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Unread 4 Mar 19, 10:25 AM  
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Join Date: Jan 06
... and Then There Were 3 -Day 10- Busch Gardens

DD and I were going to Busch Gardens today on the Mears shuttle that picks up from Icon 360 at 8.45am. As we are now fully adjusted to Florida time I set my alarm for 6 to ensure that I would be up, showered and dressed in plenty of time. I had to wake DD up at 7.

After making sure that DH was supplied with enough drinks and snacks to keep him going for a while we set off and left him to his lazy day of YouTube and Netflix.

We were intending to eat our main meal all together this evening when DD & I returned from our adventures. For now, we called in at McD's and picked up a couple of Breakfast Muffins for breakfast - Sausage, egg and cheese for me -

- and plain sausage for DD.

It was a really pleasant walk up I-Drive in the early morning sun. We could already tell that the weather today was going to be beautiful.

We were soon at the Icon 360. I was unsure exactly where the shuttle bus pick up point was located. The booking confirmation just said in the Parking Lot. I'd tried to get more specific instructions online but received contradictory advice, with some people saying that it was to the left of the multi storey car park as you approach whilst others were suggesting that it was at the back of the Eye near the Legoland bus stop.

There was already a group of people waiting near the multi storey when we arrived so we asked them if they were going to Busch Gardens. They said that they were but that they weren't sure if they were in the right place either! There were absolutely no signs anywhere.

As we still had plenty of time DD and I wandered round to the back of the Eye to check out the other possible stop... only to find a crowd of people here too, standing at the Legoland bus stop already discussing whether this was the right stop for Busch Gardens. At this point an employee, who must have overheard the conversation, came over and said that we did all in fact need to wait round the other side, back where we'd just come from!

Once we'd sorted out where we needed to be the bus arrived promptly and we set off on time.

Thankfully, after yesterday, these buses are clean, comfortably and have air con. They even have TV screens playing a movie - we watched The Lost Medallion - this helped to occupy some of the journey. We made a stop at Seaworld to pick up more passengers but the coach was still only about half full.

After an uneventful drive we arrived at Busch Gardens just after 10.30.

The driver explained that he would pick us back up tonight at 7pm at stop 24 where he dropped us off. He warned that we should be there 15 minutes early as they wouldn't wait for late comers.

This was significantly later than we'd expected. Friends who'd been previously had mentioned a return pick up of 5.45. I text DH to let him know that we'd be back later than we'd thought.

As we'd never previously visited this park we stopped at guest services to pick up a map, where we encountered these stilt walkers.

Our main purpose in coming here was to ride the big coasters, the closest of these to the entrance is Cheetah Hunt so we decided that this would be as good a place to start as any.

We stopped to admire the ride's namesake.

The posted wait time was 45 minutes, which after yesterday didn't seem too bad so we joined the queue.

What a brilliant start to the day! This ride is very fast and we loved it.

Next stop was Cobra's Curse. This had a wait time of 55mins. Although there didn't seem to be anywhere near as many people around as we'd encountered in Universal, I was beginning to think that queues of around an hour per ride were just what we had to expect.

At least today we weren't keeping DH hanging around waiting every time we wanted to go on something.

By the time we came off Cobra it was almost 12 and DD said that she was hungry. DH had answered my earlier text saying that we'd be back too late to eat so he'd sort himself out and we might as well get a meal while we were at the park.

We'd passed the Serengeti Overlook on the way to the rides and DD had commented that the pizza on the poster looked good so I thought that it would be as good a place as any to try.

We retrieved my bag from the locker (I'd earlier paid $6 for a day pass which enables you to move your belongings from one ride locker to another for the entire day) and headed upstairs to the buffet restaurant which, as the name suggests, looks straight out onto the safari.

We were told at the desk that there would be a 10 minute wait for a table but we were called through and seated very quickly. We could see lots of zebras and giraffes but as they were quite far away in the distance and our table wasn't right by the window I couldn't get any good pictures.

This is a buffet restaurant and the food is typical buffet fare. I had chicken strips, fried chicken and battered cod strips with seasoned mashed potato. It was all very tasty.

DD had mac n cheese, pizza, a chicken strip and a bread roll.

Neither of us had a second plateful as I was worried that if we over ate it might return to haunt us on the rides later!

For dessert I had the strawberry cheesecake and DD had the chocolate gateau.

These were nice enough but didn't live up to the ones that we'd had at the Cheesecake Factory the other day. The portions were nowhere near as large either (thankfully!).

This meal should have cost $19.99 each but when they brought out the check they'd only charged the Under 9's price of $9.99 for DD. I didn't feel guilty about this because I hadn't done anything to mislead them, no-one had even asked how old she was. I paid the bill and left a 20% tip.

... back to the rides! Our next stop was Montu which much to our surprise and delight only had a 15 minute wait - I think that our stop for lunch must have allowed that early morning crowds to get ahead of us.

DD declared this her favourite coaster anywhere so far ... and we went straight back for a 2nd go.

After this we joined the queue for the Skyride with the intention of crossing to the other side of the park and riding Sheikra. Unfortunately, after we'd been queuing for about 10 minutes, they put out an announcement that, due to high winds in the area, they were closing the Skyride. We toyed with the idea of using the steam train instead but everyone seemed to have had the same idea and the whole line was heading in the direction of the station. We set off to walk to Sheikra.

We stopped en route at the Kangaroo feeding station but they were all lazing in the sun and weren't interested in eating.

We also stopped to look at the Flamingoes.

It felt like we'd been walking for ages but when we finally got to Sheikra the wait here was just 15 minutes too.

DD loved it, particularly the massive drop over the edge! Again, we went straight back on for a second ride.

She actually wanted to try the front row but there were lots of people already queuing for this so we settled for row 2.

Whilst we were in this area of the park we road The Stanley Falls Log Flume and Kumba, both with about 25 minute wait times. We enjoyed both of these rides but I forgot to take any photos. We checked out the wait time for Congo River Rapids but it was 60 minutes and as time was getting on we thought that we'd get more done if we skipped this one.

Whilst on Kumba DD had spotted Falcon's Fury and wanted to try it, so we headed off to the Pantopia area of the park. By now I felt that DD had no fear of anything - I was soon proved to be wrong! I thought that she knew what to expect from this ride but she hadn't noticed that it actually tips you face forward before hurtling back towards the ground. She was terrified! She was physically shaking when we got off.

Still it didn't curb her enthusiasm for trying other things. As we were right next to Scorpion that was our next port of call.

This is a much smaller coaster than most of the others at Busch and whilst standing in the queue (approx 15 mins) didn't seem particularly frightening. However, I found it to be the worst of the day. I don't know how old this ride is but it reminded me of the Coasters of my youth and felt quite shaky and jerky. DD didn't mind it but I felt quite unsafe!

Just as an aside - my very first experience of a roller coaster was The Corkscrew at Alton Towers at the age of about 16. I hated it, kept my eyes closed for the entire ride and avoided all coasters for the next 15 years! It was only when we visited Universal Orlando that DS30 managed to goad me into going on the Hulk with him and I've never looked back since.

So the Scorpion didn't bring back good memories!

We stopped at one of the ice cream stalls and bought a tub of brownie and cookie dough dipping dots to share.

We now only had about 45 minutes left before we needed to meet our coach and we'd done most of the rides that we wanted to so I asked DD if there was anything that she'd like to do again.

She asked for Montu and we wandered back in that direction enjoying our Dipping Dots and watching the animals.

The wait was now down to 5 minutes and we managed to ride another 3 times before it was finally time to leave the park.

We'd both had a fantastic day and a real Mum & daughter bonding experience.

DD was exhausted and slept for most of the journey back to Orlando. I watched Journey 2: The Mysterious Island.

We were back at the Icon 360 for approx 8.30.

We nipped into Walgreens on our way back to the hotel as DH had text me to say that we'd run out of coffee.

When we got back we told him all about our day but I don't think that he was remotely envious - he'd enjoyed his time alone to relax!

Day 11 is here:- https://www.thedibb.co.uk/forums/sho... php?t=1118769

Edited at 09:53 AM.
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Unread 4 Mar 19, 12:49 PM  
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New Photo Added by ally1966 - 4 Mar 19 11:49 AM.
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Unread 4 Mar 19, 02:10 PM  
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A lovely mother and daughter day
You got lots of rides done

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Unread 4 Mar 19, 10:43 PM  
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Fab day.you are both brave riding falcons fury 😬
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Unread 3 Jul 19, 05:10 PM  
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What a lovely day just the 2 of you 😁
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