Busch Gardens Tampa
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment
---- THE LATEST BUZZ ----
(6/17/13) The new Howl-O-Scream website for Busch Gardens Tampa is now live, titling this year’s event as “The 13”, with a story (MORE...)
(6/12/13) Falcon’s Fury coming in 2014 - Official Announcement
(6/7/13) Busch Gardens Tampa announced a ticket price increase will be put into effect today, raising the price of an adult admission from $85 to $89 for adults and from $77 to $81 for a child.
(6/3/13) Busch Gardens Tampa confirmed on Friday afternoon that June 2nd was your last day ever to ride the Sandstorm. It appears (MORE...)
Ride Rehabs - The following information is not guaranteed to be 100% accurate.
Sandstorm - NOW CLOSED / Not To Return
Bush Flyers - NOW CLOSED through 12/31/13 (Timbuktu) - Rumored Not To Return
Desert Runners - NOW CLOSED through 12/31/13 (Timbuktu) - Rumored Not To Return
Kiddie Train - NOW CLOSED through 12/31/13 (Timbuktu) - Rumored Not To Return
Wild Surge - NOW CLOSED through 6/21/13
Phoenix - 8/12/13 through 8/23/13
Hippos Of The Nile - 8/26/13 through 8/30/13
Rosita's Fly A Way - 9/3/13 through 9/6/13
Gwazi Gliders - 9/9/13 through 9/13/13
Scorpion - 9/16/13 through 9/20/13
Congo River Rapids - 10/21/13 through 11/8/13
Big Bird - 11/18/13 through 11/22/13
Tidal Wave - 12/2/13 through 12/24/13
General Park News - (6/7/13) Busch Gardens Tampa announced a ticket price increase will be put into effect today, raising the price of an adult admission from $85 to $89 for adults and from $77 to $81 for a child.
(6/6/13) Starting this Saturday, June 8th, through August 18th, Busch Gardens Tampa will extend park hours and add special new entertainment to the park after dark. The Kinetix show will return to thrill the crowds in Gwazi Park nightly at 9pm. A new musical show called Born to Rock will be added this year along with a nightly fireworks show that will begin immediately following the Kinetix show.
(6/3/13) Busch Gardens Tampa confirmed on Friday afternoon that June 2nd was your last day ever to ride the Sandstorm. It appears that they did indeed give up on plans to move the ride to a new location near Gwazi and will instead remove the ride from the park entirely. How very sad…
(5/31/13) Busch Gardens has launched a new park ticket option for Florida Residents called the “3-Park Summer Sizzler”. For just $99 Florida Residents can get unlimited admission to Busch Gardens Tampa and unlimited weekday admission to the Adventure Island and Aquatica waterparks. The only hitch is that the pass is only good from the day you buy it through to September 2nd.
You can buy yours at the park, online or by calling 888-800-5447.
(3/5/13) Busch Gardens Tampa is reminding everyone that the 2013 season at Adventure Island will begin this Saturday, March 9th. Time to get your Splash On… and if you would like to be a frequent guest to the waterpark they are now offering a Weekday Pass good for unlimited weekday access to Adventure Island from March 11 through to Sept 2 for just $51.
It’s also worth mentioning that Island Nights will return again in Summer 2013, when the park stays open late (5pm to 9pm) for a sunset celebration every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night from June 13 to Aug 10.
(1/14/13) BGWFans reports that both Busch Gardens theme parks will introduce all new park logos this year. Continuing the evolution from the last logo change, now the entire name (and not just the Busch part) will use a very similar script style font to the one they currently use now for the word “Busch”, but with a different “B”. Next to the new logo is an interesting little graphic that has been named the “Coaster Tree”, that appears to represent both a tree as well as the inversions on a coaster. The tag line concept of “Fun Grows Here” will also come into play.
(11/21/12) SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment has had some new activity on the Trademark database names lately: Taruka Rush, Falcon’s Fury. Both names are listed as being previously filed a few months back, but are also listed to be published for opposition in December, which I believe means that they are moving forward to get permission to use either or both of them.
I’m at a bit of a loss as to what Taruka Rush may be used for (waterslide maybe?), but Falcon’s Fury sounds like a much better name for that proposed drop tower at BGT than the previously registered Desert Dive name. Of course both names could also work as the new name for the Sandstorm if they are still planning on moving it over by Gwazi.
Howl-O-Scream 2013: The 13 - (6/17/13) The new Howl-O-Scream website for Busch Gardens Tampa is now live, titling this year’s event as “The 13”, with a story about how evil is released once a century on the 13th year. Advanced tickets are already on sale as well, putting the opening night on Sept. 27th and running ever Thursday, Friday and Saturday night following that though to October 26th.
2013 - Madagascar Live! Operation: Vacation - (5/13/13) The new Madagascar Live! Operation: Vacation will open to the public this Saturday. The will will also offer up a special Jack Hanna show on Saturday and Sunday, special up-close animal presentations by the Busch Gardens zoo education team all weekend long, Dance Parties kicking off every hour at DJ locations throughout the park and will close out the grand opening on Saturday night with a special Fireworks show at 8:30pm. Coasters, Music, Animals and Madagascar… what’s not to like? We like to move it, move it!
(4/5/13) Busch Gardens Tampa has released a cute preview video for their new Madagascar Live! show, opening soon.
(2/13/13) Busch Garedens Tampa will open “Madagascar Live! Operation: Vacation”, a new musical character show in 2013, featuring the uber-popular Dreamworks Animation characters opening on May 18th.
“The 20-minute musical show follows the antics of Alex the Lion, Gloria the Hippo, King Julien, Mort and the Penguins during a vacation adventure. The show will feature rock/pop music performed by a live band and include both classic and original songs. The characters also will conduct meet and greets with park guests. Additionally, special co-branded merchandise exclusive to the parks, will be available.”
The show will be installed inside the Stanleyville Theater, which will now be fully enclosed and air-conditioned thankfully.
2014 - Falcon’s Fury - Confirmed - (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!
???? - Gwazi Status Updates - (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.