And also the park that opened at 10am instead of 9am, allowing me plenty of time for that hour drive from the hotel ;)
I got to the park a bit early, actually. The parking lot hadn't opened yet, so I sat in my car in line for about 5 minutes. I quickly took notice of how few cars there were, though, and started anticipating a good day ahead.
Since Busch opens in sections, AND the crowds were very light, I went against my conventional wisdom and rode the first thing in front of me (actually I did that at IoA with the Hulk, too, but again it was a light day for crowds)
I SO wanted to love this coaster. Really, I did, especially after Lightning Racer at Hershey. Now, don't get me wrong, the coaster is decent, and indeed I DID like it, but perhaps not as much as it deserves.
First of all, when Gwazi opened, only the Lion side opened. Tiger sat idle. Now, I can even understand that -- offseason, and a slow day on top of that, probably some staffing issues at play. Ok, so I'll ride Lion a few times and then Tiger when it opens.
Let me describe the loading procedure, so you too can revel in its awesome power. The riders get in the car and buckle their seatbelts. Next they tug in vain at their lapbars, which are locked in the open position. Now, one operator walks down each side of the train, tugging every seatbelt nice and snug. When they get to the end of the train, the bars are released, so riders may pull them down. The operators then walk the train AGAIN, checking that the bars are secure, and FINALLY the train is dispatched.
First lap out on Gwazi Lion. The ride is actually rather fun, although I think it probably missed something with not having Tiger to duel with. We then sit on the back brake run for *8 minutes* waiting for train 2 to dispatch. Welcome to Busch Gardens Tampa, where not only is capacity not King, it isn't even Pawn.
Annoyed, I decided to go over to the other open coaster, Montu. Now, this was more like it.
Montu (7 laps, 6 of them consecutive rerides) -- Take no crowds, full capacity operations, and a fast crew, and what do you get? No need to get out of your seat if you don't want to, that's what. On top of that, we're talking about a GOOD B&M inverted (better than Raptor and possibly even Alpengeist). Even with a trim just before the batwing (which I didn't notice at all on the first lap, but was there on subsequent laps), I fell in love with this coaster.
Next up, I decided to hit Rhino Rally, before the line grew too much. The sign said 20 minutes, but my actual wait was only about 10.
I hate to say it, but I don't really like this ride. The idea of a free-ranging, driven vehicle, among unrestrained animals, seems like an accident waiting to happen. I dread the day an animal gets hit, or the rhino decides to charge a vehicle. Now, I'll admit I know nothing about the internals of the "ride", and with all the effort Busch puts into animal preservation I'm sure there's SOMETHING that keeps the animals away from the vehicle other than natural aversion ("invisible fence" type systems, perhaps), and I'm sure the drivers are well-trained, but I really feel that wild animals should be kept more separated from guests, period. I don't like "drive-through safaris" for the same reason. Sorry, Busch...
After wandering around for a while, taking pictures of various animals (all of them safely in their enclosures, I might add) I find myself by
Scorpion (2 laps) -- This ride is a classic steelie. Single loop, lapbar, and possibly the highest Gs on the trip. I loved it :)
Now it was lunchtime. When in Timbuktu, eat at.....Festhaus? Um, ok...
So what do my feet bring me to next after a fine meal?
Kumba (7 laps) -- The only "conventional" sitdown B&M I've ridden. We've got floorless coasters, we've got inverted coasters, we've got a launched sitdown just down I-4, and we've got Kumba (and Wildfire, and others, but I haven't been on those yet).
Some people say Kumba isn't the best B&M anymore. They'd be right. Some people say Kumba has to grow on you. For them, they'd be right. However, I was blown away by Kumba from the first lap. Another coaster that was well worth this trip.
Now I came to Python. Or rather, tried to. Python was closed, and in fact a good portion of the Congo section was fenced off "for continued improvement". Probably general upkeep, but "hmmm" nonetheless.
So now it's time to try Gwazi again, right? Sure it is. Only now Lion is closed, and Tiger is open. Glad I hit Lion earlier. Same silly procedures, although at least the ops let me stay on when there was nobody in the row. 5 laps. I THINK I liked Lion better than Tiger, but it's hard to tell with only one Lion lap.
Gwazi is a good coaster, but it was also the biggest disappointment of the trip.
So don't get me wrong -- Overall, I loved Busch Gardens Tampa. Not perfect, but little in this world is. The food is good, the park is beautiful, the B&Ms are great, and Scorpion is a great retro blast. Gwazi has potential, I'm HOPING what I saw was offseason blues. As for Python, well, I'd have liked the credit, but I'll live. Hopefully it'll still be there when I make my eventual return ;)
"The questions ticket agents ask at airports are useless, but give an illusion of security to the GP. Much like seatbelts on roller coasters...
*** This post was edited by GregLeg on 1/15/2002. ***
*** This post was edited by Alantis104 on 1/16/2002. ***
*** This post was edited by kip099 on 1/17/2002. ***
You didnt miss much on Phython, You would have only got a headache if you did ride it anyway, And its also a very short ride which simply isnt worth it not in my opinion anyway.
Python, really, the opinions noted here are really kind if anything. Definitely a coaster to ride once if you want to up the count by one, not for the ride itself...but the Python Soft-Serv gets rave reviews...the rumors that it would be removed for a future installation didn't even bother me, and that is NOT like me, as I hate to lose ANY ride...
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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com, Sillynonsense.com
"As far as I can tell it doesn't matter who you are. If you can believe, there's something worth fighting for..." - Garbage, "Parade"
Anyway, I got to ride both sides of Gwazi when they were dueling. After riding the Dragons though, ALL the dueling coaster seem weak (even LR...the racing parts rock though :)). The only duel on Gwazi that I even really noticed was the inital duel on the run out to the lift. Gwazi was still decent. Lion and Tiger felt about the same to me, but I *think* I like Tiger a skostch more. Either way, it's my least favorite GCI (but it's a twisted so still cool!)
Glad to see someone else liking Montu especially over the green bird. I actually like it more than Alpengeist, but I like Alpy a lot too.
And oh yeah, Kumba is the real deal!
Besides, if we were really shutting down people we disagreed with, would Jeremy (2Hostyl) still be around? :) I think not. - Jeff 1/24/02
-l(who also likes Montu more than Alpie or Raptor)
I'll also second the Duelers that don't work comment. I have been on Gwasi, Lightning Racer, and Dueling Dragons. The only one where I found the dueling to really work was Dragons, and then because Dragons are inverted, only in the front seat. As for Lightning Racer, the racing part is great. As for Gwasi, even though they were dueling them when I rode it, I did not really notice the other train. However, as stand alone coasters, I liked both sides of Gwasi so not noticing the dueling was no big deal for me.
"Nobody writes about the planes that land." Steve Salerno Washington Times 7-10-01
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