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Old 18 Aug 17, 10:49 AM  
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LostPrincess
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Garth and Louise's Graduation Celebration June 2017 - Day 3 - Busch Gardens

Welcome to my trip report! The index is here, and day 2 is here.

Thursday 15th June - Day 3

I woke up naturally at 6am so decided to get up and hop straight in the shower. We both slept so much better last night, the temperature was perfect and we didn’t wake up at all. We were getting used to it now! When I got out the shower Garth was awake so he jumped in next. We were ready quickly again. I took some photos of how messy we’d made the room, oops!


I wasn’t looking forward to packing all this up for our move! Garth was glued to his phone and was very quiet which is quite normal for him in the mornings, but then he piped up saying “they have sloths at busch gardens!” Someone’s excited! We needed ID because we were using our Discovery Cove tickets for the first time to get in and we ummed and ah-ed about whether or not to take passports but decided they’d be safer here so took photocopies and our driving licences. We left the room at 7am to get a coffee from the shop and break up a $50 dollar bill for housekeeping.


Spot the squirrel! I got a French Vanilla coffee and Garth got a vanilla frappe. Total came to $8.25. We took the drinks back to the room, we were ready for some cinnamon buns now! We also ate some of the chocolates they gave us with the bill at Olive Garden. Only on holiday can you have cake and chocolate for breakfast and not care


We also had some watermelon so it wasn’t all unhealthy! Garth then had an m&m cookie, 3 Reeces pieces and half of my drink because I couldn’t finish it He was obviously starving and stocking up on food before our long journey to Busch today! The free shuttle to Busch gardens wasn’t until 8.45 so we weren’t in a rush at all this morning which was great. I chatted to my Mum and we also checked our emails to find that feedback from one of our university modules had been published! I had worked out that in the last few modules I needed to get 72% to get a first overall. This grade was 73% which was a good start but I still had 2 more grades to get so I was still quite anxious. Garth was well into the first class bracket so he had nothing to worry about! It got to 8am and we decided to make a move.

We were getting an uber to the pick up point at the CSI experience for our shuttle this morning. Naykeling was with us at 8.08am. She was really friendly and chatty and we talked about all the big rides at Busch gardens. She also said she had been on Flight of Passage and she had really enjoyed it. A lot of the uber drivers were really enthusiastic about Pandora, it seemed to have made a big impact with the locals. We noticed that the roads were a lot busier this time of day but we had arrived by 8.15. We walked round to the back of the CSI experience and there was a man and a little boy there who let us know we were in the right place. We sat on the pavement and waited. It was a lovely temperature again.


Squirrel! The bus arrived at 8.35 and we were allowed to jump straight on.

As we got on the driver told us we would be returning at 7 this evening, so we had most of the day to enjoy Busch Gardens. The shuttle was quite busy, but at around 8.45 a group of men just decided to get off the bus? Seemed a bit odd just deciding last minute they weren’t going! We took off literally a few seconds afterwards.

This was me trying to take a picture out the window, you really couldn’t see much out the sides. We were told the journey would take 1 hour 10 minutes and they put on a documentary about the animals at Busch for us to watch. The journey was pretty uneventful until we were almost there. Garth noticed that my playsuit was hanging rather low so I took my hoodie off to find that the strap on my playsuit had come unattached at the back! Typical Primark. Garth did his best tying it into place but it wasn’t very secure and definitely wouldn’t protect my modesty on the rollercoasters at Busch We decided if I couldn’t fix it when we got there I’d have to buy a dress or something in the park.

Drama aside we arrived at Busch at around 10.05. There was a little queue to get in but we were soon at the gates to see this!

Noooo! When I was last here aged 12 I was too scared to do Sheikra so we were looking forward to doing it today, but it wasn’t to be! To be honest I think Garth might have chickened out anyway It wasn’t that busy as we went into the park.

I went straight to the loo to try and resolve my wardrobe malfunction. The straps were on little plastic loops, one loop had snapped. There was a fabric loop that the plastic was supposed to attach to so I just tied the strap to the fabric and it seemed like it was going to hold, phew. We decided to go to Cheetah Hunt first so we took a slow stroll over taking in the animals we passed on the way. When we got there we saw we had to pay for lockers but could get an all day locker pass for $5. Seemed like a deal so we set that up and went into the queue.

It was showing 10 minutes wahey. The queue was quite hot and we could tell it was going to be a warm day! This was a new ride for both of us and I’d heard great things from a friend so I was super excited. Garth was nervous but of course, he loved it! It was a really good ride. We waited just under 20 minutes in the end, happy Garth!

Cobra’s Curse next, another first for us. Wait time was listed as 20 minutes and we got a locker before going in. I found this queue really dark which I hate, I like being able to see where I’m going! I like how they build the story up in the queue line though. The ride kept breaking down while we were waiting but it still only took 20 minutes. We liked this ride, it was different having the vertical lift but we felt it was a bit like Dragon's Fury at Chessington! We preferred Cheetah Hunt. We went back to the locker to get some water and suncream but then put everything back in to go straight to Montu. I was so excited for this. Montu is my absolute favourite rollercoaster (or it was at this point, now I can’t decide if I prefer Manta!) I can’t even explain why I love it so much! It’s just so smooth and floaty. I was so looking forward to Garth trying it. The queue took 10 minutes and it was just as good as I remembered. Garth loved it and says now it’s his favourite ride at Busch. I don’t get why the queue was only 10 minutes! We went back to the locker and as we had the camera again we took pics of the rides we had done.


We really wanted an iced coffee now, so started the search. We stopped at some of the animals we passed on the way.


We soon realised it was impossible to find an iced coffee in this park! I was getting hungry so we had some oreos and continued looking through a rather empty Busch Gardens.



I wanted to feed the birds in the aviary so we headed that way, having given up on our iced coffee. When we got there we saw it was $6 each! Unimpressed and not willing to pay that much for something we’d do for free on Saturday at Discovery Cove we opted to skip the bird feeding. We spent some time looking at the birds but we soon got quite warm. For the first time this trip we were feeling super uncomfortably hot and unsure of exactly what to do. I thought the train might get us a breeze and cool us down so we headed for that.


We saw loads of the animals on the train, and a fair few of the coasters too.





The breeze was nice but whenever we pulled into a station it was so hot again, we were feeling it today. We decided to get off the train and head for the water rides. We started with Congo River Rapids. My locker receipt is all smudged from getting wet but I can just about see we got the locker at 1.15! Time was going so quickly today, it really showed how much we’d got done getting into the Universal parks early. With my phone in the locker my notes are super vague here. I don’t know how long we queued! When we were on the ride I felt my top fall down and it dawned on me that the other strap had gone on my playsuit We were sopping coming off this ride!


I nipped to the loo to fix the other strap and then we headed to the log flume ride. We had our flip flops on for the water rides and this walk killed us! We kept walking out of the flip flops and our feet were so sore! I ended up taking them off and walking barefoot again. I really should have taken my water shoes. On the walk we passed the orangutans so we stopped for a bit. I love orangutans. We got to Stanley Falls and hopped straight in the queue. None of the lines were particularly long today. We realised in the queue that we had both been bitten quite badly on our legs. We’d bought repellent with us but it was back at the hotel and we hadn’t thought to put it on before we left! We made a mental note to start taking it out with us. We enjoyed the ride and felt suitably cooled down, although the water didn’t smell very nice and unfortunately this meant our clothes weren’t smelling too good ew. We saw a dippin dots cart and these were on our must do food list so we trecked back over to Congo to empty the locker, changed our shoes and went back to get our dots, stopping every time we passed the orangutans for a look When we got to the dippin dots stand the queue seemed to take forever! The time stamp on this photo is 14.22.

And the time on my receipt is 14.33. We really wanted those dots by the time we got them! The person on the cart was wearing a badge saying she was new. There was a guy with her but he disappeared to get more dippin dots, and then when he got back he wasn't really helping her in any way he just seemed to be having a go at her. I did feel bad for her. I got Banana Split and Garth got Oreo, costing us $12.82.

We needed a break now so decided to go catch the Opening Night Critters show, which meant going back on ourselves again and passing the orangutans again! We really felt like not being familiar with this park and not really planning the day meant we wasted a lot of time today. So much planning goes into Disney I just wanted to take these days as they came! But it did feel like we didn’t really know what we were doing a lot of the time.




Fave!

We still had 15 mins until the show so wandered around Pantopia. We wouldn’t be doing Falcon’s Fury!


We got into the theatre at around 10 to.



The show was ok. It was a bit cheesy and I did question whether all these animals really should be performing like that. It was nice to cool down in the air con. When we got out we went on the kiddie coaster sand serpent.


It was a fun little one. We then went over to Scorpion. Scorpion was my very first upside down coaster when I was 6! We stowed stuff in the lockers and jumped in the little queue. My notes say we really stunk from the water rides We had so much fun on this ride. Halfway through we got the giggles for some reason. The more I laughed the more I struggled catching my breath, we were both in absolute stitches for no reason! Garth liked the ride, it's quick but a little crazy!

We were starving now, having only snacked since our breakfast. We went to Dragon Fire Grill right next to Scorpion. It was 4.20 so nice and quiet. There were different stations in here, there was an Italian station, an American station and an Asian station. We went to the American station and ordered the chicken and ribs to share with a regular lemonade. It came to $19.56 I was so shocked! It didn’t even taste that good.

It came with a biscuit thing which was ok. We weren’t too impressed considering the cost of it but still we ate it all up. It filled a hole! We sat for a while deciding on our plan of action. We were going to go towards Kumba next as it was the last biggie we hadn’t done so we cleared up and walked out to this!


Our first Florida downpour of the trip Obviously Kumba was out of the question then! We whacked out the ponchos and decided to head towards the reptile house and aquarium. It was a soggy walk to say the least.


We walked past these fellows on the way. The giant tortoises were what I remembered vividly from my previous trips here and Garth had been so excited to see them.



The reptile house and aquarium kept us out of the rain for a bit and then we headed into the animal hospital. The thunder and lightning was really going for it now it was crazy. It meant we pretty much had the park to ourselves though! We saw some sleepy poorly sloths.


and a sick snake. His shed skin was so cool. I know our snake at home goes off her food around shedding time so I wondered if this one was only in the animal hospital until the shedding process was over.


We carried on walking through.


The rain had eased slightly so we went back outside to see the penguins. The rain didn’t seem to bother them too much!

The train was parked up now, I’m a bit of a train fan!

We hadn’t seen the monkeys yet so we headed that way. There was a nice undercover area where we could sit and watch the gorillas. There was a little and a big gorilla and they seemed to be having a bit of a dispute over this branch. It was so funny to watch.





Garth decided it was an apt time for a selfie and then we moved towards the chimpanzees. On the way through we stopped at the information boards. On one of them there were these two drawings of gorillas from the park.


We’re such bad people but we were in hysterics at the one on the right. I’m sorry Tisha but you’re 14 and your picture looks like… I don’t even know what it looks like It just got funnier because Garth decided to take (another) selfie at this point but for some reason it didn’t take and we went to look at it only to see Tisha’s drawing! My belly hurt from laughing so much. Anyway we tried again for the selfie and were on our way.

The chimpanzees didn’t fancy coming out in the rain unfortunately!



Monkeys completed we looked in some shops and then went looking for tigers. We passed the elephants on the way. It was just drizzle now.

Lazing around.


Following the tiger trail we found the pop up dome where we could go and get a brilliant view of the tiger sleeping. We joined a little queue and waited a loooong time behind one particular man before having our go. It was a great view.


We tried the orangutans again while we were in the area but there were none around this time It was around 20 past 6 now so we decided to head out the park slowly. Garth had eyed up some goodies when we passed the bakery earlier so we decided to have a nose.


It all looked so good! We weren’t too hungry and we had plans for dinner so we decided to just get little bits for later. I got a chocolate dipped oreo and Garth got a marshmallow stick. The cashier just put it all through as dipped oreos and weighed it together so it came to $3.30, bargain. We took it in turns going to the loo and then left. We enjoyed Busch, and I’m glad having 3 weeks meant we could visit and not miss out on Disney time. We’re in no rush to go back but it was a great day and we loved being able to do big coasters and see the animals too. It was just a shame about Sheikra!

Hoodies in June! Obviously it had cooled down a fair bit now! You’ve probably noticed we took so many selfies. Last time in 2014 we probably had around 10 photos of us together from the whole trip. This time we wanted to make sure we had more photos of the two of us together. We got back to the bus at 6.49 and we were the very last people there! It seemed like everyone had got fed up with the rain because they seemed like they’d be sat there waiting for ages oops. The bus pulled away at 7.01 and we were told it’d take an hour and a half due to traffic. We both dozed for around half an hour and passed some time by looking at the pictures we’d taken today. It was rain rain rain the whole way back.

We saw an amazing rainbow but I wasn’t able to get a photo of it! We got back to the CSI experience at around 8.30 so exactly what was expected. Dinner plan was Applebee’s, a first for both of us! As we walked up towards it we passed International Palms, our 2014 hotel. It was all shut up! We later read this was for renovations, and believe me it needed it!

Applebee’s wasn’t far and we were soon being served by Jeziree. I ordered a mango lemonade and Garth ordered a frozen mango lemonade.

Garth's a fan of a frozen drink. I have to say both drinks were delicious. I had a voucher for a free appetizer and it said on it that there were certain exclusions but didn’t mention if it excluded the ‘Classic Combo’. We asked Jeziree and she checked the voucher and said that it didn’t, so we ordered the combo of mozzarella sticks, spinach and artichoke dip, chicken quesadilla and boneless wings.

For mains I ordered the four cheese mac and cheese with honey pepper chicken tenders and Garth ordered BBQ brisket tacos.


The combo came quickly.

There was so much food and it as beyond amazing. My notes say ‘sweet Asian boneless wings wow quesadilla cheesy and perfect’! The dip was also soooo good. I recommend this to anyone, we could have just had the combo between us as a very very filling lunch! Our mains were bought out 10 minutes later.


Garth was still getting the hang of taking a good meal pic at this point The food was just spot on. Applebee’s was such a hit for us, we were so impressed. This face says it all!

We paid up leaving a 20% tip for Jeziree. It came to $34.45, and I was so impressed until I realised afterwards that the appetizer had never been on the receipt. I had expected the voucher to be on the receipt and for 20% tip to be off the whole price. Because the combo was never even rung though it meant we kind of under tipped I felt awful when I realised this afterwards. In the moment I had just written the figure from 20% not thinking! I hope Jeziree didn’t take it personally, it was my silly mistake for not adding the cost of the combo on. Before we left I nipped to the back to check out the pictures on their walls. I loved the Orlando theming.


As I was taking pics a server came up to me and said “have you seen the big guy?!” to which I just stared blankly at him. He walked me to the window and pointed at the giant astronaut on the side of next door’s building. I took a picture but inside I was thinking “I like theme parks why on Earth is he showing me an astronaut?!” It wasn’t until Garth mentioned KSC that I realised why he’d shown me! I was obviously over tired at this point We left at around 9.45 with very happy tummies.

We went to have a peek in the astronaut shop before heading home. They sold some cool stuff in there.


We spent ages nosing around but didn’t buy anything. After a mooch we were ready for home. We went back to Applebee’s for the wifi and ordered an uber. There were some wifi difficulties and then the first uber cancelled but by 22.06 we were on our way with Bony. No notes on him but as it was night time I presume he was another silent driver. We were back at the Rosen at 10.29. We were too lazy to go up the stairs so we hopped in the lift, and then a man followed us in and started pressing the 'close doors' button really quickly. We just looked at each other and thought we were going to be murdered Luckily we made it to our room alive, he must have just been keen for the lift to get moving! We were snuggled in bed eating our snacks half an hour later I don’t even know how we had room for them!



I took some notes and soon after we were crashed out. Another full, exhausting day! And you guessed it, another one tomorrow!

Tomorrow we go to Seaworld and meet a sea lion up close!

Steps today: 12,100

Edited at 08:17 PM.
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Old 18 Aug 17, 04:15 PM  
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collybird
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I don't think I mentioned before I love your planning cards, so nice and compact. I am always faffing around with folded up A4 sheets of paper.
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Old 18 Aug 17, 07:23 PM  
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EJSakaAnna
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Another great day, interesting to read about Busch Gardens I haven't read many reports featuring it. We didn't go to Applebee's in Florida but it's a favourite when we visit Canada ! xx
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Old 18 Aug 17, 08:21 PM  
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Great day.i find Busch gardens a weird layout and seem to walk much further than I need to 😳
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Old 11 Sep 17, 08:22 PM  
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LostPrincess
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Originally Posted by collybird View Post
I don't think I mentioned before I love your planning cards, so nice and compact. I am always faffing around with folded up A4 sheets of paper.
Thank you! We found the Dibb planner so useful and it only took a few hours cutting them up and laminating them

Originally Posted by EJSakaAnna View Post
Another great day, interesting to read about Busch Gardens I haven't read many reports featuring it. We didn't go to Applebee's in Florida but it's a favourite when we visit Canada ! xx
It's a fun place to visit if you have the time, worth the journey especially if you have a car and can do it on your own terms! I'm so excited to go back to Applebee's on a trip to New York next year

Originally Posted by Floridaagogo View Post
Great day.i find Busch gardens a weird layout and seem to walk much further than I need to 😳
Thank you! Yes we definitely thought so, nobody does it as well as Disney do they! Thanks for reading
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Old 25 Nov 17, 07:59 PM  
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We love Busch, but we've not done their water rides for years.
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Old 9 May 18, 08:07 PM  
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Interesting to read about Bush Gardens.
It's not a park we've ever visited despite having travelled over to clearwater from Orlando.

Glad you didn't have to buy extra clothing today due to the faulty straps.

Can so relate to your panic about the gentleman in the lift
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Old 12 May 18, 12:56 PM  
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LostPrincess
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Originally Posted by spencem View Post
We love Busch, but we've not done their water rides for years.
I'm not sure I'd do the water rides again, the water really did pong thanks for reading

Originally Posted by Our Grumpy1 View Post
Interesting to read about Bush Gardens.
It's not a park we've ever visited despite having travelled over to clearwater from Orlando.

Glad you didn't have to buy extra clothing today due to the faulty straps.

Can so relate to your panic about the gentleman in the lift
We really enjoyed the day! It's a good park, although it was very hot like Animal Kingdom can get.

We're wimps about most things so a scary man in a lift really pushed us over the scared limit! Glad to say we lived to tell the tale

Thanks for commenting
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Old 1 Jun 18, 09:28 PM  
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Another great day, you have so much energy!
I love Busch Gardens although I have found the staff a little unfriendly at times.
The weather has got hot then now!
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Old 5 Jun 18, 10:31 AM  
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Nice you got to see Bush Gardens. As you say when you go for 3 weeks you don't mind foregoing a Disney day

Applebee's looks really yummy
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