Farewell, Gwazi! Busch Gardens Tampa had confirmed plans to close dueling wooden roller coaster in December 2014. Sunday, February 1, Gwazi made it’s final run. In 1999, Gwazi, was the first dueling wooden coaster in Florida, toping a speed of 50 mph. It is also the largest of it’s kind in the Southeast. Since 1999, an estimated 1 million people per year have ridden Gwazi, which was built with 1 million feet of lumber, almost 1.3 miles of track. Gwazi was Great Coasters’ first twin-track coaster, with the two trains dueling for the entire ride. Designed specifically for the two trains to head straight at each other several times. Many have complained about how rough the wood coasters turns could be.
Busch Garden’s vice president of park services, Mark Rose, who also is an engineer who spent three years designing Gwazi. Mark Rose said the wooden coaster created a trifecta of trademark roller coasters at Busch Gardens, following the openings of Kumba built in 1993 and Montu built in 1996. Busch Garden’s visitors came out Super Bowl Sunday to celebrate the coasters last day, some wearing shirt saying “Save Gwazi”. Mark Rose was the first person to ride Gwazi and on Sunday he was also the last person to ride the coaster as well.
There are still great coasters to enjoy at Busch Gardens Tampa, our office poll ranked Falcons Fury®, Montu®, and SheiKra® as the best coasters ever followed by Cheetah Hunt® and the often forgotten Kumba®
Falcons Fury®, is the tallest freestanding drop tower in North America, standing at 335 feet. As you climb to the top you experience a 90 degree turn and once at the top Riders pivot 90 degrees in midair to a face-down dive position. An instant later they’ll plunge 60 mph straight down- Busch Gardens Tampa
SheiKra®, a floorless dive coster climbs 200 feet to the edge of a 90-degree drop that inches you mercilessly over the edge—and stops. Dive straight down into a 70 mph coaster whirlwind with an Immelmann loop, a second dive into an underground tunnel and a splashdown finale that drenches SheiKra fans- Busch Gardens Tampa
Montu®, a B&M Inverted roller coaster named for an Egyptian god of war. Impress your friends with these Montu® factoids: Montu has seven inversions, an unique Batwing inversion and pulls an intense 3.85 Gs. It was the first coaster in the world to incorporate Immelmann loop (a simultaneous loop and roll), named for a German fighter pilot. – Busch Gardens Tampa
Kumba® Roar into action on a roller coaster that coaster enthusiasts have consistently voted one of the world’s best. Catch the thrill of an initial 135 foot drop, you will plunge into a diving loop, feel a full 3 seconds of absolute weightlessness while spiraling 360 degrees, and tear through one of the world’s largest vertical loops. Impress your friends with this fun fact about the inspiration behind Kumba’s name: It is said that if you can hear the roar of a lion in the distance, you have crossed into his territory. The natives call this roar the Kumba. And you’ll feel his breath on the back of your neck from the moment you step aboard the mighty coaster that earned his name. – Busch Gardens Tampa
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