Review: Cobra’s Curse


Located at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Cobra’s Curse is a spinning family coaster manufactured by Germany’s Mack Rides.  It’s one of two Mack coasters in the park; the other is Sand Serpent, a family wild mouse ride relocated from Busch Gardens Williamsburg in 2004.  Cobra’s Curse opened in 2016, in the Egypt section of the park across from Montu and not far from the entrance to Cheetah Hunt.

Layout, Elements and Theming

Themed after the Snake King (fictional ancient Egyptian ruler), Cobra’s Curse features a twister layout with 2,100 feet of track.  The story behind it is that when the Snake King abused his power, his former worshippers destroyed his statue and he subsequently placed a curse on the world should the statue be rebuilt.  This coaster operates with eight vehicles containing two cars seating two across in two rows for a total capacity of eight riders, reaching a maximum speed of 40 mph.  It incorporates both an elevator lift and booster wheel lift hill.  At various times during the ride the vehicles travel forward, backward and spin freely.  The restraint is a lap bar.

Photo by Bobbie Butterfield
Photo by Bobbie Butterfield


After entering the ride queue, riders pass through an excavation site and series of dark chambers which are like a maze.   Lavish images/exhibits of snakes fill the chambers.  The piece de resistance is a show starring the Snake King, replete with audio and video special effects.   The backstory is projected on a wall behind the Snake King as he fulminates and spews venom.  Disclaimer: I did not personally experience the pre-ride show, as I had Quick Queue – which completely bypasses everything leading up to the ride, so am relying on other sources.  All descriptions of and opinions about the ride itself, however, are based on personal experience.

Photo courtesy of Busch Gardens Tampa
Ride Experience

Once the ride vehicle is loaded and dispatched it moves straight ahead and around a slight bend before it engages with the elevator lift.  I found this interesting because I can recall riding only one other coaster (Cannibal at Lagoon) which uses an elevator lift.  At the top (70 feet) it makes a right turn, bringing riders face to face with the massive effigy of the Snake King as they embark upon the serpentine course. It then drops, immediately ascending to the right on a section of track with a small bend in the middle before going around a right-banked turn and dropping to the left.  From that point it navigates a curve, drops and ascends right before navigating another curve.  The ride is full of twists and overbanked turns.  All of the drops with the exception of the initial one are on a curve.

Here is where it gets pretty interesting.  The ride vehicle rotates so that the riders are facing backward.  It makes a short hop, drops down to the right, swings around to the right and drops again.  After that it’s pulled up the booster wheel lift hill, still facing backward, then dropping to the right on a wide curve.  I get a kick out of going downhill backward so found this part of the ride highly entertaining.   Still backward, the vehicle goes up into an arc, on which the cars begin spinning randomly.  Pretty cool!  They continue to spin freely for the duration of the ride.  The remainder of the course consists of several more drops and ascents, including a drop during which the vehicle passes under the Serengeti Railway.  Rounding the final bend, the cars spin back to the loading station and swivel to the forward position before unloading.

Photo by Bobbie Butterfield
Final Thoughts and Rating

Cobra’s Curse is lavishly themed and otherwise well-designed.  If rated on the basis of theming this coaster would merit a 10.  Likewise for rideability.  However, taking into consideration other factors such as intensity and how it ranks on a thrill scale, I would have to subtract some points.  This is basically a middle- of- the- road coaster which happens to be strikingly original.  While tame enough to be suitable for young children, it’s nevertheless enjoyable enough to appeal to seasoned veterans.   In short, it’s a lot of fun.  Final rating: 7 out of 10.  Video courtesy of Busch Gardens Tampa.

What’s your take?  Have you ridden Cobra’s Curse and if so, how would you rate it?