TR: Chilly Florida (Feb 8th) (Part 3 of 4)

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Good ole' Busch Gardens Tampa.

 There is something about that place that sticks out from the other Sea World and Busch parks out there. Perhaps it is the zoo-like setting? Perhaps it is the whole theme of the place? Perhaps it's the ultra intense coasters they have there? Yea, I think that's what it is.

 I awoke early once again. This time, an hour earlier than the day before.  Tracy and I were to be at Busch at opening so we got ready, hopped in the truck (which still stunk), and made the one hour fifteen minute drive to BGT.  

 To reasons only known to........someone, we arrived at the parking lot at 8:45AM.  Not too shabby. We made excellent time. There were about 20 cars in front of us. It didn't look like it would be crowded at all. It was chilly once again so perhaps that is what was keeping people away?

 We also made the huge mistake of thinking the park opened at 9:00AM. This was not the case. The park was to open at 10:00 so we had an hour plus to relax while listening to a radio interview featuring Kenny Rogers. No offense to Kenny, but I think I would have prefered some music, but since Tracy is such a country fan,  I decided to let him have control over the radio. Oh well, it let me get some more rest.

  As soon as the parking attendants started letting people go into the lot, I quickly pulled out $7 for parking. We quickly pulled up to the booth.

" That will be $11 please!"

" WHAT? Eleven bucks? Are you kidding?"

" Nope. Eleven. You did want prefered parking did you?"

" No way!"

 I am in no way a fan of prefered parking. I look at it the same way I do as the whole Fast Lane thing parks are doing. Why try to improve something for guests when there wasn't a problem to begin with?

 Anyway, we were then directed to park across the street with the 'smart folks'. I don't know what the heck has changed since my last visit in November, but the last time I was there, the prefered parking was near the front gate of BGT, with the regular parking still in the main lot, just a bit further back. Perhaps we didn't see a sign or something but I found it ironic that the parking booths still have the $7 fee up, as well as the $11 rip.

 We drove over to the other side of the lot. It didn't take more than a glance to realize that this is where all the people were. The lot was filling up rapidly. So much for it being un crowded. I wasn't going to let that get to me. We parked the truck and took a tram to the front gate plaza. A husband and wife were sitting next to me. We got onto the subject of coasters. They asked me if I had ridden 'the big one' (pointing to Montu) and asked if it was fun. We also discussed a few parks in Europe. It just so happens that they live very close to Flamingoland, one of the parks I will be hitting this year on the ACE Euro trip.

 As we waited with the mob waiting to be let into the park, another couple came up to me after seeing my Millennium Force shirt. They asked if I had ridden it. I told them a lot. They went last year and rode it twice. They said they lived near a small park that no one ever goes to. I asked them what park. They said it was Indiana Beach. I told them that is one of my favorite parks to spend a day at. They didn't believe me. They wanted some pointers on where to sit first on Montu, and where it was located in the park.  I showed them where it was at and away they went. Tracy and I soon followed.


 Aaaaaaaa. It feel so good to be back on this coaster. Since there was a very short wait, we went for a front seat ride first. First thing I noticed was the crock pit is now filled with rocks instead of grass. I am guessing they removed the crocks all together?

  A front seat ride on Montu is unlike any other I have ridden. Visuals play a big part in this ride, as well as some great forces. I was kind of shocked to see that the trim before the batwing element was totally off. It didn't touch us so we flew through that element. The mid course was on pretty heavy, but it still flew around the second vertical loop. One of the best moments of the ride was as we were turning right out of the trench following the vertical loop.

 If you are familiar with the layout, you might have noticed a train track below as you start the ending section. Well it just so happens that our timing was perfect enough that a train was traveling right below us. A very large amount of steam shot out just as we went over the tracks. It provided a great sensation as we flew through the steam and dropped down the small hill before the final section.

 As we approached the brakes, Tracy said he would love to try this coaster in the back seat.  Montu really shines in the back seat so that is where we went. However, with only one train running, there was a wait for it. We ended up waiting about 20 minutes for it, and MAN was it worth it.

 Once again, the trim was off so we got to ride Montu the way I remembered it back in 1996. INTENSE! The gs in that batwing while sitting in the back are crazy! I love the intensity. Tracy was amazed also and described the forces as "great pressure".

 Montu remains my favorite inverted to date. I haven't ridden another one that has the intensity of it. I love the layout and pacing, as well as the overall look.

Next was a walk around to various rides including...

-- Gwazi--

 I wanted to ride both sides, but only Tiger was running. With a two train operation, it still took a long time to get on because of the very odd loading proceedures. I still don't get why they load so slow. Perhaps someone can tell me?

 I think this coaster offers more thrills while riding in the front seat, than any other seat. There are great moments of air, and it is still a smooth ride. The pacing is perfect for something like this. It doesn't let up anywhere and those direction changes are wacky. We only took one ride on this because of the growing line.

---Rhino Rally---

 We waited about a half hour for this one. I enjoy the driving part of this ride a lot. The river section isn't as thrilling as I rememberd, but it still has a lot of potential. It is a great family ride also. And this time, I saw no Rhino pooing! Woo hoo!


 Tracy's first looping coaster without shoulder restraints. Quiite an intense little bugger this coaster is. Yea, it still looks portable, but it remains a favorite.


 With a one train operation, the line was quite long. I told Tracy it would be worth it. Right before we were to ride, a second train was put on. I told him it would make the line almost non-exsistant once we got back into the station.

 I find Kumba to be the most intense B&M I have ridden. I really love those trains also. Two of my favorite parts of the ride are the 'Kumba thing' (third inversion-camelback), and the small little speed hill that occurs right before the cobra roll. That small hill doesn't provide much in the force department, but it feels so fast while going over it. Kind of like the straight track before the cobra roll on Raptor.

 We ended up riding this twice. With a two train operation, we could have easily sat in the same seat for a few rides, but Tracy wanted to ride the last coaster.


 This one had no wait. Tracy didn't look at the layout while we were walking in line so he was kind of surprised at how short it was. It wasn't as rough as I remembered it. I wonder if this just was re-opened after a rehab?

 We had ridden all the coasters in the park so we decided to start heading back.We took the skyride back to the front of the park. Tracy asked if I would be interested in riding Montu again.  Does he think I would really say no? 

 Montu was running two trains as well, with no wait at all, with the exception of the front row. We just kept on riding the back row over and over. We tried to ride totally relaxed. Once we would go into the batwing, all the air in our lungs would be forced out in a big, " UHHHH." It was quite amusing.

 We decided to ride a few more times before we left. I am glad Tracy suggested we do so because something very cool happened as we were getting ready to go around for another ride. I was checking out watches in the gift shop when I had a weird feeling that someone I knew just walked by me.

 I looked over to see someone walking over to get in line for the coaster. Tracy and I were going to ride again so we ended up walking into the line right behind that person.

" Tracy, I think I know who that person is."

 " Yea right. What are the odds of that?"

" Um.......I think that's Iain Hendry."

 The person turns around slowly to reveal that it was indeed Iain.  

 " What the heck are you doing here?"

 Iain and I are good friends. I just hung out with him in Chicago a few weeks before. I had NO idea he was going to be in Florida that day. He was just as surprised to meet up with someone he knew.  We ended up taking a few more rides on Montu with Iain before leaving the park. I asked Iain if he wanted to hang out with us in Orlando the next day. It just so happens that he was staying in Orlando and could hang out. I told him where were were staying and he said he would meet us at our hotel the next morning.

 Meeting up with Iain was another bonus to our day at BGT. I am glad we ran into him. We then left the park and heading back to Orlando. On the way we heard the funniest radio spot I have ever heard.  Now, I will go ahead and mention exactly what it said, but I must warn you that it may seem a bit vulgar. If you don't want to read it, just stop now.



Ok, the spot started and I could not believe what I was hearing. It was an advertisement for something called:

 Mofuggin Nuts. There was some dude that kept on saying things like, "Everyone loves my Mofuggin Nuts" and "People can't get enough of my "Mofuggin Nuts". There was even a comment from a woman that says she loves to lick those "Mofuggin Nuts".  I could not believe what I was hearing.  The commercial ends with the man saying, "Look for the big black sack of Mofuggin Nuts at your local grocery store".  Tracy and I both were in tears. I am assuming this is a joke and not a real product. How would you even ask for such a thing? Anyone else hear this spot?

 As soon as Tracy and I made it back to Orlando, another nap took us over. We had yet another fun day ahead.

Next up...

 A great time with Iain, Robb Alvey and Ellisa at  IOA and Universal, as well as the 'big ones' at Old Town.

Thanks for reading,


Sean F. said:
We also made the huge mistake of thinking the park opened at 9:00AM. This was not the case. The park was to open at 10:00 so we had an hour plus to relax

I made the exact same mistake during my trip last month, except for me it worked out well. I ended up leaving "late", and arrived at the parking lot around 9:15, to discover they hadn't opened yet.

"The collective women in your life have more baggage than a Samsonite factory..."
My page

Jeff's avatar
Montu is good fun. Can't wait to get back down there (in part because I really want to make the most of that Busch pass in its second year of validity).

Scorpion doesn't get enough attention. That little ride is great fun, and very intense for its size. Are there any more of those in the US?

Jeff - Webmaster/Admin -,
"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"

Nice to see ya posting TR's again, Sean.  I always enjoy reading them.  Rich and I must've just missed you in FL.  We were at Dania Beach on 2/8, Sea World and Old Town on 2/9, Wild Adventures on 2/10, and BGT on 2/11.

Sue Barry

Wow, two new new sigs in two days!  Keep 'em coming, Sean!


"Look for the big black sack of Mofuggin Nuts at your local grocery store". -- Radio ad in FL


That sucks I didn't see you. The coaster in Dania Beach is the only coaster in Florida I haven't ridden if I am not mistaken. Thanks for reading!


I wish you could have heard that spot. I was in tears. I didn't even think about taping the spot because I couldn't get air in my lungs because I was laughing so hard.


There are so many funny morning radio shows that it was probably an airing of a funny commercial skit used in the morning show. Those wacky DJ's.

Jeff, Lazer at Dorney Park is very similar to Scorpion from what I hear. Both are Swartzkopf?? coasters.

Lazer is similar, but not the same as Scorpion. The only other replica of the ride is at Dreamland in England. It was moved from Camelot Theme Park for the 2001 season and is now called Looping Star.

"Go banana!"-Ralph

Jeff's avatar
Lazer has two loops, and is slightly larger in area. Regardless, I'm pretty sure both were standard Schwarzkopf models, though I couldn't tell you what they were called.

Jeff - Webmaster/Admin -,
"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"

I've been visiting Florida parks for awhile now and I have passes for most of the parks here and I there are a few things I have noticed about how other guests react to the way things are done about a ride.

I would like to know why does everyone feel the need to bash the loading procedures for Gwazi as if it's something that can be done to improve loading times. You'd think that a park like Busch Gardens would have done something if they could by now. The Fact of the matter is it isn't the loading procedures but the guests who ride the coasters. They are the reasons why the loading procedure are so slow. You could have the best employees in the world but that won't help when you have a guest who doesn't put their sit belt on or doesn't even know there's one there then refuses to let the employee help them with it even though they are trying to put the seat belt on backwards. I've heard people say why not have the employees check both the lap bars and seat belts at the same time but that would be impossible when you have people who would pull their lap bar down with out putting their belts on first, plus it makes it difficult to check the seat belt if the lap bar is locked down on top of it.

Also another reason why it takes so long for them to load a train is due to people trying to sneak cameras, bags, and cell phones on the ride when there are numerous signs that say those items are NOT allowed on the ride. I've even seen signs with pictures on them that say you can't bring them on the ride with you. If I remember correctly you would pass by 5 count them 5 different signs that talk about losse articles before you reach the loading platform while you are walking through the line in either side, Lion or Tiger, and there are even 2 signs in the exit. If people do not take the time to read those signs and continue to try to sneak those items on then it's going to take longer to load the train. Also it has nothing to do with the park making money off of the lockers but it has everything to do with the safety of the guest on the ride. How would you like to be riding a ride when someone pulls a cell phone or camera out and the person suddenly drops it a goes flying backwards towards your face? Do you think it'll hurt? Of course it will. People don't seem to realize that.

I've been coming to Busch Gardens for over a year now as well as visiting all the other major parks around, Universal, Disney, and Sea World, and I must admit that the other parks, mainly Disney and Universal don't have the same safetly standards as regards to BGT. I rode the Rockin Rollercoaster at MGM during the summer and I saw a guy with a large video camera go on and instead of holding the camera in his hands he placed it on the floor of the coaster and held it with his feet. If he would have moved his feet while the coaster was going who knows what would have happened. People need to realize that when they bring items on the ride those items can become weapons do to the speed and nature of the ride.

I used to be a ride operator at Six Flags New England at the begining of the 2000 season and had worked the entire 1999 season back when it was Riverside park, and I would have given anything to be as organized at the people at Busch Gardens are. While at Six Flags I had to "train myself" on how to operate some of the rides there and at BGT one position takes a few hours. I know cos I asked a few employees there because I was interested to see how they compared with Six Flags.

One final note: The net that seperates the Lion coaster from the Tiger coaster on the fly by camel back over the exit is there for one reason. To prevent people from throwing objects at the passing coaster. That net isn't a big deal and takes nothing away from the ride. On the Incredible Hulk at IOA there is a net below the 0 G Roll from the launch tunnel and I've actually heard people say that the net is there in case someone falls out of the coaster and the net will catch them before they hit the ground. The net is there to prevent lose articles from falling on the guests that are walking across the bridge below the ride. It's this type of stupidity that is brought into theme parks around the world that cause problems because they don't understand what's going on.

Jeff-Scorpion is a "Silverarrow" and Lazer is a "Doppel-Looping" model.
"Go banana!"-Ralph

Gwazi God said:
I would like to know why does everyone feel the need to bash the loading procedures for Gwazi as if it's something that can be done to improve loading times. You'd think that a park like Busch Gardens would have done something if they could by now.

You might think so, yet they haven't. The loading procedure on Gwazi is senselessly slow. First the operators (one to each side, mind you) walk the entire train checking seatbelts. THEN they walk it again lowering and checking lapbars. This is the ONLY coaster I've ever seen this senseless procedure take place -- it's faster and no less "safe" for the operator to check the belt and bar in one pass.

And THAT is why we all bash the Gwazi procedure -- because it IS stupid, and IS something the park can do something about.

"The collective women in your life have more baggage than a Samsonite factory..."
My page

I know that there must be quite a few coasters with seat belts AND lapbars out there and still all I keep hearing is how bad it is on Gwazi. I've been there a few times and the loading times are outrageous. Also, a park that buys dueling coasters and doesn't duel them has already won the stupidity award and shouldn't be given the benefit of the doubt as to why the loading times are so poor.

Where I'm at the Dania Beach Hurricane has lap bars and seat belts and they do a MUCH better job at dispatching trains even though there is almost no one there to board the train when it comes back.

BGT is an awesome park with great, world class coasters but they have dropped the ball on Gwazi.

Also, when I last went in October, they were running one train on Montu and Kumba which made wait times 20 minutes even though no one was at the park. In contrast, Sea World was running 3 trains on Kraken when I went the day after BGT.

Say what you want but remember there are many examples of similar coasters with equal safety measures that load their trains faster.

Gwazi God,

 If you thought I was bashing the loading procedures on Gwazi, think again.  I do think that Gwazi does indeed have very slow loading proceedures, but I don't think I bashed it in any way. Just stating my opinion.

 Last year when I was at the park, it took 12 minutes to dispatch a single train. This time, it was down to about 6, which IMO, is better, but still slow. Busch can easily improve the capacity for that ride if they let guest fasten the seat belts AND pull the lap bar down soon after. I still see no reason why they have to check the belts before putting the bar down. May parks do it this way with no problem.

 Every time I have seen slow loading has been because of that odd proceedure and NOT because of a guest.


Like I stated earlier that I used to work at Six Flags New England, I used to operate the Cyclone coaster when they added the new PTC trains and they did check the seat belts first then locked the lap bars and checked them after. So Gwazi isn't the only ride to have done that. I'm not sure if the Cyclone still loads like that because I haven't been there since August of 2000. I do however plan to visit that park sometime this summer so I'll see if they still load like that or not.


But you do have to admit that it would be difficult to check seat belts when the lap bars are already locked down and the people in the seats didn't put their belts on first. It would take longer to unlock all of the lap bars and re check them just to get one belt on someone who forgot it and that doesn't mean there won't be another guest who also forgot to put there belt on too so the employees will again have to unlock all the lap bars and re check all of them. It's basically a no win situation. If you've ever worked at a park as I have you will see how guests over look the obvious things and then complain about things they can't comprehend.

I'm not trying to insult you guys or anything I'm just trying to explain the actual reason for the way Gwazi does things and explain why it's not a good way to check seat belts and lap bars at the same time. Hopefully when you guys read this it'll make sense and you guys won't complain about it so much.


Thanks for taking the time to read this. I apologize if I offended anyone. These compents weren't directed to anyone specificly but as a general statement.

Gwazi God said:
But you do have to admit that it would be difficult to check seat belts when the lap bars are already locked down and the people in the seats didn't put their belts on first.

But that's what MANY other parks (Cedar Point being a good example) do. And if someone didn't lock the seatbelt, usually it DOESN'T require unlocking the bar to get to the seatbelt.

I see what you're saying, but you're missing OUR point, which is many of us have SEEN parks do what we're describing, and it DOES work. 6+ minute cycle times (I timed them at close to 10) on a wooden coaster are downright abysmal.

"The collective women in your life have more baggage than a Samsonite factory..."
My page

rollergator's avatar
I'm sorry, Gwazi God, but this procedure is the slowest anywhere.  Senseless, IMO, because for NO additional safety, it takes more than twice as long as it does for any other coaster I've ever been on.  And that's saying something, because I've been to some parks noted for poor operations.  When they never seem to get to below a 5-minute dispatch need to address capacity in SOME way other than to just say "let's scrap the dueling, that'll improve the guests' day here"...perhaps steal the best ride-ops from the relatively easy-lodading Beemers! 
Florida needs an Intamin and/or CCI soon...PLEASE!
Son of Drop Zone - PKI CoasterCamp I Champions!!!

*** This post was edited by rollergator on 2/15/2002. ***

Sean F. said

$11.00 bucks to park! that's crazy soon parking will be the same price as admission!

great review but i would give rhino ralley more credit

3.incredible hulk

Good point Jeff Scorpion is a great ride, I however was not as impressed with DP's Lazer.
Great TR! Looking forward to adding my own!!
I need to come up with some extra cash to join the CB club so I can add my 130+ coasters to my track record

O&A are my heros-WOW!

I didnt ask you to dance I said you looked fat in those pants

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