Gwazi (Busch Gardens Tampa)

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Gwazi (Busch Gardens Tampa) 01.jpg
Busch Gardens Tampa
Location Tampa, Florida, USA
Status Defunct
Operated June 18, 1999 to February 1, 2015
Cost $10,000,000 USD
Replaced by Iron Gwazi
Manufacturer Great Coasters International
Type Wooden - Twin
Hourly capacity 2880[nb 1]
Propulsion Chain lift hill
105.4 feet
105.4 feet
91.8 feet
Top speed
51 mph
51 mph
3508 feet
3508 feet
3.5 g
3.5 g
Gwazi's Logo.png

Gwazi was a twin wooden roller coaster located at Busch Gardens Tampa in Tampa, Florida, USA. The name Gwazi originated from a fabled creature with the head of a tiger and the body of a lion. Accordingly, the two sides were named "Lion" and "Tiger". The roller coaster opened in 1999, a few months after Florida's other twin roller coaster, Dueling Dragons (now Dragon Challenge) opened. The ride was one of 3 twin GCIs, the other 2 being Lightning Racer at Hersheypark and Joris en de Draak at Efteling.

History[edit | edit source]

A media day was held on Wednesday June 16, 1999. The following day, season ticket holders had the opportunity to ride, with Gwazi opening to the public on Friday.[1]

Despite continued maintenance, Gwazi developed a reputation for delivering a rough ride. The Lion side of the ride was retracked in 2009 followed by the Tiger side in 2010. The final component of the overhaul was the installation of four new 12-car GCI designed Millennium Flyer trains to replace the ride’s original rolling stock.

Even with the retracking and new trains, Gwazi remained difficult to maintain and ridership continued to decrease. At the end of the 2012 season, the Tiger side of Gwazi closed. Soon after the closing of the Tiger side, a bridge was built across the Tiger side's loading platform and one of the Tiger's trains was relocated onto the Lion side's track.

Gwazi closed on February 1, 2015, due to low ride attendance, operating costs and guest feedback.

Some of Gwazi's trains were reused on Busch Gardens Williamsburg's 2017 wooden coaster InvadR. However, GCI CEO Clair Hain stated in an interview that the frames were the only part of the trains that were reused. Some of the ride's trains were also later reused on Texas Stingray, a 2020 wooden coaster at SeaWorld San Antonio.

In April 2018, beige markings were sighted on parts of the coaster's support structure, indicating that some sort of demolition work was due to take place soon.

Busch Gardens Tampa later confirmed at the announcement of Tigris on September 12, 2018 that a new thrill ride would take the place of Gwazi in 2020. A construction permit filed in late 2018 confirmed that Rocky Mountain Construction would be manufacturing the ride's replacement, which was later revealed to be an I-Box Track named Iron Gwazi.

In early 2019, track removal finally began from the ride.

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. This is the former capacity with both tracks operating.

References[edit | edit source]

External Links[edit | edit source]

  • RCDB text.png
    Gwazi on the Roller Coaster DataBase.