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Busch Gardens Tampa, 9/16/2022


Yoshi
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On Friday I went to Busch Gardens. This was my first trip of more than 90 minutes - 2 hours since March staying from 1:00 to closing at 6:00.

 

With schools in session, weekdays at the park have been completely empty. 2 weeks ago when I stopped in for a quick visit, Iron Gwazi had less than 10 people in the station and the front row was a 1 train wait. Today there were more people but it was only a 2 train wait. 38 rides on Iron Gwazi so far and I still don't have the layout memorized. It doesn't let up from the first drop until you are flying into the brake run. It's such a great coaster and just about perfect.

 

After some animal exhibits, Sheikra was next. There was not a single person in the entire station. They had 3 trains running. Hanging over the first drop in the front row on the holding brake looking around 200 feet straight down is something that takes some getting used to.

 

A full circuit on the train takes around 45 minutes. Since the last time I rode the train earlier this year, they reopened the Congo train station. It's a great way to relax and see a lot of animals.

 

Sand Serpent and Scorpion were next. Sand Serpent is fun but not as good as The Dark Knight or Hershey's wild mouse. Like Laser at Dorney, for a small coaster Scorpion is intense, especially that final double helix. Unlike sooperdooperLooper, Scorpion still runs the original Schwarzkopf trains.

 

On the way to the front of the park, you can see the Screamin' Swing construction. I'm looking forward to it as Busch Gardens really needs some non coaster rides. Falcon's Fury has been closed and the carousel was also closed. That left Congo River Rapids, log flume, train and bumper cars as the only non kiddie rides operating that weren't coasters.

 

Montu is really intense for a B&M Invert but not quite as forceful as Batman The Ride. Cobra's Curse had some more spinning than usual, most of the time you get some small turning but nothing too much.

 

The last ride of the day was Cheetah Hunt. Usually Cheetah Hunt always has some kind of line even when the park has light crowds. It was a 1 train wait. It's not too intense but a fun ride and the multiple launches are great.

 

There were Busch Bucks again this month and as of last month they are adding a 5% surcharge onto the price of merchandise after doing the same thing with food since the spring. Even with the surcharge, a $16.99 mug was only $1.50 after the annual pass discount and Busch Bucks.

 

Ride Count:

Iron Gwazi, 2x

Train, Sheikra, Montu, Cobra's Curse, Cheetah Hunt, Sand Serpent, Scorpion, all 1x

 

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There is a Golden Ticket Award sign at Iron Gwazi's entrance

 

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Some Howl-O-Scream theming

 

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Across from the Nairobi train station is a small animal exhibit area with birds and reptiles. 40+ trips to the park and I didn't know it was there until Friday.

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Passholders get $10 or $20 vouchers to use in the park periodically. In September we've got a $10, last month we go one too! SeaWorld/Busch encourages their pass members to come and spend money! So far I think they've given us about $70 in Busch Bucks in 2022 just at BGT-- SeaWorld also gets them and they've given about $60 so far this year. They really take care of pass members, and the Busch Bucks can be used on food or merchandise. 

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Yeah it's amazing how many perks and offers there have been. The bring a friend free tickets in addition to the guest tickets that come with the pass have also been really helpful and it seems like those are almost every month for one of the 4 parks too.

 

11 hours ago, GAcoaster said:

Iron Gwazi is really the best! I'm still surprised how much I liked it. And it looks like BGW may get one to match... 

Same for me. I liked Twisted Timbers and Twisted Cyclone but they weren't top coasters for me and was expecting to think Iron Gwazi was a great ride but not a top ride. It's a top 3 steel coaster for me.

9 hours ago, Medusa42 said:

With Alan Schilke retiring, it will be interesting to see how a Joe Draves design at BGW differs from Iron Gwazi at BGT.

I didn't know Alan Schilke was retiring. It will be tough to match the designs of the coasters he has done.

7 hours ago, pashacar said:

Great report, Yoshi. I wish WDW had been as empty when I was there on the same day!

 

One question: what are Busch Bucks?

Thanks. It seems like other than the few days after Labor Day where the WDW parks weren't crowded, it's been very crowded all year and last week went back to normal with crowds.

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19 hours ago, Yoshi said:

Yeah it's amazing how many perks and offers there have been. The bring a friend free tickets in addition to the guest tickets that come with the pass have also been really helpful and it seems like those are almost every month for one of the 4 parks too.

If Six Flags wants to match pricing with SeaWorld/Busch passes they need to start matching the perks as well. Start giving those bigger merch/food discounts and other bonus perks to make the cost worth it. Every month there's some great perks offered by SW/BG. 

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22 hours ago, GAcoaster said:

If Six Flags wants to match pricing with SeaWorld/Busch passes they need to start matching the perks as well. Start giving those bigger merch/food discounts and other bonus perks to make the cost worth it. Every month there's some great perks offered by SW/BG. 

 

The funny thing is, I'm sure Busch crunches the numbers and finds that those perks earn more than they cost, from passholders spending extra, etc. I do understand that SF had to stop the hemorrhaging of cheap passes and free tickets, but hopefully they'll figure out a smart – and cost-effective – way to engage passholders and members moving forward.

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