Sometimes it's good to be Elite. Sometimes it's great to be Elite. And sometimes… it's cause for an all-our celebration. Busch Gardens is a landmark destination for tourists and citizens alike in Tampa Bay, and Halloween season is no exception. Every autumn, the park is transformed into a fright-fest known as Howl-O-Scream, and this year, Yelp was hooked-up majorly to get things started for the kick-off party. 


What really impressed Michael Z is "how well-versed the staff at Busch Gardens was, in terms of recognizing that a Yelp event was going on, and how to handle our questions." Mr. Z is completely correct, this event would never have been possible if it weren't for the incredible staff on board. They locked down everything from the amazing give-aways, to custom-made Yelp signage being present throughout the setting. 


Yelpers were treated like Very Imporant People if you asked Meghann A for her side of story. She commends the "Howl-O-Scream staff for going above and beyond to making us all feel like rockstars for the entire evening. They promised VIP treatment, and VIP treatment is what we got." Howl-O-Scream provided all Yelpers with free admission to the park, front-of-the-line passes to all rides and haunted houses, free wine and dine treatment for two hours, free drink tickets to be used in the park throughout the evening after the party was over, and finally, the chance to win tickets to the scariest haunted house in the park, called Alone. "I think I was even more impressed when the ponchos came out when it started raining," Meghann continued. " We were all wondering how we were going to brave the weather and *bam* ponchos appear out of nowhere."


No Yelp Elite event is complete without noshing our faces off, and Nanci C highlights the deliciousness. "The cheesy cassesrole was wondeful, as was the caprese salad. We also enjoyed the macadamia-crusted chicken tenders, chips and salsa, bacon-wrapped scallops, beef wellington, mushroom caps, hummus and warm pitas, deviled eggs, and more." Holy mother of nom! That's not exactly your standard amusement park fare!


Once a couple of hours of sipping, snacking, and socializing were in the books, normally Yelpers would be accustomed to parting their ways until the next event. However, on this night, the party was just beginning. Haunted houses were looming in the darkness, and Harry D was one to be spooked. "All I can say is they're not for the faint of heart! Very well done with great themes, each one is better than the next. I don't want to be a spoiler so I'm not going into details but my personal favorite was the Circus Of Superstition. You get 3D glasses and you need them to get the full effect. I have been in some cool haunted houses in my life and this is by far the coolest I have ever seen, kudos to the imagineers at Bush Gardens." And of course, what's a trip to Busch Gardens without hoping on a few coasters? "Besides the frights, front-of-the-line access to the roller coasters was also pretty awesome – we were able to ride every ride during our visit," Carlos H remarked. "It was our first time riding Cheetah Hunt and it was awesome! I honestly believe all the rides are better at night as well." 


This event really stood out from the crowd for Yelp Tampa Bay. It was like nothing we had done before, and enough credit cannot go to the staff at this wonderful company. Attention to the fine details, extremely open and prompt communication, and just general friendly/easiness to work with… it was an absolute pleasure for me. I thank them again, they have truly made a fan out of me, and many Central Floridian Yelpers after the kind of treatment we were lucky enough to receive on this evening. Check out all the fun photos on our Flickr, and read a boat load of 5-star reviews here!

Hugs & Handshakes,

Brett N

Yelp Tampa Bay Community Manager