Busch Gardens Tips for 2024

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Planning to visit Busch Gardens Williamsburg this year? We have had annual passes to Busch Gardens Williamsburg for many years, so we know this theme park really well! Here are all the Busch Gardens tips we know will make your trip great!

Things to do at Busch Gardens

There are lots more things to do at Busch Gardens than just ride the rides! Though, the rides at Busch Gardens are pretty amazing! Busch Gardens Williamsburg is regularly voted the most beautiful theme park in the world — and for good reason. It’s a gorgeous park. Each area is true to its theme, enhanced by gardens.

People posiing in front of the Busch Gardens Most Beautiful Theme Park sign.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg gardening staff do a fantastic job creating the “mood” for each area of the theme park.

Take time to look around!

Italian looking statue in a formal garden at Busch Gardens Williamsburg.
Statue in the “Italy” area of Busch Gardens

Our first of many Busch Gardens Williamsburg tips is take time to look around! There’s so much to see as you run from ride to ride, so enjoy the views!

The gardens provide a good clue as to which part of the park you’re in! They’re a handy navigation tool for first timers. Like, this statue? It’s in Italy. This isn’t likely something you’d associate with Scotland.

And that leads me to our second tip.

Learn the map!

Busch Gardens Williamsburg is laid out loosely in a circle. Each area’s landscaping theme is based on a country. The building facades, the music, the ride names and the gardens (of course) all reflect the feel of the theme country.

Looking at the map as if it’s an old fashioned clock face, the park entrance themed like England is at 5:00.

Red phone booths where kids can get wrist bands for ride heights.

These iconic red phone booths reminiscent of England are just inside the park entrance on the right. Families with smaller kids can get a height check here with wrist band so they don’t need height checks throughout the day.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg

If you go clockwise (toward the left) from there, you’ll pass through these “countries” in this order:

  • Sesame Street Forest of Fun — an area for the smallest Busch Gardens guests!
  • Italy — featuring Apollo’s Chariot, a 170 foot tall coaster that reaches 73 miles per hour and Pantheon, the worlds fastest multi-launch coaster!
  • Germany — featuring Verbolten, a multi-launch roller coaster that has an 80 foot drop, DarKoaster, the only indoor “straddle-coaster,” and Das Festhaus, an indoor dining area that also hosts many shows.
  • New France/France — featuring two coasters: Alpengeist, an inverted coaster with six inversions at the gateway between Germany and New France, AND Griffon, the first floorless dive coaster with a 205 foot drop, in the heart of the France area.
  • Ireland — featuring the award winning Celtic Fyre which performs traditional Irish dance daily throughout the summer in the Abbey Stone Theatre.
  • Scotland — which has the main train station for the park and the famous Highland Stables, home to famous Clydesdales.
Irish dancers of Celtic Fyre at Busch Gardens, with lead dancer in pink and dancers behind in blue

download the app before you go

The Busch Gardens park app is available for both android and Apple devices:

The apps are free and make finding things in the park very easy. The map section lets you search by name of attraction if you know what you’re looking for.

If you don’t know the name, you can search by category: Animals, Shows and Presentations, Rides, Dining, Shops, Restrooms and Guest Services. If a ride, attraction or dining area is closed, it will not show up on the map!

A guide provides descriptions of each attraction, activity and dining option.

When it comes to Busch Gardens tips, getting around the park with the app is a great way to maximize your day!

Have a plan!

One thing we see every time we visit Busch Gardens is people rushing to the train station (Scotland) or the Skyride (toward Italy and Sesame Street Forest). I’m sure they’re thinking they’ll catch a ride to the back of the park to get ahead of all the other people coming in.

It’s a great idea, except everyone else has that idea too! I know, because we tried it once. (haha) Both the train line and the skyride lines are really long early in the day!

Walk to rides and skip the train early in the morning.

We generally choose to start the day in France to ride Griffon or in Germany to ride Verbolten. And then we continue clockwise from there. Skipping past Italy, we tend to get ahead of the long lines.

Train at Busch Gardens Williamsburg.

Later in the day we like to use the train or the Skyride to get from one section of the park to another.

  • The train has stops in Italy, France and Scotland.
  • Skyride connects England, France and Germany.

Using them later in the day, we can reapply sunscreen while giving tired feet a break!

Bring the little ones!

Busch Gardens strives to be a “kidsiderate” park, aimed at entertaining the 9 and under crowd so parents and kids can play together. With more than 40 kid-friendly attractions, kids’ meals and family restrooms throughout the park, they take their mission seriously.

Not only that, Busch Gardens Williamsburg is offering FREE park admission for 3 to 5 year olds for the entire season if you purchase tickets by MAY 5, 2024. This ONLINE ONLY offer must be redeemed by May 5, 2024. Simply register for the FREE preschool pass AND REDEEM it at the park for free admission all season long. Read the ticket requirements to make sure you don’t miss deadlines.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg makes it really easy to know which rides are safe for kids — from the youngest to the “almost big.”

Have your child’s height measured at the Kidsiderate Height Check near the park entrance. Your child will get a wrist band for their height. Signs at rides indicate which color bands can ride.

There are two kid-specific areas in the park. Sesame Street Forest of Fun near Italy has kids’ rides and a splash pad area. They even have covered stroller parking to keep the seats from getting hot in the bright sun!

Entrance to Sesame Street Forest of Fun at Busch Gardens Williamsburg.

Land of the Dragons near Germany has climbing nets, a splash area and more kid-friendly rides.

But kids aren’t relegated to the kids’ areas. Throughout the park, kids will find fun rides to enjoy, like the bumper cars. The train and SkyRide are also great for kids — little and big.

Riding the bumper cars at Busch Gardens.

Enjoy the award winning entertainment!

One of my favorite Busch Gardens tips: Shows offer a great break from the heat, humidity and hectic pace of theme park rides.

Find shows like Celtic Fyre (Ireland), Trainer Talks at Highland Stables (Scotland), and Sunny Day Celebration (Sesame Street Forest) in the Busch Gardens app.

The shows in Das Festhaus and Italy let you eat while enjoying the show!

consider Water Country USA!

Water Country USA is where you’ll find most water rides.

Yellow water slide with four people on a float at Water Country USA.

Though, Busch Gardens does have three water rides: “Le Scoot,” a traditional log flume ride in New France, “Escape from Pompeii” in Italy, and “Roman Rapids,” also in Italy.

Back to Water Country USA…

As Virginia’s largest family water park, Water Country USA has a cool beach vibe, with resort-style amenities and more than 40 water rides and attractions, including Cutback Water Coaster — the only RocketBLAST® coaster on the East Coast. It’s consistently rated one of the top ten water parks in the country.

If you plan to visit the water park and the theme park, then this Busch Gardens tips for you: SAVE with a multiday ticket!

Aquatica Orlando

don’t miss DarKoaster!

The newest attraction at Busch Gardens Williamsburg is DarKoaster, in the Oktoberfest/Germany area.

The story is that King Ludwig’s abandoned fortress resurfaces as strange weather patterns are recorded near cursed castle grounds. Brave riders will mount snowmobiles, the first all-indoor straddle coaster, on an expedition to discover the mysterious phenomenon. Of course, there’s more to it than just a snowstorm!

This is the ONLY ride of its kind in North America! It’s amazing!

get the All-Day Dining Deal

We crunched the numbers and can say, with certainty, that Busch Gardens All Day Dining is worth it for most people!

How does the Busch Gardens All-Day Dining Deal work?

Guests receive a wristband that will lets them to go through a restaurant line once every 90 minutes for the day at Das Festhaus, Marco Polo’s Marketplace, Squire’s Grille, Trappers Smokehouse, Les Frites, German Pretzels and Beer.

  • ADULT plan: (1) entrée, (1) side OR dessert and (1) regular-sized non- alcoholic fountain beverage
  • CHILD plan: (1) Kid’s entree, (1) side OR dessert and (1) Kid’s size drink

That’s a main dish, a side or dessert and a beverage every 90 minutes!

If you just want fries and a soda, skip the main dish. If you just want a sandwich and drink, that’s okay, too!

If you eat three different times — lunch, afternoon snack, and dinner — you’ll save money with the All-Day Dining Plan.

Busch Gardens does not allow you to bring outside food into the park.

Busch Gardens Tips to SAVE!

Busch Gardens Williamsburg has great ticket bundles to help you save! And at Family Travels on a Budget, if we can save a few bucks here and there, we are happy to do so!

Here are some Busch Gardens tips to save on your Williamsburg trip:

  • Get a two-park FUN CARD for unlimited visits the whole season (May-Labor Day) for BOTH Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Water Country USA for only $89.99 through February 25! **This is a limited time offer and the price increases as the season draws closer.!
  • Get a Two-Day Ticket if you want to spend two days in the parks, and save at least $40 over single day tickets! (You know, bundle and save!)
  • For even greater savings, get a Three-Day Ticket for only a few dollars more!
Busch Gardens Williamsburg

FAQs about Busch Gardens Williamsburg

How much is parking at Busch Gardens Williamsburg?

Single-day parking in Busch Gardens Williamsburg starts at $32/day for general parking and goes up to $50 for VIP parking closest to the park entrance. If you buy a season pass, general parking is included, along with many other perks!

What day is Busch Gardens least crowded?

One of our favorite Busch Gardens tips is to visit the parks on Tuesday or Wednesday which are the least crowded days at both Busch Gardens and Water Country, USA.

What day is Busch Gardens most crowded?

Busch Gardens is most crowded on Saturdays and major holidays, especially Memorial Day Weekend, the week of July 4th and Labor Day Weekend. The parks also get crowded in springtime during middle school and high school music festival weekends.

Where can I find Busch Gardens Williamsburg discounts?

The best discounts are offered through Busch Gardens online ticket purchases. Bundle and save with multiday passes or annual passes. For the greatest savings, purchase BEFORE May for the greatest price savings!

How many days should I plan for visiting Busch Gardens Williamsburg?

With careful planning using these Busch Gardens tips, you can see the whole park in one day. If you want a more relaxed visit or want to add Water Country, USA to your trip, plan on at least two days to see everything.