retirement for the ride. So ride Kumba… and if you want to see it saved, I’d encourage you to let the park know you want it to stay at guest relations when you visit in person, and maybe drop them a message online on social media or through their website. It would be sad to imagine the park without Kumba.

From Screamscape again

I mean all rides don't last forever, and essentially at some point, this will come true, whether November, 5 years time, 20 etc.... but I'm not a big fan of encouraging people to go to guest services or the people who manage social media and online contacts and pester the poor workers over something that may or may not happen.

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Very sad, I'll need to get back down there again to get several last rides in on it before the supposed closing date. A point of contention however, when we were there on the 11th they were running two trains on Kumba. Maybe this was just for the IG media day?

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So they repainted Kumba in 2019 and it still looks brand new (seriously, it looks great and you can still tell that it was *just* painted) but they had initially planned to paint it again this year for no reason and the unnecessary repaint was cancelled because the ride is closing forever?

Does this story seem odd to anyone else?

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7 minutes ago, coasterbill said:

So they repainted Kumba in 2019 and it still looks brand new (seriously, it looks great and you can still tell that it was *just* painted) but they had initially planned to paint it again this year for no reason and the unnecessary repaint was cancelled because the ride is closing forever?

Does this story seem odd to anyone else?

As with most Screamscape stories, it does seem made up just to draw traffic.

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I actually had that same thought. I don't know if you're serious and I don't know if it's likely, but actually I could almost see it... especially since this story has some major plot holes. lol

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This is starting to feel more real to me. I'm not taking any chances after missing my last ride on Volcano Blast.

 

Time to get to Tampa I guess...

Damn, flights are expensive from California!

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Storytime with Screamscape. Utterly exhausting reading all of that. No idea whether it's true. Could be, could not be. Who knows. 

I believe B&Ms service life is 20 years (trains 15 years), and it's obviously one of the older B&Ms and is at a year-round park so... maaaaaybe? But having said that the sequence of events is pretty weird. I can't understand why a rep would go and supervise track being dropped in, and then go 'oh, while I'm here I had the tools and expertise to do non-destructive testing on Kumba and you need a new one'

I mean B&M seem to be going pretty heavy on the whole buy one coaster, get a replacement coaster free angle lately so who knows. I just think it's a bit weird that B&M on one hand are considered to sell a premium product, but on the other their coasters are also disposable.

I wonder if we'll get more stories like this (whether it happens or not), and whether a lot of these problems shortening their coasters' lifespans have been engineered out of their latter rides (see Incepticoaster vs New Hulk vs Old Hulk)

Urgh, there I am mocking Screamscape for talking too much and look at me.

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