TAMPA, Fla. - It's designed to break records and maybe turn a few stomachs. Busch Gardens' newest ride, Iron Gwazi, may debut as one of the world's most thrilling roller coasters.
Busch Gardens officials said its 10th roller coaster will be the tallest and fastest hybrid coaster in Florida. Riders will travel 206 feet above the ground, endure a 91° drop, and reach speeds of 76 miles per hour.
Its height will make it the tallest hybrid wood-steel roller coaster on the continent, surpassing Cedar Point’s 205-foot Steel Vengeance.
Iron Gwazi's thrilling journey will feature three inversions and 12 airtime hills along more than 4,075 feet of purple steel track.
"It's probably one of the most highly anticipated thrill attractions anywhere in the world for the year 2020," said Stewart Clark, Busch Gardens' president.
Iron Gwazi, like many coasters at Busch Garden's, will draw its theme from a wild animal, the crocodile.
It might be a brand new coaster, but you may recognize some of its structure from the original Gwazi, a wooden dueling coaster that shut down in 2015. A fourth of its wood construction is being recycled for the new attraction.
"You can look around and see some of the bones of the original structure that are here, and you can tell some of the new structure," said Andrew Schaffer, the park's director of design.
"We knew we had Gwazi here for so many years," Clark added. "It was popular in our park. We had closed it down knowing that someday we'd have something new and exciting for our guests."
Not only that, but Schaffer says Iron Gwazi will be infinitely smoother, with several upgrades making it a brand new experience.
"You can actually go upside down now on this attraction," he said. "There's three total inversions and 12 airtime moments throughout the ride."
And it's not the only new attraction coming to the area. Adventure Island will celebrate its 40th anniversary next year by adding a new attraction of its own - a dual-tailspin water slide called Solar Vortex, the first of its kind in the country. Guests will slide down a 52-foot tower and reach speeds of up to 20-miles per hour. Designs in the fiber-glass play with the sunlight, to take riders through three unique enclosed tube sections for several tail-spins.