Busch Gardens Tampa
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment
---- THE LATEST BUZZ ----
(9/20/21) Screamscape Previews Howl-O-Scream 2021 (MORE...)
(9/17/21) Cirque X-Scream To Return along with Sesame Street Kids Weekends
(9/12/21) Adventure Island Will Now Be Open Year-Round (MORE...)
(9/8/21) Busch Gardens Tampa Now Offering 2022 Annual Passes (MORE...)
(8/31/21) Busch Gardens Tampa - New Waterslide Plans For Adventure Island (MORE...)
Ride Rehabs - The following information is not guaranteed to be 100% accurate, refurbishments are subject to change.
Stanley Falls Flume - Oct. 4 through Oct. 29
Congo River Rapids - Nov. 1 through Nov. 24
Some attractions are also listed as being closed until further notice:
Skyride - TBD
Wild Surge - TBD
Slimey’s Saraha Sand - TBD
Treetop Trails & Jungala Play Areas - TBD
General Park News - (9/17/21) Busch Gardens Tampa has announced that Cirque X-Scream will begin performing in the park’s Stanleyville Theater starting Sept. 17, 2021. The returning show will have a new steampunk theme and feature all-new acts. Look for the shows to take place only on Friday - Sundays at the park, with several shows each day.
(9/12/21) Busch Gardens has announced that the Adventure Island waterpark will now be open year-round after the park along1 with the addition of heaters to keep guests warm on the colder days. This week the waterpark has also opened the new Hang Ten Tiki Bar, offering a tropical menu of delights, signature cocktails, small bites and an assortment of TVs for sports fans to catch up on the latest scores.
On Saturdays and Sundays in October the park will also host Sesame Street Kids Weekends events inside the park’s Sesame Street Safari of Fun area.
(9/8/21) Busch Gardens Tampa is now offering 2022 Annual Passes that come with an assortment of benefits like no blackout dates, up to six free guest tickets, access to passholder exclusive preview events, including a preview of the long awaited Iron Gwazi roller coaster opening in March. Hit up the official site for all the details.
(7/8/21) Busch Gardens Tampa is celebrating the back-to-back championship win of the Tampa Bay Lightning with the return of free beer to the park. For the entire month of July guests age 21 and up can visit the Garden Gate Cafe to get two 7-oz free beers during your visit to the park, starting at 11:30am until an hour before park close.
(7/3/21) A couple of interesting items were sent my way this week regarding Busch Gardens Tampa. AmusementInsider sent out a tweet with a screen capture showing that the park’s Bengal Bistro restaurant location will soon be converted into a Chick-Fil-A location. While I’m not going to get into the “political” issues some have with Chick-Fil-A, I will say that I’m not a fan of theme parks bringing in off-the-street fast-food chains locations as in-park restaurants. After all, you can get fast-food in minutes from any drive-through fast food location you want OUTSIDE the park, why would you want it INSIDE the park? While I don’t doubt the popularity of Chick-Fil-A they also come with an unfortunate operational consequence as well. Just like their real world locations, Theme Park based Chick-Fil-A locations are also never open on Sundays. As weekends are the most busy days for theme parks, it still boggles my mind why any park would be willing to sign such a deal unless the sales for the rest of the week more than make up for it.
In other park news, a new tweet from Midway Mayhem from July 1st caught Iron Gwazi testing several times with employee riders aboard. They speculate that it was members of operations, management, maintenance and even some corporate officers taking it for a test ride. This doesn’t mean they’re ready to open it just yet, but it does seem that they may be in the position to pull the trigger as soon as they are ready to do so.
(5/31/21) Busch Gardens Tampa has kicked off their summer nights promotion, “SPARK! A Nighttime Spectacular” that will take place every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night at 9:15pm through the summer season. “For an epic finale to a coaster-filled day of adventure, guests will be drawn to the vibrant energy radiating from a unique new production on the Festival Field. As the most stunning show ever to light the park’s sky, “Spark!” will feature an explosive array of fireworks and exciting effects from dazzling lasers to graceful water elements and dramatic pyrotechnics.”
You’ll also be able to enjoy various other entertainment on the Festival Pathway each night before SPARK begins, along with the new CIRQUE ELECTRIC show (Fridays through Mondays) in the Stanleyville Theater, and the return of the “TURN IT UP!” ice skating show in the Moroccan Palace theater (Thursdays through Mondays).
(5/20/21) Busch Gardens Tampa has now modified their COVID-19 safety measures. According to the official website Face Masks are no longer required for guests at the park (indoors or outdoors) who are fully vaccinated, falling in accordance with CDC guidance. At this time Busch Gardens and Adventure Island staff will continue to wear face coverings however.
In other news… well… unfortunately there is no good other news because the park has been keeping themselves utterly silent and without any mention of the status of Iron Gwazi. As readers will recall, Iron Gwazi was successfully testing with a few human riders aboard back in March 2020, just before the parks shut down due to the arrival of COVID-19. Despite Iron Gwazi seeming to be a week or two away from being able to open to guests, 14 months later and counting, the new coaster is still not open and the park isn’t even trying to tease that the coaster may be ready to open at all anymore.
In fact, there is hardly any mention of Iron Gwazi at all unless you really go digging for it, and even then it only says ‘Anticipated Opening 2021”. Notice… not even Summer 2021… just “2021”. Which does make me wonder if something could have gone wrong with it during testing, because at this point there is no reason to keep holding it back.
Anyone know more about just what in the world is going on? It is worth mentioning that the new Ice Breaker coaster at SeaWorld Orlando may have fallen in the same boat, and is also only saying that Ice Breaker is “Anticipated” to open in 2021.
(4/16/21) Live entertainment will be returning to Busch Gardens Tampa soon. According to a press release from the park, the Award-Winning “Turn It Up” Ice Skating show and the new “Cirque Electric” shows will open in the park on Friday, May 28th. There will be “modified operations” inside the theaters to allow for some social distancing while letting limited capacity audiences enjoy the shows at the park once again.
(3/13/21) Busch Gardens Tampa says they will soon open a new Giraffe Bar that will offer both indoor and outdoor viewing areas of the Serengheti Plain section of the park. The bar will offer specialty cocktails, craft beers as well as frozen drinks. The bar will also feature a number of TVs set up to display various sports games when you want to take a break from the rides to check on the latest scores. The new Giraffe Bar is expected to soft open on March 19.
(2/10/21) According to a post a Touring Central Florida, Adventure Island appears to have filed for permits to demolish the park’s Runaway Rapids slides. According to the permit the demolition will include the five slides and the fake mountain rockwork surrounding them all. As I recall these were some of the waterpark’s original slides from when it first opened. As possibly the oldest slides in the park currently, it makes sense that eventually they would have to either be retired or completely renovated, and looks like they have opted to just remove them and reclaim the site for future use.
The article also mentions that the Runaway Rapids slides did not open in 2020 when the rest of the park opened, and the nearby but much newer Wahoo Run slide did not open either. Currently neither Runaway Rapids or Wahoo Run are currently listed on the park’s website either, so either Wahoo Run will remain closed to allow easy access for the demolition team, or perhaps its time in the park may be cut short as well. Anyone know more?
Howl-O-Scream 2021 - (9/21/21) After a few days rest, I finally got to finish putting together footage shot by a local rep who attended Howl-O-Scream 2021 at Busch Gardens Tampa for us. Check out the video below for a little preview of the event, with a look at the scare zones, haunts, rides and shows.
(8/13/21) Howl-O-Scream in Tampa has announced another haunt for this year’s event called ‘Witch of the Woods”. Something wicked this way haunts…an ominous legend summons guests with her inescapable curse. Curiosity has brought many travelers into this dark forest, but only bone-chilling stories and dying screams make their way out. With each step deeper into the woods, the prospect of survival quickly fades as demonic disciples hunt wandering intruders through their abandoned village. Human sacrifices are chased to the witch’s altar, where dark fates are sealed with more than spells.
This will be the third ALL-NEW haunt for this year’s event along with the previously announced “The Forgotten” and “Cell Block Zombies”. The park has also confirmed three all new scare zones: Voodoo, Skeleton Crew and In the Shadows.
(8/2/21) Busch Gardens Tampa has announced two more haunt for this year’s Howl-O-Scream. Enter “Death Water Bayou: Blood Moon” and go deep into the bayou where the werewolves reign supreme. The other haunts already confirmed for this year include The Forgotten and Cell Block Zombies, with two more to be announced.
(7/17/21) Busch Gardens Tampa has revealed the first new haunt for this year’s Howl-O-Scream event, to be called: The Forgotten. “Victims will be drawn into a hidden world beyond the rubble and rocks of an unsuspecting quarry, where dark secrets lurk in the shadows. Just beyond a hidden gutter entrance, the legend of the human uprising is revealed as a swarm of starving vampires plot their imminent revenge. Will those who enter return to the world of the living or are they destined to become the newest minion of the Forgotten army?”
(6/4/21) Busch Gardens Tampa has confirmed that Howl-O-Scream will be back “with a vengeance” this fall for the park’s longest Haunt event ever. Howl-O-Scream will take place across 28 select nights between Sept. 10 and Oct. 31, 2021.
“Fear returns to its most immersive form as guests are invited back inside iconic haunted houses, including two ALL-NEW horror-filled houses at Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream, Tampa Bay’s BIGGEST haunt event. Park guests will find nowhere to hide as zombies, deranged clowns, werewolves and more stalk their prey throughout eight scare zones while unpredictable roaming hordes lurk in the darkness. Beyond the haunts, killer entertainment can be found on stage with “Fiends!” returning to the Festival Field and last year’s best-kept-secret “The Rolling Bones” performing electrifying rock covers at Dragon Fire Grill.”
As for the haunts… as we said there will be two all new haunts, three returning fan-favorite haunts that will have received some upgrades, 8 scare zones and “three unpredictable hordes” of roaming terrors that could strike at any time, in any place.
Discount tickets are on sale now at the official website as well, so don’t miss out.
2021 - Iron Gwazi - (8/25/21) Busch Gardens Tampa confirmed to the world that Iron Gwazi is now slated to open in March 2022, about two years after it was originally planned to open in Spring 2022 before the COVID pandemic saw all theme parks shut down just as Iron Gwazi had begun testing.
(6/13/21) It has been quite some time since any official information has been released about Iron Gwazi, but a few tidbits did come out over the weekend. A clip showing a park rep speaking at the ACE Thrill Seekers Event confirmed while they don’t have an opening date for Iron Gwazi, they did bring in a couple of workers on Friday to perform some needed work on the track.
(5/22/21) Please don’t kill the messenger, but the latest rumor sent my way about the plans for Iron Gwazi aren’t going to make anyone happy if they are true. According to a Screamscape source, nothing much is going on with Iron Gwazi for a couple of reasons, but mainly because the park has no intention of opening it this Summer. RMC workers who were apparently back on site to finish things up earlier this year have all left the area to finish up other various projects for the company.
Again, this is all rumor, but as the story goes, upon checking out of their accommodations near the park, someone noticed the RMC logo and asked if Iron Gwazi was ready to open soon. The reply basically implied that the coaster was ready, but the park had no plan to open it until either the very end of the year, or possibly not until 2022. Pent up demand is keeping the park busy now as they seek to move back to a more normal operations schedule, and with all other future plans on hold, they apparently intend to keep Iron Gwazi on the shelf as incentive to get guests to return to the park again in the future.
The unfortunate thing is that in many ways, we’ve been quietly hearing that the same intentions may be planned for the chains three other big coasters, all standing, waiting and ready to go: Emperor at SeaWorld San Diego, Ice Breaker at SeaWorld Orlando, and Pantheon at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. The later of which is also experiencing some severe staffing shortage problems as well it seems, so they may also be waiting for those problems to resolve themselves before they invite huge crowds to the park to try out the new roller coaster.
(11/22/20) While you wait patiently for 2021 to arrive along with the long awaited opening of Iron Gwazi, The Coaster Kings dropped by the park and posted a beautiful collection of photos of Iron Gwazi as the sun was preparing to set.
(11/16/20) For the entire coaster enthusiast world who has been waiting for this forever, Busch Gardens Tampa has released the official POV video of Iron Gwazi in all its glory. Check it out below!
(9/13/19) Iron Gwazi will be the name of the new coaster coming to Busch Gardens Tampa in 2020, built off the remains of the old Gwazi coaster, though this one will feature a reptile theme for the mythical Gwazi creature instead of being a big-cat hybrid. Iron Gwazi will be promoted as being North America’s tallest hybrid coaster, as well as the fastest and steepest hybrid in the world.
Iron Gwazi will be 206 feet tall, hit 76 mph, and feature a 91º beyond-vertical first drop with an overall length of 4,075 feet, through three inversions and 12 “airtime features”. Iron Gwazi will also have two train operations and be available to all riders at least 48” tall.
2022 - Project F1 / New Waterslide for Adventure Island - (8/31/21) Screamscape sources have sent us an image of a new waterslide project planned to take over the location of the park’s original body slides. This appears to be a pair of launched side-by-side racing slides, not unlike the Cheetah Chase slides that opened at Holiday World’s Splashin Safari earlier this year in Indiana.
The really interesting thing is that according to the image the park appears to not only be planning to reuse some existing pump/mechanical rooms to power the new slide, but the new slide will also launch off the same slide tower as the existing Wahoo Run slide. The existing tower will be modified to accommodate a second separate set of stairs for the new attraction half-way up the tower, while still allowing access to the Wahoo Run slide at the top of the tower.
Early permits have already been filed in Tampa for the project, one of which refers to it as the “Adventure Island Tower Replacement” project and another refers to it as “Project F1”.
???? - New Ride - Rumor - (3/4/20) I’m told that construction work has started at Busch Gardens Tampa on the former Rhino Rally load/unload site. According to the report sent in, much of the site has been dug up and demolished, with trenches dug in the area presumably to install new underground utilities. From the look of things, they may be working on water lines here, as I’ve been told that the old water reservoir under the section of Cheetah Hunt here has been dry for over a year or more, so perhaps they are working to establish some kind of new water feature here to service the new rumored attraction (S&S Screamin’ Swing) in development as well as get the water flowing under Cheetah Hunt again. The same contractor doing work here was also spotted scouting out some sites to the north of the Rhino Rally area in the Serengeti, again possibly for underground utilities and water supply line work.
(1/14/20) Early plans for what Busch Gardens Tampa is planning for 2021 are being rumored, along with the leaked location pulled from documents filed with the city. What what I’m seeing the park’s 2021 attraction will be installed in the general area where the former Rhino Rally loading station was located.
All we know so far about the new ride is that it wont be a coaster and is expected to be some kind of new flat ride able to toss riders about in the air to make up for the closure of the Phoenix which has never reopened. Making an educated assumption, based on projects installed at other parks in the chain, Busch Gardens Williamsburg actually just installed a ride that perfectly fits the bill last year called Finnegan’s Flyer, an S&S Screamin’ Swing ride. These are typically quick to reload and have a decent capacity when installed with two swinging arms that run at the same time, and is generally a well liked ride by most. The Screamin’ Swing takes the concept of what it feels like to be a small child ahead, and getting pushed higher and higher on a swing set in a playground… except this swing set stands about 100 feet tall and you get pushed back and forth at up to 45mph in each direction. Click here to check out the S&S stat sheet on the Screamin’ Swing if you’ve never seen one in real life.
Now, other than the location, this is just speculation and rumor… so take it with a grain of salt until we learn a little more, because 2021 is still many months away and the park will be busy finishing up Iron Gwazi for 2020 before they begin any serious work on this new project.