While visiting some family in Florida, I got the opportunity to take a quick trip to Busch Gardens Tampa with my nephew, Anthony, on Easter Sunday. We decided late in the day to take a quick run over to BGT and made the most of it.
First and most importantly, neither the Beast nor I had yet had the opportunity to ride Cheetah Hunt, so this was our first ride on that new coaster. I must say, I was very impressed with the exterior and the theming of the ride. As readers of RATB know, parks like BGT do not typically have as much theming of their rides as do Disney or Universal, but this was an exception and was very nicely done. Also, the loading process was quick and efficient and was something that any park would have been impressed with. The way Cheetah Hunt was set up, two trains were loaded at the same time and then left the loading area as the second waited for the first to take off–while another two trains pulled in to load. So, this ride has a very high throughput in peak operations. But, on to the ride itself. Again, BGT has done a good job of trying to have the ride match the concept, which is you are chasing/running like a cheetah, and some of the slight turns, etc. that are made to feel like a fast cheetah turning as it runs work very well. The speed is also pretty good although not spectacular. OVerall, a nice addition to the park, but still behind Montu (and interestingly enough, probably Kumba as well, as I discuss below) for best coaster in the park as far as I am concerned.
After hitting Cheetah Hunt, we made a quick run to Montu, which was a great ride as always, and then went to SheiKra, which was fine, but I feel that once you have ridden it, you don't enjoy it as much on rerides as you do most coasters. We then rode Kumba, and I was really surprised how much I enjoyed that ride. The speed, drops and other items are all solid and the ride is just much better than I remembered. The Beast and I discussed it and he commented that he feels that it is one of the most underrated coasters out there. We also hit Gwazi (I hadn't ridden it since they had replaced the trains) and the new padding was well done and I really enjoyed that ride as well. So, overall, a quick hitter to hit the coasters was a great evening and I look forward to hitting them with the Beast probably at Howl-o-Scream.
The Beast and I will probably discuss some of this on an upcoming podcast as well. Until then, Join the Journey!