Living and working near the parks in Central Florida affords those of us locals an opportunity to experience the theme parks in a little bit different way than those of you who come here for vacation. We have the luxury and privilege, if you will, to visit the parks for just a few hours at a time since we have access within about 15 minutes from either work or home. Last night was one such evening for me. I work just a short distance from Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and was able to make a quick jaunt over to the park from 7pm until park closing at 9. So how do you spend just a couple hours? What do you do, what do you do?
A practically perfect evening for me consists of a nice balance of seeing some of my favorite animals, riding at least one or two rides, grabbing a bite to eat or drink, and seeing what the special events are that the park has to offer. Right now there is an event running until August 12th called Summer Nights. This was my first time seeing this nighttime spectacular that features a special concert/show called Kinetix. After the show, guests are treated to an awesome fireworks show.
So, this evening started off by making a bee line for my favorite ride, Cheetah Hunt. If you have not yet experienced this roller coaster, what are you waiting for?!?!?!? It is amazing!!! You have three super fast launches at close to 60mph. I love this ride, especially in the evening and it is one of the longer coasters around at almost a mile long lasting about four minutes. This typically has a 45 minute to an hour long wait, so coming in at 7pm, I knew I had to head here first.
After Cheetah Hunt I decided to catch a show. The one I wanted to see I guess is out of rotation for the summer, so I opted to go see Pirates 4D for the first time. On the way there I was able to snap a few pics of some animals including a pretty cool one of the lion up pretty close. The movie was cute, definitely geared toward a younger audience and I guess I chose my seat poorly because the last row I was in didn’t have any of the 4D effects.
About this time I was starting to get hungry and thought it might be a good idea to get a spot for Kinetix in Gwazi Park, which is situated behind Gwazi, the wooden rollercoaster. I wasn’t starving so I opted just for a churro and a frozen coke for dinner. I know this wasn’t the best meal, but it hit the spot and was only about $5 with my passholder discount. Arriving around 8:30, I was able to find a seat on the end of one of the rows of metal benches with backs that are setup in the park. If you are coming with more than one person, I would definitely recommend getting there closer to 8pm if you all want to sit together. Keep in mind I was there on a Monday night and I’m sure it is even more popular on the weekends.
Kinetix is an incredible show featuring current pop music (LMFAO, Pitbull, Nicki Minaj, Adele, Maroon 5, etc.) performed live on stage by singers, a band, dancers, acrobats and includes some crazy stunts from balancing to aerials to trick bikes. I love the energy that this show brings from all of the performers, and it is very appropriately named with all the kinetic energy you feel from the stage. I am going to include videos below since I don’t think pictures will begin to do it justice. Please go see this and the Summer Nights fireworks show that follows. I think this is probably the closest I’ve ever been to fireworks of this magnitude.
All in all it was a great way to spend a few hours in the park. I got my thrills on Cheetah Hunt. I was able to sit and relax in air conditioned comfort, a huge plus in July in Florida, at the Pirate 4D film and was entertained. Dinner could have been much more substantial, but I really wasn’t hungry for more than the churro and frozen coke, which I got to enjoy while seated on a bench with a nice breeze while listening to pop music before the Kinetix show. That was another thing I noticed that I think is new for the summer, or maybe just in the evening, but from the time I arrived at 7pm until I left a little before 10pm the music being played throughout the park was mostly familiar pop music. I thought this really added to the fun summer vibe I felt from the Summer Nights celebration.
How do you like to spend a quick few hours at Busch Gardens? Have you been to Summer Nights? What was your favorite part?
Check out our YouTube page here to see other great videos from around Central Florida parks and activities.
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