Details and concept art have been announced for two new rides coming to Busch Gardens and Sea World — one of which could be the tallest, steepest and fastest in America.
On Thursday, the theme park company that oversees the two parks announced Busch Gardens Tampa’s 10th roller coaster, Iron Gwazi, and SeaWorld Orlando’s sixth, Ice Breaker. Along with a new water slide, Solar Vortex, at Adventure Island in Tampa.
Earlier this year, Busch Gardens announced that Gwazi, a double wooden roller coaster that closed in 2015, would be revamped into a wood and steel hybrid coaster, using some restored parts from the old coaster and new thrill elements.
It also said the ride, opening in 2020, will become North America’s tallest hybrid, and the fastest, steepest hybrid coaster in the world with a maximum height of more than 200 feet. If it does top 200 feet, it would be the tallest coaster in any Florida theme park. Currently the tallest are two 200-footers — SheiKra at Busch Gardens and Mako at SeaWorld.
SeaWorld Parks newest announcement seems to be keeping that promise months ago and with the behemoth of a coaster that will be the Iron Gwazi.
New details given Thursday say that the Iron Gwazi will reach 206 feet, reach speeds of 76 mph and be 110 seconds long, making it the tallest coaster in Florida.
When it comes to hybrid coasters, those that mix wood and steel, Iron Gwazi will be the tallest in the North America and the fastest in the world, beating out Ohio’s Ceder Point’s Steel Vengeance, which is 205 feet tall and has a max speed of 74 mph.
Iron Gwazi’s is 4,075 feet long and will include three inversions and 12 moments of airtime, where riders momentarily will lift out of their seats. It will also have a zero-G roll and a 180-degree stall that will keep riders upside down for a few seconds.
“Iron Gwazi is the evolution of a classic wooden coaster into a modern icon,” said Stewart Clark, Park President of Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. “From the bones of the original Gwazi, a new legend rises, reaching taller heights and faster speeds, delivering the next-level thrills that our coaster fans crave and expect from Busch Gardens.”
The Iron Gwazi and Steel Vengeance were both worked on by Rocky Mountain Construction, a company known for transforming wooden roller coasters into hybrid coasters with a wooden foundation and a steel track.
In order to get on this ride you will have to be at least four feet tall, pushing this tall and fast coaster into the family thrill-ride category of roller coasters.
The wooden foundation of the ride can be seen at the park today, along with a sign touting its soon-to-be accomplishments.
Sea World Orlando will also be getting the new ride treatment, as it announced new details for Ice Breaker, a slower ride taking you straight up into the air.
The coaster will open in spring 2020 and will be near the Wild Arctic Attraction — it will share a theme of the area with a nod to the Alaska SeaLife Center.
The ride will feature a quadruple launch. After leaving the station, riders will first magnetically launch backward, then forward, then backward, and finally forward with enough momentum to hit the ride’s top speed of 52 mph.
The reverse launch will race riders into, what SeaWorld calls, the steepest beyond vertical drop in the state — a 93-foot spike at 100 degrees.
Along with the two coasters Adventure Island in Tampa will also be seeing a new attraction in 2020.
Solar Vortex will be coming to Adventure Island, which SeaWorld Park’s says is America’s first dual tailspin water slide. It will be 55 feet tall, reach a speed of 20 mph and feature three AquaLucent elements, where colorful patterns of light will shine in the slide.