Busch Gardens Tampa TR 07/25/2018

After experiencing Seaworld Orlando two weeks ago, I was quite anxious to make my way up to Tampa and experience a more ride-oriented park. I actually had two consecutive days off of work this week, so I decided to leave Palm Beach after work Tuesday night, stay at a hotel for the night, and then hit the park fresh in the morning. The drive from Palm Beach to Tampa is 3 hours and change, and not a particularly interesting trip either. After a 150 mile trip through flat "nothing", the last 50 or so miles has you switching multiple times between major roads, toll roads, and state highways. It's not a simple or straight path by any means.

After catching some sleep at the hotel I checked out and headed to general parking. I was intrigued to see that the parking lot was across the street from the park itself. Unfortunately, this means that after parking I had to wait at a tram station 10 minutes and be driven SLOWLY up to the park entrance. They weren't letting guests use the sidewalk to walk across for a reason that was never revealed to me. I then waited about 20 minutes to get though the security checkpoint (Why are so many people bringing such large bags into an amusement park?) and get my annual pass scanned, and finally I was in.

Cheetah Hunt - I rode this three times, once in the back and twice in the front. I waited 15 minutes for the front with quick queue, the normal line was between 45 and 60 minutes all day.

I thought this was a great ride, although I have been spoiled by Maverick. It's intense enough to be thrilling, but not so intense that most of the family couldn't ride it. The second launch and the "tree top" part were very fun, as was the s curve section in the middle. Not too terribly found of the restraints though. 4/5

Scorpion - I rode this 4 times, once in the front and three times towards the back. I never waited more than 10 minutes.

This was my first Schwarzkopf and I was very impressed. This things packs a punch for being as small as it is. Great drop, great forces in the loop, and a fantastic triple helix finale. Standard lap bar too. I wish every park had one of these delightful coasters. 4/5

Kumba - I rode this twice, once in the front and once in the third row. I waited about 10 minutes both times.

Being prone to motion sickness, I was worried about this one, but it actually didn't mess with me too much. Sustained negative G's seem to be the forces that mess with me the most, and Kumba isn't about airtime at all, so I was okay. I loved this one, it's in a great location, back in the uh... woods(?) at the back of the park, it's got a great drop, some excellent and forceful inversions, and it keeps it's intensity all the way through to the end. It was a welcome change of pace from all the Arrow Custom loopers I rode in my youth, the ones that seemed to crawl though the last couple elements (Vortex, Anaconda) I didn't experience any headbanging at all, although the restraints are bulky and uncomfortable. 4.5/5

Sheikra - I rode this twice in the front row, once in the left-most seat and once in the right-most. It was a total walk-on both times, they were sending out trains with 4 or 5 people on them sometimes.

Guys, I really didn't like this at all. The first drop is great and there are some near-miss elements on the edges that are cool, but other than that it was dull. It was also running rough on the last turnaround, which shocked me. This is the only ride I had headbanging on all day. I remember liking Griffon at Busch Williamsburg, but perhaps I just don't have a need for dive machines in my life right now. 3/5

Cobras Curse - I rode this once in the second row. I waited 5 minutes.

I should have known better than to get on something called a "spinning coaster" being prone to motion sickness, but I really wanted to give it a shot. It did make me rather sick, but I had fun and could tell it was a good ride. The elevator lift is quite the experience, and it got quite intense during the spinning part at the end. Fun family ride. 3.5/5

Montu - I rode this three times, once in the front and twice in the middle. I waited 15 minutes for the front, and walked on both times to the middle.

Montu was by far my favorite coaster of the day, and slid into the top 5 of the 48 coasters I have ridden to date. I loved the intensity of this, once it gets going down the first hill it doesn't let up. The inversions were fun and forceful, and unlike a lot of similar coasters I've ridden, they don't seem to arise out of obligation, but rather because they were the best elements for that point in the ride. I'm sold on this being regarded as a classic.

Gwazi - You can see this thing from a lot of different places in the park, it's rather sad. Free Gwazi!

  • Unfortunately, Falcons Fury was down for maintenance, so I'll have to wait until next time to try it out.
  • I took a tablet of meclizine the night before I went to the park, and then I took one an hour before I started riding anything. I also took some ginger capsules before I entered the park. I did fairly well with my motion sickness, I had to break midday for an hour, but then I was good until about 7 in the evening. My last trips on Kumba and Montu did me in.
  • I saw most of the animal exhibits as well. They were all well done.
  • I think Busch Williamsburg is the better themed and landscaped park, although I think I prefer Busch Tampa's coasters line-up a tad more. R.I.P Big Bad Wolf, never forget.
  • Kumba really needs some new paint.
  • The ride ops were pretty good, trains weren't sitting in the station for decades like I've seen at other parks, and I didn't get stapled in my seat at all, which is always welcome.
  • Overall I had a really great time, and I got lucky with the weather as well. They only had to shut down everything once, and it was only for about 15 minutes. Pretty good for July in Florida.
  • I think my next trip will be to Six Flags Over Georgia.
  • Thanks for reading!

Last edited by Orkan,

Glad the coasters didn't trigger your motion sickness as badly as you were worried about. As I stated in your SeaWorld TR I believe - few coasters bother me, but Montu and Kumba both do. Glad to hear Kumba didn't give you much headbanging either, it was brutal when I rode last in 2016.

I am getting the itch to go give it another try. Your comment on decent operations also has me encouraged. Perhaps during Howl O Scream I will return. Glad you had a good time.

kpjb's avatar

Montu never gets old for me. It really is a perfectly executed ride.


BrettV - I did much better on this trip than I did at Seaworld. The medicine and staying hydrated were the keys I think. I neglected both at Seaworld. It's easy to underestimate how much fluid you really lose when it's as hot and humid as it gets here. I might try to attend Howl O Scream as well, one thing I neglected to do was get any night rides.

kpjb - I hope I continue to feel the same way.

Yeah, as a local, I usually avoid the parks from July-September. And I have never done any of the Busch stuff at night because outside of summer and Halloween, they typically close at 6 or 7pm the rest of the year.

But when I can ride a coaster (or even just take a walk around the neighborhood after dinner) in January or February in a t shirt and shorts - that is the reminder on why I live here and the memory that gets me through the three months of swamp we are in right now.

Last edited by BrettV,

It’s Opposite Day here in Ohio. We’re having a beautiful day in the 80’s and a lovely evening in the 60’s. Perfect. And it makes the three months of cold worthwhile.
Now, we did have the 90’s/100’s beginning of July, but still...

ApolloAndy's avatar

Here in the Bay Area we have a high of 85 and a low of 60....again. The three months that the high is 70 and the low is 40 are also nice.

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

You also pay a hundred billion dollars for your homes, so there’s that....

ApolloAndy's avatar

Not quite. Our was only 99 billion.

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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