Busch Gardens Tampa has ended months of rumors and speculation by confirming that it will add a new multi-launch rollercoaster in 2011, naming the new ride as Cheetah Hunt.
There were few details in the park's announcement that hadn't already been leaked, with the coaster set to feature three separate launches and to sit alongside an all-new cheetah enclosure. However, Busch Gardens Tampa did spring a surprise with the ride's name, dropping the widely-expected Cheetaka in favor of the Cheetah Hunt moniker. The accompanying animal exhibit will be dubbed Cheetah Run, with both attractions due to open in spring 2011.
The official video announcement of Cheetah Hunt and Cheetah Run from Busch Gardens Tampa is embedded below:
Cheetah Hunt will be themed around the speed and agility of real-life cheetahs, and will feature trains that are decked out in cheetah-skin colors. The Intamin-designed ride will employ Linear Synchronous Motors to create the three launch sections, which will propel riders to speeds of 30, 60 and 40 miles per hour respectively. A full "point-of-view" render of the ride's circuit is embedded below:
With 4,429 feet of track and a duration of 3.5 minutes (including loading and unloading time), Cheetah Hunt will cover the largest footprint of any ride in Busch Gardens Tampa's history. In addition to the launches, the rollercoaster's circuit will include a 130-feet drop, banked turns, a heartline inversion and a parabola that will give riders a sensation of weightlessness ("airtime") for 3 seconds. Riders will be subjected to forces of four times the pull of gravity, with the ride designed to simulate a cheetah chasing its prey across the plains.
The new coaster will be located in the Crown Colony Plaza section of Busch Gardens Tampa, with the station located in the area's old monorail station. Covering a vast area, its circuit includes sections in the park's Serengeti Plain and in the manmade canyon that previously formed part of the Rhino Rally attraction.
The Cheetah Run live animal exhibit will include special viewing areas that will enable guests to view the world's fastest land animals up-close. Ironically, the cheetahs would be able to outrun the coaster itself and will perform daily sprints to show off their ability to reach speeds of more than 70 miles per hour. Guests wishing to learn more about the animals will be able to access information via touchscreen computer terminals.
Sister park Busch Gardens Williamsburg has also revealed plans to add a multi-launch coaster for the 2012 season. Inevitably, this has led to speculation that an attraction very similar in nature to Cheetah Hunt could be on its way to the park, as has occured previously with the Sheikra and Griffon rollercoasters.
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