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Busch Gardens' Cheetah Hunt up and running

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Published:   |   Updated: March 21, 2013 at 02:30 PM
TAMPA -

The Cheetah Hunt roller coaster is back up and running after a safety sensor glitch kept Busch Gardens' newest attraction from operating on its opening day.

The theme park's facebook page said the coaster was rolling along by 2 p.m.

"We know it's hot out there today, and many of you traveled from near and far to be amongst the first to ride Cheetah Hunt," the park's posting said. "We appreciate the patience and support you've shown us today...now go and enjoy this incredible new ride!"

The ride worked fine during a VIP event Thursday night, said spokeswoman Jill Revelle. But as happens with some new rides, glitches popped up. The ride is lined with safety sensors to detect everything from birds landing on the track to excessive heat, and Revelle said a series of those sensors tripped in error, preventing the ride from starting.

The ride was supposed to open at 9:30 a.m. As of noon it was not running, but Revelle said at the time that they expected to fix the problems in a matter of hours.

The 4,469-foot-long ride accelerates to more than 60 mph through the push of a series of magnetic launchers, and it hugs the ground, whipping back and forth – hence the theme of a predator cat chasing prey.

As now happens with very-public calamities, fans took to Twitter to vent. "Ride is not open. This sucks," said @nicole_jets from South Florida. "We came all the way here for nothing."

By mid-afternoon, her attitude changed considerably.

"after 2 hours finally rode Cheetah Hunt! So worth it, great ride!" she said via Twitter.

Revelle characterized the glitches as not unexpected.

"When you get a new ride, it can take time to calibrate all the sensors," Revelle said. "Sheikra had glitches, too, on its opening … We will wait until the trains are all running perfectly before we put any people on it."

rmullins@tampatrib.com

(813) 259-7919

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