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Busch Gardens Tampa Bay (BGT Discussion Thread)

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

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Picking up with the Cheetah Hunt ride, rode in back and as always a great ride. Even got the wife involved on that one, as well as our next stop, Cobra's Curse. I had QQ last time, so this was my first experience with the regular queue and it was fantastic! It is really well done (and air conditioned) and then you pop right out in the station. Quick 15 minute wait, and I love this thing. The theming is really fun and while the spinning aspect isn't much, it's just a really good family coaster. Hit Montu next door after a 3 train wait for the back (running 1 train but didn't really need a second) which was great as always. Best invert in the country that's not located in the state of Ohio.

Had lunch at Oasis Pizza (where it's $14 a slice and you don't get a side...like WTF?) before making our way across the Serengeti to check out some wildlife and eventually Pantopia. Upon arrival at Scorpion, there was a "temporarily closed" sign at the entrance even though it was clearly running with people on it when I walked up. I stood there for a minute and some people walked past me, so I followed and walked onto the next train. Not sure what that was all about, but sure made the line short! Typical fun Anton ride, what more is there to say? Sign was gone when I walked back around.

Got a pretzel next to the lifeless Falcon's Fury, then headed back into a 15 minute line for Kumba. Not that long, but the sun was beating on that front part of the line which sucked. Anyway, rode in back which was intense as ever and also had me immediately searching for the Tylenol guy because of the headache it gave me. Kumba was like "I'll show you a death roll! And also give your head a couple whacks in the corkscrews for good measure."

Jumped on the flume next which had a 20 minute line (and boy does that line crawl...not quite Lake Compounce flume slow, but close) and upon cresting the first drop, a wave overcame the side of the boat and I got soaked from the waist down. Both splashdowns were acceptable wetness, but that wave had me regretting riding.

Headed to Sheikra which had absolutely no line and rode in front. Saw dark clouds and some sprinkles on the lift, but didn't think anything of it. Ride was good, slight rattle in some of the valleys and for some reason this one doesn't quite click the way Griffon does to me. Upon hitting the brake run, we waited while they unfortunately unloaded the train in the station and then the train in front of us (WTF is the point of running 3 trains here?) So felt lucky to have gotten on the last train.

Ducked into the gift shop while the quick and quiet storm blew through, then started walking back up front. Last time we were here, a storm hit about 3 hours before closing (just like this one) and they decided to not bother reopening anything. However, this time I was surprised to see Iron Gwazi start to test right as we were walking by! Ran up to the station and got on the 2nd train in back. We were lucky we did. At the top of the lift, a huge bolt of lightning very close followed by immediate crackling thunder much louder than any point during the storm occurred before we descended into crazy town. This ride felt much faster and wild than the earlier ones, probably due to the wet track. The booming thunder only served to add to the craziness.

Once again, fortunate to get the last ride before the storm. This time I knew it would probably be a day ender. So we headed out and as the skies opened up we reached the tram shelter. We waited and waited, figuring they were just running it with 1 tram Six Flags style. A ton of people were behind us at that point. The rain started to let up and we got sick of waiting, so started walking. Once we popped out of the tunnel the skies opened up again and we got soaked. We also found the trams just sitting on that side chilling. WTF Busch Gardens...first off why would you stop running the thing anyway, and secondly why wouldn't you put up a sign or rope off the shelter? 

I just don't get this place. It has a great lineup of coasters, don't get that part wrong. But I just tell myself over and over that I can't believe it's the same park chain as Williamsburg. Having the Busch Gardens name sets a certain expectation, and I know they've had their issues but it's become a lower tier Six Flags experience. The food blows, the operations are awful, too many closed rides. 

Finished the day up the right way upon arrival back in Kissimmee. Bought an after 9 PM ride band at Fun Spot and took out my frustrations on some Florida drivers on the go karts. The track with the 32 degree banked turn is insane. So much fun to race these tracks and watch people wreck all over the place. Also got a few Mine Blower rides. Most of them were just me in the train so the ride ran much slower than my OMFG rides on it last month and kind of peters out in the back half. The storm ride on Iron Gwazi definitely blew it away, but it's still my 3rd favorite coaster in Florida.

Glad to have gotten back to BGT after my very half assed day there last month, complete with almost passing out in a hot as balls 40 minute line at Zambia Smokehouse to get a soggy pulled pork sandwich. I wanted to give it a fair shot while having the energy to actually put in a full day. I love the coaster lineup and the selection of animals is pretty good (although something thst also exists close to me in Jersey) but otherwise this place really needs a kick in the ass to get itself to be as good as it should be. Otherwise, I just can't help but look at it as Six Flags America with animals and good coasters.

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  • 2 weeks later...

just rode IG twice. i liked it so much i actually queue'd for it since my fast pass included only one ride on it. 

 

it stomps SV and i do not see this ride being bested for at least 10 years. it's truly spectacular. BGT has one of the best lineups in the world. Montu, Kumba, IG and CH are all Iconic. 

 

As far as operations go, im new to SE Florida but it appears everyone is critically understaffed at the moment. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

It's been down since early May right? And that initially was speculated due to strong storms/lightning affecting the ride? 

I know my visit was right around when it went down and BGT said it'd be back up on a specific day in May like it was routine maintenance. Bummer it's still down with no signs of life almost 2 months later.

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So SWSA is my home park and I have the platinum membership. This will get me into BGT and BGW and SWO also which is why I got the platinum. However I want to bring my niece to BGW def and maybe BGT and SWO. So far the fine print states I can only use bring a guest free at my home park in SA? Is this correct? Had anyone been able to sweet talk Guest Services into redeeming a Guest Pass elsewhere besides your home park? I'm kinda pissed finding this out as a great benefit would be to hit remote parks and be able to bring someone else. I thought that was what I signed up for with platinum. Otherwise does anyone know how much the Guest Discounted ticket will be? There is a 4th of July Special for BGW on July 28th for 49.99 so I need to know if that beats the Guest Ticked Discount. Help! Thanks, and roll on. 

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On 6/17/2022 at 12:31 PM, rachelmadcow said:

it stomps SV and i do not see this ride being bested for at least 10 years. it's truly spectacular. BGT has one of the best lineups in the world. Montu, Kumba, IG and CH are all Iconic. 

Some people seem to think Velocicoaster already does that in their book, so... Subjectivity is a hell of thing.

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I am going to be at Busch Gardens either July 27 or 28 (mostly depending on weather). I've been reading through the comments and see Falcons Fury is closed (not a huge deal for us).  I'm trying to decide if Quick Que is needed. I am totally prepared to buy it but since this is a park I haven't visited in almost 20 years, I wanted to get a regular's thoughts.

Thanks in adbance.

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If you want to ride most of the coasters and the water rides multiple times it might be worth it. Otherwise you can probably get away without it.

For the most part, the only coasters with consistently more than a 20-30 minute wait on summer weekdays have been Iron Gwazi, Cheetah Hunt, Cobra’s Curse and Montu (later in the day the wait drops for Montu). The log flume and rapids also get long waits. Even if you buy Quick Queue with the Iron Gwazi add on, that only gives you 1 ride for that coaster.

Something else to keep in mind is a storm could close the rides for a while and that would give you less time to use Quick Queue but it clears out the crowds. Last week the rides were closed for at least 90 minutes in the late afternoon because of lightning nearby even though it never rained. When the rides reopened, I waited 5-10 minutes for everything except the flume that looked like around a 20-30 minute wait (I used my Platinum single use Quick Queue there).

 

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