Tigris at BGT is the third installation of the Sky Rocket II coaster at SWE parks. Electric Eel, SWSD, and Tempesto, BGW, being the other 2. For me though, this would be a first of a kind ride, so it was great to hear Tigris would be opening mid-April. I was planning to try it out at the company summer outing, but life decided to get in the way of that idea, so I’d resigned myself to a first time ride sometime after Labor Day. Then out of the blue, our summer outing organiser informed me that he’d been invited to a VIP event for Tigris on April 25th, but he couldn’t make it, so asked me if I wanted to go instead. I jumped at the chance … :) The park closed at 7pm, and the event started after that, and ended at 10. At a guess I’d say there were about 500 people there, of which maybe half were actual roller coaster riders, so it proved to be an good opportunity to ‘ride the tiger’.
I left work early and arrived at BGT around 5:30 to find a relatively quiet park. I turned right at the entrance and rode Cheetah Hunt then Montu before continuing my loop with a drop on Falcon’s Fury, a front seat ride on the recently painted Kumba, and finally a dive on SheiKra. Tigris is right next door to SheiKra, but by now it was closing in on 7, so I headed back towards the entrance for registration.
Throughout the evening wait time averaged 10-15 mins, with times for the front and back maybe twice that long. I was going to do back, front and middle, but after a lengthy delay due to “technical difficulties” while I waited for the back row, the lure of the food was too great for me to bother with the middle seat. It’s a mind-numbingly slow loader, and a lousy station design. To only have a single track station is farcical, surely Premier could have made one with a dual track ? Manta at SWO and BTMR at MK both work that way, and they have 2 trains running, so it can’t be that difficult to build into the design of the ride. The theming is non-existent, with paw prints in the concrete of the looped walkway up to the ride being the only clue this ride is supposed to be about tigers and their ‘awe inspiring agility’ With a stunning (very) bright orange and dark blue/gray color scheme, the ride at least looks the part. A good, but not great, addition to what is becoming an outstanding collection of coasters in Florida. With RMC Gwazi, and a new woodie? at SWO arriving next year, the only thing we are missing is a 300ft+ giga. So, come on SWE …. call B&M and empty your wallet to make us Florida coaster enthusiasts happy. It’s a pity the Skyplex complex on I-Drive seems to have died a death, and we may never see a 500ft+ polar coaster in Orlando.
I realise a lot of you have ridden this type of ride, but for those who haven’t, here’s a quick summary. The ride consists of 3 launches …. the first being out of the station, taking the train approx. half way up the twisted vertical ‘hill’. The train then rolls back and is launched a 2nd time backwards up towards the top of the track. At the extent of the backward travel, there’s a slight delay before the train begins its forward descent back towards the station. Here the 3rd launch occurs, and there’s now enough momentum to get the train up and around the curve at the top, and thru the rest of the track. For me, the highlight of the ride is the 150ft high inline twist. Once thru this element the train navigates the rest of the twists and loops, then heads back towards the station. Forward travel is halted by the train traveling part way up the ‘launch’ hill, before it then rolls back to a stop and passenger exit from the ride. All over in a blink of an eye.
Difficult to make an informed opinion after only 2 rides, but I did enjoy Tigris, especially in the front seat. The way it twists the train upright going into a couple of elements was good, and I will admit I did get caught out by the acceleration of the 3rd launch on my first ride. It’s a shame they have the comfort collars, but if SWE wants to make their guests feel safe, then so be it. Will it make me head left next time I visit ? I don’t think so …… Montu still reigns supreme at BGT. But come 2020 and beyond, I think there’s a good chance I’ll be going left at the start of the day … :) After my front and back seat rides, I headed into the VIP area where the complimentary food and drink was available. SWE certainly knows how to prepare an amazing buffet, as I’ve seen many times with the pass member picnics at SeaWorld. So for me, that’s it now for BGT until the Fall, although my next ride on a Sky Rocket II is only a few weeks away when I visit BGW. I think it’s safe to say I will be gravitating towards the front seat for a few of those rides.