SE Coaster Feast 2002- Park 1: BGT 6/16

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Southeast Coaster Feast 2002- Park 1: Busch Gardens Tampa 6/16

We thought it would be fun to visit a park on Father's Day instead of Saturday since we knew the lines would be dreadful then anyways. Our two choices of parks were either BGT or IOA and we decided to head on down to Tampa since it was really our favorite park last year despite the horrendous heat!

The park is easily tied with Animal Kingdom as the most humid park in all of Florida, but luckily each are shaded fairly well. We found it a bit surprising that tickets were $50 per person and that a Summer Pass was the same price(you can use this until September 2, 2002). We saw a sign that said Kumba and Gwazi were closed which really disappointed me and two different people said there were no hope of either opening that day. Oh well. I have to make the best of it!

Walking toward Montu, we noticed a Lion on the prowl:

Gwazi-Lion (GCI Deuling Wooden Twister, 10 minute wait,4 laps)

Like rollergator mentioned a few weeks ago, there has been a strong exaggeration of how bad this coaster has been running. This was easily the smoothest woodie on the entire trip, outstanding floater airtime, excellent laterals, and effecient ride ops. I'm really looking forward to Lightning Racer, Roar East and West, and Wildcat, because I love how well GCI twists these layouts. And yes, these are two different coasters. You can't say half of the coaster was open. Same goes for The Racer. Each half is unique, so they're two. You can have one without the other. It's still the same ride. 8.5/10

Next, we traveled into Egypt, passed Akbar(which isn't open or on the map anymore), and headed towards:

Montu (B&M invert, 15 minute wait, 2 laps)

Last year, I suffered strong anticipointment when entering this coaster, so I wasn't expecting much this time. The theming is some of the best I've seen for a coaster with great Egyptian walls surrounding the ride and queue as well as huge head/footchopping tunnels and trenches all over the place. This time, we decided to wait a little extra for the front seat since the coaster was a walk-on anyway.

Let me tell you, if any coaster is a front seat ride, its Montu! You really get the sense of speed a lot more with how close you feel and being able to see the track spin in front of you makes this all the more thrilling and terrifying through the interesting layout. I wish you wouldn't slow down so much from the midcourse since you can get a lot of airtime off that drop, but otherwise, the ride is full of fierce elements and is an even greater ride than I remember before. 9/10

Then, we stopped to eat at the Crown Colony House which has delicious pizza! We walked around Edge of Africa, an absolute must for anyone interested in animals and the zoo portion of the park. The trainers are extremely knowledgable and friendly, so I recommend walking through. The only thing negative is the dead ends here.

We took a ride on the Skyride over to the Kumba area and check out how things were going. When we reached the ride, nothing was happening whatsoever and the ops said the ride wouldn't open until Wednesday. Kumba was my favorite coaster at the park last year, so I was a little sad at hearing this.

We took a quick ride on Python, which I won't review since there really isn't much to it. It's in a good location and the layout is simply- turn, lift, turn, drop, big turn, corkscrew, corkscrew, finished. Its a decent ride, but I wouldn't recommend it if time is an issue or anything. Its usually a walk-on anyways. Not too rough, but not that fun either. 4.5/10

After Python, our group was ready to enter Timbuktu and encounter:

Scorpian (Schwarzkopf twisted single looper, 10 minutes, 1 lap)

I've always liked Schwarzkoft coasters and this one is no exception. I'm the biggest fan of twisters over out-and-back coasters anyway, so a ride full of great twists, turns, and helices was a major plus in my books. The freedom of lap bars helps the ride have a cool intensity through the loop and ride and the layout makes the ride able to keep going without any major slowdowns. This is one intense little bugger for its size and a must-ride for me at that. Oh, and please don't take loose articles on this ride. For some reason, the ride ops always go get them if they're dropped which slows the operations down majorly. 7/10

Since it had a little problem with tipovers last year and was closed during our trip, we wanted to make the last ride of the day:

Rhino Rally (Animal Safari Jeep Adventure, 40 minutes, 1 race)

The theme of the ride to the Rhino Rally event is pretty cool although in the location, I think it felt a lot more cheap than they were going for. It doesn't feel as secluded as I think it should in areas and there aren't a great amount of animals to see. The thrills are really minimal and I think that its been tamed down even more than last year from what I hear.

What really makes the ride though is the driver. Ours was absolutely hilarious and he would crack all kinds of jokes and make the jeep jolt and scare some of the other passengers which was pretty funny. The water section wasn't really scary at all, but kids and families will love it. I much prefer the version at Animal Kingdom since the landscaping there is beyond belief and I found the adventurous parts to be a lot more authentic to what I would think a real safari would be like. The ride is good overall, but don't wait too long unless you're not going to AK. 6.5/10

We really had an excellent day at the beautiful Florida park even though Gwazi-Tiger and Kumba were closed and we didn't ride too much. Stanley Falls is a fun flume and Congo River Rapids is a strong quality river rapids ride, so I recommend both. Check out the animal habitats if you have time and talk to some of the keepers. I would like to see some more flats in the park, but if it will make it loose the quality look, I don't mind the lack of them. The train is great to see animals as well. Capacity at the park is perfect and the lines never seem to be too long. The cleanliness and staff is phenomenal and I hope everyone has the chance of visiting this well-rounded theme and scream park.

Didn't visit the Lorikeet exhibit? If you didn't, make you sure you do the next time. I thought it was the most fun of anything in the park, including coasters.

Proud CB club member

Mark, we went by last time when it was pouring down rain earlier in the day and none of the rides were open, but didn't get a chance to go over towards that area this time. The park is really exhausting in the summer months because of the heat, but I'll make a note to pay particular attention to the lorikeets next time. I really like what they're done with the bird exhibits and the animals there are pretty fascinating.
Kick The Sky's avatar
Mark, I couldnt agree more. My wife thought I looked like a little kid in there feeding these birds. The lorikeets rock. Nuff said!

Bob Hansen

A proud CoasterBuzz Member
"We are not responsible for anything the Demon takes or breaks"

When two people mention the lorikeets, you know they have to be something special!

Hopefully, I'll have more luck feeding them and relaxing at the same time than I did with the goats at CP. Man, they must never feed those guys! They attack you while you're buying the food to make sure they get it first. I was about to eat the crackers just to show them who was boss! ;)

Some people have e-mailed me about why Kumba wasn't open, but as far as I can tell it was just its time for annual or seasonal maintenance. I don't suspect there were any big problems with it, so it should be back open by now if you were wondering whether or not to come.

When I did get to ride Kumba last year and several years before, I thought it was a wonderful looper although I slightly prefer Kraken to this one. The location of the coaster and all the landscaping make the ride have the extra sense of speed and I actually do like the curving drop a lot even though many prefer the straight down approach. This was always a walk-on ride last time, but they were only running one train which really slowed things down to actually be able to have several rerides. If you're coming from the Land of the Dragons area, you can go towards the ride at the entrance of the water rapids ride sign.

Also, anyone know anything else about Akbar? It wasn't a must-ride or anything, but it would be interesting to know what they're planning on doing to the attraction. It's been down quite a while, so I don't know what the problem is.

Wen i visited the park on holiday on the 4th and 5th of June, Kumba had the "closed today sign" on both days. This annoyed me a lot but luckily on both days the ride opened at about 2pm. This may have been to do with not opening it in the morning because there wernt enough people at the back of the park . Or a part of Kumba that doesn't like being left overnight and decides not to work the day after until mechanics spend hours fixing it.

I thought Akbah was a seasonal attraction that runs in the summer to ease queues on busier days as it wasnt open when i went either.

I loved the park aswell and thought the mix of rides, landscaping and animals was perfect. Only one thing was the walk from kumba to montu! I was at montu when i saw kumba running and a run at 95F gets a little tiring!

Great Park!! Loved it!

The vampires back with more avengence! and rust!

That's interesting to know about your trip with Kumba and we called last night and BGT told us that Kumba and Akbar both were back in operation. They think that Akbar may close again though which is really confusing, so you may be right about the summer thing.

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