Tuesday, September 5, 2017

YouTube Tuesday #9: Busch Gardens Tampa Revealed

The power of the Travel Channel special returns.

This gem comes from the BGT era when Gwazi was “new,” which gives you an idea of what to expect.

Last week was our introduction to these early 2000s Travel Channel specials, but to be fair, our entry last week was the behind the scenes look at a hotel complex. Now we get a full peek into the world of theme parks. And, dare I say, it will be far from the last.

I feel like you could fill 30-40 hours of documentary TV time on theme parks. It seems like there is always some additional quirk to talk about. I have a few theme park-specific documentaries coming down the pipe for all of you (you’re welcome!) and I can’t help thinking that I could watch these shows for days. No matter which roller coaster is being talked about (whether it’s behind-the-scenes at the Gwazi tower position, as we see here, or the generator at the Incredible Hulk Coaster, or the machine shop, or the train barn) I always feel like I’m learning something new, even though I’ve seen about six different park maintenance crews talk about what it takes to perform preventative maintenance on wooden coasters every day (hint: they have to WALK THE TRACK EVERY MORNING…you’ll get used to hearing this in a few weeks). But regardless of the repeating information, it always seems new because they’re talking about different rides. It’s a weird thing to get excited about. But that’s why I love watching these videos so much.

What I love about watching Busch Gardens Tamps Revealed is the fact that BGT really is a hybrid park. When you think about it, this is far more rare than what we might think. How many other parks have duel purpose to BGT’s extent, which is practically as much of a zoo as it is a theme park? After all, there’s BGT, SeaWorld, DAK…but who else could truly be considered a hybrid park? There are legions and legions of thrill parks, amusement parks, theme parks, zoos, aquariums. But how many of them have a true 50/50 split, or close to it?

Because of this split, the documentary itself showcases both the animal encounters (safaris, bird shows, etc.) and the ride mechanics (including the rare-for-TV look at the operator control panels on multiple attractions). A nice bonus, we also get to see the behind the scenes at the food service locations, the traveling calypso band preparation, and the weather detection system for the park (awesomely stationed at the skyway buildings).

The cherry on top is the “exclusive” preview of the “all-new” Rhino Rally, which basically acts as a six minute-long infomercial. I have to say though, looking at the CGI mock-ups of the eventual ride made me think that Rhino Rally really wasn’t a bad idea (though the theme was questionable and the concept could have placed more emphasis on the animals). I unfortunately was never able to ride Rhino Rally, since the only time I visited since the ride opened it was broken down. But, it was quite interesting to see how excited the BGT executives were about that ride.

This is part of the reason why I love Travel Channel specials so much. They combine real backstage operations with what is essentially a vacation planning video. And I love both. Enjoy your trip through the Tampa wilderness, and we’ll have another theme park special rarin’ to go for your enjoyment next week!

--ParkScopeJeff (@ParkScopeJeff)

Other YouTube Tuesday Articles:

#8: Inside Universal's Hard Rock Orlando

**Send Jeff a line at HamGamgee@gmail.com. We appreciate your feedback!

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