Welcome back to another “Ranked” article here on Laughing Place. This time we’re taking a road trip to Tampa, FL for a look specifically at the coasters of Busch Gardens. The park currently offers 10 roller coasters, however I have not been on Air Grover, the children’s coaster. Suffice to say, it’s pretty likely it would be in tenth place for me anyway.
The other coaster in the park is the sort of infamous Iron Gwazi. Originally supposed to open in 2020, this re-tracked and upgraded version of the park’s original Gwazi wooden coaster ended up being delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When Busch Gardens reopened in summer 2020, Iron Gwazi wasn’t open, and it didn’t open in 2021 either. The park recently announced that the impressive new hybrid coaster will open in March 2022.
UPDATED 5/30/2022: I have now had the chance to ride Iron Gwazi, and I have placed it into my ranking. Read on to see where it fits into the line-up.
On that note, let’s dive into the countdown!
9. Sand Serpent
Photo from BGTSafari.com
Last place on my list is Sand Serpent, a simple wild mouse coaster that actually came to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay from its sister park in Williamsburg. While a fun ride (identical to Goofy’s Sky School at Disney California Adventure), it’s definitely the most cookie cutter of the bunch.
Scorpion is the park’s oldest roller coaster, opening way back in 1980, but honestly, this thing really holds up. Thanks to the lap bar restraints and smooth track profiling for the time, Scorpion still rides pretty well, offering up a somewhat intense loop. A classic that I’m happy to see stick around for as long as possible.
7. Cobra’s Curse
If this was a countdown of the most unique coasters, then I think Cobra’s Curse would have to top it off. The experience starts out with a pretty impressive queue by Busch Gardens’ standards, that is very reminiscent of Revenge of the Mummy: The Ride at the Universal parks. The ride itself begins with a vertical lift hill that brings you face to face with the giant Cobra statue. You then begin a three part ride, the first part being forwards, the second backwards, and the third spinning. All of that put together makes for a unique, fun and well themed roller coaster.
Opening in 2019, the second newest attraction at Busch Gardens Tampa is Tigris, a really fun and surprisingly forceful launched coaster. Tigris is a shuttle coaster, one that goes backwards and forwards on the same track, allowing it to fit in a smaller footprint than a lot of other coasters. Three launches get you up to speed, two forwards and one backwards, and they provide a pretty forceful start to the ride. Once you get to the tippy top of the coaster, the hang-time and air-time are pretty spectacular. A fun addition to the park’s line-up.
SheiKra is definitely a one trick pony, but the trick that it offers is an incredible one. Taking riders 200 feet in the air before stalling them looking down towards the ground, where you’re about to go over a 90 degree drop is honestly terrifying every single time. The first time I rode this, I was so scared, as I’m sure most people who ride are. The adrenaline does kick in though, and you get ejected down that first drop, before swooping up through an inversion to do it all over again, this time with a smaller drop. The kinetic energy of the splashdown drop at the end of the ride is not only fun while riding, but also for passers by.
Probably the first large scale looping coaster in the state of Florida was the almost 30 year old Kumba. An absolute old-school Bolliger and Mabillard (B&M) coaster that still packs an impressive punch to this day. I would say that Kumba is probably the most intense coaster in the park, as the force of the inversions and helixes is felt in your feet every time. It’s a really picturesque coaster too, as you can see in the photo above. Kumba is the African word for roar, and that is definitely on display here, as you can hear the loud and impressive roar of the coaster even from far away.
3. Iron Gwazi
The placement of Iron Gwazi on this list comes as a surprise to even me. Let me preface by saying that my one and only ride followed a 90 minute wait that was advertised as 15 minutes, and there was a downtime, so to say I was really antsy to get on the ride would be an understatement. I finally got put on the ride and was grouped into the front row, which provides some absolutely incredible views of the park. The thing about this type of coaster though, is that it really gives a more chaotic ride towards the back of the train. So my front row ride wasn’t quite as epic as I had hoped. Hopefully soon I will get the chance to ride it again in the back, and then I’m sure it will make it a little higher on this list.
My favorite of Busch Gardens’ three B&M coasters is Montu, their inverted model. Out of the quite a few installations of this type of ride that I’ve been on, I’d have to say Montu is my favorite. With a lot of the drops and inversions built into Egyptian themed trenches, it provides for a really good, low to the ground thrill. On that note, a lot of the inversions are really whippy, especially if you’re in the back. So you really get pulled into them. Montu is another older coaster (over 25 years old) that still holds up exceptionally well.
1. Cheetah Hunt
Cheetah Hunt is just pure fun and adrenaline, and while not the most intense ride in the park, it’s the one that never fails to put a smile on my face. The ride features three different launches and a meandering layout that goes over the park’s Skyway, zig-zagging through waterfalls and alongside the Serengeti Plains. It’s a long ride that is immensely satisfying. There’s also something about the sound of the launches, which almost sounds like a Cheetah’s roar. Cheetah Hunt is the most fun and my personal favorite coaster at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.
I hope you all enjoyed this ranking of the roller coasters at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. If you want to see some more theme park rankings, feel free to check out some of my other “Ranked” articles listed below:
- The Attractions of SeaWorld San Diego
- The Top 8 Attractions at SeaWorld San Antonio
- The Top 7 Attractions at SeaWorld Orlando (Including Ice Breaker)
- The Top 10 Attractions at Knott’s Berry Farm
- The Top 8 Extinct Attractions at Knott’s Berry Farm
- The Top 15 Roller Coasters I’ve Ridden
- The Top 6 Star Wars Attractions at Disney Parks
- The Top 5 Water Parks