Busch Gardens Tampa
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment
---- THE LATEST BUZZ ----
(8/19/2023) Howl-O-Scream 2023 Update (MORE...)
(8/5/2023) Busch Gardens Tampa Confirms that the Sky Ride Isn't Going Anywhere (MORE...)
(7/22/2023) Busch Gardens Tampa To Offer Special "Scary and Merry" Haunt For One Day Next Week (MORE...)
(7/21/2023) What is Project Halcyon? (MORE...)
(7/17/2023) Bier Fest Returns to Busch Gardens Tampa (MORE...)
Ride Rehabs - These dates are not guaranteed to be 100% accurate as refurbishments are subject to change.
Skyride - NOW CLOSED through TBD
SandSerpent - CLOSED FOREVER on July 9, 2023
General Park News - (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!
(7/22/2023) Busch Gardens Tampa will offer a special limited-time experience at the park on Tuesday, July 25th from 12pm to 4pm. As part of an fun ‘Christmas in July’ style concept, the park will offer up the “Scary and Merry” immersive experience that will “combine the frights of a haunted house with the the joy of the holiday season.”
Guests who are willing can go on a lights-on walk-through of the “The Residence” haunted house as well as take advantage of a very early opportunity for a meet & greet with Santa Claus.
(7/17/2023) A slice of Bavaria returns to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay as the park celebrates the return of Bier Fest. The fan-favorite event will take place every Friday, Saturday and Sunday between now and September 4, as well as on Labor Day. “Commemorating six years of Oktoberfest inspired festivities, Bier Fest returns for its longest event run with 15 newly created menu items inspired by classic German flavors and 60 brews from regions near and far.”
(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.
(7/3/2023) While the Skyride’s page and name may have been removed from the Busch Gardens Tampa website, the ride clearly doesn’t appear to be in danger. Updates sent in yesterday afternoon show that crews are actually repainting the ride’s towers at this time, and that the cars themselves are in the process of being refinished and powder coated ahead of an eventual reopening.
So why remove the old page for the ride from the website? I don’t know for sure, but one contact speculated that when the Skyride does reopen, they might be planning on giving it a brand new name or a new logo to help promote its return.
(7/2/2023) Not to start a panic… but while trying to search for any updates on the status of the Skyride at Busch Gardens Tampa I noticed that the park has now actually deleted the dedicated page that was on their website for the attraction (https://buschgardens.com/tampa/rides/skyride/), as well as no longer listing it on the long page of park attractions. The Internet Archive Wayback Machine search shows it was still there as of May 18th, but has since been deleted.
So either the ride’s on-going closure is going to be even longer than expected… or perhaps they have given up on it. I would hope that the later isn’t true, as the chain successfully runs two other versions of the attraction at Busch Gardens Williamsburg and SeaWorld San Diego. So keep an eye on the Skyride the next time you visit the park, and maybe ask guest services when they are planning on reopening it.
(6/15/2023) Busch Gardens Tampa has confirmed that they will be retiring the park's SandSerpent roller coaster. Your last day to ride will be July 9th, 2023.
The SandSerpent was first added to the Tampa park under the name Cheetah Chase back in 2004, though the park changed the name in 2011 just ahead of the opening of the Cheetah Hunt coaster to cause less confusion. The Mack Rides made Wild Mouse coaster actually was first built for Busch Gardens Williamsburg where it opened in 1996 as Wild Izzy (themed to the olympic mascot character) and then renamed Wild Maus before it was removed in 2003 and sent to Florida.
(5/26/2023) Busch Gardens Tampa and Williamsburg will be offering their guests “free beer” at both parks over the summer season as part of a special thank you promotion. According to Marc Swanson, CEO of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, “This summer will be better than ever at our parks with new rides in both Busch Gardens locations, Serengeti Flyer, the world’s tallest and fastest of its kind in Tampa and DarKoaster North America's first all-indoor straddle coaster in Williamsburg. We’re introducing new shows, amazing special events and unique experiences at our parks, and an ice-cold beer is the best way for adults to take a break, cool down and select Busch Gardens as their destination of choice this summer.”
For a limited time, guests 21+ can say “cheers” to summer with the return of free beer at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. From May 22 through July 20, Pass Members can enjoy two free seven-ounce beers per visit to the park, and all other guests can enjoy one free seven-ounce beer per visit to the park. The complimentary drafts will pour out at Twisted Tails Pretzels, located in the Pantopia area of the park from 10:30 a.m. to one hour prior to park closure.
(5/8/2023) Based on the teaser sent out, it looks like we’re going to get a Howl-O-Scream announcement of some kind today for Busch Gardens Tampa.
(4/30/2023) I’m not sure when it closed, but apparently the freshly reopened Falcon’s Fury at Busch Gardens Tampa has closed once again. According the tweet below it is listed on the park’s refurbishment schedule as staying closed from now through to May 7th.
(4/13/2023) Good news, as of Wednesday afternoon, Falcon’s Fury has finally reopened and been removed from the park’s refurbishment list.
(4/11/2023) According to the latest rumors, the walls around Falcon’s Fury have come down at Busch Gardens Tampa and employees have been seen taking rides on the tower. From what I understand the ride is under-going all the needed test runs needed to get the final post-rehab check out, and is expected to reopen to guests very soon. If you are visiting the park this week, keep your eyes open.
(4/4/23) An interesting rumor has surfaced for Busch Gardens Tampa this week. I’ve no way to know how true this is, or what the timeline will be, but while Wild Surge is being retired… it may not be leaving forever. I’m assuming that the park will have the ride refurbished somehow, but the rumor we’re hearing is that it could resurface in a new area, with a new name of course. If the rumor holds true, keep an eye on the area behind Jungala and Tigris, as this is rumored to be the area where the park will be adding a major new attraction in the future, and where the Wild Surge ride will likely resurface. On the opposite side of things... we know the ride did suffer from an electrical fire a few months ago, so I’m sure these rumors all hinge on how repairable Wild Surge is at the moment.
In other news, I’m hearing that things are slowly progressing with the Skyride as well, and that several gondolas were seen in the main station by Cheetah Hunt not long ago.
(3/26/23) According to a post on Twitter, the Wild Surge ride at Busch Gardens Tampa has apparently been officially retired. The Moser creation was installed in 2008 as part of the “Jungala” area, but suffered more than expected amounts of technical issues and downtime over the years that followed, so it does make sense to finally retire it.
(3/18/2023) Screamscape has been sent some more rumors about what’s going on with the Skyride at Busch Gardens. In addition to the new haul rope being installed, the park has also been refurbishing the equipment atop all of the towers. Even better, the rumors say that all of the cabins are being rotated through the shops for repainting and refurbishment ahead of an expanded late Spring to Early Summer reopening timetable. It will be fantastic to see this aerial gondola ride reopen once again.
(3/17/2023) According to an update posted to the Von Roll VR 101 fansite on Facebook, Busch Gardens Tampa appears to be working on their long closed Skyride once again. According to the report the main ride cable (Haul rope) has been properly re-hung up on “Tower 4”. After delays caused the Skyride not to reopen last year, hopefully we’ll see it reopen this season.
2023 - Serengeti Flyer - (3/19/2023) Screamscape was invited to come try out some of the food at the latest Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival in Tampa and while there, he was willing to take on the challenge of the park’s new Serengeti Flyer thrill ride. It looks like a blast! If you’ve never tried one of these rides before, this is the first one in Florida, so you’re in for a special treat!
(10/14/22) Busch Gardens Tampa has confirmed that their new S&S Screamin’ Swing ride, now under construction for 2023, will be called the Serengeti Flyer. They describe the Serengeti Flyer has being the “world’s tallest and fastest” ride of its kind, swinging riders at speeds up to 68mph, up to 135 feet at the peak of the swing.
Editor Note: The jury is still out regarding those claims of tallest and fastest, as the stats listed are exactly the same as the Tidal Surge ride that opened at sister park, SeaWorld San Antonio, earlier this year. Though as a clone of Tidal Surge, then I suppose both rides could claim to be the two tallest and fastest ride of this type in the world.
2024 / 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.