Busch Gardens during Christmas week?

After our Universal Studios trip we are driving to Clearwater Beach to spend a relaxing week at the beach. We are considering buying tickets for one day at Busch Gardens, probably on December the 23rd or the 24th, our dilemma is that everyone should be on holidays those days, and since the park opens at 10am, the rope dropped probably is going to work for one or two rides, and then the waiting times for the rides we want to do or redo would be too long to consider

As much as we love animals, we have a very impressive local zoo, so we are not going there for the animals, we are only going for the biggest rollercoasters.

So the question is, do you guys think is it worth it to sacrifice a day at the beach to go to Busch Gardens in a day that may be too busy to enjoy?



I don’t know if @snowdiz is ever on the forum, but she is active on chat and she may have an answer for this. I know she is now a snowbird and has visited Busch Gardens several times. I, myself,do not know.

They do sell an express pass type thing… maybe look into that and see if it fits into the budget? I’ve only ever been there in January when it was cold and the place was empty.

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I rarely use Forum, and I wish I could help. But I’ve never been to Busch Gardens unfortunately. I have AP’s to WDW, Universal, Sea World, and the new water park at Margaritaville, so ask me about any of those, LOL.

I am a coaster junkie that went to Busch Gardens last October. I actually rented a car when I was staying at Kidani just to drive there. If you like coasters, yes, I would go. I would suggest on those dates you add their version of express pass. I would also buy the one day ticket that includes unlimited quick service food and pay for preferred parking (the parking is a must do).

Keep in mind, the staff is not as engaged as Universal or wdw. Sometimes they pay more attention to their phones. If you have an uneven amount in you group they struggle with figuring out how to load you on the same run.

There are some really cool coasters! Stay away from the water rides!

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Whoops! Sorry! Clearly, I don’t pay close enough attention.

Thanks Nikkipoooo, I looked into the “Quick Queue” and on the week I’m going is $119 per person, with taxes for four it will be around $490 on top of the price of the tickets. Not sure that I want to expend $1000 for one day tickets to Bush Gardens, but I guess since you guys say is worth it I will go, rope drop and hope for the best. If is just impossible I may pull the trigger at the park and buy the quick queue.

Thanks PrincipalTinker, Can you explain why the preferred parking is a must do?

Since the park open at 10 am we will be there at 9 am, I want to be the very first, so if there will be people at 9 am I’ll show up at 8 am. I’m planning to maybe stop in my way to clearwater and ask at the park at what time I need to be there to be the very first in those days.

I watched some videos and I’m confuse about the parking situation. It looks like when you park you can’t just walk to the entrance of the park, you have to wait for a trolly to pick you up. I want to avoid this trolly thing if I can. If I can I will just walk to the entrance of the park with my family so I don’t have to lose the advantage of being earlier than most people.

There is a section of the parking lot that is only preferred parking. I believe it was $10 more and it was significantly closer. You cannot walk from the regular lot. You can from preferred!

There is also an option to buy an express pass at some attractions so if you don’t want to buy them all you might decide to buy one or two.

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Thanks PrincipalTinker, Good to know!

I’m definitely paying for the preferred parking. We decided to go on the check out day from the Clearwater’s hotel, which is December 24th, in that way we’ll only lose a little bit of beach time.

I was reading on trip adviser last night from users from December Christmas week of last year, and I think is going to be tough because almost everyone buy quick queue, therefore the quick queue line has a queue that never stops, making the regular line almost stationary lol. By 9 am there are already lines of cars waiting on the parking lot for their parking assistance to designate their spot. If we can be at the parking around 8:00 am I think we should be able to get the preferred parking and be the first at the gate.

I know this is a bit off topic, but I want to ask about the rides.

Not sure if you read my post before where I explained that my wife and I were afraid of rollercoasters until our last year trip to Disney, where our kids out of the blue showed a crazy tolerance and love for thrill rides so we did it all the “fasters” ones we could find a few times.

This year we bought a season pass to our local theme park, which I have never been in over 20 years of living here, so following the kids lead we started to do medium coasters and big wood coasters, the experience was awful, the wood ones shakes uncomfortably since beginning to end and the medium coasters make your head shake and add weird uncomfortable pressures in your back, neck or shoulders as it turn, because of the track design mixed with in some cases where confined harness that goes all the way to the side of your head, where you head keep smacking against, any way I said to the kids let’s go for broke and try the big scary dive coaster one time, this will confirm if we like coasters or not.

It was terrifying to climb that hill with the uniformed metal clicking sound as the chain pulls you up the hill, sounded like we were going to some torture chamber, once we were close to the edge I heard my son say I don’t want to be here, that was awful to hear, we were sitting in the front row so when they hanged us for 3 seconds looking down to the abyss it was terrifying, I closed my eyes hope for the best, the drop happened I felt my body down on the sit again as we were going into the loop and it felt amazing, the speed, the confortable harness, the turns, more loops everything supper smooth! It was love at first site for us, not so much the wife but she is a trooper. My girl was in heaven and she is the smaller one, we got off the line and went right back into again.

Then we went and did the two other big coasters in the park, one is 305 feet tall and we equally loved them, the drop is still a bit scary but the ride is so enjoyable, now we go almost every weekend and only do the big coasters, any way I shared all these to ask you guys:

What rides in Busch Gardens are smooth and which has bumpiness?

I want to avoid jerky and bumpy rides. Speed, loops turns and height we are good with.

Thanks and sorry for the long post!

Sorry for the delay, I want to look up a couple of names. I would never ride Stanley Fall Flumes (soaked to the bone- little children pointing and laughing at me) or Falcon’s Fury (just trust me- drop ride but moves to put you face first) again. I think Sand Serpent was bumpy.

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Thanks PrincipalTinker!