TAMPA, Fla. – Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is getting ready to debut a new record-breaking coaster.
- Iron Gwazi to debut this spring at Busch Gardens
- The coaster will be the fastest, steepest hybrid coaster in the world
- Construction on the coaster is progressing nicely
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At 206 feet tall, Iron Gwazi will be the tallest hybrid coaster in North America. And it will also be the fastest and steepest hybrid coaster in the world.
Busch Gardens on Thursday invited us to take a tour behind the construction walls of Iron Gwazi to see how the coaster is progressing.
One of the first things you’ll notice as soon as you walk through the Iron Gwazi queue is the theme, which takes its inspiration from a crocodile. The wall near the locker area as well as other areas throughout the queue feature patterns that look similar to crocodiles scales. The walls are also the same colors as the ride vehicle—green, purple and turquoise.
Along the queue, visitors will find thatched covering that will provide shade from the hot Florida sun.
At different points in the queue, visitors will be able to see the lift hill, which will take riders to the tallest point of the coaster before sending them down a 91-degree drop at 76 mph.
In addition to thrilling speeds, the coaster will also have three inversions and 12 airtime moments. There are also barrel rolls and a “Superman-type” moment as well.
“It’s a very dynamic, very fast attraction,” said Andrew Schaffer, Busch Gardens’ director of design and engineering. “It’s going to be really fun. There’s a lot of different elements that you’ll go through that’s probably going to look pretty scary.”
But kids need not fear. Busch Gardens says Iron Gwazi will be fun for the whole family. The ride will have a height requirement of 48 inches.
Iron Gwazi is being built on the same site of its predecessor Gwazi. And elements from the old ride, including parts of the wood framing and the foundation, are being incorporated into the new attraction.
But make no mistake, Iron Gwazi is a very different attraction.
“It’s a very smooth attraction compared to the original Gwazi,” Schaffer said. “It’s very different from anything we have here in the park.”
Iron Gwazi isn’t the only attraction Busch Gardens plans to debut this spring. Over at Adventure Island, its water park, work is currently underway on Solar Vortex.
The water slide has two dual-tail spin features, the only water slide in America that has them. It also has what’s called “aqualucent” sections that act like LED effects. The aqualucent panels are dark inside the tubes but allow sunlight to come through to create colorful patterns that rides will see while sliding through the tubes.
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