I am virtually certain that SeaWorld will open sometime in June.....they have been running coasters with people wearing masks to test how riders fare with face coverings, so they are certainly getting prepared to welcome guests again. Your end of July trip might be perfectly timed, with just enough space between the reopening and your arrival for all the bumps of the "new normal" to be worked out before you get there. I am super excited for you!How nice that you were able to share the photos with that family! I'm sure they really appreciated it. I saw on Facebook that SeaWorld would like to open on June 1st. With the good news from Universal this week, I am feeling more hopeful that our end of July trip may actually happen!
Thank you for your patience! I meant to get the BG portion started much sooner than tonight, but our weekend became much busier than I anticipated and all of a sudden it's Monday already! Coming up soon, though, I hope .That was really sweet of you to send them the PhotoKey pictures of Infinity Falls!
Also...can't wait for the BG segment! (I had been really looking forward to this one)
I’m loving this day already! You’re barely in the park and already having fun. I have a feeling I’m going to gush over the photos from your tour!Tuesday, January 28th: Busch Gardens
We set the alarm for that morning so that we could be up, showered an on the road in sufficient time to make the drive to Busch Gardens and be at the park for opening. We aren't very familiar with the Tampa area, so we anticipated that even with trusty Google giving us step by step instructions on how to get there, we may run into a snag or two (traffic, construction, or the plethora of other things than can send someone off track) so we wanted to leave plenty early to have enough time for the commute and a bit of a buffer besides.
We planned to purchase the all day dining plan when we arrived, but we weren't sure if there would be a breakfast location (like SeaWorld) or if the restaurants would open more toward noon. So, we opted to stop and grab coffee and breakfast sandwiches from McDonald's at the Crossroads on the way so that neither of us ended up "hangry" on the drive. We were able to be in-and-out of there pretty quick, and by the time we hopped on the I-4 we were even slightly ahead of schedule.
The drive isn't short (we have definitely been spoiled by the Vistana's proximity to SeaWorld, Disney and Universal!), but honestly it's not bad. We could have hopped the complimentary shuttle and saved ourselves the drive, but we didn't want to be limited by the shuttle schedule (which certainly wouldn't arrive before opening and depart after close) so driving was our best option. It's about 70 miles each way, and we made the trip in about an hour, even amidst the ample Tuesday morning commuter traffic.
Arriving at the park, we took advantage of our Preferred Parking privilege, meaning we could skip the tram from general parking to the entrance. We arrived at the gates about 10 minutes before the national anthem was played to open the park.....and then, we were in!
View attachment 497014
We made a quick stop at Guest Services to iron out the day's add-ons and upgrades, purchasing the all-day dining plan for both of us and booking the Serengeti Safari, our free tour as Platinum passholders. We actually had the option of using that free Platinum benefit at either BG (for the Safari) or at SeaWorld (for the Dolphin Encounter) but since we had already had some dolphin love on this trip (and previous visits), it made sense to use this complimentary perk at Busch Gardens this time. We were super stoked to know we would be visiting some giraffes up close later that day!
We stopped for a Photokey picture at the entrance, grabbed a park map (since this park was ALL NEW for us) and then headed in to see some animals!
View attachment 497019
I loved that these guys were chilling so close to the entrance. A nice little reminder of where were were.......nothing screams "Florida" like a whole bunch of massive gators.
The first main section that we stopped to tour was the beautiful Myombe Reserve.
View attachment 497022
10 minutes inside Busch Gardens and I was completely in love. The lush green foliage was completely captivating for these two travelers who hadn't seen green in months. Entering the Reserve, it really did feel like we were in our own little Florida jungle.....and it was sooooo pretty.
View attachment 497026
View attachment 497027
While the scenery was gorgeous, the animals were really what we came to see. We were delighted to find that we had an excellent view of these comical primates from the massive windows, and they captivated us with their very human-like behaviors.
View attachment 497029
Their interactions are always so engaging. They seemed blissfully unaware of those funny looking faces on the other size of the glass, and went about their business as if we weren't even there. They were completely at home in their beautiful habitat, and we were completely content just to stand there and watch them.
When we finally moved on.....we had so much yet to discover!.....we stumbled upon a few of the first of many fun photo ops of the day: Busch Gardens has great spots all throughout the park to capture some "wild" photo memories. It was fun to be able to capture photos "with" the animals without actually being WITH an animal.
View attachment 497034
View attachment 497041
Much more to come......