Tampa Bay is known for housing some of USA’s most extreme and fearsome (and awesome) thrill rides. Montu at Busch Gardens is no different.
It may not the be the world’s fastest or tallest roller coaster, but Montu still packs a punch. It consists of not one, not two, but SEVEN intense, heart-stopping inversions.
This sets Montu apart from the crowd and makes it a respectable (albeit a little daunting) ride to take on for all my solo theme park adventurers!
Don’t worry though, in this guide, I will equip you with all the information you need to tackle this giant.
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History and Story of Montu Roller Coaster
Sixty years ago, you wouldn’t think that crowds of tourists, adrenaline junkies and brave solo theme park travelers (like yourself) would be flocking to Busch Gardens.
Adding multiple world class attractions to this park early on setup the humble Anheuser-Busch Brewery to make a big noise in the theme park industry.
Just a little garden with free entry whose whole purpose of existence was to attract more visitors to the brewery. The same cannot be said today.
How Old is Montu at Busch Gardens?
Montu opened on May 16, 1996. That makes it 26 years old! I can still remember how jealous I was that my baby sister had a chance to ride it before me when she went on a school field trip.
I can also remember asking her so many questions about Montu and all of the over-the-top answers she gave me. She once told me that there were gigantic crocodiles below your feet when you left the station.
You can only image how rampant my little mind went as I thought about possibly falling out of the coaster train deep into the abyss of the reptilian creatures.
Luckily for me, the crocodiles were small and Busch Gardens would end up removing that feature from the ride.
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Adding Montu to the Roller Coaster Lineup at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
The seven intense inversions broke the record of its predecessor Kumba for the world’s tallest vertical loop.
It held on to the title for a whole year before Busch Gardens Williamsburg built their own version called Alpengeist. Montu might be one of lesser talked about rides these days, mainly because it’s over 20 years old and newer rides have come up.
But like Kumba, Montu’s charm remains unchanged over the years.
And it is definitely among the five must-ride roller coasters on my list and one many coaster enthusiasts dubbed at the best Steel-Inverted Coaster.
Ride Layout of Montu Roller Coaster at Busch Gardens Tampa
So, I have been talking about those seven inversions in nearly every sentence that I think it is time to give you a blow-by-blow account of what happens when you strap yourself into the roller coaster’s seat.
As usual, you should try to get into the corner seat in the front row. Or not if you have a weak stomach. But if you do take on the challenge, the front row will make you feel as if you’re truly soaring in the air.
Once the barricade in front of you descend, it’s too late to back out!
Ride Experience of Montu Roller Coaster at Busch Gardens Tampa
You will be taken to the top of the roller coaster at an achingly slow speed. But once you are at the top, it’s show time!
Montu speeds up surprisingly fast and before you can draw in another breath, it will turn you upside down.
This is something of a curved drop that gives you a really nice view of the Busch Gardens parking lot but you probably won’t be noticing that.
You will be too busy getting flipped about and zooming around all different types of loops from Immelmann Loops to Corkscrew ones.
You will also hurtle though tunnels that will remind you of ancient Egypt. Montu is the name of the Egyptian god of war so it is set in a theme around an excavation area.
But when you are being spun around like a doll in a washing machine, it is a little harder to admire the workmanship of the tunnels. However, the ride itself will be immensely enjoyable and unpredictable.
At the end of the ride, you will come to a staggering halt at the landing deck, just in time to see the Montu’s next batch of victims…
…err… passengers speed away.
Train Design of Montu Roller Coaster
This is another one of Bolliger and Mabillard’s creation. Oh boy, they know how to build!
Many of their creations continue to set the standard in the roller coaster industry. And Montu is no exception. It is a steel masterpiece looming over Tampa Bay (okay, maybe that was a bit of an overkill).
Montu is an inverted steel roller coaster.
Essentially this means that the cars are designed to hang from the rail which is directly above your head. This gives passersby a good look at the flailing legs of the riders when the car is in motion.
That being said, I would never recommend wearing a skirt, dress or flip flops to theme parks like Busch Gardens.
Coming back to the topic, one train has eight cars and each car has four seats across. This makes for a total of thirty-two lucky passengers for the Montu.
Most people who rode the Montu praise how smooth the ride is. The credit goes to Bolliger and Mabillard of course. They simply don’t know how to get it wrong.
But every coaster rider will always have different opinions in what is smooth to them.
How Fast is Montu at Busch Gardens?
Montu can reach speeds of up to 60 miles per hour! Not bad for a classic steel roller coaster.
How Tall is Montu at Busch Gardens?
Busch Gardens Montu roller coaster stands 150 feet tall with a drop of 128 feet which is still impressive today.
Read about another Bolliger and Maillard roller coaster, Sheikra.
Montu Roller Coaster Stats and Fun Fact at Busch Gardens
- In the beginning, live crocodiles were kept below your feet at the beginning of the ride when riders would leave the station. Don’t worry! They have been moved to another area inside Busch Gardens.
- The ride lasts a total of three minutes. This might just be the most terrifying three minutes of your life but I promise you will enjoy every second.
- Montu’s height restriction is 54 inches tall.
- The ride is a daunting 150 feet tall and it is precisely 3,983 feet long.
- Montu’s train hurtles along the tracks at a max speed of 60 miles per hour.
- The drop is 128 feet and at an angle of 50 degrees.
- As I have mentioned many times before it has SEVEN heart-racing inversions. I do not think you will realize why this is such a big deal till you have been flipped around by this roller coaster.
- Montu consists of eight different types of rolls, features and loops. Don’t let this discourage you. Happy screams only, I assure you.
- This Busch Gardens roller coaster opened in 1996.
- When Montu was built, it was the world’s tallest and fastest inverted roller coaster.
Montu vs Kumba: Which Roller Coaster is Better?
Montu was Kumba’s successor, so to speak. Kumba was opened three years before Montu with Kumba having a three second intense interlocking corkscrews.
As mentioned earlier, Kumba basked in the glory of being world’s tallest vertical loop until Montu came along.
Although Kumba might be pushed out of the limelight, in truth there is hardly a straw to choose between Montu and Kumba. The only differences are that Kumba has a higher drop and is umm… swirlier.
Yep, that is the word (straight from the ThemeParkHipster coaster Wiki 🙂 ).
Apart from that, both rides are extreme thrill rides that are sure to make your hat fly off. Both of them are made by the famous Bolliger and Mabillard and are wonderful at making your heart skip a beat in a fun way.
Now you must be questioning why Montu is thought of as a better roller coaster. To tell you the truth, I do not know.
Each ride has its own charm hat cannot really be compared. It is up to personal preference. Personally, for me, Kumba is my favorite between the two.
Fun fact: fourteen couples were married on the Kumba.
Top Tips and Secrets for Your Visit to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
- Ladies, don’t wear a skirt or a dress.
- Ride in the front row for a better view. I mean you obviously know this, but I wanted to state it again.
- Get the Quick Queue Pass to skip the lines on busy days.
- Sit in the back row for a more intense experience.
- Fun fact– the train of the roller coaster actually moves faster when it is filled to its full capacity. There’s some physics for you!
- When it comes to going to Busch Gardens alone, try to talk to other people around you. Theme parks are the best places to make happy memories and life-long friends. So instead of staring at your phone the entire 30 minutes that you are waiting in line, just say hi to the person next to you!
- Try not to be self-conscious. It is alright to go to a theme park alone. It is a waste of your money and time if you are truly not enjoying yourself.
Is Montu at Busch Gardens Scary?
Named after an Egyptian God of War, Montu certainly lives up to its name. Though for those weak of heart, it may present a challenge. It is unique in every aspect and is worth putting on your theme park bucket list.
I promise you when you check it off, you will be smiling and remembering how much you enjoyed the ride.
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Until next time, Happy Park Hopping Hipsters!
(Original Article Date: January 30, 2020/Updated on May 18, 2022)