Busch Gardens was riding high as it strapped in for 2020, and so was its president, Stewart Clark.
The park had just celebrated its 60th anniversary as a tourist destination, making it older than Walt Disney World. It had increased its attendance from the previous year to rank as the No. 11 most-attended theme park in North America, bringing in more than 4 million guests a year. And Adventure Island, its adjacent water park, saw a 6 percent attendance bump, making it the seventh most-attended water park in the country.