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Busch Gardens Tampa – Timbuktu:
Pirates 4-D and Sesame Street 4-D (Timbuktu Theater)


Rating: * * *
Type: 3-D Film
Time: About 25 minutes each
Short Take: 3-D shows that makes a splash

With this pair of shows, which rotate performances within the park's "4-D" theater during the day, Busch Gardens takes on Disney and Universal in the 3-D movie sweepstakes and comes in a solid third.

First up is Sesame Street Presents: Lights, Camera, Imagination!, a lighthearted diversion aimed at the same preschool set entertained by the Safari of Fun. Big Bird, Grover, Oscar the Grouch, and their fellow furry friends join together for the first "Sesame Street Film Festival," featuring gentle spoofs of classic flicks like Superman and King Kong. The humor is warm and charming, though not nearly as laugh-out-loud funny for adults as the similar MuppetVision 4-D attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Be warned: this show employs some of the most ubiquitous and uncomfortably soaking water effects of any 3-D film I've experienced.

In the afternoons, the Sesame Street gang steps aside to make room for pirates. Starring the late Leslie Nielsen as Captain Lucky and Eric Idle as his sidekick Pierre, Pirates 4-D tells the tale of an evil pirate—that would be Captain Lucky—who returns to Dead Man's Cave to reclaim his buried treasure. What the crew doesn't know is that Captain Lucky buried his former crew along with the treasure and plans to do likewise with his current collection of scalawags.

What Captain Lucky doesn't know is that one member of his old crew—the cabin boy—survived and has rigged the entire island with devilishly clever booby traps. Much of the fun of the film comes from setting off those traps, which involve crabs and spiders and bats and bees, along with an array of seat-side special effects that place the creepy crawlies in our midst. It's all great fun and not really very scary, although very young tots don't seem to know that.

An additional attraction is the air-conditioned Timbuktu Theater, making this a great show to catch during the hottest part of the afternoon.

Best seats in the house. The seats in the front half of the house get the best of the water effects.

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