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Sand Serpent
Sand Serpent wild mouse overview.jpg
Sand Serpent pictured in 2007
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Park section Pantopia
Coordinates 28°02′19″N 82°25′21″W / 28.038523°N 82.422389°W / 28.038523; -82.422389Coordinates: 28°02′19″N 82°25′21″W / 28.038523°N 82.422389°W / 28.038523; -82.422389
Status Operating
Opening date February 2004
Replaced Crazy Camel
Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Park section Oktoberfest
Coordinates 37°14′06″N 76°38′42″W / 37.235°N 76.645°W / 37.235; -76.645
Status Relocated to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Opening date April 12, 1996
Closing date 2003
Replaced by Curse of DarKastle
General statistics
Type Steel – Wild Mouse
Manufacturer Mack Rides
Designer Werner Stengel
Model Wild Maus
Lift/launch system Chain lift hill
Height 45.9 ft (14.0 m)
Length 1,213.9 ft (370.0 m)
Speed 28 mph (45 km/h)
Duration 1:50
Sand Serpent at RCDB
Pictures of Sand Serpent at RCDB

Sand Serpent is a Wild Mouse roller coaster located at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay in Tampa, Florida. The ride originally operated at sister park Busch Gardens Williamsburg in Williamsburg, Virginia as Wild Izzy in 1996 and later as Wilde Maus from 1997 to 2003. When the roller coaster relocated to the current park, it was renamed Cheetah Chase from 2004 to 2011 before coming into its current name.

Sand Serpent was manufactured by Mack Rides and designed by Werner Stengel. The roller coaster reaches a maximum height of 45.9 feet (14.0 m), with a maximum speed of 28 miles per hour (45 km/h), and a total length of 1,213.9 feet (370.0 m). Upon opening at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, the roller coaster was received generally well by the public, though its relocation at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay was minimally covered.

History

Wild Izzy 1
Sand Serpent during its run at Busch Gardens Williamsburg

In December 1995, Busch Gardens Williamsburg announced Wild Izzy, a Mack Rides Wild Mouse roller coaster, would be added to the park for the 1996 season in the Oktoberfest section. It was named after the mascot of the 1996 Summer Olympics, since Busch Gardens was a sponsor of the games. Originally in January, it was reported that Wild Izzy would open later in March. Though in March, the roller coaster was announced to open in April. Wild Izzy officially opened on April 12. After the 1996 season, it was given a European theme and renamed to Wilde Maus.

In November 2003, filings by the park for a new attraction were uncovered in James City County that would replace the Wilde Maus roller coaster. After seven years of operation at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, the roller coaster closed in 2003 where it was removed and replaced with the dark ride, Curse of DarKastle. In December 2003, the St. Petersburg Times reported that the Wilde Maus would be shipped to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay in January 2004 and be renamed to Cheetah Chase. The roller coaster opened in February in the Timbuktu section of the park.

Cheetah Chase replaced the defunct Crazy Camel flat ride that opened up with the Timbuktu section of the park back in 1980. In 2011, the ride was rethemed from Cheetah Chase to Sand Serpent. This was done to reduce confusion with the park's new attraction, Cheetah Hunt. The roller coaster is now situated in the Pantopia section of the park, which was renamed with the introduction of Falcon's Fury, the park's signature drop tower.

Characteristics

Sand Serpent is a stock Wild Mouse roller coaster model manufactured by Mack Rides and designed by Werner Stengel. Specifically, the ride model is the "Wild Maus", and the "Compact Mobile" version. Originally, the track was green and had yellow supports, with each car featuring colors from the Olympic rings along with lightning bolts and stars. The current iteration features blue track and orange supports, with the cars variously colored solid blue, orange, or red.

Sand Serpent reaches a maximum speed of 28 miles per hour (45 km/h), with the track having a total length of 1,213.9 feet (370.0 m), and is encompassed in a 144.3 feet (44.0 m) by 62.3 feet (19.0 m) area. The roller coaster operates with single cars that navigate the layout. The four riders per car are arranged in two rows with two seats across each. Unlike similar Wild Mouse roller coasters produced by Mack Rides, the Sand Serpent model does not feature dips in the track prior to the brake run.

Ride experience

The car exits the station into a left turn and enters the 45.9 foot (14.0 m) tall lift hill. Following the lift, the car descends downward and goes into a series of 180-degree turns that run parallel to each other. After the series of turns, the car makes a wider continuous downward turn until it straightens out. The car then heads forward into a hill and two tight left turns. Thereafter the car dips downward and ascends another hill where it takes another two left turns. The car then descends into another drop where the train heads upward into two tight left turns. Following the turn, the car descends into a hill and into the final brake run where it makes a final left turn into the station. One cycle of the roller coaster takes around two minutes to complete.

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