Busch Gardens Williamsburg Launches new Annual Pass/Membership Program

Busch Gardens, along with partner park, Water Country USA, has just launched brand new Membership Plans that provide a new level of access to the parks. With a set-up that appears to be designed to eventually replace (there is no official word on that) the existing season pass program, the new Membership Plan allows guests to choose from three “tiers.” Each tier allows admission to both parks, Busch Gardens and Water Country USA, and includes Christmas Town (previously a separate ticket event), parking benefits, guests tickets, and in-park discounts.

From the press release …

“More than a pass, Membership means more access and more benefits,” said Dan Dipiazzo, vice-president of marketing at Busch Gardens and Water country USA. “We’re listening to our guests who say they want more value and simpler choices. Membership allows our guests to take full advantage of the parks’ amenities including all of our seasonal events. It’s what consumers are asking for.”

The new Membership Plans include Basic, Unlimited, and Premier. The Christmas Town event is included in all plans, as is Howl-O-Scream, which was always include with annual passes.

Busch Gardens Membership Plan Details

  • The Basic Membership Plan gives park admission to Busch Gardens and Water Country USA with select block-out dates throughout the year. Guests receive half-price general parking, special offers, exclusive events, in-park discounts (in the past, this has been 10% off of participating food and merchandise), and guest ticket discounts. This plan is $10 a month (or $120 for the year).

 

  • The Unlimited Membership Plan features unlimited visits to both parks with no block-out dates. Guests will receive free general parking, two free guest tickets per year and discounts on additional tickets, as well as all of the other membership events and benefits. This plan is $15 a month (or $180 a year).

 

  • The Premier Membership Plan is for the ultimate SeaWorld Parks theme park enthusiast. It features unlimited visits to both parks in Williamsburg, as well as nine other theme and waterparks in the SeaWorld family, which consits of SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica Orlando, Busch Gardens Tampa, Adventure Island Tampa, SeaWorld San Diego, Aquatica San Diego, SeaWorld San Antonio, Aquatica San Antonio, and Sesame Place. Other benefits include free preferred parking, three free guests tickets per year and discounts on additional tickets. This plan is $20 per month (or $240 per year).

Special introductory rates (listed at the end of each description above) are being offered now through March 31 for each of the three Membership Plans. On April 1, prices will increase by about $2 per month per plan. And, yes, you can purchase for the whole year, rather than doing a monthly payment.

As a special benefit to those who join the Membership program by March 17, Busch Gardens will offer its first Member Sneak Peek with a special St. Patrick’s Day celebration, which includes exclusive park time, two special concerts, Irish-themed food and drinks, and other surprises.

Premier Plan Cost Analysis and Commentary

I, personally, have wanted the parks to offer a park-wide pass (one that gained admission to the other sister parks) for a while now. Maybe there was one available and I just didn’t know it, but I was happy to see that benefit with the Premier Plan. For guests who travel to other areas, especially Florida, this is a great benefit.

I did a little math to figure out exactly how much of a benefit the Premier Plan really would be. I used the general, at-the-gate, admission price in my calculations. There are online and advance purchase deals available, but for the sake of brevity, I chose the full-price ticket for my calculations. Florida was my SeaWorld Park destination of choice for this example.

Busch Gardens Tampa is $104.99, Adventure Island (BGT’s waterpark) is $59.99, SeaWorld Orlando is $99.99, and Aquatica (SW’s waterpark) is $59.99. This comes to a grand total of $324.96. The Premier Plan is $240.00. If your plans include going to these parks at some point in the year, you would basically be getting Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Water Country USA for free.

Obviously, if you never travel to any of these other parks, the Premier Plan wouldn’t be very cost effective for you.

Current Annual Pass Holders

If you have an active Annual Pass, no worries. You have the option of keeping that pass with its current benefits or converting to one of the new Membership Plans. Just keep in mind that your current 1-park, 2-park, or platinum pass does not include Christmas Town. You would have to purchase separate admission (as you’ve always done in the past) to Christmas Town or upgrade to a Membership Plan. Also, this type of pass is no longer available for purchase.

To learn more or to purchase a Membership Plan, please visit Buschgardens.com. It’s also a good idea to visit the FAQs section, which provided excellent answers to a lot of the questions that I had.

You can also join the new Busch Gardens Membership Program by visiting the Busch Gardens ticket windows during pre-season activation days on March 1-4 or March 8-11. They will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Once the park opens on March 24, you can visit during normal operating hours.

 

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