Do you usually take advantage of dining plans when you go to theme parks? This past weekend while at Busch Gardens we decided to see if it was worth the price.
Yes, there is a price associated with the all-day dining deal at Busch Gardens. For adults, the price is $32.99 and for kids (ages 3-9) the price is $16.99. If you are a passholder you can get a discount on the dining deals. That may seem like a lot of money on top of the price of admission and parking, but I’ll explain why it’s a good deal!
What’s included in the all-day dining deal?
Each person in your party who pays for the dining deal will receive a wrist band. With that wrist band you’ll receive 1 entree, 1 side or dessert, and 1 fountain drink, tea or water on each trip through the line. You can essentially eat and drink all day for one low price. You are welcome to go through the line and just order a drink or just order a dessert. You don’t have to get everything each time you go through the line. Most entrees include a side of fries plus you get an extra side dish or dessert. It’s a LOT of food especially when it’s hot outside. I’m not a wasteful person, but we did find ourselves throwing out food because the portion size was rather large.
The heat in Florida is spiking in the mid-90’s and lines are getting longer over the summer. When it’s this hot outside you’re going to want to stay hydrated. You are allowed to bring in bottles of water (no glass or coolers though) but they won’t stay cold for long. With a family of 4, I didn’t want to carry around anything extra besides my small wallet. Drinks start at $2.99 (if my memory serves me right) and can add up quickly. Your kids will be begging you all day for something to drink and with the dining deal you just have to stop in the nearest restaurant for a refill.
Participating restaurants: You can eat and drink at any of the full dining restaurants and buffets. This includes Zagora Cafe, Crown Colony Cafe, Bengal Bistro, Zambia Smokehouse, and the Pantagonia Grill. We also stopped by a few of the snack stands and were able to get drinks there also. You never have to go very far to find food when you’re hungry. While my daughter and I waited for the boys to get done with a ride (she was too small to go on) we relaxed and enjoyed a cookie and lemonade in the nearest restaurant.
Our favorite restaurant has always been the Zambia Smokehouse. You just have to get lunch or dinner there. I recommend the brisket! You can smell the smokehouse if you’re near SheiKra and your mouth will salivate whether you are hungry or not. We saved this one for a late lunch and everyone found something they enjoyed. My husband really enjoyed the Garden Gate Pizza & Pasta Buffet. Most kids meals were around $5.99+ and adults ranged from $10.99+.
If you plan on staying at the park for most of the day it’s likely that you’ll want to eat at least 1-2 meals and 1-2 snacks while you’re there. It only takes 2 trips through any of the restaurants to actually make the all-day dining passes pay off for you. If you add drinks and desserts then you’ve already make the passes work to your benefit. Plus, if you have an all-day dining pass you also get Buy One, Get One FREE beers and snacks from snack carts. This worked out great when one kid begged for some cotton candy before going to see Madagascar Live! We spent $105 (after taxes) for 2 adults and 2 kids for the dining passes. Between my husband and I alone; we would have spent that much on food and drinks. The great thing about getting the dining pass for kids, if they don’t finish their meals you’re not going to feel bad about stopping in 20 minutes when they complain, “I’m hungry mommy!!”
Rules: Sorry, there is no sharing! Every member of your family will need to get their own dining pass. If you’re caught sharing, they can revoke your dining privileges for the day. It’s really not worth it to take the risk. No refunds either so make sure you’re planning on staying for the day and remember that they can’t control the weather. It does rain most afternoons in Florida and they do close down some rides due to inclement weather.
For our family, the Busch Gardens All-Day Dining Deal was well worth the money we spent. If you can save up a few extra dollars I would highly recommend it for the entire family. Whatever you decide - stop by Zambia Smokehouse and try the brisket!! You can thank me later.
Disclosure: I am a Busch Gardens ambassador and received our admission tickets complimentary in exchange for a blog post and social media shares. My opinions are my own and we did in fact pay for our dining passes.
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