A few questions about BGA.

Busch Gardens Tampa: 1) What crowds should we expect on an October weekday? 2) Can we get ride again privileges with our BGE PP? 3) If you could only choose one, would it be BGA or DAK?

From Leon Pfeiffer
Posted February 19, 2008 at 1:25 PM
A couple of questions about Busch Gardens Africa BGA. We are planning a trip to Orlando in October and are considering a side trip to BGA. First, what crowds can we expect on a weekday in October? I would expect light, but I would hope for really light, i.e. 5-10 wait for most rides, most of the day. To me, no waiting in lines would make it more worth the trip.

Second, we are also considering getting Platinum Passes for BG Europe. Has anyone tried to use their PP from Europe to get ride again privileges to BGA or Seaworld. This would be a nice benefit.

Finally, if you could only go to one, would you choose BGA or Disney Animal Kingdom?

Our clan is two adults and four kids, aged 5-10. They may be not be ready for the big coasters at BGA, but how is the rest of the park?

From Tyler W.
Posted February 19, 2008 at 1:43 PM
I had a platinum BEC pass and got reserved seating at Seaworld and i'm pretty sure it is the same at BGA.

From Missy Renee
Posted February 20, 2008 at 7:29 AM
I just recently visited Sea World and BGA with my 3 and 5 year olds. I also have a BGE platinum pass. I honestly cannot answer your question about ride again privileges. But in general there are very good reserved seats at all of the shows in these two parks. There is usually an employee checking everyone's pass because a lot of people miss the reserved seat sign (or choose to disregard it!) It saved us some time because we didn't have to show up quite as early to the shows, and still had excellent seats.

There is a land of the dragons at BGA very similar to the one at BGE. Overall, BGA has a better layout, and is a little larger. There are also a few extra kiddie rides scattered throughout the park...some in Timbuktu, one in the bird gardens. Of course, Jungala should be open by the summer, and that will be a great area for kids.

The animal exhibits are extensive, and the Rhino Rally is a must. You get really close to the animals, and it is a lot of fun. But be warned, a water feature that enhances the ride frequently goes out of order...look for the sign at the ride entrance. They will also make announcements within the park if that portion of the ride closes down. If your children enjoy animals, I think BGA would be a fun trip for your family.

From Leon Pfeiffer
Posted February 20, 2008 at 1:00 PM
Thanks for the info, Missy!

How were the crowds at BGA when you were there? What day of the week did you go? Were most of the rides walk-ons?
Will my kids be too old for the Dragon area?

The youngest are 5, 6, and 7. The oldest is 9. Based on this, do you think they will enjoy BG Europe enough to get season passes there? I am seriously considering it, and I think we will attend on 3/16 to check out the park. I have not been to BGE in over 20 years. I think a lot has changed!


From Missy Renee
Posted February 21, 2008 at 4:00 AM
We were there on a Thursday, and the crowds were light. A few rides were walk ons, and a few were maybe 5-10 minute waits.

Land of the Dragons (BGA) some of the rides your older child has possibly outgrown. A lot of the kiddie rides have a 56 inch height maximum, if that helps. But there is a large netted climbing area/obstacle course that my older niece still enjoyed on her last visit. Outside of LotD there are a few rides your older child may enjoy: cheetah chase is a small family coaster, the log flume ride, several small flat rides like the sandstorm, or the rapids. But there are many attractions the whole family can enjoy together: Rhino Rally, the show Katonga, the animal attractions...

I have always said that there is an awkward period for some older children when they are in between the kiddie rides and the adult rides when there is less for them to do. Some kids are ready for the coasters before they reach the bottom of the height stick. Others (like my two children) will cling to the safety of the kiddie rides for as long as possible. But I truly believe there is something for everyone at all of the Anheuser Busch theme parks. It's family time...and should be fun as long as its enjoyed together.

From Leon Pfeiffer
Posted February 21, 2008 at 5:52 AM
Thanks Missy!

What are your thoughts on BG Europe? I don't think I will get Platinum Passes unless we enjoy this park enough to visit twice a year. We live three hours away in Raleigh.

We went to Kings Dominion once last year and they really enjoyed it. I think there is more there for kids to do, but I know it isn't nearly as nice or pretty as BGE.

My wife and I will probably go to BGE on 3/16 to check it out, but I am interested to see what you think. Certainly I am hesitant about plunking down $1500 for six Platinum Passes for parks 3 hours and 9 hours away from home. But I DO love amusement parks; and my kids do too!


From Missy Renee
Posted February 21, 2008 at 8:22 AM
I am always glad to help!

As far as I am concerned, the platinum pass is a great deal. It gives you both the chance for day (or weekend) trips to Williamsburg a couple of times per year, plus if you vacation in Florida you don't have to pay for tickets to Sea World or BGA. My family has now taken 3 trips to Florida, and they have been very affordable because we don't have to pay for tickets to the parks. The free preferred parking is another valued benefit to my family.

I think you will find there is plenty for your children to enjoy at BGE. There is a Land of the Dragons there as well, with lots of rope nets and bridges that even your oldest should enjoy climbing and exploring. There are several other areas of children's rides throughout the park: some in Oktoberfest, some in San Marco, one in Heatherdowns. Your older child may enjoy Curse of DarKastle or Corkscrew Hill, and maybe some flat rides like the Battering Ram, the Flying Machine, the bumper cars, Roman Rapids, etc.

My favorite time of year is during Howl-O-Scream. Saturdays are very crowded, but the park is so festive. We go (with our children) just about every weekend during that time. You may want to consider a day trip during the fall if you choose the platinum pass.

Anyways, I hope that helps, and I hope you enjoy your trip to the park in March! If it is on the 16th, I should be there, too!

From Carrie Hood
Posted February 21, 2008 at 8:29 AM
Since your thinking of a weekday that is what is typically considered "off-season" you shouldn't be to bad provided to stick to the middle of the week to avoid the Halloscream crowds.

I'm not sure about the plat. passes but if your going in the middle of the week I doubt you'll run into major crowds and need to worry about reserved seating anyway. However, it never hurts to call up the park and ask if they accept that!

The height requirements are 54" for the big coasters (SheiKra, Montu and Kumba), 48" for Gwazi and 42" for Scorpion.

Hope that helps!

From scooby doobydoo
Posted February 26, 2008 at 5:39 PM
Well I mean if your older children like coasters then ride the coasters Gwazi Sheikra Montu and Kumba. The smaller kids will enjoy the river rapids and log flume. If you want to stay dry then go to Land of the dragons.

From Daniel Binder
Posted February 26, 2008 at 10:20 PM

The platinum passes are great, and I bought them almost solely because of the re-ride privileges. All you do is show a ride op the passport, and you'll be riding twice without disembarking.

It's especially handy on Sheikra because the lines are usually longest there and the ride is so short. If you wait it out for front row seats, thats front row seats twice : )

Using them for Kraken, Montu, Kumba and Sheikra and being able to ride everything twice is such a great feature.

I noticed your dream park would be one with very little waiting time in lines. I think Busch ll do just fine, but you should also seriously consider Universal and their express passes.

From steve lee
Posted February 27, 2008 at 5:11 PM
Sheikra's on the re-ride list now?

I gotta get back down there soon...

From Missy Renee
Posted February 28, 2008 at 1:51 PM
Thank you very much, Daniel, for the information about the re-ride privilege. I was unaware of this benefit, and this information will prove useful next time I am in Florida. Much obliged...

From Jason Jackson
Posted February 29, 2008 at 1:32 AM
Another thing about BGE is they are most likely set to probably get a Sesame Street area in 2009, so there will be even more to do then for younger kids.

From Missy Renee
Posted February 29, 2008 at 6:08 AM
If it is true about BGE building a new children's area, then I hope they add rides similar to the new rides in Shamu's Happy Harbor at Sea World Orlando. They are rides that the children will probably not outgrow by the time they are 5 or 6. I was really impressed with Shamu Express, and I think it is an ideal first roller coaster. It gives them the "feel" of a steel coaster without being intense. And the Flying Fiddler is like a small drop tower, but it drops in short bursts instead of one large drop. I notice there are similar rides at Sesame Place (I have never been, just looking on the web site), just with different theming. I would love to see Busch Gardens Europe adds some similar rides.

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