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News & Rumors


Busch Gardens Tampa
Tampa, FL
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment



----    THE LATEST BUZZ    ----
    (5/14/2024) Phoenix Rising Construction Update
    (5/4/2024) Adventure Island Opens New Castaway Falls
    (5/1/2024) Cinco de Mayo Celebration plus Food & Wine Concerts This Weekend
    (4/24/2024) Busch Gardens Tampa Shows Off Phoenix Rising POV
    (4/12/2024) Phoenix Rising Construction Update

Ride Rehabs - These dates are not guaranteed to be 100% accurate as refurbishments are subject to change.
Cobra’s Curse - NOW CLOSED through May 2
Elmo’s Safari-Go-Round - NOW CLOSED through May 3


icon_STOPGeneral Park News - (5/1/2024) Busch Gardens Tampa will be hosting a special Cinco de Mayo celebration this weekend, featuring special food, live music and more. “Throughout the weekend, guests can immerse themselves in traditional rhythms with special performances on the Coke Stage by MerengPower, enchanting piano melodies by Michael Alvarez at Springs Taproom, and captivating cello
 renditions by Rose Mallare at Eagle Canyon.” There will also be a street fiesta with acrobatic performances on Saturday with Latin music and a roaming Mariachi Band at the Coke Plaza on Sunday.
    All this is in addition to the Food & Wine Festival offerings also taking place, including special concert performances by Boys Like Girls on Saturday at 7pm and 38 Special on Sunday at 6pm.
    (2/13/2024) I’m not sure of the timeline as to when this happened, but I’m told that the cost of parking at Busch Gardens Tampa has risen to $32 for general parking and $47 for preferred parking.
    (1/31/2024) I’ve got some good news and some not-so-good news regarding the Skyride at Busch Gardens Tampa. The great news is that the park has confirmed that the Skyride will finally reopen on Friday (Feb 2, 2024) after sitting closed for the past several years. The not-so-good news is that when the ride reopens… unlike the rest of the rides in the park, there will be a new $5 fee if you want to ride the Skyride.
    While annual pass members will be able to ride the SkyRide for free, everyone else is subject to the new $5 charge, which has also been confirmed to be only for a one-way journey, making it $10 per person if you want to take a round-trip ride.
    Historically the SeaWorld branded parks have had a history of charging for their older rides, such as the SkyRide at SeaWorld California, or the SkyTowers in California and Florida parks, but this practice began in the late 1960’s when the first rides were built at the California park, where the focus was only on being a marine animal park and the price of admission was less than what most people pay to go to the movies today. This was also all done before the SeaWorld parks were purchased and merged with the Busch Gardens parks.
    By contrast, the two Busch Gardens theme parks (Tampa & Williamsburg) both have similar SkyRide attractions, and both have been free to ride until this point. So far, to the best of my knowledge, the SkyRide at Busch Gardens Williamsburg will remain a free to ride attraction for the 2024 season, while the Tampa version is becoming an upcharge attraction.
    (1/25/2024) From what I’m told the Skyride at Busch Gardens Tampa may be set to reopen either Friday or Saturday. On Wednesday team members were spotted taking rides on the attraction, which has been given a complete top to bottom refurbishment. Cable replaced, all the cars have been restored on the inside, powder coated on the outside, new safety sensors installed, the stations have been revamped and given new floor coatings, Doppelmayr has given a full inspection and the state has inspected and certified the ride for operation.
    All systems are go!

    (1/21/2024) According to pictures posted on Twitter, the Skyride at Busch Gardens Tampa was spotted testing yesterday afternoon.

    (1/20/2024) Are we getting closer to seeing the reopening of the Skyride at Busch Gardens Tampa? According to posts on social media, the big ride logo signs have returned to the station, so hopefully we wont have to wait much longer.

    (1/10/2024) A Mardi Gras celebration is coming to Busch Gardens Tampa this month, taking place on select dates from Jan. 13 through to March 3, 2024. The park will put on a special Mardi Gras parade, complete with a brass band, get a taste of Bourbon Street with a variety of food and drink stations. Visit the official website for all the details.
    (12/29/2023) Just a heads up to our Busch Gardens Tampa fans, that the park’s New Year’s Eve plans include all the fun Christmas Town activities throughout the day, all your favorite rides all day and night, and a big fireworks blowout at midnight to ring in the new year. Upgrade options include a special brunch at the Serengeti Overlook Restaurant only on Dec. 31st that starts at $44.99 per person. Busch Gardens Tampa will be open from 9am to 1am that day.
    (12/23/2023) It was reported by sources (thanks ZooderLoopers) visiting the park today that Iron Gwazi is open once again, following the incident where a train stalled out the other day. From what I’ve been told the empty train that stalled out was fresh from a refurbishment and was making a test run when it stalled and rolled back and eventually valley and park in an odd spot. The train was eventually pushed forward through the rest of the layout and put back on the service track, allowing Iron Gwazi to reopen with the other two trains.
    (12/21/2023) As fast as Iron Gwazi usually flies through the layout, a post on Instagram today claims that a train valleyed today. The thing is, the location is a bit odd for a “valley” to take place. As the name implies, if a coaster is going to “valley” it does so at the bottom of a drop, coming to a stop at the lowest point, unable to roll forward or backwards over the hill due to a lack of momentum.
    While it is possible for a coaster to stall out at the top of a hill as well, crews are often able to give it a good shove and get it moving again. So I’m wondering if the Iron Grazi train may have suffered some kind of wheel malfunction that caused it to grind to a stop unexpectedly.

    (12/10/2023) Guests visiting Busch Gardens Tampa over the past couple of days were treated to the sight of the park’s Skyride making test runs over the park once again. While some had hoped that the ride would reopen, I’m told that the ride will likely need to undergo more testing and inspections before the park can reopen it. So if all goes well, we may finally get to see the Skyride reopen just before or during the busy Christmas holiday season.
    (10/13/2023) A little good news from Busch Gardens Tampa this week, as pictures of the park installing a new cable on their Sky Ride has been posted to social media. Hopefully this means we will see it finally ready to reopen before the end of the year. Over the past several months, we’ve also heard that the stations have been getting some work done and all the gondolas have been getting fresh new paint jobs.

    (9/29/2023) Congratulations goes out to the SeaWorld and Busch Gardens parks this weeks as the SeaWorld park’s Howl-O-Scream was voted as the #1 Best Halloween Theme Park event, followed by the Busch Garden’s park’s own Howl-O-Scream event coming in at #2.
    (8/19/2023) Prepare yourselves for this year’s Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens Tampa. According to the park this year’s event will “slated to awaken the guests’ innermost fears and make them scream to the extreme with the ultimate parkwide terror including an all-new haunted house, two new scare zones, and all-new interactive entertainment offerings. Six spine-chilling scare zones, five hair-raising haunted houses and four elaborate entertainment productions will have guests screaming at the top of their lungs.”
    Featured this year will be:
D.H. Baggum’s Circus of Fear - (New Haunted House)
The Forgotten: Uprising (Reimagined Haunt)
Big Ed’s Demolition Derby (New Scare Zone)
Sin City Zombies - (New Scare Zone)
    The other returning haunts are: Stranglewood Estate, The Residence: Home for the Holidays, and Witch of the Woods.
    Look for Howl-O-Scream to take place on select nights from Sept. 8 through to Oct. 31, 2023
    (8/5/2023) It has been a LONG TIME since Busch Gardens Tampa has made any kind of mention of their closed Sky Ride, but in a brand new post to social media the park ahs confirmed that the attraction is “not going anywhere - just receiving a little TLC” and more details will soon be coming regarding the Sky Ride!

    (7/15/2023) For those wondering, Busch Gardens Tampa wasted no time in taking down the former Sand Serpent roller coaster. While the ride’s last day to ride was just on July 9th, by July 13th it has been essentially leveled, with no steel lefts to be seen poking over the construction walls. Another reason has sent in pictures of the trains that are now sitting in a backstage lot, likely awaiting a pick-up to be shipped off-site somewhere. While the coaster itself was torn apart and likely sold for just the scrap value, the park could possibly be planing on selling the fleet of cars off to any number of parks to be used for replacements or spare parts, as Mack mice are fairly common in North America.






icon_STOP2024  - Phoenix Rising & Castaway Falls & More - (5/14/2024) A new progress video on the Phoenix Rising coaster at Busch Gardens Tampa has been posted by our friends at Orlando Experience. Check it out below!

    (5/4/2024) Adventure Island opened their new Castaway Falls area on Friday.
    “Set within a tropical paradise, Castaway Falls invites guests of all ages to immerse themselves in a watery world of excitement. Castaway Falls is the centerpiece of Adventure Island's comprehensive
 revitalization, which includes recent additions such as Shaka-Laka Shores, Rapids Racer, Wahoo Remix slides, and the transformed Captain Pete's and Hang Ten Tiki Bar. These enhancements create a refreshed atmosphere, complete with new lounging areas and cabanas,
 providing visitors with the ultimate tropical retreat.”

    (4/24/2024) Busch Gardens Tampa has posted the official animated POV video of their new Phoenix Rising coaster at last.
    Better late than never I guess... take a look below to see what the new ride experience will be like.

    (4/12/2024) A quick post from Busch Gardens Tampa confirms that the track installation for the new Phoenix Rising family inverted coaster is now complete.

    (4/1/2024) Screamscape has been told that a new ice skating show is in the works for Busch Gardens Tampa. At the final show of Turn It Up Remix, it was announced that the next show will be called Rhythm of Nature, which will be themed heavily to nature and wild animals.
    (3/6/2024) While Phoenix Rising at Busch Gardens Tampa is finally starting to go vertical with track and support installation, a new photo posted to Reddit this week shows off that track and supports are still in the process of being shipped down from the manufacturing plant in Ohio.
    (2/26/2024) A new construction update on Phoenix Rising at Busch Gardens Tampa can be seen at Coaster101 this week. Unfortunately, compared to Penguin Trek at SeaWorld, Phoenix Rising still has a very long way to go and appears to still be mostly putting in the footers for the park’s new family coaster.
    (2/18/2024) A peek at the construction site for Phoenix Rising and the renovations to the Kangaloom habitat area can be found on Facebook this week. See below.

    (2/2/2024) Orlando Experience has posted a new update showcasing the construction progress of the new Phoenix Rising coaster at Busch Gardens Tampa this week.

    (1/1/2024) Track for the new Phoenix Rising coaster (B&M Family Inverted) at Busch Gardens Tampa has begun to arrive.
    Elsewhere, guests are still apparently waiting on the park’s Skyride to reopen. New safety signs have now appeared at the entrance of one of the stations and we’re hearing whispers that anticipate that it is on track to open in early to mid January 2024.

(12/23/2023) Adventure Island will open Castaway Falls in Spring 2024. The waterpark’s newest attraction will be a multi-level, interactive, water-play attraction featuring over 100 interactive play elements, including two of those giant water dumping buckets, and four small water slides. The new Castaway Falls will take the place of the park’s former Splash Attack play area, and will be twice the size of the former attraction.
    (11/5/2023) Busch Gardens Tampa has released some new details and concept artwork for the new Phoenix Rising family inverted roller coaster. According to the stats, this wont be a very long coaster, with only 1831 feet of track and a top speed of 44mph. Busch Gardens did reveal a new attraction is coming to the Adventure Island waterpark across the street called Castaway Falls, that will be a small scale family style water fortress attraction. The park also indicated that a new ice skating show could be expected in 2024 as well as updates to the Kangaloom animal habitat for kangaroos and wallabies. Oh… and in the short term, the park has also confirmed that the Skyride will finally reopen sometime in December of 2023.
    (10/3/2023) Busch Gardens Tampa has announced their new attraction for the 2024 season will be a family “suspended” coaster from B&M called Phoenix Rising. The family friendly coaster will also feature an on-board soundtrack. Phoenix Rising will serve as the park’s 10th roller coaster and take the place on the removed Phoenix flat ride as well as the former SandSerpent roller coaster, as well as crossing over a back-road to fly over a small section of land normally used for animal habitats. Phoenix Rising will be on the short side however, coming in at just 1,831 feet of track, with a top speed of just 44 mph.
    For those wondering, B&M have previously built two family inverted coasters, the first going to Happy Valley Shanghai in 2014 and another at Happy Valley Beijing in 2018. While the concept art for Phoenix Rising shows off the same looking coaster train with 2-across rows, the press release from the park reconfirms that this all-new suspended roller coaster “will swing riders side-to-side”. “Riders will feel the rush of the wind and thrill of the flight in this suspended roller coaster that enables ride cars and riders to swing side to side as the train races along the track high above the Serengeti Plain.”
    So if this really is a suspended coaster prototype, that is actually quite exciting, as there are very few of those that exist in the world today.


2025 - New Coaster / Project Halcyon - Speculation & Rumor - (7/21/2023) While I don’t really know what is going on yet, we’ve been told that the next big project for Busch Gardens Tampa is being called “Project Halcyon”. According to our source a work permit related to Project Halcyon mentions the construction of a new 70,000 sqft building. For comparison’s sake, I’m told that the structure at Busch Gardens Williamsburg used for DarKoaster (formerly the Curse of DarKastle ride) is about 40,000 sqft.
    So while 40,000 is a bit small for an indoor coaster, 70,000 sqft would be a more appropriate size for a decent indoor coaster, or for a massive dark ride. We all know Busch Gardens Tampa could use a killer dark ride, but based on the company’s poor record of maintaining them for very long (RIP: DarKastle & Antarctica) so between the two I’m leaning towards this being a coaster.
    However, one more item to consider. The name “Halcyon” may be a reference to the Greek goddess Halcyon, daughter of Aeolus, who was the ruler of the winds. Halcyon married a mortal King and as Greek stories tend to always do… their relationship ended in tragedy and death. In reaction to their love the two were resurrected as sea birds so they could live together once again by the beautiful seaside. So a project name that brings to mind flight and wind makes me wonder if this could be the company finally preparing to embrace the concept of adding a Flying Theater attraction.
    (9/11/22) After finally getting Iron Gwazi open in 2022 and finally starting to build the long-delayed S&S Screamin’ Swing project, you might be wondering just what the park may be planning next for 2024 or 2025? The way things have been going at the other park’s in the chain, we’ve been seeing a series of new roller coasters being added one after the other, which is somewhat unusual for the SEAS parks.
    For example, SeaWorld California just opened Emperor, their B&M Dive Machine, and already had coaster track on site over the summer for the delayed arctic themed family launched coaster project that is expected for 2023.
    In similar fashion, Busch Gardens Williamsburg just opened the delayed Pantheon coaster, has just announced DarKoaster, their own family launched coaster, and is already getting permits in place for another large coaster for 2024.
    SeaWorld Orlando opened their Ice Breaker coaster this summer and has been hard at work for months for their new B&M “High Surf” coaster project for 2023.
    SeaWorld San Antonio opened Tidal Surge (S&S Screamin’ Swing) this summer and plans for some kind of new flume ride have already been leaked that could be coming in 2023 or possibly 2024.
    So not to be left out, you know Busch Gardens Tampa has got to be working on “SOMETHING” for the future. Usually in cases like this, one can look to see what the other parks in the chain have been working on to see if there is a trend that BGT has yet to join. For example, it is easy to see that the new S&S Screamin’ Swing ride currently going up in Tampa for 2023 has been something they have slowly been adding to a number of their parks, starting with Finnegan’s Flyer at BGW, and Tampa was meant to be next until the project was delayed, but then followed up by Tidal Surge in Texas.
    As the first park with an RMC hybrid coaster, Tampa has been at the forefront there, but in doing so they’ve converted the more family friendly thriller, Gwazi, into an absolute monster in the form of Iron Gwazi. Meanwhile just prior to the pandemic the chain had been starting adding a series of new wooden coaster experiences. This started with the family friendly InvadR from GCI in Williamsburg in 2017, standing a mere 74 feet tall, and using a very compact terrain layout that weaves in and out of itself along with a great tunnel at the top of the first drop that goes down into a trench.
    Next up was a true family coaster, Oscar’s Wacky Taxi from The Gravity Group in 2018 that opened at Sesame Place PA. Standing just 43 feet tall, the coaster has been popular not just with the kids, but has been reported as being a short but sweet guilty-pleasure for coaster enthusiasts as well, featuring cute themed trains from GravityKraft and a nice big tunnel at the far turn-around.
    Next up was the Texas Stingray at SeaWorld San Antonio, which managed to open just ahead of the 2020 COVID-shutdown of theme parks across the nation. For this latest GCI creation, SEAS went big again, standing 96 feet tall and offering a 100 foot drop, a 100 foot long tunnel, and a ride experience that has been given all thumbs-up from everyone I know who has ridden it.
    At this point you probably see where I’m going with this long tale…
    Nothing has been confirmed, so this is only a long-term rumor at this point, barely a whisper on the wind, but we are hearing that Tampa is looking to add their own wooden coaster experience once again to the park. Based on the positive guest-response from the previous three coasters, word is they are looking into getting something that would fit somewhere between Texas Stingray and InvadR in size. Ideally they are looking for another mid-range coaster experience to serve as a stepping stone between the family coasters and the giant thrillers in the park… which is essentially what they were shooting for when they built Cobra’s Curse in 2016. The rumored location is said to be near the Jungala area of the park, and if memory serves there is a big empty spot behind Jungala and Tigris where the back-half of the old Tanganyika Tidal Wave flume used to reside.
    Again… this is just a very VERY quiet rumor… but it does fit in with the direction the company was headed prior to the pandemic, and with the current push towards adding more roller coasters to all the parks. Directions can always change, and other projects jump to the forefront as needed.





Track Record

Busch Gardens Tampa
Tampa, Florida
SeaWorld Parks & Ent.

Abbreviation: BGT
Opened: March 31, 1959

Fun Facts:
- The park was previously used the subtext of calling it “The Dark Continent”
- Python was removed in the fall of 2006.

Newest Developments:
2023 - Serengeti Flyer

2022 - Iron Gwazi

2019 - Tigris

2018 - Vanish Point & Adventure Island

2016 - Cobra’s Curse and Rising Tide Conversation exhibit

2015 - Colossal Curl opens at Adventure Island

2014 - Falcon’s Fury

2013 - Madagascar Live

2012 - Iceploration

2011 - Cheetah Hunt, Cirque Dreams: Jungle Fantasy, Millennium Flyer trains added to Gwazi



Copyright © 1996 - 2024 by Lance Hart &  All rights reserved.