I am taking a group of college kids to Florida next week (staying in Orlando) and we want to go to a park on Friday. I am leaning towards IoA. I have been to Busch about 10 years ago and have never been to IoA. Also, the group rate for IoA is $5 cheaper. It actually looks like Busch has more "good" coasters (4 to 3) but with the shorter travel distance, slightly cheaper price and novelty effect of IoA compared to Busch I think IoA might be better. Thoughts?
I think the shorter travel distance should be your first reason for going to IoA. Busch Gardens is a good distance from Orlando, and though it is certainly do-able, it's much nicer to have a park with proximity to your hotel. While I think I would negate your claim that IoA has the better coasters, (with the recent addition of Sheikra, I think Busch probably has the best collection in Florida), IoA, has a neater 'experience,' ESPECIALLY in terms of its water rides.
I'd go to IoA. *** Edited 3/5/2008 3:05:12 PM UTC by coasterMNguy...***
Your first instinct is right, both are amazing parks, but you will enjoy IoA more, its closer, there is City Walk right outside (they will like that) and if they are "bored" with IoA they can always choose to upgrade to a 2-park ticket and do USO as well.
If you've been on Montu, Kumba, and Gwazi already - then I'd definitely lean towards suggesting IoA. It is STILL, in every sense, a mythic theme park - I can't see myself getting passes year after year to most parks that haven't expanded one bit in so long. But IoA is *special*, and Universal's upgrades have brought it more in line.
Do get there early so you can catch PF.
Busch does have the best *collection* of coasters, but IMO SheiKra really did very little to change the relative merits of each park. Mummy, OTOH, really made a HUGE difference for "the complex" as a whole.... ;)
BGT is a better park, with more to offer. However, with your college aged guests, you want 100% IOA. And...the X factor, which was mentioned is City Walk. Its a great way to take a park break and get a great meal at Margaritaville, or whereever you want to stop and relax.
Once the park is "open-open", about 30-45 minutes after posted opening, they'll start insisting that you have a child to ride. I understand it was *designed* with kids in mind, but it's a REALLY fun ride. I'll echo some sentiments from a friend of mine who recently visited: "Why on EARTH would a major theme park in Florida build SUCH a low-capacity ride?"
Of course, I'm still trying to get them to go 2-across seating to double the (pitiful) capacity.
Gwazi - having a good month, apparently. The off-season rehabbing went particularly well this year, IMO, and now they're even dueling on a MUCH more consistent basis.
If you want a theme park experience, it doesn't get much better than IoA. If you want a roller coaster experience Busch Gardens has four world class roller coasters to IoA's two. Might be concerned about the Harry Potter construction at IoA; it may distract from your thematic experience. And Busch Africa has one of the better zoos if your kids are interested in seeing some wildlife. Tough choice, they are both great parks. *** Edited 3/5/2008 4:53:52 PM UTC by rc-madness***
I would suggest upgrading to the two park pass, the Universal Resort is well worth it. Although if its just not possible then IOA is your best route. And as many have said, city walk is a great place for the age group you are bringing. PF is a coaster in Jurassic Park called Pteranodon Flyers thats for the little ones and capacity is terrible. If you get there at opening they will let adults ride and you wont have to wait. It is a fun experience.
Both are great parks but if I had to choose just one I would go to BGT. I think it is a better alround park, you are more likely to have less people at BGT than at IOA and I like the coasters a lot more at BGT. You can't go wrong with Quazi, Montu, Kumba, and Shireka. I say got to both but if not go with BGT. I always have a great time there.
If you are really just into coasters, go to Busch instead. There are only 3 big ones at IOA, and 6 at Busch. I personally like 2 at IOA, and 4 at Busch Gardens. However, IOA has Spiderman, Jurassic Park, and Popeye while Busch Gardens doesn't have these things.
The theme at Busch Gardens is a serious theme. At IOA, it isn't. If you like water rides, go to IOA. I think they have pretty good ones there. If you like animals, go to Busch. If you want to go on more coasters, go to Busch. If you want to see Rogue, go to IOA.
Both parks are great parks. Busch has better coasters with the 3 B&M's and the dueling GCI. On the flip side, IOA has 3 B&M's all of which are very good coasters and may have the best non-coaster ride on the planet in Spiderman. The themeing at IOA is much much better. Busch has more rides, but the quality of rides is better at IOA. The rides at IOA basically immerse you into whatever story they are trying to tell. Very intricate que lines there.
If you are taking college kids, they will probalby enjoy going to the park durring the day and then going to city walk and partying at night.
Also, don't forget about the hour plus drive from Orlando to Tampa for Busch, while IOA is right there
I have been a season pass holder at both parks, and love both parks. I just think that the quality at IOA is better. Not coaster quality necessarily, but the quality of the rest of the park.
LOL, am I the only one taking into account the fact that Kevin HAS been to BGT/A? It's a fabulous park, I wish I got there more often...
...but there is NOTHING that can compare (IMO) to a visit to "virgin territory". A park I have yet to visit...for ME....is *always* going to beat out a park I have been to before...even if it's been awhile.
Meh, both are great, and you'll have a great time at either... if the weather is warmer (kinda dicey right now), IoA has two of the very finest water rides in existence. Busch's are VERY much "plain Jane" in comparison.