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View Full Version : Busch Gardens/Tampa "howl-o-scream"


HauntFreaks.com
07-01-2002, 10:26 AM
if anyone is looking for another theme park halloween event for this year check out Busch Gardens/Tampa "Howl-O-Scream" (http://howl-o-scream.com/Tampa/index.htm) ....we hear they have been putting a lot of time and work into this evet and if the event is as nice as there web site it should be a good one....watch out USF :rolleyes:

WebmasterBarry
07-01-2002, 01:06 PM
I went to Howl-O-Scream during the first year at BGT and it seemed like a wannabe HHN. I don't know how it was during their 2nd year.

HauntFreaks.com
07-01-2002, 01:18 PM
we hear that it was alot better last year... but i dont think it will ever be HHN... there lucky there 1˝hrs away...lol

robvia
07-01-2002, 03:17 PM
I went last year and it was awesome. Cool temperatures, park wasn't crowded, and the rides we're walkons. Haunted houses we're good, one in 3d. Shovel people walking around near the train station scared everyone. Can't compare because I haven't been to HHN, but this year I'm doing both. BGT even kept their raft ride up, and people we're going on it in street cloths. People we're pumping quarters in the machines to squirt them with the water guns. The park wasn't crowded, yet it didn't feel empty. Hard to describe, it was laid back, people drinking beers, coasters, music, and having a good time like a giant party.

Pixie_Dust
07-20-2002, 02:42 PM
Originally posted by robvia
I went last year and it was awesome. Cool temperatures, park wasn't crowded, and the rides we're walkons. Haunted houses we're good, one in 3d. Shovel people walking around near the train station scared everyone. Can't compare because I haven't been to HHN, but this year I'm doing both. BGT even kept their raft ride up, and people we're going on it in street cloths. People we're pumping quarters in the machines to squirt them with the water guns. The park wasn't crowded, yet it didn't feel empty. Hard to describe, it was laid back, people drinking beers, coasters, music, and having a good time like a giant party.

Not to rowdy for old folks (forty-somethings)? ;)
If you were planning a vacation would you try to find a place to stay in Tampa overnight and put this on your list?

Cheers :)

robvia
07-20-2002, 06:20 PM
I'm 38. It's not a rowdy crowd, but more of a party crowd where everyone is having a great time.
I stayed at the Days Inn and walked to the park. The Baymont is also within walking distance and nicer.
Other hotels are located on E. Fowler Ave, a short drive away. Here's a list of them.
http://commerce.4adventure.com/store/PrefHotel.asp?loc=tampa
I'll probably stay at the Days Inn again this year. Then I'll stay at the HoJo on Kirkman Road for HHN the next night.

Pixie_Dust
07-20-2002, 06:28 PM
Thanks :)
I'm glad to know it's safe to walk! But I'm thinking if I get the silver annual pass and go to BG two days I'll save so much, esp. after the discounts on Discovery Cove, Halloween night, and even the Sea World luau that you get with the pass, and one other advantage of the pass is comp parking, so we probably wouldn't walk.

The last time we were in FL, we did not get up the nerve to ride the big coasters at BG before the park closed (short hours). Since then I have had vertigo (the crystals in your ear fall out of place ruining your sense of balance and you fall down a lot!). So I am hoping the coasters don't knock them out of place again. Talk about scary!

Cheers :)

A Mickeyfan
07-20-2002, 08:26 PM
Pixie_Dust.... I have vertigo & as long as I keep my eyes open & look straight ahead I am ok on the coasters. I have noticed that when I close my eyes it hits me. HOWEVER, I also get migraines & a day after riding coasters, I wake up with a migraine. I do take Imitrex the day of the coasters to ward them off for that day......they need to come up with a morning after pill LOL;) ;) ;)

jelly-beans
07-22-2002, 01:06 PM
I went to both HHN and Howl-O-Scream last year. I believe I wrote a review of both in the trip reports section but I was unable to locate it. I will try and remember best I can. Here goes... It was a first time for both events for me but suffice it to say that if you have been to HHN and liked it you will also enjoy Howl-O-Scream (and vice versa). Personally, I give the edge to HHN but slightly. Their overall ambiance was incredible but it may be difficult to duplicate in IOA. The houses/mazes were longer and slightly more entertaining at BG (IMHO), except for the Mummy maze (at BG) which was basically a walkthrough presentation of Egyptian artifacts. I found the scare zones and overall feel better at HHN to give them the edge and the Parade was a blast although it tended to bring the worst out of some people. The coasters being open was a nice diversion at BG.

I would also like to note that I attended Howl-O-Scream the Saturday before Halloween last year and I ran into the most crowded Theme park I had ever attended (I have been twice to Disney on the 4th of July so I know crowds). I was so disappointed when it took me over an hour to get through the first maze that I was ready to leave until I noticed VIP groups going to the front of the lines. I inquired and was able to sign-up for a group that started at 8:30 (I think). The cost was something like $25 per person which was more than reasonable. This gave me front line access to all five houses/Mazes and reserved seating for two shows. Afterwards I still had a couple of hours to go though the 3-D house one last time and to ride a couple of coasters. This, needless to say, made all the difference. I attended HHN three nights last year and did not use the VIP option because of its price. However, even on the very busy Friday night (the day before I went to BG) the crowd was not near that of BG. I think Universal probably limits tickets more than BG in order to keep the crowds bearable.

I will be attending both events this year again and recommend both events to all.

jb

HauntFreaks.com
07-22-2002, 02:12 PM
we also will be going to both events this year... i have been going to HHN since '96 but have never made it to Howl-o-Scream . it will be nice to cover both events this year... remember if you see someone with a HauntFreaks.com shirt , feel free to ask for a free sticker!!! and look for our review of both events plus many others over the winter of 2003

Pixie_Dust
07-22-2002, 02:32 PM
Originally posted by jelly-beans
I went to both HHN and Howl-O-Scream last year... I would also like to note that I attended Howl-O-Scream the Saturday before Halloween last year and I ran into the most crowded Theme park I had ever attended (I have been twice to Disney on the 4th of July so I know crowds). I was so disappointed when it took me over an hour to get through the first maze that I was ready to leave until I noticed VIP groups going to the front of the lines. I inquired and was able to sign-up for a group that started at 8:30 (I think). The cost was something like $25 per person which was more than reasonable. This gave me front line access to all five houses/Mazes and reserved seating for two shows. jb

The cost overall seems way more reasonable than HHN -- almost $60 a piece for one night! Yeesh! Or save only $4 per ticket with the Gory Getaway package. Anyone know of a better deal?

However, the one time we went to BG, on the same trip where every other venue including Universal/IOA was a dead zone (no Halloween pun intended), BG was so crowded we could not do all the rides. :(

I was considering doing their dinner show, which gets you a half hour head start on the haunted houses, and also going on the supposedly less crowded Thursday. Will that be enough, or is the VIP option a necessity?

Also, a question for anyone who has stayed over after the late night at the park, what are some good, cheap, safe options for lodging by BG?

Cheers :)

jelly-beans
07-22-2002, 02:49 PM
Pixie:

The $25 I remember for VIP was in addition to the regular Howl-O-Scream admission. I hope I didn't mislead you. This still places the total cost well below that of the VIP option at HHN.

If you are not sure about going the VIP route at BG you can always do as I did last year. Go early and if the lines are big ask an employee about getting into a VIP group. If I remember right there was an area to the right of the entrance gates where VIP groups met. I purchased my VIP tickets there. The only problem with this is if the VIP tix somehow sold out early.

I didn't know about the dinner option but for me the $25 VIP fee was worth every penny. I will probably choose that option again this year even if the crowds are not as bad as the one I experienced last year.

jb

ps I too am interested in lodging options at BG since last year I drove back to Orlando from BG after Howl-O-Scream. I will NEVER try that again, I caught myself dosing off a dozen times.

NCRedding
07-22-2002, 10:17 PM
What rides are open for Howl-o-scream? I'm undecided as to whether it would be worth our time, and extra $$ to fit in Howl.

jelly-beans
07-23-2002, 12:21 PM
Pixie:

The open rides I can remember were the major coasters like Montu, Kumba and Gwazi. I'm pretty sure Rhino Rally was closed. I can't tell you how to budget your trip but, like I said in a previous post, I was more than satisfied. I think that if you pay regular admission to the park during the day you can purchase a Howl-O-Scream ticket for that night at a pretty substantial discount, somthing like $20. The VIP would be an additional $25.

HauntFreaks:

Thanks for the link to Howl-O-Scream and to your website. I just got through both.

So there will be six instead of five houses at Howl-O-Scream. Sounds like HOS may take a step up this year but some of the news on you website has me a bit worried about HHN. I can understand no parade. Let's face it, it would be difficult to have a parade at IOA unless they ran it down a temporary street floating over the lake (imagine the budget for that!!!). I can also understand not adding a sixth house. I may be and often am misguided and there are many times that I don't have a clue as to what I am talking about but I can't even think of how they are going to house the five mazes at IOA. However, not running all five houses on slow nights? Possibly decreasing the number of monsters running around the park? Only one show - Bill and Ted? I know these are only rumors and should not be considered fact until we hear it from Universal directly but it sounds like a downsized version of last year's HHN. Can the economy be killing Universal so bad that they have slashed HHN's budget? I know that having the Hulk, DD, JPRA and Spider-man rides open will alleviate some of the lines at the houses but so did the parade and shows. Is there something I am missing? I am certain I will love HHN even if it is slightly downsized, I trust them to put on a great show but I find myself slightly disappointed and it's only July!!!

jb

HauntFreaks.com
07-23-2002, 01:14 PM
well i think some of the cut backs have nothing to do with money.... and may have more to do with the layout of IOA its self.... less actors may not be a bad thing with the path going around IOA being much smaller then the streets over at USF . there just might not be the need for as many to get the job done.... and its sad to say were still hearing only one show this year ( Bill & Ted) ..... one of the biggest thing that will be missed is the parade... but hey maybe the big guys at USF will catch wind of everyone disappointment and figure something out.... the prob. i see about the mazes are.... where the hell they going to put them.... so far we know of 2 .... one behind Dr. Doom.... the other being soundstage 20 (i think) over in US that can be accessed thro Suess Land.... all in all USF will not let us down.... I'm sure of that

Pixie_Dust
07-23-2002, 01:27 PM
Originally posted by jelly-beans
Pixie:

The $25 I remember for VIP was in addition to the regular Howl-O-Scream admission. I hope I didn't mislead you. This still places the total cost well below that of the VIP option at HHN.

If you are not sure about going the VIP route at BG you can always do as I did last year. Go early and if the lines are big ask an employee about getting into a VIP group. If I remember right there was an area to the right of the entrance gates where VIP groups met. I purchased my VIP tickets there. The only problem with this is if the VIP tix somehow sold out early.

I didn't know about the dinner option but for me the $25 VIP fee was worth every penny. I will probably choose that option again this year even if the crowds are not as bad as the one I experienced last year.

jb

ps I too am interested in lodging options at BG since last year I drove back to Orlando from BG after Howl-O-Scream. I will NEVER try that again, I caught myself dosing off a dozen times.

Hi, Jelly,

No, you didn't mislead me; I knew those were extra charges, and yes it is still way below the HHN price! In your other post you mentioned rumors of cutbacks at HHN, and I can't imagine paying so much only to have them say "Oh, it is slow so we aren't opening all the houses, etc." You'd think they would charge less, then! Now I'm wondering if it would be worth it.

As for Howl-O-Scream, if we get that annual pass (which also gets us discounts for Discovery Cove, Sea World luau, and I think some other stuff), then for a Thursday the H-O-S is only $15.95 (plus any add-ons like the dinner or VIP). What a deal! That's why BG is so crowded compared to the other parks, and why we would need 2 days at BG just to do all the attractions -- and 2 days makes the annual pass pay for itself.

Cheers :)

HauntFreaks.com
07-23-2002, 02:13 PM
even with the last minute changes they had done post 9/11 last year... they still pulled off a great event.... so i wouldn't worry to much.... the creative minds at USF will not let us down....

jelly-beans
07-24-2002, 12:28 PM
Thanks for the tip on the Annual Pass at BG Pixie. It looks like a great deal, especially if you plan on two days at BG, Howl-O-Scream and also a visit to SeaWorld. I think I may go that route as well.

As for HHN, last year I did not do the very pricey VIP tour. It was pretty crowded but I was able to enjoy myself and I did see all houses and shows after two nights. In many ways I prefer this approach as I am not big on keeping schedules but at Howl-O-Scream the crowd was just too enormous for words. I enjoyed just walking around US during HHN, I hope IOA will have that same feel and enjoyment. Like HauntFreaks, I have confidence in Universal to put on a great show - budget cuts or not.

jb

suzysezso
07-24-2002, 02:29 PM
We're not big Halloween folks but we have been to BG several times this year and I thought I might be of some help with some hotel info:

There are about 6 major hotels (Best Western, Doubletree Suites, La Quinta, EmbassySuites, etc) and several more (Red Roof, HoJos, etc) within a very close distance to BG.
Unlike O-town navigation is really easy in this part of town. Bush is in the center of a large square formed by Fowler Ave (this is the main road coming in from I-75), McKinley, Busch Blvd, and 30th Street. With almost all of the hotels located on these 4 streets. The main park entrance is on McKinley, and you will find the traffic lighter if you approach via Fowler instead of Busch Blvd.
We have stayed at the Best Western all Suites which is an older property but nice and clean roomy suites with a nice pool and free hot breakfast. Rates are a bit high there tho- 69 to over 100 depending on the date.
We got a fabulous deal on Priceline for the Doubletree Suites. With only 10 days notice I was able to get a beautiful suite there including hot breakfast buffet for only 44 dollars for the 4th of July weekend. Hard to beat that deal! Again not a new property but clean and a very good value!
The one place I would tell you to avoid would be the Holiday Inn on Fowler. The rates are high and even if they were cheaper the hotel was very dirty and the service was terrible. I never got several mesages that were left for me, trash cans in public areas were overflowing for days, a friend of mine checked into her room to find a bathtub filled with dirty water... you get the picture.

Since you have some time between now and October I would suggest you check out Biddingfortravel.com for advice on bargain hotels in the Busch area. It gives you a good idea on what other folks have bid for and won in the areas you are interested in. While I would be nervous about bidding on a place in Orlando since there are hundreds of hotels spread over so large an area, I had no trouble taking a chance on a bid for a BG area hotel since as I said, the major players are all close and easy to drive to and from.
Hope this helps!
:jester:

suzysezso
07-24-2002, 02:29 PM
We're not big Halloween folks but we have been to BG several times this year and I thought I might be of some help with some hotel info:

There are about 6 major hotels (Best Western, Doubletree Suites, La Quinta, EmbassySuites, etc) and several more (Red Roof, HoJos, etc) within a very close distance to BG.
Unlike O-town navigation is really easy in this part of town. Bush is in the center of a large square formed by Fowler Ave (this is the main road coming in from I-75), McKinley, Busch Blvd, and 30th Street. With almost all of the hotels located on these 4 streets. The main park entrance is on McKinley, and you will find the traffic lighter if you approach via Fowler instead of Busch Blvd.
We have stayed at the Best Western all Suites which is an older property but nice and clean roomy suites with a nice pool and free hot breakfast. Rates are a bit high there tho- 69 to over 100 depending on the date.
We got a fabulous deal on Priceline for the Doubletree Suites. With only 10 days notice I was able to get a beautiful suite there including hot breakfast buffet for only 44 dollars for the 4th of July weekend. Hard to beat that deal! Again not a new property but clean and a very good value!
The one place I would tell you to avoid would be the Holiday Inn on Fowler. The rates are high and even if they were cheaper the hotel was very dirty and the service was terrible. I never got several mesages that were left for me, trash cans in public areas were overflowing for days, a friend of mine checked into her room to find a bathtub filled with dirty water... you get the picture.

Since you have some time between now and October I would suggest you check out Biddingfortravel.com for advice on bargain hotels in the Busch area. It gives you a good idea on what other folks have bid for and won in the areas you are interested in. While I would be nervous about bidding on a place in Orlando since there are hundreds of hotels spread over so large an area, I had no trouble taking a chance on a bid for a BG area hotel since as I said, the major players are all close and easy to drive to and from.
Hope this helps!
:jester:

suzysezso
07-24-2002, 02:34 PM
oops sorry for the double post- don't know if I would lose both if I tried to delete one so.....
:rolleyes:

NCRedding
07-24-2002, 04:47 PM
Suzysexso, We have ressies at the Baymont Inn near BG; do you know anything at all about this hotel? Is it close to BG? Would we be better off staying somewhere else. Thanks for any info.

suzysezso
07-24-2002, 05:39 PM
We have seen the Baymont, it is within that 4 street square that I mentioned in my last post.
I don't know if it is suites or regular rooms or if breakfast is included but it looks nice and new from the street. It is as close to BG as any of the others, if my memory serves me it is on the corner of Fowler and McKinley so you'll be all set for the less congested route to the entrace (it is more than walking distance tho). In fact it is on my list of places to try so maybe you can post again and let me know how you liked it.
I think you'll be fine.
:p

Pixie_Dust
07-24-2002, 08:15 PM
Thanks, Suzy,

That was a way excellent post about lodging!

Cheers :)

NCRedding
07-25-2002, 12:53 PM
Thanks Suzysezso: I'll plan on keeping the ressie.