Saturday, June 30, 2012

Busch Gardens Tampa Review


I booked a package deal online. It was Buy 2 Nights, Get 1 Night Free at a Busch Garden Tampa Official & Approved Hotel. We chose the Hampton Inn & Suites Tampa North. We loved it. I also purchased the Busch Gardens Tampa with Adventure Island Free Length Of Stay Ticket. I thought that meant I could go to either park as many times as I wanted for the length of my stay. Unfortunately, the tickets were for one (1) day at Busch Gardens and (1) day at Adventure Island only. I didn't find that out until I was going through the gates at the park. So I ended up having to get a rain check because it was raining HARD and didn't look like it would let up anytime soon. The weather was supposed to be sunny the next day. The guest relations person was very nice about helping us get our rain check. However, I was very disappointed in the misleading advertisement of the ticket. Here is what the ticket's Legal Terms states: "Unlimited admission to Busch Gardens Tampa & Adventure Island. Ticket expires 14 consecutive days from date of first park visit. Valid during regularly scheduled operation hours." Nowhere does it state that this ticket is for one (1) day at each park.

So we came back the next day and had a wonderful time at the Sesame Street Safari of Fun. We ended up staying there most of the day so we only went on two other rides in the entire park. It was a bit disappointing. We tried to make it to the Cheetah Run show and the other scheduled shows, but the park is just so big it was hard to make it anywhere in time. Plus we had a full-sized stroller that we brought from home and couldn't take on the train or the Sky Ride. So we were slow going getting around the park. But we did feed the kangaroos. Which costs $5 per cup for the feed. It is free just to go in and see them. Most of the kangaroos were probably full from an earlier feeding and didn't eat much so don't bother buying the feed. We saw flamingos as soon as we got in the gate and even took pictures beside them. We saw alligators, elephants, tortoises, tigers, orangutans, and gorillas. The children had a good time. Sesame Street Safari of Fun had rides just the right size for all the children. The only thing they didn't like was the Grover Flyer roller coaster. I guess it was too fast for them. They saw a show with Elmo, Cookie Monster, Zoe, and Grover. They took pictures with Big Bird. There are two water play areas and a clean bathroom for the children to change from their regular clothes into their swimsuits. Play was great for even my one-year-old. There was a tree house, rope bridges, the biggest jumpy thing I have ever seen, merry-go-rounds, boat rides, etc. The entire park is incredibly clean.

I also ordered dining plans for us. For adults it ran about $32 and $15 for children to eat ALL day at select restaurants throughout the park. It was worth the money and the selection was good. If you've ever been to an amusement park, you know one meal break can run you $50 or more easily. So to eat all day for $32, every time you go through the line was pretty awesome. Meals included an entrée, side, dessert and drink. The portions are good as well. I would definitely recommend the dining plan to anyone visiting the park.

The trains that took us from the parking lot to the park entrance ran regularly and the wait was not bad at all. It ran very smoothly and I was pleased with it.

Busch Gardens is a VERY big park and it would take several visits to see it all. We didn't get to go to Adventure Island because we were only there Thursday evening through Sunday. It was raining all day Friday. Although the Busch Gardens is open 365 no matter what the weather, we chose to go to Busch Gardens on our sunny day, which was Saturday. We left on Sunday morning so we couldn't go to Adventure Island. Overall, we had a great visit except for the ticket mix-up. I would definitely recommend Busch Gardens reword that ticket deal so no one else is confused. I would recommend this park to families and any others. I would go back again.

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