Last minute Florida trip

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Last minute Florida trip

Postby AndrewA86 » Wed Jan 16, 2019 5:49 am

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.

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Re: Last minute Florida trip

Postby DirkFunk » Wed Jan 16, 2019 6:24 am

AndrewA86 wrote: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.

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Re: Last minute Florida trip

Postby A.J. » Wed Jan 16, 2019 6:29 am

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.
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Re: Last minute Florida trip

Postby coasterbill » Wed Jan 16, 2019 8:16 am

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

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). :lol:

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.
Last edited by coasterbill on Wed Jan 16, 2019 9:34 am.

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Re: Last minute Florida trip

Postby SharkTums » Wed Jan 16, 2019 9:30 am

^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.

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Re: Last minute Florida trip

Postby Too Fast For Comfort » Wed Jan 16, 2019 9:38 am

AndrewA86 wrote: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.

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Re: Last minute Florida trip

Postby coasterbill » Wed Jan 16, 2019 9:51 am

Too Fast For Comfort wrote: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.

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Re: Last minute Florida trip

Postby kenban » Wed Jan 16, 2019 10:19 am

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.

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Re: Last minute Florida trip

Postby anonymouscactus » Wed Jan 16, 2019 11:13 am

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


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 :)

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Re: Last minute Florida trip

Postby A.J. » Wed Jan 16, 2019 11:19 am

Too Fast For Comfort wrote: 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.
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