Gwazi (Busch Gardens Tampa)

Roller coaster
Watch the on-ride POV
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
Lion Tiger
Height 105.4 feet 105.4 feet
Drop 91.8 feet 91.8 feet
Speed 51 mph 51 mph
Length 3508 feet 3508 feet
Inversions 0 0
Duration 2:30 2:30
G-force 3.5 g 3.5 g
Rolling stock
Manufacturer Great Coasters International (2011-2015)
Philadelphia Toboggan Company (1999-2010)

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 weeks after Florida's other twin roller coaster, Dueling Dragons opened at Universal's Islands of Adventure. The ride was one of three twin GCIs, the other two being Lightning Racer at Hersheypark and Joris en de Draak at Efteling.


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 in 2011.[2]

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.

In December 2014, Busch Gardens Tampa announced Gwazi's closure.[3] The ride closed on February 1, 2015 due to low ride attendance, high operating costs, and negative guest feedback.[4]

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 second thrill ride was planned for 2020 in the area with Gwazi.[5] 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.[6]



4 trains with 12 cars per train. Riders are arranged 2 across in a single row for a total of 24 riders per train.


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



  1. Busch Gardens Tampa to Unveil Gwazi to the Media - Ultimate Rollercoaster
  2. "Gwazi to reopen with Millennium Flyer trains". Coaster101. January 13, 2011. Retrieved January 19, 2022.
  3. "Goodbye, Gwazi! Busch Gardens to close dueling wooden roller coaster".
  4. "Busch Gardens Tampa To Close Gwazi Coaster In February".
  5. "Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Announces New Multi-Launch Thrill Coaster "Tigris"". PR Newswire.
  6. "Gwazi Construction Update 1-31-2019 - Touring Central Florida".

External links

  • Gwazi on the Roller Coaster DataBase.

Articles on Busch Gardens Tampa