TAMPA, Fla. - Iron Gwazi at Busch Gardens was just named the Best New Roller Coaster of 2022. It's the tallest roller coaster in Florida and reaches speeds of 76 miles per hour, plunging guests down a 91-degree drop.
The high thrills roller coaster opened to the public earlier this year, and Iron Gwazi quickly became a fan favorite. Online, people say it is the best coaster they have ever ridden.
"And it's different than anything we have in the park," added Neal Thurman, the park president for Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and Adventure Island.
Now, the record-breaking ride has claimed a coveted award, winning the Amusement Today Golden Ticket Award for Best New Roller Coaster of 2022.
"That’s a big deal in the industry," Thurman said.
Thurman accepted the prestigious and sought-after accolade over the weekend.
"There's a lot of great rides out there and to win the best in the industry is pretty exciting," he said. "And you know what? It’s well deserved because it’s a great ride."
The Golden Ticket Awards recognize excellence in the theme park industry. Hundreds of industry experts, journalists and ride suppliers vote on the best of the best from amusements parks across the globe.
Iron Gwazi was also ranked in the top five steel coasters in the world.
"Iron Gwazi takes you up to a height of 206-feet, and as you're up there, you crest the lift, and you realize you're going to drop down at a 91-degree angle at 76-miles an hour," said Thurman.
It is the tallest hybrid coaster in North America, and the fastest and steepest hybrid coaster in the world.
"You're going through three inversions and 12 heart-pounding air time moments," Thurman added. "And it is a thrill like no other."
The original wooden Gwazi roller coaster closed in 2015, and about 25% of that wood was used to create Iron Gwazi. The ride made its debut in March after being delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"So now it's wood and steel that allows us to go taller, faster, we can take you upside down. It's just a really smooth ride," said Thurman.
It is non-stop action for anyone trying to conquer Iron Gwazi.