Indoor queue. If that seems like an odd opening remark, then you obviously have not been to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay (BGTB). Cobra’s Curse is the first attraction to include an indoor interactive queue at BGTB. Not interactive in how the queue is at Magic Kingdom’s Space Mountain, but the queue does include real snakes (varieties of cobra), props, and a pretty cool map projection room. Speaking of the map projection room, if you are a long-time visitor to the park, then you may recognize that room as the central piece to the former King Tut museum walkthrough—it’s where the famous sarcophagus of the boy pharaoh was displayed. It is exciting to see that BGTB is including show systems technologies in this queue and I hope this is a trend that will continue. Upon a closer examination of the map projection wall with the giant cobra, you will notice that the small hieroglyphics are kind of doing their own thing. Some of them even fall off the screen or get into comedic skirmishes. The main attraction of the map projection room is the cobra that goes through a couple of different story cycles. Each story with its respective special effects. Although the quality is a little on the cheesy side, I got admit that this is groundbreaking for the park. In all honesty, it reminds me of an early Universal Studios queue—not quite up to par with the current indoor queues; but honestly, not that far off either. I really enjoyed the room! It all gets back to storytelling. Although this attraction is not connected to any intellectual property (IP), it does a good job of immersing the park guests into the world of Ancient Egypt complete with a cobra and a curse. What more do you need??? The color scheme chosen flows very well and contains many complementary colors in the queue and on the ride itself. Word to the wise: since the ride platform lacks any single-use cubbies at the load point, so be sure to use the lockers to store your phone, wallet, etc.
If you are wondering what kind of coaster this is, I would suggest that my impression of it lends it to a coaster that is definitely more exciting than The Barnstormer or Flight of the Hippogriff, but less thrilling than Cheetah Hunt. Don’t let that dissuade you from enjoying it! There are lots of elements to enjoy on the coaster. But for families of elementary schools kids who haven’t quite hit the height requirement for many coasters, the whole family can enjoy this one. And not just families, but anyone. There is something for everyone on this fun ride. How many coasters offer an elevator style lift??? Well this is the first at BGTB… “….features an outdoor vertical lift that’s never been done before” (At Busch Gardens Tampa Bay). I really enjoyed the audio effects that accompany you on the elevator lift up to the face of the cobra. Then you swing out and ride out the curse of the cobra. Cobra’s Curse offers a smooth ride in cars that boast plenty of legroom for those of us with long legs. Fortunately, I had the privilege of experiencing Cobra’s Curse earlier this week on the first day that BGTB was permitting non-team member guests to ride it. However, I was unable to write my article until now because there is something very important to note. You are probably familiar with the spinning cars, as that was a major part of the marketing campaign. That being said, the first time I rode it, my friend (who is, in full disclosure, a photographer in the park) and I did not experience much spinning. That was odd because she told me that she and her boyfriend (who is a manager at the park and a friend of mine) got their car to spin a lot. Upon speaking with her boyfriend about the ride design, it was clear that the degree to which your respective car spins is directly affected by the weight distribution. So, if weight is fairly evenly distributed in the car, then it’s going to be difficult to get the vehicle to make many revolutions. Also, I learned from a team member that you do not want cars 2 or 8 if you want to better your chances of spinning. After riding the vehicle again yesterday, I can now support the hypothesis of weight distribution, for I experienced many more spins than my initial ride experience.
Another really cool element to Cobra’s Curse isn’t even in the queue or the ride itself; it’s the grounds and gift shop. Why the grounds? This is one of the fewest coasters out there that you can get up close and personal with. The design of the coast is such that you can meander beneath its track to get a great view of the riders! Being next to the Serengeti preserve also offers animals to enjoy while you wait for your friends to get off the ride. Montu always seemed kind of far away from the rest of the park; but adding Cobra’s Curse mitigates that feeling a great deal. Just as the queue offers more than just a covered place to wait for the ride, the gift shop contains more than just merchandise. There is an interactive area for kids and anyone else who enjoys activities. Maybe you’ll find the next great pharaoh! Haha. All in all, I was very pleased with BGTB’s newest member of the attraction family and look forward to riding it again!