TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – After a rough two years due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic which halted construction and closed theme parks from Tampa Bay to Orlando, 2022 is shaping up to be a big year for new attractions and even an immersive “Star Wars” experience.
The highly anticipated “Iron Gwazi” roller coaster will open at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay in March, just in time for spring break.
Iron Gwazi will be North America’s tallest and the world’s fastest and steepest hybrid coaster, plunging riders from a 206 foot-tall peak into a 91-degree drop at a top speed of 76 miles per hour. The coaster features restored elements of the park’s original “Gwazi” ride.
“Riders on Iron Gwazi will experience a dozen airtime moments, including three inversions, as they sink their teeth into crocodile-inspired thrills,” Busch Gardens’ website says.
The opening of the coaster has been delayed since July of 2019 and an exact opening date in March has not yet been confirmed.
Adventure Island in Tampa will also see new attractions with two new water slides to open in 2022.
“Rapids Racer” and “Wahoo Remix” will open “just in time for spring break,” the park previously announced.
The slides will open sometime in March.
Rapids Racer is a two-person raft that will slide guests through 600 feet of slide with low walls to “encounter your opponents.” The chase is ramped up as guests swirl through the world’s first dueling saucers.
Wahoo Remix, formerly Wahoo Run, will be the park’s first waterslide to have synchronized light and sound. This slide is also 600 feet.
SeaWorld Orlando announced its new roller coaster, called “Ice Breaker,” the same day Iron Gwazi became official.
Ice Breaker will open in February, but an exact date has not been announced for this ride, either.
According to SeaWorld, the roller coaster will feature four “airtime filled launches” going both backwards and forwards. The coaster has a 93-feet tall spike with a 100 degree angle.
Busch Gardens and SeaWorld Orlando reopened to the public at limited capacities on June 11, after closing in mid-March to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Walt Disney World Resort also has a few new attractions opening in the new year, including the two-night immersive experience on “Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser.”
Guests on the ship will experience a Star Wars-themed adventure and interact with characters and other guests.
Once “on board,” guests will only visit Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and the rest of Disney’s Hollywood Studios during their stay.
“As the itinerary continues, you’ll take the story further and deeper. Choose your path. Seek out the inner workings of the legendary starship, learn the traditional art of wielding a lightsaber and even jump on a transport to the planet Batuu—where your mission continues at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge!” Disney says.
“Voyages” on Galactic Starcruiser will begin March 1 but bookings are now available.
Prices for a trip on Galactic Starcruiser vary on date, number of guests and the “cabin” type.
Rates start from $1,209 per guest per night for two people staying in a cabin, to $749 per guest per night for four people staying in a cabin.
Dates for the two-night experience are currently available most weeknights from Aug. 20 to Sept. 17, according to Disney World. Bookings are only available online through Sept. 29 at this time.
In Epcot, Disney World will open its “Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind” roller coaster in the new year, though an official opening month has not yet been revealed, with Disney only saying it will open in “summer 2022.”
The roller coaster is being built in the World Discovery portion of Epcot.
“This thrilling new family-friendly coaster matches the “grandosity” and fun of the blockbuster “Guardians of the Galaxy” films in what will be one of the longest fully enclosed coasters in the world,” the Disney Parks Blog wrote in November.