2019 Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream Survival Guide (Plus Tips)

13 Tips for Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream Survival 

Are you ready to be paralyzed with terror? Do you have what it takes to venture out to Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream?

If so, you are in for more than ghostly encounters. I’ve gathered the best tips to help you survive Howl-O-Scream , based on my most memorable past experiences.

 

Zombies on Coasters… Gone Wrong | Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. PLEASE READ MY DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO. 

What to Know Before You Go

Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream Dates

The 2019 Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream dates are select dates from September 20th to November 2nd. 

Howl-O-Scream Houses

The number of houses haven’t been released for 2019, but 2018 had 6 houses, 5 scarezones, and the Fiends stage show.

How to Navigate to Busch Gardens

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is about 70 miles from the Walt Disney World Resort (an hour and 25 minute drive). There is a Busch Gardens shuttle service that offers round-trip transportation to the park.

The round-trip fare is free with park ticket purchase and departs Orlando daily with a maximum of three stops to Busch Gardens.

Reservations are highly recommended and can be reserved by calling 1-800-221-1339 or visit Mears Destination Services online.

How to Get to Busch Gardens Tampa from Disney World

  • Travel WEST on I-4 to I-75 (About 58 Miles)
  • Merge onto I-75 NORTH via EXIT 9 toward Ocala (stay on I-75 for about 3.74 miles)
  • Take EXIT 265 toward Temple Terrace (this exit is also the exit for the University of South Florida)
  • You will merge onto E Fowler Ave/FL-582 W via EXIT 265 and stay on here for about 4.65 miles
  • Turn left onto N McKinley Dr/County Hwy-585A (stay on here for about 1 mile)
  • Make a U-turn onto N McKinley Dr/County Hwy-585A
  • Arrive and park at Busch Gardens

Busch Gardens Tampa Address

The address for Busch Gardens is 10165 N McKinley Drive Tampa, FL 33612.

Busch Gardens Tampa Hours

Busch Gardens usually opens at 10:00 a.m. and closes at 6:00 p.m.; however, during the peak summer days the park may be open until midnight.

Remember when planning your trip, always check the park’s website or mobile app for the current hours and wait times.

What should I pack for Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream?

  • Comfy Shoes
  • Small Bag
  • Breathable Clothing
  • Sun Protection
  • Small Umbrella
  • Water
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Phone
  • Park Ticket

You can get the full Theme Park packing checklist here!

Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream Tampa Bay. Zombie clown ready to prance on you.
Howl-O-Scream Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

How to Survive Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay!

1 – Start Early

I cannot express this enough. Unless you’re getting the Front Line Fear Pass, I would suggest you get to Busch Gardens at least 45-minutes before the start of the event.

If you’re lucky enough, you may be able to get into the park early and knock out two to three houses within the first hour.

2 – Solo trip vs. Group trip

Going to Howl-O-Scream solo is terrifying, but quite an adventure in its own right. However, going as a group is sooo much fun and increases the excitement of the night!

3 – Should You Bring Your Kid to Howl-O-Scream???

Howl-O-Scream Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. Zombie clown carrying a brain.
Howl-O-Scream Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

According to Busch Gardens, Howl-O-Scream contains intense adult content such as violence, gore and blood and is not intended for children.

So, basically leave the kiddos at home.

4 – Know What to Wear to Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream

I recommend choosing comfort over style, but I understand if you’d rather be quite stylish.

I’m trying to get better at combining the two.

My top recommendation is to wear comfortable sneakers for all of the standing, walking, and running you will be doing….

…. trust me, you will thank me later.


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5 – Have a Game Plan and Itinerary for Howl-O-Scream

View this post on Instagram

you, us, a night full of terrifying screams… match made in hell.

A post shared by Howl-O-Scream Tampa (@howloscream) on

Get a park map and route your path around Busch Gardens in advance. Ride the permanent attractions on another visit or wait until after you have finished all of the haunted mazes.

Busch Gardens Map

Busch Gardens Tampa Map
Busch Gardens Tampa Map

6 – Attend Howl-O-Scream on Off Peak Nights

Visit Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream on Sundays or Thursdays to take advantage of the smaller crowd. Avoid Saturdays and holidays.

These are the worst days to go because you will not be able to enjoy all the houses. You will also have to fight through an extremely crowded night.

When is the best time to visit Howl-O-Scream?

The best time to attend Howl-O-Scream is during the first few opening weeks of the event.

 

7 – Purchase Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream Tickets in Advance

Howl-O-Scream Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. Zombie cheerleaders.
Howl-O-Scream Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

It’s best to buy your tickets ahead of time. This prevents waiting in a line once you arrive at Howl-O-Scream. The line to buy tickets can exceed the usual queue that’s operational during regular theme park hours.

Learn more about getting discounted ticket for Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream here!

The Unlimited Scream Ticket is a way for you to visit all 19 nights of Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay for only $99.99 (price subject to change).

I recommend buying your ticket from a trustworthy website such as Undercover Tourist or directly from Busch Gardens’ website.

There’s a rumor that the 2019 Howl-O-Scream event may be included with your theme park admission ticket. I will keep you updated on any changes.

8 – Buy Front Line Fear Pass

Howl-O-Scream is an extremely popular Halloween event in Florida. In order for you to enjoy your evening, you may want to splurge on a on a Front Line Fear Pass.

This special add-on gives you front-of-the-line access to 6 haunted houses of your choice and special discounts at gift shops throughout the night. This will help you conquer each haunted house at Howl-O-Scream.

If you want to avoid spending extra money on the Front Line Fear Pass, then it’s best to get to Howl-O-Scream early. The wait times are shorter at the beginning of the event and also towards the end of the event.

 

9 – Buy a Unique Experience

Howl-O-Scream Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. Zombie clowns taking away Busch Gardens worker.
Howl-O-Scream Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

If being in a larger group with V.I.P perks appeals to you, then I recommend getting the Ultimate V.I.P. Tour.

You’ll get a guided tour through Howl-O-Scream. Each tour includes:

  • Admission to Howl-O-Scream & 3-hour exclusive group tour
  • Front-of-the line access to most haunted houses & reserved seating for the Fiends show
  • Private complimentary beverage locations that include beer, wine, water and soft-drinks
  • Complimentary photo

10 – Purchase a Unique Activity at Howl-O-Scream

You can participate in an unearthly feast with an all-you-care to eat cuisines and desserts along with early front-of-the-line access to all haunted houses.

Fright Feast takes place inside the Dragon Fire Restaurant at 6:00 p.m. and includes:

  • All-you-care to eat dinner buffet
  • Exclusive preview of the Fiends show
  • Front-of-the-line access to all haunted houses until 8:30 p.m.

11 – Stay Hydrated

Howl-O-Scream Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.. Rocker zombie chick.

Howl-O-Screams requires A LOT of walking and sweating! Something Floridians are used to, but not a common thing for out-of-towners.

Plan to drink a few ounces of water every hour while at Howl-O-Scream.

12 – Monitor the weather

The weather in Florida from September to early November can range from extremely hot and humid to rainy and sometimes (very rare) cool October days.

Always check the weather to know what to expect. The weather will make or break your trip, especially if it’s scorching or if there’s a rainstorm.

13 – Watch Vlogs

View vlogs (YouTube videos) such as the Tim Tracker to help get you excited for Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream in Tampa Bay.

Personal vlogs will show you some of the things to expect and will let you know the intensity of the event. The vlogs also show different ways people enjoy the spectacular annual event.

There's Nowhere To Hide At Howl-O-Scream Busch Gardens Tampa | House POVs & More Halloween Fun!

Final Thoughts on Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream

Remember to just have fun!

You’re really going to have a great time, so try not to stress too much and enjoy the chilling frights of Busch Gardens’ Howl-O-Scream!

I hope this Howl-O-Scream Survival Guide helped you prepare for this year’s event. Remember that it is one of ThemeParkHipster’s favorite fall Florida event.

Let me know what your favorite Howl-O-Scream maze is of all time in the comments section below.

Howl-O-Scream Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. Zombie clown and open casket.
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If you enjoyed this article, then you’ll love these:

 

Send me a picture of your experiences. You can do this by tagging me on Twitter or Instagram!

For more information on the houses, shows, pricing, policies, and times please visit the official Howl-O-Scream website.

Until next time, Happy Park Hopping Hipsters!

NikkyJ

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