Busch Gardens Food and Wine Festival 2024 New Zealand and Australia
<div id="c3be0912bb716eee4ca644c1dfc4ecde4"></div>

The Busch Gardens Food and Wine Festival is back and will be celebrated on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from noon until the park closes through May 19, 2024.

We’ve attended this festival for the last few years and noticed this one feels a little different but in a good way. And the food was really good…and we’re not saying that because we were hosted by Busch Gardens for a sneak peek. Once we had a chance to talk to the executive chef and food and beverage manager, we realized we were right.

The changes are intentional and it was teamwork between the culinary and beverage teams that brought this festival deliciously together. And, we can’t forget about the concerts too with national headliners taking the stage for 11 consecutive weekends!

So, let’s dive in on what we know so far about this year’s event!

What’s NEW in 2024

One big change – the event will now also include Fridays!

This year’s Food and Wine Festival features 17 cabins in the Festival Pathway, Festival Field, and Bird Gardens area. You’ll want to head toward Iron Gwazi when you arrive, making a left after the entrance to make your way to the festival areas.

While we’ve seen regions around the world featured in the past, this year is more honed in on specific countries like Argentina, Chile, Spain, France, South Africa, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and Italy. There are also cabins focused on Old World Wines, Moonshine Tasting, and USA Desserts.

Busch Gardens Food and Wine Festival 2024 Map
Busch Gardens Food and Wine Festival 2024 map. Photo by Laura Byrne.

The menu items range from $7.99 to $10.99, so you can easily get a decent meal for two by purchasing one of the Festival Sampler lanyards. You can buy a 10-item sampler for $70 or a 15-item sampler for $85. Pass members can buy an 18-item sampler for the price of the 15-item. If you want to include one to two drinks per person, the 15-item sampler is your best bet.

Among the new food items in 2024:

  • Australia: Green Curry Chicken Pie and Macadamia Nut Tart
  • New Zealand: New Zealand Green Lip Mussels, Strawberry Lamington
  • Canada: Hot Smoked Salmon Sandwich, Halifax Donair, and Timbits (donuts)
  • France: Coussoulet, Ratatouille, Vanilla Cream Puff
  • Italy: Puttanesca Fusilli, Chicken Marsala, Chocolate Chip Cannoli
  • USA: Lobster Roll, Crab Cakes

There are some reinvented menu items too:

  • South Africa: Lemon Meringue Pie
  • Argentina: Beef Chimichurri
  • Chile: Ceviche, Dulce De Leche Cake
  • New Zealand: Kiwi Marinated Lamb
  • Australia: Watermelon Salad
  • Spain: Albondigas

Explore the full Busch Gardens Food and Wine Festival menu here.

Busch Gardens Food and Wine Festival Australia Food
Busch Gardens Food and Wine Festival. Menu selections from the Australia cabin.

We had a chance to chat with executive chef Matt Maslowski who is celebrating his second Food and Wine Festival. He told us his team is testing in the kitchen every day and always coming up with something new. And planning for this year’s festival was no different.

“We did a lot of research, for example, for Australia, we looked at the Chinchilla region and they have melon festivals, so that’s why we did a Watermelon Salad,” he told us. “We’re taking it to a whole different level. We are trying to bring theme park to another level that people aren’t used to.”

We asked him if he has a favorite and while that’s a tough one he said, “The Bunny Chow in South Africa. The Bunny Chow is really fun, it’s basically like their street food, it’s very homey, it’s got the bread bowl and great spices.”

Since wine is a big part of the event, we also spoke with TJ Peck, Food and Beverage director.

“In the USA cabin we have, we didn’t just choose wine from Napa Valley. We chose some wines from Napa, we chose an Indiana Mascato, we went to different vineyards to give everyone a taste from around the world,” he told us.

“Our wine cabin has flights. We have a sparkling flight with different sparkling from the sweet and mild, up to the more robust, and then we have the Old World Wines with some from France and Spain, and then we move into New World Wines with obviously USA and even a couple of Canada wines too.”

He pointed out that they have something for everyone, even those who don’t like wine. There are also beer and specialty cocktail selections that were curated just for this event.

How to get tickets to the Busch Gardens Food and Wine Festival

The Food and Wine Festival is included with park admission, so if you have a ticket or you’re an annual pass or Fun Card holder, you are good to go! Otherwise, single-day tickets are on sale now for $99.99 each.

We honestly think the Busch Gardens Fun Card is your best bet right now at the sale price of $139.99 because it will get you unlimited visits back to the park for the rest of 2024 AND you’ll get a free Adventure Island Fun Card too. (Blockout dates apply) There are pop-up sales too, so be sure to check their website in case they have a deal for you to snag!

Another great option for locals is an annual pass starts as low as $180 for a one-time payment or $15 per month with no downpayment. Learn more about Busch Gardens annual passes here.  We prefer the Silver, Gold, and Platinum passes since they include free parking which can add up over several visits.

Another option is to purchase a CityPass which includes admission to several local attractions–this may be great for out-of-town guests who only need a one-day visit, but still want to explore all of the other amazing things to do in the Tampa Bay Area.

The Concerts at the Busch Gardens Food and Wine Festival 2024

There are 22 headlining concerts over the 11 weekend spread with some big names! The concerts are included with admission, but you can upgrade for better seats. Here are the concerts on schedule so far for 2024 (more dates will be announced soon):

  • Goo Goo Dolls – March 9
  • Starship ft. Mickey Thomas – March 10
  • Tauren Wells – February 16
  • Sister Hazel – March 17
  • Taking Back Sunday – March 23
  • Sawyer Brown – March 24
  • Brady Lee Band – March 29
  • The Outlaws – March 30
  • Mark Wills – March 31
  • Owl City – April 6
  • Groupo Niche – April 7
  • Better than Ezra & Vertical Horizon – April 13
  • Hoobastank – April 14
  • Michael Ray – April 20
  • Gavin DeGraw – April 21
  • Andy Grammar – April 27
  • Chris Lane – April 28
  • Boys Like Girls – May 4
  • 38 Special – May 5
  • Grupo Mania – May 11
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd – May 12
  • Flo Rida – May 17

How to upgrade your concert experience

If you want VIP access to any of the concerts, there is a way to take advantage of this!  VIP Reserved Seating includes the best seats in the house along with one free beverage and a private bar. Pass members get a 10% discount, so it does pay to be a pass holder. VIP prices for 2024 are $54.99 each.

You can also book a VIP Guided Tour for $139.99 which also allows you to skip the lines and get VIP seating for concerts.


Related stories we think you’ll LOVE: