New Gwazi at Busch Gardens: Fewer bumps for rumps
Some days my job is just awesome. I started out my workday riding the newly revamped Gwazi, the jaw-rattling wooden rollercoaster at Busch Gardens. Twice.
Aside from a bad hair day, I also got a much better impression of the ride that had been getting a bad rep for beating up the riders. Wooden roller coasters are supposed to have more bumps than steel ones, but this one was getting headache-inducing. You can read my review here.
I talked with Bob Dean, one of the engineers from coaster manufacturer Great Coasters International about his three year quest to make Gwazi less of a jackhammer on the rump. Under the old design the wheels of the train “were literally beating the track up” as they slammed around the circuit, Dean said.
So it wasn’t our imagination that Gwazi was getting harder to sit through since its opening in 1999. By coaster standards, this 50 mph ride is considered a slower ride, compared with the 70 mph screamer SheiKra. But Gwazi — the Southeast’s largest and fastest double wooden roller coaster — is loud and feels fast, and it doesn’t do any upside-down turns or twists. That's my favorite kind of coaster, fast but doesn't make me dizzy.
--Sharon Kennedy Wynne
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