Busch Gardens Tampa
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment
---- THE LATEST BUZZ ----
(6/27/22) Trip And Construction Report (MORE...)
(4/9/22) Busch Gardens Tampa To Build New Entrance and More This Year (MORE...)
(3/23/22) Work Crews Spotted At SkyRide (MORE...)
(3/19/22) Lets Talk About KUMBA (MORE...)
(3/13/22) A Friendly Word Of Warning...
Ride Rehabs - The following information is not guaranteed to be 100% accurate, refurbishments are subject to change.
Skyride - NOW CLOSED through Summer 2022
Congo River Rapids - NOW CLOSED through TBD
Falcon’s Fury - NOW CLOSED through TBD
General Park News - (6/27/22) Orlando Park News is back with a new update, but one outside of Orlando. This time they visit Busch Gardens Tampa to check out Iron Gwazi, but if you scroll down to the lower half of page 2, they also take a quick look at the construction walls blocking off the former Rhino Rally site. While construction here seems to be minimal and at best at a partial ground clearing stage, the long standing rumor has been that the site will eventually be used to build an S&S Screamin’ Swing ride like the Finnegan’s Flyer at Busch Gardens Williamsburg or the Tidal Surge ride that just opened a few months ago at SeaWorld San Antonio. Time will tell if this rumors holds true.
(4/9/22) Busch Gardens Tampa has announced a new series of park enhancements are on the way, including a new park entrance gate. “Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and Adventure Island are committed to elevating the guest experience with one of the parks’ largest investments focusing on park enhancements. The transformation includes refreshed looks at fan-favorite attractions, including Montu, Cheetah Hunt, and Stanley Falls Flume, as well as park areas including Moroccan Village and Pantopia, home to more of the park’s world class collection of thrills. The updates will continue later this year, with the debut of an exciting new park entrance.”
This summer Busch Gardens will be offering more special entertainment additions as part of the Summer Celebration event. This will include new shows in Gwazi Plaza, Dragon Fire Grill and Pantopia Theater, with the Cirque Electric also returning to the Stanleyville Theater.
(3/23/22) Amusement Park Portal has posted some pictures of FB of work crews spotted at one of the Skyride stations at Busch Gardens Tampa. Previously the park had stated they planned to reopen the Skyride in time for this Summer so good to see some progress towards that goal taking place.
UPDATE - (3/19/22) Today I’m going to openly talk about the Kumba rumor that has gathered much attention over the past week.
Bottom line… is Kumba leaving? Honestly, I really don’t know.
Busch Gardens Tampa did address the rumor however, and has posted messages on social media that indicate that Kumba isn’t going anywhere.
Did I make that story up? Not in the slightest… (and like I have time for that). As with any report like this, the information was sent to me from an anonymous source, asking me to share that information.
Over the past 24 years the point of Screamscape was to share theme park related NEWS and RUMORS with everyone who loves theme parks, rides and various forms of themed entertainment. Screamscape was also set up as a place where people who work within the industry, or have friends and loved ones who do, can come to anonymously share information about things they know or projects they are working on with me, and that I will keep their identities a secret.
Today I’m going to do something I’ve never done before, and I will openly reveal the exact message that served as the source of this story to everyone. In a series of four screen captures, I will only block out their email address and a couple of words where they ask to protect the source. I have also highlighted a couple of sections where they ask me to share the information with the readers of Screamscape, and actually give me permission to share any and all of the information they provided.
So please, read it all, and then ask yourselves, do you think Kumba closing?
At this point, I don’t believe Kumba is closing. Every so often someone with malicious intent will send in a completely fabricated story to Screamscape, hoping that I’ll post it. This is different from someone sending in just a “bad rumor” as there is no ill intent behind them. On the other hand, these fabricated tales usually end with a “HA! HA!” moment at the end, as the source will often reveal themselves elsewhere, taking pride or a twisted sense of satisfaction in the fact that they fooled me into spreading their tale.
It happens… and in no way is everything posted on Screamscape correct. The reports are called “rumors” for a reason. Nothing is ever completely true until there is evidence to say otherwise. At the same time, Screamscape also does not “make up” our rumors, the information is simply relayed as sent in from various sources. So when I received a message asking for help to spread the word about the possible demise of Kumba, I did just that. The goal was to raise awareness of the issue, and as asked, allow fans of the ride to plan trips to the park to ride it again. I know I was invested, as I was making my own travel plans as well.
As for Busch Gardens Tampa… if this was a complete fabrication, I do apologize for the fuss this story caused. However, it did prove that there are a lot of Kumba fans out there who love that roller coaster and like myself, they were making their plans to visit the park, buy a ticket, and ride all their favorite attractions, including the new Iron Gwazi.
I’d like to be able to say that nothing like this will ever happen again, but I can’t. I’m not perfect, and there are some really great liars out there able to con even the best of us. There will always be good rumors, bad rumors, and those who just want the world to burn. The world is just a different place now than it was 24 years ago.
(3/13/22) As theme park fans descend upon Busch Gardens Tampa this season to give the new Iron Gwazi a try, I do have one request. Be sure to ride KUMBA while you are at the park. In fact, give the old girl 2 or 3 rides if you can.
While B&M first entered the minds of coaster fans in 1992 with the creation of the first Inverted Coaster (Batman: The Ride at Six Flags Great America), they really shattered the idea of what could be done with traditional sit-down roller coaster design when they opened Kumba a year later in 1993. Until that point, the look and idea of what was possible on your standard steel roller coaster had been entirely defined by the work of Arrow Dynamics and Vekoma.
Kumba set a whole new standard for roller coaster design from that moment forward, in terms of engineering, design, inversion elements, and even a new definition for what a modern roller coaster should sound like with the iconic Kumba “roar” as the trains passed by. So the next time you visit the park, hopefully sooner than later, give Kumba some love, because Screamscape has been hearing things…
Very bad things…
So ride Kumba while you still can.
(2/25/22) Busch Gardens Tampa has announced the return of the park’s Food & Wine Festival event starting on March 11. This year’s event will feature a number of new “festive food and drinks”, concerts and, of course, rides on Iron Gwazi. This year’s event will offer 22 live concert performances over an 11 weekend run, making this the longest run of the event ever.
For all the official information, visit the park’s website.
(12/16/21) Good news, Screamscape sources have confirmed to us that the long closed Skyride at Busch Gardens Tampa will FINALLY reopen in Summer 2022. I’m told that the ride has been in need of having the main cable replaced, and obtaining the experts needed to perform such a task has not been something easy to do. This will all finally take place and the park’s beloved Skyride will open once again next year.
2022 - Iron Gwazi - (2/12/22) Today we’ve got another video to share of Iron Gwazi from Busch Gardens Tampa, featuring on-ride footage of our test riders taking on the new mythical beast coaster. It’s a mix of POV, reverse POV, and footage shot from off-ride cameras placed around the course to show off Iron Gwazi up-close and from unique angles you’ll never get to see from visiting the park. Check it out!
(2/11/22) Busch Gardens Tampa invited Screamscape out to give Iron Gwazi a test run on Thursday and while I wasn’t able to make it myself, I did pick out a local area victim…err, volunteer! They were able to give it a few test rides and send us back some video footage of Iron Gwazi in action which you can see below.
The verdict? As I predicted in my list of the top extreme coasters for 2022, I placed Iron Gwazi in the #1 spot as what I anticipated as being the best new coaster of the year.
According to our test rider review, “I would place this as the best coaster in America. It maintains its momentum all the way to the break run. Busch Gardens has a massive hit on its hands.”
So are you ready to try Iron Gwazi yourself to see if it lives up to this lofty reputation and several year’s worth of anticipation? Get ready, because it looks absolutely relentless.
(1/22/22) Busch Gardens Tampa confirmed on their social media accounts the other day that Iron Gwazi will finally open to the public on March 11, 2022. Passholders however may have qualified for early preview ride sessions however, so check your email if this applies to you.
(10/16/21) If you’ve seen the reports online, they are true. Busch Gardens Tampa team members were seen taking test rides on the new Iron Gwazi coaster over the past week. So far we haven’t heard any first-hand reviews, but I can only imagine that the experience is an amazing one. Even better, while the coaster won’t be ready to officially open to the public until early 2022, this is a clear sign that it is entirely finished and ready to go. Who knows… you neve know if they might quietly open the gate to let some guests enjoy a test as we get closer to the official opening date.
Watching the video footage shot by Midway Mayhem below doesn’t disappoint, as that train is flying through the course like an absolute rocket! Very impressive!
(8/25/21) Busch Gardens Tampa confirmed to the world that Iron Gwazi is now slated to open in March 2022, about two years after it was originally planned to open in Spring 2022 before the COVID pandemic saw all theme parks shut down just as Iron Gwazi had begun testing.
(6/13/21) It has been quite some time since any official information has been released about Iron Gwazi, but a few tidbits did come out over the weekend. A clip showing a park rep speaking at the ACE Thrill Seekers Event confirmed while they don’t have an opening date for Iron Gwazi, they did bring in a couple of workers on Friday to perform some needed work on the track.
(5/22/21) Please don’t kill the messenger, but the latest rumor sent my way about the plans for Iron Gwazi aren’t going to make anyone happy if they are true. According to a Screamscape source, nothing much is going on with Iron Gwazi for a couple of reasons, but mainly because the park has no intention of opening it this Summer. RMC workers who were apparently back on site to finish things up earlier this year have all left the area to finish up other various projects for the company.
Again, this is all rumor, but as the story goes, upon checking out of their accommodations near the park, someone noticed the RMC logo and asked if Iron Gwazi was ready to open soon. The reply basically implied that the coaster was ready, but the park had no plan to open it until either the very end of the year, or possibly not until 2022. Pent up demand is keeping the park busy now as they seek to move back to a more normal operations schedule, and with all other future plans on hold, they apparently intend to keep Iron Gwazi on the shelf as incentive to get guests to return to the park again in the future.
The unfortunate thing is that in many ways, we’ve been quietly hearing that the same intentions may be planned for the chains three other big coasters, all standing, waiting and ready to go: Emperor at SeaWorld San Diego, Ice Breaker at SeaWorld Orlando, and Pantheon at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. The later of which is also experiencing some severe staffing shortage problems as well it seems, so they may also be waiting for those problems to resolve themselves before they invite huge crowds to the park to try out the new roller coaster.
(11/16/20) For the entire coaster enthusiast world who has been waiting for this forever, Busch Gardens Tampa has released the official POV video of Iron Gwazi in all its glory. Check it out below!
(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 91º 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.
2022 - Rapids Racer & Wahoo! Remix for Adventure Island - (1/22/22) Screamscape was invited out to the Adventure Island waterpark (next to Busch Gardens Tampa) to check out the construction taking place for the 2022 season. This includes plans for a revised park entrance area, a new beach/lounge area, the revised Wahoo Remix waterslide and the all new Rapids Racers racing/dueling slides.
Check it out in the video below!
(10/16/21) Adventure Island has confirmed two new additions to the waterpark for the 2022 season. The first is a confirmation of the rumored new slide we previously mentioned, now named Rapids Racer. Rapids Racers will put guests in two-person rafts and let them race through 600 feet feet of slide to the finish line at the bottom. Much like the Riptide Race slice at Aquatica, the slide will feature a few sections of open slide with low walls so the racers can see who is winning. Unlike Riptide Race however, the race course will send slides through the world’s first “dueling saucers” along with the high-speed turns, tunnels and more that you would expect.
The second addition will actually be a refurbishment to the old Wahoo Run, which will now be called “Wahoo! Remix”. The old slide is getting a high-tech upgrade and will now feature synchronized light and sound effects, transforming the once dark enclosed tunnels into a new visual and audible experience like no other.
(8/31/21) Screamscape sources have sent us an image of a new waterslide project planned to take over the location of the park’s original body slides. This appears to be a pair of launched side-by-side racing slides, not unlike the Cheetah Chase slides that opened at Holiday World’s Splashin Safari earlier this year in Indiana.
The really interesting thing is that according to the image the park appears to not only be planning to reuse some existing pump/mechanical rooms to power the new slide, but the new slide will also launch off the same slide tower as the existing Wahoo Run slide. The existing tower will be modified to accommodate a second separate set of stairs for the new attraction half-way up the tower, while still allowing access to the Wahoo Run slide at the top of the tower.
Early permits have already been filed in Tampa for the project, one of which refers to it as the “Adventure Island Tower Replacement” project and another refers to it as “Project F1”.
(2/10/21) According to a post a Touring Central Florida, Adventure Island appears to have filed for permits to demolish the park’s Runaway Rapids slides. According to the permit the demolition will include the five slides and the fake mountain rockwork surrounding them all. As I recall these were some of the waterpark’s original slides from when it first opened. As possibly the oldest slides in the park currently, it makes sense that eventually they would have to either be retired or completely renovated, and looks like they have opted to just remove them and reclaim the site for future use.
The article also mentions that the Runaway Rapids slides did not open in 2020 when the rest of the park opened, and the nearby but much newer Wahoo Run slide did not open either. Currently neither Runaway Rapids or Wahoo Run are currently listed on the park’s website either, so either Wahoo Run will remain closed to allow easy access for the demolition team, or perhaps its time in the park may be cut short as well. Anyone know more?
???? - New Ride - Rumor - (3/4/20) I’m told that construction work has started at Busch Gardens Tampa on the former Rhino Rally load/unload site. According to the report sent in, much of the site has been dug up and demolished, with trenches dug in the area presumably to install new underground utilities. From the look of things, they may be working on water lines here, as I’ve been told that the old water reservoir under the section of Cheetah Hunt here has been dry for over a year or more, so perhaps they are working to establish some kind of new water feature here to service the new rumored attraction (S&S Screamin’ Swing) in development as well as get the water flowing under Cheetah Hunt again. The same contractor doing work here was also spotted scouting out some sites to the north of the Rhino Rally area in the Serengeti, again possibly for underground utilities and water supply line work.
(1/14/20) Early plans for what Busch Gardens Tampa is planning for 2021 are being rumored, along with the leaked location pulled from documents filed with the city. What what I’m seeing the park’s 2021 attraction will be installed in the general area where the former Rhino Rally loading station was located.
All we know so far about the new ride is that it wont be a coaster and is expected to be some kind of new flat ride able to toss riders about in the air to make up for the closure of the Phoenix which has never reopened. Making an educated assumption, based on projects installed at other parks in the chain, Busch Gardens Williamsburg actually just installed a ride that perfectly fits the bill last year called Finnegan’s Flyer, an S&S Screamin’ Swing ride. These are typically quick to reload and have a decent capacity when installed with two swinging arms that run at the same time, and is generally a well liked ride by most. The Screamin’ Swing takes the concept of what it feels like to be a small child ahead, and getting pushed higher and higher on a swing set in a playground… except this swing set stands about 100 feet tall and you get pushed back and forth at up to 45mph in each direction. Click here to check out the S&S stat sheet on the Screamin’ Swing if you’ve never seen one in real life.
Now, other than the location, this is just speculation and rumor… so take it with a grain of salt until we learn a little more, because 2021 is still many months away and the park will be busy finishing up Iron Gwazi for 2020 before they begin any serious work on this new project.