Are you ready to try some of the best cuisine inspired by traditions around the world? That’s what you’ll get at the 2023 Busch Gardens Food and Wine Festival!
With over 20 culinary dishes to experience, you’ll see why this Florida food festival is one that you absolutely can not miss.
I was invited out by Busch Gardens to see what’s new this year and I’m happy to share it with you!
Today I will take you through everything you must know before you get to the park.
From ticket pricing to all of the food and drink offerings, I got you covered!
This guide will also give you an idea of what to expect and how to plan your perfect day at Busch Gardens Tampa Food and Wine Festival.
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What is the Busch Gardens Food And Wine Festival?
The Busch Gardens Tampa Food and Wine Festival is an annual event that takes you on a culinary excursion through the various foodie treats that represent some of the most captivating countries in the world.
Here you’ll get to put on your dancing shoes while you party around the park as you enjoy the selection of live performances offered.
You’ll even get to cap your day off with world-class performances from artists such as Flo Rida and SWV on select nights!
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When is Busch Gardens Food and Wine Festival 2023?
The Busch Gardens Food and Wine Festival 2023 dates are from March 10th to May 21st of 2023 on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
During this time you’ll get to spice up your trip with iconic Latin dishes and music during the Cinco de Mayo and Viva la Música event that takes place every Saturday and Sunday from May 5th to 21st of 2023 while the Food and Wine Festival is going on.
What are the Busch Gardens Food and Wine Festival hours?
On most days during the event, Busch Gardens will be open from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. (sometimes 10 p.m.).
However, the actual food booths will have different hours for the festival with their opening times being from 12 p.m. until park closing on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
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How much is Busch Gardens Food and Wine Festival?
You’ll be happy to know that the Busch Gardens Tampa Food and Wine Festival is included with your theme park admission.
That means you’ll be able to enjoy all of the thrilling roller coasters and outstanding live performances for one price.
Just know that your Busch Gardens Food and Wine tickets do not include the actual food but I’ll discuss how you can save on eating during the festival a little bit later.
Getting Your Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Tickets
There are easy ways to buy your Busch Gardens tickets. My top two favorite ways are directly on Busch Gardens’ website or through Groupon.
Groupon is constantly having deals on theme park tickets and all you have to do is purchase through their app and use your voucher as the ticket that can be scanned directly from your phone at the ticket kiosk.
Also consider getting an Annual Pass (which is what I have). This pass includes free parking, in-park discounts and monthly rewards starting as low as $15.
Another great deal for you is getting the Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Fun Card.
This means if you pay for a day, you will be able to visit the park for the rest of the year at no additional cost to you.
AND for a limited time, guests purchasing a Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Fun Card will receive an Adventure Island Fun Card for FREE!
Talk about an incredible deal for the Busch Gardens Tampa Food and Wine Festival.
Recommended: Top 10 Ways to Find Cheap Busch Gardens Tickets
How much are Busch Gardens Tampa tickets?
Tickets to Busch Gardens for just one day start at $132.99; however, you can save up to $35 off of your ticket if you buy them in advance.
That’s why it’s good to consider getting an Annual Pass or Fun Card to make the cost of a day work in your favor.
What to eat and drink at the Busch Gardens Tampa Food and Wine Festival?
Now we’re to the good part…the Busch Gardens food!
This is by far the feature of the festival and this year the talented chefs did not disappoint us.
Out of all of the food festivals offered at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay throughout the year, I have found the Food and Wine Festival to have the best offerings overall.
There’s always a variety of cuisine to choose from and the food is actually pretty good.
Especially considering how subpar most theme park food can be.
I got to see the head chef chatting with theme park guests on my last visit.
He was very excited to speak with everyone and to discuss the thought process of the culinary team as they brought all of these dishes to life!
You can view the full festival menu here.
New Selections on the Busch Gardens Tampa Food and Wine Festival 2023 Menu:
- Trek Through Africa Cabin – African Vegetable Curry & Naan Bread (Vegetarian)
- Twisted Egg Rolls Cabin – Buffalo Chicken Egg Roll with Ranch Dipping Sauce
- Moroccan Market Cabin – Berbere Spiced Chicken Batbout
- Greek Isles Cabin – Lamb Lollipop with Mint Demi-Glaze (Gluten Free)
- European Delight Cabin – Mushroom Ravioli with Truffle Cream Sauce (Vegetarian)
- Asian Inspired Cabin – Spicy Pork Belly with Mandarin Orange Soy Glaze (Gluten Free)
- Springs Taproom Bar & Lounge – Traditional Tuna Poke
- Cocktails & Beer Cabin – Spicy Watermelon Margarita Craft Cocktail
- Xcursions Gift Shop – Signature Coaster Cupcake 4-Pack
- Latin Twist Cabin – Piña Colada Trifle
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Don’t forget to review the 2023 Busch Gardens Food and Wine Map below:
2023 Busch Gardens Food And Wine Festival Prices
Something to keep in mind when you’re budgeting for your trip out to Busch Gardens is the cost of the food and drinks at each booth.
The drinks averages around $13 each while the food averages around $10 to $14 each. Yes, that’s quite expensive and it will make it hard for you to eat your way through the festival.
This is why I recommend getting the Busch Gardens Food and Wine sampler lanyard to save you some money.
What is the Busch Gardens Food and Wine sampler lanyard?
The Busch Gardens Sampler Lanyards give you the best way to explore and enjoy many of the offerings at the Food and Wine Festival.
Plus, the prices for the festival lanyards start at $70 and can be used at the many food booths throughout the park.
They are available in quantities of 10 or 15 samples with an exclusive 18-item sampler for the same price as a 15-item for all Pass Members.
So, for one price you can indulge in 10 to 18 different items throughout the festival (both food and drink).
Hipster Power Tip: Don’t forget to conquer the new Serengeti Flyer attraction at Busch Gardens. It’s the world’s tallest and fastest ride of its kind, and gives you breathtaking views of the park’s expansive 65-acre Serengeti Plain.
10 Best Things to Eat and Drink at the Busch Gardens Tampa Food and Wine Festival
As you can see Busch Gardens has really stepped up their game this year with a variety of bold options added to the festival.
Even with all of the new items, there were a few that stood out to me the most.
1. Lamb Lollipop with Mint Demi-Glaze
You’ll find this dish at the Greek Isles booth.
It was the hit of the night with us hungry patrons continuously waiting for a new batch as they didn’t last long because of the popular demand.
This pan-seared lamb was seasoned to perfection with Mediterranean spices and herbs.
There was also a reduction of beef and lamb stock infused with fresh mint on the side that paired perfectly with the slight crisp to the Lamb Lollipop.
It was the winner of the night!
2. Buffalo Chicken Egg Roll with Ranch Dipping Sauce
The Twisted Egg Rolls booth was another popular location of the evening with two of the best options on the entire 2023 Busch Gardens Food and Wine menu.
This Buffalo Chicken Egg Roll had a nice crisp on the outside with juicy chicken in the middle.
The buffalo sauce wasn’t too overpowering and gave the dish a nice hint of heat with the ranch dressing to complete the experience.
3. Philly Cheese Steak Egg Roll
The Philly Cheese Steak Egg Roll was the other option at the Twisted Egg Rolls booth. Out of the two offerings, this one was my favorite.
This egg roll had the same nice crunch on the outside as the Buffalo Chicken option; however, the mixture of the beef with peppers and cheese made for the perfect combination.
Not-to-mention, the side of spicy ketchup that took this savory dish to the next level.
You must try this on your visit to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.
4. Vegetable Samosa with Peppadew-Tomato Chutney
This dish gave me an explosion of flavors in my mouth. For something that was so simple, it was so mighty!
This flakey pastry was filled with spiced potatoes, onions and peas.
However, the winner was the peppadew-tomato chutney that allowed for the best combination of sweetness along with a slight hint of heat.
You can find this dish at the Trek Through Africa food booth.
5. Serengeti Flyer Punch
I was so surprised that I liked this drink at the festival. It contains coconut which I’m not a fan of but that tropical ingredient did not overpower the cocktail.
Instead, it added a bit of refreshment to the fruity beverage. It was also not overly sweet and was perfect for the warm Florida evening that I was experiencing.
The Serengeti Flyer Punch contains Blanco Tequila, Bacardi Coconut Rum, Melon Liqueur, and the Craft Standard Mojito Mix.
You can find this drink at the Cocktails Booth.
6. Berbere Spiced Chicken Batbout
This was another favorite of mine that was also a new addition to the festival this year mainly because it was seasoned to PERFECTION!
The Berbere Spiced Chicken Batbout had chicken seasoned with paprika, fenugreek, garlic, allspice, ginger, chilis, coriander, cinnamon, and black pepper served on a soft Moroccan style pita bread.
You can find this dish at the Moroccan Market food booth.
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7. Twisted Lemonade
This adult beverage is for you if you love lemonade and if you like cocktails on the sweeter side.
It contains Raspberry Vodka, Craft Standard Pink Lemonade Mix and is located at the Cocktails Booth.
I liked the flavors of this drink, I just wish that it was a little less on the sweeter side of things.
8. Tigris Cupcake
If you’re a cupcake fan like me, then you’ll be in love with the Xcursions Signature Cupcakes.
There were four options to choose from but out of them all, I gravitated towards the Tigris Cupcake with its chocolate and peanut butter combination.
For a theme park cupcake, it was actually quite moist with a buttermilk frosting that had just the right amount of sweetness.
9. Whiskey Smash
The Whiskey Smash was also one of my favorite drinks of the evening.
Busch Gardens took the foundation of this classic drink and put a Caribbean twist on it with Mojito-inspired ingredients mixed with Jim Bean.
You can find this drink at Cocktails & Beer Booth.
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There’s no better way to end your trip to Busch Gardens Tampa Food and Wine Festival than with dessert AND this is the one to try!
Not only was it super moist, it was spongy (in a good way) with lots of delicious layers this dish is known for.
It comes with coffee and rum dipped Savoiardi cookies layered with a delicately sweetened mixture of eggs and sweet mascarpone cheese dusted with cocoa powder.
It’s sooooo good and one you can’t miss!
Get started on Your Tampa Bay Travel Plans here!
Busch Gardens Food and Wine Festival Concert Schedule
This year Busch Gardens Tampa Bay will be serving up some of the top headliners for the festival.
There will be twenty-three top acts across multiple musical genres that will take the Festival Field Stage for 11 weekends.
So, be sure not to miss any of these Busch Gardens Tampa concerts for the season.
2023 Busch Gardens Concert Lineup
- Kansas – March 11
- Maddie & Tae – March 12
- SWV – March 18
- Dustin Lynch – March 19
- Rodney Atkins – March 25
- Flo Rida – March 26
- Jeremy Camp – April 1
- MacKenzie Porter – April 2
- +LIVE+ – April 8
- The Fab Four – April 9
- 38 Special – April 15
- Mitchell Tenpenny – April 16
- Air Supply – April 22
- Gabby Barrett – April 23
- Hoobastank – April 29
- WALK THE MOON – April 30
- The Como La Flor Band – May 5 (for Cinco de Mayo and Viva la Música)
- Celia Vive – May 6 (for Cinco de Mayo and Viva la Música)
- El Gran Combo – May 7 (for Cinco de Mayo and Viva la Música)
- Toño Rosario – May 13 (for Cinco de Mayo and Viva la Música)
- Grupo Niche – May 14 (for Cinco de Mayo and Viva la Música)
- Elvis Crespo – May 20 (for Cinco de Mayo and Viva la Música)
- Luisito Ayala y la Puerto Rican Power – May 21 (for Cinco de Mayo and Viva la Música)
Hipster Power Tip: Upgrade your concert experience with the VIP Seating Package where you get one entry per reservation to the VIP reserved seating area on the concert field and one beverage at the VIP Bar.
5 Beginner Tips for Busch Gardens Tampa Food and Wine Festival
Now that you know what to expect at this Tampa festival, let’s go through a few tips to help you get the most out of your time during the event.
1. Pack Light
Many of the thrill rides at Busch Gardens require you to leave your bag in a locker or with someone in your party.
If you’re going to the Food and Wine Festival with family or friends, then you won’t have to worry about the various locker fees throughout the park.
The locker fees can range from $2 to $20 per day but you may not have to worry about that if you have someone to hold your stuff.
2. Get to Busch Gardens Food and Wine Festival Before it Opens
Although the Busch Gardens activities for the festival don’t start until later in the afternoon, I still think it’s good to get to the park earlier than the start of the event.
This will give you time to enjoy the thrilling rides and unforgettable shows.
Once the festival happenings start, you’ll be able to focus primarily on them without worry about missing out on an attraction.
The time you’ll spend having fun at Busch Gardens Tampa will go by fast, so allow yourself enough room to enjoy the park by arriving early.
3. Stay Hydrated
It’s important to stay hydrated at Busch Gardens Tampa especially if it’s a warmer day.
You can avoid heat related illnesses such as, a heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, and heat rash by having proper hydration.
Remember to have a reusable water bottle on hand to refill it with water throughout the day at Busch Gardens.
4. Buy Your Tickets Early
Tickets can be more expensive at the gate so I recommended getting them early on Busch Gardens’ website or Groupon.
You can also purchase your Busch Gardens Food and Wine Sampler Lanyard online before your trip and redeem it at the park.
Hipster Power Tip: Use the Festival Sampler Lanyard to save money so that you can try multiple dishes on the menu at a lower cost.
5. Try Something New!
It’s easy to stick with the things most familiar to you, but that’s not what the Busch Gardens Tampa Food and Wine Festival is all about!
Since the portions are smaller, it’s a great way to try something at least once…or twice as Andrew Zimmern states.
Busch Gardens chefs definitely understand how to ease guests, like you and me, into exploring new cultural cuisines.
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My Final Thoughts and Review on the Busch Gardens Tampa Food and Wine Festival
Overall, the food at this year’s Busch Gardens Food and Wine Festival has been top-notch and one of my favorite festival experiences at the park so far.
This year’s selection is strong and covers a variety of foodie treats that I know you will love.
You’re really going to have a great time, so try not to stress too much if you find yourself spending too much time at the food booths.
There’s always something going on in the park that will allow you to have the best day ever!
Have fun, learn something, eat well, and drink up!
Until next time, Happy Park Hopping Hipsters!