Busch Gardens Tampa Questions

June 27, 2017, 1:07 PM

So, I leave for Busch Gardens Tampa on Friday, and I really have no idea what I'm doing. So, a few questions.

1. What are the rides to go to when the park first opens?
2. What are the best rides, and which aren't worth doing?
3. Where would you recommend eating at the park?
4. Any hidden gems, tips, or useful information?

Thanks so much for your help!

Replies (9)

June 27, 2017, 1:16 PM

Based on our Busch Gardens Tampa page, the top choices for attractions are:

Falcon's Fury
Cheetah Hunt

And the "avoids" are:

Stanley Falls
Rhino Rally

Eat at Zambia Smokehouse.

June 27, 2017, 1:33 PM

Falcon's Fury, Cheetah Hunt, and ShieKra (all in different corners of the park) are the attractions to target first. It really depends upon your taste, but I personally would do Cheetah Hunt first (SheiKra is pretty close to Griffon, which I ride on a pretty regular basis at BGW). Cobra's Curse is also nearby, and is a bit of a slow loader, so it's worth hitting that one earlier in the day.

Montu is also a great coaster, but you don't need to run to it first thing over the other coasters noted.

I don't know if Rhino Rally even runs anymore, so you might not need to worry about it (it's not listed on the current park map).

Make sure you take the time to ride the train and the skyride to get a great view of the animals. Also, explore the animal walking trails.

The Sand Serpent can be skipped as well as Scorpion. Be prepared to do a lot of walking, because even though the park doesn't look very big, there are no short cuts through the middle, so you have to walk all the way around the park to get between attractions. Try to plan for the train or skyride to substitute for a walk across the back of the park to save your legs.

I second the Zambia Smokehouse recommendation, though the Serengeti Overlook restaurant is pretty good too, offering an all-you-can-eat menu and table service experiences.

Edited: June 27, 2017, 4:45 PM

Like Animal Kingdom, take some time and smell the roses by hitting the animal experiences. You can feed a kangaroo or a giraffe (both upcharges of course), come up close to a tiger via a pop-up hole, and even catch an animal receiving a medical procedure. The show Opening Night Critters is a delight as well.

It should also be worth pointing out that virtually all of the rides at Busch Gardens shut down during inclement weather, which has been happening quite frequently thanks to Tampa now being in hurricane season.

Edited: June 28, 2017, 3:33 AM

The new ice show, Turn It Up, is good for a visit if it rains or for a break from the heat. Lots of fun.

Rhino Rally has been closed for at least the past 2 seasons. Sadly, part of the ride was removed to make way for Cheetah Hunt years back. What remained was just a shell of what once was. It plummeted in popularity, and as a result closed a few seasons later.

Lastly, since it is rainy season - get a start at rope drop. And hit your highest priority attractions first. At least as best as you can given the large loop layout of the park. Storms can start as early as 1pm and last for several hours. If it doesn't rain, it will be hot. If it does rain in the afternoon for a few hours, it will drain a lot of the guests from the park and leave you with much lower wait times. I stopped in after work last evening and most everything (save for Cobra's Curse) was virtually a walk-on after 6pm. Oh, and not much going on for summer entertainment this year at Busch Gardens Tampa. Basically, 3 areas with a DJ in each and some Food and Wine Festival-style booths. Gone are the fireworks and Kinetix nighttime show. Summer Nights?!? More like Summer Nightzzzz.

Edited: June 28, 2017, 1:08 PM

I live in tampa and have a pass to BG. here are my thoughts.

1. What are the rides to go to when the park first opens? Cheetah Hunt. In my opinion the best roller coaster and it usually has the longest line. Cobra Curse is nearby so I would go to that one right after.
2. What are the best rides, and which aren't worth doing? Sheikra, Cheetah Hunt, Falcons Fury, Kumba, Montu all most be done. Cobras Curse is enjoyable and I like that is has some themeing, but don't wait more than 45 minutes. The water rides are all okay at best, but none of them are worth more than a half an hour wait. The water rides could be worth it if it is really hot out.
3. Where would you recommend eating at the park? I prefer the Zambia smokehouse.
4. Any hidden gems, tips, or useful information? Cheetah Hunt is also a great coaster to ride at night before the park closes. I highly recommended partaking in that. Sheikra needs to be experienced in the first row. Its worth the longer wait. Also if you enjoy craft beer or pretzels, go to twisted tail pretzels and grab a beer and a pretzel of your choice. Great mid-day snack or make it a pretzel dog and add chips and that could be your lunch.

June 28, 2017, 12:57 PM

Remember there a lot of amazing animal displays to enjoy above and beyond the thrill rides, of which there are many. The gorilla area is near the front gate, but kind of off the beaten path. It's great. Be sure to seek it out.

For food, I recommend the Serengeti Overlook Restaurant. It's a buffet, and it's not cheep, but it's a great place to spend some time to relax in a comfortable environment when the central Florida weather becomes a bit oppressive.

June 28, 2017, 1:38 PM

@jeremygary, you're not alone in mourning Kinetix. The executive who thought that dance parties would be more popular than fireworks at a theme park needs to have their head examined.

July 4, 2017, 10:41 AM

If you are going to BGT for both the animals and the rides, do yourself a favor and get Unlimited QuickQueue for everybody. It is $21 per person, and you will not only be able to see the entire park, but also ride everything as well.

July 5, 2017, 5:39 AM

Thanks everyone! went to the park for 2 days and had a great time! Your tips were SUPER helpful!

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