Ride Review: Busch Gardens Tampa's Cobra's Curse

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.

Inside the queue
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.

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Replies (13)

June 16, 2016 at 10:51 PM · How much time do you spend spinning? I have a limited tolerance for spinning.
June 17, 2016 at 2:34 AM · Looks like a fun ride!
June 17, 2016 at 2:58 AM · A few seconds. The video shows all the spinning. For me I hardly noticed it. For reference, I often hate Universal's MIB ride spinning. MIB usually gets me a little dizzy. This ride, I did not become dizzy. It was very smooth. However, the spinning may be different with other people in the car. I only rode it once with other adult males. Maybe we weighed down the cart...
June 17, 2016 at 2:46 AM · I thought the ride was incredibly short. Too short.
June 17, 2016 at 2:57 AM · Great review Jeffery, the ride looks like a fun family attraction. Busch Gardens mentioned a way to skip the live snake exhibits, did you get see how that is handled?

Also will Theme Park Insider post a review of the other new coaster in central Florida- Mako? It has been open for a week without any mention here.

June 17, 2016 at 3:01 AM · Thanks Inuk! Yes there's an inner pathway to avoid the exhibit. Just make a quick right in the first enclosed room.

I was unable to make the ride. However, Seaworld was working on sending out footage to post.

June 17, 2016 at 6:43 AM · Looks like a nice new ride... Thanks Jeff.
I have always loved BGT and will have to go back next May during my annual Orlando vacation.

Looked like Montu was real close in one of those scenes.

June 17, 2016 at 7:49 AM · I'm a tad disappointed that the Cobra at the top of the lift doesn't really do anything (spray water or move slightly) - perhaps there's some dramatically lighting at night. I'm guessing that the animal exhibit is top notch. Cheetah Hunt and Manta really raised the bar for the chain in combining animal encounters and roller coasters.
June 17, 2016 at 7:56 AM · I was at a hospitality event last Sunday and the people in my party rode Mako and gave it rave reviews. They said it was very smooth and even though the lift hill at the start doesn't look like much, it's a whole different story when you are perched at the top in the first row looking down...LOL. I talked to a bunch of other people who were riding it over and over again and they all liked it.
June 17, 2016 at 10:34 AM · Universal definitely has a fetish for spinning. I never really understood why they seem to feel that most of their rides need spinning. Anyway, thanks for the response, Jeffrey.
June 17, 2016 at 12:15 PM · I've been on it. It's a real hoot! Nice work Busch!
June 17, 2016 at 8:48 PM · @Brian Anytime. Make sure to tell us what you think on the forums when you go back. Yes, Montu is right next door. You can hear the excitement on Montu from Cobra's Curse.

@Russell Having the Cobra spit water would have been a great idea. The snakes are just in one single glass enclosure.

@ Still Yeah it seems all their new rides seem to have a spin element. Very good observation and anytime, glad I could shed some light on it.

June 17, 2016 at 10:17 PM · This definitely is a one of a kind family coaster, and while not something worth a special trip I do think it looks like a fun ride. While it doesn't appear to be particularly intense (can't say without riding it, but it looks about on par with Big Thunder Mountain Railroad for intensity), it is a nice long ride that offers a variety of experiences. I would love to see Disney or Universal get their hands on this ride system as it could make an excellent roller coaster/dark ride hybrid if used indoors.

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