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2013 SeaWorld's Bands, Brew & BBQ Review & Photos

It's time for another round of Bands, Brew & BBQ at SeaWorld Orlando. They changed it up this year by including the beer booths in the mix of the food booths, instead of in their own beer garden. In the former beer garden, you'll now find a ton of seating - there will be no complaints this year that they need more seats. In addition to SeaWorld's own BBQ specialties, they have invited a few BBQ restaurants to set up booths including Cecil's Texas Style BBQ, Tony Romas and Sonny's Bar-B-Q. All of this tasty goodness can be found along the waterfront path.

Bar-B-Q Booths
The food booths have a variety of items for you to enjoy, from pulled-pork sandwiches to ribs to sausages. View each booth's menu by clicking on the photo below. 

BBQ Food Reviews

2/9/13 - On our first visit to the event, we tried SeaWorld's Rib Platter (pictured below). The ribs were tender, and just enough fall-off-the-bone perfect. The SeaWorld sauce was simple, not very spicy, and suitable for every palette. The Platter included your choice of two sides and a biscuit; we picked the fries and mac & cheese. Both sides were good, hearty additions to the ribs. This platter is more than enough for two people to split, which we did, and we were stuffed. We'd like to see a single rib option for smaller snacking options. There were multiple stations set up with SeaWorld's sauces, napkins, forks, etc. for you to get what you need.

We also enjoyed the Brisket Sandwich from Cecil's booth. The brisket was delicious, not too fatty, and the sauce was spicier and had a richer depth of flavor. They have a sauce station of their choices, so you can choose your level of heat. Unfortunately, we didn't get a picture of that plate, as one of us began chowing down before the camera was out. Don't worry - we'll probably get it again. 

BBQ Seating Area
They turned the previous year's Beer Garden into a "Seating Garden". In here you will find multiple tables, chairs and a few high-top tables. There's even an area for kids to play, and at unscheduled times throughout the afternoon, the animal handlers appear with some special animals to check out. There is a cart where you can purchase aluminum bottles of Budweiser products (Budweiser, Bud Light, Bud Light Lime & Michelob Ultra), soda, water and 3 choices of wine. The closest restrooms to the event are located in here as well.

Beer Booths
This year the beer booths are scattered throughout the festival area instead of secluded in their own beer garden. We're split 50/50 on this change. Half of us liked the secluded, adult area of the beer garden, but the other half likes that it's included in the mix of the event and you don't feel left out. Either way, there's still beer! Click here to view the full list of specialty brews. There's too many options to do a review of each beer, but there's enough of a variety that everyone should find a few they enjoy. 

Beer Pricing
You can get a Beer Sampler Lanyard for $21 that gives you 10 samples (about 4oz. each) of beer of your choice. If you want a single 12oz. serving of one of the specialty brews, you can get one for $7.43. Aluminum bottles of Budweiser, Bud Light & Bud Light Lime ($6.49-$6.99) are available at the food booths and in the seating area.

Three varieties of wine are available at a cart in the seating area. Chardonnay,White Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon, which are $6 each. (Nifty little to-go cups, aren't they?)

General Atmosphere
Food, beer, dancing and fun. Be sure to stop by the smaller stage where you'll be encouraged to join in on the line dancing. Even the Groove Chefs don their BBQ attire and get in on the country party. There's merchandise to buy and games to keep the kids busy (or kids at heart, we won't judge). There's a decent amount of seating in the main pathway and off by the waterfront to relax and enjoy the scene. If you're lucky, you'll find Shamu and Dolphin dressed up in their country attire enjoying the festivities - and posing for photos.

The concerts begin at 4pm in the Bayside Stadium. People will begin claiming their seats as early as 1 hour before the event - even earlier if the act is more popular. If you don't want to watch in the stadium or get there too late for a seat, you can watch it on multiple TVs spread throughout the pathway and back in the BBQ seating area. Click here to see who's playing this weekend.

This is a must-do event for anyone. Yup. Anyone. Find us someone who doesn't like BBQ...or beer... or fun times. Tip: The best time for shortest lines at the food booths are during the concert, so if you don't mind missing the show, it's prime time to grab some food. 

We'll be posting more reviews and photos throughout the course of the event, so bookmark this page and come back later.

Don't forget - if you have an Annual Pass you get a 10% discount on food, beer and merchandise purchases at the event. There are VIP tickets available as well, visit for more information. 

Disclosure: We were invited to attend opening day as media and received 2 free entree coupons. 

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