TAMPA, Fla. - The next roller coaster scheduled to open at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay has entered its testing phase.
Test runs for Iron Gwazi began Monday with the theme park offering a peek on its social media sites. The roller coaster replaced its wooden predecessor, which was simply called, “Gwazi.” It first opened in 1999 and closed down in 2015.
According to Busch Gardens, the updated iron version will have riders 206 feet above the ground, reach speeds of 76 miles per hour, and experience a 91-degree drop. The height, theme park officials said, will make it the tallest hybrid wood-steel roller coaster on the continent – surpassing Cedar Point’s 205-foot Steel Vengeance.
"It's North America's tallest and the world's fastest and the world's steepest hybrid coaster," Andrew Schaffer, the Director of Design at Busch Gardens, said in January.
It will be the theme park’s 10th roller coaster. Busch Gardens hasn't announced an official opening date, but did say Iron Gwazi will open sometime during the spring.
Aerial view of Iron Gwazi during one of its test runs. (Busch Gardens Tampa Bay)
Iron Gwazi is scheduled to open sometime during spring 2020. (Busch Gardens Tampa Bay)