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Chris Walton

'Pirates 4-D' debuts at Busch Gardens Tampa

Published: February 21, 2006 at 12:58 PM

Busch Gardens Tampa wisely selected to replace the outdated "R.L. Stine's Haunted Lighthouse" with the new "Pirates 4-D" starring Leslie Nielsen (as "Captain Lucky") and writen by Monty Python comedy troupe member Eric Idle (who also has a role in the show as "Pierre"). The show opened last Saturday (Feb. 18), but unfortunately my annual pass recently expired so I have not had a chance to take in the new spectacle, so for anyone who has seen the show any info would be greatly appreciated. I feel this should be a nice fresh replacement for the R.L. Stine show (since his books were becoming less popular at the time Haunted Lighthouse opened) and this show is also interesting in the aspect of Tampa Bay's rich history of piracy stemming from the invasion of Jose Gaspar in 1783 which is now celebrated annually as "Gasparilla".

[Editor's note: Wasn't 'Pirates 4-D' playing at Busch parks before 'Haunted Lighthouse?' Is this the same film? FWIW, for those who don't go waaay back around here, I, um, didn't like 'Lighthouse' when it debuted in San Diego. -- Robert]

Replies (4)

Jason Moore

Published: February 21, 2006 at 2:50 PM

To answer the "editor's note", yes, this same show was playing in Busch parks prior to Lighthouse. BGT did not have a 4-d theater at that time though. So, while not necesarily "new" it is new to Tampa.

Also, i agree, Lighthouse was crap. It had potential as a cute film, but failed miserably. Not to mention the lameness of the 4-D effects. They might have been acceptable in an area where there aren't any similar attractions to compare to, but when you have such superior attractions an hour away in Orlando it was a true dissapointment.

big bell

Published: February 21, 2006 at 4:13 PM

I believe we saw the same show at Busch Gardens Williamsburg when we were there in 2002? Quite funny as I recall, but don't really remember any specifics about it.
James Adams

Published: February 22, 2006 at 1:26 PM

Busch Gardens tampa has consistently struggled with an identity crisis of sorts and this 4-D theatre is a great example of such crisis. Busch has established itself as an African themed park. For example: the roller coasters are based on African animals (mythological and real), they have African animals, and lands named after african nations. But, some yahoo over at Busch wants to deviate from this GREAT theme and screw around with other themes that really have nothing to do with Africa. An example is the DRAGON land! Dragons? What were they thinking? Sure they have the lame stretch of having Komodo Dragons next to this kiddie land. but come on - Komodo Dragons are not even from Africa. This Pirates is another example. What do pirates have to do with Africa? Would it kill them to do something with ... um ... Africa? It's an entire continent - there are tons of cool things that they could film from Africa. The haunted Lighthouse was entertaining for the first time but then I NEVER watched it again.
Chris Walton

Published: February 22, 2006 at 3:58 PM

Well, I wouldn't call it an identity crisis and I would not limit it to BGT because the same show is at BGW and I don't recall any European themeing in it either. Maybe the show is not African themed, but neither are the flamingos, the Hospitality House, the clydesdale stable, Land of the Dragons,etc., yet still everyone knows that the park is African themed so none of the non-African themed attractions really draw away from the experience. I understand that the Hospitality House and clydesdale stables are obviously their because it's Anheuser-Busch owned, but still I'm just making a point that the African themeing is truely not affected by any of these "other" attractions.

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