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Busch Gardens Tampa Makes Way for its New 2016 Coaster

March 16, 2015, 8:53 AM · Busch Gardens Tampa announced this morning that it has closed its Serengeti Railway to reroute the track to make way for a new attraction at the park.

The new attraction is believed to be a Mack roller coaster, probably more of the family than the extreme-thrill variety. Busch Gardens earlier filed plans to expand the old King Tut building by 11,000 square feet and add additional paving in the area. The rerouting of the Serengeti Railway track in the Egypt section of the park is part of the project, to clear space for the development around the Tut building expansion. The railway will reopen once the new track is in place.

Busch Gardens Tampa 2016 project site

Though Busch Gardens is acknowledging the 2016 project, it has yet to formally announce the new attraction and reveal its name. Last month, the park closed its Gwazi wooden roller coaster, and its most recent new attraction, Falcon's Fury, opened to rave reviews... though after a several-month delay.

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Replies (8)

March 16, 2015 at 9:10 AM · BGT is a great Park - I have said it many times before and I will say\type it again..

If this park were closer to Orlando\Lake Buena Vista area - it would get some much more Accolades, Love, Interest and better attendance.

It has some Terrific rides like Montu...

March 16, 2015 at 10:10 AM · What is the purpose of expanding the King Tut building? What will be going there?
March 16, 2015 at 10:13 AM · They need to work on their marketing, though. Their photokey program sucks compared to Disney, which would be OK if they were honest when they were selling it to you. Last time I went, I bought it and the person working said there were people throughout the park to take your photo. Walked around the park for 8 hours before seeing a photographer. Their website was accurate and it's pretty much just on the rides, which I happened to not do that trip. all well and good only that's not what the person selling it was saying.

Also, they really hyped Cheetah Hunt as an extreme thrill ride. It's not. Much more tame than the hype they were pushing. Nothing wrong with a milder ride, but there were lots of disappointed people after it opened because they were expecting more.

They did finally shut down Rhino Rally. I hated to see it go, but it was a shell of it's former self without the washed out bridge experience, so I can see why that was closed. (And losing the washed out bridge which I heard was a maintenance nightmare is understandable. It's only great if it works most of the time, which it didn't.)

All that being said, I still like it more than I like Animal Kingdom. the rides are better, and the crowds aren't as crazy.

March 16, 2015 at 10:26 AM · Nick: Early reports are that the Tut building will either house the queue for the new coaster, or be part of an inside experience for the coaster (similar to Manta at Sea World San Diego). I simply LOVE the way Busch Gardens creates terrain from a virtually flat parcel. This new coaster is supposed to have a number of underground/inside elements similar to Montu (and Kumba to a certain extent). I would expect a solid addition from the folks at BGT.

Tracy: I do think BGT oversold Cheetah Hunt a bit (much like Sea World Orlando did with Antarctica), but it's still a pretty thrilling experience. It's not as wild as Maverick (closest comparable), but it's no kiddie coaster either. Most parks are taming extreme rides down to appeal to a larger audience, because it doesn't do you any good to build an extreme ride if only 1 out of 10 guests wants to ride it. Falcon's Fury was a truly extreme ride, so now it's time for them to appeal to a larger audience.

March 16, 2015 at 10:44 AM · Hey Russell,
I do agree, whenever we visited BGT you can't tell where you are 1/2 the time. You can't always tell you are in the Middle of a theme park. Lots of Trees and buildings....

The first time you ride Cheetah - you think you are going to be catapulted off or it. That first launch is great. It is a mid class coaster.

March 16, 2015 at 12:16 PM · I went to BGT Sunday for a little F&W and the Boys Like Girls concert but didn't roam the park. I did see the Busch photographers were throughout the F&W area in front of 5 newly made topiaries, there may have been others. I think they are too few in number to keep roaming so they set up at obvious places.

I don't think Cheetah Hunt was over hyped. It does what it said, it is always crowded, the 3 mag launches keep it lively and the tower is a great coaster element. I wish the seats were a little bigger, I always have a tighter fit there than any other coaster.

The new Egypt ride/coaster/? I hope is a Tempesto clone but it will be less thrilling than that but I hope otherwise. The re-routing of the train track always needed to be done before the other construction can begin so I expect it to be completed quickly, it's only straight forward ground work.

March 16, 2015 at 3:35 PM · I've said it once, I'll say it again. Busch Gardens is not that far from Orlando. In fact, it's roughly 1 hour and 15 minutes away from Universal Orlando. That is easily doable during a trip to Florida. I know because I've done it yearly to visit the park for Howl O Scream while I am down there for HHN at Universal. I've even managed to travel to Legoland for a half day trip on the way to Busch Gardens as well.

Cheetah Hunt is a great addition to the park. It may not have many intense elements to it, but it is unique among the coasters in the park and in Florida in general. Riding it in the dark is quite fun too. I even managed unintentionally catch loose change from someone riding in a car in front of me.

March 17, 2015 at 12:05 PM · I found Cheetah Hunt immensely entertaining but tame compared with Maverick. As much as I enjoy Maverick, it's so rough that it's one of the few coasters that I would not volunteer to ride in the back. Am puzzled about the comment re taming down rides to appeal to a wider audience, as I find that the lines for extreme thrill rides are almost invariably the longest in any park. At my home park the longest lines are always for Kingda Ka, unquestionably the most extreme ride on the premises - with the second longest being for El Toro. (No doubt Nitro would be right up there were it not for the fact that the rider capacity is greater than that for Toro.)

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