Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

February 11, 2000

Trip Report: Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Date: Feb 11, 2000

Weather: Actually getting hot

Crowds: Light to reasonable

Parking: $6

Admission Approx $45.65 (we used second day on our SWO/BGT Combo pass)


Ok folks, I really did mean to have good TR's, I wrote a real long nice Sea World one, but it never propogated and is now lost forever. I then lost the TR spirirt. Now I am gonna try again.

Busch Gardens was Eric and I's last day in Florida sort of like a wrapup party. The plans were pretty simple Eric and I drive down to Jerry's hotel, then the three of us go to BGT, ride some coasters, and get back midafternoon to do DisneyQuest. But best laid plans......

We wake up around 6, get showered dressed et al, take a look outside and our rental car has a flat.

Bummer! Well my uncle had an air compressor and a good contact at local garage. Still garage did not open till 8. So as you can imagine that put a bit behind so we didnt get Jerry till almost 10, then we hit the road to Tampa. After a nice smooth drive we arrive, we arive at BGT at about 11:30. Pull onto Fowler Street and what's this they are parking cars across the street from the park. Is it really this crowded? Then Jerry and Eric joke with me and tell me that I am not looking at the real Montu. Anyway we catch tram and go across street drive through empty close in lot (Now why not park us over here!) and soon arive at park and my good frined Shamu gets me in the door. Well it odes not take much though to decide to head straight over to Gwazi. It is noteworthy that the tram driver tells us NUMEROUS TIMES "The last tram leaves the main gate station at 6:30 sharp, if you miss it you will be walking back to Lot E"

Gwazi - 1999 GCI Dueling Coasters

We enter the queue line and "In ever battle sides must be taken" I thought I was back at the Dragons. We chose Gwazi Lion and the line started at the bottom of the ramp, and moved at a slow but steady pace up to the station. (With only 1 train running) Well about the time we pass through the turnstile the second train is added.

Now I had heard a lot of Gwazi's inefficient operating procedures, but what happens is approximately this>

This procedure raised two particularly funny moments, both involving our good sport Eric. One time we were getting seated and noticed no one had taken the seat in front of us (which was seat 2), so Eric and I hastily move from seat 3 to seat 2. Then Eric, not knowing, says "Ya know, the only reason I could do this is the LONG SLOW LOADING PROCEDURE!" He did not know both ops were right behind him. Ops did not seem to care.

The other moment involved our good friend Mr. Torque Lock, (or some other malfunction whereby they had to use the screwdriver like key to open Eric's lapbar. Now, Gwazi allows for rerides if no one is waiting for your seat (heck Gwazi allows the BGT Firedrill where you are free to snag unused seats after you unload) so Eric;s lapbar was jammed shut, no one was in his seatlane, so Eric told the op that he would just stay on and ride again "But Sir, we must open your lapbar so we can check your seatbelt". Ok this was done, and when we returned to station his larbar jammed again. The ops told us we were riding in a brand new train, and there was still a protective plastic cap over the lap bar keyhole, that was missing from the other seats

Ok, enough Gwazi anecdotes how was the ride. Better than I expected from GCI. I mean this ride has laterals, this ride has floater air, this ride has sudden direction changes, this ride has near missed (like 6) They alll made for a great wooden coaster ride. I prefer the Gwazi Tiger Coaster to the Gwazi Lion Coaster. The trains have a fantastic paintjob (Good luck repainting these) The ride starts out as both trains leave the station paralel, then imeidately dip down and pass by each other as they curve to the lifthill on the OPPOSITE side. A quick duobe up attached you to the chainlift Both chainlifts veer away from each other, then the trains turn at the top top face each other, then at the bottom of the first drop they turn away from each other. Ten someinteresting tall twisty turns and drops cause a couple more near misses includng one where both trains are at very odd angles, but fiunally they pass right next ot each other on a straightaway (where a net has been installed to discourage handslapping) then both train go through their final helix to pass each other right before hitting their respective brake runs, then they each make a a turnaround to enter their respective transfer sheds, (where they are held since the other trains haven't been dispatched yet), then a curve into the station. These rides had a short wait in the morning but during our extended afternoon session it was stay on and ride, or change seats, stay on and ride.

A wonderful wood coaster

Then we went around and hit BGT's other coasters

Montu - last time I saw this, only the lift hill was in place, so I noted the well done queue line, and we boarded. Walk on. Single train operation. I love the smoothness, the pacing the intensity of Montu. Everybody says this ride is ruined, overbraked, but I do not find this to be the case. In fact that rear row left seat ride is one I won't soon forget. This even ranlks higher than Dueling Dragons on my B&M Inverted list. For pacing and the clever use of trenches. Eric got lucky and was offered a triple ride to close out the night. Jery and I would have been with them had we not practiced proper B&M etiqute and joined another party of two in our row. That';s it next time I don't care how many empty seats go out, it just doesn't pay to help fill in the empty seats.

Scorpion - Ah, an Anton moment. The unusual lift mechanism took me for surprise, but I am not one to pass up a rare lapbar only looping experience.

Kumba - Ok they said this just finished rehab, but even though it may LOOK like it did way back when, this coaster has definetly slipped a few places on my poll due o the rough ride I experienced. It was unusual seeing a B&M without seatbelts, but then it was that way last time I rode. Another walk on, single train.

Python - Why did I have to ride this? What sort of park completeness made me go out of my way to ride this? Looking for the smoothest ride we opted for the front seat on this "Nobody even in station" no wait coaster, again running 1 train. Well the Python crew must be taking lessons from the Gwazi crew. Our OTSR was secured the train was checked, the ops returned to the front, gave the thumbs up, and we sat, and we sat, and we sat, and the load ops started yelling at control op, and we sat "Hello! Whats up!", and we sat, and load ops started jumping up and down to get control ops attentionm and we sat, and load ops joked with us "We really want you to ride this but the newbie up int he control booth", and we sat, and I am guessing the control booth ops telephone conversation ended and finally we were dispatched. Not that we were gone from the station long on this no frills no nonsense Arrow Corkscrew. The OTSR's were released and the first comment made from our group was :Yep, it's an Arrow" Forgive me for calling Kumba rough. How can I do this to myself after a week of B&M's.

So then we make the afternoon hike through the back 40 to get to Gwazi, for our ERT like session. (I understand this park has a skyride and a train ride, but their in park trnsportation system just does not adequately cover it)

Several, Gwazi rides were taken on both sides, Jeff and I argued at length WHILE RIDING THE COASTER, as to if it counts as 1 or 2.

Then since our stuff was in a locker by Montu we ended the day on Montu. Ahh good get that Arrow Crapola out of my mind, lets end this trip right, on a most intense B&M Inverted. Then since we were among the last riders we did not get off Montu (or I should say Eric did not get off Montu till 6:20 (park closed at 6). Thent he security guards gave us an evil look becuase we dared to ask to go back to our locker (at the Montu entrance) but then Jeff had to return to Gwazi. (I can imagine gaurds had we chosen a Kumba locker), and we eventually make it to Morocco for souvineersa and Pepsi's Then I look at watch 6:40, OH SH*T The last tram leaves the station at 6:30 sharp. so I grab some park maps, and we exit the park and what do we see, a tram sitting in the tram stop. a LOADED tram sitting in the tram stop, a LOADED TRAM WITH DRIVER sitting in the tram stop. We run to tram stop and board tram. Ahh, we do get to ride to Lot E (I suppose the 6:30 story is a scare to get you to promptly exit the pak.))

And that was Bush Gardens Tampa Bay

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