Spring mayhem at Busch Gardens Tampa: Cheetah Hunt, Icesploration, and NOMS Part 1

So, this guy kept photobombing us before we left for Busch Gardens Tampa:

BGT is only about an hour away from Disney World. We go to this park every time we visit Florida.

They have 2 new attractions that I got to try this time. Let’s talk about this stuff right here.

Cheetah Hunt:

Cheetah Hunt is their newest coaster that opened a year ago. (It was so popular I didn’t get a chance to ride it on my last trip!) It has 3 launches throughout the ride and tops out at about 60 mph. People who are more interested in high numbers than a good ride might talk trash on that, but they suffer from The Stupid. Any metal coaster park can build the tallest, fastest, most butt-inverting boring ride that means nothing, changes nothing, and is forgotten in 3 years. In my opinion, truly great rides call upon good theming and psychology to create an experience that tells a story rather than another cookie-cutter herpa derp parade. Cheetah Hunt nails it.

The best part of it is that this CH isn’t super rough, so I believe it would be great for novice riders and pros like me. Look how cute!!!

(But not for Harknell. He will never ride any of them. :) )

What you have here is a smooth metal coaster that messes with your head. I liked it so much I rode it twice. If this is any indication of what Verbolten at Busch Gardens Williamsburg will be, I cannot wait for our Geek Meetup this June 30th in Virginia.

(BTW: RSVP via Facebook, comment on this post, or join our Geek Meetup mailing list to come with us. More details are here.)


Icesploration is their newest show. It’s actually an ice show. My understanding is that they haven’t had an ice show in the park for quite awhile. They don’t allow flash usage in the theater (for obvious reasons), so I just took these quick iPhone shots without flash:

The idea is that a grandfather is showing his computer-obsessed grandson the world. The sets were really well done. I particularly loved the jellyfish that dropped down from the ceiling. The quality of the show was super-high. My only problem with it was that the person who played Austin during this particular shift was having trouble delivering his lines convincingly. That was a small part of the show, though. The main attraction here are the ice skaters in their animal-inspired costumes. The best scenes were the ones where they were insects that ended up “flying” with wire work. there was also a really cool scene where Gazelles were being chased by a lion. (I think it was a lion, I have the memory of a gnat. Whatever it was it was one of those giant cats that eat things GRARRRrrrr!) Harknell really enjoyed it, and he’s a dude. You should go see this!


We also got to try lunch at the Crown Colony. The food here is really good! It reminds me of a better version of a Jersey Diner that has the old style homemade breads and stuff. I highly recommend this place! I am only sad because I was feeling sick (no way was that going to prevent me from riding everything!), so I couldn’t eat as much as I normally would have.

Rides are only a small part of what you can do at these parks. Harknell doesn’t ride rides and he loves them, too. We did so much I am going to have to continue the rest of this in a second post. It’s like midnight and I’ve been working since I woke up at 7:30AM. Again.



Oni Hartstein is a Los Angeles-based CMO and entrepreneur that is obsessed with progressive rock / metal, marketing, and nightlife. Please direct all business inquiries or review requests to the "Contact" tab on the top nav bar.

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