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Tampa Bay CityPASS Review: Is it Worth it?

Tampa Bay CityPASS Review: Is it Worth it?

Are you planning to visit sunny Tampa Bay? The gorgeous Florida weather, stunning beaches, and tons of exciting theme parks await you!

Tampa Bay has so many attractions, choosing where to go in a limited amount of time is quite daunting.

But don’t worry, I’ve discovered the perfect solution! The Tampa Bay CityPASS will help you conquer this seemingly impossible task. Read on to know more.

CityPASS Tampa Bay Package: See the Best Sights for Less

Although new to Florida, this pass isn’t a new concept. The founders of the company, Mike Morey and Mike Gallagher, have vast experience working in the tourism industry.

They realized that tourists should explore cities as they would in theme parks: one ticket for all attractions. CityPASS booklets have been available since 1997 – that’s more than 20 years already!

These are sold in:

Who Should Consider Using Tampa Bay CityPASS?

tampa bay citypass
  • Families

This is an excellent choice for families because of the amount of money saved while having kid-friendly options.

The main attraction is Busch Gardens, where the family can spend the day at the theme park. But just visit one additional attraction, and the pass is already worth it.

  • Theme-Park Fanatics

If you love theme parks, Busch Gardens should be part of your itinerary. You’ll get a great deal from the pass.

Don’t forget to bring your camera!

  • First-time visitors

Planning the itinerary is quite overwhelming for first-time visitors. The pass will spare you from the hassle at half the price.

Who are Better Off NOT Buying the Pass?

  • Anyone not planning to visit Busch Gardens

The pass is not worth it if you’re not interested in going to the Busch Gardens. You will only save approximately $18, only if you choose the Tropic Boat Tours.

  • Repeat visitors

Repeat visitors will likely have a been-there-done-that mindset. They’ve probably already visited all the attractions included in the pass at least once.

  • Tourists who don’t have a car

The Tampa Bay Area is vast, and several of the attractions included in the pass are spread out. Some of them are 30 to 40 minutes apart from each other.

ZooTampa, Busch Gardens, and the Museum of Science and Industry are close to each other. However, you’ll need to drive if you plan to go to other attractions.

How Does Tampa Bay CityPASS Work?

tampa bay citypass

The CityPASS Tampa Bay package gives access to 5 out of the 6 Tampa Bay’s most exciting attractions. Every pass has four main attractions:

·         Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

A theme park housing approximately 12,000 animals. The kids will jump for joy when they see rhinos, cheetahs, giraffes, and many more.

It also has exciting rides such as the Cheetah Hunt, a triple-launch coaster.

·         ZooTampa at Lowry Park

ZooTampa won the Best Kids Attraction in the Best of South Tampa 2021 awards by Tampa Magazine. It has 56 acres of breathtaking animal exhibits set in a tropical garden setting.

They also have the only non-profit manatee hospital worldwide. So aside from the joy of seeing these creatures, it’s also nice to support a great cause.

·         The Florida Aquarium

This aquarium has over 20,000 sea creatures. It also has an expansive outdoor water adventure zone for children. There’s also a cantina nearby for adults.

One of its main attractions is the Wild Dolphin Cruise. It’s a 75-minute experience that starts at the aquarium in Tampa’s famous waterfront district.

·         Clearwater Marine Aquarium

The aquarium houses the famous dolphin “Winter”, star of the Dolphin Tale movie together with Ashley Judd and Harry Connick Jr.

Other sea creatures like otters, sharks, turtles, pelicans, and stingrays also stay in the aquarium.

Now here’s where the Tampa Bay CityPASS gets interesting; You get to choose the attraction for the 5th slot:

·         The Tropics Boat Tours Sunset or Dolphin Cruise

Take in the stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico’s emerald green waters, and try to spot the Bottlenose Dolphins on the Dolphin Exploration Tour.

You can also choose the Sunset Celebration Cruise. Watch the Florida sunset with your loved ones — if you’re lucky, you may see the famous green flash.

·         Museum of Science and Industry

This museum is Tampa’s premier science center. Curious minds can learn about robotics, space science, engineering, paleontology, the human body, and many more topics.

See Related: Best Golf Bachelor Party Destinations

How to get the Tampa Bay CityPASS

tampa bay citypass

It’s easy to get and use the Tampa Bay CityPASS tickets!

Once your booking is confirmed, you may begin your adventure right away! You can also use it within a year from purchase. Also:

  • You can use the pass for 9 consecutive calendar days. You’ll have sufficient time to enjoy the attractions at your leisure. There’s one ticket for every attraction. These tickets can be stored on your smartphone for easy access.
  • The tickets will be sent via email after the booking is confirmed. These are valid for one-time admission only unless otherwise specified. Adults must prepare their IDs.
  • You can have fun at the best attractions Tampa Bay has to offer while saving time and money. You can print out and show the paper ticket or electronic ticket on your phone upon entry.

Always check the instructions in the ticket for more information on how to use it.

CityPASS Tampa Bay FL: Pros and Cons

tampa bay citypass

If you’re having a hard time deciding if you’re going to book the passes, the best way to settle this is to weigh the pros and cons.

Pros

Here are the top reasons why getting the pass will help you on your trip.

  1. You’ll be able to make the most of your stay. You’ll save lots of time since you’ll no longer stand in line to buy tickets at each attraction.
  2. The fixed cost reduces the chance of going over your budget when figuring out an itinerary.
  3. Planning is simpler! You know right away what to expect and do during the trip.
  4. The pass is valid for several days. It allows you to be flexible with your plans and make last-minute changes.
  5. You’ll enjoy expedited service at most attractions. No more long lines!
  6. You will only have one ticket booklet. That makes it easier to keep track as compared to keeping several loose single tickets.
  7. You can return the unused CityPASS for up to 1 year from the purchase date. You’ll be entitled to a full refund. Unfortunately, the refund doesn’t apply to theme park tickets.

Cons

Although the Tampa Bay CityPASS sounds like a good deal, it also has downsides.

  1. You’ll be wasting your money if you don’t go to all of the attractions included in your booklet.
  2. I focused soley on using the pass, you’ll miss out on the chance to try other tourist attractions, especially free ones like parks or beaches.
  3. You may not be able to savor the experience in each spot if you try to rush in between attractions to try and maximize your money.
  4. The pass is non-transferable. If you’re planning to give this as a gift, you must gift the whole booklet. You can’t use some of the tickets and give away the remaining ones.
  5. Spontaneity and excitement about your options while traveling may vanish if you hitch your wagon to all the pre-arranged commitments.
  6. Not all attractions charge 10-year-old kids the adult admission price. For instance, the adult pricing for Tropics Boat Tours starts charging kids age 13. If you bought a pass for an 11-year-old kid, you wouldn’t save as much as what’s advertised, if anything you’re wasting it on some attractions if you have younger kids.
  7. The CityPASS Tampa Bay FL is beneficial for travelers that have a specific itinerary. Other people may find this kind of commitment stifling.

Frequently Asked Questions about Tampa Bay CityPASS

tampa bay citypass

1.      Do I get free parking with Tampa Bay CityPASS?

Unfortunately, transportation and parking at all attractions are not included in the pass. Special ticketed attractions, food, and drinks are also not included.

2.      Is the price for Tampa Bay CityPASS more cost-effective than buying individual tickets?

Determining if the CityPASS Tampa Bay package is cost-effective depends on two things: your destination and the number of attractions you want to visit.

Not wanting to bore you with the math, I’ll spare you the hassle of combing through other Tampa Bay CityPASS reviews to get an answer here.

You’ll get a great deal when you consider the individual prices of the six attractions. For example, the price of one pass (adult or child) is almost the same price for admission to Busch Gardens. That’s like entry to four attractions for free!

CityPASS Tampa Bay Florida has incredible value: adults can save up to 54% – that’s over half off entry PER ADULT.

3.      What do I need to prepare when using the Tampa Bay CityPASS?

Try to plan in advance before heading out to the attractions. Most of them are operating at lower capacity due to the pandemic, and some require reservations.

It’s also advisable to plan ahead during busy seasons such as spring break, summer, and holidays.

The CityPASS Travel Guide contains helpful information such as entry instructions, reservations, and hours of operation.

Avoid the disappointing experience of walking into a location only to find out that they’re closing in 10 minutes.

4.      How do I make the most out of the pass?

  • Visit all five attractions.

This should already be obvious. To make the most out of this pass, you need to visit all attractions. Don’t leave money on the table!

  • Don’t skip Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.

Whatever happens, don’t take Busch Gardens out of your itinerary. It has the highest value out of all the attractions in the pass. Without visiting, you probably won’t be saving anything with your purchase of a Tampa Bay CityPASS.

  • Pick the Tropic Boat Tours.

As you know, you get to choose the attraction for the 5th slot in your pass. So, always pick the most expensive option.

If you pick the Tropic Boat Tours instead of the museum, you’ll save approximately $15.

But of course, you’re still saving some money no matter what you pick.

5.      Is it possible to refund my ticket?

Yes! They also have change and refund policies in place.

  • There is free cancellation on or before 00:01. It should also be made two days before the date of use.
    • There is a 100% cancellation fee if you cancel after 00:01, two days before the date of use.
    • Partial cancellation of confirmed bookings is not allowed.

6.      What payment methods are available?

CityPASS accepts Union Pay, Discover, PayPal, American Express, Mastercard, and Visa. Gift cards are not accepted.

You can also use Amazon Payments (Pay with Amazon). Payment will retrieve your Amazon account information.

You no longer need to enter your credit card information or address again.

7.      Are there discounts offered for first responders, seniors, police, students, teachers, military, or groups?

Unfortunately, discounts are not offered to these groups. According to the company, it’s because the pass already provides significant savings for the best theme parks and attractions.

Some military bases may give a discount to members who buy the passes through the base. It’s highly recommended to get in touch with the ITT office for more information.

8.      What happens when one of the attractions is closed?

The CityPASS team will try to give you an alternate attraction to visit. If they can’t do that, you can request a partial refund.

Fortunately, they closely coordinate with their partner attractions. They also post announcements of attraction closures on their website.

Check out for any announcements before going to the location.

See Related: Scott’s Cheap Flights Review

CityPASS Tampa Bay Florida: The Final Verdict

Taking into consideration all of the information above, here’s how I would rate the Tampa Bay CITYPASS:

  • Ease of Use: 5/5

Easily the best part about CityPASS Tampa Bay FL; They are straightforward to use!

You can simply download them on your device to show them at every location. If you’re not techie enough, you can just print and bring them with you instead.

  • Features: 4/5

I’m going to knock off one point just for the fact that the attractions included can’t be customized. Some may prefer to go to the Museum of Science and Industry AND Tropics Boat Tours.

It’s sad that you only have to choose between these two.

  • Value for Money: 5/5

Just by visiting Busch Gardens alone, the cost of the pass is already worth it. Your family, especially the kids, will have a blast with world-class adventure rides, live entertainment, and exotic animals.

Five attractions for the price of one is definitely an offer you shouldn’t miss.

  • Customer Service: 3/5

You can get in touch with customer service agents via live chat, toll-free phone, and email. They are available 7 days a week, 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM, Eastern time.

Tampa Bay CityPASS reviews are mixed when it comes to customer service. Some were lucky to have agents who were helpful; some, unfortunately, are reportedly impatient.

Related Reviews

Related Resources

Did you like our review of the Tampa Bay CityPass?

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Tampa Bay CityPass

Varies
8.2

Ease of Use

9.0/10

Features

8.0/10

Value for Money

9.0/10

Customer Service

7.0/10

Reliability

8.0/10

Pros

  • Make Most of Your Stay
  • Fixed Cost
  • Planning is More Simple
  • Valid for Several Day
  • Expedited Service

Cons

  • A Waste of Money if Not Maximized
  • Focused Solely on Using the Pass
  • Rush Tour in Between Attractions
  • The Pass is Non-Transferable
  • Beneficial to Travelers With Specific Itinerary
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