What's next for Busch Gardens Tampa?? | Inside Universal Forums
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What's next for Busch Gardens Tampa??

Andy

aka Hatetofly
V.I.P.
Mar 16, 2010
11,095
First off I'd like to remind everyone that everything I say here is strictly based off an off camera conversation I had. Please remember this proves nothing more than it may of happened and that it could still happen. With that in mind take this with a grain of salt as were still years away from any decision being made.

Yesterday at the Cobras Curse Media Preview I had the pleasure of having an off camera discussion with a high ranking SeaWorld Executive. Someone that I've had the pleasure of talking to several times before and someone I highly respect. We discussed a wide range of topics. Everything from executive leadership to employee engagement during Busch's difficult years of buyouts and sell offs was discussed. We talked about what Cobra's Curse meant to Busch Gardens and then how SeaWorld will be impacted by Mako. And thats when it got interesting..

The executive loved Mako and said how Busch Gardens Tampa leadership desperately wanted a major air time coaster like Mako for their park. He explained that the park looked into building and pitched a giga coaster that focused strictly on air time only to have it shot down by corporate leadership in favor of a more family friendly addition to the park. I quickly spoke about how impressive Fury 325 at Carowinds was during a recent trip and how I felt bringing something of that magnitude to Tampa would pull from the Orlando market. His response, a smile, a it sure would, and thanks for all the support.

Now before anyone gets excited let me remind you this proves nothing more than they have discussed and pitched the idea. This does not mean it will ever happen nor that it won't. It simply confirms that Busch Gardens Tampa was considering building a 300ft tall giga coaster in Tampa at one point within the last two years.

Some may say yeah but SWO got Mako so why build something similar at BGT? Take Carowinds and Canada's Wonderland as prime examples. Their Intimidator focuses on air time and hills, where as their Fury focuses on speed and overbanked turns. They are two vastly different ride experiences that would be 90 mins away from each other. Others may talk about what to do with Gwazi. With some pushing for the RMC overhaul. I would love to see a RMC overhaul to Gwazi but I doubt it happens. I can't see it being BGT's next statement attraction. Those only seem to come every 4 to 6 years and they've already tried to market a Gwazi "rebirth" before with the new trains and advertising. Couple in the fact that BGT loves Gwazi field for concerts and wants to expand upon its festival offerings I think its easy to see Gwazi come down for good sometime very soon.

Something we could see happen at BGT is them revisiting an old pitch and plussing it much like they did with Cobras Curse. For those who may not know BGT originally pitched a spinning family coaster that would of used Akbars as the queue and then placing most of the ride where the Clydesdale Hamlet was. Obviously Cheetah Hunt happened and the spinner was shelved but you get the idea. Idea's never die, they just grow into something different or become a variant of the original idea years later. With that being said we may finally see the overhaul of the Bird Gardens section of the park with the addition of a giga coaster that runs along side the park boundary, executes a turn around just west of the Congo River Rapids, and returns to the bird gardens. If your Busch Gardens what better way to bring people in droves to Tampa than a 300ft tall giga coaster?? New coasters are a big thing for BGT and everyone they've ever done posted great attendance increases for them. Couple in increased competition from Universal's pending Nintendo expansion and Disney's Star Wars Land and its begins to become a little clearer that Busch Gardens Tampa's next major coaster could possibly be a Giga Coaster.
 

JoeCamel

Premium Member
May 20, 2015
5,653
Upper Lower
Well BGT IS a coaster park with some of the best in the country and it only makes sense that they want to add more. I wonder how much they will shift from the animal message to the coasters in the future.

I can see the designers looking at the Serengeti and craving that space
 

Scott W.

Premium Member
Feb 26, 2014
13,164
Glasgow
Ideally I'd love to see the RMC overlay of Gwazi as I love that ride and I had a blast on Twisted Colossus last year. I think an RMC or a wing coaster (Which could fit the bird theme) are the only 2 coasters missing from the Orlando theme park scene (Being a tourist, I count BG as a must do on any of my visits and place it in the same area, I know locals feel differently but as a tourist, that's just how I see things)

If however they decided to go for a giga and one at 300ft+, I wouldn't exactly be sad. Either way, if these are the 3 options, I'm officially pumped for whatever happens.
 

Kraken&Manta

Member
Mar 4, 2010
596
With Tidal Wave closed and the poor capacity of both Congo and Stanley, I think the park's first priority should be another water ride in the coming years. The only problem is attendance is ultimately more important than rounding out a ride collection. As far as water rides go, only super gimmicky, pilgrims plunge-like, rides seem to do for drawing in crowds.
With coasters, giving an RMC make-over to Gwazi would be amazing. But, as Mr. HTF said, BGT has already failed with a "new" Gwazi. I think you could even claim Gwazi permanently stained Floridian's view on woodies. Which is an absolute shame, Lightning Rod is probably the most amazing ride I've ever had the joy of experiencing.
Personally, I found Furry 325 to be disappointing outside the front row. The ride really ignores airtime besides the final three hills and being located in a field instead of near trees gives the back rows no real sensation of speed. However, I do think Busch would probably do a better job than Carowinds to place trees/themeing near the ride similar to how Cheetah Hunt's water runs counter to the ride track to exaggerate the speed. Seeing how Fury is somehow ranked 4th by golden ticket, if BGT and B&M got the ride right, they would have a claim to #1 steel and the advertising that comes with it.
And the biggest issue, especially for Busch and SeaWorld, is reliability. With Cheetah Hunt and Falcon's Fury being delayed plus RMC putting on a poor show with Lightning Rod, I'd be willing to bet a B&M giga could easily be in the future.
 

Tobias

Veteran Member
Feb 25, 2014
1,134
I have a feeling what'll come next is whatever they have planned to replace Gwazi, I recall a while back somewhere they did mention Gwazi will be torn down, but due to budget they won't tear it down until it's replacement is greenlit. So a RMC I-Box conversion is out of the question here.

plus RMC putting on a poor show with Lightning Rod
To be fair, a launched woodie has never been done before so you had to expect a hitch here and there. Most launch coasters have a history of being finicky. If Busch wants a regular intense woodie, RMC would still be the prime choice since they've been opening them with no issues and giving the best product to boot. (Case in point, they're opening the absolutely insane Wildfire in Sweden right on time.)
 

Cheezbat

Veteran Member
Jan 18, 2013
1,407
Orlando Florida
All I can say is bring it on! I want to see a RMC coaster at Busch...as well as a Giga. Wing rider can go to either Busch or Sea World...but part of me thing Sea should focus a bit more on themed rides and dark rides, and let Busch do the coaster thing.
 

Scott W.

Premium Member
Feb 26, 2014
13,164
Glasgow
This might be a stupid question but how well do the parks know what other parks have in the pipeline?

For example, let's say that Busch have plans to build a RMC coaster and Universal have similar plans for their 3rd park but it would be built a year after but would maybe reconsider if another one was coming?

That's a terrible example actually but hopefully you understand what I mean.
 

Teebin

Legendary Member
Oct 12, 2009
20,733
North of the Wall
This might be a stupid question but how well do the parks know what other parks have in the pipeline?
Many of the freelance designers and major vendors are hopping between the parks constantly, around the world. They don't really keep their mouths shut in confidentiality.

It is my limited understanding that the big parks keep their eyes on their own prize. They might consider the competitions plans but I have rarely seen a park react. Recent Disney action has seemed a reaction to Uni, but I have no idea if this is the case.
 

Scott W.

Premium Member
Feb 26, 2014
13,164
Glasgow
Many of the freelance designers and major vendors are hopping between the parks constantly, around the world. They don't really keep their mouths shut in confidentiality.

It is my limited understanding that the big parks keep their eyes on their own prize. They might consider the competitions plans but I have rarely seen a park react. Recent Disney action has seemed a reaction to Uni, but I have no idea if this is the case.
Interesting. Cheers, mate!
 

GAcoaster

V.I.P.
Nov 30, 2012
4,122
Orlando
When it comes down to it there are only so many ride designers and builders. They come up with a concept and shop it around and they generally offer exclusivity to the first park who wants it. They generally all keep tabs on each others' purchases and deals.
 

ragerunner

Rookie
Oct 23, 2015
220
Busch Gardens was going to get a 300 foot b&m giga coaster until it was pulled and re-designed as Mako at sea world. The coaster would have went where Gwazi is located. This doesn't mean they still won't get their giga coaster one day - but I think they will get another family oriented ride first where tidal wave is located. This will help rebalance the park ride collection.
 

shiekra38

Legendary Member
Dec 13, 2009
11,486
Florida
I would like BGT to continue pursuing highly themed attractions and of course, AC queues....But gosh a 300ft coaster would be amazing
 

ragerunner

Rookie
Oct 23, 2015
220
A new show in the Moroccan Palace and the resort hotel should be next up. Then a family ride/water ride replacement for Tidal Wave then a big coaster.