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“What a Great Day!”
Review of Busch Gardens

Busch Gardens
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Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Ranked #1 of 197 things to do in Tampa
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Busch Gardens Tampa is the ultimate family adventure, offering 300 acres of fascinating attractions based on exotic explorations around the world. A unique blend of thrilling rides, one of the country's premier zoos with more than 12,000 animals, live shows, restaurants, shops and games, Busch Gardens Tampa provides unrivaled excitement for guests of every age.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Activities for older children, Food available for purchase, Wheelchair access, Lockers / storage
Reviewed February 3, 2013 via mobile

My husband and I loved visiting Busch Gardens today! We promptly bought our Florida resident annual passes at the ticket kiosks in the front if the park ( about $90 which will last until December). Parking is $15 for cars. We had a great day with lines that had less than 20 minute wait times due to Superbowl Sunday. Our favorite coaster was the Cheetah Hunt and we split a sampler platter at the Smokehouse restaurant ($15). The Ice show is a must- see. There are plenty of animals to see just expect a lot of walking and some employees to not be as customer focused as Disney.

Thank Michelle G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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8,847 - 8,851 of 14,615 reviews

Reviewed February 2, 2013

We had very high hopes for our trip to Busch Gardens as we had heard very good things about it, but unfortunately the customer service we experienced ruined our trip. We had one day allocated to visit this park and arrived around 11am. At the ticket booth we inquired with the agent about the "quick queue" (front of the line passes) as we knew that we were time limited and did not want to waste the day standing in lines. We were advised that the park was not very busy at all and that we should go on one ride to check out the lines and if we still thought we wanted the passes we could purchase them after at the main gate or "at most rides". The park is beautiful and there is lots to see including animals which means that you have to walk quite a ways to get anywhere. We made our way to the nearest roller coaster only to find when we got there (the maps are very confusing) that the ride had just been closed for maintenance. We understand this can happen with roller coasters and were disappointed, but looked for the next closest - back the opposite direction, but we walked and enjoyed the scenery. We got to the next coaster (Gwazi) and asked the attendant how long the line was and were told 10 minutes, not too bad so we sent the kids. 48 minutes later the kids got off the ride. At 48 minutes per ride with the park closing at 6pm we were not even going to get the 7 coasters that were open in so we knew we had to buy the additional passes. At this point we were a 10 minute walk to the main gate so I asked a concession worker where the closest booth was to upgrade our passes, she did not know but called over a manager for me. I spoke with him (Jerry?) and explained that we wanted to upgrade our passes and where was the closest place to do this. He directed me to a store on the map. It took us about 20 minutes to walk at a fairly brisk pace to the store we were directed to after getting wrong directions twice on the way from other park workers that we asked to ensure we were on the right track. We finally found the store only to be told that because that coaster was down for service they were not selling the quick queue passes at their location. Really? we explained that we were directed there by a manager and was there anything she could do. Nope. Back to the main gate (20 more minutes of walking). At this point with only 2 of the 4 of us having used our passes for 1 ride we decided we wanted no part of it. We went to customer service for a refund - even just for the 2 completely unused passes we had and were told there were no refunds. He offered to give us one pass each to miss the line for one ride again missing our point completely. We were more than willing to pay the extra $35 per person when we initially bought our tickets, very willing, and were told it was not necessary. I'm not sure how it wouldn't be if you have to spend 1 hour at each ride, my time is worth $35. At the time were we at customer service we had been at the park for over an hour an a half and had basically walked for most of it (aside from the 48 minutes it took for the 1 ride that the 2 kids went on). I am not an unreasonable person and fully expect there to be lines for rides which is why we asked to buy the passes at the beginning. In the end we caved and purchased the 4 additional front of the line passes after arguing with the customer service agent for 10 minutes. It was either that, stand in lines or leave and be out the over $350 we had spent for our 4 passes. Given the runaround we received at the park about the passes and the explanation we provided I would have expected at a minimum that the upgraded passes be offered to us at no charge for the inconvenience we had been put through. Nope.
If you are planning to go here, it is pretty and there is lots to see. If you are not hung up on going on the rides and have plenty of time and energy to walk through the park then you'll love it. If you are on a time schedule, buy the passes and save yourself the hassle we experienced. I never did see any other place that offered the quick queue passes like the original sales agent mentioned were available at several other locations.
It looked like a great place and it could have been, I don't feel that the level of customer service we received was appropriate at all though and will not be a repeat visitor to Busch in the future. Even the kids were disappointed at the end of the day that 2 hours was wasted. Prior to Busch we spent 4 days at Disney and Universal resorts which all showed us better customer service than Busch did.
A little customer service at a small price can go very far in keeping up a good reputation.

8  Thank C0tt0n
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 1, 2013

I didn't expect to see so man exotic and wild animals. Not what I am used to eing that I live in GA and all we have is Six Flags LOL. I am definitely looking forward to going back this year. Great rides. I love thrills.

Thank Renae F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 1, 2013

We love busch gardens and with season passes we go all the time. Great entertainment for everyone. I suggest seeing the iceploration show it is great even my husband doesn't like anything like that, but because it was birthday he went and saw it with me. At the end he was more excited about it than I was.

Thank hopealiss
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 31, 2013

First visit in many years and w/aoa friends it is a great day and we'll go back. Clean, interesting especially animal viewing. Lunch was good in the big house and cheetah run was exciting. One suggestion is to have better and more clear signage.

Thank AquaBarb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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