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Ways to Experience Busch Gardens
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Reviews (17,576)
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Reviewed 5 weeks ago via mobile

We are a family with 4 teenagers and about a month ago we bought tickets and made reservations for a Wednesday during our Spring Break in April. We were in the park all day yesterday, April 7th. After reading the terrible reviews I was very nervous and cautioned the kids it might be a really rough day. We ended up having a great day! We got to the park around 9:45 and got in with very little wait time. We did preferred parking but I don’t think the non-preferred parking was much slower. There was no wait time at the temperature check tent and very little wait to get into the park, we walked in around 10am. The ticket gate attendant warned us that it was going to be a “very crowded day” and he scanned our reservations and our tickets.

The roller coasters were a priority for us due to the age of our kids so we reluctantly broke down and bought them fast passes. With them, they were able to ride everything in the park plus we stopped at all the animal attractions. Without them, we would have had to pick and choose. Cheetah Hunt had a very long wait time all day. Without fast passes you could ride quite a few provided you hit your top choices early but getting onto all of them - even on a less busy Wednesday - would have been next to impossible.

A few things that helped us - do not buy the all day dining pass. We didn’t, we ate lunch at 12:15 at the Dragon Fire Grill and Pub which is like a quick service option - we waited in line for about 15 mins. By 1:30 the line was pretty long. The lines for the dining pass restaurants were very long as the day progressed. We bought one refillable BG bottle and I don’t even think it was that great, lines for drinks got really long and we ended up buying a few bottled drinks in gift shops to get through the day. The park was not full early in the day, we went straight to the first rides they wanted to do. We rode the train later in the day, the Stanleyville station was less crowded and we waited 25 mins. The Nairobi station had an hour wait when we tried there. Congo River Falls and the Skyride are closed and there are no shows. We loved seeing the animals and spent quite a bit of time off and on during our day enjoying the animal exhibits but we didn’t do any paid encounters. The park was very clean and the animals were in beautiful condition.

Lastly I have seen quite a few outraged reviews about lack of masks, etc. I thought BG was strict about masks but we did not feel harassed. Yes, we saw people with them down under their noses etc but this is not something that bothers us in the least. I would say that if you feel strongly about keeping people 6 feet away from
you at all times and you feel very upset if you see people not wearing masks “properly” outside then an amusement park is probably not the right place for you.

Date of experience: April 2021
2  Thank tarheelmom5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 April 2021

Get there when the park opens for parking between 9:15-9:40am. I highly suggest fast passes and avoid completely the dining deal, soooo not worth it for the food. Get a preferred parking pass though, so you can park close to the front entrance and exit. With the fast pass, it makes it easier. Know in advance that no restaurants open until 11, some really not even till 11:20, it at all. No food kiosk offers anything by bottled water for dining deal. Only a few restaurants are open and the lines are SUPER LONG. They are not prepared for this, just fyi. It's not the employees fault, so be patient and kind. Train rides wait times are long, so if you do it, go early.

Date of experience: March 2021
2  Thank N6073HNtracyp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 April 2021

We went to Busch Gardens on our Spring Break which was not the same time as Florida's Spring Break. I must say I was super nervous about the whole experience from all the negative reviews. We arrived at 9:15 when parking was supposed to open and it opened about 9:25am. We waited a short time for the tram to the park and were walking in the front gate of the park by 9:50 (before official park opening at 10am). We were required to scan our reservation as well as our ticket for entry. We did not find the park overly crowded. We waited maybe 25-30 mins to get lunch although we did eat at an off time to avoid some crowds. I will say that if you are going there to ride the roller coasters, that investment in the Quick Que will make your day more enjoyable as they are not fully loading the rides due to Covid. It is not a cheap investment, but if your main goal is coasters you will ride way more with it. There are many other things to see in the park with the animals and we really enjoyed the gorilla area where they were quite active and playing around. We found the park to be clean and the staff friendly. My only complaint would be that we had planned to eat at the Smokehouse restaurant before leaving the park at about 5pm. It closes at 4:30 much to our disappointment. I would say if your park is open until 6pm then all of your dining and retail locations should remain open until park closing.

Date of experience: March 2021
Thank 157lovetotravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 April 2021 via mobile

Visited twice during our trip for spring break. On the first visit we came on a Saturday and it was at disaster trying to get into the park. They need traffic control as it took an hour just to get from Busch Blvd to the parking entrance. Then took another hour to get through temperature screening security and ticket redemption. The park was a madhouse and there was no way they were limiting numbers due to Covid. We still had a fantastic time once in the park but food services needed more staff as the lines were ridiculous to pay for expensive food yet no outside food or drink is allowed.

For our return trip Tuesday, entrance to the park was very smooth because it wasn’t a Saturday, but so many of the kiosks and eateries were closed that to just buy a water or get a snack was a 30 minute wait. We tried to hold off and get lunch at 3 PM hoping the lines will get better but the main food eatery had them snaking out into the park with what we heard was an hour wait. There had to be over 100 people in line. We ended up waiting a half hour at the pretzel kiosk to get something to tide us over for the rest of the day.

So great rides and park but they need to staff properly. Had I purchased unlimited dining we would have demanded a refund.

Date of experience: April 2021
Thank KarriLaB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 April 2021

If I could give it ZERO stars I would. We went last Friday (which was Good Friday) and it took us 2.5 HOURS to even get into the parking lot (and we had already paid for parking). Once we parked, it was another HOUR to enter the park. It was wall to wall people all day! Went straight to one of the roller coasters we wanted to ride and waited about 45 minutes in line when we were informed they were having technical difficulties and shut it down. By then the lines for the rides were all 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Husband and son went to ride a coaster (which they said was not all that great) while me and my daughter rode the train (one of the only positives of the day). 2 hours later we finally met up at the Food & Wine Festival. Food was decent BUT when they run out, you are out of luck. After that the rides were at 2 1/2 hour wait times and we were done! We did go to the Sugar Ray concert and it was very good. (Although we had purchased VIP seating for the 7pm show and decided to go to the 5pm show so we could go home. We were informed we could not trade our VIP seats for the earlier show even though the section was MAYBE half full.)
Signage in the park is terrible! 90% of the workers we came in contact with seemed like they would have rather been anywhere else. SAVE YOUR MONEY! It was not worth riding ONE RIDE all day! I am a very positive person but I have nothing positive to say about this place. Waste of our time and money!

Date of experience: April 2021
3  Thank EmInLex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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