A theme park gift under $10? Theme Park Insider: 2016 Year in Review
Park hours 9am to 10pm.
95 degrees and brutally hot and humid.
Arrived right at 9 when the park opened, went to Guest Relations to renew my passes to both Seaworld and Busch. Exceptional value at $150 for FL Resident renewal. Added in Aquatica for $60 more. I have long thought Busch Gardens works hard to offer good value for your money. Today was no exception. New deal for summer at both Seaworld and Busch Tampa. Dine at any restaurant after 5pm and receive 30% off entire check, for passholders only although a "savings card" is available for purchase which provides these discounts.
Montu running max capacity 3 trains and line moving right along.
Sheikra running at 4/5 capacity, 4 trains and lines moving nicely. I'm impressed at the group and load operators at Sheikra. These folks know what they are doing and operate at a very efficient pace.
Kumba running 2 trains, 2/3 capacity. Again lines moving along, no long waits.
Gwazi running 2 trains each at Tiger and Lion. Awesome wooden coasters, no trip to Busch is complete without a couple rides on each.
Keep in mind that these are all outdoor coasters with no A/C in the queue areas. Plenty of fans circulate the hot humid Florida air and you are mostly out of the direct sun.
Sky Ride fully operational as was Rhino Rally.
Serengeti Express Train running 3 trains on the tracks. Fun train ride around and through the animal areas.
Jungala had their white and bengal tigers out although they were a little lazy in the brutal heat. The Oragutans were apparently hiding in the shade somewhere.
The beautiful pink flamingo Animal Ambassadors were their usual active, playful selves. My wife loves interacting with them and one playful guy let her touch him and pet him without too much complaint on his part. They seem to truly enjoy the attention and interaction as much as we do.
Cheetah Chase, mouse ride, 7 cars running maybe 20 minute wait.
Scorpion only runs one train but lines weren't too bad. Fun coaster that children can safely ride and experience going upside down with no shoulder harness.
Katonga had 3 shows in their wonderfully air conditioned theater. The cast at Katonga brought their A game for the 3pm show. IMHO, only Lion King at Animal Kingdom can top Katonga and then only barely. Wonderful show, loved the performances.
New magic show in the evening at the Moroccan Palace Theater where Katonga shows. The Voice of Magic with Darren Romeo. Fantastic 45 minute magic show.
Colony House pizza is excellent as usual. Gone is the delicious hot roast beef sandwich though. I was hoping it would make a comeback for Summer Nights but nope. I've got to throw in a word about the ice cream sundaes and milk shakes at Sultan's Sweets. Thick rich milk shakes for $4 and an excellent waffle cone sundae complete with chocolate ice cream, hot fudge, whipped cream and sprinkels for $5.
My wife had the shake, me the waffle cone. Both excellent. (Universal take note!!)
There is so much to see and do at Busch Tampa that you need a full day, from open to close, there to experience everything.
Busch Gardens provided us with an excellent experience once again. You can pretty much always rely on that.
I absolutely love that place.
July 4 they are having a concert by Starship followed by fireworks. In a way it's better that the park is down in Tampa. It's a bit of a drive from Orlando, but not too far, and not a lot of tourists, except for some savvy Brits, bother going there. It's mostly coaster junkies like me driving down from Orlando plus the locals who have been going there for years. Great place. Love it there.
Tough 96 degree day. Humidity was brutal.
Yeah it was already hot when we got there at 9am. Straight to Montu for a front row ride then around again for a ride in the back. Montu started the day running 3 trains, max capacity. Over to Sky Ride for the trip across the park to Sheikra. As soon as the car left the building it started raining. Not heavy rain but enough to get us wet. After 10 minutes though the rain stopped and we headed to Sheikra. Sheikra running 5 cars, max capacity at 10am. Awesome front row rides on Sheikra, my favorite ride in Florida.
Walk over to Kumba, running 2 trains, 2/3 capacity as is the norm there. Short lines though and a front row ride. By now it's really hot and humid. Crowds fairly light so far but that was to change. Rhino Rally fully operational, Cheetah Chase running their usual 7 cars and Scorpion running it's single train. The Black Rhino was out, taking in the crowds with her usual indifference. The Pink Flamingo Animal Ambassadors were happy to see us. They were a bit feisty in the hot sun, honking and spreading their wings at each other. My wife was able to play with one though. He'd pretend to look away while she petted him and then he'd turn and honk at her. Very playful birds these flamingos.
The Serengeti Express train had 3 trains on the tracks for a ride around and through the animal areas. Lot's of giraffes out as well as a crash (herd) of white rhinos.
Gwazi running 2 trains each at Lion and Tiger. Great ride on both and massive air on Lion.
Keeping in mind a fellow contributor's advice on night rides on wooden coasters we went back after dark and got on the last train out, it closed down at 9pm for the fireworks at 9:30. It's not really that dark as the track is somewhat lit up but a fun ride indeed.
Katonga had 3 shows and the cast really put on a performance at the final 3 pm show. That lady can really belt out Celebrate the Light. Also by 3 pm it was 96 outside and a comfortable 70 inside.
Colony House pizza excellent as always. Hot and fresh, that's some good stuff.
Busch Gardens offers a 30% discount on meals purchased after 5 pm so we had some burgers and chicken strips at Zagora. Food came out steaming hot. Only problem there is that you have to eat outside in the heat.
Busch also offers a free 6x8 photo to passholders so we collected that as well.
Sultans Sweets is still churning out delicious ice cream cones and shakes.
By now though it's 8 pm and we're in Gwazi Park while Starship takes the stage. This is the current iteration of the old Jefferson Airplane. I have no idea if any of these guys were members of the original band though. The singer who takes Grace Slick's place is a 30 year old girl named Stephanie. Nice voice. Anyway they played for about an hour. By this time the place is packed full, real full like nowhere to move full and the fireworks started at 9:30.
Excellent fireworks show from the folks at Busch Gardens.
Time to head to the exits.
Busch Gardens, and their employees, delivered as fine a Fourth of July day at the park as anyone anywhere.
You can pretty much always rely on that.
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