It’s been nearly two years since Busch Gardens Tampa Bay has opened a new attraction – the last being Cobra’s Curse in June of 2016. Next year, 2019, will be the park’s 60th anniversary. The rumors of some sort of attraction coming to the park in 2019 just got a boost – the recent filing of three trademark applications by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment (SEAS). All three were filed at the same time, and revolve around tigers: Twisted Tiger, Uproar, and Tigris.
With these filings, there’s no guarantee that any of the three names will be used at all, or any indication at what park (or parks) they might be for. But given that Busch Gardens Tampa is the only park in the chain with tigers and tiger theming, it seems likely the names are intended for use there.
Also worth noting is past filings for new attractions at Busch Gardens Tampa have seen multiple names applied for, with one being used and the others being dropped at a later date. That includes Cobra’s Curse, Strikewinder, and Reptitan filed for the 2016 addition, and Falcon’s Fury and Desert Dive for the 2014 attraction.
Rumors of a 2019 attraction have been gaining steam lately. While nothing is official, sources have been pointing towards Project 2019 being located on the plot where Tanganyika Tidal Wave sits, which closed nearly two years ago on April 10, 2016. Except for the removal of the exit bridge and some work right around that area, the majority of Tidal Wave has remained standing.
Since Jungala and the tiger habitat are just around the corner, a tiger themed and named attraction on that plot seems plausible. It would be fairly easy to incorporate that section of land into Jungala with a quick change on future park maps, which would require updating with a new attraction anyway.
If the Tidal Wave area is slated for a Project 2019 attraction, the leading rumor of what it will be is a clone of Tempesto (at Busch Gardens Williamsburg) and Electric Eel (set to open soon at SeaWorld San Diego). The roller coaster is a Sky Rocket II model from Premier Rides, stands 150 feet tall, and fits within a fairly small footprint. SEAS is rumored to have entered a deal to purchase at least three of the Sky Rocket II coasters from Premier. (Tempesto picture courtesy Evan Douglas.)
It’s no secret that SEAS continues to struggle financially, along with a decline in attendance overall across the chain. A clone of a roller coaster would have less costs involved in the design stage, and it’s likely some savings would be seen since the company has already purchased two of the same model for their parks. While the coaster won’t be the tallest or fastest at Busch Gardens, and some enthusiasts may pan the addition, it would give the park a much needed new attraction to promote for the 2019 season.
At this point, it’s also worth pointing out another standing but not operating attraction at the park – Gwazi. Ever since the announced closing back on February 1, 2015, the rumor that Gwazi might receive the RMC treatment has continued to pop up online. Given one of the names in the recent trademark filing includes “Twisted” and Gwazi had both a Lion and a Tiger side, some fans will take this development as confirmation that the wooden roller coaster will be getting a makeover. At this point, however, it’s incredibly unlikely the company would invest the amount of money required to rehabilitate Gwazi. For the past two years, all reputable sources from within the company have shared that Gwazi will at some point be torn down, and there have been no serious talks about bringing back Gwazi in any form for quite some time.
Of course, beyond the trademark filings existing, everything is just rumor and speculation at this point. Assuming Busch Gardens Tampa is getting a new large-scale attraction next year, it’s likely we’ll start seeing permits and site work soon for Project 2019, whatever it may end up being.
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