SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Delay Coasters to 2021 Due to Pandemic

Image Source: OC Register

The OC Register reports that four nearly finished roller coasters set to debut this summer at SeaWorld and Busch Gardens parks in San Diego, Florida have been delayed until 2021 by the coronavirus pandemic.

SeaWorld and Busch Gardens rides are still under construction and were originally scheduled to open in 2020 and have been postponed to 2021 in order to manage costs amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, according to a preliminary quarterly earnings report from SeaWorld Entertainment.

As a result, the Emperor dive coaster at SeaWorld San Diego, Ice Breaker quadruple launch coaster at SeaWorld Orlando, and Iron Gwazi hybrid coaster at Busch Gardens Tampa will see their planned 2020 debuts pushed back until 2021.

SeaWorld Entertainment had warned a delay in opening the new rides was possible.

“Depending on when we are allowed to reopen, we will make the decision as to whether or not the unfinished projects are completed for the 2020 season or pushed into 2021,” SeaWorld Entertainment CEO Marc Swanson said on a conference call with analysts in May.

“Prior to the temporary park closures, we had made significant progress on the construction of our 2020 lineup of new rides and attractions,” Swanson said on the call in May. “We completed almost 90% of the construction on these new rides for 2020.”

SeaWorld San Diego’s website still advertises that the “New in 2020” Emperor dive coaster is still “Coming 2020.” SeaWorld Orlando’s website says the Ice Breaker quadruple launch coaster is “Opening Soon.” Busch Gardens Tampa’s website says the Iron Gwazi hybrid coaster as “Coming Soon.”

The 153-foot-tall Emperor floorless dive coaster planned for SeaWorld San Diego would be the longest, tallest and fastest ride of its kind in California. Built by Switzerland-based Bolliger & Mabillard, Emperor will have a 143-foot-tall vertical first drop, a top speed of 60 mph and nearly 2,500 feet of track.

The Arctic-themed Ice Breaker quadruple launch coaster that has been planned for SeaWorld Orlando will send riders up and over icy summits on a wintry journey in sun-kissed Florida.

Busch Gardens Tampa is transforming the Gwazi dual wooden coaster into Iron Gwazi -— the world’s steepest, tallest and fastest hybrid coaster. Idaho-based Rocky Mountain Construction will handle the renovation of Gwazi, which has been standing-but-not-operating since 2015.

Coaster enthusiasts will now have to wait until 2021 to ride Emperor, Ice Breaker, Iron Gwazi and Pantheon.

SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa have reopened while SeaWorld San Diego has remained closed amid the coronavirus pandemic.