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Busch Gardens Tampa vs Disney's Animal Kingdom

A matchup of two great Theme Parks which have a lot in common. Which is best?

From Justin M
Posted January 20, 2012 at 6:37 PM
I feel these two parks make an interesting comparison and once you break it all down it makes it hard to choose a clear winner. They both have very good themes that center around Animals and they share some similar African themes as well. Both have some excellent rides and good theme park food. So which is best BGT or DAK?


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

From David L.
Posted January 20, 2012 at 8:30 PM
I'm going to go with Animal Kingdom. While BG trumps AK in the ride department with its many mildly themed coasters and typical amusement rides, Animal Kingdom's food, shows, Animal Exhibits, and above all, themed lands, provide better experiences at animal kingdom than the ones at Busch Gardens.

From Andrew Carrieri
Posted January 20, 2012 at 9:08 PM
To me Animal Kingdom is like a very nice zoo with some of my favorite Disney attractions mixed in. Busch Gardens Tampa (I've only been to the Williamsburg park) seems to be the opposite at this point: a thrill park with some [large scale] animal attractions thrown in.

I'm certainly not an "animal person" so I'd go Busch Gardens if I was forced to pick one of these parks. I do love Animal Kingdom, and the park fits in great with a Disney park hopper package, but Busch Gardens seems like it would have more attractions to fill out a day.

From N B
Posted January 22, 2012 at 12:44 AM
We have visited Busch Gardens Tampa on almost every trip to Florida. Although we liked AK, it always seemed half finished. BG was way less crowded and they have a nice coaster line-up.

I think next time we will hit the beach during the day, and try BG at night. It seems to thin out around 5PM and we may get to do a lot more riding.

From Ashleigh Noad
Posted January 21, 2012 at 5:14 AM
I think that they are both very different; they both have their own unique idea on the 'theme park with animals' (calling either of them a zoo is practically a crime...).

Busch Gardens reminds me of some form of Rollercoaster Tycoon mash-up. It has some excellent coasters which keep thrill junkies occupied as well as a brilliant kids area for younger children. In the form of rides, there aren't many quality attractions for the whole family to enjoy however. Non-Coaster riders wont find much in the form of quality attractions. A couple of flumes, a rapids, a safari and some shows. Enough to entertain guests for a day, but none of them really are special enough to make guests want to return again.

This is where the animals come in. You could easily spend a day looking and learning about the animals, at either park. However, if you're not in to coasters or animals; I wouldn't suggest Busch Gardens is the park for you! Personally, I love the park. I love its coasters and general atmosphere though not the feeling of tiredness at the end of the day. There is a lot of walking involved!

DAK caters more towards the 'family' market as you would expect with Disney. There are high quality shows and attractions at the park. Whilst I could sit here all day and moan about the poor effort of 'Dinoland USA' it does however serve a purpose to entertain young guests. It is also conveniently located to Dinosaur so that those with families of young and old, can be nearby whilst one rides either attraction. DAK is arguably remains a 'half a day park' but this really depends on your interest in animals. However, we shall see if this changes with the introduction of Avatar.

Moreover, I couldn't choose between them. For me and my family, they don't offer the same things. DAK is all about Disney's intricate storytelling and time together as a family whereas BGT is about getting my adrenaline fix and achieves that very well!

From Manny Rodriguez
Posted January 21, 2012 at 9:33 AM
I think AK is more take a stroll and Look at the animals and ride some rides
BGT it's more GET TO THE ROLLER COASTERS and then look at A small area with animals I say AK If you like to go right to the ride with a big animal area and then get to the ride, BGT if you like rollercoasters but don't care for the animals BGT is more oh wow animal let's go to the ride please so for me AK wins

From Giovanny Cruz
Posted January 21, 2012 at 10:48 AM
For the kids AK.For big thrills Bush garden Tampa.For theming AK.To be the entire day and not getting bored Bush garden Tampa.Since in AK the only good attractions are Everest,Dinosours,Nemo the musical and it's a bugs life.
So AK makes me exited.In bush garden I have big thrills so I guess Bush garden it's better but I prefer goin to AK because it has that Disney stuff that only Disney has.

From Manny Rodriguez
Posted January 21, 2012 at 11:26 AM
That's all Of them gio well PW is not in there but you get the picture

From David L.
Posted January 21, 2012 at 12:57 PM
For those who have been, where would you place Six Flags Discovery Kingdom and Wild Adventures in the rankings?

From Jorge Arnoldson
Posted January 21, 2012 at 5:17 PM
Busch Gardens is way better. They have better rides, shows, everything!

From Anthony Murphy
Posted January 21, 2012 at 6:36 PM
Ak due to distance

From Daniel Etcheberry
Posted January 22, 2012 at 3:11 PM
It depends what kind of attractions do you like the most. I don't ride coasters, so I prefer Animal Kingdom.

From steve lee
Posted January 23, 2012 at 7:34 AM
Yeah, if you're not a coaster person the rides at BGT are pretty sparse - your options are a few uninspired flats and Rhino Rally (which is a tragic shell of what it once was).

That said, Busch Gardens has done a really nice job improving some of their animal areas. I went last week and was definitely impressed with the changes. Obviously the biggest problem is that any close-up time with the animals in the Serengeti area requires paying for the truck tour. If that was included with park admission, I think BGT would have a stronger presence in that department.

From Daniel Etcheberry
Posted January 23, 2012 at 7:54 AM
You have to pay extra money to be close to the giraffes and feed them; that's silly since there is a zoo in the same city (Lowry Park Zoo) where you can feed the giraffes at no extra cost; you just pay for the food itself which is cheap.

From Justin M
Posted January 23, 2012 at 8:23 AM
At BGT I really like riding the skyride (when its open). It has a great view of the animals and is a fun way to get around the park. Also love the Crown Colony house great food and great theme at this place.

From James Trexen
Posted January 23, 2012 at 3:46 PM
Truth is Dom, we're talking about BG/AK, not WDW/UO.

From Karly Tenney
Posted January 24, 2012 at 2:45 PM
I really think that BG is better I am a coaster girl and AK doesnt have any coaster besides EE
but I really do like Disney but not AK

From steve lee
Posted January 24, 2012 at 4:48 PM
While it isn't enough of an attraction to warrant changing your opinion, Karly, you mustn't forget Primeval Whirl. I'd say it's one of the better spinning mice out there.

From Caroline Davis
Posted January 25, 2012 at 8:25 AM
Unfortunately I think BGT has some of the most overrated coasters I've ever been on. It's not very nice to walk around either. And Rhino Rally is a terrible ride. The only ride I enjoyed was Sheikra, Montu was ok but nothing special. Maybe I was looking forward to it too much.

I'm a coaster enthusiast but I'd rather walk around AK, it's just beautiful. The safari is amazing, Expedition Everest even without the working Yeti is really fun and Dinosaur is a one of my favourite dark rides (it genuinely scares me).

AK wins hands down, however if you were going to compare AK to BGW, that would be a tough decision.

From Karly Tenney
Posted January 25, 2012 at 9:48 AM
I dont know what you are talking about Montu was freakin awesome

From Skipper Adam
Posted January 25, 2012 at 10:45 AM
I have to agree. Out of the 110 roller coasters I've been on, Sheikra aside, non of the BGT coaster's come close to my top 20. They're coasters, they have some good things to them, but they just aren't well designed, they don't flow and feel humdrum of a ride. It really isn't a nice park to walk around, very outdated looking with the quality of nothing more than cheap, Six Flags-esque themeing. The animal exhibits are good, but Most Zoo's and DAK are better at presenting the animals. I know a lot of people call DAK a half day park, but I can spend most of the day there more easily than I could at BGT.

From Giovanny Cruz
Posted January 25, 2012 at 4:10 PM
You have ridden 110 roller coaster?

From Mike Gallagher
Posted January 25, 2012 at 6:21 PM
Giovanny said, in response to Shipper Adam, "You have ridden 110 roller coaster?"

And I've been on at least 295, probably quite a few more. It's a number, and that's about it.

From Justin M
Posted January 26, 2012 at 6:45 AM
Skipper, BGT easily bests the Six Flags ive been to in pretty much every category (Great America and Over Georgia). I feel the themeing is much stronger at Busch. BGT's coaster lineup is easily the best in Florida. Sheikra is world class, Montu is very good also. Kumba almost being 20 years old is still a very good coaster, I was there when it opened in 1993 and it was almost unmatched at the time( Tallest vertical loop in the world at the time). Cheetah Hunt is fun also and provides excellent views of the savannah below. So my conclusion BGT is better than Six Flags, but I love my Disney and would take DAK as the winner.

From Justin M
Posted January 26, 2012 at 6:42 AM
Oh yeah Gwazi may not be the best wooden coaster in the world, but it is a cool dueling coaster that feels extremely fast. It feels like you may fly off the tracks while your on it, that scores points in my book.

From Skipper Adam
Posted January 26, 2012 at 6:49 AM
I never said they were bad, but just not bad. If you you wanted to use the "thrill park" argument to say BGT is better than DAK, I'm saying there are way better thrill parks. I have been on 110 coasters, not bad for a poor college student who is either studying or working. However, its more than just a number, it gives grounds to clearly compare and contrast what is an amazing coaster, what is average and what is weak. The majority of coasters at BGT are average coasters, nothing exceptional.

From Justin M
Posted January 26, 2012 at 6:58 AM
I cannot argue with you on the BGT coasters vs the rest of the world point your trying to make. But " It really isn't a nice park to walk around, very outdated looking with the quality of nothing more than cheap, Six Flags-esque themeing." I will debate you all day on this, it may be your opinion but I feel its completly wrong.

From steve lee
Posted January 26, 2012 at 7:29 AM
Adam, I was with you when you said "it was just a number." Using it to justify your opinion is fine as well, but don't lord your credit number as some sort of proof that you're an authority on what's good versus what's bad. These matters are entirely too subjective. People at other websites do that, and believe me when I tell you their opinions are not well received by the rest of the community.

That said, I have more credits than you and your opinion of Busch Gardens Tampa is WRONG WRONG WRONG.

Actually, I agree for the most part. We may have to have an old style Jamaican stick fight over Montu, however.

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