Busch Gardens Tampa Day Trip

Anyone have any thoughts on how a day trip to Busch Gardens works? Tips, Comments?

I really like the park. It has some very well-done theming, but don’t expect the “Disney Magic” The park is quite large, and because it has grown over the decades in a kind of haphazard way, the layout can be very confusing, and I found the in-park signage somewhat lacking. STUDY a map ahead of time and spend time on their website reading the ride/show descriptions. As expected, the coasters and the crazy tall drop-tower have the longest lines (these are serious coasters), the others are usually moderate. There are 3 water rides; the flume does not get you very wet, the other two will soak you (but all 3 are worth riding). I don’t think it’s possible to do everything in one day. They have a for-purchase “express pass”, but I didn’t do it.

If you have “littles” there is a HUGE Sesame Street “park within a park”; I walked through it and it’s very well done; I imagine you could spend an hour or more there.

They have a pretty cool meal plan which is pretty much all you can eat all day (you’re limited to “x” number of items per meal, but can have as many meals as you want). I was there for 2 half-days so it wasn’t worth it to me, but if I had been there a full day, I definitely would have done it. Note - there are NO TS restaurants in BG. The CS fare is OK, nothing to rave about, but even at WDW I’m not a fan of most of the CS offerings.

They have a number of animal encounter tours, as well as 2 “all day VIP” tours which also includes some rides; prices are on a par with (maybe a bit less) Disney. If I had two days there I may have done one, but didn’t want to take the time on a short trip. Again, check the website to see if any interest you. They recommend booking in advance, but even the day before I saw opening for most of them (the photo caravans seem to go the fastest).

The animal exhibits are well done, but don’t expect AKL quality (but being able to pet a kangaroo was pretty cool). The “safari” doesn’t come close to KS. The production quality of the shows is at least as good as (dare I say better than) most Disney shows - if you’re interested in the content.

If you have any other specific questions, I try my best to answer them.

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I forgot to mention that they have a very good app; not as comprehensive as MDE, but it has interactive maps, lists of attractions and restaurants, and showtimes updated for the day. I only wish it had built-in GPS…

Thank you very much for the excellent reply. Ive downloaded the app, it will be a great help. It looks like they added the GPS feature too, Thanks again! Geo