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RUMOR: Is Kumba Closing At Busch Gardens Tampa?

It's been posted by theme park rumor site Screamscape that Kumba at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay may close permanently on the 1st of November this year, 2022.

We really hope this is not true, we love Kumba!

Initially on the 13 March 2022, Screamscape wrote:

As theme park fans descend upon Busch Gardens Tampa this season to give the new Iron Gwazi a try, I do have one request. Be sure to ride KUMBA while you are at the park. In fact, give the old girl 2 or 3 rides if you can.

While B&M first entered the minds of coaster fans in 1992 with the creation of the first Inverted Coaster (Batman: The Ride at Six Flags Great America), they really shattered the idea of what could be done with traditional sit-down roller coaster design when they opened Kumba a year later in 1993. Until that point, the look and idea of what was possible on your standard steel roller coaster had been entirely defined by the work of Arrow Dynamics and Vekoma.

Kumba set a whole new standard for roller coaster design from that moment forward, in terms of engineering, design, inversion elements, and even a new definition for what a modern roller coaster should sound like with the iconic Kumba “roar” as the trains passed by. So the next time you visit the park, hopefully sooner than later, give Kumba some love, because Screamscape has been hearing things…

Very bad things… So ride Kumba while you still can.

Then on March 16, the site went further, and now says Kumba will close permanently on November 1 2022.

While my last post about Kumba was a bit cryptic, the message was clear. Ride Kumba while you still can.

Screamscape was sent some disturbing news about Kumba, and while I felt compelled to send out a warning right away, I wanted to dig a little deeper and check in with some other sources before revealing the bigger details. If you follow Busch Gardens Tampa’s rehab schedule then you may have noticed that Kumba was slated to go down for its own rehab just as SheiKra and Montu came back into operation from their downtime. In addition to regular maintenance Montu received a new paint job and SheiKra actually had a few new pieces of track installed to replace some sections that were suffering from wear.

From what I’m told, like Montu, Kumba was expected to get repainted using some slightly new shades. The repaint was put on hold, because B&M reps were in Tampa for the SheiKra track replacement and while they were on-site they performed inspections on Montu and Kumba. While it was too late to stop the paint on Montu, they did ask for the park to not paint Kumba until they had a chance to inspect it.

I’m told that the sad news from the inspection was that Kumba was deemed to have essentially reached the end of its lifespan. Universal Orlando had the same issue come up with Incredible Hulk and Dueling Dragons, and in their case they opted to rebuild Hulk from scratch and replace Dueling Dragons with something new. Alton Towers in the UK is also dealing with their same issue with their Nemesis inverted coaster, and like Hulk, the plan is to close the popular ride and rebuild it from scratch.

Apparently Busch Gardens response was to cancel the pending rehab entirely and limit Kumba to one-train operations going forward, other than the occasional rare exception, to extend what the operational time left on Kumba. The unfortunate problem is that most of the suits no longer see Kumba as a marketable ride, and rather than rebuild and keep Kumba for future generations, they are going to simply run it for a while longer and then shut Kumba down for good.They believe that Kumba is “not Iconic” enough to save.

The goal is to run Kumba through the summer, and Howl-O-Scream if the trains last that long, and then close the gates for good on Nov. 1st, 2022. Kaput… end of story… no 30th Birthday for Kumba in 2023. The sad thing is that they want to keep this a secret, as they don’t want the bad press about closing a major ride to follow the opening of Iron Gwazi, especially after they delayed the opening of Iron Gwazi by two years. So no last ride tribute, no going out with a bang, the plan is simply and quietly to close Kumba and leave it SBNO for awhile until they determine what to do with the site. Busch Gardens Tampa pretty much did the same thing with Rhino Rally and the original Gwazi itself, long before they ever decided to create Iron Gwazi.

So again, I say this, ride Kumba while you still can. It’s safe, being deemed “End of Life” doesn’t mean it’s dangerous, it just serves as notice from B&M to parks that they have 18 months left to schedule a replacement or plan the retirement for the ride. So ride Kumba… and if you want to see it saved, I’d encourage you to let the park know you want it to stay at guest relations when you visit in person, and maybe drop them a message online on social media or through their website. It would be sad to imagine the park without Kumba.

Sad news indeed if true, let's hope this rumor is not true, or that Busch Gardens have plans for the ride.

Please remember this is only a rumor, but one thing is for certain, we will be riding it as much as possible in the months to come! .


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