Plan for Visiting Busch Gardens and SeaWorld
Sea World Orlando:
How to get the most from a visit to Busch's three Florida parks.
I might be going to BGT and SWO and possibly Discovery Cove this summer. Have any tips for me? Thanks.
Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.
My advice would be to make sure that you realize that BG is in Tampa and the other two are in Sea World. It takes a good hour or so to go from Tampa to Orlando. Other than that, it sounds good! Discovery Cove should get its own day I think. Also, BG is the biggest of the three if I am not mistaken. You may want to plan to spend more time there. However, that depends upon where you are staying!
I did a comprehensive trip report on Discovery Cove under the 'Trip Reports' section. You may wish to read this before committing a whole bunch of $$ to them.
In summary: If you're really nuts about dolphins, DC is NOT the best place to get a swim-with experience. You'll get more marketing than you will in-water time or quality interaction, and it's overpriced at that.
If you're going to hit DC, go for the aviary and the river-floating. That's fun no matter what, and it's less expensive.
For a decent dolphin swim-with experience in Florida, you'll need to go much further south to the Keys, and hit either Theater of the Sea and/or the Dolphin Research Center.
For one of the best dolphin swim-withs on the planet, you'd need to go across the Gulf of Mexico to Xcaret or Xel Ha in southeastern Mexico.
From K Paul
Posted June 25, 2005 at 4:31 PM
Just got back from Tampa and visited Busch Gardens. It is a HUGE theme park (335 acres) so wear comfortable shoes! Plan on LOTS of walking.
Don't stay at the Baymont which is right next store. We did. No hot water for shower first day and shower head fell off when I tried to adjust it. Also, VERY thin walls (also pancake thin pillows). Had a lot of trouble trying to sleep. Could hear people all through the night out at the pool and in the arcade as lots of summer camp groups stayed there. Anyway, BGT is fantastic and you can sometimes get a free day when you purchase a day as we did when we bought our tickets at the hotel front desk.
You may be better off going during the week as opposed to the weekend due to the crowds.
Went to Discovery Cove 2 years ago. I agree about the dolphins. You get to have your picture taken with one and hold its fin while it pulls you through the water about 6 feet or so but most of the time is spent having the trainer talk to you and telling you about dolphins. Not worth the extra $80 + dollars in my opinion. The real thrill is in the newly expanded aviary (awesome) and snorkling with the tropical fish and sting rays. Also, they feed you a wonderful meal which is included. I also recommend a whole day.
By the way, when we bought our tickets to DC, we also recieved free passes to Sea World to use over the next 7 days. Don't really know if this deal is still going on but its worth checking out.
Enjoy yourself and good luck!!!
From Sherly C.
Posted June 26, 2005 at 3:29 AM
We go to Busch gardens for the band trip every year and it's awsome. our school is in sanford, which is pretty close to orlando so the drive is very long. we have to get on campus at 6 AM and this year, we got to tampa at 8. it would be a good idea to plan your time...
I think you should go to busch gardens first because it's only one park and discovery cove is a resort. when you go to BG, don't take the skyride because it kinda wastes time. it's better to see all the animals up close and if you pass some roller coaster you wanna ride that is before your destination.
one tip is NOT to go to the website and plan out your entire trip (ex-ride the montu, and then scorpion, 5 min. potty break, ect) my friend did that and her group didn't even go close to her plan...all that time wasted.
Be sure to have an extra tshirt with you if it isn't really hot because once, i was at the dolphin feeding area at seaworld and one of the dolphins splashed me all wet. it was very unexpected. and you HAVE to try the shark dining area, it's SO cool. you should spend an entire day on each park...including seaworld because they have a nice firework show at around 7 i think...or whenever it gets dark enough.
My family and I are from Canada. It so happens we will be going to Sea World probably Dec 31 2005. Does anyone know if they do anything special?
Thanks for all the replies guys. I don't even know if we are going yet.
Well yes, if you go to Discovery Cove you do get either a Busch Gardens or Seaworld pass to use within 7 days.
Discovery Cove offers:
Non dolphin swim for $149.00 and it includes:
Coral Reef Pool
Tropical River Swim
Swim Through Aviary
Surfs Up Boarding Experience
Dolphin Swim for just $249.00
Features everything above plus 30 min dolphin swim.
Just realized this post is almost a year old.
However, I would take earlier advice and skip out on DC. Instead I would do Sea World, then take two days and do Adventure Island and Busch Gardens. Adventure Island is a water park directly across the street from BGT. Its more fun, and a lot less expensive than DC is. I really liked DC, but it was all about conservation and meeting the dolphins and not swimming. Out of the hour swim you get about 10 minutes with them...could be more, but seemed like less. They dont like to stress their animals at all. You may get a better look doing the trainer program at SW. You get to interact with the dolphins in the dolphin area, and get to be in the kayak when its feeding time. Its a lot better for the money IMO.
Stuff not to miss:
At Busch Gardens:
1. Montu and Kumba
2. The Bird Gardens and Edge of Africa
2. Journey to Atlantis
3. Any of the Animal Shows
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