Busch Gardens Tampa
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment
---- THE LATEST BUZZ ----
(11/6/14) The Fun Card Is Back, and Get The Rest of 2014 Free (MORE...)
(11/4/14) General Construction Update (MORE...)
(11/3/14) Christmas Town No Longer Upcharge Ticket Event (MORE...)
(10/28/14) Scorpion Still Not Up For Sale - Updated (MORE...)
Ride Rehabs - The following information is not guaranteed to be 100% accurate.
Stanleyville Falls - NOW CLOSED through Nov. 21, 2014
Scorpion - NOW CLOSED through Nov. 26, 2014
Congo River Rapids - Dec. 8 through Dec. 12, 2014
Note: Gwazi only runs ONE SIDE ONLY until FURTHER NOTICE
General Park News - (11/6/14) Busch Gardens Tampa is offering Fun Cards once again, which will get you unlimited admission into the park now through 2015 all for the price of a single-day’s admission. You read that right… if you buy your 2015 Fun Card now, you also get the rest of 2014 as well, including access to Christmas Town on select dates between Nov. 28 and Dec. 31, 2014.
Other fun special events scheduled for 2015 include the Real Music concert series (Jan-Mar), a NEW Food & Wine Festival event on the weekends in March and April, Wild Days with Jack Hanna (April 18-19), Summer Nights (June 27-Aug 16) and more.
(11/4/14) The latest construction report from Busch Gardens Tampa can be found at BGTFans this week showing off the latest changes to the park’s entrance courtyard, the demolition of the Critter Castaway theater and more.
(11/3/14) Christmas Town will return to Busch Gardens Tampa on select dates in the evening from Nov. 28 through to Dec. 31. Even better, admission to Christmas Town is now included with annual passes, Fun Cards or general admission into the park that day, as the park is transformed into a winter wonderland full of all things Christmas and huge displays of Christmas lights! Egypt will also be transformed into Bethlehem as the story of the Three Kings unfolds. You can climb abord the Christmas Town Express train ride to sing songs, visit Santa’s House or enjoy Mrs. Claus’ Family Feast, as well as enjoy your favorite coaster rides.
(10/28/14) Good news, as several Screamscape sources reported in to confirm that the coaster up for sale is not Scorpion, but it is apparently the old Twist and Shout coaster at the closed Loudon Castle park in Scotland which is essentially identical to Scorpion… but with only one train. This one also features a more portable support structure.
(10/24/14) A few readers have sent in an interesting link to what appears to be an ad on ITAL putting the Scorpion coaster up for sale. While the coaster in the picture is definitely Scorpion, I don’t think that Scorpion is really up for sale. I’m guessing that the photo is just a placeholder. Picture #2 is also of Scorpion, but Picture #3 is of another ride entirely, where the front of the train looks like a red train car.
The information about the coaster is all wrong too… it says made in 1983 but Scorpion opened in 1980. The coaster for sale only comes with 1 train while Scorpion has two. The coaster is described as being semi-portable, and Scorpion is a park model, not a portable creation, and the asking price for the coaster is in EUROS and not US dollars. So I’m guessing this is some kind of European Schwarzkopf model for sale, but the curious thing is that according to RCDB, there were only 3 coasters made by Schwarzkopf in 1983 and none of them match this design either. The three built in 1983 are the powered Alpen Blitz ride (SBNO) at Parque de la Ciudad (Argentina), Aconcagua… which has no inversions and is also SBNO at Parque de la Ciudad (Argentina) and finally the long removed Black Hole Jet Star style coaster removed from Alton Towers, which is currently running outdoors in Sweden as Rocket at Furuvik. Again… wrong kind of coaster… so nothing about this ad at ITAL ads up, least of all the picture of Scorpion.
(10/23/14) Busch Gardens Tampa will host the Run for Wildlife 5K to benefit the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund on Saturday, November 22, at 7:30am. This inaugural event will give the runners a chance to wind through the park for most of the 3.1 mile course. Registration is currently open and runners must register in advance; participants cannot register the day of the event. This chip-timed race includes animal and character appearances throughout the course.
Spectators are welcome at the start/finish line in Parking Lot D, however, only paid 5k participants will be allowed in the park during the run and receive complimentary admission to Busch Gardens following the race. Registration packet pick up will be available on Friday, Nov. 21 from 2 p.m. – 8 p.m. at Busch Gardens Human Resources Office, located at 3605 E. Bougainvillea Ave. in Tampa. Race day packet pick up will begin at 6 a.m. in Parking Lot D at Busch Gardens.
(9/19/14) Just a reminder that this winter’s Christmas Town event at Busch Gardens Tampa will actually be included with your daily admission ticket (or annual pass) into the park and is no longer an Upcharge event. Christmas Town will be open on 23 select dates between Nov. 28 and Dec. 31st. You can read-up on all the official details here.
(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).
Howl-O-Scream 2014 - (10/24/14) In an almost annual tradition, BGT has invited the Tampa Bay Buccaneer Cheerleaders to experience the creepy fun of Howl-O-Scream for the cameras. Good times always follow, and lots of screams, so check out the video below. Oh, and if you want to see more Howl-O-Scream fun, check out the photo update posted to PixelsAtTheParks this week as well.
(8/21/14) Busch Gardens Tampa has another new offering for Howl-O-Scream this year and it is a good one. Introducing Zombie Containment Unit 15. Three years after the undead invasion, a containment failure has occurred in Zombie Containment Unit 15. The Zombies are escaping and in search of human flesh. Guests will be armed with a ZED… Zombie Eradication Device, and tasked to hold off the undead mob in this interactive experience. Even better, this is included with standard park admission and no reservations are required.
(8/20/14) It’s official… Facebook fans voted to kill the Gardner with Shears. Now time for the final Dead Fall vote to name the resident ghost of Dead Fall, perched on a branch over the estate grounds: Uriah, Zeb or Horace. Click here to vote.
(8/15/14) BGT let the cat out of the bag for their Howl-O-Scream 2014 offerings… and it’s kind of a mixed bag. For starters the theme for this year is “Cursed” and it has a lot to do with a creepy little song/video combo we saw launched online the day before. If you hear the song you are cursed, and to break the curse you have to survive a night at Howl-O-Scream. (see video below!)
The list of ‘NEW’ items this year however is a big lacking I’m afraid… because there will only be one new haunt… the Dead Fall haunt that was already announced, where you will be haunted by the restless spirits inside a Victorian garden and greenhouse who want to drag you kicking and screaming over to their side of the veil.
Also new this year is something called Slash Mobs… an interesting idea as it sounds like Flash Mobs with monsters, hopefully with more killing and screaming and no singing and dancing. Done right, this could be actually very cool as your safe spot could suddenly be overrun with the creatures of the night from all directions at once, herding everyone together like cattle.
Finally they are also promoting the “Cursed Front Gate Experience” as a new item for the year as well, which sounds like a bit of a themed portal / gateway area you’ll pass through as you enter the park.
Beyond that much of what they had last year will return once again.
Returning mazes: Death Water Bayou, The Basement, Circus of Superstition: The Final Act, Blood Asylum, Zombie Mortuary and the upcharge premium thrill… The Experiment, where they promise that the researchers are back with some all new ways to challenge the fear tolerance and mental endurance of their Test Subjects. (aka: YOU!) It will cost you $50 to get into The Experiment and an additional $10 for every additional test subject who goes with you. As for the haunts… as usual, look for some little tweaks and improvements to be made to most of them as they take what they learned from the previous year and try to improve upon it.
Shows: Fiends is back of course with Dr Freakenstein and the ever popular Naughty Nurses. Club Cursed will also be open to those who want to sample the dance club and try out some new “signature potions”: Cursed, Contained and Possessed.
As usual there will be upgrades-a-plenty for those who can’t stand to wait in lines, with Front Line Fear Passes (starting at $45), the Fright Feast (Stuff your face while you watch Fiends plus get 30-minute early access to the haunts for $26) or go big with a VIP Tour Package to get treated like… well… a VIP… with prices starting at $99 a person.
Check out all the latest details at the official Howl-O-Scream website.
(8/13/14) Busch Gardens has launched their second Howl-O-Scream fan vote item on Facebook, asking you to name the Murder Tool to be used to kill the Gardener: A Machete, Hatchet and Shears. The results from the last vote are in as well, Hemlock Hall won. An odd video with what sounds like a buried audio track message has also been posted to YouTube. (see below)
(8/6/14) The first haunt for Howl-O-Scream was revealed on Facebook to use the name Dead Fall, along with a contest to name the estate where the haunt will be located. Choose between Adelaide Acres, Hemlock Hall or Myristica Manor. According to the post, “spirit from the past lurk in this Victorian garden and greenhouse, longing to drag unsuspecting guests into their world.” So creepy plants and ghosts are coming to get you Barbara...
Howl-O-Scream runs on select nights from Sept. 26 - Nov. 1, 2014. Look for future votes to affect other themes of the house in the future, including the name of one of the Dead Fall residents and a murder tool one of the resident spirits fell victim to over the next three weeks.
(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.
2014 - Falcon’s Fury / Pantopia - (9/9/14) I’m told that the reason the park is giving for the Falcon’s Fury closure since last Friday is that the tower was struck by lightning. While this might be a rare event elsewhere in the world, the central Florida area is pretty much the lightning capital of the world and they knew going into this that the tower would serve as a lightning rod for the entire park in much the same way that the Skytower does over at their sister park, SeaWorld Orlando. So considering that Falcon’s Fury should have been designed to handle getting hit by lightning on a semi-regular basis, I’m still concerned about the lengthy delay to reopen it. Hopefully they are just being extra cautious with the systems and re-inspection, and that nothing was damaged too badly… otherwise this may become an expensive problem for them going forward, as I can see the tower taking a hit or two annually.
(9/8/14) While Busch Gardens announced that their much delayed new drop tower ride was finally open to the public last week, reports sent in to Screamscape over the weekend claimed that the ride was closed for much of that time. Perhaps this was mearly a fluke... or perhaps the ride is still having some issues that were not fully worked out. Just something to keep an eye one when planning a visit.
(9/3/14) While Falcon’s Fury has been open to guests for the past couple of weeks, I’m told that the ride is now “officially” open, though it looks like they opted to not reschedule the official media event that was canceled previously this year. With media coming anyway within the next month for Howl-O-Scream, I guess they can promote both the event and ride at the same time.
(8/17/14) As I predicted, Falcon’s Fury has soft opened to guests. One of our readers was able to take an early ride and sent in a short review and comments on the experience as a whole.
The Queue “seems to be a good balance between area constraints and queue line. Peeps flow around to the appropriate gate in the circle” but may need some more “team member help to get the peeps in order.” You are put in groups of four riders per gate, as there are 4 seats in each section, and there are four shelves for the storage of non-allowed items. (You really don’t want to take anything with you on a ride like this...).
As with any ride like this, the labor budget for staffing will effect the throughput speed, as they go around the check the restraints of every rider. Expect to be “stapled” in during this process... the park isn’t taking any chances with loose restraints and is making sure everyone is locked in tight.
THE LIFT! Once thumbed-up there is a slight tilt inward to the tower then rising at smooth rate. Views are incredible. Kumba, Montu, etc look like toys. Nearing top, the seats turn inward to face-down.
THE HANG! This will be discussed most. 2 to 5 second random hang feels like minutes. Face down. Weight on the restraint. Just a view of the ground. A definite Holy Crap moment.
THE DROP! After random hang, well... its gravity... face down makes it another Holy Crap scene. The seats go vertical right around where the graphics on the tower end. Smooth in transition and braking.
OVERALL: I had my doubts about this ride but after the first ride I was convinced. Guests will walk away with lasting visuals and, hopefully, a good guest experience.
(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.
(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.
(5/3/14) 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!)
(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.
2015 - Colossal Curl at Adventure Island - (10/17/14) Adventure Island has confirmed that the park will add Colossal Curl to the waterpark for 2015. The new slide shares the same name as the slide that opened at the sister park in Williamsburg in 2014, and the slide experience will be mostly the same, just with slight modifications to fit it into the Tampa site.
Guests will board a 4-passenger raft at the top of a nearly 70 foot tower before heading down the 560 foot long slides twists, turns and drop into a huge half-pipe style element. Look for Colossal Curl to go up nex tto Mango Joe’s Café and take the place of the Gulf Scream slide.
(10/15/14) It looks like a new slide attraction is on the way to Adventure Island in 2015, as the park has posted a teaser video showing off the existing attractions and ends with the question… “What’s Next?”
2016 - New Attraction - Planning - (10/4/14) Busch Gardens Tampa has filed paperwork for a new attraction they have planned for 2016. According to the post on OrlandoUnited the project is labled as being for 2016 and taking over the Tut’s Tomb area of Egypt. This isn’t a very large site at the moment, but given that this is for 2016 and not 2015, the overall size and scope of the project could be far larger than Tut’s Tomb as the open spaces available for future development in this section of the park are quite large if they venture out into the area habitat region.
???? - 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.