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Busch Gardens Tampa Bay - What's New, Events, Refurbishments & Closures September 2023

Updated: Oct 2, 2023

Check out all the latest news from Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, including special events, ride closures and more.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay - What's New, Events, Refurbishments & Closures

Welcome to another month of special events, closures and refurbishments at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.

We know it can be difficult to keep up to date with what's happening at the theme parks, and that's why we produce this monthly update, so you can enjoy all that's new and happening, together with helping you avoid any disappointment when you arrive at the parks and your favorite ride is closed for refurbishment!

September is the start of spooky season at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, and with daytime fun for the kids, and nighttime scares for the night kids, you just gotta visit Busch Gardens this month.

Read on for all the details.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay - What's New, Events, Refurbishments & Closures

Busch Gardens Is Now Cashless

From Thursday August 31, the park became officially cashless. Only card and mobile payment will be accepted throughout the parks, including parking toll booths, ticket windows, restaurants, and retail locations.

The parks will only accept American Express, Discover, Mastercard, and Visa credit cards and most debit cards, plus Apple Pay and Google Pay.

For anyone who only has cash, there will be Cash-to-Card kiosks set up throughout the park at no extra charge.

The Cash-to-Card kiosks will convert cash to a Visa prepaid debit card at no charge. You will not be asked to enter personal information. Up to $500 can be loaded onto one Visa prepaid debit card at a time, with no minimum amount required.

Cards are not reloadable, but additional cash can be loaded onto a new card free of charge.

Still have money on your card when you leave the park? Visa prepaid debit cards can be used anywhere Visa is accepted.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay - What's New, Events, Refurbishments & Closures

Weather-or-Not Assurance

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay have introducing "Weather-or-Not" Assurance, a new policy inviting guests to return another day free of charge if extreme weather ruins their day, covering a wider range of weather conditions, and the most generous in the theme park industry.

This expanded offering is designed to give consumers peace of mind when planning their visits. If extreme weather impacts their experience in the park or impacts their flight plans for an upcoming visit, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay invites them back within 12 months – and at no charge.

The Weather-or-Not Assurance program solidifies and guarantees the value of guests' SeaWorld experience. This applies year-round, covering weather events for every season such as rain, lightning, extreme heat, wind, snow, hail and more.

The Weather-or-Not Assurance program applies when rides are closed for 60 minutes or more due to weather. Additionally, if inclement weather causes early closure or negatively impacts the park's operating hours, guests are eligible for a return visit at no additional cost.

Guests must be present in the park on the day of their ticket or fill out an online form with their original order number to be eligible for a return visit at no charge. Tickets must be used within 12 months of the issuance of their originally planned ticket.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay - What's New, Events, Refurbishments & Closures

Howl-O-Scream At Busch Gardens Tampa

Select Nights, September 8 - October 31, 2023

Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream returns to Tampa Bay in full force, taking over the entire park with haunted houses, scare zones, sinister shows and more.

Unspeakable horror lives in every dark corner, bringing fear to another level on select nights from September 8 to October 31.

This years Howl-O-Scream features five haunted houses and six scare zones, with a concoction of new haunted houses and scare zones as well as returning fan favorites.

New house this year is D.H. Baggum’s Circus of Fear, together with a re-imagined The Forgotten: Uprising, and favourites including Stranglewood Estate, Witch of the Woods and The Residence: Home for the Holidays.

There is two new scare zones this year, Sin City Zombies and Big Ed’s Demolition Derby, plus returning favourites include The Junkyard, Beyond the Veil, and Ravens Mill.

Howl-O-Scream will also feature live entertainment, including a new show called Rock the Grave, plus Cirque X-Scream, and performances from The Rolling Bones at Dragon Fire Grill.

This year will include a new Scare-E-Oke Karaoke Experience, while Coke Canopy will be home to a dance and cocktail experience, The Raveyard.

 Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Howl-O-Scream

Haunted Houses

Dark minds have been brewing new ways to terrify those brave enough to enter our sinister haunted houses with new unsuspecting scares.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay unveils first new house for 2023 Howl-O-Scream

NEW! D.H. Baggum's Circus of Fear

Come one, come all, to the most terrifying show you’ve ever seen! D.H. Baggum brings you all his monstrosities that are sure to make your spine tingle and your blood run cold!

As unsuspecting patrons walked the midway, D.H. would capture them and take them backstage to carry out his evil plan. as you wander the midway, watch out for D.H. and his crew. don’t get distracted by the magic— you might just be the next FREAK to take the stage!

Are you brave enough to be amongst the first to experience the circus of fear?

Stranglewood Estate

Ms. Stranglewood is back for more haunts and has something sinister waiting behind every corner. Once a lively home filled with laughter and lavish parties is now filled with darkness and the spirit of evil. Welcome back to the Stranglewood Estate.

The Residence: Home For The Holidays

The Residence: Home For The Holidays, is making a haunting return— but things are definitely not as merry as they may seem.

The Residence: Home For The Holidays is a fan favorite house at Howl-O-Sceam, where merriment turns murderous at a suburban family home, and this year Christmas arrives earlier than ever at The Residence, with all-new horrors eager to be unwrapped, but will you survive this silent night.

Witch of the Woods

The Witch is back, and just as wicked as ever. Curiosity has brought many travelers into this dark forest, but only bone-chilling stories and dying screams make their way out. With each step deeper into the woods, the prospect of survival quickly fades as demonic disciples hunt wandering intruders through their abandoned village.

The Forgotten: Uprising

A year has passed, and lately more and more people have been going missing. The great battle has begun, and the only way to survive is to be brave, fearless, and survive the Night.

Scare Zones & Unpredictable Hordes

The scares are everywhere as new terrors lurk in every corner of the park. Experience screams & frights at any moment as you make your way through several scare zones. Plus, with roaming hordes, horror awaits at every twist and turn.

Busch Gardens Tampa unveils Zombie Entertainer Scare Zone for 2023 Howl-O-Scream - Sin City Zombies

NEW! Sin City Zombies

On the outskirts of the Vegas strip lies a small town that is home to some of the best entertainers to ever live, and is overrun by zombies who run rampant. Try your luck and hope your number wins because this is one town you don’t want to lose in.

NEW! Big Ed's Demolition Derby

Step into the twisted and adrenaline-fueled world of Big Ed's Demolition Derby. He has pulled together some of the roughest, toughest, and meanest baddies from all over Howl-O-Scream and brought them here to compete— but there’s always room for some surprise guests. Step up and see how long you can survive and navigate this automotive nightmare.

Raven's Mill

Within the walls of the corn field lies a horrific nightmare you cannot awaken. The scarecrows of Raven's Mill are ready for you...

Beyond the Veil

The dark fairies and orcs are dying for you to experience the depths of their magically sinister forest. Think you have what it takes to go beyond the veil?

The Junkyard

You’ll find more than spare parts as you rummage through this surly scrap site. Will you make it out in one piece or be devoured by the haunted rubble?

The Shortcut

Sinister Shows

Prepare to be bewitched, thrilled, and thoroughly entertained as the all-new stage show, Rock The Grave unleashes an unforgettable night of electrifying live music, dance, and special effects that will stir your soul and add a rockin’ good time to your Howl-O-Scream experience. Plus, enjoy returning favorites that are back and better than ever.

ALL-NEW Rock The Grave

Explosive, high-energy live stage show that merges the worlds of alternative and classic rock and pop hits into an unforgettable experience.


Electrifying & mesmerizing stunt show that will leave you on the edge of your seat.

Pulse-Pounding Attractions

With exhilarating coasters and thrilling attractions, guests can take on their favorite rides in the dark in between the frights and scares of Howl-O-Scream.

Bring your fears to new heights on Iron Gwazi & SheiKra, then let the adrenaline rush as you launch into the shadows of Cheetah Hunt & Tigris.

Grab your tickets now, before it's too late!!

Howl-O-Scream is intended for a mature audience. This event contains intense adult content such as violence, gore, and blood. Oh yes it does...

Busch Gardens’ Spooktacular
Select Days, September 9 to October 31, 2023

At Busch Gardens’ Spooktacular, from September 9 to October 31, guests will step into a whimsical world full of enchantment with Kandy, a witch-in-training!

Every Saturday and Sunday, plus Monday Oct. 30 & Tuesday Oct. 31, this event takes place during regular park hours, and is included with park entry. Busch Gardens’ Spooktacular will be casting magical spells, from 12 – 4 pm at the Festival Walkway.

A costume parade, story time and trick or treating are some of the activities guests will find in this immersive Halloween experience.

Event Activities

Kandy’s World

Join Kandy as she shares her journey into becoming a real witch. Hear first-hand about the stories of this witch-in-training including how much she loves candy and even how she accidentally turned her friends into frogs.


The Busch Gardens Spooktacular is the place to be for trick or treating. All guests who purchase a reusable bag from the park will be part of the super sweet fun.

Spooktacular Costume Parade

A colorful parade of costumes will bring the Spooktacular Costume Parade to life. On this one-of-a-kind catwalk, every kid gets their time to shine! Children 13 and younger are welcome to dress up in costumes.


Situated next to Kandy’s picture-perfect pumpkin patch, guests will be immersed in the popular story “Room on the Broom,” where everybody has a place and everyone belongs.

Not a want, but a need, these Loungefly bags are the perfect accessory for a night at Howl-O-Scream!

This year at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay you can now get your hands on a brand new collection of Loungefly bags that are the perfect accessory for a night at Howl-O-Scream, the after hours Halloween event that takes place at both parks.

Get yours at select stores around the park starting today, and show up to Howl-O-Scream in scary good style!

Not a want, but a need, these Loungefly bags are the perfect accessory for a night at Howl-O-Scream!

Adventure Island Water Park

With temperatures cooling down, September is the perfect time to cool off in Busch Gardens Tampa Bay's awesome water park Adventure Island!

Adventure Island Water Park

All-New Interactive Splash and Play Zone

Shaka-Laka Shores, located in the heart of Adventure Island, features 25 play elements and a central kid-friendly play structure bound to entertain and engage even the youngest of guests. The newest addition also includes a variety of interactive aquatic components, all within a zero-depth area - ideal for smaller kids - as well as additional shaded sections.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay announced that the much loved Sky Ride IS returning to the park

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay have announced in August that the long-time closed Sky Rides coming back.

The Sky Ride which is one of the park's oldest attractions, dating back to 1974, has been closed since 2000, when the park closed due to the Cvid-19 pandemic.

With the ride closed for such a long period of time, many believed that the ride would never re-open, tbut it is, only problem is we still don't know when!

Ride & Attraction Schedule Updates

Temporarily Closed for Refurbishment

Serengeti Flyer at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Serengeti Flyer

Don't miss Serengeti Flyer this July! Earlier this year Busch Gardens Tampa introduced a swinging new attraction for 2023, Serengeti Flyer which is the world’s tallest and fastest ride of its kind, a screamin’ swing.

With each swing, riders soar higher and higher above Busch Gardens Tampa Bay’s expansive 65-acre Serengeti Plain while experiencing multiple negative-G moments before plunging back toward the Earth.

Serengeti Flyer features twin dueling arms that soar progressively higher reaching speeds of 68 mph and a maximum height of 135 feet at the ride’s peak.

Plus, now you can choose your Serengeti Flyer adventure? That's right, customize your ride-time to be milder or wilder! From park-open until 1 pm, go "mild" and see the breathtaking views of the Serengeti Plain WITHOUT the full height or speed of the ride, OR, go "wild" from 1.15 pm - Park Close while experiencing the max height and speed that Serengeti Flyer has to offer!

Check often here at Gotta Go Orlando as we keep you informed throughout the day, every day.

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