Jump to content
  TPR Home | Parks | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Instagram 

Last minute Florida trip


Recommended Posts

Hey everyone, I just found out my GF has next week off so I'm trying to put together a Florida trip at the last minute here. The only thing I have planned is our flight. We will be landing in Tampa this Saturday morning and leaving next Saturday. The parks I'm looking to visit are the Fun Spots, Busch Gardens, SeaWorld, and both Universal parks.

 

Looking for some advice on a few things:

 

1. Which parks should I visit on which days.. I was thinking I could do the Fun Spots on Sat/Sun. SeaWorld on Monday (MLK day). The Universal's on Tue/Wed, and then 2 days at BGT on Thu/Fri.

 

2. What's the best way to do Universal? I see that they have a fast lane system, and they also have single rider lines. What is the fast lane system like? Are there single rider lines at all the major attractions? And then as far as getting tickets I don't see any really good deals on their website as far as tickets and hotels. They have a "deal" that includes staying at the Hard Rock Hotel but it's way more expensive than staying at a hotel with a free shuttle like the Drury Inn and just buying single day tickets. So are there any deals out there that I am unaware of?

 

3. I see that they offer a 3 park ticket to the SeaWorld parks. It says 3 days of any combination of SeaWorld, BGT, and 2 other parks with all day dining. So I assume I could use that for 2 days at BGT and 1 at SeaWorld. I'll email them to make sure, but that looks like a pretty good deal. What places inside those parks would you recommend eating at?

 

Ok I think that's it. Thanks in advance.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 33
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Posted Images

1. Which parks should I visit on which days.. I was thinking I could do the Fun Spots on Sat/Sun. SeaWorld on Monday (MLK day). The Universal's on Tue/Wed, and then 2 days at BGT on Thu/Fri.

 

Spending all day at Fun Spot, much less two, seems crazy to me. More logical option seems in my mind to be that you go to SeaWorld or Universal for the day then Fun Spot at night (since they're open until midnight pretty much all the time). Universal is very often closed early.

 

2. What's the best way to do Universal? I see that they have a fast lane system, and they also have single rider lines. What is the fast lane system like? Are there single rider lines at all the major attractions? And then as far as getting tickets I don't see any really good deals on their website as far as tickets and hotels. They have a "deal" that includes staying at the Hard Rock Hotel but it's way more expensive than staying at a hotel with a free shuttle like the Drury Inn and just buying single day tickets. So are there any deals out there that I am unaware of?

 

They, like Disney, don't really "do deals" any more.

 

3. I see that they offer a 3 park ticket to the SeaWorld parks. It says 3 days of any combination of SeaWorld, BGT, and 2 other parks with all day dining. So I assume I could use that for 2 days at BGT and 1 at SeaWorld. I'll email them to make sure, but that looks like a pretty good deal. What places inside those parks would you recommend eating at?

 

The BBQ places are the obvious stops.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, the Fun Spot parks are several-hour parks at worst. Perhaps you could check out some of the other "free" stuff in the Orlando area like Disney Springs to pad out those days. Or go with the $169 "unlimited" SeaWorld / Busch Gardens ticket and have a fourth day be Adventure Island or Aquatica. EDIT: Or, have a third day at Universal and go to Volcano Bay.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Holy sh*t, did I get here before anonymouscactus??? Go me.

 

So here's the deal, spending full days at Fun Spot is ridiculous and this is coming from someone who loves Fun Spot. Each park deserves like 2-3 hours tops and even less if they're dead and there are no lines for Go Karts (ride the Go Karts by the way).

 

You should really either add a day at Universal or look at an unlimited SeaWorld / Busch Gardens ticket BUT before you buy that $169 ticket you should know that there's one more option for $76 more per person that (to me) is a no-brainer. You want the Day Resort + Dolphin Swim + 3-Park Package. If you were going to buy that ticket anyway for $169 you just got a day at an all inclusive resort with unlimited free food and booze and you got to swim with a dolphin for $76 each in addition to getting that same ticket. Sounds like a deal...

 

It's going to be in the 60's and probably the high 50's in the morning when you head over there in a bathing suit at which time you'll be in your rental car blasting the heat yelling "F*ck that f*cking guy on TPR that told me to do this in January". This is a normal emotion and it's healthy to let it all out, but the lazy river will have steam coming off it and feel like bath water. The colder it is in the morning, the more awesome that thing is. Then again, you're from Michigan so you probably think that that's acceptable water park weather anyway because you people are certifiably insane. PS: The upgraded drink package is misleading, you already get 99% of the booze for free so you don't need to buy it. Book the dolphin swim a little later after it warms up as that water is a little colder (though still pretty warm).

 

Aside from the Discovery Cove sales pitch, note that if you do this on Sunday (I suggest Sunday because of the dramatic price difference) you won't be able to ride Sand Serpent at Busch Gardens as it's going to be down for refurb from Monday to Friday. If you choose whoring a crappy mouse over unlimited beer and swimming with a dolphin I'll question your sanity but it's a thing (though depending on your flight time on Saturday maybe you could stay in Tampa Friday night and ride it in the morning if you really care).

 

Also I'm not sure if this is still the case but Fun Spot used to sell a 2 park ticket at the ticket booth that's not available online. It's a good deal if it still exists.

Edited by coasterbill
Link to comment
Share on other sites

^What he said...and what everyone else said. Get some extra time at Universal or Sea World/Discovery Cove instead of two days at Fun Spot.

 

There's other stuff to randomly check out too like the Orlando Eye area, Gatorland, Disney Springs, etc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey everyone, I just found out my GF has next week off so I'm trying to put together a Florida trip at the last minute here. The only thing I have planned is our flight. We will be landing in Tampa this Saturday morning and leaving next Saturday. The parks I'm looking to visit are the Fun Spots, Busch Gardens, SeaWorld, and both Universal parks.

 

Looking for some advice on a few things:

 

1. Which parks should I visit on which days.. I was thinking I could do the Fun Spots on Sat/Sun. SeaWorld on Monday (MLK day). The Universal's on Tue/Wed, and then 2 days at BGT on Thu/Fri.

 

2. What's the best way to do Universal? I see that they have a fast lane system, and they also have single rider lines. What is the fast lane system like? Are there single rider lines at all the major attractions? And then as far as getting tickets I don't see any really good deals on their website as far as tickets and hotels. They have a "deal" that includes staying at the Hard Rock Hotel but it's way more expensive than staying at a hotel with a free shuttle like the Drury Inn and just buying single day tickets. So are there any deals out there that I am unaware of?

 

3. I see that they offer a 3 park ticket to the SeaWorld parks. It says 3 days of any combination of SeaWorld, BGT, and 2 other parks with all day dining. So I assume I could use that for 2 days at BGT and 1 at SeaWorld. I'll email them to make sure, but that looks like a pretty good deal. What places inside those parks would you recommend eating at?

 

Ok I think that's it. Thanks in advance.

 

Wow, you know you're a coaster enthusiast when you spend a whole week in Florida, and go to every park there BUT Disney. I go to Disney a lot, but I also live in Florida. SeaWorld is certainly a hidden gem. Good rides and a fun atmosphere and its always dead. Funspot is always dead too. You can get 10x rides in on Mine Blower without getting off 99% of the time. Busch is my home park and I live very close to it, but it can get pretty crowded. Probably the only park on your list that will actually get lines. There's no shame in credit whoring. I think its part of the fun of a park of getting on as many coasters as you can. You pay admission for as many rides as you can get on, so you might as well take advantage of it. You get on every coaster, and then you can decide for yourself which one you want to focus on.

 

An interesting strategy that I stumbled into at BGT: at rope drop, instead of beeling to Cheetah Hunt like everyone else, head over to Shiekra while its a walk-on. You can get in 5-10 rides on it at rope drop (its awesome BTW, probably the best vertical drop coaster out there). Then eventually you can pick-up Cheetah Hunt and Cobra's Curse... unfortunately they'll always have lines and you'll have to live with that. Or you could do the traditional strategy and hope that you can do a good job at rope drop and get one no wait lap on Cheetah Hunt, and do what you can to get on Cobra's Curse before the line builds up before circulating around the park.

 

Scorpion gets long lines too due to the single train ops, so get to that early. Its not really mind blowing, but its worth getting on at least once. Every other coaster rarely has big lines. If you see 30 minute lines for Kumba or Montu, you know that its a very crowded day. Usually in my experience Kumba is an absolute walk-on 90% of the day, and the Montu line moves very fast if there even is one.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow, you know you're a coaster enthusiast when you spend a whole week in Florida, and go to every park there BUT Disney.

 

This is kind of true, but at the same time I feel like if you're on any type of budget at all it makes sense to pick either Universal or Disney and do multiple days as the price per day keeps getting lower. Doing both is awesome and highly recommended if it's not a trip you get to take all that often but with a last minute trip like this I totally get it since Disney and Universal are both really expensive.

 

Plus, with something this last minute your experience at Disney won't be as good as it otherwise could be as you have really limited Fastpass options. Sure you can get lucky by refreshing the crap out of the app but if you want to save it for another trip that you plan 30-60+ days out where you can reserve every Fastpass that you want early in the day stress-free I totally get that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like Fun Spot, and even have an annual pass, but thats way too much time. Do them in the evening after another park. For instance SeaWorld typically closes at 6, sometimes 7 this time of year, go hit one of the Fun Spot locations afterwards because it is open until midnight most evenings. Universal will be open a little later but even still only until 7 or 8.

 

For Universal staying at one of the three original hotels on-site like the Hard Rock hotel includes unlimited fast lane usage. You get it all day from the day you check-in until the end of the day you check out so if you stay one night you get unlimited for both days of your visit. If there is a discount ticket offer for the hotel, it might be worth considering due to the fastline even though the hotel is expensive. Although this time of year you likely do not need it. This is only true at Hard Rock, Portofino Bay, and Royal Pacific Resort.

 

Good ticket deals to Universal are rare, as a warning if you are a big Potter fan there is one ride, the train that goes between the two parks which requires a park to park ticket. If you do decide to drive to the parks, the cost of an annual pass for one party member is typically worth it due to parking, and discounts on merchandise and food. Their best offer is typically extra days free, for instance get a 4 day ticket for the price of a 2 day ticket.

 

3. Sounds correct to me, I have used these tickets in the past and they can be a good deal, and I like the food at SeaWorld and Busch Gardens.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Holy sh*t, did I get here before anonymouscactus??? Go me. [emoji38] .

 

lol..

 

Busy at work so I won't type my Florida novel, but Bill was pretty spot-on. Discovery Cove is a must (still waiting for that trip report, unless I missed it as I haven't been as active lately). I noticed the other day when I was shopping for FL tickets they don't include SeaWorld/Aquatica in the ticket price anymore (I think it's an extra $20 off the top of my head?) but it's well worth it. If you add on the Busch for a little more, which you are going to do anyways, you also get free parking at all of the parks. You can go unlimited for 14 days.

 

You want the "Discovery Cove Ultimate Day resort package" -- unless you want the dolphin swim it will run you more.

-- also as mentioned, don't upgrade the drink package.

 

See if you or someone you know has a "tickets at work" account. Those are the best deals I've ever seen for Florida tickets and I'm stingy as f*ck so I research every little cost saving I can do. They are pretty significant discounts all things considered. They have all the Discovery Cove packages as well (only $165 for the ultimate package during slow season), and even the after hours Disney Events if you don't want to invest a full day and just want to do a few hours at night.

 

Next online shop open to anyone is undercover tourist. Note that the prices on that site include taxes so keep that in mind. The savings aren't all that big and it may not be worth your time but they are legitimate and don't require a timeshare briefing or other B.S. -- the savings will be minimal but it doesn't hurt to shop around.

 

If you buy an entertainment book you get online access to the tickets at work site just branded as entertainment. I think they immediately send you a code before the book gets mailed to you. I'm 90% sure it's the same discounts. You don't buy it for Orlando, you can buy from your current City.

 

Sorry I gotta get back to work I may stop in later

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you see 30 minute lines for Kumba or Montu, you know that its a very crowded day. Usually in my experience Kumba is an absolute walk-on 90% of the day, and the Montu line moves very fast if there even is one.

When I was about to leave on Saturday, Kumba was pretty close to a walk-on BUT Montu was 45 minutes. Hit-or-miss, really.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you see 30 minute lines for Kumba or Montu, you know that its a very crowded day. Usually in my experience Kumba is an absolute walk-on 90% of the day, and the Montu line moves very fast if there even is one.

When I was about to leave on Saturday, Kumba was pretty close to a walk-on BUT Montu was 45 minutes. Hit-or-miss, really.

 

Yeah, Kumba will never have a longer line than Montu -- Kumba is tucked away in the back of the park, and hard to see if you're not looking for it, while Montu is the first thing you see when you're coming in from the parking lot. But they're both 32 person 2-3 train coasters, so if the crowds are manageable it doesn't take much for them both to be walk-ons. But if Montu is a near walk-on or walk-on, you can guarantee that Kumba will be too -- and there's a chance that the front will be a walk-on for Kumba too. So that's why I suggest that you don't do Kumba or Montu until you've exhausted all of the other rides that might get lines that day if you made rope drop. Once Tigris opens, the strategy will get pretty interesting. You'll need to hit Tigris at rope drop, but you'll have to figure out how to get to Cheetah Hunt at some point too. Then once RMC Gwazi opens, the game theory will get even more complex.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Complex? He's probably going on a weekday in January. There's nothing complex about this. Every single thing will have a 5 minute wait or less except for Cheetah Hunt, maybe Cobra's Curse and Stanley Falls if it's hot which it probably won't be.

 

OK, probably true. I only really go on weekends or after work on Friday. I never really use vacation time to go there, and any holiday would be worse than a weekend. But one thing to remember about BGT is that it has very short operating hours M-Th outside of the summer.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Also, with two days of time there, I would say to not even worry about a "battle plan". Just go and enjoy it.

 

Well, I think that the complication of BGT is that two of its most premier rides: Kumba and Montu -- never really get a line (they may, but only when the park is absolutely jammed, like during the holidays) but some rides that you may want to ride, but may not be extremely excited about WILL get lines. And if you don't get right on Cheetah Hunt, the line will be as long as it will be midday. So that's why I was saying that some strategy helps. You just have to know that Kumba and Montu will be near walk-ons most of the day, and that certain rides that you wouldn't think will be problems will get the longest lines.

 

Oh yeah, also the shows in the Moroccan Palace are the best in the park -- and probably some of the best shows I've seen at any park. They usually show Turn it Up throughout much of the year, and have a more Christmas themed show during Christmas.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Everyone else has echoed my thoughts on the Fun Spot parks. I really like them, but you don't need more than 2 hours to experience everything. The first time I went to the Orlando location on a Saturday night after Universal closed, the coasters and go karts were 20-30 minute waits. But from future experiences and others, it seems like that was an anomaly.

 

If you have a full day at SeaWorld and Busch Gardens, you'll have no issues riding everything. Manta gets its longest line immediately after opening, but it dies down by the afternoon. Then Journey and Antarctica can get decent waits in the afternoon, but on a cold day that may not happen. The only lines I've ever seen at Busch Gardens are for Cheetah Hunt (30-45 minutes), Cobra's Curse (20-40 minutes), and Sand Serpent (up to 30 minutes). Everything else has been no more than a 1-2 train wait. Since Cheetah Hunt is the first coaster by the entrance, you need to be there at rope drop to get one ride with no wait.

 

For food at Busch Gardens and SeaWorld, do not miss the pretzel places. Get the Bacon Pretzel Fury at Busch Gardens Tampa. SeaWorld always mixes up their pretzel offerings. I've had things as crazy as a pretzel wrapped turkey leg there. These pretzels are better than the Auntie Anne's and Wetzel's Pretzels of the world. At SeaWorld, I also really like Dine with Shamu and Shark's, but I doubt either are on a meal plan.

 

For Universal, the single rider lines are an absolute godsend. They're offered on every major coaster and several of the dark rides. Usually they get me on the rides in under 10-15 minutes. The three single rider lines that can take a bit longer are Gringotts, Kong, and Rockit; I have had to wait 30-40 minutes with single rider in the past.

 

The major rides without single rider lines are the Simpson's Ride and the three water rides at IOA, though with cooler temperatures I suspect those lines won't be an issue. Make sure you pack a bathing suit for Popeye and Ripsaw Falls, they are complete drenches. Ironically enough, Jurassic Park keeps you mostly dry even though it looks the most soaking.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

you've gotten some great feedback, so nothing really I can add other than to suggest if you are base camping in Tampa (which is what we did on our last trip there), we spent an evening at the Hard Rock Casino Tampa.

 

Winning there was nice, as was seeing the KISS costumes around the main bar (I'm a big KISS fan).

 

But I'd recommend going for the Fresh Harvest dinner buffet there, as it was among the best we've had, and better than/comparable to the Cosmopolitan in Vegas (which is our #1 in Vegas and has been for several years now).

 

https://www.seminolehardrocktampa.com/tampa-contemporary-dining.htm?_ga=2.98358303.1230052010.1547674675-1123893208.1547674675#fresh

 

 

in terms of BGT? The only time during our visits that Montu pulled long lines is when Cobra's Curse went down - since it's right over there, if CC goes down, the line drains and they all went to Montu.

 

Falcons Fury had a decent line (and no single rider line, at least when I was last there), but worth any wait for a ride.

 

have fun

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, not even looking at discounts, look at this and why you should really do Discovery Cove...

 

11eddd4ffcc39581e90889f9751691ba.jpg

 

e020f7bcd2f86c74dc597120ff7c6d1d.jpg

 

That means you can visit Discovery Cove for $25.00. $25.00!! I checked the price for this upcoming weekend. -- NOTE: They feed you breakfast, lunch, and snacks, + booze. Plus you get to swim with 7 ft long stingrays, or just chill in the warm river, or just lay in a hammock all day it would still be worth it.

 

If you have any questions about DC, I've been about 7 or 8 times (admittedly not in the last 3 years but that will change in a few weeks 8)). Even if you are not really a good swimmer the (cold) reef really is something to experience. The vests and/or wetsuits help keep you afloat. The warm water feels nice and they even have a sitting area in the water where you can bring your alcoholic beverages.

 

They also have an aviary where you can feed hungry little shits.

 

Don't feel like you need to do any of the "extras", you'll still have a great time.

 

Note: I may have bias because I used to work for SeaWorld, but bias aside they really are awesome parks. The TripAdvisor reviews for Discovery Cove don't lie!

 

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-d110173?m=19905

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, not doing Discovery Cove would be insane. It pays for itself just in food / drinks for that price. You'd pay that on I-Drive and you wouldn't get to spend the day at an all inclusive resort.

 

I looked at the price with the dolphin swim because the thought of not swimming with a dolphin for like $50 extra is insane to me (I mean... come on, it's a dolphin) but even without that we would have had an awesome day.

 

I agree that the other extras aren't necessary.

 

They also have an aviary where you can feed hungry little shits.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

REMEMBER: Even if you don't want to do Discovery Cove for $25, just remember, parking is at least $25.00 per park per visit at BGT and SeaWorld (it varies and can be higher -- there is no parking fee at DC), so if visiting 3 days with the 3 day ticket that's $75.00 tacked onto the price... making it more adventageous to just do the 4 park unlimited + parking included (assuming your driving) even if you are only doing 3 days total...

 

But... that fourth day...

 

49e1101daf42425f80efd2c0dcc699f0.jpg

 

3d1a63b285b78687098d77a5b997dcc8.jpg

 

Ok... I'm going to stop selling it now...

 

a59b2fea884c001410b723d4e09060e7.jpg

 

8b66da4313903dd62772ffa37efdf36b.jpg

 

^ yes there is no glass and you are swimming with them

 

bfdc20cc372e70f4e0e04ebc6d2e50ac.jpg

 

b40258da7900be1fbea3030f79f03a7b.jpg

 

8c7f88cdb2b49d892c523daf20ae8d71.jpg

 

14abcd356ca8dcf0c1a4f18420f9f766.jpg

 

f882e87ebee1b79ba9f897c29a9b3683.jpg

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the suggestions! I'm going to do the 14 day unlimited visit with the dolphin swim on Sunday. And I was never going to use an entire day for the fun spots. I was just going to work them in on those days. I wasn't clear about that.

 

So the week is looking like this:

 

Sat: Arrive in Tampa. Go right to BGT for a little preview, and then to St. Pete for the Sharks- Lightning NHL game.

Sun: Discovery Cove and one of the fun spots.

Mon: SeaWorld and the other fun spot

Tue/Wed: Universal's and Disney Springs on Tue night

Thu/ Fri: BGT

Sat: Fly home

 

Still looking for something on Wednesday night.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use https://themeparkreview.com/forum/topic/116-terms-of-service-please-read/