Python (Busch Gardens Tampa Bay)
Python was a steel corkscrew roller coaster at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay in Tampa. Built by Arrow Development in 1976 and opened on July 1, 1976, it was the first roller coaster since the park's opening in 1959. The ride was located in the Congo section of the park near Stanley Falls Flume and Congo River Rapids.
The ride received a repaint in 2003, the trains were also painted with the park's current logo, switched from the classic Python logo.
Python was permanently closed on October 31, 2006, and demolished for scrap shortly after. The removal of Python was necessary to make way for the park's Jungala attraction, and was part of the largest renovation in Busch Gardens' history.
Along with Python, the area's Tiger's Den gift shop, and Python Soft Serve have been torn down as a part of the Congo renovation.
Python was a stock model roller coaster made by Arrow Dynamics, which was a clone of Knott's Berry Farm's now defunct Corkscrew roller coaster (which now operates at Silverwood amusement park in Athol, Idaho).
The ride began when the train slithered out of the station into a short U-turn. Following the turn was the 70-foot-tall (21 m) lift hill. Once the train was at the top of the hill, the train dipped down again into a banked turn. The banked turn then took riders down toward the first drop, which gave a sensation of airtime. Following the drop, the train then ascended a small hill and goes down a turn towards the double corkscrew element.
Following the signature double corkscrew element, the train then went through another U-turn into the brake run and returned to the station.
A few weeks after the ride opened, a 39-year-old heart patient died shortly after riding the Python. The ride's tagline ("I challenged the Python and lived!") had to be pulled.