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Busch Gardens Tampa Bay (BGT Discussion Thread)

P. 372: Serengeti Flyer swing ride announced!

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I just realized I forgot to give an update after asking for advice on visiting the park about a month ago. So, I went right before hurricane Ian hit Florida and, to be honest, I still feel torn on whether or not I like this park or Hersheypark more. Regardless, Iron Gwazi is my new favorite coaster and I actually fit into it surprisingly well. On another note, Montu is easily the second best coaster in the park. That thing is amazing! Overall, it was a good visit and a good park!

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I got to visit the park last weekend for my first time.  Was supposed to stay for Howl o Scream, but it was the last day of a very long few days and I was just not physically capable of doing another lap or two around a theme park.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Iron Gwazi is insane.  Didn't become my favorite, but it's still one hell of a ride.  I think I'm spoiled with exposure to RMC because I knew what to expect.  If I had been GP or an enthusiast without an RMC experience I would have been totally blown away. 
  • Sheikra was a pleasant surprise.  I was expecting a lumbering bore like Valravn but it had a couple pops of airtime and better pacing than I expected.
  • Montu was fabulous.  It's on the same grand scale as something like Banshee but it was way more comfortable without the vest restraints and the relentless positive Gs.
  • Lots of Halloween decor to see in the scare zones and it looks like they really know what they're doing for their Haunt.

MEDIUM LIGHTS

  • Turn It Up! was fun.  I love to see parks keeping live entertainment and I think ice skating shows are a fun unique thing for theme parks that you don't get to see a lot of other places.
  • I'd heard mostly negative reviews of Sand Serpent but I enjoyed it.  A few of the hair pin turns really threw us around.  A couple wonky spots, but didn't ruin it for me.
  • Scorpion was fun.  I've never been on one of Schwarzkopf's more classic layouts and I definitely see the appeal.  Would re ride for sure.

LOW LIGHTS

  • Incredibly slow ops at some points in the day.  Kumba and Montu both running 1 train, neither with a grouper or a single rider line.  Iron Gwazi was *averaging* 3 minute dispatches due to slow employees and inefficient procedure.  I don't like to automatically blame employees, but there was a 40 minute line and they were casually strolling down the loading dock.  3 minute dispatch times WITH LOCKERS INSTEAD OF CUBBIES.
  • Speaking of lockers...   Dear parks, If lockers are going to be mandatory on nearly every attraction in the park, they need to be complimentary.  Otherwise this is literally just a surcharge for the privilege of being a person who needs to have a few things with you when you're out and about all day long.
  • Kumba was rattly AF.  Maybe we just had a bad train (which is funny because there were 3 other ones just chilling in the garage, totally unused despite the 45 minute line).
  • Cheetah Hunt.  It's fine.  It would have been in the medium category expect for I had several people tell me how much they love it and how it's one of their favorites and I would love it too.  And then it was.... fine.  Is this a thing that Floridians do to out of towners as a joke?  Is this a prank?  Did I get hazed?

Very bummed I couldn't stick it out for Howl O Scream, but the park is beautiful and I really enjoyed my visit overall.  

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Nice little mini-TR!  I hope to get back down to the Orlando parks sometime in 2023, after SWO opens Pipeline.  I missed out on Montu due to mechanical issues and IG wasn't even close to opening then.

Scorpion is a classic and I'm glad you enjoyed.  These Schwarzkopfs are a dying breed and really need to be appreciated as much as we can while we still can.

I think the issue with Cheetah Chase being so hyped is that Florida locals that don't travel don't know any better, so to them it's an "insane OMG balls to the wall ride !!1!1!"  I enjoyed it, but was similarly disappointed.  I kinda thought of it like a Maverick-lite.

Shame you had a bad experience on Kumba.  When I visited in February 2021, they were only running one train too, but the park was completely dead an everything was a walk on.  The ride really blew me away (especially in the back-left B&M "magic seat) and quickly shot into my top 10 steel.

I am also with you 120% on the "lockers should be free if they're required" thing.

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How possible is it to do all the major rides on a Friday afternoon in January? I know this is a very random question, but I'm going to go to training either in Phoenix or Tampa at that time and was curious if it's possible. I did it at sfft(4-close)and had a blast.

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You wont need quick queue.  Or at least wait til you're there.  They have self service machines a few places in the park.  It will most likely be dead and walk ons or < 10 min for everything.

 

 

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Wait until the afternoon to ride Iron Gwazi. Everyone goes to Iron Gwazi first and the line can be around an hour for most of the morning. By around 12:30 - 1:00 on weekdays, people have moved to other areas of the park and Iron Gwazi will be a 5 - 10 minute wait. 

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Was at BGT on Tuesday and thankfully was able to get on Iron Gwazi... It was up and running 2 trains just fine up until about 2 or so, when it went down. Eventually we went over and asked if it would reopen and was told it would not for the rest of the day.

Bummer, as we wanted a few rides before heading out, but at least we got on in the morning a few times.

IG by the way is easily my favorite RMC. Completely kills Vengeance in my mind, no question (I really, really hate the ending of Vengeance...). It was a stunning ride and took my #1 spot for RMC, at least. It was good redemption after riding Wonder Woman at SFMM days prior and how terrible that thing was...

But yeah, even the trains were better than usual. RMC must have made some tweaks from many of their other rides so the shin bar isn't actually pressing against my shin, leaving a bit of room, so it doesn't feel like it will snap my leg in two during airtime moments like so many of their other rides. HUGE improvement there.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I went to the park for a few hours today. Operations were surprisingly good compared to usual. Iron Gwazi was only stacking for 20 - 30 seconds. Cheetah Hunt had both loading stations open and was running 4 trains despite the trains going out with multiple empty rows. I thought it was interesting on a day when the park was empty that both Cheetah Hunt loading stations were open but not on days I visited during the summer when it was much more crowded. Montu was only running 1 train but understandable with it being a 1 - 2 train wait both times I rode the coaster.

I saw 2 maintenance workers at Phoenix. It looked like they were loading a water dummy into a seat and lifting restraints up and down on some of the other seats. I hope it does re-open with a day like today really showing how few flats and non coaster rides are operating. It was in the upper 60's, kind of cold for the water rides since you get soaked on both of them and besides those rides, that left the carousel, train and bumper cars for the only non coaster rides open. The new Screamin' Swing will help too.

BGTScreaminSwing.thumb.jpeg.f49b5df96a5f3bfa721d174c5526a5a8.jpeg

 

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I rode Iron Gwazi for my first time 11/14, it was absolutely fantastic after a couple okay rides in the morning. The whole warming up thing is no joke. 2nd fav RMC after Lightning Rod, and Lightning Rod is probably only ahead because I have a bias for launches. It was great to be back in the park after nearly 6 years.

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2 hours ago, CaptainUnknown said:

Any rides with mandatory bunnies? My last visit was before Tigris and Iron Gwazi opened. I have vague recollection that all other rides do have a place to put a water bottle off to the side. Has that changed at all?

I can't speak to IG, but as of February 2021, no ride had mandatory lockers IIRC.

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They covered up the cubbies in the station at rides like Montu. Most people leave the drinks and shoes on the floor of the station. At Cheetah Hunt, there is a shelf in the station for those items. Iron Gwazi also has small zippered pouches at each seat for loose articles.

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16 minutes ago, Nrthwnd said:

^^ Yeah, but doesn't it include something about l-o-c-k-e-r-s .... too?

It's my memory, and I'm sticking to it. 😋

Yep. On the old forum, the word filter for locker(s) was fluffy, fluffy bunnies filled with medicine and goo.

It is my understanding that the new forums can't handle word filters. That, or nobody's bothered to program them back in.

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