>> Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Christmas is almost here, which means family Christmas traditions are well under way. As you may know, one of our favorite places to be is Busch Gardens Williamsburg, and although the park closes during the winter season, for the past 4 years, they have opened their doors for a month to share with us the magic of Christmas Town. When Busch Gardens had the wonderful idea to bring the magic of the Christmas season to the park a few years ago, I believe they started with a million lights adorning about half of the park. Busch Gardens loves to ramp things up, and Christmas Town is no different; this year SIX MILLION lights are strung through the park, adorning everything from buildings to walking paths to trees.
Speaking of trees, I LOVE the beauty and smell of a live Christmas tree, but personally stick with the ease of my pre-lit artificial tree at home...did I mention that Busch Gardens has a few live Christmas trees accenting the park...and when I say a few, I really mean over 1,500 fresh - cut Christmas Trees! Yes, you read that right! 1,500! If I haven't gotten your attention with the staggering numbers yet, let me take this opportunity to throw in a few more fun facts...This year the 70 person decorating team has also spent thousands of hours decorating the park with over 3 MILES of garland, over 700 wreaths and artificial trees, 800 lit snowflakes, and 900 window candles and luminaries!! OH, and lets not forget the 25 MILES of cables to provide power to it all!
Keep in mind, Christmas Town is a popular event, and I recommend getting there as close to opening as possible. While the outdoor decorations are not as impressive in the light, use the time to pick up a show, visit Santa and Mrs. Claus at Santa's workshop, or visit the penguin visitors at the Ice Palace.
Wondering what other changes there are in the park during the event? Well, there are a lot!
The Food:While some of the food stays the same, there are some changes to the menus for the event. The biggest change you will notice is that most of the large eateries are featuring turkey on their menu. Another thing to make note of are the s'mores stands...let me say, if you like s'mores...even a little, these are worth checking out! Be mindful that they are big, and can be shared! Check out some of the dining options here
The Rides:Christmas Town is a magical event for the whole family, however leave your thrill seeker hat at home. Verbolten is the only running coaster, and Mach Tower is running in observation mode (slowly both up and down). The water rides are of course closed as well. You can see a list of open rides HERE.
Whether you are local or just visiting, bringing the kids, or having a date night, if a visit to Christmas Town is a possibility, I would strongly suggest checking it out!
The Shopping:In addition to the normal shops around the park, during Christmas Town there are also a number of local crafters offering handmade gifts in the Mistletoe Marketplace.
The Extras:Looking to get more from your Christmas Town experience? There are a few options that you may want to check out.
- Santa's Fireside Feast offers a buffet, a lovely story from santa, and ends with Mrs Claus bringing out some yummy cookies to end the experience.
- Want more from your Christmas Town trip? If you want to get up close and personal with the penguins or wolves, want to find out how they make the beautiful holiday decorations and make your own, or if you want the FULL VIP experience, check out the many exclusive tours offered by the park here.
- Love the magic of Christmas Town, but don't want to wait in the sometimes long lines?? Quick Queue may be for you. Check out more info here.
Things to know, before you go:
- Christmas Town is a magical event for the whole family, however leave your thrill seeker hat at home. Verbolten is the only running coaster, and Mach Tower is running in observation mode. The water rides are of course closed as well.
- Know your ticketing options, and buy online is possible
- Christmas Town is a popular event, and I strongly recommend getting there early.
- Be prepared! There is a LOT to see and do at Christmas Town, and there are some things you can do before you go that I think make things a bit easier.
- Cruise the website to get a general idea of the happenings
- Buy your tickets online if possible!
- Follow Busch Gardens Williamsburg on Facebook and Twitter
- Download the Busch Gardens app, and make sure you open it and install the Williamsburg park before you go if possible...
- If you are bringing young kids, I always try to pack their pj's and have them change in the truck before the ride home
- Be sure to have a full charge on your phone for information and pictures!
- Have Fun!
BTW, if you are reading this article, you may have been frowning while reading some of the stats. While 6 million lights may be beautiful, and 1,500 fresh cut trees may smell divine, what about the waste?! I would like to at this point direct you to Busch Gardens Commitment to Conservation, as well as to let you know that 85% of the lights used at Christmas Town are energy saving LED lights, and all of those Christmas trees...you will be seeing them again when the park opens in the spring in the form of mulch in the park's planters and flower beds!
**I was given the opportunity from Busch Gardens attend Christmas Town, as well as Santa's Fireside Feast for free. This, however, has not swayed my views, and any and all thoughts and reviews are mine, and fully truthful! I in no way benefit from any sales resulting from this blog post, and this post contains no affiliate links**
>> Friday, September 13, 2013
WOW, yeah...it's been *cough* a while since I was last here...although I have been thinking of everyone still!! If you are still around, THANKS for sticking with me!! I really am going to try to get back in the swing of this blogging thing...I miss y'all!! Tonight's post is going to be far from thought provoking, but I figure when getting back into the swing of things...start slowly right?? ;)
SO what have I been up to?? Weelllllll....a lot. I will try to expand soon, but here are the highlights (in no particular order)...
- Still Homeschooling :)
- We found our new church last July, and we have been BEYOND blessed!
- Speaking of our church, I have had the pleasure to help out a bit, which keeps me busy, but I LOVE being involved!!
- I have been learning web design, as well as some graphic design
- I FINALLY took the step and am in the process of listing my hair bows and clips online!
- Geeking Out about the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special (among other things)
- Selling Origami Owl :)
- (Trying) to get this house in general order, as well as completing some projects...
- Living everyday with my wonderful hubby, and our 2 amazing kiddos!
- ...and still hitting Colonial Williamsburg and Busch Gardens when possible...
>> Monday, June 10, 2013
Hey y'all!! I'm back, and what an awesome post to start out with (for the locals, and those traveling to the Williamsburg area)!!
If you have followed my blog for any length of time, you will have realized that our family's go-to places are Colonial Williamsburg, and Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Seriously, we love them BOTH so very much! In the coming months I will be posting more about visiting both areas, including tips, tricks, advice, and going ons... If there is anything you would like to see in these upcoming articles, PLEASE be sure to e-mail me, or leave it in the comments...no matter how big or small a question! Also, for the non locals, I am planning a few generalized posts on visiting theme parks and such...BUT for this post, I am not only highlighting one of our favorite places, but an amazing event currently going on there.
I am talking about the Food and Wine festival currently going on at Busch Gardens Williamsburg! Now, I have to say, as a non drinker, I was a bit leary of this particular event when I first heard about it. I mean, Busch Gardens is amazing as it is, and we love every event we have attended, but still, a festival based on food and wine?!? As much as I love food, I honestly was immediately presented with thoughts of having to pay $15 for a plate of different foods I may not like, paired with wine I wouldn't drink...I am thrilled to report, I can't tell you how far from the truth my fears turned out to be!
First off, let me just clarify...If you are planning a trip to Busch Gardens while this is going on, but have NO interest in participating, fear not...you can certainly walk by the many wonderfully themed booths, and never give them a second thought. BUT I highly suggest that you give this festival a chance.
To start off, this festival requires NO preplanning! There are no tickets you must purchase in advance to partake, nor do you HAVE to be anywhere at any specific time.
Busch Gardens has created a booklet for the festival that can be picked up at multiple locations throughout the park that includes a map of the kiosks, explanation of foods and drinks offered at each country
When you arrive at each countries kiosk, the first thing you will notice is the awesome theming...Each kiosk also has a signpost sporting facts about the featured country, as well as the offerings, along with the individual prices.
Now for the part I LOVE most...each food dish is offered INDIVIDUALLY in a well priced sample size!!! This not only provides the pickiest of eaters a chance to try SOMETHING, also since they are sample sized foods, you have the opportunity to try MULTIPLE yummy things while there. ALSO for those like myself who have no interest in the wine part, you can go all day while ignoring the things you don't want! :) Another thing that is beyond awesome....the food/wine/beer samples start at $3 and go through $7!!!...VERY reasonably priced!!
I would also like to note that each kiosk also has allergen information available for each dish! While this isn't necessary for our family, we do try to avoid consuming certain things, and I have multiple friends with food sensitivities/allergies, so this is MUCH appreciated!
If you want an even more in depth experience, and don't mind paying a bit more, be sure to check out the extras they are offering during the festival. If you want a bit of added relaxation, think about the Wine on the Rhine cruise. The cruise is $19/person and allows you to experience a live band while drinking your choice of wine, and snacking on a plate including fruit, cheese and crackers, and a nice big coconut truffle while cruising around the Rhine River lasting about 25-30 minutes. I had the opportunity to try this one out, and it was VERY nice!! If you are looking for the ULTIMATE Food and Wine experience, check out the Food & Wine Insiders Tour!! This tour is a bit pricy, but sounds SO great! For the cost of $100/person, you can take a 3 hour guided tour while learning more about food and wine pairings from the different countries. This also includes the samplings of 6 foods, and 3 drinks.
PASSMEMBERS: Don't forget your discount!!! Your season pass discounts are valid at the Food and Wine festival kiosks, AS WELL as on the extras such as Wine on the Rhine, and the Food and Wine Festival Insiders Tour!!!!
WHEN: The Food and Wine Festival is going on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through June 23 from 11am until an hour before park closing.
PAYMENTS: While all kiosks take both cash and credit, Busch Gardens has implemented an amazing wristband program for payment during the festival, and I very much so recommend taking advantage. When arriving at the park, or at one of the many shops selling the wristbands, you can purchase a wristband for the day. You can choose to either link the wristband to a credit card, or load it with as much or as little cash as you please. At the end of the day, bands linked to a credit card will settle with a transaction, or if you have a remaining cash balance, be sure to stop by the wristband sales desk in England to claim your remaining cash. NOTE: All cash not claimed by the end of the night will be automatically donated to the Seaworld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund.
Another few notes about the wristbands...
- They are void when removed, so do not take them off!
- They are really nice considering. They are made from a stiff plastic, not that plasticy paperish stuff (technical term) most wristbands are made from.
- Only kiosks and shops that sell the wristbands can check your remaining balance. (This is the one disadvantage I found with them) If you are using the wristband for a partial payment, you must know how much you want to charge to the band. The food kiosks have no way of checking your balance.
- They can be used at more than just the Food and Wine Festival kiosks!! You can use your wristbands for payment at any and all food vendors AND shops!! (This I personally think is beyond awesome, and is one reason I would LOVE for the program to be continued for everyday use...Imagine not having to deal with pulling out / losing cash throughout the park!
- Because of the plastic that they are made from, be sure not to put them on tight AT ALL...seriously...you would think this would be common sense, but let me tell you from personal experience...it is VERY easy to do, and there is no way to adjust them...Also the plastic has no give, so NO stretching it after it is on your wrist!
**I was given the opportunity from Busch Gardens to try multiple dishes, as well as the Wine on the Rhine cruise for free. This, however, has not swayed my views, and any and all thoughts and reviews are mine, and fully truthful! I in no way benefit from any sales resulting from this blog post, and this post contains no affiliate links**