Busch Gardens Tampa announces Iron Gwazi roller coaster

Posted | Contributed by Jeff

From the press release:

A new legend is surfacing in 2020 at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay with the evolution of Iron Gwazi, North America’s tallest, and the fastest, and steepest hybrid coaster in the world. Manufactured by Rocky Mountain Construction, Iron Gwazi will be 206 feet tall, feature a 91-degree drop, and reach top speeds of 76 miles per hour. The journey will include three inversions and 12 airtime hills as it races along more than 4,075 feet of purple steel track. With a 48” height requirement, Iron Gwazi will be an exciting thrill attraction that families can take on together.

“Iron Gwazi is the evolution of a classic wooden coaster into a modern icon,” said Stewart Clark, Park President of Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. “From the bones of the original Gwazi, a new legend rises, reaching taller heights and faster speeds, delivering the next-level thrills that our coaster fans crave and expect from Busch Gardens.”

While elements of the former wooden attraction will be integrated into the new ride, the steel track and reimagined layout of Iron Gwazi present an entirely unique experience that tells a different story. Iron Gwazi will highlight the best of both worlds — the classic nostalgia of a wooden coaster and the bold innovation of a steel coaster. Thriving and adapting over millions of years, this evolutionary crossroad is perfectly represented in the crocodile, the largest living reptile and the animal inspiration for Iron Gwazi.

See more from Busch Gardens.

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Bedroom communities? I’ve gone into Kissimmee the “back way” (it’s a toll road, I can’t tell you off hand what it is.) and I was surprised at how many communities, subdivisions, schools, shopping centers, and restaurants. I could tell it wasn’t too far in the past that it had all been farmland and groves. It’s no secret Orlando metro is huge and still growing and I think a lot of that sprawl is heading west of town. Haines City is a very busy intersection there at 1-4.

Vater- Agreed. I’ve driven in a lot of the cities mentioned in that article. nothing compared to I-95 around DC.

But then again, what do I know?

Jeff's avatar

That's basically where I live (up 429 a bit, at the Siedel exit). It was all abandoned orange groves five years ago. I-4 between 429 and Turkey Lake is pretty much packed most of the day.

And sure, it's all relative. The 405 around Seattle was horrible, as was 90 into town. Every city is like that.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

What I can't figure out is the insane afternoon congestion going westbound from Celebration until Champions Gate/Haines City. An hour to go less than 10 miles. It's worse than what I deal with driving downtown every day.

When I lived in the southwest quadrant of O town 10 years back. "I went to Tampa this weekend" meant one of two things. The strip club or the casino. [Not ride Gwazi].

Those were the only two reasons to gun that road through the swamps.

The past few times I've been down there it is mind blowing how backed up that stretch gets. At any hour of the day. Especially since there's still not that much down there comparitvely. I-4 is still a pretty solidly engineered four lane interstate and there aren't many congestion causing exiting/merge opportunities to warrant the back ups. Weird Florida.

Last edited by Kstr 737,
Tekwardo's avatar

ApolloAndy said:

Tekwardo said:

I need a long weekend to do non Disney and a long weekend for Disney next year.

You will need a lot longer than a long weekend to do Disney...

Im really only interested in Studios and AK at this point. When Tron and Guardians are done I’ll go back for Magicot.

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Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

Hopefully, in fall of 2020, Sesame Place sells their 2021 Platinum Pass for $165 like they they did with the 2019 passes in 2018. That'll give them until December to get the bugs worked out before I make the trek down there at the end of next year. Plus, I'll have the whole next year to go, too.

zoug68: already workin those passes for 2021!

Pagoda Gift Shop's avatar

I'm actually surprised they kept the Gwazi name. Busch Gardens is generally more into coming up with creative names for rides, so I thought they would use this opportunity to do the same. The reality is that this ride will be nothing like Gwazi.

Coasterbuzz - Coaster enthusiasts, but so much more. We're the good ones.

kpjb's avatar

You mean like it won't give me a headache, or that they'll dispatch trains more often than every 12 minutes?


I remember hearing someone suggest they intentionally had the outrageously slow dispatch times on Gwazi as a way to save wear and tear on the trains and track, which was an absurd thing to say - but itnprobably did actually indirectly help it only get in as bad of shape as it did. SeaWorld and Busch parks may quite a bit right, but efficient ride operations have never been one of those things. Here's hoping Iron Gwazi will be an exception to that trend.

Last edited by BrettV,
Vater's avatar

kpjb said:

You mean like it won't give me a headache, or that they'll dispatch trains more often than every 12 minutes?


BrettV based on my recent experiences at Busch Gardens this summer, I wouldn't hold my beath that they will be any better by the time it opens. Went in July on a weekend (my mistake but only time I could go) and I literally was able to only ride 1 coaster throughout the day. Everything was at least 45 minutes to an hour, with the app saying Cobra's Curse was 300 minutes at one point. I don't know how easy RMC's are to load but I don't imagine that they are as efficient as B&M's and even those were an hour most of the time I was there. On the one hand, I was glad that the park was full, but the selfish part of me would have really enjoyed a couple of laps on Cheetah Hunt. Anyway, I am definitely looking forward to riding Iron Gwazi at some point after it opens, I rode Wicked Cyclone after it opened and it was awesome so definitely very excited for Iron Gwazi.

Was there truly an hour's worth of guests in line for the B&Ms, or was the line an hour because of the horrid operations?

I know I've waited 30-ish minutes for a station wait on Montu when I know Cedar Point would have had me on Raptor in less than 10 minutes for the same number of people in line.

Jeff's avatar

The SeaWorld Entertainment parks are not a shining example in the ride operations department, for sure, which is one of the reasons I tend to spend less time in them. It's a shame, because their entertainment, culinary and zoological operations are outstanding. I think there's a real reckoning they need to have if they're going to emphasize roller coasters, because everyone, even Disney now, has roller coasters. If that's your competitive proposition, you need to show that you can run them at capacity.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

RMCs are not capacity efficient. By the time they checked seatbelts, pull down the latter bars, and then double check the lap bars, the Second train is usually stacked.

Vater's avatar

super7* said:

pull down the latter bars

The problem is, there are no former bars. Confuses the ride ops.

I was thinking Gwazi Reborn would have been a cool name.

Last edited by CoastingInMN,

The only name that would’ve been lazier than Iron Gwazi is New Florida Giant.

But then again, what do I know?

Jeff's avatar

It's testing... and wow is it hauling...

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

kpjb's avatar

My wife and kids are going to be there next week. Just a little too soon, I suspect.


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