Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Taking a Look at Busch Gardens Tampa's Mystery 2016 Ride

Busch Gardens Tampa is planning a new attraction at the theme park for the 2016 season, at least according to new plans filed with the Southwest Florida Water Management District.

The plans are only related to drainage for the 2.65 acres of the park that will be affected - meaning we're talking about where concrete will and won't go, not any specifics of the attraction outside of that.

As this only paints a partial picture of what's being planned there's still a lot of mystery around exactly what this will be - but there are some definite clues and items worth pointing out.  Let's take a look, shall we?

The work site for the 2016 attraction is in the Egypt section of the park, focused on the building that housed the King Tut's Tomb walk through attraction - located just next to the Crown Colony Restaurant.  From the plans it appears as though that building will be doubled in size, with the adjacent train track moving slightly to accommodate the expansion.  The above image shows this section of the park, with the building in question on the left.  You can see the Montu inverted roller coaster on the right.

Here is a section of the plans that have been submitted, a bit confusing I know.  The big white building is the one that will be expanded; the top half with the extension pointing outward to the right is the new part.  Upon much closer review it is also noticeable that there are two trenches that will be created next to the structure, and above it one labeled as "RR Bridge/Tunnel."  I would assume that means that the railroad will pass over a third trench in this area.

To make things a bit easier on the eye I made this little comparison.  The top is a current image of the park, the bottom is the 2016 plans.  The colors I'll explain.

• The red building in each is the original King Tut's Tomb building, and the yellow structure is the large themed wall that you pass under to get to Montu.  Both are here to orient your eye in both images.

• The blue lines up top are the new location of the railroad tracks, bumped upward to accommodate the expansion.

• The green building is the expansion that will go onto the Tut building.

• The pink lines represent the three trenches that can be seen on the plans.  The top one goes under the railroad tracks, where a new bridge will be built for the train to pass over.

So while this helps us line things up nicely, it doesn't clarify much of what this may be.  However...

If you take one more look at the plans you can notice that there's a purple box labeled "maint. stairs."  If the new green building were to say, be a station, there's often maintenance stairs leading up to the top of a lift hill. (ride path shown in orange)  That lift hill would leave the station through the strange shaped part of the building, probably a big piece of theming.   If you move backwards from the supposed station, you could see how some brakes could take place after that final trench of zig-zag track. 

As for the rest of whatever this is... well after the potential lift hill there's plenty of space for 'stuff' to happen that would connect the two ends of this hypothetical ride path.  The yellow in the image above traces the boundary of the work site, so as you can see they are allowing for plenty of room for this 'stuff' to take place in.  Still, I don't expect this addition to be huge, neither in height or length... perhaps more of a family-oriented addition.

Okay - I've said enough purposely-vague stuff for now and hopefully got your imagination going at this point.  If you'd like to peruse the public documents that have been filed, follow this link.  I'm excited to see Busch Gardens Tampa planning another expansion and can't wait to hear more!