New coaster at Busch Tampa critical to attendance growth

Posted Wednesday, October 27, 2004 10:33 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Despite the apparent lack of secrecy regarding the new dive coaster at Busch Gardens Tampa, experts say the park needs the ride to boost slipping attendance. An official announcement for the ride is expected today.

Read more from The Tampa Tribune.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2004 11:14 AM
The park needs to do a lot more than add a new ride to keep up their attendance. My visit there last month was less than perfect.

The parking lot didnt open until 10 minutes before the park, you had to wait to get a tram to the gate, wait to buy your tickets and wait to get in. The coasters were all run slowly, with one train and slow operators (except gwazi which ran tow, but only one side).

All this on a day they were only open for seven hours, even though the phone message said they were open nine. Their non coaster rides are outdated, with a log flume that yells at you to stay seated the entire time, a shoot the chutes I could have taken a nap on and a raft ride that has poor capacity and doesnt even get you wet!

The only thing that made it worth visiting for us again was the wildlife.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004 11:15 AM
4.3 million visitors really isn't a whole lot when you consider BGT is open year-round. PKI and Cedar Point Both pull in arounf 3.2 each in a 6-month season
Wednesday, October 27, 2004 11:17 AM
That's because visitors' window of opportunity is so much shorter here in Ohio.
Wednesday, October 27, 2004 11:35 AM
I think it would be a good idea if the people who run the Tampa park take a good look at the Williamsburg park. I went to the Tampa park for the first time last year... it was probably one of the worst parks I have been to in a good while. They really need to update the park asap... and one roller coaster just aint going to cut it. I am surprised that it hasnt already closed yet with Universal and Disney so close!
Wednesday, October 27, 2004 12:16 PM
Thats what was so dissapointing, the va park is soo nice and I was expecting a similar experience at tb. But we left with a bad taste in our mouth similar to a Six Flags day. Didnt have a bad time, just didnt have a great time, and compared with the amazing cs experience Universal/IOA gave us it didnt compare.
Wednesday, October 27, 2004 12:27 PM
The new coaster may get people there once but it's operations and an overall positive experience at the park that will keep them coming back. I've had both good and bad experiences at BGT but what's a shame is how it's operations pale in comparison with not only it's sister park but more importantly the two world class resorts an hour away. Hopefully in the future this is something they can improve on and update the park as well.
*** This post was edited by Pale Rider 10/27/2004 1:32:46 PM ***
Wednesday, October 27, 2004 12:44 PM
I was rather impressed with BGT in 2000. Granted, Gwazi was dueling then, but other than that have park operations taken a turn for the worse in the last four years?
Wednesday, October 27, 2004 1:19 PM
I love how people fling around words like 'disappointing' and 'worst' and 'Six Flags' when all they're really saying is, "I'm upset because the coaster lines were long."

BGT isn't in trouble with shareholders, a toehold out of bankruptcy or even a money-losing park. Furthermore, the theming is hardly lacking, their safari is superb and their B&M combo is as good as any out there if not better than most. Kumba sure finishes better than the slumbering Hulk and Montu is more of a complete coaster than either Fire or Ice.

What they need of all things--I'm shocked to hear myself say it--is a little Cedar Fair touch. Broader swaths of concrete so people can actually get around. At least double if not triple the front-gate ticket booths. More and faster ways to


Wednesday, October 27, 2004 1:25 PM
What they need is more efficient operations overall, and better paths....I'm hopeful that this new coaster will at least provide SOME help with 'B', but if we're talking "attendance growth", then they really OUGHT to take a look at 'A', cause that's what keeps ME from going back more often....

Sure I have a SP and they don't take *too much* of MY money, but I do bring GUESTS...;)

I say this because rarely are thhe lines "LONG" at BGT, but they move S-L-O-W-L-Y, and that makes me want to go to Orlando more...of course, no one in O-Town boasts a woodie...

*** This post was edited by rollergator 10/27/2004 1:28:01 PM ***

Wednesday, October 27, 2004 2:27 PM
Well, yeah CoastaPlaya. The lines were longer than they needed to be, especially when the park was only open for seven hours and we still paid full price to get it. We felt ripped off when we left. Compared to spending a day at IOA (which was open similar hours) where we were really happy about our day. It felt like we were an inconvenience while they prepared the park for halloween. We were forced out of the ice cream parlor and gift shops etc etc. They made very little effort to care about their guests, and now their attendance is down and they wonder why.

We will visit IOA next time we are down there, I cant say the same thing about BGT.
*** This post was edited by eightdotthree 10/27/2004 2:31:00 PM ***

Wednesday, October 27, 2004 2:41 PM
As objective as I can be (hold the laughter), BGT is not run very well, especially compared to BGW or even SeaWorld an hour away. The problem seems entirely confined to ride operations though, as I haven't experienced any significant problems anywhere else at the park.
Wednesday, October 27, 2004 3:44 PM
Read the headline Jeff This is what I mean by maintaining attendance and not growing it.

Chuck, who thinks parks are only adding just enough to maintain and not making the big enough changes to draw and recover who the've lost.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004 6:03 PM
The line that ticked me off last time I was at BGT was the one to enter the park...followed by the one to get a wagon for the kids. Two hours passed between the time I got to the park gates and getting in line for a coaster.

IMHO 3.7 million attendees is still too many for the park as it's currently laid out and operated. Had they rented clip-on thresher attachments for strollers and wagons, I woulda been first in line for one. Yeah I know...the excruciatingly long and slow one.

- 'Playa

Wednesday, October 27, 2004 6:25 PM
Seriously, what kind of park doesnt open their parking lot at least an hour early so people can pull in, get stretched out, go to the bathroom, purchase their tickets early etc. We got there half an hour early on purpose and ended up waiting unti ten minutes before park open. bs.
Thursday, October 28, 2004 10:31 AM
I went in 2000 and lines wer etolerable, and last year, lines were slower than I expected. It's sad to see this as the park has great atmosphere and an excellent coaster collection. Ride operations need help, and it's a shame this seems to be getting worse. Hopefully, it will work out better, especially as to get people to come from Orlando's parks, they need to show that they're up to the same standards. STrange seeing as the sister park is run so well too.
Thursday, October 28, 2004 6:13 PM
They are working on the tram situation somewhat to help with traffic by making it go under the road to save on wait times for traffic, they are a work in progress. They added cheetah chase (I know it's a used ride) New facilities for the elephants now a new coaster. It all takes time and I think they are headed in the right direction.
Monday, November 1, 2004 4:21 PM
I was actually quite inpressed by the place when I went there in 99. It was the first major park I have ever been so I had nothing to compare it to.The operations where fine and really found no problems but then again I was only 11 back then.( the last year I was there)

P.S. Eightdotthree it depends upon where you sit on those raft rides. I have gottten of that ride drenched. The one at CP I was the only one on the ride who didn't get wet( oh lucky me) I felt cheated.


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