Busch Gardens Tampa invited us to a behind-the-scenes hard hat tour of their newest coaster that is currently under construction, Cobra’s Curse.
We have to applaud Busch Gardens for adding a bit of a backstory to the ride, which is basically as follows:
Around 2,000 years ago, in Ancient Egypt, there was a Snake God that had a following and they erected a giant icon depicting their god. Eventually the Snake God’s followers turned on him and cut the head off the icon and buried it to take away his power. Fast-forward to the present, where an archaeological dig finds the temple of the Snake God and the icon with the missing head, which is where the mystery starts.
Cobra’s Curse will feature a new take on the family spin coaster, and will be the first of this new type of coaster anywhere in the world. There will be several elements unique to the ride, including a 70-foot vertical lift, as well as the spinning element itself. Each 2 car train will carry up to 8 passengers. At various points during the ride you’ll be facing forwards, rotated to be facing backwards and of course some free-spinning as well. Every ride will be different due to the weight distribution of riders.
The top speed of the coaster will be 40 MPH and the ride will go both over and under the train ride that runs through the park. Minimum height requirement for riding alone will be 48 inches, and to ride with a parent/guardian, it will be 42 inches. The ride duration will be a lengthy three and a half minutes.
The queue for the ride will utilize the former Tut’s Tomb show building and will be air-conditioned (a must when it comes to Florida’s super hot and humid summers). The pre-show chambers will use a variety of effects, including sound effects and projection mapping, to tell the story of the Snake God and what went down 2,000 years ago.
Another unique element to this attraction will be a moving walkway for the load/unload platform, which will allow for just over 1,000 riders per hour. There can be up to 8 trains on the track at a time.
Also in the ride queue will be a brand new live snake exhibit, which will feature four different species of exotic snakes:
Jameson’s Mamba (Dendroaspis jamesoni) – Jameson’s Mambas have small fangs, slender bodies and great climbing flexibility. When threatened, these snakes have the ability to flatten their necks as a defense mechanism, much like a cobra.
Rhinoceros Viper (Bitis nasicornis) – Rhinoceros Vipers, along with Gaboon Vipers, have some of the fastest strikes, give birth to live young and have fang that can be independently controlled.
Gaboon Viper (Bitis gabonica) – Gaboon vipers are considered the world’s heaviest true viper and are famous for having the longest fangs of up to two inches in length.
Angolan Python (Python anchietae) – Angolan Pythons are unique among pythons because of their bead-like head scales. They also have heat-sensitive pits along their upper jaw that assist with hunting prey.
There will also be educational information on snakes, explaining why they’re important to our ecosystem as well as other facts.
Busch Gardens is also going to be adding details along the walkways around Cobra’s Curse to make it look as though the ride was always meant to be there (considering it’s kind of being shoe-horned in next to the Montu coaster). The closeness to the existing structures in the Egypt area will add to the thrill and excitement of the ride, creating some “near miss” elements.
Track work is expected to be completed sometime in early March, then the detail work can start. Cobra’s Curse will be opening Summer 2016 (an exact opening date has not been given yet, but once Busch Gardens announces it, we’ll be sure to share that information with you).
Are you excited to ride Cobra’s Curse? Looking forward to a substantial new family coaster in Central Florida? Tell us your thoughts below in the comments and thanks for reading!