On May 28, 2015 Busch Gardens announced that the new attraction currently under construction in the Egypt section of the park would be a “family thrill ride”, a spin roller coaster called “Cobra’s Curse”. It is due to open on June 17, 2016.
Themed around an Egyptian archeological excavation, the ride starts with a 70 foot vertical lift before coming face to face with the four foot long fangs of an 80-foot high rearing cobra snake.
The ride direction is effectively in three phases. During the first phase it is like a conventional roller coaster, with the riders going forwards. At the start of the second phase, the cars stop and spin around backwards before continuing.
The third phase starts with an inclined lift and then the cars spin freely in the finale. The degree of spin is dependent upon the weight distribution of the four riders in each car; the bigger the difference the wilder the spins.
Parts of the coaster are in trenches and the ride goes both over and under the Serengeti Train tracks. You can get a great view from the Crown Colony restaurant, now renamed as the Serengeti Overlook Restaurant and Pub offering both buffet and table service.
The ride is unusual for a roller coaster in that it has a real vertical lift, much like an elevator. At the top of the lift you come face to face with a large cobra snake from which the ride gets its name.
Track length is 2,100 feet and the trains reach speeds of up to 40 mph. Ride time is around three and a half minutes. Each of the eight trains consist of just two cars with four persons per car, seated two per row.
There are no inversions and the ride uses lap guard restraints. Minimum ride height is 48 inches or 42 inches if accompanied by an adult.
This is the eighth roller coaster at Busch Gardens, the others being Air Grover, Cheetah Hunt, Kumba, Montu, Sand Serpent, Scorpion and SheiKra. The wooden coaster Kwazi shut in 2015.
Cobra’s Curse Back-Story
Cobra’s Curse is a story-driven ride and it starts in the queue inside an ancient temple. The old King Tuts Tomb attraction has been re-purposed into the new temple.
The story goes that 2,000 years ago, local villagers worshipped a Snake King and built a temple in its honour. When the Snake King became too powerful the villagers destroyed the temple. In modern times, the temple was rediscovered and the Snake Kings head was reunited with its body, releasing the curse.
The air-conditioned queue area contains interactive elements using projection mapping technology to bring the story of the curse to life. The further you progress through the queue area the deeper you feel you are going into the temple as the walls start to close in on you.
You also get the chance to see four different species of live snakes (behind glass). They are Jameson’s Mambas, Angolan Pythons, Rhinoceros Vipers and Gaboon Vipers.
Cobra’s Curse is located close to the Montu roller coaster and a new Serpent’s Snacks provides beverages and grab-n-go snacks. Nearby is the Cobra’s Crypt where you can check out the ride photos and purchase Cobra’s Curse souvenirs and memorabilia.
Cobra’s Curse Construction
Cobra’s Curse is made by MACK Rides of Waldkrich in Germany and introduces several unusual features not usually seen on roller coasters.
As well as the vertical lift and spinning cars, the ride is a constant loading coaster which means the trains never stop and allows up to 1,000 riders per hour to board.
Guests board the trains from a moving walkway and a switch-back track allows cars to be sidelined to allow guests who need more time, to board without stopping the main ride.
Mack Rides also built Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls water ride and Storm Force Accelatron teacup ride at Islands of Adventure, the Journey to Atlantis hybrid water coaster at SeaWorld and the Sand Serpent wild mouse ride at Busch Gardens.