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Busch Gardens Tampa Bay (BGT Discussion Thread)

p. 348 - Iron Gwazi POV!

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Im at the park right now and it is gorgeous outside. Lines are non existant and the new Gwazi is amazing! Rode it 6x straight and and really enjoyed it! Lots of pics to come (ptr tomorrow)

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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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tangent

I want it back now in Williamsburg, please.

Or send Scorpion. Yeah, send Scorpion.

Gwazi Tiger+Gwazi Lion+Montu+Kumba+Sheikra+Scorpion+Wild Mouse+Sesame Street

LNM+Alpengeist+Apollo's Chariot+Griffon+Grovers+2012

It's irritating how the otherwise better park gets the smaller and less fantastic coaster collection, but I guess it's because BGW is my home park. And my ridiculously high standards/borderline insane crusade for a good Schwarzkopf Looper in Virginia doesn't help.

/tangent

 

Williamsburg has a great B&M hyper and solid Arrow looper that I would love to see in Tampa, while Tampa has a great B&M looper, solid GCI coaster, and Schwarzkopf looper that I'm sure Williamsburg locals would love to see up north. I've always thought both parks were about equal in terms of the quality of their offerings. Lets not forget Big Bad Wolf and Drachen Fire (I enjoyed both) were ripped out and not replaced yet. Tampa had Python, which I'm not sure anyone is or should be missing. Can't go wrong with either park.

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Was back at Busch Gardens again today for the official reopening of Gwazi! OMG the new trains are a HUGE improvement. So much smoother. I rode Lion once and Tiger twice and didn't feel like I was just beaten with a jackhammer. Checked on the status of the construction on Cheetah Hunt too. I talked briefly with one of the construction workers and he said this thing should be quite impressive when it's finished.

 

And now... photos!

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Of course I went nuts over the kangaroos & wallabys again.

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Wonderpup thinks this is the best part of the park besides the coasters!

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I love the tigers at Jungala.

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This elephant was swinging around what looked like an old Christmas tree, then it swung it onto its back and was carrying it. Comedy.

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Cheetah Hunt construction update!

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Wonderpup says spring can't get here fast enough!

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This tree was planted since last Saturday.

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Seriously, spring needs to hurry up and get here!

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Nice view of Gwazi from the balcony of the Crown Colony.

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And ShiekRa

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Gap in the wall!

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There was a gate open by that little gift shop by the Moroccan Palace Theatre, so I got a good shot of the workers building... this thing.

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This should be an interesting element.

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Follow the flag! Actually, I did! I snuck into a Brazilian tour group and followed along for about 20 minutes. No one noticed.

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Then I commandeered the flag of another group!

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Kumba was running good.

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Pretty water feature in Walkabout Way. This used to be part of the bird gardens... the peacocks and some other birds used to hang out here.

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And one more dose of cuteness to close out the day.

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I also was at BGT yesterday for the opening of Gwazi... got there about 8:45a... and walked directly to Gwazi... and much to our delight, there was hardly anybody there... the operation first thing in the morning was spotty (they nearly sent a Lion train with one restraint unlocked...)... the loading overall was quicker than I was expecting... the loading was actually not that bad... it was the physical dispatchers which were not on their game early in the morning (honestly seeming to not pay all too much attention to what was happening on the load platform)... the "loading" teams actually, seemed to be getting impatient with the dispatchers while waiting for the trains to depart... as for the trains themselves... with the PTC trains, I used to enjoy Tiger, ten fold over Lion... but that was mainly due to Tiger being marginally less rough than Lion... I've since become a "switch hitter" and now love Lion quite a bit more than Tiger... it just seemed to be more fun overall... the new trains have helped this ride immensly... no more headaches... no more pain... just a brisk fun, dare I say, pleasant ride... this is what the coaster should have been all along... I'm in love with Gwazi all over again...

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I also was at BGT yesterday for the opening of Gwazi... got there about 8:45a... and walked directly to Gwazi... and much to our delight, there was hardly anybody there... the operation first thing in the morning was spotty (they nearly sent a Lion train with one restraint unlocked...)... the loading overall was quicker than I was expecting... the loading was actually not that bad... it was the physical dispatchers which were not on their game early in the morning (honestly seeming to not pay all too much attention to what was happening on the load platform)... the "loading" teams actually, seemed to be getting impatient with the dispatchers while waiting for the trains to depart... as for the trains themselves... with the PTC trains, I used to enjoy Tiger, ten fold over Lion... but that was mainly due to Tiger being marginally less rough than Lion... I've since become a "switch hitter" and now love Lion quite a bit more than Tiger... it just seemed to be more fun overall... the new trains have helped this ride immensly... no more headaches... no more pain... just a brisk fun, dare I say, pleasant ride... this is what the coaster should have been all along... I'm in love with Gwazi all over again...

 

Agreed with everything you said except for the Lion thing...I still thought Tiger was a lot better and a tad smoother as well. But the dispatches definitely improved a lot through out the day despite the seemingly lazy ride operators, and we even got a ride where we sat on the brake run for literally 1 second before we advanced.

 

Was also shocked by the low crowds...every coaster was like a 1-2 train wait all day! I also arrived at 8:45 and walked to Gwazi, but my camera in a locker, and was still on the first train open to the public! Lots of pics coming soon.

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^^

I was on the second train, open for the public on Lion... not sure which side you were on... but if you waited at the transfer track for a bit after that first run, it was because they had to check the trains again due to that restraint not being locked... turns out the guest wasn't able to ride due to his size, but seriously, how did that slip by the loaders?!... I only rode each train once... had to get back to Orlando to work... but cannot wait until Wednesday when I give them another spin... many more spins in fact... and you are absolutely correct... Tiger WAS smoother... I just seemed to have more fun on Lion this go around... Oh, and I didn't have my camera... my partner needed the camera for work (I went to BGT with a friend)... That's why I'm going back on Wednesday so my partner can enjoy too... and he's never seen Cirque Dreams... so a few beers, coasters and shows... overall should be a great day off from work...

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I was on the first Lion train...I needed that credit actually (was closed my last and only visit) so I started there. Definitely go back for more spins and try the front/back on both trains. I rode it probably 10 times or so and it never got rough or old! Great fun and this really was an amazing move by the park...it's like they have a brand new ride.

 

Also, the new curved lap bars (I believe these started on Efteling's ride, but are a first for the U.S.) are a GREAT improvement to the ride and made the airtime a lot more enjoyable then the old, flat bars seen on Prowler, etc. The graphics and colors on these trains are amazing, also!

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I went to Busch Gardens on 1/21 hoping Gwazi would be open, but it wasn't. I couldn't make the official opening on 1/22 to ride the new and improved Gwazi. If I find myself in Tampa soon, I'll drop by and give Gwazi a ride.

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Hello everyone. Ask yourselves a few questions. First, have you ever fed giraffes? Do you want to? Have you ever wondered what various animals' noses looked like from three inches away? Do you think it's funny to watch foreigners run away from a splash down? If the answer to any of these questions is "yes," then check out the first installation of the 2011 Extravaganza! Only high quality pictures need apply, no grainy cell phone pics around these parts!

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So I checked out the new trains on Sat. I had a nice surprise and bumped into Jake and Dave at the Gwazi station right after opening. We hung out for the rest of the day along with Dave and Jake's friend's Nate and the Adams. Had a blast! Gwazi must have had an Exorcism, because the evil is gone! The ride is much better, a lot smoother. It's an intense ride, still not smooth as glass but a MAJOR improvement. Another plus about the new trains is that they are gorgeous and very comfy! Best surprise, I couldn't believe that they were dueling from opening till closing. I haven't see that in years! The last few years, if I didn't have to, I would skip Gwazi. I think on Sat. I rode from open to close almost 10 times and didn't get a headache! That's a major thumbs up from me!

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After riding Gwazi in the morning, Kevin came by for a bit to check out the new Walkabout Way. So we were totally suckered into feeding the Kangaroos and buying the phtos, but we loved it!

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Jake, Nate, Dave and I on one of our last chilly Gwazi rides of the night.

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^Haha wow, I love how all of the onride photos came out that night! Despite the timing issues with the camera they were all hilarious to me. New Kangaroo exhibit was awesome

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Glad to hear positive reviews of Gwazi's new trains. Lets not forget that in the past Gwazi has ridden smoother after it's annual refurb. I suspect at least some of the glowing reviews can be chalked up to that rather than new trains.

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First, have you ever fed giraffes? Do you want to? Have you ever wondered what various animals' noses looked like from three inches away?

 

Actually, you can feed giraffes at the Lowry Park zoo for only $5. And a park ticket is much cheaper. But anyway, that experience is fun anywhere you are.

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Busch Gardens Tampa Bay has sent us a press release announcing the launch of their new park-specific blog!

 

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay announced today the launch of a park-specific blog at http://www.buschgardenstampablog.com

 

The new blog will feature stories from all areas of the park, including animal training, engineering, entertainment, horticulture, culinary, merchandise and more. It will also focus on providing behind-the-scenes details and other unique content that can’t be found on the park’s .com site.

 

“This portal is a place for us to regularly share information and create a two-way dialogue with current and future guests,” said Busch Gardens’ Vice President of Marketing, Gerard Hoeppner. “The launch of this blog is a social media milestone for our new Digital Marketing team.”

 

Busch Gardens’ digital presence also includes a growing fan base on Facebook and Twitter, as well as a YouTube channel and their Busch Gardens .com and .org sites.

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My first trips to BGT were back in the early 80s when we moved to nearby Palm Harbor. Back then BGT was a very simple, family focused park divided into two distinct areas. On one side was the huge Serengeti Plain with hundreds of free-roaming animals, and the only way to see the animals was either by train, sky ride, or monorail. On the other side were the rides - nothing fancy or outlandish, and all were for the family to enjoy together. In the middle of the park was the brewery were one could take a tour and sample some beer. BGT was the anti-Disney back then - a quieter, smaller park that complimented the large, noisy, and expensive WDW just an hour to the east. I also got the vibe that BGT knew there was no way they could compete with Disney, and they were happy keeping the park the way it was.

 

We moved away in the mid 80s, and my next visit wouldn't be until 1999. I still remember walking into the park and having my jaw drop. Gone was the quieter, smaller park that I remembered. Newer, bigger rides had sprung up - Gwazi, Montu, and Kumba. The huge Serengeti Plain had been invaded by the Edge of Africa exhibit and the new land - Egypt. The brewery was gone, replaced by a forest of timber and rails. I felt sad because to me, the park was loosing its family friendly appeal, and was trying to keep pace with IOA, the new kid in town.

 

My next visit was last Saturday during the grand re-opening of Gwazi. Once again, my jaw dropped as I entered the park. There was another new coaster (SheiKra), and another one being built (Cheetah Hunt). The Python was gone, which left only two big coasters my first grader could ride (Cheetah Chase and Scorpion). The huge Serengeti Plain had been invaded yet again by Rhino Rally and Cheetah Hunt, and the monorail was officially gone. I also noticed the crowds had changed as well - while there were still plenty of families, the majority of guests that day were older teens and young adults coming to ride the big coasters. The look and feel of the park that I had cherished in the 80s was gone for good.

 

Sigh.

 

The Hits - feeding kangaroos, Lory Landing (first grader had four birds on him!), riding Gwazi with the new trains, riding Scorpion with the first grader as his first looping coaster, riding SheiKra & Montu with my third grader, watching the Orangutans in Jungala, and animal watching.

 

The Misses - The third grader was tall enough for SheKra & Montu, but a half inch too short for Kumba? They are all 54 inches, so why aren't the measuring sticks consistent? Dining plan was a good idea, but the food choices are limited for kids and overall the food is mediocre at best. Freezing my butt off on SheiKra at sunset - it was darn cold 200 feet in the air (and I was convinced the anemometer was going to fly away it was so gusty!)! The Brazilian groups that kept line jumping in front of my first grader. Rhino Rally - disjointed story line, mediocre driver, few animals - what's the point?

 

 

Photos - Unfortunately, all of the pictures I took are too perfect and without the proper watermarks for me to post on this board. Since I do not know how to apply watermarks, I will refrain from posting.

 

 

Finally - I do have a whole bunch of questions for the boards.

 

First - Scorpion - Where's the second train?

 

Second - Where are the Clydesdales?

 

Third - Is the Garden Café the former Hospitality House? Looked familiar, but didn't know for sure.

 

Fourth - Wasn't the Desert Grill originally a Fest Haus, just like the one in BGW?

 

Fifth - Wasn't there a dolphin show at some point? If so, where was it?

 

Sixth - Settle this debate. A guy in line was trying to tell me that each of the five big coasters has a twin in BGW. Python = Loch Ness Monster, Montu = Alpengeist, Kumba = Apollo's Chariot, SheiKra = Griffon, and Cheetah Hunt = TBD. I disagree. Who's right?

 

 

Thank you for reading, constructive and destructive criticism is welcome and appreciated.

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First - Scorpion - Where's the second train?

 

Second - Where are the Clydesdales?

 

Third - Is the Garden Café the former Hospitality House? Looked familiar, but didn't know for sure.

 

Fourth - Wasn't the Desert Grill originally a Fest Haus, just like the one in BGW?

 

Fifth - Wasn't there a dolphin show at some point? If so, where was it?

 

Sixth - Settle this debate. A guy in line was trying to tell me that each of the five big coasters has a twin in BGW. Python = Loch Ness Monster, Montu = Alpengeist, Kumba = Apollo's Chariot, SheiKra = Griffon, and Cheetah Hunt = TBD. I disagree. Who's right?

 

 

Thank you for reading, constructive and destructive criticism is welcome and appreciated.

 

First - More than likely torn apart in a maintenence bay being used for parts.

 

Second - The Clydesdales went the way of the Dodo not all too long after Busch/InBev sold the parks to Blackstone.

 

Third - Yes, that is the former Hospitality House.

 

Forth - Yeah, the Desert Grill is BGTs equivalent to Fest Haus in BGW

 

Fifth - The Dolphin show was in the theatre that now houses the Sesame Street Film Festival/Pirates 4D. It used to be an open air stadium. It was closed in. A/C added. And became the 3D Film theater which you see now.

 

Sixth - I don't know if all the coasters in each park are counterparts of each other...

But here it goes if you were to pair some of them up.

Python=Loch Ness Monster (a very poor match up... hey they are both products of Arrow... and painted yellow...)

Montu=Alpengeist

Kumba=Drachen Fire (a coaster built by arrow, which was closed down and removed due roughness and low ridership. It was located behind the former Big Bad Wolf site)

SheiKra=Griffon

Cheetah Hunt=(maybe)New BGW 2012 coaster.

Edited by Maximo37
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