Nick Markham's Florida Adventure- Busch Gardens Tampa

Busch Gardens Tampa: A trip report of my final new park, Busch Gardens Tampa!

From Nick Markham
Posted August 11, 2010 at 8:40 AM
The day began with an early wake-up, shower, dress, and eat before catching a shuttle at 8:30 to take the 1 hr 20 min drive to Busch Gardens. The shuttle was very large and very nice. They were playing a movie all about Busch Gardens and Sea World along the way, which was a nice distraction when having to pass the missed out Disney World on the way.

Upon arrival, we went straight through the gates and to the Adventure Tours Center. We needed to get Quick Queue Passes (which were of much help that day) and also check in for a little tour I took that you guys might like to hear about later on: the Roller Coaster Insider tour...

First up, we went with Gwazi. It was the nearest to the entrance, and we figured if we ride the rough coaster first, it might not seem as rough as it would after a smooth ride on SheiKra. Boy were we wrong. I was surprised i wasn't injured from the roughness of the coaster. We were thrown all over, and yet, this had something over Ghost Rider (rougher wooden roller coaster at Knotts). While it was extremly rough, Gwazi was almost even still a littl more fun compared to Ghost Rider. However, I do prefer the most reccent GCI coasters (Terminator, Thunderhead, etc) over Gwazi, and I haven't the slightest idea why... ;D

Next up, we wanted to ride SheiKra. We were trying to see it on our walk, but all we could see were glimpses of the red and blue track and supports. When we came to it, it looked quite amazing. Even bigger and better looking then pictured online. Still, something was wrong. The entire area was nearly empty. Only some passerby were anyhwhere near, but nobody was riding SheiKra. I soon came to find what I had feared most had come: SheiKra was shut down for unexplained technical problems! How could this happen to what I expected to be the best coaster on the trip! Well, all I could do was hope and dream it would open again later today.

From here, we decided to go on Kumba next, as it was on the way to get to where my Roller Coaster Insider tour would begin. All I can say is... WAY above my expectations. This ride really impressed me. I almost came to like this more than Kraken, the speed yet smoothness, the inversions preformed most eloquently. I loved this ride so much, yet it was not my favorite coaster on the trip...

Now it was time for my tour. I had to run to make it, as while I did have 15 minutes, it was near the front of the park, meaning I had to walk the length of the Serengheti Plain and Timbuktu together (a near 70 acres to walk past!)
I made it just in time, and I arrived to a very neat surprise: I had two tour guides all to my self, as nobody else showed up for the tour!

Now, I guess I will reveal that the coaster I was to get an extensive tour of was: MONTU! The first 5 minutes, one guide gave me all of the facts (most of which I already new) and figures of Montu. We then headed through the exit and intot he station.

He explained how three buttons had to be pressed all at once in order for the train to leave the station. We then walked past the Employee only sign and along the cat walk next to the trim brake at the end of the ride. From here, I had an amazing view of the coaster up close. He showed how if an emergency stop was needed, the trim brake were positioned so that no car would run into each other. They did however say that the machine that detects when the coaster passes by has a problem: it also detects birds flying by, meaning Iif I bird were to sweep low and past one of the sensors on the track and a train went over that track right after, the entire ride system would shut down and the coaster would stop on the next trim brake!

After this, we walked down below the track and into the maintainance facility! He explained how there is always a train being worked on, as each train that goes through maintainance takes 8 months to complete, as they take it entirely apart and rebuild it, and the enxt train to go through the process comes in right after the last one is finished. When I went in, a train that was being worked on was nearly complete. It was only missing the wheel covers on top and the seats: perfectly rideable of course! ;D
He showed me the two different types of wheels, saying one type of wheel, if being the only type on the train, would make the train go so fast it could compete for fastest coaster in the world. The second type however keeps the train from rocketing through the track. He then told me a Bolliger and Mallibard secret to their success!:

An average human body gets uncomfortable at 4 g's. So B&M has each of tyheir coasters travel at 3.75 g's, just below the uncomfortable amount, but enough to promise a thrilling ride!

From here we walked across a path and then, took the 80-foot climb to the top of a mid-course brake section, the coaster still running along! It was an amazing sight. The twisitng track all around just feet from where we stood. In the last report I make with all of the pictures I took, I took a couple AMAZING pictures of the coaster, including one I plan on turning into a wallpaper for download!

Anyway, after the tour finished, I was allowed to walk right onto the front row,, no matter who was waiting to ride. I just have to say, this was and probably is the GREATEST INVERT I'VE EVER RIDDEN AND EVER CREATED! It features an amazing 150 foot lift, 7 inversions (the record for most on an invert coaster) and was simply pure awesomness! Still, it was not my favorite.

After this, we had lunch at the Garden Gate Cafe which had been turned into a Pizza and Pasta Buffet (which was covered with our Meal Deal. I must reccomend the Meal Deal to everyone. This was also a life saver) The pizza was delicious, and the unlimited drinks were nice too!

Anyway, sorry to stop right in the middle of the report, but I've gotta go! I will post the rest tomorrow!

From Sara M
Posted August 11, 2010 at 10:35 AM
Really enjoying reading your reports! I just got back BGT last week and really enjoyed it as well. Can't wait to hear the rest.

From Nick Markham
Posted August 11, 2010 at 7:32 PM
Trip Report Continued-- After lunch, we decided to hit all three water rides. Tidal Wave (abreviated) was first up. I liked how it had more of a ride section before climbing the lift for the drop, instead of just going straight up into the lift, however I feel there is a lot more theming they could have done with this ride section.

From Nick Markham
Posted August 11, 2010 at 7:33 PM
The Congo River Rapids was probably the most bizarre rafting ride I'd ever experienced. Two straight forward, dual loading platforms loaded the rafts, stoping like a coaster to let people on and off instead of the usual round, conveyor belt system. This ride is also the slowest rafting ride, but it is the wetest. If the full on waterfall you have to go through to exit the cave doesn't get you soaked, then the huge water jet thatg continuously runs, blasting every last inch of your body with water. Fun, but very unusual.

Last up was Stanley River Log Flume. It was fun, but nothing special. Just your average amusement park Log Flume. After this ride, our luck seemed to be turning for the better, for when we exited, we glimpsed cars running on SheiKra. We hurried for SheiKra and practically walked on to the front row of SheiKra with our Quick Queue Passes! Now I know Katie and others have been waiting for my favorite coaster on the trip, and all I have to say is: THIS IS IT!! I was worried it was going to be too short of a ride, but boy was a wrong.

From Nick Markham
Posted August 11, 2010 at 7:40 PM
The lift to the top is suspenseful, slowly pulling you up to the top of a never ending lift hill, blinded by the sun straight in front of your view. The front row is the only way to expeirence this ride (we rode it four times: once in the third and second rows, and twice in the front) and the only way to go is the front to get the full experience as you dangle over the side of a 200 foot tall, 90 degree drop.

From Nick Markham
Posted August 11, 2010 at 7:41 PM

You then loose all sense of direction as you are thrust into all sorts of twists and turns before plummeting down yet another 90 degree drop for a climatic splash into the water!

From Nick Markham
Posted August 11, 2010 at 7:40 PM
After the amazing ride, we finished off the day with another ride on Montu, and a viewing of Katonga. That show was quite amazing, especially for a theme park show. And the woman singer at the end was amazing!

Overall, a very enjoyable day at Buasch Gardens Tampa, and while I wish we could have stayed till closing (our only way back left at 5:00!) it was still a very fun day!

From Charles Reichley
Posted August 11, 2010 at 8:32 PM
I didn't find Kwazi nearly as rough as some wooden coasters I've rode, we rode both sides, but Lion we did in the front which never is that rough; Tiger we did in the 2nd-to-last row.

I agree that Kumba is a cool ride. My son and I did it twice last Sunday, in the front, with no other riders (just walked faster than everybody else on a rain-threatening day).

From Bobby Miller
Posted August 11, 2010 at 9:49 PM
Another great report Nick, it's been awhile since I was over to Tampa while down there. I know I've never taken Zachary.

Bobby, formally known as Bob & Robert!!!!!!!

From Katie White
Posted August 13, 2010 at 6:36 PM
Nick- You were correct that I wanted to know what your favorite coaster is. Great Report too! I hope someday I actually get to ride SheiKra. I've only been to BGT once and it stormed the whole time. The sad thing is, I have a season pass to BGT still to this day.

From Pyra Dong
Posted August 13, 2010 at 7:56 PM
AHHHHH I loved hearing your report. Although it's not my favorite park, BGT has been my "baby" for a long time.

I agree on most of your opinions. I've ridden SheiKra so many times and I still get breathless, but my kudos has to go to Montu for favorite. As for Kumba-- it's one awesome thrill-- but I get MAD dizzy on it.

The water rides? Definitely needs some theming. Total agreement there.

Did you tour guides mention anything about the new ride?

From Nick Markham
Posted August 15, 2010 at 7:19 PM
Thanks everyone!

Pyra, I tried to ask the tour guides if they were excited about the new coaster coming, to see if I could get anything. They replied everyone is excited until they have to run the ride on opening day with a huge crowd. They also said they can't say anything other than a whole lot more will be kown later this year in an anouncement because their specialty is and only is Montu. I also forgot to add these guys love coasters but hate riding them!

My final trip report will come tomorrow, followed by a Picture Trip Report late in the week!

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