Cheetah Hunt Opens at Busch Gardens – Reviews, Videos & a Poll

Cheetah Hunt at Busch Gardens Tampa – Early Reviews & a VideoCheetah Hunt - Busch Gardens Tampa - Roller Coaster
My pick for the most anticipated roller coaster of 2011 opened this past weekend. The opening wasn’t as smooth as Busch would have wanted and I’m not referring to how it tracked.

According to Tampa Bay Online, Cheetah Hunt was down from 9:30 AM until about 2 PM on opening day due to a sensor malfunction. Thankfully, the issue was resolved and the Cheetah was rocketing riders across the Serengetti throughout the rest of the day. I was eager to find out what some of the early reactions and reviews would be. Here’s a sample of reviews from around the coaster web with a particular focus on some local flavor.

Adrenaline Junkies vs. Theme Park Realists: The Eternal Battle Rages On – BGTNations Forums
A long-running argument is being played out once again as enthusiasts react to Cheetah Hunt’s opening. There are those who feel let down because it wasn’t an intense white-knuckle adrenaline rush.  And there are those enthusiasts that consider it a good addition to fill the gap between the kiddie rides/less intense rides like Scorpion and the larger rides like Montu and SheiKra. Reviews here on Florida Thrills Net described it as  “faster than it looks”, “good airtime”, “good hang-time” (during inversion). Other reviewers Busch Gardens Tampa - Cheetah Hunthere said “it does not deliver speed” and mentioned “many sections of track that are straight and boring.” Check out BGTNation’s full coverage.

Behind the Thrills Experiences a Break Down
Rachel and Erik from Behind the Thrills posted a myriad of photos and two on-ride videos from Media Day. They received two rides taped by the Cheetah Cam because during one of their rides, the coaster stalled before the final launch section. Rachel said:

“…it was a fun ride. While it wasn’t the most thrilling coaster I’ve ever been on, it was exciting and thrilling all at the same time.”

Check out their first video below and more Cheetah Hunt videos and photos.

And here’s an official POV video of Cheetah Hunt at Busch Gardens Tampa:

Note – These videos were filmed by professionals with permission from the park. For safety reasons, please DO NOT take a camera on a roller coaster.

My Take
I’m not sure what to say about the extreme vs. fun controversy. The launches looked sort of intense in the animated videos, but it make sense that it’s more of an exciting (not intense) roller coaster. Generally, the most intense rides aren’t so heavily themed and the most themed rides aren’t so intense. If the launches were more intense you’d fly by all those themed areas and you wouldn’t have a chance to see the park from those new vantage points.

I’d love people to compare and contrast Cheetah Hunt to Cedar Point’s Maverick. I haven’t been on either, but I’d imagine that they’re the most easily comparable rides as they’re both Intamin multi-launchers.

What’s Your Take?
Are you one of the lucky ones that has ridden Cheetah Hunt? Let us know what you thought. Vote in the poll below and leave a comment or mini review. Image 1 courtesy of TampaBayOnline, Image 2 courtesy of Behind the Thrills [poll id=”37″]