My Day At Busch Gardens Tampa

Hi Thrill Seekers,

Hopefully you’ve all managed to have a read of my first 2 posts about my visits to SeaWorld and Discovery Cove on my recent FAM trip hosted by SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment. Our 3rd day was spent at Busch Gardens, Tampa’s safari themed park offering some of the most thrilling rides in Florida, alongside close animal encounters. Remember all of our Busch Gardens ticket include free shuttle transportation!

This was my favourite of the 4 parks that we visited.

Our first stop at Busch Gardens was Gwazi, Tampa’s only wooden roller coaster. The old-style theming of the coaster looks fantastic and the ride itself has many twist, turns and seat lifting drops. Like any wooden coaster you do get knocked around a bit but this only adds to the fun. We were in non-stop laughter the whole way round the track.


On the way to our next destination we decided to stop at Walkabout Way where we had the opportunity to feed kangaroos and wallabies. They took the food right out of the palm of my hand, allowing us to get up-close to these adorable animals.

Our second ride of the day was SheiKra, a floorless dive coaster. This was my favourite ride of the whole trip, so much so that I rode it 4 times in 1 day! After leaving the station you climb a 200ft chain lift incline before being held on the edge of a 90-degree drop. You are then ‘let go’ to plummet down to the ground at 70mph making you feel weightless before spiralling upside down. You are slowed back down, giving you just enough time to get your bearings before another 138ft 90-degree drop into an underground tunnel. For the best ride experience personally I suggest getting a seat at the front, on either edge of the train. This really makes you feel like you are hanging on the first drop, as you have no track underneath you. It also gives you the opportunity to see how far you are going to drop as you are being held 200ft above the ground.

Sheikra Roller Coaster

As we were passing by Stanley Falls, a log-flume style ride we thought that riders did not look ‘too wet’ so some of us decided to go on. This was a big mistake. As soon as we hit the bottom of the 40ft drop a wave went straight over my head, absolutely soaking me. Of course, I am the only person that seemed to get quite so wet! Oh well, off to the next roller coaster, Kumba to dry off.

Kumba is a steel coaster with a total of 7 inversions. A 135ft drop leads straight into a diving loop. This ride also boasts one of the world’s largest vertical loops. My favourite part of this ride is the zero-g roll which gives you the feeling of weightlessness.


As we had some time to kill before lunch we headed to Sand Serpent, a steel wild mouse style roller coaster. I think we all underestimated this ride, assuming it would be a tame kiddy coaster. You zoom around the tracking, feeling as though you are about to go off the edge before being spun back round. There are also lots of little seat lifting drops. This is a brilliant family coaster that had us in stitches. Sand Serpent is located in Timbuktu which you may have seen from Jamie’s blog post is due to be replaced by a new land, Pantopia. This will also be the home of Falcon’s Fury, a crazy new drop ride currently under construction at Busch Gardens in which riders will be positioned horizontally, facing the ground before being dropped 300ft at 60mph! Unfortunately I was unable to see the progress from behind the fencing, but I did received confirmation that all of the parts were on-site, ready to be built.

After a fabulous lunch at the Zambia Smokehouse we went on the Serengeti Safari. We all boarded an open-air touring vehicle and set off into the African Plain. This Safari tour gave us the opportunity to view many different animals such as zebras, giraffes and ostriches in their natural habitat. We even got the chance to feed a giraffe which was a big highlight for me. It leaned over and took lettuce straight out of my hand. You have to make sure you do not get in the way of it’s long neck though! The Safari is a great opportunity to get stunning photos, so don’t forget your camera!

cheetah hunt fam trip

After the Safari it was straight to Cheetah Hunt. This was another one of my favourites and luckily we managed to ride twice in a row! This is the world’s only triple launch roller coaster. You are launched out of the station at 30mph, however it is the second launch that really gets the ride going as it propels you forward at Cheetah Hunts top speed of 60mph up an 102ft hill. You then spiral down to the ground. This is followed by quick directional changes, an inversion and another launch making it impossible to know what coming next! This coaster gives families the perfect opportunity to try out some big thrills.

Our final ride of the day was Montu, an inverted steel coaster. This is another coaster offering 7 inversions with top speeds of 60mph, however as the track is above you and your feet are left dangling this feels much faster than the likes of Kumba. This is an extremely intense ride with a 60ft vertical loop, Immelman loop and zero-G roll at beginning alone. For the best ride experience it’s definitely worth waiting for a seat right at the front!


That’s the end of a jam-packed day at Busch Gardens, however we did have just enough time to ride SheiKra twice more. Keep an eye out for my next blog post about our final day a SeaWorld’s waterpark, Aquatica.

Smiles included…



Pantopia Is Busch Gardens New Land, Home Of Falcon’s Fury

Morning Thrill Seekers,

One of 2014 highlights is set to be Falcon’s Fury at Busch Gardens Tampa, a crazy drop ride where the “victim” is positioned horizontally 300ft in the air facing the ground then dropped at 60mph!!! I know I shouldn’t but I really can’t wait to sample this unique attraction.

Over the weekend Busch Gardens revealed that not only will Falcon’s Fury be opening up in 2014 but so will Pantopia! What’s Pantopia I hear you cry?

Well as Busch Gardens Park President Jim Dean put it;

Pantopia will celebrate the spirit of animals, welcome adventurers from the four corners of the earth, explore ancient lore and display fantastic architecture. Guests will find multiple portals and doorways and learn about the legends that have drawn journeyers from around the world to Pantopia. Plus, family favorites like the Scorpion, Phoenix, Bush Flyers, Desert Runners and the Kiddie Train will return.

Pantopia is the new land that will house Falcon’s Fury and will replace the current land of Timbuktu. Along with their main attraction the new land will also boast elaborately-jeweled theming, new food and beverage options, entertainment, shopping, a renovated indoor theater and more.

Here’s Busch Gardens video explaining the change.

Along with video Busch Gardens also released these artists impression of how the land will look.


pantopia 1

pantopia 2

pantopia 3Can’t wait to check out the new land but mostly Falcon’s Fury!

Smiles included…




SeaWorld Parks Special Offer 3 Parks For The Price Of 2

Morning Thrill Seekers,

Yey! We all love a special offer and today I’m happy to tell you 3for2about a special offer we’ve been given by SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment. 🙂

SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment own and operate 3 major parks in Florida they include their flagship Theme Park SeaWorld Orlando, their amazing water park Aquatica and their roller coaster fuelled Tampa park Busch Gardens.

Throughout the majority of 2013 SeaWorld Parks has offered 3 ticket types,

The  2 park ticket types have been priced obviously at a lower price than the 3 park, however from today and covering tickets used in 2014, SeaWorld Parks are offering;

3 Parks for the price of 2

Not only that but they’ve frozen the 2013 prices for use in 2014. I’m sure you’ll agree this is a cracking offer and one to take full advantage of.

The offer can be removed by SeaWorld at anytime without notice, so we would urge our customer to get this booked as soon as possible, remember you can take advantage of our 25% deposit scheme and Pay YOUR Way feature to secure your tickets.

Smiles included…


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It just be raining iPods…and stuff!

Morning Thrill Seekers,

Recently I was lucky enough to find myself at Busch Gardens in lostTampa Bay. During a brief chat with one of the Busch Gardens team we got onto the subject of stuff that people often lose on the roller coasters. Well, when I say lose, I actually mean stuff that has just fallen from people’s pockets in the middle of being loop da looped and spun around at zero gravity! I was surprised at some of the things that people don’t actually secure when they ride some of the awesome coasters like Cheetah Hunt, Gwazi and Kumba.

Here is a list of the things that turn up in the safety nets;

  • Phones
  • iPods
  • Money
  • A shoe
  • Sunglasses
  • Cameras
  • Make up
  • Chewing gum
  • Wallet
  • Headwear

If you are unlucky enough to lose something on a ride at Busch Gardens you can find the lost and found in the Moroccan Village. If you only notice once you leave the park then feel free to email Include any relevant information on the item that was lost, and the date which you visited the park and a representative from Security will correspond with you via email.

However I guess the moral of this post is basically don’t lose your stuff. Remember that there are places to store your items when you board the rides, use them.

Here is the information you’ll need if you plan on visiting Busch Gardens;

Busch Gardens is included within the following tickets

Top Tip: Busch Gardens offers FREE transport from Orlando. Check out the following post for more details: How to use the free shuttle bus service to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Car Rental: Alternatively for those that like to make their own way to the parks you can find cheap Florida car hire via our partner website

Thanks for reading,

Smiles included…


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Theme Park Ride Of The Week – SheiKra

Happy Theme Park Thursday Thrill Seekers,

It’s Thursday which means its #themeparkthursday and today’s ride of choice is Busch Gardens scream maker, SheiKra!!!

SheiKra at Busch Gardens, Tampa

SheiKra is actually the last coaster I rode but it left its mark!

The unique selling point of SheiKra is the 200 ft delayed drop. Let me explain…

After getting on board and leaving the station, you begin to climb a 47 degree 200-foot lift hill. SkeiKra is in no rush to get you to the top so you get a great look round the park while at the same time building the suspense. The train then makes a U-turn and approaches the holding brake, which suspends the train for about 3–5 seconds on the precipice of the sheer 90-degree drop, now I’m quite confident in stating that at this point I have never been on a ride that produces so many screams from its riders. At the height of these screams you are released and plummet down and into a loop.

The ride does continue on from this point but not for long and to be honest I was so taken back by the drop I can’t remember much after it. :-)

Ride Facts

  • 200-foot 45-degree chain lift hill
  • 195-foot 90° drop
  • 140-foot-tall Immelmann
  • 138-foot 81° drop
  • Top speed 70 mph.

The very obvious talking point of this ride and one I still mention today is the 3-5 second delay, it really builds the suspension. Top tip, if you don’t like screaming wear ear plugs!!!

Orlando Attraction Tickets offers great rates for Florida attraction tickets the Orlando Flex TicketOrlando FlexTicket Plus ,the 2 Park Bonus Ticket and 3 Park Bonus Ticket will get you entry in to Busch Gardens for up to 14 days.

Remember the smiles are included…


Christmas Town – New at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Start A New Family Tradition With Christmas Town, Only At Busch Gardens

Christmas Town Busch GardensBusch Gardens Tampa is all set to launch their very own after hours Christmas event called ‘Christmas Town’ which is all set to start on the 30th November will transform the park into a nighttime holiday wonderland packed full of wintery surprises and all things Christmas.

For the first time in the park’s 53-year history, visitors to Christmas Town will experience all-new evening attractions, shows and shopping from 6 to 11 p.m. every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night from the 30th of November through to December the 23rd. The park is set to be transformed with special entertainment, live music, festive treats, holiday shopping and thousands and thousands of twinkling Christmas lights!

Nancy Hutson, vice president of entertainment says; “This is just a natural step for us to go, to keep the park open later and be able to use the dark evening hours to do some incredible lights and decorations and really take these phenomenal Christmas experiences to another level. The park will have distinct zones of decorations. Red and white lights will shine in the Nairobi area while animal-pattern decorations will be found in the Cheetah Hunt walkway. Children’s TV characters will be decked out in holiday gear at Sesame Street Season of Fun, while a topiary version of the nativity scene will seen in Stanleyville. The flamingo area will get a festive makeover with pink, twinkling lights. We wanted something that saluted Florida,”

Busch Gardens, IMO, is one of the best parks in Florida and well worth a visit at anytime of the year. However this new experience looks like its going to add some real magic this Christmas. If you are lucky enough to be one of the first to visit please send us over some pics and comments on what you thought – we’d love to share them

In the meantime you can still get Busch Gardens tickets at an amazing rate as part of the SeaWorld 3 Park Ticket which includes SeaWorld, Aquatica and Busch Gardens.


For a full list of what’s happening at Christmas Town please see below;

Celebration Village brings together the rich, warm colors of Christmas and heartfelt voices lifted in song to welcome guests as they enter Christmas Town. Draped in jewel-tone ornaments and glowing lights, the Moroccan Village comes alive with local choirs in the Marrakesh Theater and shops full of holiday gifts.

Family and friends will cozy up to brave the chill in the air along Ice Wonder Way. The frozen pathway sparkles and shimmers in the night as snowflakes dance down the front of the Moroccan Palace, welcoming guest for special performances of the all-new Christmas Town ice show.

Wild colors, exotic decorations and intricate animal patterns create the kind of Christmas found only in nature! Stretching along the Cheetah Hunt walkway, Jungle Jubilee welcomes guests to Florida’s only triple-launch coaster and the iconic Crown Colony restaurant, featuring special holiday fare and the new Carol of the Bells light show.

Just around the bend, Candy Cane Lane gives Christmas Town a peppermint twist. Red and white lights twinkle in the trees throughout the Nairobi area, calling to mind the beloved Christmas confection and pointing guests down the path to the Christmas Town Express and Santa’s House.

Experience the humble magnificence of that first Christmas night and remember the real “reason for the season” and along Miracle Way. Guests will marvel at a topiary representation of the Holy Nativity and illuminated angels, set along the Stanleyville Bridge in the warm glow of Christmas lights and sacred holiday music.

Christmas has come to Sesame Street! Elmo and his friends are all dressed up in their holiday best at Sesame Street Season of Fun, ready to pose for pictures and plenty of hugs with kids of all ages who stop by to wish them a funny, furry Christmas.

When it’s warm in December and there’s more sand than snow, celebrate a Floridian Christmas with a touch of the tropics in the Enchanted Flamingo Valley. Guests will be “thinking pink” as they encounter decorated palm trees and a flock of festive flamingos created from thousands of twinkling pink lights.

Christmas is in full bloom along Poinsettia Parkway, where guests can lose themselves among hundreds of the traditional holiday flowers and feast their senses on delicious holiday treats.

On your way to play in the snow, stop by Jingle Bell Junction and climb aboard a pint-sized train for a holly-jolly ride designed especially for young guests, located at the crossroads of Christmas Town in Gwazi Plaza.

Guests can find the perfect holiday gift or indulge in a delicious seasonal treat as they explore Christmas Town Village. Set along the Gwazi Park walkway, tiny Christmas cabins will scent the air with seasonal treats like apple pies and strudels, gingerbread cookies, eggnog and roasting nuts, as well as a delicious array of flavored popcorns, roasted nuts, waffles with ice cream, fruit-filled crepes, rustic sandwiches, homemade potato chips and Starbucks coffees and hot chocolate.

Enjoy a nostalgic white Christmas – in Florida! – in Christmas Town Park. Guests can experience real, frozen snowdrifts in the Snow Wonderland snow play area, meander among quaint cabin shops, pose for pictures with strolling snowmen, and finish off the night with an exclusive concert with the Grammy Award-winning group Jars of Clay.


Latest related travel deals

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How Do SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, Aquatica and Discovery Cove eTickets Work?

How does the eTicket system work’s at SeaWorldAquatica,  Busch Gardens and Discovery Cove.

Probably the most technically advanced of all the parks SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment’s eTickets do not have to be exchanged, they are gate ready.

How it works

  • Once purchased through Orlando Attraction Tickets the customer receives an email with the tickets attached, each ticket has a bar code.
  • When the customer visits the appropriate park, they go straight to the gate.
  • No need to queue at guest services or go to the self service ticket machines.
  • At the gates, simply scan your eTicket for entry.
  • Enjoy your day.

With the 2 Park Ticket or the 3 Park Ticket, entering the parks couldn’t be easier. Remember with an eTicket if it gets damaged or wet simply print off another one!!!

Cheetah Hunt Build Update

Straight off the SeaWorld blog a great look at the construction of Busch Gardens, Cheetah Hunt.

Cheetah Hunt Tower
Cheetah Hunt
Cheetah Hunt

As you can see by these images the ride is really beginning to take shape and is on course for the ambitious spring 2011 launch, rumoured to be in May.

Busch Gardens New Show Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy

Today Busch Gardens are previewing their new show, Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy, to a selected audience in Tampa.

Jim Dean, Park President for Busch Gardens opened with “We’re bringing a Broadway smash hit back to Busch Gardens”

The Broadway hit, Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy, created and directed by circus impresario Neil Goldberg, opens December 3 at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.

This is a breathtaking show filled with incredible feats that will leave you spellbound. But words simply cannot do justice to describe it… so here’s a special visual sneak peak from dress rehearsals this week at Moroccan Palace Theatre: