Blizzard beach sign - orlando - florida

After arriving at Blizzard Beach and having the breakfast of champions that consisted of a giant chocolate doughnut and lemonade, we headed straight to the lazy river. It was a really hot day and the water was nice and warm. The only water that wasn’t, were the waterfalls that fell onto the river from cracks in the rocks. They were freezing. As we approached one, my feet accidentally got attached to the bottom of Stef’s rubber ring and as a result, it made her go fully under it. Oops.

We went on many slides but Stef wouldn’t go on Summit Plummet. It’s a high-speed water slide with a near vertical 12-storey drop. The queue to the top of it would have been enough for Stef as the view was amazing as you see for miles.

Hours later, with a few more slides and another lazy river trip under our belt, we jumped into the car (which had an inside temperature of over 100 degrees!) and made our way to Tampa for the next couple of days. I couldn’t wait as we were going to Busch Gardens Amusement Park. It has the best roller coasters in the world.

Stef and I came to Busch back in the year 2000. It was our first holiday abroad without our parents and Stef had a lot of learning to do when it came to sun cream. To cut a long story short, she didn’t put any on her legs when we were at a water park (I did, I just forget to top up after we’d been in the pool! – Stef).  The next day, the sunburn kicked in and it was bad. That day we happened to be at Busch. She could barely walk it was that bad. It did have its advantages as I got to push her around in a wheelchair all day. We went to the front of every queue. Best day EVER!

Anyway, I digress.

Before leaving the car, Stef put a ton of sun-cream on and we entered the park. Without being nasty, Stef has become a wuss in her old age. Back then; she’d go on every single ride. Now, I’m lucky to get her on one. So first things first, I rushed her to the first ride, Montu. Its one of my favourite coasters. It has more twists than Chubby Checker did last summer and feels like your bones are getting thrown out of your body. The plan was to get Stef to the ride and on it before she had realised what was going on. The plan worked and as the park had just opened; we were on the ride within seconds.

Needless to say, Stef didn’t enjoy it as much as I’d hoped. To calm her heartbeat down, we sat down and had our new friend Carl draw our caricatures.

caricature - Busch Gardens - Tampa - Florida

After, we headed to the tiger enclosure where you could sort of get in there with them. They had a dome type thing, which popped out in the middle of the enclosure that you could go in. Luckily enough, the tigers were lying right there. It was the closest we’d ever come to tigers.

I ended up going on all but a couple of roller coasters on my own. They were absolutely amazing and the young Stef would have loved them.

Busch Gardens - Tampa - Florida

I did manage to get her on probably the most rickety coaster though. It is called Gwazi and is the only wooden coaster there. God knows why she decided to go on it and she ended up going on it TWICE! The video is great. She hardly looks scared at all. We really got thrown around – the next day I could hardly move my head and Stef’s hips were bruised!

They have some great rides there such as the SheiKra. It’s a coaster that drops you down a 200ft vertical drop at 70mph. Or the Cheetah Hunt, which shoots you up the track at 60mph and over hills, giving you the effect of weightlessness. Or how about the Falcon’s Fury? It’s the tallest free-standing drop tower that takes you up 335 foot, lays you flat, facing parallel to the ground and plunges you down at 60mph.

It was an amazing adrenaline packed day and I hope the memories of it last longer than the bruises on Stef’s hips!