Busch Gardens' Tigris: Florida's tallest launch coaster earns its stripes
From the ride queue, to the tail end, here is my review of the new thrill ride
TAMPA , Fla. – Florida's newest roller coaster, Tigris, has been open for a little over a month and is bringing new levels of thrills to Busch Gardens guests.
I've always been a thrill seeker when it comes to roller coasters, so when I first read that a ride on Tigris includes three launches, I pounced on the opportunity to take on the jungle cat.
My trip to Busch Gardens was on Memorial Day weekend, so I anticipated crowds and long wait times at the park's most popular attractions. I went ahead and bought the Quick Queue Unlimited Pass which gave me a one-time trip to the front of the Tigris line. What was an hour wait at the time, was trimmed down to five minutes. I'm glad I did this, because there was less time for apprehension to settle in.
A good first impression
Located on the old Taganyika Tidal Wave site, Tigris' bright orange and black steel structure doesn't cover a lot of ground area. That's because a good portion of the track is vertical. Unlike most roller coasters, there's only one active train and those three launches all occur at the station.
One of my favorite parts of the Tigris experience - is the final stretch of the queue. Once they reach the docking area, guests are greeted by some of the most excited and energetic ride operators I've seen. Monitors are also placed above the queue to tests guests' tiger trivia knowledge.
On most roller coaster rides, there's usually an area for riders to store their loose items, but on Tigris, a ride operator will go to each row with a storage bin for riders' belongings. This service was convenient and quick. It's also nice to keep your sunglasses and ball caps with you right up until ride time.
Ready to roar
A Tigris theme plays the duration of the ride. Once the music starts, get ready for the first launch into a vertical twist and the riders are pulled back into the station before the train catapults to 62 miles per hour. The 1,800 feet of track includes 150-foot skyward surge and a unique barrell roll which is probably the stand-out feature of the ride - upside down, looking straight at the ground. This stage of the ride reminds me of a tiger on high ground, ready to pounce on its prey from high above. A couple more loops, and the train then returns back to the station.
Final queue and final thoughts
What theme park ride is complete without a walk through the gift shop conveniently placed at the ride exit? There's a lot of cool merch in the Tigris store, and what's great is that a small portion of sales is donated to the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund to protect tigers and their habitat.
Tigris gets a top approval rating from me - and stands tall amongst the other Busch Gardens coaster giants. It has similarities to Cheetah Hunt and I like that it's a short walk to Sheikra, the park's popular dive coaster. If you're like me, and take on roller coasters at a slow pace, make sure to rest and recharge between adventures.
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