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Credit: Tricia Kennedy

New Year’s Eve Outside of Walt Disney World: New Year’s Eve at Busch Gardens Tampa

Disney Park Pass Reservations are full for December 31. If you plan to be in the Orlando area on New Year’s Eve but can’t hit the Walt Disney World Theme Parks, what should you do?

Credit: Paula K

If you’re willing to travel a bit outside of Orlando, you might want to consider Busch Gardens Tampa. It’s located about an hour and 15 minutes away, depending on the traffic.

Related: New Year’s Eve Outside of Walt Disney World: New Year’s Eve at SeaWorld Orlando

Right now, Busch Gardens is holding Christmas Town, and it runs through January 2. The special event features millions of lights, special holiday shows, and a meet and greet with  Rudolph.

Related: Christmas Town at Busch Gardens Tampa

On December 31, Busch Gardens Tampa will be open from 9:00 A.M. until 1:00 A.M. At midnight, Busch Gardens New Year’s Eve Fireworks will take place. The show will feature fireworks set to music. We’ve attended in the past, and it is a great way to ring in a New Year.

Credit: Paula K

Busch Gardens Tampa is always a good place to spend a day outside of the Disney Bubble, especially if you are a thrill ride fan. Some of the most popular roller coasters in Florida are found at the Park. They include Tigris, Sheikra, and Montu.

Credit: Paula K

That doesn’t mean that Busch Gardens Tampa isn’t a great destination for families. Sesame Street Safari of Fun has attractions and activities for even the youngest members of your party.

Related: New Year’s Eve Outside of Walt Disney World: New Year’s Eve Celebration at Old Town

No matter what time of year you visit Busch Gardens, you might want to buy your tickets online. They are usually cheaper than at the gate. Theme Park reservations are not required.

Related: New Year’s Eve Outside of Walt Disney World: “Rocking New Year” at Sunset Walk

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About Paula K

I grew up in Western Massachusetts. When I was nine my family went to Disneyland and I was hooked. I grew up, attended New England College in Henniker, NH and eventually moved to Virginia. I worked as a disc jockey, married and became a full time mom when our daughter was born. Fast forward several years. In 2010 we moved to Central Florida and my Disney obsession grew. I now work as a freelance writer and spend my spare time in the parks. Under the name Paula Brown I penned the novels Dream Wanderers and The Coffee Cruiser. I also am a co-author of Dining at Walt Disney World: The Definitive Guide. I'm obsessed with Star Wars, so this is a good time to live in Central Florida. I've been a vegetarian for well over a decade, a choice that my daughter eventually made as well. While my husband still hasn't joined us fully he has given up most meats except for seafood. I was relieved to find that vegetarian dining is not difficult at Walt Disney World.