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Sea World Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa


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So Jan 2-3 I've been in FL to visit Sea World and Busch Gardens for the first time. Just finished Sea World today and I'll share my experience below. I'll be posting my thoughts on Busch Gardens (going tomorrow) later on. 

Sea World was definitely a good park with great animals and shows. Saw Orca, Dolphin, and Sea Lion shows. Good amount of shade at the park and beautiful landscaping. I didn't think it was very strong on themed areas (most of the park had the same landscape vibe) but the theming on the rides was definitely very prevalent. Going in I got to See the nearly completed Surf Coaster and it was actually smaller than I had thought it would be. (Shorter in height and length). I love Standup Coasters so hopefully this one will be awesome.... just not sure if I'll be back in FL at all in 2023 and if I am will I be at sea World? Ice Breaker also managed to have it's fair share of issues. First, it was experiencing a late opening due to technical difficulties and then once it opened it had a 2hr wait and then closed in the afternoon because of more technical delays and was announced around 5 that it wouldn't reopen at all. So I did not get to experience Ice Breaker either...

On to the rides I did experience. First was the B&M flyer Manta which was absolutely beautiful. Definitely my second fav flyer after Tatsu at SFMM.  Second, was the weird water coaster/splash boat ride Journey to Atlantis. Very good, never rode anything quite like it, and it had a short wait earlier in the morning. Was unable to get a second ride due to 90+ min lines rest of day. Third, was the B&M floorless Kraken. I've never got why people like Floorless Coasters and I still curse the day Cedar Point announced the Mantis Conversion to floorless. I personally think that floorless are less unique and often are rough rides (moderate head banging and B&M rattling). However, Kraken was flawless, smooth, forceful, had airtime, great elements, great pacing it was a GREAT ride and if every floorless was like Kraken I would be riding them a lot more than I do. Fourth, was the B&M hyper Mako. So with Mako I hear people saying it's better than Dback and frankly no it's not. Mako is a relaxing floater airtime machine that delivers a smooth ride with perfect airtime that lasts nearly 6 seconds over each camelback. However, after the midcourse breaks, Mako was really lackluster and boring in my opinion....lots of turns with no forces and no airtime. Diamondback is a better hyper from start to finish. Lastly I rode Infinity Falls which might be the best white water rafting ride I've ridden. The huge drop was amazing the actual flume channel was filled with surprises too! 

If I'm ranking the coasters I rode at Sea World Orlando here's my list - 

1. Kraken (blew me away because I expected it to suck and it was phenomenal!)

2. Mako (great airtime but is a little over-hyped)

3. Manta (solid flyer second to only Tatsu, familiar but fun too)

4. Journey to Atlantis (if this counts, it was definitely interesting and fun but can't compete with other "real" coasters) 

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Busch Gardens Tampa was a very nice park with lots of shade which is very welcome in FL heat. The ques were also either shaded or indoors...the downside was the park was so busy that I only got one ride on everything I rode during the day. (Sheikra and Iron Gwazi were both closed for maintenance which was rather annoying seeing as I live 14hrs from the park and probably won't be back in the near future) Here's my thoughts on the rides I was able to experience

Cheetah Hunt: Definitely the best coaster at this park. Comparable to Maverick at Cedar Point so it's definitely a top tier ride. 

Montu: Possibly my new favorite invert. I have always personally enjoyed Raptor at CP more than Banshee at KI but Montu was a very good layout and was also very smooth. It also has the old restraints (no tight vests like Banshee)

Cobra's Curse: Best Spinning Coaster I've very ridden. Parts of ride are taken forward then backwards and then finally the finale is an out of control feeling of spinning but not to the degree of making anyone dizzy or nauseous. 

Kumba: Very impressive B&M looper however, I think it's showing some age with it's rattle and mild head banging. It rides very similar to Rougarou at CP which isn't the most pleasant ride experience but it's still full of terrific elements and speedy transitions within it's terrain focused layout.

Scorpion: The weakest Schwarzkopf looper I've ridden but still very enjoyable. It's a rather short layout with only 1 vertical loop and and double helix figure 8 section. Surprisingly smooth for it's age and does pull some decent G-Force for a coaster it's size.

Sand Serpent: The run of the mill Wild Mouse. Not much more to add. Was enjoyable but nothing to write home about. 

Stanley Falls Flume: Was a neat log ride that actually traveled the chute rather rapidly (much like Kings Mills Log Flume picks up a lot of speed). Good final hill and water splash too.

Serengeti Express: Busch's super long train ride takes you from station to station around and through some wild animal habitats. 

Tigris: Not a personal fan of Skyrocket II models so opted not to ride this one.

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