June 16, 2016, 10:00 PM ·
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay’s new coaster addition, Cobra’s Curse, is not your run-of-the-mill family-friendly roller coaster. This ride ushers in a new era of theme park experience for Busch Gardens patrons. Cobra’s Curse seeks to dazzle all ages with its attention to detailed theming and a varied ride experience. The ride has you going over 40 mph (63kmh), riding backward, and spinning at the end. And it all starts with the rider queue.
Legend has it, a long time ago the Snake King initially was a great ruler on earth. People constructed temples, including the big cobra idol, because of his goodness. However, the Snake King became too prideful and neglected his people. Those people ended up tearing down the Snake King’s temples, including the idol, and then cursed the place. The good news is that a bunch of Busch Gardens’ archeologists have raised the idol and unleashed the curse on its riders.
This story is first witnessed throughout the line queue. You start of entering an excavation site. You then journey through a Universal Studio’s Mummy-like theming with artifacts and equipment scattered throughout. Inside one of the first air-conditioned rooms is a bunch of live and mostly poisonous snakes, including vipers. Don’t worry, the chances of the slithering out of its enclosure is very slim.
Photo courtesy Busch Gardens
Soon enough, you journey through to the theater room which is just before the actual ride. The Snake King comes alive in a projection across a large wall. In that room the story of the Snake King is told every few minutes. Keep your little ones nearby, it may get a little scary.
Now you enter the ride. You first enter very comfortable and secure ride vehicles. Those vehicles will very shortly bring you to a vertical lift where you see the Snake King idol. It is followed by a very short twisty drop, similar to Animal Kingdom’s Everest, but very toned down. After a few turns, you eventually go backwards for a few short seconds. Soon you’re back forward and spinning as you ride the rest of the track.
Overall, this is a great ride for everyone. Even children 42 inches or taller can ride this ride with a parent or guardian. Those 48 inches and taller can ride it alone. I was concerned about the spinning, but this ride did not affect me. It had a good amount of spin and I felt fine. I wasn’t cursed. Overall Cobra’s Curse had great theming and the ride itself was a fun filled three-and-a-half-minutes that I wouldn’t mind riding again. Keep it up Busch Gardens, you’re moving in the right direction.