Welcome to the final installment of our top five series for 2020.

In our previous two articles, we covered all of the new updates for both Universal and Disney parks for the calendar year. This time, we shift focus to SeaWorld Parks, which includes the two Busch Gardens parks in the U.S. This year is an interesting one for the company as every single park is getting a brand new roller coaster.


Without any further delay, let us dive into the top five additions in the “year of the coaster” at SeaWorld Parks.

5) Ice Breaker – SeaWorld Orlando

Kicking off our list is the newest roller coaster at SeaWorld Orlando—Ice Breaker. This coaster is rather unique in comparison to the rest of the list. The attraction will have a quadruple launch, starting backward then forwards over a section of track with two airtime hills. On the final backward launch, the train will climb a 100-degree vertical spike before flying down the track. Ice Breaker will include a 93-foot drop and many banked turns as well as a great mix of speed and thrills. The ride is expected to open this spring.

4) Emperor – SeaWorld San Diego

Next up on our coaster list is California’s upcoming tallest and fastest dive coaster—Emperor. This all-new coaster will reach a maximum speed of over 60 mph. Plus, it’ll reach a height of 150 feet and include a 90-degree drop. Emperor will pack in plenty of thrills while emulating the underwater “flight” of the Emperor Penguin. This coaster will also feature a holding brake at the top of the drop that will dangle riders over the edge before releasing them “into the depths of the ocean.” Rides such as SheiKra and Gryffon at the two Busch Gardens parks are the same model of roller coaster from the manufacturer B&M. While Emperor is shorter in terms of height than most dive coasters, it will most assuredly be an adrenaline-inducing ride. Emperor will open this summer at SeaWorld San Diego.

3) Texas Stingray – SeaWorld San Antonio

Over in San Antonio, SeaWorld has developed a brand-new wooden roller coaster. Reaching speeds of 55 miles per hour and dropping 100 feet, this attraction is a great fusion of speed, height, and fast-paced turns as riders face the rattle and roll of the powerful stingray. This ride may not be the “scariest’ coaster on this list, but the wooden construction adds a level of thrill that none of the all-steel coasters can provide. Texas Stingray will be the longest, tallest, and fastest wooden coaster in the state of Texas when it opens this spring.

2) Pantheon – Busch Gardens Williamsburg

This year, Busch Gardens Williamsburg will open a titan amongst coasters with their newest addition— Pantheon. The park themed the coaster to the gods of the Roman Empire, including Pluto, Mercury, Jupiter, Minerva, and Neptune, with an aspect of the track reflecting their respective powers. The attraction will be the fastest multi-launched coaster on Earth, and according to the park’s website, will feature 2 inversions, 4 launches, 5 airtime hills, a 95° drop, a height of 180 feet, and a record-breaking top speed of 73 mph. Without a doubt, this will be one of the most highly anticipated coasters in any park this year. Pantheon will open this spring in the Fiesta Italia section of the park.

1) Iron Gwazi – Busch Gardens Tampa

iron Gwazi construction via Amusement Insider

We have finally arrived at number one. What makes Iron Gwazi the top go of this list? We are glad you asked. Busch Gardens Tampa closed down their famed lion and tiger-themed dueling wooden coaster—Gwazi—several years ago and it sat abandoned as the park dealt with financial issues. Fast forward to now and a new beast has emerged in the park. The famous Rocky Mountain Construction (RMC) coaster manufacturer has stripped the original coaster of its track and some of its support structure then added on to it and installed a brand new steel track. This fusion of wood and steel allows traditional wooden coasters to reach unbelievable heights and go upside-down. Now themed to a mighty crocodile, Iron Gwazi will be a 206-foot tall hybrid coaster with a drop of 91 degrees. Additionally, it’ll feature three inversions and will have lap bar-only trains, creating a truly intense experience. Iron Gwazi will growl on the scene in spring.

That wraps up all of our top five lists for the major theme park destinations this year. Fans have so much to look forward to in the coming months and beyond. As projects debut, worldofuniversal.com will be there to keep you informed. Until then, stay tuned here for the latest across the theme park universe. 


Tyler has a passion for both writing and photography. He considers Universal Orlando his second home. His goal is to provide helpful tips, park updates, and any news to keep our community up-to-date.


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