Just got back from Media Day for Gwazi's new trains. In a word: awesome! The coaster is much improved both in smoothness and re-rideability. (Is that a word?)
Adam and I got to ride front and back seat on Tiger (Blue) and back seat on Lion (yellow). We agreed that Tiger was a bit smoother than Lion, but they were both great. No more jack hammering around turns or lower back compression on the drops. And the trains themselves are truly beautiful with the dark wood running boards and the open sides. All in all a major win for BGT!
We also managed to take a lot of pics of Cheetah Hunt (or as I like to call it TCFKAC....The Coaster Formerly Known as Cheetaka) and got some interesting shots. Also, we counted about 4 open construction gates which enabled us to get pics of.....big piles of dirt! And track too!
Enjoy the pics and video. Not much coaster footage as they don't allow on ride cameras and Gwazi is pretty much hidden from the main paths at BGT.
As John mentioned above, we were given the opportunity to give Gwazi's new Millennium Flyers a try before the general public was able to do so (officially). The ride did soft open for a period of time following the event, but it only ran one side at a time while the final decals were applied on the trains.
The trains reminded me when I enjoyed Gwazi so much at a younger age (it was my first wooden rollercoaster)... While the trains certainly make the ride more smooth, it hasn't taken the edge off of the coaster. It still feels like a wooden rollercoaster, but with these trains, it feels more like the GCIs we've come to enjoy. The trains navigate the track more naturally, and shimmy much less than the PTCs did when attempting to find the right angle for each shift in the twisting track.
Overall, the fact that Busch Gardens Tampa has revitalized a twelve year old coaster, re-tracking much of it in the process, is a true testament to the park's commitment to their quality attractions. It is easy to admit that Gwazi may have become more rough over the years, but with the Millennium Flyers onboard, the ride almost entirely as if it had opened only yesterday, which means they must be doing something right!
This banner, as well as several other advertisements keep guests aware of Gwazi's transformation into its own "new breed of speed."
It's still the Gwazi we've come to know and love.
To start the media event, Vice President of Design & Engineering, Mark Rose gave us background on this project and its twelve year genesis for Busch Gardens Tampa. Watch John's video to get a better idea of what he had to say!
The stories were extremely interesting to hear, especially when it came to the decision to bring Millennium Flyers to Gwazi's tracks.
It was a fascinating start to our session!
Nothing besides the trains and some of the track has been changed, so everything feels more than familiar.
Not for us!
Here you are, beautiful!
And you! You sir, are spectacular!
Mark Rose posed for a photo with Bob Dean, a representative for Great Coasters International, Inc.
Get ready for lots of glamour shots...
It's real! It's really real!
So long, yet so open! No more PTC boxes!
You get some love too sir.
My, how many days we've dreamed of this happening!
Brake shot for you geeks out there!
A look at the new stylized front on Gwazi Tiger!
Never gunna get tired of seeing this!
Side view front.
Side view back.
Media ERT is always a plus!
I don't think I'll ever be this lucky again with Gwazi...
The non-decaled train was doing some test runs as we left the event.
Dang those new trains are looking sexy as hell! They kept the look of the old trains and took it up a notch by getting Millennium Flyers. Yet another reason why BGT is my favorite park ever. Good job BGT! Can't wait to ride these puppies!
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