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Old 4 Sep 20, 11:24 AM  
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Andy C
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The Quest For Toad - The No Queues Trip 2019 - Day 7, Busch Gardens: "She's in a cooling dress"

Up bright and early, and aiming for Tampa for Busch Gardens.

No fastpasses booked, of course. We were aiming to be at Busch Gardens as it opened in order to minimise crowds. We arrive at Denny’s very early, as we continued to make our way methodically through the breakfast menu.

The girls are now trying things like “Double Berry Banana Pancake Breakfasts” while The Lad insist on sticking with his reliable Grand Slam Slugger.

I make the mistake of glancing at the calorie counts, and then go into swift denial.

We’re out of Denny’s and on the road to Busch Gardens. One thing I want to look for on route is the distance/time to the turnoff for the Championsgate villa area – which I had prevously believed was a fairly lengthy drive out from the Disney Parks area, but had been advised that it was actually pretty quick via the I4. As it turns out, that advice was right. Which opens up an entire extra area for villas for future trips.

We’re at Busch Gardens just before opening, popping on the little tram thing to take us around for park opening. Following advice from DW, I also pop a couple of travel sickness pills to reinforce my now-ageing semi-circular canals prior to coasterification.

Once more, reality following THE PLAN. This can’t last, can it?

Once we’re inside, we split into the adrenaline team (me, DD1, DD1BF, DD2), and the animals team (DW and The Lad). After a brief period of learning how to use the locker system (which ended up working really quite well), the adrenaline team is queueing up for Cheetah Hunt.

Fifteen minutes later, we’re on, and it’s a great ride. I’d missed it last time (2013) due to the excessive queues). And as it’s primarily an acceleration/speed/deceleration sort of thing, it’s also ideal for those of us who loved coasters, hit middle-age, and found themselves, to their annoyance, occasionally getting a bit of motion-sickness-queasiness on the rougher rides. Just saying.

We get to see the cheetah running as well.



And as we move back towards Morocco and towards Bird Garden, we run into the Dibbers from yesterday! We say a quick hello. They’re off towards Montu, while we’re aiming to go anticlockwise around the park towards Sheikra and Tigris, with the aim of getting to Kumba and Congo River Rapids at the far end before most of the guests. And The Lad can take in Sesame Street on the way – he loved it last time, back in 2013.

As we approach though, he informs us disparagingly that Sesame Street “is for babies,” which dents that idea. He does still enjoy seeing the birds in the Bird Gardens as the rest of us jog towards Sheikra.



Which is a walk-on when we get there, gratifyingly. We go on twice (my semi-circular canals holding up fine) before proceeding on to the new Tigris ride. There’s a short queue (under ten minutes).

We do a double-take as we watch the ride while we wait. It leaves the station – as expected, hastening off to the left… but then coming back in reverse, seconds later. It accelerates in reverse out to the right… and comes back again forwards, accelerating yet again and blasting off and up to the left.

It’s ace. When we’re on, we have a fair idea what to expect and it’s smooth as silk. After the triple launch, we’re up the steep rise, hang at the top for an instant, and down and round. It’s over far too quickly, so we obviously go on again.

We’re through the tigers and orang-utans with DW and The Lad. DD1 spots a stuffed toy crane machine (where you use the crane to try to grab toys) filled with Mario Karts toys, and we have a surge of excitedment. Toad at last?

Nope. But we feel that we’re closing in.

It’s heating up rapidly. Still approaching midday and we’ve broken out “cooling cloths” (which you can dip in water and they retain the water and coolness for a while) and wrap them around our necks, pressing on.

On to Congo River Rapids. “You will get wet. You may get soaked.” Well, we knew they weren’t kidding.

On the plus side, DD1 no longer needs a cooling cloth. She’s now wearing an entire cooling dress.

The line for Kumbaa is short, so we’re on it. We’d planned to use this to help dry off, and it works. Well, for all apart from DD1, who had (inevitably) got the brunt of the water on Congo River Rapids. Basically, she’s a water magnet on these rides. If you ever see us in a park and getting on a ride, then be warned: the seat next to DD1 WILL end up underwater at some point. A word to the wise.

Kumbaa is older and more rackety than the other coasters we’ve been on today, and for the first time, my semi-circular canals rebel slightly. Just a warning minor queasiness, but I take note. In any case, we’ve done all the morning coasters now (we’re expecting it to be a bit busier in the middle of the day; THE PLAN says for eating lunch and viewing animals for a couple or three hours, soon).

While we’re on these rides, DW and The Lad have popped on the Skyride to take in the entire park.





We head back towards Stanleyville and rendezvous with DW and The Lad for ribs at the Zambia Smokehouse. It’s not exactly cheap, but you do get a decent amount of food for your money. And hiding inside from the midday heat is welcome. We’re past masters at this, so we make sure we reapply sunscreen fairly frequently.

We consider a show or two, but none of the younger ones really are attracted to it, so another ride on the Skyline for DW and The Lad (and a first one for the rest of us) and we then head around Edge of Africa and Nairobi for the animals.







Lines for Montu and Cobra’s Curse are fairly lengthy, and the consensus is that we’ve had plenty of coasters today (Montu is a good coaster, but nothing special – it’s Kumbaa-class, really. Neither daughter wants to do Cobra’s Curse, anyway (“too spinny”) and I don’t put up an argument, given that I’m not that much of a fan of spinniness, anyway. Get in early, get them done, get on to the rest of the park as the lines fill up - that's the way to do it.

A ride on the train, and we pick up some dots.



What are dots? They’re sort of an ice-cream thing. Frozen flavoured ice-cream dots, mixed in different flavour assortments, and they are nice.













Before we know it, it’s around four o’clock, and we’re all flagging a bit (we do take a look at the Congo River Rapids queue to cool off again, but the queue is past 45 minutes by now). Some more dots, a trip around the various shops (no Toad), and it’s suddenly half-past-five and we decide to head home.

The drive back is straighforward. Still full of ribs, we decide to just have toast for dinner tonight. Despite a bit of flexibility away from THE PLAN it’s been a bloody good day (they always say at RAF Cranwell that “flexibility is the key to Air Power.” Well, it’s pretty good for quite a few things other than aerial bombing, interceptors, or battlefield interdiction, as well. Every successful plan needs to allow for amendment and contingencies).

We’re all a bit knackered, but we’re nearly half-way through the holiday now (which is simultaneously “Yay – it’s going great!” and “Oh no, we’ll be heading home soon!”).

Tomorrow to Blizzard Beach, for some more bobbing in the water by The Lad, waterslides by most of the rest of us, and half a day off, hopefully at Disney Springs.
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Old 4 Sep 20, 12:41 PM  
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mick
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Sounds like you all had a great day

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Old 4 Sep 20, 11:40 PM  
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Loobylou_82
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Another great day. Really like Busch Gdns.
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Old 12 Sep 20, 08:56 AM  
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flo-tinka
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New ride at Busch sounds awesome
As an ageing adult I’m with you on the suitability of Cheetah Hunt
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