Family booted from Busch Gardens Tampa for costumed kid

Posted | Contributed by Jeff

A woman says her family was kicked out of Busch Gardens Tampa because her 6-year-old was wearing a costume, and they have a policy against it.

Read more from WESH/Orlando.

See also: video from WFTV/Orlando.

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Well, the story is short on details but it does beg the question: why was the family let in to begin with? Why not just turn them away at the ticket booth?

Jeff's avatar

One also wonders if a six-year-old would be confused for an employee.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

I agree with both of your points. I also wonder if the no costume policy was clearly posted and/or made readily available in any way. If it was the family should have known better.

Last edited by SFMMAddict,

My mother (1946-2009) once asked me why I go to Magic Mountain so much. I said I feel the most alive when I'm on a roller coaster.
2010 total visits: SFMM-9, KBF-2
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RPM's avatar

You also got to wonder why the park just didn't give the kid a cheap Busch Gardens tee-shirt to change into.

Am I the only one wondering how bad this writer is at research when it says "Holo-Scream event"?

I suspect one parent bought the ticket and they went through the gates and were challenged after they had already gotten in. At the very least, it had to be after the tickets were bought already.

Little girls dressed up in princess costumes over at the Magic Kingdom aren't thrown on a float by accident when it is time for the 3:00 parade. If Disney can make it work....

On a side note, the Princess Boutique (inside World Disney at Downtown Disney) pulls in about $1 million per year. Yes, you read that correctly.

It was the whole family dressed up. You can see more infor HERE! There is even a picture of the clan there as well. Plus there was only 3 hours left of the operating day? I think this family probably exchanged some "nice" words with the security officier after being confronted, which probably escalated the issue.


Fun's avatar

Having the whole family in costume certainly changes the dynamic of this story. It pisses me off that they are refusing a refund, as if they are entitled to something else. Get real!

Carrie M.'s avatar

They were told about it minutes after entering the park, but the woman makes a point to say there were only 3 hours left in the day as if to lead you to believe she had been there all day like that.

I don't really have any sympathy for this situation. It doesn't sound like the park was being unreasonable or that the family was treated badly.

"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

Almost all parks have a rule of no adults in costume. Even at Disney you aren't allowed to wear a costume if you aren't a kid (except at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party).

I understand why the park would think it would be a problem especially if there is some kind of prison attraction where people think they are workers.

I know at SFNE there is a guy that comes to the park dressed like superman and they never kick him out.

You know, I get the whole 'No costumes so guests don't get mistaken for employees' thing, that's all very well and good, but what the hell happened to common sense? A family all dressed in the same thing aren't going to be mistaken for staff, so that's clearly not relevant here. If a staff member really did say it was because the costumes are a distraction that person is clearly the sort of person who should never work in a theme park. There's a time and place for rules and polices, and this isn't one. Remember, these aren't people who jumped a fence, queue jumped or smoked in line. This was a family who paid money (and not a small amount of money at that) to have a good time at a theme park. Their offence? They had stripy shirts on. For god's sake, let them stay, who the hell cares if the look like jailbirds.

The women involved rejected a refund saying "That doesn’t take away the embarrassment, it doesn’t take away the birthday missed,” and I agree with her. Had I driven in the car with excited kids to a theme park for an hour, I would be mega pissed to be kicked out within a minute of walking in the the park, particularly since I would have done my homework and checked the website's attire section, which states (in full):

Busch Gardens is a family destination, and requires that guests wear appropriate clothing while in the park. Shirts, skirts or pants (including jeans or shorts), and shoes must be worn at all times.

Given what they were put through they should get a refund and a season pass.

IMHO there should not be this grey area here, if the park were happy to take the families money, then they are entitled to be in the park. It's really simple to me, the only person who should be enforcing the no costumes policy is the person selling tickets and controlling admittance. Everyone else should just stick to making sure guests are safe and are having a good time.

Last edited by joz,
Joz - Power, in tune with nature!
Fun's avatar
"No guests in costumes admitted."

They didn't do their homework, and neither did you. They are only entitled to a refund for services not rendered.

This story reminds me alot of the quadriplegic man who was denied free entry into Michigan's Adventure. A simple phone call ahead of time could have saved everyone alot of trouble.

Last edited by Fun,

You forgot to mention that the Michigan's Adventure guy served in the military.

Mom or whomever planned the trip screwed up with some bizarre sense of entitlement feels someone else should pay for her mistakes.

I was working in a sales offiice for a waterpark during the early shoulder season when park was only open weekends. I took a general phone call from the main line and it was this a woman screaming that she drove 2 hours to the park with her children and it was not open. After explaining that the park is only open weekends until June. "But I drove 2 hours with young children!" She was totally irrational, it was apparently our fault she didn't check the schedule that was the same old one for the last 10 years. This was then followed by "I want your last name and the direct number of the corporate office!"

The Tampa situation is more of a grey area but I don't get the sense of entitlement because of a personal screw up. If she was nice about it and had called to ask the operating hours explaining the mishap I would have gladly sent her some passes as a good faith gesture to use on a scheduled operating day.

Carrie M.'s avatar

joz said:
There's a time and place for rules and polices, and this isn't one.

Too bad you don't get a vote. The park gets to decide what their rules are and once they do, they have every right to enforce them.

For god's sake, let them stay, who the hell cares if the look like jailbirds.

How do you decide who should get an exception and who shouldn't? These costumes didn't seem so bad to you, but what happens when the next person walks in a costume that you don't believe is harmless? You can't pick and choose who you enforce rules for and who you don't.

"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

ApolloAndy's avatar

You can if you really enjoy spending time in a courtroom.

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

the minute one person is allowed in costume then everyone will think they will be entitled. This can be a huge safety issue when it comes to rides, etc. "But *THEY* we allowed!"

"No guests in costumes admitted."

They didn't do their homework, and neither did you. They are only entitled to a refund for services not rendered.



That is what appears on the 'Howl - O - Scream website. Given the event doesn't start until 7.30 and tickets shown on the news website have 2pm clearly printed on them, I'd say whatever the heck it says on the Howl - O - Scream site is irrelevant. Also don't forget that again, according to the news source, the park said they don't have any signs advertising that no costumes were allowed.

To me, the feeling of entitlement comes from the fact that the family parted with a decent amount of money, and had nothing to indicate they'd done anything wrong until being kicked out of the park. That's bad customer service, no getting around it, and that's where the entitlement thing comes from. 's story is different, the park never took the women's money, and never implied that the park would be open, there is nothing to imply entitlement.

Too bad you don't get a vote.

As Bill Bryson said, ' often happens in an imperfect world, no one thought to ask me about this first'. :)

Joz - Power, in tune with nature!

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