Last Tuesday, August 16, was National Rollercoaster Day. What better way to celebrate than by riding the world-class roller coasters at Busch Gardens Tampa and SeaWorld Orlando! I was invited by the parks to take part in their Coaster Crusade – ride 13 coasters across 2 parks in one thrilling day! How can a coaster nerd like myself say no to that?!
We were also allowed to bring a GoPro camera if we had access to one to document our thrill-infused day. My boyfriend graciously let me borrow his and despite my never using one before that day, I don’t think I did too bad. What do you think?
The day started off at Busch Gardens Tampa, where we tackled the likes of:
Montu – Riders will feel the ultimate rush on one of the tallest and longest inverted roller coasters in the world! Guests experience the thrill of an inverse diving loop and a 60-foot vertical loop while they endure speeds of more than 60 mph.
Cheetah Hunt – Experience a new breed of speed, with Florida’s first triple launch coaster, Cheetah Hunt. This mega-attraction begins at Cheetah Run, where guests are just inches away from the world’s fastest land animals. It’s a new point-of-view guaranteed to get your heart racing. This one-of-a-kind themed launch coaster climbs high above the African landscape and then races down along the ground and through a rocky gorge. With another burst of acceleration, guests leap over awestruck bystanders and head for home. It’s a 4,400 foot sprint that will take your breath away. Just look at that photo below. This is a really unique coaster.
Kumba – After the blood-curdling thrill of an initial 135 foot drop, riders will plunge into a diving loop, feel a full three seconds of absolute weightlessness while spiraling 360 degrees, and tear through one of the world’s largest vertical loops.
Scorpion – Riders will feel the “sting” of Scorpion’s terrifying 60-foot drop and 360-degree loop at incredible speeds.
SheiKra – North America’s first dive coaster sends riders through a breathtaking three-minute journey 200 feet up to the edge of a 90 degree drop – and that’s just the beginning. “Floorless” cars give riders an unobstructed view of the 70 mph rush through an Immelmann loop (a simultaneous loop and roll), a second, vertical drop into an underground tunnel and a water feature finale, all packed into a half-mile of steel track.
Sand Serpent – Families love the curves and drops of Sand Serpent, a five-story “wild mouse” style coaster in the Pantopia section of the park. With its top speed of 22 mph and 46” height requirement, Sand Serpent is the perfect ride for a child’s first coaster experience.
Air Grover – A junior coaster full of fun turns, mini-dives, perfect for parents and kids to ride together.
We also had the opportunity to ride Falcon’s Fury, the drop tower attraction that rotates riders 90 degrees to a face-forward position before dropping straight down at 60 mph. And no I did not ride. I’ll ride coasters until the cows come home, but drop towers? Nope. No way. No how. And especially not face first!
Unfortunately, the new Cobra’s Curse was down and though the park tried to get it up and running before we had to travel to Orlando and spend the afternoon at SeaWorld, it just wasn’t cooperating. Sadly we didn’t get to ride. But I’ve already been on it and I’ll be back again soon.
I hadn’t been to SeaWorld in over 30 years, so I was excited to be back and see how much the park had changed over that time (they didn’t have ANY rides last time I was there aside from the Skytower).
Wow, how this park has changed!
The coasters we were supposed to tackle at SeaWorld were:
Mako – SeaWorld Orlando is upping the thrills in 2016. Mako is the tallest, fastest and longest roller coaster in Orlando. 200 feet high, 73 mph and a track that’s nearly a mile long. Mako is a hypercoaster, which means it’s all about speed, tight turns and that weightless feeling you get at the top of each hill.
Manta – A seamless blend of up-close animal encounters with a head-first, face-down thrill ride. The only flying roller coaster of its kind in the world, Manta tops the list of don’t-miss theme park coasters.
Kraken – Orlando’s only floorless roller coaster – is themed after a massive, mythological underwater beast unleashed from the depths of the sea. Riders’ feet dangle as they travel in open-sided seats, riding on a pedestal above the track at highway speeds to heights of more than 150 feet.
Journey to Atlantis – An edge-of-your-seat watercoaster — part water ride, part dark ride, part roller coaster — thrill ride that plunges guests into the middle of a clash for the lost city of Atlantis. Riders encounter spine-tingling thrills and steep, fast drops that will leave them soaked form head to toe.
Shamu Express – The park’s first family-oriented roller coaster. Themed after SeaWorld’s famous killer whale, Shamu Express thrills children and parents alike while traveling down more than 850 feet of track at up to 26 mph.
Unfortunately, Mother Nature didn’t want to cooperate and was dumping a bunch of rain and storms on the Orlando area. The park was a gracious host though and took us for a spin on the Wild Arctic simulator ride while we attempted to wait out the rain.
Just as we thought the rain was finally past and the coasters would be up and running again, we got word more rain was on the way, so sadly we did not get to ride any of the coasters at SeaWorld. But we appreciate the park for trying despite the weather.
Overall, it was a really fun, albeit exhausting day. Many thanks to Busch Gardens Tampa and SeaWorld Orlando for hosting such a wonderful event. If they do this again next year, hopefully the weather will cooperate. But one thing is for sure. . . I’ll be back!