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Busch Gardens Tampa Bay (BGT Discussion Thread)

P. 358: Two new slides & more announced for Adventure Island!

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Busch Gardens News and Updates:

 

Jambo Junction: Closed as of Dec. 6th, unlikely to ever reopen. SEA slashed the animal ambassador programs across all of the parks, with lots of layoffs in this department. Julie Scardina who is the corporate face of this program "retired" within this past month, and it can be assumed with the shear number of layoffs and closures to animal ambassador programs throughout SEAs that the company is attempting to end the animal ambassador program for good. As stated above the only way to save this program would be to write comments to the park, as a lot of the parks decisions are basd on the feedback that it recie

 

Hotel Project: The park now has a concrete plan for a hotel, I would expect an announcement on this fairly soon.

 

2017: Off year for the park, just the new wildlife docs live show in the stanleyville theater.

 

2018 and 2019: Expect a new attract for each of these years, with 2019 being a larger attraction. One of these attractions will go on the site of Tidal wave, and the park looks to revitalize the Stanleyville area of the park with this. Bird gardens is the the other location, probably where the larger attraction will go, Jim Dean has stated that this area of the park needs attention and intends on revitalizing it.

 

Gwazi: Gwazi will be coming down, I would expect this next year and will likely make way for part of the new birdgardens project. No RMC.

 

HOS 2017: Expect a new element for 2017 as the park tries to stay relevant with increased competition. The park has also seemed frustrated with how the theme was implemented this year, as it was not present at all in the actual event.

Where are you getting this information from? Do you have a source or is it all just guess?

 

It is a bummer about the animal ambassador program, if it is true that they are ending it. I haven't necessarily heard that the program is going away for good, but Jambo was a big part of it.

 

I get that Jambo is pretty hidden. I didn't visit BGT as a "normal" guest for a long time, so the first time I ever set foot into the park (besides back areas) was into Jambo as a camp counselor/employee. I was amazed what animal experiences even an average guest could have back there. Feeding the flamingos was the best! However, I bet the recent incident with the flamingo contributed to their motivation to close Jambo.

 

I wonder what is going to happen to the animals back in that area?

 

On the Gwazi note, I'm not quite yet sold on the tear down. Their initial excuse was lack of funds but look what they've done since then. I don't think you keep an eye sore like that in your park for that long without having plans. Then again I'm not Busch Gardens, I guess we'll continue to sit tight to see what happens.

Last year, from what they told us, they were throwing ideas around but hadn't decided yet. Even though I don't work there any more and probably never will, I'm not sure if I should say the specifics. However, I doubt what's going on now was foreseen, so maybe everything is off the table now that the company seems to be in a huge transition phase.

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This information is a combination of what I have heard from a friend of mine that works at the company, what I have heard at the different media day events that they have been having recently as well as a little guesswork to pull those snippets of information together.

All it takes is one 20 year old with three posts to send this thread straight into Rumorville, yet people snub screamscape.

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Haha fair enough. I would be surprised if there wasn't healthy skepticism towards what I've said, considering I have no credibility. However I do have a decent amount of information so I figured this board would be interested, and if you have any questions I'll do my best to answer them. Hopefully when announcements are made depending on what they are you'll be able to look back and decide if I am credible or not. Until then I'm glad to have joined the forum!

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My take is wait and see what happens. Rumors are a dime a dozen and until the powers to be make an announcement it's just another Dipping Dots worker rumor run amok. A little prayer now and then wouldn't hurt though.

Well said.

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I went to BGT yesterday and as I was leaving at around 8pm the line to get through the metal detectors was crazy, it had to be 20-30 minutes. The whole entrance plaza was full with a crowd and then a line snaked back past the ticket booth, past the tram dropoff, back to the Nairobi gate and looked like it was growing. Full trams were still being dropped off at the front of the park and hordes of people were skipping the tram to make the walk towards the gate. Parking lot looked full as well like it was in it was "drive around until you find someone leaving or a token empty spot" mode. I know it was a Saturday night during Christmas Town but I found that amazing considering the park closed at 10, so by the time all these people got in they would only have 1 1/2 hours or so until the park closed.

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Hello everyone.

 

Relative newcomer to Busch Gardens Tampa. Got passes in October and absolutely love the place.

 

I have family in town next week and have plans to go to the park on Monday the 19th and Friday the 23rd. For you experienced BGT-ers, what kind of crowds can we expect? I think I've been 9 times since mid-October and have yet to fight any sort of a crowd; however, with this coming week falling into the holiday season, I am anticipating more traffic in the park, particularly on Friday.

 

Would I be correct in assuming Friday will be pretty busy? What should I expect for Monday?

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  • 2 weeks later...
Hey everyone,

 

I will be at the park on January 1st. How crowded will the park be on this day? The quick queue prices are a bit high on this day for everyone in my party to purchase one.

 

Thanks!

 

I would expect it to be very busy. They change the prices of things such as quick queue so they are more expensive on days they are expecting to be super busy.

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Went to BGT today for the first time in several years. Wow! This park needs to work on its infrastructure. It definitely cannot handle crowds the size that they endure during "Peak Week". We went ahead and got basic Quick Queue and it's a good thing we did otherwise we'd still be standing in line for Cheetah Hunt (which is an amazing coaster BTW).

 

I know it's been awhile since I've been to BGT, but I could have sworn the quality gap wasn't as big between it and BGW as it seems to be now. Also, was underwhelmed with Cobra's Curse. Much shorter in real life than I guess I was expecting (and yes I've seen the POV). Montu was kick ass though. Back to my favorite inverted.

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BGT's problem not with infrastructure, it is slow ride ops. The park is massive and the rides are mostly high capacity thus theoretically handling big crowds really well. However sadly ops have always been hit or miss with mostly being miss. You just happened to go on one of the busiest days of the year which is going to be miserable at most any park. There is definitely a talent gap when it comes to operations in Florida: Disney and Universal have very fast operations and Sea World/Busch Gardens have always been slow to mediocre.

Edited by xstech25
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You just happened to go on one of the busiest days of the year which is going to be miserable at most any park.

 

This. On most days you'll never wait more than 30 minutes for the B&M's or 60 minutes for Cheetah Hunt. Honestly most days are even less busy than that. We went on a packed Howl O Scream Saturday and Saturday night last year and had no issues, I think you just picked a terrible day to go.

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Went to BGT today for the first time in several years. Wow! This park needs to work on its infrastructure. It definitely cannot handle crowds the size that they endure during "Peak Week". We went ahead and got basic Quick Queue and it's a good thing we did otherwise we'd still be standing in line for Cheetah Hunt (which is an amazing coaster BTW).

 

I know it's been awhile since I've been to BGT, but I could have sworn the quality gap wasn't as big between it and BGW as it seems to be now. Also, was underwhelmed with Cobra's Curse. Much shorter in real life than I guess I was expecting (and yes I've seen the POV). Montu was kick A$$ though. Back to my favorite inverted.

 

I love Cobra's Curse, its something the park really needed and the theming is very good.

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I really enjoyed it too. It adds a lot to the Egypt area that desperately needed something more than Montu to feel like an independent section of the park. I really like the theming, views from the ride, and the ride experience in general. The spinning part was awesome and anything but nauseating.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello all! I'm so glad to have found this page, as I'm planning our first trip to BGT, and I'm a compulsive Type-A planner when it comes to park visits. Here's the background on our visit - it will be me and my two sons, ages 10 and 13. We are huge roller coaster fans, but not solely roller coaster fans. We HATE waiting in lines! We will be at BGT Monday, February 20 (President's Day) and Tuesday, February 21.

 

Questions . . .

 

1. What can you tell me about "rope drop" at BGT? We are early park goers and like to be there right at opening. If the park is scheduled to open at 10am, will it open right at 10am, or does it sometimes open earlier than the posted opening time? What time would you recommend getting to the park for a 10am opening (to allow time to get through security, etc.)?

 

2. Do all rides/areas of the park open right at 10am, or is there a staggered opening like at BGW?

 

3. We are definitely planning to do Quick Queue Unlimited - would you recommend that we splurge to get the QQU plus Cobra's Curse? I think it's usually $20 more, although the prices aren't out yet for our dates. I assume that if we go right at park opening, we can get on CC fairly quickly. Will we want to ride CC more than once a day?

 

4. Where are your favorite places to eat in the park?

 

5. What are your favorite rides other than the big coasters?

 

6. How wet do you get on the water rides at BGT? Do they usually adjust the water flow based on the weather? Since we are going in February, I'm guessing the weather may be iffy, but we generally love a water ride as long as we don't get soaked when it's cold.

 

7. What are your favorite shows or other non-ride attractions?

 

8. Finally, any guesses as to how busy the park will be on President's Day and that Tuesday?

 

9. Wait, one last one - and this is just out of curiosity more than anything - I read through a lot of the older posts on this board and saw a couple of mentions of a "medicated rabbit." What the heck is that??

 

Thanks so much for any input!

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So it has been announced that Donnie Mills, the park President of the Orlando SEA parks is retiring, and Jim Dean, the President of the Tampa SEA parks will replace him and Stewart Clark, who was the Vice President of Discovery cove will replace Jim Dean in Tampa.

 

This is an interesting move, as Jim Dean has been fairly successful as Busch Gardens never really felt the effects of Blackfish and Adventure Island recently had its best summer in history. However, he is known to be less animal focused. Stewart Clark, is very likable and is said to value the animal side of the parks highly, as can be expected from his time at Discovery Cove.

 

It will be interesting to see what direction the parks move in under this new leadership.

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Hello all! I'm so glad to have found this page, as I'm planning our first trip to BGT, and I'm a compulsive Type-A planner when it comes to park visits. Here's the background on our visit - it will be me and my two sons, ages 10 and 13. We are huge roller coaster fans, but not solely roller coaster fans. We HATE waiting in lines! We will be at BGT Monday, February 20 (President's Day) and Tuesday, February 21.

 

Questions . . .

 

1. What can you tell me about "rope drop" at BGT? We are early park goers and like to be there right at opening. If the park is scheduled to open at 10am, will it open right at 10am, or does it sometimes open earlier than the posted opening time? What time would you recommend getting to the park for a 10am opening (to allow time to get through security, etc.)?

 

2. Do all rides/areas of the park open right at 10am, or is there a staggered opening like at BGW?

 

3. We are definitely planning to do Quick Queue Unlimited - would you recommend that we splurge to get the QQU plus Cobra's Curse? I think it's usually $20 more, although the prices aren't out yet for our dates. I assume that if we go right at park opening, we can get on CC fairly quickly. Will we want to ride CC more than once a day?

 

4. Where are your favorite places to eat in the park?

 

5. What are your favorite rides other than the big coasters?

 

6. How wet do you get on the water rides at BGT? Do they usually adjust the water flow based on the weather? Since we are going in February, I'm guessing the weather may be iffy, but we generally love a water ride as long as we don't get soaked when it's cold.

 

7. What are your favorite shows or other non-ride attractions?

 

8. Finally, any guesses as to how busy the park will be on President's Day and that Tuesday?

 

9. Wait, one last one - and this is just out of curiosity more than anything - I read through a lot of the older posts on this board and saw a couple of mentions of a "medicated rabbit." What the heck is that??

 

Thanks so much for any input!

 

I'll try to come back and answer some of what I can later (other than Cobra's Curse, while a fun family coaster, was 1 and done for us.. but took some trying to get on it)

 

instead, I'll just link to my Trip Report from last Summer, that included BGT for 3 days, SeaWorld Orlando, and some other stops in the area:

 

lots of pics, and some suggestions on where to eat.

 

http://www.themeparkreview.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=72163

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Hello all! I'm so glad to have found this page, as I'm planning our first trip to BGT, and I'm a compulsive Type-A planner when it comes to park visits. Here's the background on our visit - it will be me and my two sons, ages 10 and 13. We are huge roller coaster fans, but not solely roller coaster fans. We HATE waiting in lines! We will be at BGT Monday, February 20 (President's Day) and Tuesday, February 21.

 

Questions . . .

 

2. Do all rides/areas of the park open right at 10am, or is there a staggered opening like at BGW?

 

4. Where are your favorite places to eat in the park?

 

5. What are your favorite rides other than the big coasters?

 

6. How wet do you get on the water rides at BGT? Do they usually adjust the water flow based on the weather? Since we are going in February, I'm guessing the weather may be iffy, but we generally love a water ride as long as we don't get soaked when it's cold.

 

7. What are your favorite shows or other non-ride attractions?

 

9. Wait, one last one - and this is just out of curiosity more than anything - I read through a lot of the older posts on this board and saw a couple of mentions of a "medicated rabbit." What the heck is that??

 

Thanks so much for any input!

I can answer a few.

 

2. Unless things have changed, there is a staggered opening, with rides further back in the park opening later than those areas in the front. Someone else should answer this more thoroughly, I just know the answer is yes.

 

4. Pantopia has a lot of variety and the food isn't too bad. The BBQ by Skeikra is pretty good. Of course, gotta try Twisted Tails pretzels for a snack! I haven't been to the park since the restaurant opened, so someone who has been could speak to that.

 

5. I love the water rides (see below) and of course.... Falcon's Fury!!! The summer campers (kids about your age) LOVED Phoenix (swinging ship) but I wasn't a fan. However, it was conveniently placed so that adults could sit out and still be there to pick up kids at the exit.

 

6. I have no idea about adjusted flow, but I can speak from summer experience. Log flume... not too wet. Congo rapids... can get VERY VERY wet!! It is kind of a crap-shoot because you might ride and not get wet (not my experience, but observed). However, I got utterly SOAKED whenever I rode it, so if you don't want that, I'd highly recommend purchasing a poncho and taking every precaution you can!

 

7. I liked all the shows! Some people hated it but I loved Iceploration (very cheesy but cool) and Opening Night Critters!

 

9. It is a word filter to represent the thing you put your items in while you are on rides ("1ockers") so if you ever type that word, it will post as "fluffy fluffy bunnies filled with medicine and goo."

 

Don't forget to do all of the animal stuff you can, especially watch the cheetah run presentation! Feeding the birds and kangaroos is awesome, but if you go later in the day, they may not be as hungry.

 

Have fun, and welcome to the board!

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^ I'd agree with pretty much all of this.

 

Aside from the coasters, Falcon's Fury is amazing, I love Stanley Falls but of course I do and I also love the Sky Ride but of course I do. Stanley Falls has a very acceptable and consistent level of wetness as it has no spray guns. Congo Rapids will try to drown you. The Sky Ride and the train are both must-rides because they give you great views of the animals. Take the train from Nairobi to the Congo for the best view of the animals.

 

As far as food, I just want to stress exactly what RAWKIN_coaster said. Zambia Smokehouse and Twisted Tails are the best things to eat on the park. Absolutely, 100%, without question eat at these 2 places.

 

Also, I know you didn't ask but I have 2 important tips.

 

1) Ride Kumba in the back row in the far seat (closest to the unload platform). The zero g roll is perfection. Seriously...

 

2) Ride Montu in the back. It will try to rip your face off but in a very smooth and awesome way.

 

As far as shows, I love Opening Night Critters. I think Iceploration sucks balls but a lot of people like it so don't take my word for it. The best show / presentation in the park is the Cheetah presentation. God I love Cheetahs.

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