Florida Theme Park Tour: Part 2 Busch Gardens Tampa

We left Orlando early on January 25 and headed to the park. Despite construction and detours around the entrance, we arrived before they opened the gate.

Tickets: We bought discount tickets back in Canada for $57 CDN (~$50 US). I was worried that these letter-sized tickets would have to be exchanged for normal tickets, but they worked like a charm and we were amongst the first guests in the park.


Gwazi - Lion - Only the Lion track was operating, and it was running with only one train. However, it was still a walk-on for any seats except the very front or back (which had 3-train waits). The banked curves are steeper than most other woodies I've seen, and we were all surprised about how smooth the ride was. It was a damn good ride.

Montu - The Egyptian theming isn't just in the queue, but throughout the entire course of this amazing inverted coaster. It was fast and smooth, not just the best coaster in the park, but our favorite for the entire trip. Don't pass up the opportunity to ride this coaster!

Scorpion - A looping coaster with only lap-bar restraints. They're not extinct yet! The ground-hugging helixes reminded us of the Mindbender in Galaxyland. Fun, but not the best in the park.

Kumba - This coaster has the largest vertical loops I've ever been on. It's a great ride, with some interesting terrain-hugging track. And it was smooth. All BGT coasters were smooth! We were shocked.

Python - This was one of the shortest coasters I've ever ridden - rcdb.com pegs it at 1:10 (including lift hill). The brief ride somehow includes two corkscrews. Short and sweet.

Cheetah Chase - A well-designed wild mouse with lots of sharp turns (8+) and a couple fast dips. Some kids thought it was lame, but the adults loved it.

SheiKra - Throughout the day, we watched the top of the lift hill being hoisted into place. It looks great. I hope we can come back soon after it opens.

Non-coaster Attractions:

Rhino Rally was disappointing because the water portion of the ride was shut down and the land portion was brief and lackluster. We were spoiled by Disney's Kilimanjaro Safaris in 2001.

Tanganyika Tidal Wave and Stanley Falls Flume were both great water rides. We didn't get too wet on Tanganyika, just sprayed. On Stanley Falls, one wave went over the side and we collected a bit of water on our seat. The theming on both of these rides was pretty good, especially the cave-art depicting natives paddling canoes off waterfalls. :) Congo River Rapids was our last water ride, and we were prepared for the worst. Our party of three adults rode with a father and his two sons (aged 9 and 12). As luck would have it, the youngest got the wettest. Every time our raft went into the rapids, it seemed to rotate so he would catch the wave rolling into the raft. His dad laughed about it until the end of the ride when the water-jet (for directing rafts to the ramp) caught him full force for about 15 seconds. The three people in my group were dry except for our hair and my left leg (which was only wet around my knee). We were dry enough we didn't bother changing into our spare clothes.

R.L. Stine's Haunted Lighthouse was neat, but they spray way too much water on guests. Anybody heard of moderation?

Skyride was pleasant and offered a good view of the animals.

Beer School. We learned about brewing and sampled 6 different Anheuser-Busch beers during our 40-minute course. It's free, which is good, even if it is Bud. ;)

The non-coaster people in our group enjoyed the Serengeti Express Train, Edge of Africa trails, and were frightened in the Curiosity Caverns. Coaster-nuts like me would have enjoyed seeing more animals, but we just didn't have time.

[edited for line breaks]*** Edited 2/1/2005 5:09:24 AM UTC by greatwhitenorth*** *** Edited 2/1/2005 5:10:03 AM UTC by greatwhitenorth*** *** Edited 2/1/2005 2:14:48 PM UTC by greatwhitenorth***

Decent report, always nice to hear a BGT review, helps me remember ;) Although, you have Kumba labeled as Montu above. Just an FYI!

Brett, Resident Launch Whore Anti-Enthusiast (the undiplomatic one)
Thanks Impulse-ive. Fixed now.
CBaby and I split our decision on best steel EVAR between Kumba and Montu. 'Baby picked Montu (after all, it was her first inverted) while I preferred the acrobatic and graceful overall composition of Kumba.

I love how Kumba is anything but a collection of elements; while whipping through the first three, there's those unsuspected laterals while it 'sets up' for the next one. Then the tunnel, the helix...not just a little bit of everything, but so well orchestrated I completely forgot about the cobra roll. As my favorite inversion, that's no small feat.

But the greatest coaster moment was far and away on Montu. We whipped over the passing train on our first ride, heard "Tooooooot!" and felt the warmth of steam on our feet. Our jaws dropped and we gawked in awe for the rest of the ride.


NOTE: Severe fecal impaction may render the above words highly debatable.

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