Busch gardens first timer

Discussion in 'Sea World / Discovery Cove' started by DisneyDreamer2325, Jul 1, 2012.

  1. DisneyDreamer2325

    DisneyDreamer2325 Mouseketeer

    Oct 10, 2010
    I know there is no Busch Gardens thread, but I guess this is as close to it as I could get.

    I will be staying in the Tampa area with my family in November, and we are looking to visit Busch Gardens during our stay. This will be our first time.
    My son will be 5 and my daughter will be 3.
    We will be going mainly for Sesame Street and the animal exhibitions.

    What do we need to know about the park?
    How crowded is it in early November?
    Should we have any kind of touring plan?
    How easy is it to meet the Sesame Street characters?
    Do we need to rent a stroller?
    I read on their site that we are not allowed to bring a picnic. Not even snacks or bottled water?
    Did anyone try the Sesame Street buffet?
    Do they ever have some type of coupons or rebates?

    Thank you for your help, I appreciate any information you might have.
  2. BigDaddyShoo

    BigDaddyShoo Earning My Ears

    Jun 21, 2012
    We just got back from the park today (son 9, daughter 6) and here are my thoughts:

    The park is sneaky big. And they like to create a sense of being larger by making all the paths wind around. There is no true central "hub" of the park. You basically start at the gate and work your way around the map clockwise, or counter-clockwise.

    No idea how busy it will be in November. Except for the newer thrill rides, I didn't ever feel terribly crowded even today (Sunday, week of July 4) on what is generally thought of as the busiest week of the year for theme parks.

    A touring plan? I don't think it's necessary. Just get a timeline of when the animal exhibits are doing their special presentations and show up a few minutes before they're scheduled. The new Cheetah exhibit was especially cool, since they use a lure to make the cats run and you realize just how fast they are.

    There's a special corner in the Sesame Street area for character meets. There will be photographers taking pictures to sell, but you can get pretty close (albeit slightly off to the side) and take your own shots. They'll cycle the characters throughout the day and at least one or two is always available.

    I'd suggest renting a stroller, especially for your 3YO, but if you want to ride the train that circles the park, or the skyride gondola, you'll want to do a third party rental --- one that folds/collapses.

    You can bring bottled water, and they'll check bags at the gate for other items. As long as you're not bringing true meals, they'll likely let you slide since you've got young kids who need the snacks.

    We didn't do the Sesame Street Buffet. Only saw the tail end of the tent where it was held as people were leaving and staff was cleaning up. You might want to look into getting the All Day Dining Plan. Your 3YO can share with you, and the price for the adults and 5YO, will be likely be recouped if you do at least 2 meals throughout the day -- downside is that the Sesame Street Buffet is not included in the All Day Dining...it's a separate reservation item.

    Can't speak on the discount tickets as we went with the Discovery Cove package that included BG access.

    Good Luck!
  3. 2girlsmom

    2girlsmom DIS Veteran

    May 8, 2007
    Hi! Busch is a great park, but it is bigger than you might think, I would suggest a foldable stroller if possible as well. You can bring in water I believe, though we have never tried to bring anything in. We find the all day dine to be well worth the cost, you can get all 3 meals (counter services throughout the park), a good variety of foods, great desserts/snacks, and you can go through as many times as you want to for drinks/snacks all day long. We frequently go, eat breakfast (only one serves breakfast, but it is very close at the front), and start out counterclockwise, seeing the animal exhibits (and the coasters) early, stop for a snack of fruit and a drink around 11, then have lunch around one, usually at the bbq restaurant, stop by Jungala for an hour or two (kids LOVE the treetop rope/climbing area), get an afternoon snack around 3, eat dinner around 5ish, and may hit one last time for evening snack/dessert before we leave for the night as well. If your focus is on the animals and Sesame, you might want to do a similiar path, see the Icesploration show, gators, cheetahs, etc. Then take the skyride across, this gives a great view of the savannah animals, and lets you out right by the Jungala area (and very close to Sesame). Another cost saver, especially if you do NOT want to get the all day dine, if you buy the souvenir drink cup(s) you get refills for like $.90 each all day (for the life of the cup, so more than the day if you bring it back) and same for refills on the popcorn souvenir bucket. I don't think you will need a plan in November, crowds are generally light at this time of year, and wait times on everything with the possible exception of Cheetah Hunt are 10-15 minute range generally.

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