August 18




Busch Gardens here we come!


The day started with packing the rest of our things. Then we decided to pay the Island Dining Room another visit for breakfast. This time Tom decided on the sweet breakfast and had the Hawaiian Pancakes - With Toasted Coconut, Golden Pineapple and roasted Macadamia Nuts and 

I tried the Classic Eggs Benedict - With Prosciutto on Brioche and hollandaise.

We then started taking our luggage to the car, went back to the front desk and joined the LONG line at check out. After check out we quickly took a few more pix of the Royal Pacific Hotel's courtyard and their orchids.

When we started our journey towards Tampa it was nearly 11am. The trip to Tampa went smoothly and we arrived at the hotel shortly after 12pm.

Big surprise, since the room at the Embassy Suites was already ready and we were able to store all our things in the room. Very nice room with a small dining/sitting area and a bedroom. 

We had a quick soda and went out to conquer Busch Gardens. With the help of our navigating device it was a piece of cake. Entered the parking lot, got on the tram, were driven to the front entrance and started our adventure. It was VERY hot in Tampa, much hotter than I had felt in Orlando before.

First we went towards the Gwazi Rollercoaster – a wooden coaster, actually two who race against each other. We got in line for the Lion coaster, the wait was not too long, about 15 minutes, the seats are tight and HARD!!! The ride was very bumpy and fast – yes, fun, but we had to take a break before trying the second ride, which we never came around to. We then walked through the grounds, passed the Hospitality House and went towards Sheikra. The line was VERY long, so we rather decided to have a quick lunch at the Smoke House.I have never seen anything like it! There was actually a LONG line with ropes going back and forth to order your food. We got in line and stayed there for about ½ an hour until it was our turn to order.

Tom tried a beer, which he really liked and we had a Turkey Breast Sandwich in a homemade roll (rather dry) and a Chicken Wrap. 

Feeling like we were able to tackle Sheikra, a coaster that drops you from a height of  200 feet at a 90 degree angle after “hanging you over the edge” for a few seconds. Guess what – it was broken down. So we rather opted for the Train Ride around the park, which was nice and relaxing.

When we returned to the station Sheikra was up and running again, so we got in line. It was a long line, but it moved quite nicely, so we stayed. Once we had reached the last turnstile some rainclouds had come into the 5 mile zone of Busch Gardens and they stopped the ride. Well, so close to the “finish-line” we didn’t want to give up and stayed to wait the rain out.

It did not rain much and within 45 minutes they started test-runs of the Sheikra again. Second empty car goes up and is STUCK. We waited for quite some more time and finally there was a repair car going up. The guy got our and walked around the tracks 200 feet up in the air. 

We watched for some time and when they started passing out “return tickets” to the people at the front of the line we picked one of those up as well and left.

By then it was past 7pm and we decided to call it a day and drive back to the hotel. We stopped at a nearby grocery store and stacked up on snack items and drinks, went back to the hotel, had a nice snack dinner and watched some more TV.