This tweet I think captured a lot of people’s feelings when they heard the Phoenix was testing. Could the Phoenix, closed since April 2018, be reopening? There has yet to be any official announcement from the park, but walls have come down and the ride has been seen in action several times including with human analog sandbags. However, there were also rumors that the ride had been offered for sale, so although this could be a prelude to a reopening, it also be a test for a potential buyer. The great folks at Theme Park Express posted these great pics of the ride testing (used with permission).
There’s been the recent reopening of the Congo Train Station and the expected reopening of the SkyRide later this summer, so maybe this is up next? The Intamin “Looping Starship” is a classic ride and below is an excellent video that talks about the Busch Gardens install extensively. The Phoenix was one of the first of its kind and fans had a bit of a love hate relationship with them as the restraint system wasn’t always the most comfortable for some. The rides also had a bit of reputation of being a maintenance headache. However a reopened ride certainly would be a way of generating some pseudo new ride buzz without a lot of extra cost.
Time to get Busch Gardens the annual national recognition is so greatly deserves. Here’s your chance to vote for the park as a whole as well as your favorite rides and attractions. Just follow the simple link below:
“Busch Gardens Tampa Bay has been nominated for not one, not two, but six USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice travel awards! We need your help to win — fans can vote daily through Monday, April 25 to help us secure a top spot!”
The park was nominated in the following categories:
BEST AMUSEMENT PARK – BUSCH GARDENS TAMPA BAY
BEST WATER PARK – ADVENTURE ISLAND
BEST NEW THEME PARK ATTRACTION – IRON GWAZI
BEST AMUSEMENT PARK ROLLERCOASTER – IRON GWAZI, KUMBA and MONTU
BEST AMUSEMENT PARK ENTERTAINMENT – TURN IT UP!
BEST AMUSEMENT PARK RESTAURANT – ZAMBIA SMOKEHOUSE
In a day many thought would never come, Iron Gwazi is officially opening to the public today! The key word here is “officially” as the soft opening for members has been ongoing for about a month. The park seems pumped and even the city of Tampa is getting into the act.
If you want to know more about the history of this ride I highly recommend this video by Expedition Theme Park. If you want the “Cliffs Notes” version, “There once was a dueling wooden coaster called Gwazi. It got rough, ridership dropped and it was expensive to maintain. After only 16 years it closed and stood SBNO (Standing But Not Operating) for several years until RMC worked their magic”. In a great interview Andrew Schaffer, Director of Design and Engineering at Busch Gardens Tampa and Project Manager for Iron Gwazi, talked about the fact that this was a true conversion:
“It’s definitely not an exact number, but we’ve been telling people about 25% of the original wooden structure has been re-utilized, and 75% of the foundations.”
Years in the hot Florida sun are not kind to paint and especially when it carries high speed objects with all the vibrations and movement involved. From time to time a coaster needs a fresh coat of paint to keep corrosion at bay and the ride looking sharp.
Now is the season to get what is essentially a free Fun Card for your 5 and under, just go here. Even if they turn 6 this year you can still get it and it’s as simple as an online registration. As an added bonus it’s good for Islands of Adventure waterpark too!
You must register your child and visit by February 27, 2022. Registration can ONLY be done on the BuschGardensTampa.com website. This offer is not available for registration at the park front gates. Once activated, the Preschool Card is valid for admission through December 31, 2022.
This weekend there’s a new fireworks spectacular on weekend evenings at Busch Gardens as part of Summer Nights. The park website describes it as:
For an epic finale to a coaster-filled day of adventure, guests will be drawn to the vibrant energy radiating from a unique new production on the Festival Field. As the most stunning show ever to light the park’s sky, “Spark!” will feature an explosive array of fireworks and exciting effects from dazzling lasers to graceful water elements and dramatic pyrotechnics.
Love that the show even has its own logo and super excited to see what “water elements” means. A fireworks show is a great way to end a day at a theme park. Look forward to checking this out personally in June!
A new show is coming to Busch Gardens this year called Cirque Electric. It will take place in the Stanleyville Theater and starts May 28th. It’s great to see live entertainment returning at the park and the fact that it doesn’t appear to be replacing any other shows and is just a new addition is even better. Although details are still a bit light, it’s now on the park’s website and described as:
From the daring airborne aerialist to stunning displays of balance and strength and a fascinating act on wheels that cannot be missed, guests will be dazzled by world-class performers in this all-new acrobatic stunt show located at the Stanleyville Theater.
There has been a show of the same name at some Sea World Parks (video above), so we’ll assume at least parts of these shows will be borrowed. Some cirque style entertainment with feats of balance and strength should be a great fit to the parks entertainment lineup. I’m headed to the park in early June and can’t wait to see it! Now we just need to get the animal show back in Pantopia to make my 4 year old son happy 🙂
Our friends at BGT History had a great reminder that May 16th was the birthday of Scorpion. Scorpion is 41 years old and the second coaster built at the park and now its oldest after Python closed in 2006. The coaster fits in a small footprint, but still packs a punch for its 90 second ride. This coaster will always hold a special place for me as this spring it was my 4 year old son’s first real coaster (non Air Grover) when he reached 42 inches.
In the “better late than never” category, it was so cool to see the awards Busch Gardens got last year from USA Today’s 10Best polls including naming Falcon’s Fury the #1 non-roller coaster ride! USA Today described Falcon’s Fury in the official release below: