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Old 08-16-2012, 06:51 PM
5,453 posts, read 8,118,961 times
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World's most-visited theme parks - Yahoo! Travel
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Old 08-17-2012, 09:20 AM
Location: Federal Way, WA
62 posts, read 348,580 times
Reputation: 47
Middle of the ghetto Seriously!!!

I read this over and over on the Tampa boards and it drives me crazy!! if you think BG is in the middle of the ghetto then you really need to get out more and experience the wilds of Detroit, Los Angeles or Baltimore.
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Old 08-17-2012, 11:20 AM
385 posts, read 982,127 times
Reputation: 252
I agree with what others have said. The Busch Gardens area, while not especially nice, is not a reason to avoid the park. It is pretty close to the city for a theme park, actually in the city limits, so that is one PLUS about the location.

I like rides, I don't like crowds, so I loved Busch Gardens. The animals are also a plus.

I really don't like Disney. It is a big fake commercialized place full of Disney branding and product placement. I feel like you have to be a young kid to enjoy Disney. I have not been to the newer parks that have better rides, though. Space Mountain was cool.
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Old 08-17-2012, 12:07 PM
Location: FL
762 posts, read 1,640,131 times
Reputation: 1559
Busch Gardens is a little Jewel in Tampa. It does not attract the crowds of Disney, is fair priced, they have military discounts (free) to family and friends as well. It is also VERY WELL manicured, clean with great gardens, foliage, great petting zoo, great animals, interactive Kangaroo exhibit (hands on), Aviary, Tons of rides, shows, etc. I was extremely impressed the last time we went in December of 2011. It was really a delightful time.

Please realize this parks 1/10th the size of Disney Orlando. Adventure Island is also a great water park. We had a great time there.

The bad rap is unjustified by people with unrealistic expectations and or information.
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Old 08-17-2012, 12:31 PM
Location: FL
17,791 posts, read 9,780,370 times
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I have been to BG, the Disney Parks and Sea World 100's of times and I like them all. They are all nice places and different from each other. The one I like the least is Animal Kingdom. Universal and Islands of Adventure are nice also but have only been there a handful of times. Plan to go back if/when it gets cooler.
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Old 08-17-2012, 12:35 PM
3,672 posts, read 6,582,508 times
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First let me say I like WDW and go whenevwer we want to because we get in free, but we hit the SW/BG parks because we like them, too.....enough to have purchased annual passes for over 20 years or more. BG is a beautiful park to spend the day in just to see the animals and the beauty of the park. There is nothing like sitting in the Crown Colony Restaurant by the windows watching the giraffes and zebras while you eat a family dinner that doesn't cost $30 a piecce like many places at Disney. The shows at BG are very good too. My sons ride the coasters and I go for everything else in the park. It probably is my favorite of all parks. We just wish it were closer to us than across the state.

It is not in a ghetto. It is very close to University of South Florida and the Tampa Museum of Science. It is in the city but it is not a ghetto area.

One thing that is great about the park, if you want to you can buy an all day all you can eat pass and eat and drink all day at 6 of the restaurants for $30. Food is good, too. It doesn't include my favorite Crown Colony so sometimes we just opt not to buy the pass, but if we want smoked BBQ it is a great option.

You should give it a chance. It is a great park. Totally different from WDW but that is a good thing. How boring would it be if everything were like WDW in the state. I am not sure you need 4 days but maybe 2 days at BG and 1 day at the beach or doing something else in the Tampa area.
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Old 08-17-2012, 12:41 PM
Location: New Mexico
140 posts, read 351,700 times
Reputation: 55
Having been to both parks (and Adventure Island) numerous times I'd say is really depends on what your lookiing for. Of course WDW is much bigger & designed for a total (read 24 hrs a day) experince. Having gone through taking my kids since 3+ to adult and this year my grandchildern I have to say 2-12ish - WDW, early 13 - mid 20's - BG, and from then on WDW.

You have not lived until you have watched a child or grandchild 3 -7(ish) in Magic Kingdom & Animal Kingdom for the 1st time. I've had that joy with mine and this past spring with the grandkids ... yes, it's expensive but worth every penny.
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Old 08-18-2012, 08:49 PM
792 posts, read 2,078,487 times
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I've been to both parks and I think Busch Gardens is superior to Disney.

Disney has the name, but in my opinion, they are living on past glories. The park, rides and even the characters are dated. Kids don't grow up watching Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck anymore. The best ride they have there(Space Mountain) was built in the late 70's or early 80's. Kinda sad, considering how much money that place rakes in.

And as for the food. Well, that was a huge disappointment too. Extrememly expensive and limited selections(burgers, dogs, etc.). There are speciality restaurants in Epcot (i think), where they have many places to eat from different countries, but the cost is insane.

Crowds are bad at Disney, but to be honest, crowds are bad all amusement parks in Florida in the summertime.

As for Busch Gardens, it is more adult oriented in my opinion. They have several of the worlds best roller coasters there and just this year , they added a new one(cheetah hunt). Disney doesn't have a single coaster that can compare to Montu, Sheikra, Gwazi or Kumba.

Lots of different restaurants at Busch Gardens that serve different types of cuisine. I like Crown Colony myself. And none of it is as ridiculously priced as the Disney restaurants.

I took my kids to Disney when they were younger and we all had a good time. But, I would not do it again. The expense, the experiece isn't something that I would want to do more than once.

But i've been to Busch Gardens multiple times over the years. I get a season pass every year.

Heck, I even think Universal Studios is better than Disney, and Busch Gardens is better than Universal.

As for the location of Busch Gardens, once you are there, you are inside an amusement park, so you have no idea about the world outside it's walls. It has nothing to do with the neighborhoods around it. The only seedy part is driving down Busch Blvd. to get there, and even that isn't that bad. Maybe the occasional panhandler at a red light.

Last edited by stpeteguy; 08-18-2012 at 08:58 PM..
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Old 08-19-2012, 06:07 AM
Location: Tampa, FL
2,637 posts, read 11,401,460 times
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Busch Gardens is NOT a dupe of Disney's Animal Kingdom, it's the other way around. And at BG you get much more besides the animals.

Busch Gardens has something for everyone. World class roller coasters for the thrill seekers. Plenty of less intense rides for those who are not. Water rides to cool off, including a spot where you can stand and get drenched without even having to wait in line for the actual ride. Several areas for the kids. Fantastic animal displays that almost everyone loves, and special tours that will get you even closer. Beautiful gardens. I lived right across the street when I was a student and watched them build Montu. The neighborhood is run down and ugly but fine from a safety standpoint during the park's hours of operation. It is only really late at night when you should probably be somewhere else. The biggest danger to visitors is when they try to jaywalk across Busch Blvd. after having breakfast at the IHOP. I am always amazed when I come to the edge of the park and realize that cars are whizzing by on the other side of the fence, because it feels much larger inside than the space I know it takes up, and the outside world is only visible from the top of a coaster. Like the above poster, I think the food is much better, but I am partial to the Smokehouse. Admission is a much better deal than at Disney, especially for Florida residents who can get a "fun card" for the cost of one admission that gets you in for the rest of the year. For a little more you can a true season pass that covers parking as well and gets you more discounts. The little shops have interesting, well-crafted items, not just a bunch of plastic junk. Best of all, for those of us who live in the Tampa Bay area, you can get there without having to play chicken on I-4. I've lived in central Florida nearly my entire life and have been to almost every theme park here, and Busch Gardens is without a doubt my favorite park.
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Old 08-19-2012, 07:57 AM
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Reputation: 11
The rides are great there. But, if you live in Florida and want to pay around $20.00 a month for two years and have access to ALL of Busch Gardens 7 sisters parks, then get the Platinum Passport.
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