Pirates 4D Closed – and its Rumored Replacement

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The Timbuktu Theater is once again dark at Busch Gardens Tampa, with Pirates 4D closing after a short run over the past couple of months. An employee at guest relations confirmed the attraction was shut down after the last performance on Sunday, July 7. The signs from out front were also removed.

One explanation put forth by a park employee is that a new live performance is being planned for the theater, and will include live animals. With Critter Castaways and Iceploration already combining live action performances with animals, it would seem a little unlikely that a third show would debut. It was also mentioned that Pirates 4D may return, likely if crowd levels warranted it.

The theater sat unused most of this year, with signs for the new Madagascar Live show over in Stanleyville appearing on the marquees for awhile this spring. Pirates 4D resumed showing ┬áin anticipation of the busy summer season. But if attendance on the 4th of July is any indication of the overall summer numbers, it’s not surprising they shuttered up this older attraction.


The sudden closure may also have something to do with issues within the theater itself. Several complaints of broken effects and a strange sewage-like smell popped up on BGT’s facebook page recently. On my own visit a few weeks ago, most of the effects in my seat didn’t work, and there was definitely a problem with one of the speakers in the rear of the theater.

In the meantime, it’s a shame that the Timbuktu Theater sits empty with no official word on what’s to come, or if it was just shut down for repairs. With the almost daily thunderstorms that pop up, the attraction was one of the few that remained open while the storms passed. It was also one of the few indoor spots that allowed guests to escape the heat and cool off for awhile.

BGTFans will of course keep you updated on any developments, whether that be a new show for the theater, or a reopening of Pirates 4D. If you’ve heard anything about the closure or the rumored replacement, be sure to join in our discussion on the forums.

  • Tom Belkowski

    Your theory about theater problems may make more sense. We tried seeing Madagascar yesterday when in the park, and couldn’t get near it… the Stanleyville theater was just too small. Seems to me they would be using the Timbuktu theater if they could.

    • Bill @BGTFans

      I think it’s a combination of budget cuts/savings and the fact there were so many issues with effects within the theater. Cheaper to close it up than to invest the money into it. Unfortunately, with such few indoor options in the heat and afternoon rainstorms, it isn’t the most guest friendly decision.