Taming the Tiger at BGT

April 26, 2019, 8:12 AM

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.

Replies (6)

Edited: April 26, 2019, 10:47 AM

I had similar reservations about the tight station and slow loading on Tempesto, but it's steadily improved through experienced ride ops and rider familiarity. I've never really examined the types of guests BGT draws and whether they have a similar ratio of repeat guests versus first timers compared to BGW, but I think even if Tigris consistently sees a notable percentage of first timers through its queue, experienced ride ops should still be able to keep things moving briskly.

I think it's better to view an attraction like Tigris as a flat ride instead of a roller coaster. When you look at it that way, the throughput is more along the lines of a high capacity flat ride (Giant Top Spin, drop tower, or Disc-O). I've seen other shuttle coasters utilize transfer tracks to increase capacity (Mr. Freeze is the first one that comes to mind), but when you have a "fly through" station, using a transfer track would make for a very convoluted and complex station design. The other shuttle coasters I've seen with transfer tracks in the station typically have those stations at the end of the track, not in the middle. The design of the Sky Rocket II does not lend itself to a similar layout unless they were to create a very complicated transfer track (probably 2 transfers - one to get it off the main track and another to split between duel loading platforms). As we know, the more moving parts on a machines, the greater chance for something to break. It's a bit of a compromise to have just 1 train, but I think the maintenance cost and additional risk of breakdowns by adding a second train would outweigh the benefit of a modest increase in throughout (a transfer system won't double throughput - probably more like a 30-50% increase).

It disappointing to hear BGT drop the ball on theming Tigris. They have such a strong record of theming coasters, and even when a coaster lacks a discernible theme (like SkeiKra and Kumba), they utilize the architecture of the station design and landscaping to make the area visually appealing and in tune with surrounding areas. You'll definitely be more impressed with what BGW did with Tempesto as it fits neatly within the Festa Italia theme.

April 26, 2019, 12:55 PM

Most of the guests at BGT are tourist overflows from Orlando, but I have met up with a few coaster enthusiasts during my visits there. Obviously that could all change next year.

The majority of riders last night were locals, but I'm not sure if any of them would have been able to name any of the Cedar Fair parks, as an example. Which reminds me .... there was one guy who somehow got paired with me, as I was on my own, and he was bragging about all sorts of crap to a couple behind me. He'd been here, he'd been there, ridden this and ridden that ..... and the lady's partner mentioned he liked stand-ups. Yeah I know .... LOL !!! Anyway, this guy proceeded to tell them all about Cedar Point and the stand-up there and how good it was .... blah blah blah. So when he'd finished, I just casually mentioned that Mantis was no more, and hadn't been for a few years now. He actually tried to argue the case I was wrong, but I struck the killer blow by telling him I was there last year and rode Steel Vengeance. He never said another word. You gotta love 'em ... :)

Anyway, I digress. Maybe I was a little unfair with the non-existent theming of Tigris. Minimalistic would be better. I don't consider SheiKra or Kumba to have much/any theming either ?? but that's just my view. Mako and Manta are amazingly well themed when compared to those 2.

Wishful thinking for the transfer station ... I agree. But in this day and age of technology I would have thought something could have been worked out. Although I'm sure when I go back mid-week in September, Tigris will be close to a walk on as you can get for that time of year.

Edited: April 26, 2019, 1:52 PM

LOL - Maybe that guy could talk you up about Iron Wolf, which is about to go on to its 3rd incarnation in a couple of weeks.

I agree that SheiKra and Kumba don't have theming, but they blend into their environment far more than your typical coaster park. To be perfectly honest, everyone raves about the theming on Kraken, but when you think about it, it's really just a rung above Scream! (the prototypical "coaster in a parking lot"). Sure, you've got the "eggs" at the entrance/exit (don't think they even have eels in there anymore), and some minimal fishing gear in the queue and station. Those tunnels and trenches are pretty cool, but provide no actual theming or storytelling to the ride (unlike Montu with the intricate rock work). I guess what I'm trying to say is that "theme" on a coaster is a matter of opinion, and blending into the surrounding area and architecture can be just as important and noteworthy as physically telling a story on the ride.

April 26, 2019, 4:36 PM

Nice review! Having ridden a few of these Sky Rocket IIs (Electric Eel, Superman Ultimate Flight, and Tempesto), I've found them to be good second-tier coasters. They're not a reason to visit the park or something you're going to make a priority, but as long as the line is reasonable they're fun rides well worth doing after hitting the headliners.

As far as the sliding station goes, Premier does offer this and has built a Sky Rocket II with that setup (Zombie Ride at Bosque Magigo in Mexico). I am surprised that none of the SeaWorld parks opted for that variation as the ride's capacity is pretty poor without it (about 500 per hour with good operations and every seat full).

Edited: April 27, 2019, 10:25 AM

Great report. Appreciate the continued insight on happenings at BGT. When this was first announced I felt it was a "nice" addition to the park, but nothing special. Other sites and reviews have made Tigris sound more fun and intense than one would expect given its limited length. We are waiting for Gwazi RMC to be open and have bugs worked out before any return trip to BGT. Liked your comment about Montu still "reigning supreme". I am a big fan of B&M inverts and Montu is still at the top of my list. Given its age, I was amazed at its smoothness during January visit and got many rides in that day in various rows (quick que).

April 27, 2019, 6:24 PM

Thanks AJ & Ed .... Raptor for me still tops Montu, but as always we all have our own favourites :)

I'd put Tigris alongside Cobra's Curse ... if I don't get to ride it, it's not going to ruin my day.

When I go off peak mid week Montu is nearly always a walk on with Cheetah hunt the only one that has a wait time, and sadly a lot of that is caused by down time.

We're all waiting for RMC Gwazi ... it's going to be something very special if everything we've heard about it is true. Still can't wrap my head around the fact Florida is actually going to have a world class coaster ... amazing.

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