Busch Gardens says Iron Gwazi roller coaster to open March 2022 after 2-year pandemic delay

Busch Gardens says its highly anticipated Iron Gwazi roller coaster will finally open after a two-year delay due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The theme park began test runs on the hybrid wood-steel ride back in March 2020, and was set to officially open their 10th roller coaster that spring -- but the pandemic brought those plans to a screeching halt. 

Busch Gardens closed for three months, but open reopening to the public, the ride remained closed and the park remained silent about any new plans for the upcoming roller coaster.

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Then in November, Busch Gardens said the ride would open in the spring of 2021, but never set a specific date. 

Now the theme park announced on its social media pages that Iron Gwazi will open March 2022, almost exactly two years after when it was originally expected to open.

"Thank you to our fans for your patience! We're excited to announce that Iron Gwazi will open March 2022," Busch Gardens wrote on its Instagram page.

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The roller coaster replaced its wooden predecessor, "Gwazi," which first opened in 1999 and closed in 2015.

According to Busch Gardens, the updated iron version will have riders 206 feet above the ground, reach speeds of 76 miles per hour, and experience a 91-degree drop. The height, theme park officials said, will make it the tallest hybrid wood-steel roller coaster on the continent – surpassing Cedar Point’s 205-foot Steel Vengeance. 

"It's North America's tallest and the world's fastest and the world's steepest hybrid coaster," Andrew Schaffer, the director of design at Busch Gardens, said back in January 2020