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Busch Gardens Tampa or Williamsburg?

Only time for one theme park trip. Which one shall it be?

From Camille Kirk
Posted April 8, 2011 at 11:28 AM
Hello! We are planning to travel to either Busch Gardens Williamsburg or Tampa in late June. We would either do Sea World and Busch Gardens or Busch Gardens and the water park in Williamsburg. Our party ranges from age 4 to 68, and two of us love roller coasters, so looking for something we all can enjoy. Will the weather/crowds be very different for either of the 2 parks at that time of year? Looks like cost and travel time will be about the same, so trying to decide which trip to take. Thanks!


Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.

From Frank Forrester
Posted April 8, 2011 at 5:57 PM
I would recommend the Busch Gardens in Williamsburg not only because it is a very beautiful park, but you are right next door to Colonial Williamsburg & Jamestown. Busch Gardens in Williamsburg will have the new Mach Tower open by the time you go and they will also have the new ride Vanish Point open at Water Country. The other thing you could do is Kings Dominion which is around an hour away from Williamsburg and has a lot of coasters along with a water park onsite.

Busch Gardens does offer a ticket that will get you 7 days of admission to Busch Gardens & Water Country or you can do one that includes Colonial Williamsburg. Kings Dominion is around an hour away from Williamsburg and they have a bunch of coaster along with the Intimidator 305 giga-coaster and they have a water park inside the park.

From Nick Markham
Posted April 9, 2011 at 9:45 AM
Depends on if you've been to either of them. I would reccomend the one you have not been to if that is the case, but if not, I am going to fully support Busch Gardens Tampa/Sea World Orlando. The weather is so much nicer, there is more to do other than theme parks (like beaches, shopping and dining experiences), and if you find time to visit a different park, Central Florida has you covered.

Oh, and if you want to compare the coasters:

BGW:

-Grover's Alpine Express (Zamperla kiddie)
-Loch Ness Monster (Arrow Custom Looping)
-Alpengeist (B&M Invert)
-Apollo's Chariot (B&M Hyper)
-Griffon (B&M Floorless Diving Machine)
-------------------------------------------
BGT:

-Air Grover (Zamperla Kiddie)
-Cheetah Hunt (Intamin Launch)
-Sand Serpent (Maurer Sohne Wild Mouse)
-Scorpion (Scharwkorpf Loop Coaster)
-Kumba (Custom B&M Looping Coaster)
-Montu (B&M Invert)
-SheiKra (B&M Floorless Diving Machine)
-Gwazi (GCI Dueling Coaster)

SWO:

-Shamu Express (Zamperla Kiddie)
-Journey To Atlantis (Mach Water Coaster)
-Kraken (B&M Floorless)
-Manta (B&M Flying Coaster)

EDIT: Also, for those of you who like something other than coasters, Busch Gardens Africa has many animal exibits along with a cool nighttime conert-like show as well as an enclosed theater, Cirque-du-Solei-like experience.

Sea World has aqll of its animal/sea life exibits and many amazing shows with Dolphins, Sea Lions, and of course Shamu, all leading up to a special nighttime water, light, and firework show spectacular!

From Andy Milio
Posted April 9, 2011 at 3:53 PM
I say Williamsburg, better coasters (from what I've heard) and I like Europe better than Africa. And Water Country USA is right next door

From David L.
Posted April 9, 2011 at 5:09 PM
I haven't been to Sea World and BGT in a long time and have never been to BGW. However, roller coaster wise, BGT and Seaworld have more, and in some cases better ones. Add the tons of highly acclaimed animal exhibits in BGT and SW and you have a tough selection to beat. All of them have great shows and themed areas. If you really want a water park you can easily go to one of Florida's(Adventure Island, Wet 'n Wild, Aquatica, Typhoon Lagoon, and Blizzard Beach). All of the parks have good kiddie areas. The temperature would likely be better in Williamsburg but summer is hot everywhere in the US. My pick would be BGT and SW.

From Anthony O'Neal
Posted April 9, 2011 at 9:36 PM
I've been to both parks. Honestly, while I really like both, if you were just doing Busch Gardens, I would say Williamsburg.

Here's why:

SheikRa (FL) is comparable to Griffon (VA)
Montu (FL) is comparable to Alpengeist (VA)

However, Tampa does not have anything like Apollo's Chariot, which is one of my personal favorites, and a highly rated coaster on this site.

Since you're taking the water parks into consideration, though, I would probably go with the Florida duo.

I've also done the Busch Gardens- Kings Dominion tandem. . . some good coasters at Kings Dominion, like Volcano.

From Daniel Etcheberry
Posted April 10, 2011 at 9:18 AM
Williamsburg by far. The reasons are:

* The location of the park is beautiful (The Tampa park is located next to a bad neighborhood)

* It has a dark ride (The Tampa park has none)

* It has a great riverdance show (the Tampa shows are average at best)

* The park is nearby colonial Williamsburg which is so special! (the Tampa park is nearby a university--not very interesting)

On the other hand, Busch Gardens Tampa has animals (BGW does not have them) and with the new coaster (Cheetah Hunt)BGT will have the edge over BGW when it comes to coasters.


From Tom Rigg
Posted April 13, 2011 at 7:29 PM
In full diclosure I am a pass holder at BGW, but have been to BGT recently. As mentioned by other posters, BGW is goregeous. Also, it has some really unique experiences that you don't often get at parks: the rhine river cruise, Festhaus, and the Highland Stables. Also, Apollo's Chariot is the best roller coaster ever built. It's not the tallest, fastest, nor does it have any loops, but it is the best ride experience I've ever had on a coaster. Finally, Water Country USA is a great and highly under rated water park. There are lots of kids play areas and plenty of space to just relax. If you really want to splurge you could get a cabana that allows you to have your own private shaded seating area with lockers and towels.

The only thing I would say BGT has going for it is above BGW is the animals. If that is something you are really looking for, by all means go to BGT as it is essentially a theme park with a zoo.

As far as the weather goes, I would actually say the temps are comparable. The benefit to Virginia is in June the humidity isn't as bad as the late summer, whereas in Florida the humidity sets in in early May.

From Troy Leeson
Posted April 14, 2011 at 1:43 PM
Actually BGW has tons of animals. A few include:
Clydesdales (a baby was just born a week ago...first on the property ever), Sheep, LOTS of Owls, Eagles, Grey Wolves, Wallaroos, A whole aviary of birds, Parrots, Hawks, and a whole 30 minute show (much like the one at SW) filled with over 30 different animals rescued from the local animal shelters

And while BGW may not have as many coasters as BGT...BGW has some of the top ranked coasters in the world. Loch Ness Monster is the first and only coaster IN THE WORLD featuring interlocking loops. Apollo's Chariot is one the the top 10 steel coasters in the world. Alpengeist is the tallest and fastest of its kind. Griffon was the first FLOORLESS dive coaster (SheiKra was the first dive but had a floor, which was taken off after Griffon was built). Also by June the new Mach Tower drop tower should be open which takes riders 240 feet in the air displaying Williamsburg's amazingly beautiful views and will then drop you at 65 mph straight down. Also over in Water Country (the waterpark), the new Vanish Point will be open. This is the tallest slide in the park (75 ft.) and features 4 slides in the tower. 2 of which force you to literally push yourself over a very steep drop. On the other 2, you stand in a box and the floor suddenly drops out from under you and leaves you free falling.

While BGT has more rides and probably nicer weather, BGW has plenty of going on, is the world's most beautiful theme park, has incredibly nice employees, and is steps away from some of the most historic land in the country.

As you can tel...I'm BGW all the way =)

From Anthony O'Neal
Posted April 14, 2011 at 10:49 PM
A little additional information I forgot to include in my last message.

The Williamsburg park is gorgeous, in my opinion. That may be something of interest for some of your group members. It is very "green," and I really liked that. I went last June, and I remember it being pretty brutal, weather-wise, but I seem to recall hearing about them pushing near record highs (mid-90s, if I remember correctly), so my experience was probably unusual in that regard.

Festhaus=awesome. As an additional note on roller coasters. . . you could ride all of the rest of them at the Tampa location, or you could just ride Apollo's Chariot a bunch of times instead in Williamsburg. I would probably take Apollo's Chariot, though the other ones are fun, too.

I do have a question, though. . . does anyone else have trouble getting from Point A to Point B in the Williamsburg park? I remember thinking it was pretty large.

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