Busch Gardens Tampa Bay kicked off its 60th Anniversary Celebration on March 1 with a special event featuring a concert and fireworks – but what many were most excited for was the big announcement for the 2020 attraction. Touring Central Florida has been covering this project for months, including construction updates from inside the park, and sharing the latest news on what the project may entail through our social media channels.
At a media event held as part of the celebration, the latest details were released by the park including a video touting some of the park’s milestones over the past 60 years before teasing what’s happening with Gwazi for 2020.
Following the announcement at the media event, park president Stewart Clark also took to the stage in Gwazi Park before the Florida Orchestra concert where he shared the news with park guests. A yellow height balloon was raised above the Gwazi site to show the approximate height the new roller coaster will be.
The video and announcement from the park confirm three records will be made with the new coaster – it will be the tallest hybrid roller coaster in North America, the fastest hybrid roller coaster in the world, and will feature the steepest drop on a hybrid roller coaster in the world. Two world records and one continental record are nothing to sneeze at.
Only one stat has been released by the park so far – the new coaster will be over 200 feet, although exactly how tall it will end up is not known.
The announcement was the first time the park has publicly confirmed that Rocky Mountain Construction is the company building the new roller coaster. However, there has been no doubt in the enthusiast community since late December when the permit for the project was updated to show RMC as the contractor. Since then, multiple workers who have been doing demolition work on Gwazi could be seen wearing RMC apparel.
Beyond the record breaking claims the park announced, there were no specific details given on the coaster’s actual height or length. In order for it to be the tallest hybrid roller coaster in North America, it will have to come in over 205 feet, which is the record currently held by Steel Vengeance at Cedar Point. The main drop will also have to be greater than 90 degrees (beyond vertical) and speeds will have to be 75 mph or higher to claim those two records as well.
The park did not release a name or overall theme for the new coaster. We do know it won’t be called Twisted Tiger or Uproar as some in the enthusiast community have theorized. As Touring Central Florida first reported back in April 2018, those two names along with Tigris were filed for trademark protection to be used for #BGTProject2019, the Premier Sky Rocket II model roller coaster set to open this spring.
More recently, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment (the parent company of Busch Gardens Tampa) has abandoned the filings for both Twisted Tiger and Uproar, meaning they are no longer pursuing the use or trademark protection of those names.
It’s important not to over-analyze the renderings used in the video and concept art released by the park. Concept art is just that – a creative representation of what the final product might look like. Exact elements, color schemes, etc. may not end up in the final product. In the meantime however, it’s certainly fun to theorize what might be in store for Gwazi’s replacement when it opens at Busch Gardens Tampa in 2020.
Join in the conversation online using #2020Rising and #BGTProject2020. For the latest on Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and other theme parks, attractions and more across the region, be sure to follow Touring Central Florida on twitter @TourCentralFL, @androckb, @Emmet_TCF, @JacobTouringCe1, and give our facebook page a like.