Gwazi

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Gwazi
Gwazi (Busch Gardens Africa) 02.jpg
A view of Gwazi's entrance and the Lion lift hill.
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Park section Morocco
Coordinates 28°02′02″N 82°25′23″W / 28.03389°N 82.42306°W / 28.03389; -82.42306Coordinates: 28°02′02″N 82°25′23″W / 28.03389°N 82.42306°W / 28.03389; -82.42306
Status Closed
Opening date June 18, 1999
Closing date February 1, 2015
Cost $10,000,000 USD
General Statistics
Type Wood – Dueling
Manufacturer Great Coasters International
Track layout Wood
Lift/launch system Chain Lift
Tiger (Blue) Lion (Yellow)
Height 105.4 ft (32.1 m) 105.4 ft (32.1 m)
Drop 91.8 ft (28.0 m) 91.8 ft (28.0 m)
Length 3,508 ft (1,069.2 m) 3,508 ft (1,069.2 m)
Speed 51 mph (82.1 km/h) 51 mph (82.1 km/h)
Inversions 0 0
Duration 2:30 2:30
Max vertical angle 50° 50°
G-force 3.5 3.5
Capacity 2880 riders per hour
Height restriction 48 in (122 cm)
Trains 4 trains with 12 cars. Riders are arranged 2 across in a single row for a total of 24 riders per train.
Quick Queue available
Gwazi at RCDB
Pictures of Gwazi at RCDB

Gwazi was a dueling wooden roller coaster located at Busch Gardens Tampa in Tampa, Florida.[1] The name Gwazi originates from a fabled creature with the head of a tiger and the body of a lion. Accordingly, the two sides are named "Lion" and "Tiger".[2] Often, the two tracks are called "yellow" and "blue", (yellow being the primary color of the Lion trains and blue being the primary color of the Tiger trains).[1] It included almost 7,016 feet of combined track and reached speeds of 51 miles per hour.[3] Both tracks have similar but nonidentical track layouts.[4]

History[edit]

Construction on Gwazi began sometime after the closure of the Busch Brewery which closed in 1995.[5] Gwazi opened soon after on June 18, 1999 as Florida's first dueling wooden roller coaster constructed by Great Coasters International (GCI) and operated with Philadelphia Toboggan Company's (PTC) trains starting with six of them.[6] At the time, the Dueling Dragons inverted coasters (currently known as Dragon Challenge), at Universal Studios' Islands of Adventure, and Gwazi, at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, were the only dueling coasters in Florida just opening a month apart.[7]

A view of Gwazi from the Skyride. Only the Lion side is operating in this photo.

Due to the Philadelphia Toboggan Company (PTC) designed trains and other aspects, which have been known to deliver considerably rough rides on Great Coasters International (GCI) designed wooden coasters, Gwazi was well known for giving rough ride experiences to park visitors which was a constant problem plaguing the ride since the park first opened Gwazi.[8] At the beginning of the 2010 season, Gwazi was spotted with what appeared to be Millennium Flyer trains on the track, with water dummies on board.[9] In 2011, the rides original "old" Philadelphia Toboggan Company's (PTC) trains were subsequently (yet rapidly and discretely) removed and replaced with Great Coasters International's (GCI) Millennium Flyer trains in efforts to try and improve what little smoothness Gwazi had, and to try and fix the ride from its notorious roughness.[2][10][11]

At the end of the summer season during 2012, the Tiger side of Gwazi closed due to budget constraints.[12] Soon after the closing of the Tiger side, a bridge was built across the Tiger sides loading platform,[2] and one of the Tiger's trains was relocated onto the Lion sides track.[1] Later, Busch Gardens confirmed that Gwazi would officially close on February 1, 2015[13] due to low ride attendance and guest feedback.[11] After 15 years of operation, the attraction's last train was dispatched around 6:00 PM (EST) and Gwazi closed permanently February 1, 2015.[1][14] Busch Gardens still has yet to confirm on what (if any) will go in the place of Gwazi, and as of its current closure, the wooden roller coaster remains closed with the slightest possible announcement of what's to come for the ride's future only being rumors.[15]

Incidents[edit]

In 2006, a 52-year-old Palm Springs, Florida resident collapsed and died hours after riding Gwazi. It was determined that the ride (which was functioning properly) had aggravated an existing condition of high blood pressure.[16][17]

Records[edit]

Gwazi holds the record for most fly-bys on a dueling roller coaster, with six.[18][19] A fly-by is where the two roller coasters pass each other in opposite directions at high speeds, giving the psychological impression that the two will collide.[1] At the time, Gwazi was the largest and fastest double wooden roller coaster in the Southeastern United States.[20]

Awards[edit]

Gwazi has received numerous placements from Amusement Today's Golden Ticket Awards and Mitch Hawkers Best Roller Coaster Poll being in the top 50 wooden roller coasters from both lists.

Golden Ticket Awards: Top wood Roller Coasters
Year 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Ranking [21] [22] [23] 34 (tie)[24] 44 (tie)[25] 38[26] 43 (tie)[27] 46[28] 40 (tie)[29] [30] [31] 46[32] [33] [34] [35] [36]


Mitch Hawker's Best Roller Coaster Poll: Best Wooden-Tracked Roller Coaster[37]
Year 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Tiger (Blue)
30
33
37
40
44
50
51
64
77
88
116
105
87
96[38]
121[39]
N/A
Lion (Yellow)
32
42
41
41
50
51
53
71
79
89
118
103
98
101[38]
132[39]
N/A

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Busch Gardens' Gwazi roller coaster's final run Sunday (w/video)". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 2015-09-15. 
  2. ^ a b c "Gwazi - Busch Gardens Tampa (Tampa, Florida, USA)". rcdb.com. Retrieved 2015-09-15. 
  3. ^ "The end of Gwazi: A look at notable wooden coasters around the U.S.". OrlandoSentinel.com. Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 2016-05-01. 
  4. ^ "Great Coasters International | Gwazi". www.greatcoasters.com. Retrieved 2015-09-15. 
  5. ^ "Busch Gardens History". www.tampapix.com. Retrieved 2015-09-15. 
  6. ^ Waddington, Bob. "Gwazi at Busch Gardens Tampa – 1999-2015 – The Last Ride | Pixels At The Parks". Retrieved 2016-06-02. 
  7. ^ "Last day to ride Gwazi roller coaster at Busch Gardens? Feb. 1 - Tampa". Tampa. Retrieved 2016-05-15. 
  8. ^ Waddington, Bob. "Gwazi at Busch Gardens Tampa – 1999-2015 – The Last Ride | Pixels At The Parks". Retrieved 2016-06-02. 
  9. ^ "Busch Gardens Tampa Bay invited thrill seekers to try out the new, faster Gwazi roller coaster trains". Inside the Magic. 2011-01-13. Retrieved 2016-06-02. 
  10. ^ Sehlinger, Bob (2013-08-20). The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2014. Unofficial Guides. p. 103. ISBN 1628090006. 
  11. ^ a b "Busch Gardens to close Gwazi wooden roller coaster". TBO.com. Retrieved 2016-06-02. 
  12. ^ "Gwazi to Close? Busch Gardens Rumours are Developing!". www.totalorlando.com. Retrieved 2016-05-01. 
  13. ^ "Gwazi officially closes Feb. 1 at Busch Gardens". TBO.com. Retrieved 2016-06-02. 
  14. ^ "Last ride ever on Gwazi Rollercoaster: Busch Gardens Tampa". Tampa. 2015-01-28. Retrieved 2016-06-02. 
  15. ^ Lambert, Marjie (January 29, 2015). "Last ride for Busch Gardens' wooden roller coaster". Miami Herald. Retrieved 2016-06-28. 
  16. ^ "Hillsborough: Man dies after roller coaster ride". www.sptimes.com. Retrieved 2015-09-15. 
  17. ^ "Behind the Thrills | Busch Gardens Tampa confirms Gwazi to close soon". behindthethrills.com. Retrieved 2015-09-21. 
  18. ^ "Busch Gardens Tampa's Gwazi to Close February 1". Coaster101. Retrieved 2015-09-15. 
  19. ^ "Gwazi PERMANENTLY CLOSED Review | Busch Gardens Tampa". Total Orlando. Retrieved 2016-05-15. 
  20. ^ III, Harvey H. Jackson (2014-02-01). The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture: Volume 16: Sports and Recreation. UNC Press Books. ISBN 9781469616766. 
  21. ^ "Top 25 wood roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 6B. August 1999. Retrieved June 12, 2016. 
  22. ^ "Top 25 wood roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. August 2000. Retrieved June 12, 2016. 
  23. ^ "Top 25 wood roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 6B. August 2001. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013. Retrieved June 12, 2016. 
  24. ^ "Top 25 wood roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 6B. September 2002. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013. Retrieved June 12, 2016. 
  25. ^ "Top 50 wood roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 10–11B. September 2003. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013. Retrieved June 12, 2016. 
  26. ^ "Top 50 wood roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 14–15B. September 2004. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 3, 2007. Retrieved June 12, 2016. 
  27. ^ "Top 50 wood roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 22–23B. September 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013. Retrieved June 12, 2016. 
  28. ^ "Top 50 wood roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today: 30–31B. September 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013. Retrieved June 12, 2016. 
  29. ^ "Top 50 wood roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 11 (6.2): 42–43. September 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013. Retrieved June 12, 2016. 
  30. ^ "Top 50 wood roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 12 (6.2): 42–43. September 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013. Retrieved June 12, 2016. 
  31. ^ "Top 50 wood roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 13 (6.2): 38–39. September 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013. Retrieved June 12, 2016. 
  32. ^ "Top 50 wood roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 14 (6.2): 38–39. September 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013. Retrieved June 12, 2016. 
  33. ^ "Top 50 wood roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 15 (6.2): 46–47. September 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013. Retrieved June 12, 2016. 
  34. ^ "Top 50 wood roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 16 (6.2): 46–47. September 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 2, 2015. Retrieved June 12, 2016. 
  35. ^ "2013 Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 17 (6.2): 40–41. September 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013. Retrieved June 12, 2016. 
  36. ^ "2014 Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 18 (6.2): 38–39. September 2014. Retrieved June 12, 2016. 
  37. ^ Hawker, Mitch. "Best Wooden Roller Coaster Poll 18 year results table". Best Roller Coaster Poll. Retrieved 2016-06-12. 
  38. ^ a b Hawker, Mitch. "Detailed Wooden Roller Coaster Poll Results 2012". Best Roller Coaster Poll. Retrieved 2015-09-15. 
  39. ^ a b Hawker, Mitch. "Detailed Wooden Roller Coaster Poll Results 2013". Best Roller Coaster Poll. Retrieved 2015-09-15.