A Busch Gardens Tampa Resort Hotel Coming in 2025 or 2026?

A slide from a 2015 investor presentation showing potential development sites on SeaWorld’s Park Tampa resort.   Image via SeaWorld

In a recent investor call, SeaWorld CEO Marc Swanson brought up their plans to add a resort hotel in 2025 and another in 2026, but details were sparse. This has been rumored for some time, but it appears to be getting more serious. Here are some of his comments from the call:

“We continue to make progress with our plans to build hotels and complement our park offerings. Based on current plans and expectations, we expect to have our first hotel opened in 2025, followed by our second hotel in 2026. We are working on design and planning for these 2 hotels and on-site selection for additional hotels across our park portfolio. We look forward to sharing more specifics in future quarters.” -SeaWorld CEO Marc Swanson


The obvious location for one of the resorts would be Orlando and the SeaWorld Park, but what about the second? Could it be Tampa? In previous investor presentations under former CEO Joel Manby there was a slide shown back in 2015 showing possible locations of a resort on the Busch Gardens Tampa property, so it has been considered.

There are of course hotel partners of Busch Gardens with shuttle service and in park discounts, but quality hotels near the park and kind of sparse. The Hampton Inn is the closest, but courtesy of the “Great Wall of Busch Gardens” you’re looking at a near mile walk even though it’s right across the street from the entrance. There’s also a La Quinta and a Holiday Inn Express in the same general area and a really nice Embassy Suites if you head north a few blocks to the USF campus. We’re not local and stay at a hotel every time and the breakfast areas are filled with tons of other people doing the same thing, so there is definitely revenue the company is missing out on here. Having a resort could also raise the perceived profile of the park as well as offer a place for business events, conferences, weddings, etc.

The rumors I’ve heard mostly were a hotel placed on one of the locations or near the Serengeti to provide the spectacular views (although there are other spots nearer to Adventure Island). Can you imagine waking up and looking out your window to see the sites below? This could be something to rival Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Well Busch Gardens Tampa may not even be the 2025 or 2026 location, but it’s fun to dream.

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