Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Busch Gardens Tampa and Sea World Orlando's Big Announcements

There were some big announcements coming out of Florida today, both of which were from SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment properties.  Busch Gardens Tampa announced the Cheetah Hunt launched roller coaster as well as Cheetah Run, a new animal exhibit.

Cheetah Hunt, previously rumored to be named CheeTaka, will be a triple-launch Intamin roller coaster.  Once boarded in the park's former Monorail station, one of the 5, 16 passenger trains will be launched into the grasslands that surround the station.

Here trains dive into a trench and are blasted to 60 miles per hour, up into a unique figure-eight element.  Following a 130 ft. drop into a trench riders blast across the Serengeti Plain, weaving and diving as they go.  Several air-time hills, over banked turns, and even a heartline roll are encountered. 

The 'turnaround' section for the coaster reuses the water section from Rhino Rally as trains glide through a rocky gorge.  Another launch blasts the trains back across the Serengeti Plain to complete their journey.  In all, the ride will stretch 4,429 feet long.

The expansion also includes the Cheetah Run animal habitat area.  Located in the space that used to be home to the Clydesdales, Cheetah Run will bring humans and animals close together, as is the tradition at Busch Gardens Tampa.

The Cheetah habitat will include rich theming, along with the opportunity to get up close and personal with the animals using glass paneled viewing areas, pictured below.

Another unique feature to Cheetah Run will be when the park's animal trainers conduct daily sprints with the cheetahs.  Considering they are the fastest land animals in the world, that should be a sight to see.

The entire Crown Colony Plaza section will take on a new life with the expansion.  Additional theming elements will complete the mood of the area, and the Crown Colony House restaurant will remain.  It will feature a new terraced entrance and additional outdoor seating in a natural landscape.

The park has released some great videos that cover the new ride and attractions, be sure to check them out on Busch Gardens' website.

Discovery Cove also had big news today when it announced that it will open the Grand Reef in June 2011.  The new feature will contain multiple levels to explore, including shallow and deep pools, snorkeling in underwater canyons, and swinging in the breeze on a hammock.

The area will cover 2.5 acres, have almost a million gallons of water, and be kept at a comfortable 77 degrees.  In all, 10,000 animals will call it home, including many types of fish, rays, eels, and even sharks.

One of the coolest features is SeaVenture, where guests actually take a walking tour... on the bottom of the reef.  Each person will wear a dive helmet which will allow them to breath normally and feel at home in the sea.  While on the tour guests will be able to check out neighboring sharks through a undersea window, and stop to touch a star fish or sea urchin.

The Grand Reef will also have eight new luxury cabanas available for rent.  They will located at the water's edge and come with table, chairs, and other necessities.

For more information and photos, check out Discovery Cove's website.