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Goodbye, Gwazi! Busch Gardens to close dueling wooden roller coaster

Goodbye, Gwazi! Busch Gardens Tampa has confirmed plans to close its iconic double wooden roller coaster.

The first dueling wooden coaster in Florida and the largest of its kind in the Southeast, Gwazi was built in 1999, offering a top speed of 50 mph over 6,800 feet of track. (Some might say it's also a chiropractor's dream: Gwazi, which has the twin tracks Lion and Tiger, can rattle your vertebrae pretty good.)

A spokesperson said there was no official date for the final ride. The coaster-intense Busch Gardens, owned by beleaguered parent company SeaWorld Entertainment, suffered delays over this past summer in opening its latest thrill ride, the Falcon's Fury drop tower.

There are no details about what will take the place of the high-maintenance Gwazi.

Fans reacted on social media, expressing sadness over the news but hope for what may replace Gwazi.

"Nooooo now what ride will I force people to ride when I want to see them cry?" JJ Martin of Clearwater wrote on Facebook.

Georgia Tirado-Febo of Tampa wrote, "Awww I remember working at BG and being the first to ride it. Goodbye Gwazi!"

Many people commented about how rough Gwazi's wooden twists and turns could be.

Tracie Petroski of Tampa wrote: "That was an uncomfortable ride. But still had to ride it. RIP."

Contact Sean Daly at sdaly@tampabay.com. Follow @seandalypoplife.

Gwazi, by the numbers

Named after an African legend, Gwazi was a conflicted animal that was half-lion, half-tiger that continually struggled with itself.

2 dueling coasters in one; each track is 3,400 feet long for a 2-minute, 20-second ride.

3.5 G's, as in a force acting on a body as a result of acceleration or gravity generated on the ride.

2M locking bolts were used to help the lumber hold together in Florida's heat.

1.3M Feet of Southern yellow pine board treated with arsenic to resist termites.

1.3 Miles of track intertwined in a compact 8-acre maze.

90 Height in feet of Gwazi's lift hill.

50 Top speed, measured in miles per hour.

Goodbye, Gwazi! Busch Gardens to close dueling wooden roller coaster 12/23/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 23, 2014 9:37pm]
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© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

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