Cheetah Hunt Media Day 5/26/11

Thursday, May 26, 2011 9:22 PM

Left from work at 1am and headed straight to Tampa. I have to say that dIe-4 was cake to drive with no traffic on it!
Arrived at BG at 4am and it wasn’t long after, the press/media and other ACEers began to show up.

Idk how many of you feel about themes but I love them. In typical BG style they didn’t spare any “wows” for Cheetah Hunts area and queue. During camera reset down time I admired all the details in all the work. In particular the tops of the station pilars. They truly look like they were sewn by hand. Amazing.

We were all treated to a yummy continental breakfast (muffins, pastries, yogurt, granola, fresh fruit, candy, coffee, juice, pop and water) before it was time to test this baby out with the 1 news team.

I was 1 of the lucky ones who got to ride the 1 train out at 5:10am. It was pitch black out and they made me take off my glasses so I was also blind. I didn’t look at any of the on ride videos online because I wanted it all to be new to me.

I watched CH test running last weekend and I didn’t find myself very impressed. To me it looked slow and I am sure my personal discontent for Intamin (in a B&M dominated park) didn’t help. I also couldn’t help but think of Maverick.
However, the otsh weren’t as vicious as Maverick’s so I was quite happy with that. The trains SO similar to Mavs except there are 4 cars.

I kind of dreaded the 1 launch to the last turn into the station I LOOOOVED this ride! It was SOOO fun!! Out of no where comes this intense heartline roll. I didn’t know about that and it is incredible :)
(I guess now we all know where Maverick’s heartline roll went-to Florida!)

The sound of the launches are so Maverick but that my friends is IT.
The rest of this ride has nothing to do with his brother up north. You get launched out of the station, right into your first (smooth as glass) turn. You then go straight down into a hill and that’s where the fun begins. You hit the 2 launch with flies you up over a huge hill (nice airtime) for the lazy 8 turns (someone going to smack their hands on that support on top guaranteed) The turns Cheetah Hunt take are all quick and smooth. After the heartline roll (smooth as well and a nice little treat) you hit a trim (not bad and you can tell why its needed) into the water part, where its almost like a fun trick track 4x-that is like 1 of my fav parts it is so fun! Back into the final launch, back to the station and wanting MORE!

There was NO head banging, NO neck getting ripped off, no ears getting whacked. You don’t have to try to learn how to ride the ride to enjoy it, its very easy to enjoy. The only place anyone said there was a slight issue was the last turn before the final brake run. Nothing extreme to me honestly.

In between tapings we were treated to a hot breakfast of scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, hash browns and toast. We ate outside on a beautful patio. I took it easy on the bacon (sorry Jim Gaffigan) cause I didnt want to do anything to piss off my tummy :)

We did have 1 train go down during morning filming, naturally I wasn’t on it. Apparently before the final launch the tires weren’t spinning so the launch didn’t go off causing a roll back (so jealous) from the hill. An op had to use the controls at the launch to get the train back in place, the wheels spinning and the launch up and launching again.
I thought “oh here we go”..but they sent out 3 empty trains and we were back in business again.

After the a.m. shoot I felt kind of badly for having doubted Intamin. I guess with me I think about all the issues with WT its 1st season and TTD. Then I felt they did CP so wrong with KK.
I know Maverick has been pretty reliable and I know it has its fans (I named my 2 horse Maverick after the ride!) but I didn’t touch it last season and if there is longer than a 15 minute wait I wont ride it this season either. I just feel that the ride is too condensed, too much stuff all happening too fast and a lot of it more painful then fun. There are a couple pops of airtime over small hills but everything that Maverick lacks (to me) Cheetah Hunt delivers (except for the pain)

You can see that Intamin/Intaride took some ideas from some of Maverick and totally raised the bar for Cheetah Hunt. The ride is really long and the layout is great. The hills are insane fun and the launches are too. There are many great photo op areas and the ride blends in great with the rest of the park. The merchandise is really awesome, my fav being the cheetah paw prints! I had bought a Cheetah Hunt shirt last week to wear today. Now that Ive actually ridden the ride I’m actually glad I got a shirt! :)

I rode CH 20x today and rode every single row except for the front. I will say the last row was my favorite the airtime was crazy fun back there. You can easily ride CH over and over again and not get bored with it. If it wasn’t for the fact by lunch (subs, cookies and drinks) I had been awake for 24 hours, I would’ve been more than happy to ride with the 1-5pm ACEers, but I headed for Montu instead.

My intent was 1 ride and go home, but I got 12 rerides! LOVE that ride so much may be getting a Montu tat--seriously. I was graying out all over the place again today! Awesome! :)

Oh sorry back to Cheetah Hunt….
I noticed I didn’t see or hear any trains when I walking to Montu and then back to my car to leave. I thought that was rather strange, yeah setting up for press takes time, but that much?

I no sooner get in the car I have a text that CH had been down since 1:30. Ouch. Maybe I wont think I was wrong about Intamin quite yet. Sure glad I didn’t stay around for the 1-5pm ACE riders.

Funny, Montu didn’t go down once while I was riding it. Hmmmm

Busch Gardens has a sure winner with Cheetah Hunt. Everyone who was riding it today loved it too. It will be a safe bet I will be riding it again on my future visits! :)

My thanks to Busch Gardens for a remarkable and well planned event. The food, hospitality, humor, wristband and all the rides was very much appreciated! :)
Especially the 10 gallons of coffee I drank. And to the new Fl Acers I met today-you guys were a blast! I still have no voice from laughing so much!
See some of you next week at CM! :)

Lifetime Raptor fights: 3000 :)
Lifetime Cheetah Hunt: 20 :)

Thursday, May 26, 2011 10:02 PM

My Review:

It's not the biggest, it's not the fastest, it's not the longest, it's not the tallest, it's not the most thrilling.

This coaster is just plain fun.

Arrived at BGT about 4:30am, that's right, AM. It was still dark for crying out loud. Registered and received my yellow Cheetah Hunt rubber bracelet for ID. Entered through the Nairobi gate and got walked back to the CH Plaza.

I was able to get on the First Train out for the Hunt in total darkness. To make it even harder to see anything they had LED light arrays mounted in the front seats, pointing at the featured media riders in the second seats. Even though I was aware of the layout, not being able to see anything ahead of me made the first ride a blast.

The train slowly leaves the station, and the rolling first launch catches you off guard. It is more powerful than it seems from the videos, but still the train seems to barely make it through that first turn. It then dives down into the trench and into the second launch, which propels it up the "leap" into the turnaround. It really feels cat like, almost leaping straight up. By mid-morning, I got some trains chanting for a Rollback. ;) Great pop of air at the top, which gets everyone cheering or screaming.

The figure eight at the top gives you just enough time to look around at the park and surrounding area including downtown Tampa. It exits to the 135 foot descent into a trench. Nice way to take a right turn. :) The train then proceeds up the hill that leaps over the Sky Ride cables. They started operating the Sky Ride with no riders close to the park opening, and later we noticed it had a few riders coming in from the other end, so I imagine it's ready to go for tomorrow. Should provide great views of the coaster, especially if you're lucky to catch a "hunt" while floating over the tracks.

Down it goes into another trench, then back up into the lone inversion, the corkscrew. Exiting the corkscrew goes right into the MCBR which slows it down just enough to take the right turn at the end.

It turns around at this point and heads into the old Rhino Rally water area. This is the section that had me most concerned about the Intamin OTSRs. NOT TO WORRY. These newer restraints and the track layout make the back and forth action in the water area a total blast. It feels like you're white water rafting or jet skiing. Everyone on each run totally loved this section and cheered at each turn back and forth. Of course it helped we all got to ride so many times, and this section never got boring. Way to go Intamin and BG for this design.

Then off to the Third Launch up and over the lone bunny hill. The best airtime on this hill (and the top of the leap) seems to occur the closer you are to the front. Never got a front car ride today, as that was reserved for the Media, so I'm looking forward to that later in the season.

It then goes into the final couple switchback hills and trenches. The final turn into the brakes can surprise you. Speed is maintained until the end.

I think they have a hit on their hands with this one.

Family Friendly(48" height minimum), not too fast, not too tall, not too intense. As Goldilocks says, Just Right.

There was also more airtime than I was expecting. From the top of the leap, to to the drop from the figure eight, to the bunny hill and others. Some runs provided more than others.

No neck/head/jaw/ banging (except maybe the final turn into the brakes), but that is minimized by the kinder gentler restraints, which look like Mavericks, but are softer and slightly padded.

I got 26+ total rides this morning. :)

Last edited by FloridaRider, Thursday, May 26, 2011 10:03 PM
Friday, May 27, 2011 10:17 AM

Is the glasses removal a normal policy or was it just for media day?

Friday, May 27, 2011 10:37 AM

They only did that for the first few runs for whatever reason. I think they got a lot of complaints. They even made me take off my sunglasses with a strap.

Friday, May 27, 2011 12:01 PM

I forgot to mention too about the glasses. It was only my 1st ride, I couldnt wear mine. After that they didnt make me take off mine either.

Thank goodness for that. I still havent seen ANY of my SilverBullet or Xcelerator rides thanks to that stupid policy :(


Friday, May 27, 2011 2:26 PM

It's really a shame on Xcelerator, because I absolutely love that ride but it's kind of ruined by the policy.

Friday, May 27, 2011 3:07 PM

FloridaRider said:
I got 26+ total rides this morning. :)

Did they stop you in the middle of what would have been your 27th ride and make you get out;)

Friday, May 27, 2011 8:49 PM

It happens.

Sunday, May 29, 2011 11:29 PM

^^One of his 26 rides was a rollback :)

"I didn’t look at any of the on ride videos online because I wanted it all to be new to me."

That's something that I should start doing or should I say stop doing. You are smart it's much more fun when you DON'T know the layout ahead of time.

Glad you two enjoyed the ride. I just hope that this ride is reliable. To me that is the major concern with 3 launches.

Monday, May 30, 2011 6:53 PM

Eric Hossfield said:

"I didn’t look at any of the on ride videos online because I wanted it all to be new to me."

That's something that I should start doing or should I say stop doing. You are smart it's much more fun when you DON'T know the layout ahead of time.

I must say I had NO idea about the invert (neither did the guy sitting next to me) and we were both like "wow where'd that come from?"

Lifetime Raptor flights: 3000 :)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 9:01 AM

Glad you had fun. I feel about Cheetah Hunt the same way I felt about Hangover 2. I was expecting awesome, but I got "ok"! Its a decent ride, but Maverick kicks the panties off Cheetah hunt. My favorite part was the trick track section after the MCBR. I'll do a trip report if I get a chance.

Last edited by delan, Tuesday, May 31, 2011 12:47 PM
Sunday, June 5, 2011 11:56 PM

^I got Maverick this week, and I have to say that IMO, Maverick will/would beat the pants off Cheetah Hunt if/when Mavy gets retrofitted with what I understand are quite successful restraints operating on I-305 (not that I've had the pleasure of I-305.2 yet, but as for my one ride Thursday at was ouchy). I would still take the "less-thrilling" ride for now.

Monday, June 6, 2011 12:30 PM

rollergator said:
^I got Maverick this week, and I have to say that IMO, Maverick will/would beat the pants off Cheetah Hunt if/when Mavy gets retrofitted with what I understand are quite successful restraints operating on I-305 (not that I've had the pleasure of I-305.2 yet, but as for my one ride Thursday at was ouchy). I would still take the "less-thrilling" ride for now.

I rode Mav yesterday and immediately regretted my decision. I dont think its just the restraints that are the issue with Maverick. I truly feel its too much substance placed in a confined area. CH is not as thrilling (or ouchy as you put it) but Id still take it ANY day over Maverick, different restraints or not.
CH was not built to be competitive with Maverick, I used Mav as my example since its the only other Intamin simular to CH I've been on. 1 ride on Mav I am done, I can ride CH all day long! :)

Lifetime Raptor flights: 3035 :)

Monday, June 6, 2011 3:00 PM

^Agreed, Jo - I didn't take your "comparison" in any way other than intended... ;)

To me, what we're really trying to *accomplish* is to identify restraint systems that will allow the more compact Intamins to ride as they should, while making suggestions for the more stretched-out rides to run as wild as the can without infliciting pain on the riders... :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011 6:48 AM

It may not be the silver bullet, but I think the soft straps would make Maverick infinitely more ride-able. I only ride twice during CM ERT because my neck and shoulders had all they could take, and that was with keeping my arms down and bracing myself for the turns.


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