To keep the turnstiles clicking through the economic doldrums this summer, Busch Gardens Africa has thrown unlimited trips to food and drink concessions into its full-price daily admission.
"We recognize things are tight for families," Busch spokeswoman Jill Revelle said. "With many people opting for 'staycations' this summer to save money, we want to help make it happen."
The offer — which until now had been separately priced at $15 a day for kids or $30 for adults — includes unlimited trips to most park restaurants for an entree, side dish and nonalcoholic drink. The only exceptions to the new full-day meal ticket are the park's signature baby back rib dinners and sit-down meals upstairs at the Crown Colony Restaurant.
Otherwise ticket-holders can get everything from pizza and sandwiches to bottled water throughout their day in the park.
Except for a limited-term promotion more than a decade ago, it's the first time Busch Gardens has packaged free food all day into regular admission, now $74.99 for adults, $64.95 for children, plus tax.
Busch's discount strategy has echoes among Central Florida's forest of theme parks. Except for Universal Orlando, where people are still lining up just to get access to the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter, parks, attractions and hotels are stepping up discounting to keep traffic flowing. Walt Disney World, which has more than 22,000 hotel rooms on property to fill and reported flat park attendance, last month started marketing its summer meal packages earlier than usual.
Busch's food offer does not apply to passes such as the Florida Fun Card, which provides admission for the rest of this year to Florida and Georgia residents for a bit less than the cost of a full-day ticket.
Busch is distributing tickets good for its "All Day Dining Deal" only online through buschgardenstampabay.com, the park website. The offer will be sold until Labor Day and honored through September.
Mark Albright can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8252.