Here are some general notes that apply to all of the parks covered in this book. Notes that are specific to individual parks are included in appropriate chapter.
All Day Dining Deal
In the summer of 2008, SeaWorld, Aquatica, and Busch Gardens Africa tested a dining program that lets you eat as often as you want at a selection of park restaurants for a single price ($26 for adults, $12 for kids). Participants are fitted with an identifying bracelet that entitles them to one entree, one side dish, and on soft drink each time through the line. The restaurants included in the deal are all cafeteria-style eateries that don’t open until 10:00 a.m. or 11:00 a.m. (so that early breakfast is out). Still, the selection of restaurants is generous (all the eateries at Aquatica are included, for example) and only a few food items like baby back ribs are excluded. If you eat two meals, the program should pay for itself. And as I read the rules, you can go back for seconds (and thirds) on dessert. Eat your heart out, Jenny Craig!
The legal drinking age in Florida is 21 and is strictly enforced. If you are asked to present ID, try to feel flattered rather than annoyed.
Leaving the Parks
All the parks allow you to leave and return on the same day. Unless you have a Passport (an annual pass), you will need to get your hand stamped to facilitate your reentry. At Discovery Cove, the laminated ID tag you are issued will identify you for readmission.
Major credit cards are accepted at all parks, everywhere but at the smallest outdoor snack stands. Likewise, all parks thoughtfully provide ATMs (with hefty fees) just in case you run out of cash.
Both SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Africa provide a Pet Care Center located near the main entrance. These simple facilities charges $6 per pet ($5 for Passport holders). They provide water; you provide food. If your pet needs walking during the day, that is your responsibility. In Orlando, visitors to Discovery Cove and Aquatica can leave their pets at SeaWorld; in Tampa, visitors to Adventure Island can use the Busch Gardens Africa facility.
Florida state law prohibits smoking in all restaurants. Smoking is also not permitted in attraction lines or within the attractions themselves. Moreover, the parks restrict smoking even outdoors, providing designated areas in which smokers are permitted to light up.
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