The long-awaited monster coaster Iron Gwazi will open March 11, Busch Gardens has announced, and passholders will be able to get preview rides in a few weeks.
Passholder previews will start Feb. 11, the Tampa theme park announced. The record-setting coaster is built on the footprint of the old wooden Gwazi coaster, which closed in 2015, and is a hybrid of steel tracks on a wooden frame.
It was originally set to open in March 2020. But when Busch Gardens — and all of Florida’s theme parks — closed for months because of the coronavirus pandemic, the coaster’s debut was delayed.
Manufactured by Rocky Mountain Construction, it will be the fastest hybrid coaster in North America and steepest of its kind in the world. It is one of the most anticipated attractions in the country among coaster enthusiasts.
Iron Gwazi will reach speeds of up to 76 miles per hour and feature dozens of airtime moments where riders drift out of their seats, plus there are three inversions. Riders will also be sent on a 206-foot climb before dropping at a 91-degree angle.
This will be the park’s 10th thrill ride, the most of any Florida theme park.
“Iron Gwazi diversifies our thrill ride portfolio and is an impressive addition to the Tampa skyline,” Busch Gardens president Neal Thurman said. “Combining classic elements of a wooden coaster with a smooth, steel track will provide thrill seekers with an unforgettable experience.”