We’re back with a special Busch Gardens Tampa update as we take a ride on the park’s newest roller coaster, Cobra’s Curse!
The long awaited Cobra’s Curse is now open to the public and is a one-of-a-kind take on the family spin coaster. The ride features a unique loading platform that utilizes a moving walkway/speed ramp to make load/unload quicker and more efficient. It also features a vertical/elevator type lift that actually goes in a slight zig-zag motion like a wavering snake as you ascend 70 feet and come face to fang with an 80 foot icon of the Snake King.
But let’s have the video say the rest…
Overall, this is a coaster that’s not intense, but offers a thrilling ride the whole family can enjoy. Riders must be 48 inches to ride, or 42 inches with a parent or guardian.
Cobra’s Curse uses the former Tut’s Tomb walk-through attraction as its queue… and it’s air-conditioned, which is extremely welcome in Florida’s hot and humid summers.
The queue also is home to a brand new snake exhibit, which features several species of the world’s most notorious snakes.
“The snake exhibit at Cobra’s Curse will allow us to combine the best of what Busch Gardens has to offer – animals and thrill rides,” says Jeff Andrews, Vice President, Zoological Operations at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. “This exhibit will give our guests an unforgettable experience while continuing the conversation around conservation and education by highlighting the species and their important role in the wild, which is our top priority.”
Guests will be just inches away from the 400-cubic-foot snake exhibit which will include Jameson’s mambas, Angolan pythons and rhinoceros and gaboon vipers. The design of the multi-level exhibit not only reflects the theme of the ride, but also features several animal husbandry and enrichment components designed with the snakes’ welfare in mind, including naturalistic design elements, controlled heat sources and humidity control.
The pre-show that tells the story of the Snake King, his rise and fall, is told using multi-layered projection mapping, music and special effects. I had the opportunity to speak with show designer Brian Morrow, and he said since the ride is a family coaster, they didn’t want to make the pre-show too scary (I thought something was going to pop out of one of the prop crates in the pre-show room and make me jump out of my skin), but just a little scary to get your adrenaline going and get you excited for the ride.
Over at the new Serpent’s Snacks stand across from Cobra’s Curse, they have Coke Freestyle machines that feature a new flavor exclusive to Busch Gardens Tampa, Cobra’s Twissst. I got to try and it and it’s really good! It’s kind of tastes like a mix of berry and Sprite, but I couldn’t totally pinpoint the flavor. And I like that I couldn’t as it keeps this new treat unique.
I also had the opportunity to speak with the President of Busch Gardens, Jim Dean. When asked how they came up with making their newest attraction a family spin coaster, he told me they wanted the ride to be thrilling, but something the whole family could enjoy together. And a unique spin coaster as this one fit the bill perfectly.
I of course had to ask Mr. Dean what’s in the future for Busch Gardens Tampa, and he said they’re already looking toward 2018-2020 and then he asked me what I thought the park needs. I told him I think a dark ride of some kind would be a wonderful addition… and he agreed. Was a hint just dropped? Only time will tell!
But for now, Busch Gardens Tampa has another great coaster added to their already awesome lineup and definitely worth checking out this summer if you’re in the Central Florida area (whether you’re a local or visiting on vacation).