Theme Park of the Day: Disney's Animal Kingdom

Busch antes up: SeaWorld Orlando offers 'buy three nights, get two free' deal

February 2, 2009, 10:45 AM · Disney's in. So's Universal. Now Busch is offering an aggressive discount in an attempt to draw visitors to Orlando, despite the lousy economy.

Here's the deal from SeaWorld: Buy a 3-night/3-day package and get 2 additional nights free, including unlimited admission to your choice of SeaWorld and Aquatica or SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Africa (in Tampa) during your stay.

Packages are available through June 26, 2009 and start at $561 for a family of four. The deal must be booked before March 31.

Update: You know I love online votes. So let's put this one to a vote:

To review, Disney and Universal are offering buy four hotel nights, get three free (though lesser discounts are available for shorter stays at Universal), and SeaWorld's got buy 3, get 2. At Disney and SeaWorld you buy the tickets for four- or three-day theme park tickets to get the extra days free; Universal you get seven days for the price of two on the park ticket (available with or without the hotel deal).

Tell us in the comments if you've booked any of these deals, and what cliched it for you. If not, tell us what more the parks need to do to entice you to book a trip.

Replies (7)

February 2, 2009 at 4:12 PM · The Universal deal wasn't available to Canadians, despite that we watch the Superbowl, too, so I can't say it's a great deal for me. SeaWorld's deal is good, but I can't see needing 5 nights (let alone 3) at two theme parks that take 1 day each to see.

Disney's deal takes the cake, as it's the only one that works for me.

February 3, 2009 at 12:15 AM · We're going to Orlando in late July/early August (horrid weather, I know...), so I haven't booked anything yet.

Though, to be honest, we'll probably just all stay with my parents, so the hotel-based deals will be off the board. We're open to ticket deals, though. Hopefully, we'll have a free Universal ticket from the Super Bowl, and will do the 7 days for $95 ticket for the rest of the family.

Still mulling SeaWorld and Disney, though. I have seven days left on a 10-day park hopper, but we'll need tickets for the rest.

February 3, 2009 at 11:30 AM · Robert - late July/early August is normally a very busy time in Orlando. The benefit is that you will get to catch all the parks' night time extravaganzas (Universal 360 has never been shown during one of my off-season visits), something not available in less busy times. The down-side, of course, is the parks will be swamped and hot.

For your Universal time, you had best stay on property and take advantage of the front of line access granted with your room key. I still think Universal's Stay Four, Play More deal is about as good as it gets. And four days is more than perfect for your USF stay.

As for Disney, stay off property as you suggested, get to the parks early, and have a focused attack (like the four hour tours we have discussed in the past). You already have seven days left on your pass (I think that is what you wrote), so there should be no expenditures here other than food and souvenirs. Reminder - Space Mountain will be in full refurb mode by the time you arrive, so adjust your four hour tour accordingly. Make sure you get to Downtown Disney and do a full review of DisneyQuest, I will need your insight on my next vacation (I finally have two kids tall enough to ride Cyber Space Mountain). Also, if you have not already done so, visit Raglan Road for a great meal. Lastly, the new Kim Possible activity at Epcot is garnering great reviews...if you get a chance, make sure to try it out as well.

Sea World is generally a one day event, so plan on going during your Disney week. It can be difficult to see all the shows in a single day due to the way they are scheduled, however, the main reason you are going is to ride Manta and Kraken (right?), so any shows you catch will be considered a bonus! Just arrive early, head straight to Manta, have fun, and take lots of pictures.

And, try to stay cool in mid-summer.....somehow.

As for the main point of this thread: if you have never stayed at a Deluxe Disney resort, and want to give it a shot, there has never been a better time. Disney's buy four, get three free offer is a great deal for the more expensive hotels. You will save over a grand at a deluxe resort. The only thing better, for my family, is when Disney offers free dining - for a family of five (like mine) free dining is the best benefit (probably a $1200 savings if we eat like pigs!).

February 3, 2009 at 9:20 AM · Robert.

How often do you get to Orlando and how often do you go to the parks when you come over.

Would an annual pass, like the all year deal at Universal, for $99, or the fun pass at Seaworld, for $75, not work for you?

February 3, 2009 at 10:59 AM · I typically visit Orlando about three times a year. Only once is an actually family vacation, though, the other visits tend to be working trips when I'm doing interviews or attending press events at the parks.

For example, this year I'd like to do the press events for the two roller coasters (mostly to get the on-ride videos for TPI), then come back in late July with the family for... whatever we decide to do, then return in late September for Halloween Horror Nights at Universal (which is a hard ticket that wouldn't be covered with the AP.)

We stayed on-site at Universal last year, and depending upon the rates at the time, might stay one night there again for the front of the line and pool access. Depends upon the money situation and if the kids are in the mood for more Universal then. I think that they are leaning toward SeaWorld this time. (They do see *a lot* of theme parks, so I try not to burn 'em out.)

February 3, 2009 at 11:14 AM · That makes much more sense.
Out of interest, do you have AP's for any Cali parks?
February 3, 2009 at 2:08 PM · I have them for Disneyland (which includes California Adventure) and Universal Studios Hollywood. Had one for Legoland, but the drive was too long for us visiting more than once a year. Ditto for SeaWorld.

I get to Knott's and Magic Mountain about once a year, usually on a discount one-day ticket.

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