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Monday, March 18, 2002 10:15 AM

I’m not sure if anyone has heard the news, but Kumba was down most of the week! I did a little walking around Kumba, and they were welding several different spots on the track. I really think this is scheduled Maintenance, and I wish they would have had some warning on there website about it.

Again, it was perfect weather in Florida. Temperatures in the mid 70’s, partly cloudy, and a forecasted light breeze of 5-10 MPH. These ferocious winds also warranted the sky ride to be closed all day. Later in the day, there would be hardly a breeze and the anemometer on top of the sky ride had less rotation the Shack O’Neil foul shot. Still it was closed due to "High winds." They must not live on Lake Erie Like I do . :)

We got there exactly at opening and headed straight to the only operating Beemer in the park, Montu. We were about 5th in line and headed for the back seat for fist ride of the day. They kept testing, and testing, and testing though. Should they do this before the parks opens?

After about 15 minutes of watching Montu cycle, we boarded. This ride was easily my favorite coaster in Florida, and defiantly one of the best Inverts I have ridden (A). The drop in the back right seat is awesome, and I like the quick up and the little float at the top of the loops. The immelman is neat because you heading straight at the wall and turn around, epically at sunset with the sun cresting over the top of the wall. The batwing, or whatever after the Zero G Roll is crazy intense diving into the ground, even with the trim on. I liked the last wingover to finish, but there is a real dead spot after the 2nd loop. In the first ride in the morning I thought we were going to stop. Rode this bad boy 14 times through the day.

Next was the surprise coaster of the trip, Gwazi (A-) I have read reports on how rough it has become so I was not expecting much. I noticed the track was absolute drenched in oil as we made the way up. Gwazi was running like crazy, keeping up the speed through the entire course. There was crazy up and out air on every little crest, which was somewhat surprising. The placement of the head choppers is perfect, every time I would float 2 feet out of my seat, up comes I giant beam at my head. I almost tried to drag myself back into the train to avoid being hit . :)

Still, I would not call it smooth as glass, but hey it’s a wood coaster! The train shuffled along the track a bit, but it was not intolerable gave a sort of raw, out of control feeling. They were even dueling it for me a couple times, until they shut the one side down.

As for the checking procedure, there has to be a reason to the insanity and here is my theory. The belts on Gwazi are ridiculously long, and one time an op even tightened it on me because I was still sitting on a foot of slack. Mean Streak, at CP has similar trains, but the belts are really short and people get rejected from the ride all the time, so even if it was loose all they way you would not be going anywhere. On Mean Streak, you just have to visually see it attached and it should be safe. On Gwazi, probably want to check to make sure these long belts are tight, became if they are loose that could spell trouble. It would be tough to check the tightness the belts if the bar was pulled down. On Phantoms Revenge, where they check both at the same time, the belts automatically retract to the taught position. All coasters should have something like this.

Scorpion was next up (c+). A small, fun little coaster, that is really smooth for its age. Python was next (c-) and I don’t really remember the ride, we were back in the station before I knew it.

As for the park, I really did not care for it too much. I despise he layout for several reasons. First, there is no real main "throughway", just a bunch of small paths that can get crowded leading every which way. 2nd, there is no good way to get to point A to B. Example, We were standing about 500 feet from the back Gwazi, near Scorpion. We had to walk halfway around the dang park just to get to the entrance. Finally, the attractions I feel are just too spread out. The small paths lead to single things, usually scenery with animals, which were mooning us. The zoo part did not seem all that great, and if I wanted to look at animals I would rather go to the Cleveland Rainforest or the Toledo Zoo.

The theming was weak I kind of felt, especially in the older part of the park (had the urban zoo look going). Not really "gardens" like in Williamsburg, more like Vegetation. In Egypt they had games with all these weird boop, beem sounds, which did not make me, feel like I was in Egypt. Also, the German Fest house felt out of place in Timbuktu and a British Plantation sort of house in Egypt. What is this, imperialism? The Germans brought concentrations camps and famine to their holdings, not fest houses! I guess you have to get beer in a Busch Park somehow :).

The food was good; we ate at the German Imperial, or Fest house. I had a big big corned beef sandwich with really good potatoes and chocolate covered strawberries for desert. $13 was a little steep, but not too bad.

Can’t figure out anything else to write (is it long enough?) so here are my park awards.

Best Coaster In Florida, Montu

Most ludicrous policies on a coaster., Gwazi

Best Dueling Wood Coaster in Florida Award, Gwazi

Best Bottled Water

Best confusing park Layout

Slowest Train Award

Best Welding on a coaster

Worst Walking Skills among guest

Best Smelling Bathroom

Don't, Don't Don't believe, Don't believe the hype.

*** This post was edited by Joe E. on 3/18/2002. ***

Monday, March 18, 2002 2:03 PM

You have to realize this, Busch Gardens was a zoo before it became a theme park plus with Anheuser-Buschs policies on conservation they are defiantly going to have a lot of animal and plant habbitats. BGT is one of the largest Zoo's in the counrty and didn't begin to add rides until 25+ years after the old Anhesuer-Busch brewery opened the Bird Gardens to the public. You don't expect a park to completly remove all aspects of there existince simply because some person didn't come there to see animals. Having the animals in the park provide a unique experience not found in most places with exceptions at Six Flags Marine World, Six Flags Worlds of Adventure, Wild Adventures, and Disney's Animal Kingdom who all have seen the success from BGT and decided to follow similar paths to help protect the environment yet doing it in an entertaining and enjoyable fashion.

Also if a ride is down for a day or week the park doesn't have to post it on their website becomes usually the problems are not known until the mechanics inspect the rides in the morning and discover the problem. Ride closures are just something people have to expect when coming to parks especially when a park is open 365 days a year. Imagine how worn down you would be if you were running for 10-12+ hours a day 7 days a week with no time off. Well the same thing happens to rides. Parts need to be replaced, repainted, or tightened up just like people need to shower, eat, and sleep.

Also the large plantation looking building isn't in Egypt it's the Crown Colony House in the Crown Colony section of the park, is home to the Crown Colony House restaurant, the Cyldesdale Hamlet and the Sky Ride station and was the former home of Questor which is now Akbar before the Egypt section of the park was added.

OK park layout, again you have to go back and realize that BGT wasn't always a theme park. Where Gwazi is now is where the old brewery used to be (right in the center of the park) so what that means is that everything was built around the brewery. BGT exactly has a fairly good layout because you can pretty much get to any attraction in the park no matter which direction you go because it's one big loop with the exception of where Egypt and Edge of Africa are. You can also take the train from the front of the park all the way around to the back of the park at Congo or Stanleyville or you can take the skyride from the front of the park to the back. Another thing is that there are numerous signs pointing you into the direction of certain attractions and even tell you how far away that attraction is from you.

Monday, March 18, 2002 2:19 PM

Joe E. said:

Best Dueling Wood Coaster in Florida Award, Gwazi

Sadly, it's also the worst, being the only dueling woodie in Florida. I myself wouldn't call it best, though. Sounds like your ride was much better than mine. Speed was kept up, but roughness was not kept down. The train shook more than LA in a 8.0 (maybe not quite that much, I don't know how powerful that is, never been in a quake.)

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Less than 2 months until SFGAm opens!

Monday, March 18, 2002 3:44 PM

Yeah, I noticed that. I was going to give it the best wood coaster award but then I realized there were actually a few wood coasters in Florida.

As for Kumba being down, I was not mad or upset because I do know things happen. However if they did know it would be down fro a certain period of time due to scheduled maintenance, a warning would have been nice. For instance, when Millennium Forces' cable snapped, they did put on the site it would be down for the week.

Monday, March 18, 2002 4:27 PM
I have to agree with you there, Joe. When one of the park's two main rides is going to be down for more than one day, it would be considerate to give the public a little warning. Had we known a day or two prior to our visit, we could have made arrangements to stay an extra day in Tampa in order to ride Kumba. I was a bit disappointed because I can't really justify driving the 17 hours to BGT anytime soon unless they get something really big in the next few years.
Monday, March 18, 2002 5:20 PM
I think I was ther that day too... I really like Gwazi, though from what I got from the ops, the only time it can duel is when there is no one in line... (it was a 2 train wait, and they said that they were trying to get the lines done as quickly as possible) Becuase there is no block break, no matter what the ride will run at the same pace, regardless. I think the ops are in fact apes in monkey suits.
Thursday, March 21, 2002 7:34 AM

Kumba and Maintenance: Last year this time we visited BGT and a sign by the entrance said that Kumba was down. We asked around and found that it was down for yearly maintenance. Of course we still went inside for Montu, Gwasi, Scorpion and even Python, but were a bit bummed by the fact that Kumba was down. At around 3pm we noticed them running trains on Kumba and then noticed people on the trains. Managed to get in 1 ride in before we had to leave. Could it be that when maintenace time comes around, they do maintenance on their coasters for a certain amount of time during the day and then open them up later in the day (providing that they can... you know... the lift chain is in place, trains are not dissassembled, etc).


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