Busch Tampa Visit Observations

Busch Gardens Tampa: There are more changes going on at Busch Gardens Tampa.

From Tony Duda
Posted January 14, 2010 at 10:37 PM
I went to Busch Gardens Tampa Thursday afternoon and saw some new changes. The Clydesdale area is now closed and the horses appear to be gone. Even the life size horse statue is gone. At the front gate, a large sign said that the new Sesame Street area will open in 72 days which would be about the last week of March. There is a sale of all Budweiser, Anheiser-Busch and Busch Entertainment Co. souvenirs in a tent in the Nairobi area, mostly t-shirts and glassware but some decor things also.

This week started their live music time of the year. Seems like they added more acts than previous years. There will be 18 different acts between now and March 28. Most are the same old so-so acts but Willie Nelson and Pat Benatar are coming too.

A nice thing happened when I bought a bottle of soda. The vender asked me if I was a pass holder so that I could use it to get a discount. I was and I did. Just a little thing to make the guest happy and it was appreciated.

From Tyler S.
Posted January 15, 2010 at 1:29 PM
At BGE they always ask you whether or not you're a pass holder. Is that not a normal thing in Tampa?

From Tony Duda
Posted January 19, 2010 at 9:28 PM
I don't usually buy more than a soda, so I can't say what they do for dining customers.

From Tony Duda
Posted February 5, 2010 at 3:57 PM
I went back to BGT on Feb. 4 and saw one more change since my last trip. The Clydesdale barn and yard has been changed into an animal encounter area. There was a camel in the yard and an animal handler had a baby kangaroo nearby. Inside, they have photo booths with 'green screens' so that you can be digitally put in photos. The whole area looks like a new revenue source. The closeout sale of A-B items is over and the sale place empty. They have been removing all A-B references but I noticed that most of the water taps in the rest rooms have the A-B eagle logo etched into them and they were still there. This must be a huge expense to remove all those logos. The Sesame Street Safari area still looks on track for a late March opening.

From James Rao
Posted February 6, 2010 at 7:48 AM
Tony, thanks for these periodic updates. Please keep them coming as I may be hitting BGT in late May and love to hear about any progress or changes.

From Tony Duda
Posted February 11, 2010 at 9:21 PM
Went to BGT this afternoon (11th) and saw a couple of new things. At the Tiger Lodge in Jungala, a kids table with drawing supplies and some game items were there, sort of like KidCot stations at the pavilions in Epcot. I never saw this before. I also took 3 skyrides to look over the rumored coaster location. There were survey stakes going under the skyride at the Egypt end and then going up the east side of the ride bending a little more eastward and into the water area of Rhino Rally. They looked like they marked out a road with some wider areas but the stake on the other side of the water, behind the ledge waterfall, had to be for a non-road purpose.

From Pyra Dong
Posted February 12, 2010 at 3:34 PM
From my previous BGT employee information... they ARE planning on converting the Clydesdale area into an animal encounter-ish/related thingy... but it's more of a temporary thing until they find a more permanent attraction.

Somehow I think they should tear down part of the Egypt games area and put a non-animal attraction between that area and the old Clydesdales. I think the only thing going in that area is Montu... more stuff should be added!

From Tony Duda
Posted February 12, 2010 at 8:53 PM
Egypt used to have Akbar's magic carpet motion ride up to 2003 or so which was a nice attraction. That building is still there but hasn't been used since. When that ended, Egypt sort of became a walk-through to get to Montu.

From Tony Duda
Posted February 15, 2010 at 4:45 PM
Another big change I experienced was on Sunday. I went to see Willie Nelson at Gwazi Park and was amazed at the improvement to this area. There was a vast area of seats facing the stage with terraced lawn seating behind them. On each side of the seats was a large covered concrete pad selling food and drink and a new restroom in the stage left side. Asphalt paved paths lead into the area, no more rutted grassy paths. The whole area is now encompassed by a solid wooden fence.

As far as I know, after the next 6 Sundays, the only use of this area is 3 May Saturdays and July 3 and 4. I wonder if these improvements foreshadow many more future concerts not presently advertised.

From Tony Duda
Posted March 11, 2010 at 10:00 PM
Visited BGT Thursday afternoon and saw more new stuff. The 50th anniversary display has been renamed to Busch Gardens through the Years (2010 is 51 years) but it is still there. The Sesame Street Safari of Fun has an opening date of March 27, there still is construction going on but it looks close. Some new survey stakes (with PATH marked on them) were seen about 100 feet north of Nairobi train station between the railroad and the footpath towards Rhino Rally. The weather was bad so no sky ride to get a better look at the assumed path of the new coaster.

From Tony Duda
Posted April 23, 2010 at 7:44 PM
I visited Busch Gardens Tampa today and saw some new construction but not what we expected. The railroad tracks near the Nairobi Station were being dug up and will be replaced and slightly moved to handle a bigger load (I talked with one engineer type). I think he said they will also be putting in a new walking path over the tracks into the Edge of Africa. He didn't know about the new coaster which is rumored to be going in the same area. New path, new tracks...sounds like prep work for the coaster.

I also checked out the new Sesame Street Safari of Fun area. It looks to be a huge hit with the pre-school crowd. If you go, make sure the kids have bathing suits because there are so many water activities and the kids love them. I watched the new stage show '"A" is for Africa' which has 5 characters doing a 15 minute show. Good show and the seating area is shaded but maybe too few seats but the area is small too. I also saw the new Sesame Street 4D movie 'Lights, Camera, Imagination' at the Timbuktu Theater. I was underwhelmed. The beginning is too long in setting up the main part and the show itself was really aimed at the under 9 year old crowd. I don't know how it will hold up for the long run because I really don't want to see it again. Also, the 4D effects are quite subdued, in keeping with the very young target audience.

I went today to see the Jack Hanna animal show and the other stuff was what I did before and after Jack Hanna. Maybe someone with young children can do a better review.

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