>> 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.
Busch Gardens shows showcase some amazing talent, and Christmas Town is no different. The shows have been revamped with a Christmas theme and are not to be missed. Gloria has been a personal family favorite of ours year after year. The story of the birth of Christ is presented in a magical, musical fashion...While the wonder is hard to describe, in my eyes, it is not to be missed. Find a full list of shows here.
While the bulk of Christmas Town is an outside event, escape the cold by seeing a show, catching a meal in the Festhaus, or enjoying one of the heated seating areas throughout the park.
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.
Tickets for Christmas Town are $30 (children 3+), but this year Busch Gardens decided to offer something a little different...for the same $30 you can purchase a Christmas Town Fun Pass that will let you enjoy Christmas Town as much as you want for the rest of the season! I honestly don't think it is a bad price, although next year I would LOVE to see an option to add it to my e-z pay account! Click here to purchase tickets.
*At the time of this posting, Busch Gardens is currently offering an AWESOME deal! If you purchase online, you can currently buy 3 single day tickets and get the fourth FREE!!*
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**