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...
Ok... I'm going to stop selling it now...
^ yes there is no glass and you are swimming with them
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
Canobie Coaster wrote: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.
Damn, I've never seen waits like that at Fun Spot. Usually the park is so dead that there will be empty seats on every train... and sometimes I'm the only person on the train.
Busch gets very crowded very frequently. Cheetah Hunt and Cobra's Curse easily get to two hours. But Monday-Thursday isn't too bad if its not in the summer or around the holidays. Unfortunately it closes so early that its hard for me to get to directly coming from work (I'm not going to waste PTO on my home park).
Universal just doesn't get crazy crowds in general. And yeah, I don't know why people ignore the single rider lines so much... I think they're awesome! I wish every ride had one.
Hey! All sorts of good advice here. Not much to add, really. Fun Spot's late night deals start at 9 PM and save you $15. I don't know if I saw that explicitly written anywhere.
Only thing I would suggest and I don't necessarily know if it is in the cards with your current plan...On my arrival and departure days into Orlando I volunteered for six or so hours each day at Give Kids the World. It was such a lovely time and really humbling. Depending on your personalities, you can really get a ton out of the experience. You can request more appealing assignments like Carousel or Train operator, village shuttle driver, late night pizza delivery (they do shifts in evenings and early morning, so it could work out even for just a 6:30-9 AM/PM shift). It is a shameless plug, I know. I had a really nice time there and they always can use a lending hand even if it is just for a 2.5 or 3 hour shift. You can decide impulsively to go as well (just need to clear a quick background check, which you can do a day or two before or just do now if you think there is even a remote possibility of it). Have a great time!
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