What is being billed as Florida’s tallest launch coaster will be coming to Busch Gardens Tampa in spring 2019, with the park planning to add another thrill ride the following year.

The coaster, dubbed Tigris, will include three launches, an inverted roll and looping twists across 1,800 feet of track. Top speed on the 150-foot-tall coaster will be 62 miles per hour. The first launch will take guests forward up part of the first loop, rolling down into the second, backward launch before the third launch takes the ride vehicle all the way around the track.

“This one is different in the fact that it launches from inside the station on every launch,” Busch Gardens Tampa project manager Andrew Schaffer said at a press conference.

Rendering of Tigris track layout (Busch Gardens Tampa)

The ride will open next spring, taking over space in the Stanleyville section of the park formerly occupied by the Tanganyika Tidal Wave water ride, which closed in April 2016.

Two similar launch coasters are currently operating in parks owned by the SeaWorld chain: the Electric Eel at SeaWorld San Diego and Tempesto at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. While it will be the tallest launch coaster in the state, the title of tallest coaster of any type in Florida will still belong to the 200-foot-tall SheiKra at the Tampa park.

Along with the new ride in 2019, the park plans on revamping the Gwazi dueling roller coaster. Shuttered since 2015, and notorious for its shaky, rough rides, Schaffer said it will be turned into a new attraction.

“I can’t give you any more information than that,” Schaffer said. “I can tell you that you’re going to be holding onto your seats. It’s going to be an awesome ride, it’s going to be thrilling. You’re going to love it.”

The Gwazi replacement will open at an unspecified date in 2020.

About The Author

John has covered sports, politics, government and health care for a variety of news outlets, including the Illinois Radio Network and Rivet News Radio, as well as freelance work for the Florida Radio Network and contributing to the Unofficial Universal Orlando Podcast. He is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago. You can find him in the theme parks every chance he gets.

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