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Hands in the air: Busch Gardens is building another roller coaster

Phoenix Rising is set to open at some point in 2024.

Construction continues on the Phoenix Rising roller caster at Busch Gardens. A large crane is in front of a blue track, which sits beneath a largely cloudless sky. The sun is in the background and a building site is below.

The Phoenix is rising.

Photo by TBAYtoday

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s... oh wait, it actually is a bird.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay has been offering ample adventures fit for every adrenaline tolerance since since 1959. The park’s popularity continues today, attracting ~4 million visitors each year thanks to its combination of animal attractions + conservation efforts, kid-friendly activities, entertainment options, food and drink choices, and lung-busting rides.

And now it’s time for the park’s latest development: Phoenix Rising, the park’s 10th coaster.

On your marks

The building process began last November in the park’s Pantopia area. That part of Busch Gardens is one of its most kid-friendly spots, already laden with a classic carousel and a huge games area.

The roller coaster is set to open later this year, potentially as early as the summertime. We had the chance to visit the building site for a hard hat tour + shared a sneak peek on our Instagram.

Get set

But why put a roller coaster in a kids’ area? We’re glad you asked.

Phoenix Rising is designed to be “the best first ‘big kid coaster’ to ride,” as highlighted by Busch Gardens Tampa Bay President Stewart Clark. Its rider height requirement will be just 42 inches (or 3.5 feet). That means the average 6-year-old can hop aboard and enjoy some thrill-seeking fun of their own.

A ground-floor look at the building site at Phoenix Gardens. The winding blue track is in front, with several people in high-viz jackets and hard hats stood nearby behind a barrier. The ground is sandy and construction equipment surrounds the track.

Boots are on the ground.

Photo by TBAYtoday


When we spoke with the creative team behind the coaster, they helped illuminate some of its design aspects:

  • Its light blue track represents the sky, and riders take the place of the phoenix on seats featuring the mythical bird’s colors of orange and yellow.
  • The coaster will have a musical soundtrack to accompany riders. That’s a first for Busch Gardens.
  • Phoenix Rising will reach maximum speeds of 44 mph on an inverted track, meaning riders’ feet are suspended. So mom and dad can also get their adrenaline fix, too.

Whether you’re waiting for for Phoenix Rising, or want to gaze longingly at the animals, tickets are always on sale.

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