Busch Gardens vs SeaWorld

Wow, the tiger and whale encounters both sound amazing! For those who usually stay in a non Disney/Universal hotel/resort, is International Drive a good place to get a hotel? A lot of the hotels we are looking at are there, but we’ve always stayed in a house, or on the resort, so I am not sure.

Also, what are the average crowd levels usually like in comparison to Disney or Universal? Are they usually pretty similar (if it’s a 9 at Disney, is it usually as busy at SeaWorld), or usually less crowded? It would probably be one day at each park, or if we chose only one park, maybe two days. The driving for us isn’t a problem.

I could not count the number of hotels along I Drive. They range from deluxe to very budget. I think every major chain is there (or a block or two off).


I’ve never stayed on International Drive but I’ve driven it and been to restaurants there and always thought it looks an exciting place to stay.

Loads to do there

If WDW is projected to be at a 9 when you are headed there you don’t want to stay on I- Drive- it becomes a ‘giant parking lot’ with terrible congestion- think rush hour in a smaller city and that will give you some perspective. Better choices elsewhere. If you don’t have the UG, it is worth the price just for the local maps and suggestions on where to stay and the shortcuts around traffic. SW will be busy on days that WDW is busy- but not as bad. It is a big park and crowds dissipate onto rides and into shows, so it won’t seem as busy as it is. Tampa is close, but driving to and from Orlando can be busy on I-4, especially early in the day when people are going to work, and in the late afternoon/early evening. Traffic generally flows pretty good, but there are some ‘stop and go’ exits and areas- so pay attention when driving. We drive I-75 and I-4 pretty regularly back and forth to WDW, and there are places where you will literally have to come to a very fast stop to avoid the person in front of you. Interstate driving down here is pretty intense- you will see…

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When we went to seaworld and busch gardens we stayed at renaissance seaworld. That’s a great hotel and cheaper than staying at disney or universal hotels

It’s a 5 min walk across the road to the seaworld entrance from the hotel and also the same walk to catch the shuttle to busch gardens and back

And getting the busch gardens shuttle from there means you are about as close as you can get to tampa from orlando in term of driving distance as well

Should also say the fireworks, music and glow party they do at seaworld was very very good in the evening as well

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I would def spend one day at each park.

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Has anyone stayed at a Busch Garden hotel? I see a deal with 14 day tickets and express pass at both BG and SW.

I considered it but the reviews of the tampa hotels weren’t great.

Do you need the paid fast pass at Sea World to enjoy one day there? (it would be ok if we don’t do everything in one day, but would the lines be miserable without it?)

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I am going to come back to this thread too. I looked at the BG and SW hotels and I think I want to stay in Orlando. Does anyone know how often the shuttle run? Would Uber or a rental be a better choice? Unfortunately I think I still want to do two days at BG.

We have never used the paid Quick Queue option at Sea World. We have accomplished a lot by arriving at park opening, doing rides and then doing shows.