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News & Rumors


Busch Gardens Tampa
Tampa, FL
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment



----    THE LATEST BUZZ    ----
    (9/20/19) Iron Gwazi Construction Update (MORE...)
    (9/13/19) Busch Gardens Tampa To Add Iron Gwazi and Solar Vortex in 2020
    (9/4/19) Gwazi 2020 Construction Update (MORE...)
    (8/21/19) Busch Gardens Tampa Shows Preview of Gwazi 2020 (MORE...)
    (7/26/19) Adventure Island - New 2020 Slide Layout Discovered (MORE...)

Ride Rehabs - The following information is not guaranteed to be 100% accurate.
Phoenix - NOW CLOSED “Until further notice”
Skyride - NOW CLOSED through Nov. 15
Congo River Rapids - Nov. 4 through Nov 22
Wild Surge - Dec. 2 through Dec 13


icon_STOPGeneral Park News - (6/27/19) Busch Gardens Tampa has some great new special offers for Florida residents just released that are good through to July 4th. For starters, for less than the price of regular park admission, Florida Residents can get a 2019 Busch Gardens Fun Card that will allow you to visit as much as you want for the rest of the year for just $64.99. A two-park Fun Card that will add access to the Adventure Island waterpark can be had for just $30 more. Again, this deal is only offered through to July 4th.
    Speaking of which, “This Fourth of July, celebrate at the only place in Tampa Bay with world-class coasters and four consecutive nights of fireworks!”, with fireworks slated to happen from July 4th through to July 7th.
    (6/6/19) An interesting rumor is floating around, thanks to our friends at Behind The Thrills, that Howl-O-Scream could possibly become free for some or all annual passholders this season. The move could be a smart one, as HOS in Tampa has always kind of played second fiddle to Universal's Halloween Horror Nights. In light of rumored budget cutting to the event over the past few seasons, a move like this could bring more bodies in through the gates and increase in-park sales during the event nights.

    While not part of the same company, Carowinds in Charlotte, NC made a similar switch several years ago, and made the hard-ticket SCarowinds haunt event also free for their Gold level passholders and has seen much success and bigger crowds ever since due to the park's huge annual passholder base.
    (1/8/19) Beer fans can celebrate in 2019, because “free beer” is coming back to Busch Gardens Tampa for 2019. According to the park the offer of free beer will continue for the whole year, where each guest of age can receive two 7 ounce samples of beer from a rotating selection of brews. Visit the Serengeti Overlook Pub and Garden Gate Cafe to get your samples while visiting the park.
    (12/5/18) According to, the “Opening Night Critters” animal show at Busch Gardens Tampa will close after New Years Eve in order to bring an all new yet-to-be announced live show to the park’s Pantopia Theater in early 2019.




icon_STOP2019 - Tigris - (4/19/19) Just a friendly reminder that the new Tigris coaster opens to the public today (Friday) at Busch Gardens Tampa. The park held a media preview yesterday and while Screamscape was invited to attend, our local reporter fell ill in the wee-hours of the morning and was unable to go and send back a report.
    (4/16/19) Busch Gardens Tampa has announced that their new Tigris coaster will open to guests on April 19th.
    (3/31/19) The opening of Tigris can be too far away, as the coaster was seen testing with employees and Premier Rides crew this week. No word on if they might quietly soft open the coaster or make everyone wait for an official grand opening, so stay tuned and keep your eyes peeled when visiting the park.
    Oh, and based on a photo I saw online, those “comfort” over the shoulder restraint belts were back in place when actual testing took place with the riders.
    (3/19/19) Busch Gardens Tampa has started testing of Tigris at the park this week and the latest Midway Mayhem video caught it in action. There is one very interesting item of note however, which you can only tell when viewing the trains up close during the testing, but not only is the park testing the trains without any water dummies, but you may notice that they are also testing it WITHOUT the extra over the shoulder restraint belts that SeaWorld Entertainment has chosen to add to the Premier Rides Rocket II coasters. You can get a glimpse of the trains taking the dive without the OTS at about the 1:11 mark in the video and beyond.
    While you may blow this off as simply a sign of early testing, if you go back and look at any footage caught of Tempesto or Electric Eel testing, they were doing so with the full restraint system in place, typically around water dummies. It does make me wonder a bit about what’s going on with Tigris and if there is even the slightest chance that they might change their mind about including those extra shoulder belts.
    Anyone know more?

    (3/3/19) Busch Gardens Shared an image showing off one of the cars to the Tigris trains being lifted up to be installed onto the coaster track this week.

    (2/16/19) Photos from an on-site construction tour of the Tigris site were posted to Touring Central Florida this week. Check them out to get an up-close look at the new ride and attraction area under construction.
    (2/3/19) Fantastic news this morning from one of our readers who dropped by Busch Garden Tampa and sent in pictures of Tigris shortly after the final piece of track was installed on Saturday.

    (2/1/19) According to the latest pictures, the installation of track on Tigris is now nearly complete. Follow the link to see the latest pictures.
    (1/30/19) A great new Tigris construction update has been posted to TheCoasterKings this week, along with a few extra pictures of Gwazi as well.
    (1/12/19) A few new construction pictures showing off the progress being made on Tigris can be found at TouringCentralFlorida this week as more track and support pieces are being installed.
    (1/4/19) More Tigris track was spotted being unloaded at Busch Gardens Tampa this week, and posted by TouringCentralFlorida. One item of interest worth noting is that the track is being unloaded from a shipping container rather than the usual flatbed method of transportation we are used to seeing here in the US.
    I’m told there is a reason for this, as the Premier Rides coaster track being produced this year is actually being manufactured by a plant somewhere in Europe, possibly Italy, rather than coming from their usual domestic supplier from past years, which was Intermountain Lift in Utah. It should be interesting to compare how Tigris rides compared to the other Sky Rocket II style coasters built previously.
    (12/10/18) Good news for Busch Gardens Tampa as the first track sections of Tigris have now been bolted into place. New photos of the track, site and support structure being installed can be found in the latest report posted to TouringCentralFlorida.
    (9/15/18) With the news about Tigris being official, the latest Premier Rides SkyRocket II coaster coming to Busch Gardens Tampa, a reader got me thinking about something this morning. According to what we k now Tigris will be the 9th SkyRocket II built in the world when it opens in 2019... but there is one of these that is different than all the rest... Zombie Ride at Bosque Magico.
    The main difference is something that I'm really stumped as to why the SeaWorld parks did not opt for this variant for Tigris. They get a pass on Tempesto, since Zombie Ride opened 3 months after Tempesto, and Electric Eel isn't going to need this option as much, but Zombie Ride has 2 trains that use a dual-side loading station with a sliding transfer track. This allows for one train to unload and load while the other is running the course, and as soon as it comes back and slides out of the way, the second train is ready to slide into place and launch. Those who are familiar with Premier's work on the Mr Freeze coasters for Six Flags will recognize this same concept that increases throughput was put to use way back in 1998. Another important difference with Zombie Ride is that unlike the other SkyRocker II coasters, riders here get two full speed launches around the entire course instead of just one, increasing the length of the ride experience while allowing for time to prep the second train.
    So I'm just kind of stumped as to why Busch Gardens Tampa didn't opt for this version of the ride that would allow for increased throughput and a longer ride experience, especially when there is plenty of room to build the bigger station on the former Tidal Wave site.
    To their credit, the SeaWorld Entertainment chain did opt for two modifications of their own for their versions that set them apart. Tempesto, Electric Eel and Tigris all have 18 passenger trains while the other SkyRocket II coasters only hold 12 riders, though on the downer side, they also opted for over the shoulder restraint belts as well, while the others all only use a simple lap bar. In the end, safety is always the primary factor behind all this, so you can't complain too loudly about that.
    (9/13/18) Busch Gardens Tampa has confirmed Tigris is coming in Spring 2019, a new Premier Rides SkyRocket II coaster that will also serve as Florida's tallest launch coaster when it opens in 2019. This will be a copy of the same coaster experience that opened previously at Busch Gardens Williamsburg as Tempesto and at SeaWorld San Diego as Electric Eel. (see second video below for Electric Eel footage)


Howl-O-Scream 2019 - (7/12/19) Busch Gardens Tampa has released some of the first details for this year’s Howl-O-Scream event, along with a logo that mentions “20 YEARS XX of FEAR” across the bottom, as it seems this year’s HOS could be a celebration of the past two decades of horror. In fact the park has begun releasing clues to the horror on their Twitter account by looking back and some of the icons and major characters they’ve used over the past several years.
    For example, see the video clip they tweeted below that features Dr. Livingsdoom (2000), The Death Jockey (2007), Trickster (2012), VooDoo Queen (2013) and The Butcher (2017).
    Remember that rumored plan to make HOS included for Passholders? While it isn’t free for everyone, they are making it included for free for Florida Platinum Pass Members over the first weekend (Sept 20, 21). For everyone else they are currently offering discounted advanced HOS ticket sales starting now for as low as $19.99 for passholders, and as low as $24.99 for regular guests. These sale prices are only good now through July 21st at
    The full details for this year’s event haven’t been released yet, though the official website does already list two haunts: Simon’s Slaughterhouse and The Black Spot. Howl-O-Scream 2019 will take place on 22 select nights from Sept. 20 through to Nov. 2.



icon_STOP2020 - Iron Gwazi - Under Construction - (9/20/19) A quick construction update for Iron Gwazi can be seen at Touring Central Florida this week.
    (9/13/19) Iron Gwazi will be the name of the new coaster coming to Busch Gardens Tampa in 2020, built off the remains of the old Gwazi coaster, though this one will feature a reptile theme for the mythical Gwazi creature instead of being a big-cat hybrid. Iron Gwazi will be promoted as being North America’s tallest hybrid coaster, as well as the fastest and steepest hybrid in the world.
    Iron Gwazi will be 206 feet tall, hit 76 mph, and feature a 91 beyond-vertical first drop with an overall length of 4,075 feet, through three inversions and 12 “airtime features”. Iron Gwazi will also have two train operations and be available to all riders at least 48” tall.

    (9/4/19) A new look at the construction taking place to the former Gwazi coaster at Busch Gardens Tampa can be seen at TouringCentralFlorida this week.
    (8/21/19) Take a look at this video Busch Gardens Tampa posted for National Roller Coaster Day. While it starts off with POV footage of the park’s coasters, jump ahead to the 3:40 mark to see some preview animation of the new Hybrid coaster coming in 2020 from the ashes of Grazi. Again, this is just a teaser, but it still shows off enough to really get you excited about how this will turn out.

    (7/24/19) A fun series of aerial photos following along with the construction progress of the RMC crew working on Gwazi at Busch Gardens Tampa can be found here on Facebook here. They've got photos going back to a year ago when the ride was still untouched, then showcasing the progress and changes that have taken place over the months so far in 2019 from February to July. From the air is becomes easy to tell which are the new sections of wood put up compared to the old sections left over from Gwazi, due to the wood in the new sections looking so much lighter in color compared to the darker sun-stained old sections.
    (7/18/19) A new Gwazi 2020 construction update from Busch Gardens Tampa can be found at Touring Central Florida this week.
    (5/27/19) Touring Central Florida has posted a new construction update showing off the progress on Gwazi which is undergoing an RMC hybrid-coaster conversion. Speaking of which, there are now purple ibox rails on site, so now we know what color the new track will be at least.
    (3/28/19) Touring Central Florida takes a look at the construction taking place currently on the former Gwazi coaster site this week, as much of the old coaster’s structure is being removed and prepared for modification.
    (3/14/19) Touring Central Florida has posted a new photo update from Busch Gardens Tampa this week showing off the construction progress taking place on the park’s former Gwazi wooden coaster.
    (3/2/19) Busch Gardens Tampa confirmed some details for their plans to transform Gwazi into a new hybrid coaster. According to a short hype video they displayed for the crowds in attendance at the park’s anniversary event the former Gwazi coaster will be reopened as a new “hybrid” coaster creation that will be promosed as being “the world’s steepest” “world’s tallest” and “world’s fastest” hybrid coaster. Another teaser post elsewhere confirms that the work is being done by Rocky Mountain Construction and that the new height of the ride will be over 200 feet tall and offer a series of all new thrill elements as well as some “restored elements” from the former Gwazi layout.
    (2/16/19) Busch Gardens Tampa will be hosting a special 60th Celebration Kickoff event at the park on March 1st featuring special food and fun, as well as a fireworks show. The event begins at 7pm with a live performance of “Women Rock” with the Florida Orchestra with the fireworks finale around 8:30pm. However… they also promise that they will make a special announcement about the “all-new attraction, coming in 2020” ahead of the entire show, so arrive early for this special sneak-peek. The field will open at 5:30pm.
    Busch Gardens also announced that Pin Trading will begin at the park also on March 1st allowing guests to collect and trade their favorite pins with other guests as well as special ambassadors.

    (2/1/19) Touring Central Florida posted new pictures from Busch Gardens Tampa showing workers on site at Gwazi with electric saws in hand, quite literally cutting away at parts of the ride, which would then be hauled away by a large crane.
    (1/25/19) A nice collection of photos from Busch Gardens Tampa were posted to Instragram a few hours ago showing off a crane on site at Gwazi removing sections of the ride, along with a great progress shot of Tigris which appears to be about half-way built at this point.
    There is also an interesting rumor going around the cyber-webs regarding some fantastic sounding changes RMC has planned for Gwazi. No way to know how true the rumor is yet, but the posts claim the info came from an issue of First Drop Magazine… which unfortunately I can’t locate my latest issue after a remodeling of my office, so I can’t verify that as the source. In any case… the gist is that the two sides may be merged into one big coaster, with a brand new central 200+ foot lift hill to be constructed, and the structures of the existing two lifts will be reprofiled to serve as two large hills instead. True or not, I’d expect Gwazi to hardly even look anything like its former self by the time RMC is done with it. It’s all a matter of just how extreme BGT is willing to let them get with it.

    (1/12/19) According to the latest update posted to TouringCentralFlorida workers have begun cutting apart a section of Gwazi behind the Lion side lift hill this week. A crane is on site and is said to be lifting out the sections of the support structure that are being cut away. Given the twisted interwoven structure of Gwazi, I wouldn’t be surprised if they are cutting away sections to create an access path for a crane and other heavy machinery to get in closer to the center of the structure, allowing for easier access to begin the conversion of Gwazi into a new RMC hybrid coaster creation.
    (12/23/18) The conversion of Gwazi by RMC into a new beast of a coaster was both teased by the park and leaked out from presentation graphics back in September, but now we have something official. According to several reports the official work permit filed with the city for the Gwazi project that included the demolition of “selected portions” of an existing structure and buildings has now been updated and clearly lists Rocky Mountain Construction as the company doing the work. So there you have it, confirmed at last… and you can make the jump here to see a screen capture of the permit itself.
    As for Busch Gardens Tampa itself… I wouldn't count on them being willing to talk about it until after they get Tigris open in 2019.
    (9/25/18) For awhile now we've heard that just before the big announcement about Tigris at Busch Gardens Tampa on September 12th, the chain's marketing peeps had a little meeting where they revealed that major rides were on the way to the parks in 2019 and 2020. Fortunately a source was kind enough to send these in to Screamscape.
    This one reconfirms what we've all been hearing... that Gwazi is expected to become a new RMC Hybrid coaster for the 2020 season.
    (9/12/18) Serious hints were dropped at the announcement for Tigris to confirm that the park is already working on plans to open a huge new attraction for 2020. In fact... the new attraction may look a bit familiar... yet somehow different... as the hints seem to indicate that they have hired Rocky Mountain Construction to transform the former Gwazi dueling wooden coaster into a new RMC Hybrid coaster creation using their iBox track technology. According to the rumor, SeaWorld Parks made a journey or two out west to Six Flags Magic Mountain and just loved what RMC did with that park's Twisted Colossus and wanted to see what they could do with the former Gwazi coasters.


icon_STOP2020 - Solar Vortex @ Adventure Island - (9/13/19) Adventure Island is adding Solar Vortex in Spring 2020, a new multi-passenger raft slide that will stand 55 feet tall and send riders splashing down at 20mph into two tailspin turns and three “AquaLucent” tunnel areas, from WhiteWater.

(7/26/19) A new set of leaked documents for Adventure Island’s Project 90 now give us a look at the new waterslide layout. According to this tweet, they also say it will be from Whitewater West. From the look of the layout this appears as if it may be a Whitewater “Constrictor” style slide that features a pair of extremely tight helix spins that the rafts take at high speed, banking high up on the wall.

    (7/24/19) According to a new post at Touring Central Florida, plans for Adventure Island’s “Project 90” have been filed with the local government offices. As usual for Florida, these first plans involve the changes to the local “Water Management” around the site, rather than the attraction itself, but it does confirm that the site involved for Project 90 will take over the Key West Rapids site, just as rumored on Screamscape last week, including the demolition of the existing splashdown pool for Key West Rapids. The splashdown pool appears to be replaced more with a ground-level chute in about the same location, and elsewhere it also confirms the removal of the older slide, while keeping the existing stairs / tower to be repurposed the new attraction.
    (7/16/19) According to one reader who visited Adventure Island, they claim to have spotted some survey markings around the retention pond that lies just behind Key West Rapids. No sign of any construction as of yet, though that will likely wait until the busy summer season is over.
    (7/12/19) An interesting rumor came in this week regarding the installation of a new waterslide for Adventure Island in 2020. According to this source the park is planning to remove the uninspiring Key West Rapids slide to make room. If you visit the park soon, take a quick look around this site to see if there is any sign of survey markings in the area that would indicate new construction here, or the possible removal of this slide.




Track Record

Busch Gardens Tampa
Tampa, Florida
SeaWorld Parks & Ent.

Abbreviation: BGT
Opened: March 31, 1959

Tickets: as of 1/7/16
Adults (10+): $99
Child (3-9): $94
Parking: $18
Open: Year Round

Fun Facts:
- The park was previously used the subtext of calling it “The Dark Continent”
- Python was removed in the fall of 2006.

Newest Developments:
2018 - Vanish Point & Adventure Island

2016 - Cobra’s Curse and Rising Tide Conversation exhibit

2015 - Colossal Curl opens at Adventure Island

2014 - Falcon’s Fury

2013 - Madagascar Live

2012 - Iceploration

2011 - Cheetah Hunt, Cirque Dreams: Jungle Fantasy, Millennium Flyer trains added to Gwazi

2010 - Sesame Street Safari Of Fun & Sesame Street 4D, Animal Connection & Walkabout Way

2008 - Jungala and
Jambo Junction




Park Concerts & Special Shows



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