Busch Gardens, Tampa, musings .......

October 18, 2018, 7:33 AM

Hurricane Michael had passed us by, and finally the weather forecast was for a dry few days ….. time for my first visit to Busch Gardens for the Fall/Winter season. More than anything, I wanted to see what was going on with Tigris and RMC Gwazi developments.

I have to admit, I’m going miss Tidal Wave, purely for sentimental reasons. It’s one of those rides that lives long in the memory especially as it was one of my son’s favorite attractions at the park. I hasten to add …. not for the ride, but for standing on the bridge and getting absolutely drenched when the boat hit the water at the bottom of the slide. He was 8 at the time, and I was still relatively young and foolish enough to join him. Although, it was an ideal way to cool down on a 90+deg Florida day for sure. Tigris will now be taking its place, and walking beside the wall and peering thru the cracks there doesn’t look to be a great deal going on, although construction workers were seemingly busy, but no sign of the new coaster as yet. For me this will be a new type of ride, so I’m hoping to be able to try it out in early 2019. Although all it says on the wall is “Opening 2019”

The skyride is down for most of October, so one of my Gwazi viewpoints was unavailable, but from my vantage point on the blue seat of Falcon’s Fury it looked like business as usual in the Gwazi area …. i.e. zero change. Exciting times ahead though for us Floridians, with all the new rides being touted for 2020 openings. The way it’s going, 2020 could be a bumper year for new coasters in the US. With Cedar Fair teasing a new giga at KI, and the 150th extravaganza at CP who knows what we will all be riding when the new decade arrives.

As always the coasters at BGT are fun to ride, and mid-week in October is great with hardly anyone in the park. Everything was a 1 cycle wait or a walk on. Even Cheetah Hunt settled down after its late start (“technical issues”) to be 2 cycles for the front, and every other seat a walk on. They were running 3 trains but only one station was open. As usual my day wouldn’t be complete without dinner on the patio at the Serengeti overlook restaurant. A great way to relax and chill out before the return journey home along I4. At least with the park closing at 6pm, and leaving after 5:30, I4 isn’t anywhere near as bad as it is when the park closes at 5.

One of the extra perks SeaWorld introduced for being a platinum pass member was 2x animal encounters per year. At BGT it’s the safari ride, and at SWO it’s the dolphin encounter. I’ve never done the safari ride so I dropped by the information desk when I got there at opening and booked my ride through the Serengeti. All in all it was a lot of fun, with giraffe feeding one of the highlights. You can still see just as much on the train journey, but it was a nice way to spend an hour between riding the coasters.

On a SeaWorld note ….. we did Spooktacular last weekend and had a great time. My friend and I usually go in and gather the candy for the grandkids, and this year they were giving out candy like it was going out of fashion, so the youngsters were very happy. They even had one station that was giving out gluton-free candy, so that was good to see. Infinity Falls was running well, with wait time 40mins in the late morning. We ate at the Waterway grill and the food was good ….. for a theme park meal !?!? What I did notice was the chairs had an open grill style seat, so I assume that was for the guests who came straight off the ride and into the restaurant. Nice job SeaWorld for that anticipation …. :)

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