Me and my wife are taking a trip to orlando this summer and we are already planning on going to Universal Studios and IOA by using that $85 deal. We also are getting free tickets to Seaworld. We are trying to decide if we should go to Animal Kingdom or make the trip to Tampa for Busch Gardens. We are both coaster lovers, but also love animals/zoos. Unfortunately we are going to be there when Sheikra is closed for the new floorless trains. I have looked through a few trip reports here, but wondered if anyone had a suggestion on which would be better to go to, or offer any insight to help us decide
Animal Kingdom has lots of animals, and Dinosaur, Bug's Life, Everest and the Kilimanjaro Safari are not to be missed. But if you're not interested in looking at EVERYTHING animal-related, you're likely going to run out of things to do before the park closes. It's a great park, but it's not for everyone.
Busch, on the other hand, has tons of rides and a LOT of good/great coasters- in fact, with Python gone, there isn't a loser in the bunch. There's also plenty of animal stuff there, too. The only thing is that Tampa is about 75 minutes from Orlando. That said, if you're going to Sea World, Busch sells a combo pass that allows you to visit both parks for a lower price. You might want to look into that, which may make the decision for you (if money is an issue).
It really is a hard decision to make. AK does have that little problem of not being a whole day park, but maybe that's a good thing in your situation. If you choose AK, it could be the time in your vacation to relax and take it slow, which is really what AK is all about. Taking your time there is well worth it.
Plus, Kilimanjaro Safari is such a great attraction, that it's almost worth the price of admission, imho. And you have the new Everest.
BG, on the other hand, is very special. The animal exhibits, though not as nice as AK's animal exhibits, are enjoyable. What sets BG apart is the thrill rides, which are some of the best in the area. Even without Shreika, the park is very enjoyable. It's nice to be able to ride huge coasters and see beautiful animals in the same park.
...And BG, imo, is a whole day park. At the end of the day, you may find that you want more time there.
They are both high quality and offer some of the same experiences, but they are both very different from each other as well.
I would head to BGA. The coasters are nothng short of oustanding, the park same as well. You can do a couple of different tours and get up close and personal with the animals or you can see them from the sky lift. They do a good job with all of their attractions.
I was personally disappointed with Busch Gardens after visiting Animal Kingdom. Don't get me wrong...I am a huge coaster nut, but I enjoyed Animal Kingdom alot more, and I'm sure it's even better now with Expedition Everest.
The problem I had with Busch Gardens was the atmosphere. It felt like some animals and coasters in someone's backyard, and it seemed dirty. Of course, it may be because I went there AFTER visiting Animal Kingdom, which has the best landscaping and atmosphere in the world.
My conclusion, I would go with Animal Kingdom just because you get a nice, well-rounded package...rides, animals, and atmosphere...and did I mention the food? Mmmmm....
I respect your opinion but can't agree with you. I've always found BGA to be one of the nicest-looking, well-kept parks in the country. I admit that some areas look a little barren, but that's primarily because of the lack of hills in Florida, not to mention the lack of trees because some areas are supposed to look like an Arabian marketplace and the plains of Africa.
Everest is a good ride, but it doesn't compare to a great little Schwarzakopf, an excellent twin-tracked wood coaster, a nice mouse, an amazing drop coaster and two of the best B&Ms ever built.
I can't imagine a trip to Florida without experiencing something Disney. I disagree with what others mentioned about the Kilamanjaro Safari, I was really disappointed with it but it was probably due to its two hour wait. However, Dinosaur is my favorite ride I've experienced in any Disney park and while Everest doesn't necessarily stand out in the intensity factor, it's out of the park in the unique factor.
I've also heard great things about the shows at Animal Kingdom but I've never expierenced shows at Disney or any park really, but I continue to hear the greatest things about Animal Kingdom's shows to the point that I plan on checking it out when I visit in April.
We can't tell you where to go, but we can tell you what we like about each park. It sounds to me like you aren't much a Disney fan.
I must say I am surprised by CPcyclone's comments. Busch Gardens Africa is one of the largest and most respected zoos in North America. I've always found it to be amazingly clean and spectacularly landscaped. The coasters are so well integrated with the surrounding environment, I can't see how anyone could possibly say they feel as if they are in someone's backyard.
I had a great time at Animal Kingdom but it seemed a little too artificial to me.
*** Edited 3/6/2007 6:54:05 PM UTC by Jeffrey Seifert***
AK does seem a little artificial, but it's artificial in a good way. Like Epcot, it's a watered-down version of reality but it still manages to open peoples' eyes while entertaining in the process. That said, BGA feels a lot more "real". And clean. I've never had an issue with cleanliness at ANY Busch property.
I used to agree, but with Everest, and especially the stellar new Finding Nemo show, AK is a full day park for me.
I'm with you. On our most recent trip we spent 3/4 of a day there on arrival, plus another 1/2 day later. That covered just about everything, but not quite. The new restaurant will make a full day here even more enjoyable. However, I'm still wondering who thought that naming a restaurant "Yak and Yeti" was a good idea...
That said, I might pick BGA. AK is a great park, and might even be our favorite, but unless you're into the shows (and there are two stellar ones here) the park is a bit thin in comparison. On the other hand, if you are into shows, Lion King and especially Nemo are just oustanding. *** Edited 3/7/2007 2:49:08 AM UTC by Brian Noble***
To be quite honest I was disappointed by BGA as well. However I went expecting something similar to BGE and well you just cannot compare the two. The rides are fun, but the overrall experience left something to be desired.
I just went to both parks last week. It was my first trip to Animal Kingdom, but we do BGA every year. I was impressed with Animal Kingdom, but there isn't a huge amount of stuff to do - a few good rides and some nice animal exhibits and shows. I prefer BGA, it is a beautiful and great ride park with some amazing animal exhibits - a lot more to do there than at AK - even without SheiKra. Also BGA has the most incredible wild aquarium I personally have ever seen. Enjoy, either way you'll have a great time.