Busch Gardens Tampa
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment
---- THE LATEST BUZZ ----
(7/24/14) Howl-o-Scream Summer Ticket Special (MORE...)
(7/21/14) New Progress on Falcon's Fury (MORE...)
(7/10/14) Opening Night Critters (MORE...)
(7/7/14) Falcon's Fury Walls Come Down (MORE...)
Ride Rehabs - The following information is not guaranteed to be 100% accurate.
Gwazi - ONE SIDE ONLY until FURTHER NOTICE
Hippos of the Nile - August 18 through August 22, 2014
Gwazi Gliders - August 25 through August 29, 2014
Tidal Wave - Sept. 2 through Sept. 19, 2014
Rosita's Fly A Way - Sept. 22 through Sept. 26, 2014
Skyride - Sept. 29 through October 24, 2014
Stanleyville Falls - Nov. 3 through Nov. 21, 2014
Scorpion - Dec. 8 through Dec. 12, 2014
Big Bird’s Whirly Birdie - Dec. 15 through Dec. 19, 2014
General Park News - (7/10/14) Busch Gardens Tampa will open a new live stage show called Opening Night Critters this summer in the Pantopia Theater. The show features rescued domestic and exotic animals (dogs, cats, birds, a horse and kangaroo just to name a few). Watch the video below for a sneak preview of the new show.
(7/3/14) Busch Gardens Tampa is putting on a series of Saturday-night concerts this summer, though I have to admit, I haven’t heard of most of these. The list includes Pentatonix (July 19), Zion y Lennox (July 26), Cher Lloyd (Aug 2), Taking Back Sunday (Aug 9) and The All-American Rejects (Aug 16).
(6/16/14) Great news for BGT guests came in this weekend. No… we don’t have an opening date for Falcon’s Fury yet, but I’m told that Rhino Rally is open for guests once again. I’d expect to see it stay open until early to mid August, when the local schools go back and things start to slow down at the park.
(6/3/14) Pass and Fun Card members for Busch Gardens Tampa can take advantage of a special celebration event just for you called Sidewalk Safari Nights, a two weekend member appreciation event on Friday / Saturday June 13-14 and 20-21 from 7:30pm to 11:00pm.
Pass Members can ride their favorite coasters at night and get up close looks at many of the park’s animal ambassadors. Plus a special look inside Iceploration, Burn the Floor: Untapped and more. For all the details you can contact the park at 1-888-800-5447.
(5/22/14) The SeaWorld Parks have launched all new version’s of their official park smartphone Apps (Discovery Guides) earlier this year, and the improvements just keep on coming. I’m told that the ability to purchase QuickQueue to cut to the front of the line will soon be coming to the app itself, which means you can upgrade your experience from within the actual line you are trying to skip.
Other new additions include GPS enabled park maps, real-time updates of park show schedules and special events, current ride-wait times, the ability to receive broadcasted park notifications and special offers, and soon will also give you the ability to order your food online from select locations so you don’t have to wait in line to order.
You can download the official Discovery Guide apps for the SeaWorld, Busch Gardens and Sesame Place parks for free in both: Apple (App Store) and Android (Google Play) flavors.
(5/20/14) Both Busch Gardens Tampa and SeaWorld Orlando have raised their ticket prices this week. Admission to Busch Gardens Tampa is now $95 for both adults and children, though there are many discount offers available online if you buy in advance. Admission into SeaWorld Orlando is $95 for adults and $90 for children (3-9). Parking is $17, and $22 for preferred parking.
(5/14/14) Adventure Islands will feature more fun during this year’s Island Nights event all summer long (June 12 - Aug. 9) every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night from 5-9pm. New this year will be the Island Nights Food Truck (featuring tacos, quesadillas, nachos and more), Kid’s Zone at Mango Joe’s Beach with a DJ, and a Glow-in-the-Dark Grand Finale at 8:30pm.
(5/1/14) Good news for Rhino Rally fans this week. I’ve heard from a couple of sources that Rhino Rally drivers have been assembled in the park to reopen the attraction. A group of them, in Rhino Rally driver shirts, were spotted inside the Twisted Tails Pretzel shop during a Pantopia preview last week, who informed our source that they would be reopening in May. I can only assume we will see it open again my Memorial Day weekend, if not soft open sometime before then. It has also been noted that there are also job postings up in the park to hire on new drivers as well.
(4/15/14) Who remembers the old Skytower Tree of Lights that used to shine every Christmas season at SeaWorld Orlando? I know my Southern California readers know about the similar giant light tree put up by SeaWorld San Diego every winter, still to this very day.
We can expect to see a similar Tree of Lights display will return to Florida later this year most likely, but at Busch Gardens Tampa, where it will be attached to Falcon’s Fury. The park submitted an application to the FAA to do just this, which you can read here.
Howl-O-Scream 2014 - (7/24/14) Busch Gardens Tampa has posted a special Summer offer to pre-purchase tickets for Howl-O-Scream at a discount rate for a limited time. Click here to see the dates and prices, starting with the Freaky Preview nights on 9/26 and 9/27. They’ve also posted a sneak-peek video at what 2014 has in store for us.
2014 - Falcon’s Fury / Pantopia - (7/21/14) The latest update to Pixels at the Parks shows that crews appears to have already replaced the huge lift cables on the Falcon’s Fury drop tower this week. An interesting procedure to see happen on a new ride that hasn’t even opened yet.
(7/7/14) BGTFans has posted a new photos update for Falcon’s Fury and the immediate area now that the construction walls have come down. Still no word on when it may be ready to open however.
(7/2/14) While Busch Gardens is still waiting to open their new Falcon’s Fury drop tower, they’ve decided to give it a unique paint job to really stand out. A great video report from the local news goes up close and personal with process of painting the massive tower by hand.
(5/29/14) Busch Gardens Tampa has released an official statement regarding the continuing delay of Falcon’s Fury… which now apparently wont be ready to open until sometime later this summer. Read on:
Busch Gardens’ new thrill ride Falcon’s Fury includes first-of-its kind design elements, systems and parts. Due to a delay in the fabrication of key component parts, neither the manufacturer nor Busch Gardens are able to complete the lengthy testing processes needed to open the ride to the public. The safety of our guests and team members remains Busch Gardens’ top priority and none of these delays involve safety systems. The ride has been safely operated in the initial stages of the testing process, and all other elements of the park’s newest re-imagined land Pantopia are now open to guests. Busch Gardens will provide updates on the ride opening as events warrant. We are committed to delivering world-class thrills and the best possible ride experience, and we look forward to the launch of Falcon’s Fury, North America’s tallest freestanding drop tower, later this summer.
(5/22/14) Could the first test riders be climbing aboard Falcon’s Fury in the near future? According to BGTFans, the park will host a special private event on June 8th which has promoted rides on Falcon’s Fury as part of the itinerary. They also have a new video showing off the ride testing with full tilt motion restored once again.
While on the subject of the ride opening... if you happen across a news article from a UK media source claiming that the ride has already opened to the public... they are wrong. 100% wrong...
(5/21/14) Screamscape sources in the park this week tell us that Falcon’s Fury is now testing again with the full tilting motion being used, and from the sound of things, they have solved the issues and testing appears to be going smoothly and rapidly. If all goes well, it shouldn’t be much longer until they are ready to open this thing.
(5/20/14) The latest construction update for Falcon’s Fury can be found at BGTFans. They have a video showing off more test drops… but the ride is dropping without tilting the seats at all.
(5/3/14) Falcon’s Fury is apparently still having issues with those silver arms breaking away. Check out this video to see another more clear angle of the problem. (Thanks to JourneyThroughCoasters.com for the video clip!)
(4/29/14) Busch Gardens Tampa has released some new video footage of Falcon’s Fury in action… including a POV of the face-first drop. One thing that Falcon’s Fury has going for it in addition to the height, is the flat Florida landscape that lets you know that the only thing soaring higher than you are the clouds.
(4/26/14) For a few hours the new Twisted Tails Pretzels shop soft-opened at Pantopia to park guests to allow for employee training yesterday, ahead of the official opening this weekend. BGTFans has the complete story, with photos, include the Bacon Pretzel Fury. Also, we see the return of the closed kiddie rides to the area as well, with Bush Flyers and the Kiddie Train now reopen.
(4/22/14) Things are not going well for Falcon’s Fury it seems. The official word came out last week that the media / preview day events have been canceled for the time being and will be rescheduled when the ride is ready. It seems some complications have arisen in the early testing phases of the unique drop tower attraction that will push things back a little bit.
So what’s gone wrong? It seems the tilting seats have some issues to be worked out, because they were designed to rotate back up into an upright-seated posture when the ride hits the brake zone. Unfortunately it seems they are snapping back up far too quickly (and almost violently) and one of them even managed to seem to snap off a silver pneumatic control arm in the process. Check out the video below shot by Pixels at the Parks and jump ahead 40 seconds into the video to watch several test drops where the arm is broken and begins to bang against the tower on the way down.
(4/16/14) BGTFans has posted a new video this week showing off the first full-height test drops of the Falcon’s Fury drop tower, starting off with some mini-drops.
(4/14/14) A new construction update on the Falcon’s Fury drop tower has been posted to Pixels At The Parks, including a video showing off the rider cart being slowly moved up the tower.
(4/9/14) Pixels at the Parks has posted a new photo update from Pantopia at Busch Gardens Tampa.
(3/31/14) Pixels at the Park has posted a new photo update from the Falcon’s Fury and Pantopia construction sites.
(3/26/14) Pixels at the Parks has posted a video report from Busch Gardens Tampa this week, showing off the new Painted Camel Bazaar in the new Pantopia area. Meanwhile the park has also released a new Falcon’s Fury webisode (#3) that also focuses on what else we can expect to find inside Pantopia, including a new food items in DragonFire and then into Twisted Tales Pretzels that will offer new signature item: the Bacon Pretzel Fury, a yummy pretzel twist filled with BACON!
(3/21/14) BGTFans has posted a new construction update from Falcon’s Fury, as the ride gets closer to opening. The ride cart has been fully assembled and mounted to the tower now as well. They’ve got some great pictures of the cars and all the crazy hardware used to to allow them to tilt when you get to the top.
(3/5/14) Busch Gardens Tampa has confirmed that Falcon’s Fury will open on May 1st.
(2/20/14) The latest Falcon’s Fury video update from Busch Gardens Tampa takes us up close and personal with Falcon’s Fury ride hardware: the seats, the tower and even a look inside the tower itself. Check it out below!
(2/6/14) A construction tour of Falcon’s Fury was held today and you can catch a great video recap of the tour posted by Coaster Crew on YouTube showing off the new drop tower ride and Pantopia area. Meanwhile the former 4D THEATER is being transformed as the new home for a new live animal show called Opening Night Critters.
On a related note, the park’s Critter Castaways show will close forever on 2/16/14. The cast, crew and some of the animals will then be making the transition over to the new Opening Night Critters show according to what I’m hearing which should be ready to open by the start of the busy summer season, if not before.
(1/29/14) The latest episode of In The Loop chats with the Project Manager of Falcon’s Fury about the park’s new ride, the drop experience, how the new seats will move and the random drop timer at the top. Check it out.
(1/24/14) BGTFans takes a look at the progress being made on Falcon’s Fury this week, including the installation of a 68 ton counterweight.
(1/13/14) BGTFans has a new Falcon’s Fury update this week, giving us our first look at the seats which have arrived at the park, wrapped up in clear plastic. Meanwhile the park has released a fun new video using a copter cam to show off what a 335 ft drop would look like as seen around other Orlando area landmarks.
(1/9/14) Busch Gardens Tampa shared a couple of images (see below) with Screamscape this week (with photo credit to Aerial Innovations) showing off the current status
of Falcon’s Fury, which has now officially surpassed 300 feet in height. The aerial photos give you a good idea of the view you will have at the top of the ride, moments before you plunge face first back down to the ground.
(1/6/14) BGTFans reports that the 7th tower section of Falcon’s Fury has been hoisted into place. Make the jump to see the latest pictures of the park’s new tallest attraction.
(12/27/13) A new Falcon’s Fury construction update has been posted to BGTFans this week. Check it out.
(12/23/13) The latest pictures of Falcon’s Fury can be found at Orlando United today as the first blue section of the tower has been lifted into place. Below that they have some pictures taken prior showing off the install crew installing the huge array of bolts into the hefty connection plates that bolt the tower sections together.
(12/20/13) The latest pictures sent in to Screamscape showing off the massive Falcon’s Fury tower that is quickly rising over the Timbuktu area of the park are certainly impressive. The tower is already much taller than the nearby Scorpion roller coaster and is not even halfway assembled yet.
(12/13/13) BGTFans has a new Falcon’s Fury construction update this week. Check it out.
(12/9/13) Several more towers sections have now been hoisted into place on Falcon’s Fury. Make the jump over to BGTFans to see the latest pictures.
(12/3/13) The second tower section has been added to Falcon’s Fury. You can see pictures over at BGTFans.
(11/29/13) A new construction update of Falcon’s Fury can be found over at BGT Fans this week as the park prepared to raise the second tower section into place.
(11/26/13) Busch Garden Tampa has announced that as part of the construction of the new Falcon’s Fury, the land of Timbuktu will be no more. Instead the land will be transformed and updated to become known as “Pantopia”.
Yes… I know… it sounds more like a new flavored water drink than something that belongs in a theme park, but after the whole “Cheetah Hunt” name fiasco, I’m not going to bother trying to fight it.
Anyway, Pantopia “will boast elaborately-jeweled theming and feature thrilling rides and attractions, sensational new food and beverage options, exciting entertainment, shopping, a renovated indoor theater and more.“
Pantopia “will celebrate the spirit of animals, welcome adventurers from the four corners of the earth, explore ancient lore and display fantastic architecture,” says Busch Gardens Park President Jim Dean. “Guests will find multiple portals and doorways and learn about the legends that have drawn journeyers from around the world to Pantopia. Plus, family favorites like the Scorpion, Phoenix, Bush Flyers, Desert Runners and the Kiddie Train will return.”
A new webisode for Falcon’s Fury has also been posted, so check it out below.
(11/19/13) Falcon’s Fury has now gone vertical and you can see the first tower section piece now in place over at BGTFans. While we’re on the subject of Fancon’s Fury the local news posted a few more details about the ride experience itself. The tower will feature a total of 32 seats sectioned into groups of four. The tower wont spin on the way up and you’ll rise to the top in the normal upright seated posture. Once at the top the seats will tilt forward, placing riders into a face-down prone position looking down at the ground far before. You’ll hang that way for a few long seconds before you are released and drop… but half-way down the seats will tilt back again to the upright position just before it hits the magnetic brake zone. They estimate that the freefall sensation will last between 5 to 6 seconds.
There is one extra special element to the puzzle, as uncovered by Central Florida 13 News. The length of the pause at the top will be controlled by a randomizer program in the ride’s computer, so you’ll never know if you’ll drop after 1 second, 5 seconds or longer.
(11/4/13) A reader got a great look at the construction site for Falcon’s Fury this week, giving us a clear look at the hole and deep concrete pillar poured inside. With the nine tower pieces now on site (each up to 20 feet in diameter and weighing up to 95 tons) it wont be long before the 335ft tower rises into the sky. According to Busch Garden, once set in place, Falcon’s Fury will be the tallest freestanding drop tower in North America.
(10/31/13) More large tower sections have arrived in Florida for Falcon’s Fury. Check out the convoy of trucks bringing them to the park here.
(10/29/13) The tower pieces for Falcon’s Fury have started to arrive at Busch Gardens Tampa. A few pictures have been floating around on Twitter and over at Behind the Thrills, and a reader also sent in this one as well.
(9/20/13) TheParks.IT gives us a look at the big square hole that has been dug for Falcon’s Fury.
(9/3/13) A new quick look at the Falcon's Fury drop ride construction site was posted by JohnnyUpsidedown this week. As previously reported, we can expect to see the ground work phase go on for awhile as they need to perform extra work on the site to ensure the long term stability of the drop tower. (They don't want a wobbly tower like the Coney Island Astrotower, right?) I'm told that we will likely not see the hardware for the drop tower start to arrive until after Halloween.
(8/21/13) A new video construction update from the Falcon’s Fury construction site has been posted to CoasterCrew this week.
(8/9/13) BGTFans has posted a photo update from the Falcon’s Fury construction site, where lots of steel has been driven down into the ground.
(7/26/13) BGTFans has posted a small construction update for Falcon’s Fury this week.
(7/15/13) BGTFans has posted a construction update for Falcon’s Fury as large steel beams are being driven down into the earth.
(6/28/13) BGTFans has posted the first construction photos from the future site of Falcon’s Fury as construction equipment is on site and the work has begin to install the fright tower.
(6/12/13) The long rumored drop tower ride project was confirmed at Busch Gardens Tampa a few hours ago... and it may be the most frightening freefall ride on the planet when it opens. Falcon’s Fury will stand 335 feet tall, hoist riders slowly to the top peak where the seats will then tilt 90º forward, essentially laying you flat, face-down staring at the ground far far below you. After a brief pause, you’ll be released and accellerate to 60mph before coming to a sudden and smooth stop inches above the ground, thanks to a set of magnetic brakes.
This sounds utterly terrifying to the point where they want want to sell Depends undergarments in the queue before you ride, or offer a clean pair of underwear at the exit when you are peeled out of your seat. For those who like to check under the hood... this new tower ride creation is an Intamin product. Check out the very cool preview video below.
(5/30/13) From the sounds of things Busch Gardens Tampa may be ready to make the big announcement about that rumored new Drop Tower ride coming to the park. They e-mailed invitations out to the media on Tuesday afternoon stating that, ‘We’re dropping BIG NEWS!” on June 11th in a special presentation at the park. We’ll have someone there to get the news as it is announced.
(4/17/13) More changes have been made to the park’s rehab schedule, especially the dates for the four Tumbuktu attractions. All four of those rides (Sandstorm, Bush Flyers, Desert Runners and the Kiddie Train) are all listed as closing down on June 3rd. However... a more important change is the fact that the Sandstorm is now listed with a December 31st reopening date. So far we have assumed that this meant the other three attractions would be removed from the park entirely, but previously the park was intending to move Sandstorm to a new location instead, as it still is really the only true thrilling flat ride in the entire park.
That said... this does match up to the strange rumor I recieved a couple of weeks ago and was not ready to believe at the time. According to that secret source, the plans for Sandstorm had changed and it too would be removed from the park, and would find a new home up in Sesame Place instead for next season.
(3/15/13) While I still haven’t heard much about the latest plans for a new drop tower at Busch Gardens Tampa, my source tells me that the rumor going around the park will see the tower stand up over 300 feet tall, and may feature tilting seats of some kind when it opens in 2014. We should know more by April when construction is expected to begin.
(3/11/13) I noticed earlier today that BGT had moves some dates around on their Attraction Rehab calender, including moving up the planned closure of Sandstorm, Busch Flyers, Desert Runners and the Kiddie Train from June 19th to now close on April 22nd. Sandstorm’s new reopening date is May 31st given it a nearly 6 week downtime from the previous 7 day rehab schedule, which would possibly be enough time to move it to a new location in the park if that is still the plan. Meanwhile the three kiddie rides nearby will all close at the same time on April 22nd but their reopening date is still listed as December 31st, which is a long long time...
(2/21/13) Busch Gardens posted their list of 2013 Attraction Rehab dates (see above) and I noticed something very interesting that could involve the new rumored drop tower ride. On June 19th, four attractions in Timbuktu are slated to close down, all at once: Sandstorm, Bush Flyers, Desert Runners and the Kiddie Train. While the rehab on the Sandstorm is listed as lasting for one week (June 19 through June 26), the three kiddie rides are all listed as closing from June 19 through to December 31st! As the rehab calender only includes dates within 2013, this says to be that these three rides may be slated for removal on June 19th.
The once planed timeline to move the Sandstorm to a new location near Gwazi has come and gone, and Sandstorm still sits in Timbuktu. I also don’t believe we will see the park able to move the ride to a new location in a week-long window in June 2013 either, so I’ve got to wonder if the site of the proposed Drop Tower ride has been moved over to the combined location where the three kiddie rides sit, just to the south of Phoenix. This location on the edge of Timbuktu would also provide a pretty good view down into the Rhino Rally / Elephant exhibit area next door. One more thought to chew on... if these three kiddie rides are removed, will they be moved to new locations in the park, or just simply retired?
(2/4/13) The word from a few BGT insiders is that the park is still planning on adding a drop tower ride to the park, but they are now not expecting to begin construction on the ride until around July. It is still expected to take over the Sandstorm location, which will be moved to a new site near Gwazi.
(11/15/12) I’m hearing that tilting seats are simply but one of a few different options (aka: gimicks) Busch Gardens Tampa may be looking into in an effort to make their new tower ride concept stick out as something unique from the rest of the pack which is understandable. Of course if they want something really unique, I’d love to see some kind of launched drop tower ride experience where you load in the middle of the tower, that would start off by lowering you down into a dark pit (preferably filled with hungry crocodiles) before launching you up into the sky. I’m not sure how far down they can dig in Florida to make this happen, but it’s worth a shot in my opinion to make such a unique experience.
I’ve also got to update my note comment about S&S’ Tilting Seats. They did install them briefly onto the Volcanic Impact tower ride at Fantasy Island in the UK, but the tilting seats were removed sometime after the first year or so.
(11/14/12) The latest rumor on the proposed Busch Gardens drop tower ride is that the company is looking into new alternative drop tower idea proposals from other manufacturers. If the rumors are true, they may be looking into a new design that once you reach the top of the tower, your seats could tilt forward positioning the riders into a face-down skydiving style pose.
As memory services, Intamin tried their hand at tilting seats several years ago mixed with a stand-up riding posture, but the few rides that opened only tilted riders out a scant 15º and offered the most uncomfortable drop tower ride experience of all time.
Back when Stan Checketts was running S&S Power, he told me he had been working on tilting seats also for their tower ride, and had actually made a set of prototype seats that would tilt 40º which I was allowed to test ride at their Logan, Utah HQ. He wasn’t done there however, he wanted to keep working on them until he could tilt them at least 60º. Unfortunately it seems that these ideas were never finalized. Stan did realize his vision for a fully tilting seat able to rotate riders into facing 90º straight down while they fell from the sky on the S&S Sky Sling ride, but unfortunately there are no more of these left.
So the question is… who could Busch be talking with now about their new drop tower plans? Maybe we’ll uncover some hints at this year’s IAAPA show.
(11/13/12) According to the latest rumors, the park’s plans to add a drop tower attraction may have been put on hold indefinitely, possibly due to the issues they’ve had with the drop tower in the Williamsburg park.
(7/20/12) I’m not exactly sure whick park this may be for, but I’ve got a feeling it’s for Tampa. It was noticed this week that SeaWorld Entertainment has just trademarked the name Falcon’s Fury for a new attraction. Could this be a new name for Sandstorm after they relocate it, or perhaps a better name for the new drop tower ride? Anyone know more?
(5/9/12) ParkRumors did a little digging in the Trademark database and discovered a new filing from SeaWorld Entertainment for the name “Desert Dive” for a new ride. They have also purchased the DesertDive.com URL as well. I’m agree with what they’re thinking… that this is the new intended name for the 2013 drop tower ride.
Still… sounds a bit goofy to me. Desert Dive would be a great name for a Egyptian themed flume ride, wouldn’t it? Just seems to be lacking as a drop tower name.
(3/14/12) Screamscape sources tell us that the drop tower project will proceed at the Sandstorm location after all. Dealing with ground issues like this in Florida is something BGT is well used to dealing with, as I’m told there were similar problems that had to be dealt with during the construction of Cheetah Hunt as well.
(3/13/12) Some very interesting news has come in from a reader who visited Busch Gardens over the weekend. While waiting in line to ride Sandstorm they spied a series of small holes (“each about the size of a small dessert plate”) that had been drilled in the ground all around the Sandstorm ride as well as a few holes outside of the ride’s retaining wall between it and the arcade. Digging a little deeper, I’m told they were taking core samples to test the stability of the ground under this area, and the initial results were not quite what they had hoped for. This could cause the proposed Drop Tower ride to be relocated to a new site in the park, or could delay the project by several months (late 2013, early 2014?) are extra site work would be required to stabilize the site to hold the drop tower ride.
(3/6/12) According to a report at Park Rumors, new plans filed by Busch Gardens Tampa show off a new drop tower style ride in place of the Sand Storm ride. If you look at the close-up of the diagram of the ride itself what appears at first to be a square ride pod is really an octagon, which each side holding 4 riders, for a total of 32 per cycle.
If this layout holds true, this is a different layout frolm the circular carousel used by Moser on last year’s Mach Tower at the Willamsburg park, which held 30 riders. The layout also doesn’t look like anything I’ve seen before from Intamin, S&S, Huss, Zamperla, Fabbri or even ABC. So we may be looking at an entirely new animal here.
(1/30/12) Legend from CoasterCrew was visiting BGT over the weekend and managed to grab a photo of survey work in progress at the Sandstorm ride. Looks like the rumors about it being replaced with something new may be coming true. Lets just hope they decide to give Sandstorm a new home somewhere else… maybe by Montu or Kumba, because Sandstorm is really the only good flat ride in the entire park.
(9/21/11) Possibly backing up the rumor of a drop tower coming to the Tampa park, a reader reports that during the grand opening of Cheetah Hunt, they had a moment to speak with “the rides designer (forget his name)”, which I’m guessing may have been Mark Rose. In any case, when they asked him about what was coming next to the park he simply said to watch for what the other parks were getting to figure out what was coming next. Though with the problems the park had putting in Mach Tower in Williamsburg, I’m kind of surprised they would be ready to drop one into Tampa before they’ve had a good bit of time to give the first one a good shakedown. Anyway… this is all still just a rumor at this point, so stay tuned!
2015/2016/2017 - Gigacoaster - Rumor - (10/7/13) According to a local area source members of the ride engineering department from Busch Gardens Tampa were spotted at Canada’s Wonderland over the weekend. While neither park is a stranger big rides, especially B&M coasters, the one big thing that you can find at Canada’s Wonderland and no where else in the world would be Leviathan, a B&M Gigacoaster. Is BGT ready to build the coaster coaster in Central Florida to break the 300 foot height limit? Stay tuned!
???? - Gwazi Status Updates - (9/3/13) According to the latest crazy rumors about Gwazi, I've heard that they only expect to keep Gwazi up and running (or rather the half that is still running) for another couple of seasons before they give up and demolish it. I'm guessing this means that they have a long-term plan in place to build some kind of replacement attraction on or near the site, which means we may not see a new coaster in the park until 2016.
Of course if this means that Gwazi is officially on "life support" until they are ready to replace it, if anything very costly were to come up in the form of maintenance over the next couple of years, we could see the park opt to simply close it down early. So get your last rides in while you can.
(4/8/13) While Busch Gardens has still not been willing to make any comments or answer my questions about the future of Gwazi in the park, one reader claims to have seen what appeared to them to be one of Gwazi’s inactive trains taken apart and the cars mounted to wooden platforms and set alongside one of the park’s backroads, as if they were being shipped out somewhere.
There is an interesting rumor claiming that if Gwazi’s was shut down at some point in the future, the trains (which are only a couple of years old) would be shipped to Busch Gardens Williamsburg. This would be a very intriguing move since that park has no wooden coaster at all, but has long been rumored to be interested in building one on the former site of Drachen Fire, possibly as part of a whole new land themed to Spain, or part of an expansion of the existing German themed Oktoberfest area. For more on what the future of BGW may hold… make the jump over to that page.
As for the future of Gwazi, a reader took the early morning Roller Coaster Experience tour at the park not long ago and during the Gwazi portion of the tour, did ask a few questions about the future of the ride. According to the mechanic who talked to the group at that portion of the tour, the Tiger side is closed permanently. They also told the group that the coaster was expected to be removed in the next year or two to make way for a new “Speed Coaster” that would open in 2015 or 2016.
(3/11/13) While Spring is quickly approaching, no one seems to be sure if Gwazi will be able to return running both the Tiger and Lion sides or not when the busy crowds start to show up for Spring Break. Based on the messy half-disassembled state of the Tiger train on left in the shed, things are not looking good. Plus the second train that was previously on the maintenance track to the left of this one is now entirely missing in action. Anyone know a bit more about what plans are in store for the Gwazi in 2013?
(1/9/13) After doing a little more checking with some people more ‘in the know’, I’m told that Gwazi Tiger is still down due to some much needed trackwork. No one seems to know why this has not been completed yet, nor how much longer it will take until it is done. There was a rumor floating about several months ago indicating that the park might have been wanting to install some Topper Track to try and smooth out some troublesome sections of the ride. I suppose it is possible that they could be waiting on this… but no one seems to know just what the hold up is, only that they expect it to reopen this year.
(1/8/13) Gwazi is still only running with just the Lion side, and according to sources, it may be quite some time until Tiger runs again… if it EVER runs again. I’m told that the sign showing off the wait time for the Tiger side of the queue has now been removed, and the Tiger side is now used as the Quick Queue entrance, with the aid of a bridge that has been construction to allow them to pass over the Tiger track in the station to get over to the Lion side.
According to rumors spreading through the staff, Gwazi’s maintenance budget has been slashed to the point that it can not run both side any longer. Two of Gwazi’s trains have also been reportedly cannibalized for spare parts to keep the other two running. As before, Gwazi is only running one Lion themed train and one Tiger themed train, with the other Tiger train visible and stripped down on the old Tiger maintenance track. So sad…
(11/12/12) I had first heard about this back in September, but I thought I’d give it time to work itself out… but apparently this is not been the case. For whatever reason Gwazi Tiger is said to be closed indefinitely, and we know it has been closed since the end of the busy summer season. Only the Lion side is up and running, and the park is running both Lion and Tiger themed trains on the Lion side of the track.
What isn’t known is if Tiger is closed for a rehab of some kind (are they actually doing any work to it?) or did the park close it down for budget reasons after the summer was over? Anyone out there who can fill us in a bit more on what is going on with Gwazi? I know early in 2012 I did hear a rumor about possibly wanting to test out some Topper Track on Gwazi, but so far the reports seem to indicate that Tiger is just closed and no signs of a major overhaul.