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Ultimate Rollercoaster > Discussion Forums > Roller Coasters, Parks & Attractions > TR: BGT Aug 2011 and June 2012 [long post]

TR: BGT Aug 2011 and June 2012 [long post]

Cyclone_Phil Cyclone_Phil Profile

Posted:
7/27/12 at
2:24:01 AM

For the sake of simplicity I will sum up both years [last and this] into one.

My 1st 2 days at the park went like this:
Cheetah Hunt, an absolute must do first thing in the morning. I was keeping expectations low on the coaster given how I wished BG had gone with a hyper coaster on the same level as Nitro or AC at its sister park. So for the most part I always take the 2nd train because the line is smaller than for the 1st. Either because people expect the train to be longer or they wanted the launch right away vs the delayed launch for the 2nd train...
So already prepared for the launch based on rides like Rockin Rollercoaster at Disney's Hollywood studios and Kingda Ka, I wasn't too intimidated. The train passes over what used to be the horse stable before the park had to get rid of anything Anheiser Busch related symbols and into the 2nd launch towards the 'figure 8 tree'. I can't say I liked it much, but everyone else seemed to like it to catch their breath. Then the drop into the camera revine. The rest most of you know about, so I won't bother rehashing it. I will still comment about how much I miss what used to be the Rhino Rally raft segment, which is now incorporated into Cheetah hunt as it makes a series of sharp turns just above the river. The 3rd and last launch up the hill was easily the best part of the ride giving that ejector feeling, but after that the rest of the ride is just a bunch of forceless twists and ends with a sharp left turn back to the station. *[0]

So in short, take at least 2 rides in the morning if the wait is 20-25min. Imo, anything more is just too long unless it's the only ride you really want to get on.

I then take the skyride next door to the Congo area*[1]. I head over to a coaster I've so under appreciated, Kumba. The old girl is just as vicious and fun. Quite easily I could've spent a whole day on it, but I guess the multiple consecutive rides took a toll on me and the lines started to grow and with my impatience, it was time to move on to the next ride...

Sheikra! I love it, but it's my 3rd fav at the park. The first drop still gets to me, nothing beats that feeling of weightlessness heading strait down [not counting Kingda Ka]. A word of advice, if you keep your arms up the whole ride like I do, as the train heads for the 2nd drop, hold them in front of your eyes. When the trains rushes below the tunnel, the water from the pool will fly right into your face and it's even worse if it smacks you in the eye. I still say it's because of the layout of the pool that makes Sheikra a little better than its sister Griffon. Griffon as a ride, I like more though. I would ride it at least 4-6 times total on various days, which included at least 1 front row ride.

I take a walk towards Gwazi. I will say that I wished they fix this problem of having to go up a flight of stairs that's not clearly marked behind Sheikra and having to go past the Sesame street area of the park. As for Sesame st, I will admit they did a decent job theming the area and adding the Grover express [no didn't ride it, didn't need the credits and plenty of things to do at the park]. I remember when it used to be the dwarf village and I could see the old brewery building. So I finally made my way to Gwazi. I have to say how much I loved the new MF trains. They totally make the ride more barable. For the first time on any wood coaster I didn't feel the need to grab onto the handle bar for dear life lol. But no, actually for the first time on any wood coaster I kept my arms up in the air as I normally would do on the steel coasters and it felt 'safe' [big part thanks to the foot 'anchors' at the bottom]. Both sides were about the same, but Tiger is still rougher. On different days I got different 'luck'. One day I was able to get both front and back rows on both coasters, most of the time I settled with the back or somewhere in the middle. Another time [mainly this year] I got a reride, so that was fantastic.

So the new trains made it tollerable, but overall, not something worth waiting more than 30 min for. And I generally would avoid Gwazi if one side was out of order. Not just because it'll mean one side gets all the crowds, but I usally like to ride each side an equal amount of times for the 'whole experience'. It's similar, but not the same, imo.

Around this time I would walk over to Montu [this is where the years are split].

2011- Montu got b/w 5 and 10 rides and at least 1 reride. Most of the time it's a walk on or a max wait of 2-3 trains. I almost always head for the last row unless it was crowded and would then walk up to the middle rows [which ever had the least amount of riders]. I still love Montu the most. Of all the coasters I've rode on to this point, this is still practically the top of my fav steel coaster list. Force is just amazing. My main nitpick is the trim just before heading into the batwing. I know it's to keep maintenance costs down and make the ride barable for the GP, but to me it kills the momentum slightly. Thankfully, the overall ride is still very good and enough to make me get over that trim. The final inversion always gets some people. I've ridden it god knows how many times now and at least some people will still scream or give a yell there. Heh, first timers...

And generally that would be the end of my day around 5-6pm.

*special note, I only rode Rhino Rally last year and was very disappointed in how neutered it's become. The raft segment was what made it great, but now... it's a knockoff of Disney's AK safari only much smaller.
=
2012 - I decided to stay at the park later and got the wristband for the meal plan. After a long mid day, a big lunch is a must. I was just so hungry and thirsty and needed a little break. After lunch I took it easy by going thru some of the animal exhibits throughout the park to walk off the food and to take some pictures. [split into days 1 and 2]

Day 1: My idea of taking it easy was to head over to the Timbuktu area for a ride on Scorpion and Pheonix. [obviously an hour after I finished my last bite, don't need any protein spills here].

With my strength back at full, I head over to Montu to get a single last row ride. It was pretty crowded, so I didn't go for another ride [shocking, why would I leave after 1 ride? - this'll be adressed later]

I walk over to the train station to the Congo stop and got a few more rides on Kumba. I then made a stop at the play area of the Jungala area just to try out some of the stuff there like the rope bridge and the flyer. Ah to act out my inner kid...

Dinner and then after another break, I walked over to Cheetah Hunt for a ride and then walked over to Montu. Since this was June, the park was opened till 9pm and I couldn't pass up my first chance at a night time ride on my favorite coaster. I will admit, it was just an amazing experience seeing the sun setting in the distance and eventually near darkness. I just made it on the last run of the day and loved every minute of it.

Afterwards there was the fireworks show at Gwazi park, so the lines on the rides were emptier by the time I finished my last ride.

*During the day a woman gave me an approval for my Dueling Dragons t-shirt. She mentioned her husband has one, but was faded away compared to mine which was in much better shape. We had a lively discussion about how the ride is now neutered since the Harry Potter retheme.
-
Day 2: Headed to Montu for 7 rides, mostly back and middle row rides. One of those times a group was nice enough to let me skip them because they wanted to be on the same train.
A few flat rides later in Timbuktu including a 2 complete revolution flip on Phoenix and 1 ride on Scorpion, I would stop for dinner and then make my way back to Montu.

This time I finally decided to go for the front row. This is probably the first front row ride I ever took on Montu and damn was it worth it. I get off and end up just stuck behind a slow family. They take their slow walking pace and cost me a shot at another front row ride. The ride attendant just closed off the front row line just as I get past the turnstile. I was pissed. But the only silver lining of it was I got another 3 rides.

So the end of the day and the park was playing some Gwen Stefani song, which was sort of appropriate for the day I had.

2012, was one of my best years at the park.
=
[0]2012 I finally get my first front row seat on Cheetah Hunt and it was a thrill. However, on my next ride, I refused to sit next to the person in front of me because I saw she was with her husband and child. Me being the 'cameraphobe', I didn't want to get on in case they wanted a group picture. This irked some riders behind me asking why I didn't want to get on. A single rider stepped forward to join me and I explained why I left the seat unoccupied and she understood. It worked out a little better as she seemed to enjoy the ride as much as I did [no over the top screaming].

[1]2012 for some reason they blocked off the walkway from the skyride to Congo. This meant a long detour thru the Jungala area. From above they only had faux walls and it didn't seem like they were doing any construction, probably just to get skyriders to walk thru Jungala since it has more shops than Congo does.
=

For the bad - day 3s in both years I didn't get rides on Cheetah Hunt and Gwazi mainly because the lines were too long or one side didn't work.

2011 - started off about the same as the other 2 days: Kumba, Sheikra and then Montu.

2012 - I broke my rule about avoiding Montu in the morning and to my surprise I find the place fairly empty and got 2 front row rides. Imo, much better than riding Cheetah Hunt in the front row. Still headed for Kumba [where I got a reride during my 5 rides there] and then Sheikra. Gwazi had a nearly 1 hour wait for both sides. With the heat and my lack of interest in Gwazi, I didn't even bother to wait for it.
While heading for lunch, I saw a train on Cheetah Hunt roll back at the 3rd launch. Must've been pretty serious since they had a loudspeaker telling the riders to stay on till the technicians can reach them. I am glad I wasn't there. The line was long on CH already, I can't imagine how much angrier the people were going to be with that problem.
Spent most of the day just walking thru from one animal exhibit to another and catching an animal show. Basically it was my least active day at the park after an intensive 2 days earlier in the week.

Sorry, I was hoping to have the 2012 pics up, but I don't think I'll have the time yet. So only the 2011 pics will be in the slideshow. I will edit this post to include some of the other pics from the park as well.

Re: TR: BGT Aug 2011 and June 2012 [long post] by frontrow frontrow Profile at 7/27/12 7:56:38 AM
Great TRs. I love Busch Gardens Tampa. That park and Islands Of Adventure are my favorite parks in Florida. My last visit was in 2001, so I haven't ridden Sheikra or Cheetah Hunt. I would love to get back to Florida, but the price of admission to the parks is so expensive. Your slide slow is incredible; it looks like it was professionally done. Did you visit any other parks while you were in Florida?
Re: TR: BGT Aug 2011 and June 2012 [long post] by drachen drachen Profile at 7/27/12 9:01:16 AM
I like how you compared the park between the last two years. That's an interesting take.

I agree that Sheikra is the third best in the park, even though I loved it.

Montu is spectacular as well, but for me the real gem at BGT is Kumba. I had high expectations for it, and it blew them away. It's non-stop action from start to finish. For me, it's the perfect looper.

I've heard similar things about Cheetah Hunt. It was meant to be a family ride. It sounds like that's pretty much what it is - not unlike Verbolten.

The one thing I think that BGT lacks is that 200 foot mega-coaster, which at one point, everyone thought would be B&M. Not anymore. A 200 foot out and back would complete this park's collection, much like how I feel Busch Gardens Williamsburg has a complete collection.

drachen
Coaster to Park Ratio: 4.87 / Steel to Wooden Ratio: 2.57 / Wooden Coaster Percentage: 28%
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Re: TR: BGT Aug 2011 and June 2012 [long post] by Cyclone_Phil Cyclone_Phil Profile at 7/27/12 10:40:12 AM
frontrow said:

Great TRs. I love Busch Gardens Tampa. That park and Islands Of Adventure are my favorite parks in Florida. My last visit was in 2001, so I haven't ridden Sheikra or Cheetah Hunt. I would love to get back to Florida, but the price of admission to the parks is so expensive. Your slide slow is incredible; it looks like it was professionally done. Did you visit any other parks while you were in Florida?

Yeah, the price is really steep, thus it works better if you can get a multi-day ticket. These past 2 years I focused on just BGT and SWO since I bought a 2 yr annual pass. Past years I had a 2 week pass to Universal-IOA. Thanks! Glad you liked the pics. Most of them were with a point and shoot cam, but the sunset shot of Montu was with a DSLR cam I kept in the car. I will try to get the SWO tr posted soon.

Re: TR: BGT Aug 2011 and June 2012 [long post] by Cyclone_Phil Cyclone_Phil Profile at 7/27/12 10:47:16 AM
drachen said:

I like how you compared the park between the last two years. That's an interesting take.


I agree that Sheikra is the third best in the park, even though I loved it.

Montu is spectacular as well, but for me the real gem at BGT is Kumba. I had high expectations for it, and it blew them away. It's non-stop action from start to finish. For me, it's the perfect looper.

I've heard similar things about Cheetah Hunt. It was meant to be a family ride. It sounds like that's pretty much what it is - not unlike Verbolten.

The one thing I think that BGT lacks is that 200 foot mega-coaster, which at one point, everyone thought would be B&M. Not anymore. A 200 foot out and back would complete this park's collection, much like how I feel Busch Gardens Williamsburg has a complete collection.


Thanks! Yeah, I was hoping to get this posted last year with the pics, but I kept getting sidetracked for so long.
Well, we will have different opinions of which is the best, but I love Kumba a lot, just Montu edges it out slightly because it's inverted and I loved the 2nd part of the ride after the MCB.

I totally agree about CH, I kept expectations low about it, but thought it was a nice ride. I really love how much it is a draw for most people, thus making the other rides less crowded :)
Yeah, I would've preferred a mega/hyper coaster there. I dunno if they can find room in the park for it now unless it works in a compact space based on what I've seen from the satellite view of the park.

Re: TR: BGT Aug 2011 and June 2012 [long post] by RobLec RobLec Profile at 7/27/12 10:59:28 AM
Hey Phil - we're in Tampa right now (actually St Pete Beach area) for two weeks, bought season passes for BGT and hoping to make two trips to the park. I dunno, we got a lot on our plate this time, family and such. Will be our first time on CH. Our last visit was in 2008. IIRC you live in Fla, don't you? Jacksonville? (though I could be thinking of someone else). Very nice slide show, hope to read your TR soon as we just got in last night.
Re: TR: BGT Aug 2011 and June 2012 [long post] by Cyclone_Phil Cyclone_Phil Profile at 7/27/12 11:10:42 AM
RobLec said:

Hey Phil - we're in Tampa right now (actually St Pete Beach area) for two weeks, bought season passes for BGT and hoping to make two trips to the park. I dunno, we got a lot on our plate this time, family and such. Will be our first time on CH. Our last visit was in 2008. IIRC you live in Fla, don't you? Jacksonville? (though I could be thinking of someone else). Very nice slide show, hope to read your TR soon as we just got in last night.

Actually I don't live in Florida, but it may as well be my 2nd home as I'm usually there every year for vacation, lol. Heh, how about that for perfect timing? I hope my order of rides helps you out to get the most out of your trips there. As long as you can get 2 rides on CH and then take the skyride (or train) to Kumba, you shouldn't have as many line waits as almost everyone is going to make their way to the back slowly.

Thanks!

Re: TR: BGT Aug 2011 and June 2012 [long post] by Cyclone_Phil Cyclone_Phil Profile at 7/28/12 6:19:37 PM
Animal pics
Re: TR: BGT Aug 2011 and June 2012 [long post] by frontrow frontrow Profile at 7/28/12 7:42:20 PM
Nice slide show. When we where there in 2001, everything was a walk on. We rode Montu 16 times, Gwazi 5, and Kumba 5. We had plenty of time to view the zoo part of the park and I took a ton of photos. Not only is the zoo impressive, but the animal/ human interaction the park provides makes the experience very memorable. Thanks for sharing.
Re: TR: BGT Aug 2011 and June 2012 [long post] by Cyclone_Phil Cyclone_Phil Profile at 7/28/12 8:42:09 PM
No problem! Glad you enjoyed!
Btw by Gwazi, you mean both sides each or total from both sides? Cool about the 15 rides on Montu!

* This post was modified at 7/28/12 8:43:25 PM *

Re: TR: BGT Aug 2011 and June 2012 [long post] by Schrecken Schrecken Profile at 7/29/12 1:18:35 AM
I really enjoyed your slide shows! Interesting seeing a nice TR for this park, since the last time I was there was during the Carter administration!
Re: TR: BGT Aug 2011 and June 2012 [long post] by Cyclone_Phil Cyclone_Phil Profile at 7/29/12 1:38:40 AM
Thanks! Wow! Well, I totally recommend a trip there. Even 1 day isn't enough to do everything at that park.