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Aug 30, 2014
Hi everyone,

I will visit for first time with 4 friends Busch Gardens Tampa. We come from Spain, and we will spend one day in this great theme park (next September 26th).

We planned to arrive at 10:00h, and stay the whole day in the park, also in the Howl-O-Scream halloween event. I hope we will have enough time for enjoy all rides and experiences that the park offers, because if Falcon's Fury opens among those dates, possible there will be a lot of atendance in the park.

Is it posible to make the principal rides and shows in just one day? We will be greatful if you can give us some tips for make better our day in the park :)

Also, we have a question about where to eat, at which time, and which is the procedure for enter to the Howl-o-Scream event, and if there is any restaurant or shop for dinner.
I will defer to Bill for most of this, but it have personally found it difficult to get everything done in one day without Quick Queues. There are just too many attractions that I personally want to see.

Are you interested in the rides, animals, or both?

I always recommend lunch at the Crown Colony restaurant. It is a seated, full service restaurant upstairs.

I would also recommend getting there at 9:30, if possible. Most theme parks actually open their turnstiles before their official start time.
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Like Nicole said above, if you can, get to the park for about 9:30 if you are driving, as the parking lot toll booths will open then. The turnstile will open at about 9:40 - 9:45, and then the rope drop just inside the park happens right at 10 a.m. (These times are all assuming the park hours begin at 10 a.m.)

If you plan on riding all of the roller coasters and also hitting some of the shows and animal attractions, a Quick Queue might be worth it to your party. If you decide against it, try to ride Cheetah Hunt first thing, followed by Falcon's Fury (assuming at that point it is full operational).

The Crown Colony Restaurant is currently closed for the season, and is unlikely to be open during your trip. Instead, I recommend Pantopia Grill for lunch - there is a wide selection of items, ample indoor seating, and if you time it right, you can catch the show that plays inside.

If you're already inside the park and have a Howl-O-Scream ticket, they will likely do the following. From past experiences, they will usher you to an area inside the park where you can wait until they allow you to go again when they start the Howl-O-Scream event. You may want to consider purchasing Fright Feast option, which gets you a meal and then early access to most of the houses before the public start time.

One other note, the All Day Dining option does not extend into Howl-O-Scream, only the regular operating hours for the park on that day.
Thank you very much Nicole!

Mainly we are interested in rides, but also in animals if we have enough time. I think that we will take the quick queue for visit as many things as we can.

I am reading about Crown Colony and seems delicious. We are counting the days for getting there!

Just one last question, we will stay also all night in the Howl-o-Scream event, and the only way back that we found for return to our hotel is with limousine lol
Sorry the double post, but thanks a lot for those tips Bill :)

We hope that Falcon's Fury will be open those days, the unique thing that concern us is that Falcon's open for those dates, is possible that the park increase the attendance.

But I'm sure that will be a great day!

Thanks a lot guys, hope see you there :)
I don't think Falcon will have much of an effect with crowds unless it literally has its opening day in late September/early October. Since you're going on a Friday in September, you should be able to clear everything out in the daytime and just focus on the haunts at night.

I highly recommend riding most of the major coasters, Falcon (since that's your priority), the skyride, and the train.

You could easily skip Gwazi and Scorpion for what it's worth. I didn't really like either ride when I went. Avoid the bumper cars too. Those aren't really all that great. You could ride Wild Maus instead, but those rides are so common, it won't hurt if you miss it and ride the same model in another park.

You'll get a good taste of the animal exhibits from the skyride and train (both will take you directly over the safari giving you great views of all the animals). Great if you don't have much time to spend in the park but want to see all the animals. There's also a few great animal exhibits between the coasters that you could check out.
I totally agree about the Skyride and the train.

In terms of animals, the priorities for me are:
1. Feeding the kangaroos first thing on the morning;
2. Walking through Edge of Africa; and
3. Visiting Jungala.

Be sure to ride Kumba, Sheikra, Cheetah Hunt, Montu, and Scorpion. I personally don't hate Gwazi, but I am a minority.

I wouldn't ride any of the flats, except Falcon's Fury, unless you have extra time.

Pantopia is worth a visit, even if you don't ride Falcon's Fury. I really liked the new shop there, and the decor in that area is really cool.
Thank you very much to all of you!

we write down all your tips. I think that finally we will take the Quick Queues there, just in case. The system is changed? Now I read that is using your mobile phone, but there is any problem if we don't have internet connection there? Or shall we buy a USA sim card? (the best option I think)
They are running some pilot program that is really more a line reservation than a front of the line pass. It does require a mobile phone, running on a US network, I think.

I was there a few weeks ago and managed to talk them into giving me traditional Quick Queues, but that could have been because the system had just been put in place that same week.

It might be useful to have a US phone, regardless, but that is obviously up to you.

Maybe a Bill knows knows what they are doing to accommodate foreign guests?
No word on if the test/pilot program will continue or if any modifications will be made. I'll check on it next weekend or early the following week to see what happened with it. But yes, as of this point, foreign guests using a cell phone with no U.S. data would have a hard/expensive time with Quick Queue trying to make reservations.

Right now there is free wi-fi around the entrance gates; we've been told to expect it to roll out to more locations in the park in the future.
Let's see what happen during those weeks, but I think we will take a USA sim card with Internet connection, will be more easy during all the travel.

We are reading about the Fright Feast option as bill said, and we purchase it. It includes a dinner buffet, a show and 30 excluvive minutes for enter to the haunted hoses.
Thanks a lot to everybody!

Tomorrow we depart to Orlando :)
We will visit on september 26th Busch Gardens Tampa, I hope see you there!
If I see any shirt or something that I will recognise you I will say hi! :)

There's a good chance I'll be in the park in the afternoon and evening of the 26th to cover the first night of Howl-O-Scream. If you'd like to try to meet up, feel free to send me a private message if you have access to internet the night before/morning of the 26th.

Either way, have a great trip!
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