A week or so ago I headed out to Florida for a work trip so I took it upon myself to head out a day early and visit a couple of parks that had long been on my "theme park bucket list". Despite multiple trips to FL I had just never managed to get to these two parks.
They were both totally worth the wait as both were amazing.
Written by Gregg Condon
Flying into MIA at about 6am ... flying out of MIA at about 7am on my way to TPA.
If that seems like a quick connection in an airport as big as MIA ... you are correct.
After a quick breakfast at IHOP (seriously, I could NOT find a Waffle House on the way from the Airport) it was time for Busch Gardens Tampa.
Wouldn't you know, just as the park was about to open a huge storm hit. It wasn't even one of those 5 minute FL storms, it was a good 1/2 hour.
Good thing after that though is we had a relatively dry day.
Our first stop of the day was Cheetah Hunt ... and in typical Intamin fashion the ride was down.
We did get to ride later in the day and I loved it. Would have loved to ride more, but the ride just was having a bad day.
So while they were figuring out what's going on with the Intamin, we headed to Cobra's Curse.
Totally loved this ride. Unexpectedly longer than I thought it would be.
Next up was Montu ... and wow, this B&M did not disappoint. Fun in the front and the back.
Some more of Cobra's Curse
A lot of the rides at Busch Gardens go near walkways, so I'm guessing this has been an issue in the past?
Tunnel of Humidity
Ok, Falcon's Fury.
I'll be honest, I'm not a "screamer" when it comes to rides, unless we're just being silly. But VERY rarely does a ride make me scream from freaking me out. This one did. And it was AMAZING.
I had thought they should add the same seats to Lex Luthor at SFMM, I'm re-thinking that. It may be too much. Lol.
Scorpion was great fun as well.
Oh yeah, some of Team Park Journey came out for the day as well. We had so much fun.
Boo, Kumba was closed. Guess I'll have to come back. Shucks.
Mad Kitty ... seriously, he did NOT like us, well me.
Well, if you insist. =)
Most amount of wet we've ever gotten on a log flume ever. And it was glorious.
I don't get why these dive machines get such hate. Are they the most intense rides ever? No. But they sure are fun.
Flaming-O's for my wife.
The Kangaroos are down for rehab. Not sure if drugs or physical. =)
So after a fun day at Busch Gardens, and having had only an hour or two of "plane sleep" I drove out to Orlando.
Instead of going to sleep in my hotel I decided to go find Shake Shack. I honestly didn't even realize it was at the same place as the Orlando Eye.
The next morning it was up bright and early for SeaWorld. Well, I slept for like 11 hours in the hotel, and it was again ... amazing.
Ok, here it is kids. I've gotten a LOT of flack over the years due to my dislike of Tatsu at Magic Mountain. I'm just not a fan. I would have much preferred a flying coaster that had some tunnels or hugged the terrain a bit, not just built on top of a hill. It's an eyesore, it needs a paint job, it's got no pacing ... shall I go on.
Which brings me to Manta
I loved, loved, loved, loved, loved, LOVED Manta. I don't understand how anybody who has ridden both of these coasters could put Tatsu above Manta. Manta has EVERYTHING a Flying coaster should have. Aerial stunts. Check. Pretzel Loop. Check. Awesome looking trains. Check. Near misses with Rocks and Water. Check. Great ops. Check.
I really loved this ride if you can't tell.
A little slo-mo of the part of the ride nobody has ever seen. Lol.
Oh, my other favorite part of the park, for those of you who know me this is NO surprise.
This area blew me away. And the Penguin Encounter at SeaWorld San Diego is a pale comparison.
But more on that in another article soon.
I know the ride gets a lot of hate, and it's probably pretty justified, but I enjoyed it for what it was.
If you are riding this thinking it's going to be Pooh at TDL you will be SORELY disappointed.
OMG, Penguins. I could have stayed in here all day if it wasn't so cold.
Love the underwater viewing.
NEED!! (No I didn't buy it)
Journey to Atlantis was a lot of fun. I was warned not to sit in the front row. I did not sit in the front row. I see why I was warned not to sit in the front row.
Where to even begin with this ...
Yes, you read that correctly, 354 seconds between dispatches. And that doesn't even include the ride cycle time. This VR thing HAS to die. I would have loved to ride this more than once, but I couldn't handle it. It was ridiculous.
I did wait for a front row ride, but because of how they have the VR "Bags" set up, it didn't matter.
Another ride that seems to get a lot of hate for no apparent reason. Solidly in the middle of the B&M Hypers, but that's not a bad thing AT ALL.
First ride it was raining, and I was in the front row. It stung.
As you can see, it wasn't busy. I rode this 8 times in about 45 minutes. Could have ridden more if I didn't have to walk around every time.
Had to pay a visit to the Sharks
And the Turtles
Alright, that's going to wrap it up. I had an amazing two days at two amazing parks.
I did get over to Disney Springs and Hoop De Do Review later in the day with more of Team Park Journey, and that was amazing as well. Maybe I'll put that report up one of these days. =)
Hopefully you enjoyed this report, I will be visiting FL a few more times for work soon so I'm looking forward to trying a few more parks I have yet to get to and seeing more of the state.
Today we have a great look at the Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Food and Wine Festival which just began last weekend.
Lots of great food and drink for this growing event. Check out what you can expect to see at this years event.
Written by Steve and Jennifer Burant
Busch Gardens Tampa just started its 3rd rendition of their own Food & Wine Festival to compliment the already spectacular fall event at Epcot. In each year, they've slowly grown and improved their product, and this year did not disappoint. From the vast array of artwork and topiaries spread throughout the festival area, to the ever-evolving food and drink selection, they are clearly putting great time and effort into making this an event worth attending every year. And not only that, their sampler lanyards and ability to discount purchases with season passes surpasses what Epcot does with their event.
This year they added a taco stand, a stand in which all the food items are "cooked" or "infused" with Coke products, new food items such as mango shrimp ceviche, venison meatloaf, vegetable aripas, Korean-style ribs (YUM!), among many other delicious food and dessert choices. They seem to focus more on a "Floridian" type menu as opposed to the world-tour Epcot provides, but it works for a place like BGT.
My only qualm is that the variety of food didn't stack up to the variety of drinks. So next year, they could keep expanding the menu. The best thing I have to say is BGT has improved each successive year this event has taken place, and it's a more than acceptable replacement for the now-defunct Bands, Brews & BBQ events they used to have. They've grown the festival area from only Gwazi Park the first year, to a much wider area encompassing the midways from Sesame Street to Morocco. They also have local businesses who can come into the park and sell various arts and crafts, allowing them to get their name out there and grow.
All in all, Busch Gardens Tampa has far exceeded my own expectations from when they started this event in 2015, and I'm very excited to see what the coming years will bring for this event!
Last week was the opening night for Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens Tampa and they were kind enough to invite us out for their VIP night. So of course we sent Renée and Morgan out to take in the night, and if their night is any indication, it's going to be an amazing year for this highly rated event.
Written by Renée Girard
(Click on any of the pictures below to see a larger version)
Time for Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens Tampa
We spent some time with a few creepy friends before heading out on our adventure
Getting some night rides on Cobra's Curse and Cheetah Hunt before attacking the houses
And if drinking a yard of beer is your thing, you can also do that at Howl O Scream!
First house of the night at Howl O Scream is Death Water Bayou. Got some great scares!
Unearthed is a great returning house from last year that uses the former Gwazi queue and structure.
Circus of Superstition is the returning 3D house at Howl O Scream . Beware if you're afraid of clowns.
Club Karver has music and dancing, if you need a break from the scares.
Motel Hell is new to Howl O Scream this year, and is sure to be a favorite, with its retro motel theme.
I love how the Howl O Scream scare zones are spread out throughout the park, and are always full of surprises.
The Black Spot is another new Howl O Scream house this year, and who doesn't love a house with ghost pirates?
Ever want to ride bumper cars with zombies? Dreams come true at Howl O Scream
Night rides on Falcon's Fury! Yes please!
Zombie Mortuary was our final house of the night at Howl O Scream , a returning favorite.
The Fiends stage show plays 4 times nightly, and of course takes some jabs at the 2016 election
Lots of great scares and houses all around this year at Howl O Scream! Thanks for a fun night!