ACE Day at Busch Gardens Africa

November 22, 2008


IAAPA Week Events: Friday's, NHL Tampa Bay Lightning Game, Busch Gardens Africa

The Florida Region hosted three events to coincide with the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) 2008 Expo taking place in Orlando the week of November 17 -21, 2008.

On Wednesday, November 19th, sixty ACE members gathered for our annual IAAPA Meet & Greet at TGIFridays. This event provided an opportunity to come together and have a great meal and fellowship with other ACE Members, including some from out of the area that were in town for the convention. It is always a good time sharing stories and making future plans with our fellow ACErs. Many thanks to TGIFridays for allowing us use of the private dining room.

On Friday, November 21st, we stormed the St. Pete Times Forum for an event at the NHL Tampa Bay Lightning game. Those in attendance were treated to an all-u-can eat buffet in a private dining area as well as a great souvenir courtesy of the team. Some members participated in a friendly rivalry as the Lightning took on the Nashville Predators. The night ended with thunderous applause as the Lightning enjoyed a 4 -1 victory.

On November 22nd, fifty-eight ACE members from the Florida Region as well as members representing five other states and two countries flocked to Busch Gardens Africa. Although we were unable to secure ERT due to tight budgets stemming from the InBev buyout, the park substituted that loss with a Quick Queue ticket to all participants. This allowed us to enjoy all the major rides at Busch Gardens Africa without having to wait in line. We swarmed the gates at 9:00 am with most of us heading towards SheiKra. There’s nothing like riding a 200’ tall coaster at 70 mph when the thermometer is hovering around 40 degrees. Hey this is Florida, it isn’t supposed to be this COLD! Thankfully, it warmed up nicely as the day progressed. All registrants were invited to partake in the first ever Florida Region scavenger hunt. Those willing to take the challenge explored the terrain to identify objects from obscure photos and answered questions provided by the park. At 1:00 pm we all gathered at the Gwazi Pavilion for a private luncheon. We feasted on a tasty all-u-can eat buffet. During the luncheon we hosted door prize giveaways. The park generously donated quite a few goodies, including several pieces of the former SheiKra floor, which allowed many members to take home a Busch Gardens Africa prize. We were honored to have guest speakers, ACE President Mark Cole and Events Coordinator Paul Blick. Paul spoke to the group about upcoming events for 2009 and beyond. At the conclusion of lunch members headed back out into the park to enjoy the rest of their day. With the fabulous weather and the awesome rides of Busch Gardens Africa a great day was had by all.