Iron Gwazi Looks Like The Original On Steroids

 It’s a hybrid – a generation removed from the last – a re-incarnation of a beast that’s even more fearsome! Iron Gwazi, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay’s latest roller coaster project, is mixing parts of the now-dismantled original with some brand new new thrills. The net effect is going to be a little mid blowing for those who rode Gwazi in it’s previous life.

Once complete this spring, it will be the tallest hybrid coaster in North America and the fastest, steepest one in the world. The new ride tops out at 206 feet tall, will descend at a 91-degree angle and go up to 76 mph – wowser!


“It’s going to be a very fast, very dynamic ride,” according to project manager Andrew Schaffer. “Along the way, passengers will experience 12 moments of air time as well as three inversions”  – we’re already excited!



Iron Gwazi is going up where the wooden dual roller coaster Gwazi, which closed in 2015, stood.

“This area of the park just set it really sat dormant for a few years, and sort of our mission in the last few years at Busch Gardens has been to just you know, just refresh the park,” said Stewart Clark, president of Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.

The entrance to Iron Gwazi is the same as it predecessor, and some wood from the original ride has been incorporated elsewhere in the park, he said.

“It only feels like Gwazi till you get to about the end of the queue line,” Clark said. “It’s a whole different experience at play.“

Passengers will roll out of the loading station and immediately go up the dramatic lift hill.

Busch Gardens is working with Rocky Mountain Construction on Iron Gwazi.

“Their specialty is taking sort of the bones of old wooden coasters and turning them into these hybrid masterpieces,” Clark said. Hybrids have steel rails on wooden structures.

“We will expect a very smooth experience,” Schaffer said. The original Gwazi, like many woodies, gained a rib-rattling reputation.

Construction is on schedule for the spring opening. The track is not quite finished, although the park put both of the ride’s crocodile-inspired trains into position for photo ops this week. There’s still some structure in the loading station and maintenance bay to complete, Schaffer said, then testing of the ride can begin.