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12 Best Busch Gardens Tips That You Must Know Before Visiting

In this guide, we will cover our best Busch Gardens tips to ensure that you arrive at the park extremely prepared, and know all of the 'hacks' to maximize your time and money. 

1. Start Your Visit at the Back of the Park

If you take a look at the Busch Gardens map, you'll notice that a lot of the most popular rides such as Kumba, Falcon's Fury & Tigris are located in the back.

kumba ride busch gardens

Most visitors enter the park and hang around the attractions closest to the entrance. 

By entering the park, heading to the back, and experiencing the park from the back to the front, you'll deal with much fewer crowds & lines.

It's also a much better experience overall, as you'll ride more rides with smaller lines, and you'll be able to quickly knock out your must-do rides early in the day as well.

2. Don't Pay Full Price For Tickets

When you purchase Busch Gardens tickets with us, you can Save $28+ per ticket, and you'll also be able to skip the line by going straight to the gate.

You can learn more about our process and how we're able to do this through our Authorized Theme Park Ticket Reseller page.

Even if you don't find the best ticket prices by purchasing through us, we always recommend at a minimum buying your tickets online in advance from Busch Gardens to save yourself some time and money versus purchasing at the front gate.

3. Consider Investing In a Quick Queue Pass

If you plan on visiting the park during a weekend, you'll want to know about Busch Gardens Quick Queue Pass, and how it works.

busch gardens quick queue

A Quick Queue Pass is essentially Busch Garden's fast pass system, which gives you access to a separate and faster line, to skip the regular line and spend more of your time riding your favorite rides rather than waiting in lines.

quick queue congo river rapids

You can receive a wristband or you can also have it on your mobile device as a Quick Queue ticket!

Most Quick Queue lines bring you right next to the rider loading station, which is a nice perk as there's much less walking (and waiting).

4. Consider Renting a Locker

If you plan on bringing any items into the park and decide that you don't want to carry them and/or want to ride any rides, you'll want to invest in a locker at Busch Gardens.

busch gardens lockers

There are two types of lockers available at Busch Gardens:

  1. All Day Lockers
  2. Ride Lockers

All Day Lockers come in different (larger) sizes and are more expensive, but they allow visitors to keep their items in the lockers for the entire day the park is open, and the flexibility to use them as many times as they want.

Ride Lockers come in one smaller size, but can be found at almost a dozen locations around the major rides.

    5. Know About the Busch Gardens Rain Policy

    If inclement weather negatively impacts your visit to Busch Gardens in Tampa for a minimum of 60 minutes, Busch Gardens's Rain Policy allows you to be eligible to receive a complimentary visit to the park that must be used within 1 year of your visit.

    busch gardens rain policy

    This allows visitors to book their tickets confidently, ensuring that they will get their money's worth when they visit the park.

    6. Know About the Busch Gardens Bag Policy

    For both Busch Gardens locations (Tampa & Williamsburg), the Busch Gardens Bag Policy allows visitors to bring backpacks into the park, as long as the bags do not have wheels. 

    bringing a bag to busch gardens

    You'll also be able to rent a locker and conveniently store your backpack and valuables inside of the locker, while you ride the rides or navigate through the park.

    Inspection Entering the Park

    Visitors should be aware that all guests, bags, packages, and other items are subject to inspection, including metal detection or other screening measures before entering the park.

    You can read more on the Busch Gardens Bag Policy page, where we detail whether you can bring them on rides, at Howl O Scream, and more.

      7. Know the Parking Options Available

      When you pull up to the parking lot, you'll realize there are multiple options available when parking at Busch Gardens.

      There are two types of parking options at Busch Gardens including:

      1. Preferred Parking: $45-$55
      2. General Parking: $30
      busch gardens preferred parking

      Preferred Parking is a higher cost than General Parking, as you're parked closer to the entrance, in a closed-off area.

      General Parking will park you in the regular Busch Gardens parking lot.

        8. Arrive at the Park Right When it Opens

        busch gardens entrance

        Busch Gardens typically opens at 10 am, but you'll want to double-check their hours on their site.

        By getting to the park right when it opens, you'll have a better chance of being able to head directly to your must-do rides & experiences, without dealing with the heavy lines.

        Additionally, the park normally takes a few hours to fill up, which will give you a few hours of a more laid-back experience.

        9. Know the Best Shoes to Wear

        Wearing the wrong shoes to a theme park where you'll walk for miles and stand for periods can cut your day short, making wearing the right pair of shoes extremely important.

        In our opinion, the ON Men's Cloudflow sneaker and ON Women's Cloudflow sneakers are by far the best shoes for Busch Gardens, and it's not even close.


        on mens cloudflow sneaker



        on womens cloudflow sneaker
        Some of our favorite features these shoes offer include:
        • Extremely Comfortable & Lightweight  - They Feel Like Slippers
        • Very Durable
        • Great for Both Skinny & Wide Feet
        • Can Serve as an All-purpose Shoe
        • Great arch support

        The normal foot pain that I grew accustomed to from other shoes was gone, and these ON shoes allowed me to fully enjoy my day, without worrying when my feet would hurt next.

        Something to keep in mind is that although you're almost guaranteed to walk a lot at a theme park, you'll also be standing a lot as well (in lines for rides).

        These ultra-comfortable shoes have proven to me to be amazing for standing, walking and even running.

        10. Consider a Busch Gardens Annual Pass

        If you love Busch Gardens and are planning on visiting more than 2 or 3 times in one calendar year, you may want to consider purchasing a Busch Gardens Annual Pass.

        busch gardens annual pass

        Some of the benefits that Annual Pass holders can expect include:

        • Unlimited Visits to Busch Gardens
        • Free Parking
        • Free Guest Tickets
        • Discounts on Food, Beverages, and Shopping

        11. Visit During the Week For Smaller Crowds

        Many people say that to deal with fewer crowds, you should visit during the weekdays.

        Sounds simple right? Not quite.

        The best days to go to Busch Gardens are Monday-Tuesday as these are typically the least crowded days.

        busch gardens sign

        Most families have their days off on the weekends, and this is why weekends are usually the busiest at the park.

        You'll also want to make sure that you're not going near a holiday or an event, for example, Spring break, the 4th of July, etc.

        Spend less time waiting in lines, and more time riding your favorite rides.

        12. Download the Busch Gardens App

        The Busch Gardens app is a must-have item for your visit.

        busch gardens app


        You'll be able to plan your visit from the app, see the park hours, and park map, see the showtimes, see the restrooms, and much more.

        The app makes it a seamless experience for visitors before the park, and when they're at the actual park.

        Additionally, wifi is available for use at the park.

        Frequently Asked Questions

        How Many Days Should I Spend at Busch Gardens Tampa?

        Ideally, 2 days at Busch Gardens is a perfect amount of time to experience everything that the park has to offer. However, in 1 day you can knock out most of the popular rides, shows, and experiences in the park.

        How Long Do You Need at Busch Gardens?

        4-6 hours is a great aim point to accomplish most of the popular rides, shows, and experiences that the park has to offer. If you arrive at the park before its opening, you may even be able to do this faster.

        What Can You Do at Busch Gardens if You Don't Like Roller Coasters?

        There is plenty to do at Busch Gardens besides just roller coasters including feeding exotic birds, walking through animal trails & watching shows. Busch Gardens features 12,000 animals and 300 species. If you love animals, prepare to be amazed.

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