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Busch Gardens Tampa – Egypt: Montu

Rating: * * * * *
Type: Inverted roller coaster
Time: About 3 minutes
Kelly says: The next best (i.e. scariest) thing to SheiKra

This one is truly terrifying. It is also, for those who care about such things, the tallest and longest inverted steel roller coaster in the southeastern United States.

Montu (named for a hawk-headed Egyptian god of war) takes the formula of Kumba and quite literally turns it on its head. Instead of sitting in a car with the track under your feet, you sit (or should I say “hang”) in a car with the track overhead. Once you leave the station, your feet hang free as you climb to a dizzying 150 feet above the ground before being dropped 13 stories, shot through a 360 degree “camelback loop” that produces an eternity of weightlessness (actually a mere three seconds), and zipped, zoomed, and zapped along nearly 4,000 feet of track that twists over, above, and even into the ground. Fortunately, when you dip below ground level you do so in archaeological “excavation trenches,” in keeping with the Egyptian theme. There’s not much to see in these trenches, but then you don’t spend much time in them and you’ll probably have your eyes jammed shut anyway.

Each car holds 32 passengers. At maximum capacity, 1,700 guests can be pumped through this attraction each hour. Nonetheless, lines can be formidable. If this is your kind of ride, plan on arriving early during busy seasons.

The best seats in the house. The best (and scariest) seats are in the front row. Otherwise, the outside seats are the ones to hope for. Given the overhead design of this ride, the interior seats offer a very obstructed view, which may not be a problem if you tend to ride with your eyes shut most of the time. Getting the front seats is pretty much the luck of the draw, although every once in a while you may be able to step in when the faint of heart opt out of the front row.

Even if you can’t or don’t ride roller coasters, Montu is worth a visit for a close-up view of the crazy people who are riding. Position yourself at the black iron fence that you see as you pass through the massive temple gates that lead to the ride. Here you’ll get an exhilarating close-up look of 32 pairs of feet as they come zipping out of the first trench. If you do ride, don’t forget to look for your terrified or giddy face on the instant photos they sell.

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