The lights glisten, dance and twinkle at Busch Gardens during their annual Christmas Town event. In a matter of three weeks the park is transformed to remove the frights of Howl-O-Scream and introduce merriment for Christmas Town, which just opened Friday, November 22. Here’s what you can expect and what’s new this year.
About Christmas Town
Nearly seven million lights bring a holiday feel to the countries of Busch Gardens beginning at 3 p.m. and lighting the night through 9 or 10 p.m. (see schedule below)
The tone is set by the carolers of England as you enter the park and then you’re on your way to The Polar Pathway. This area offers a moment of serenity. Pose on a polar bear as you by pass.
Meander on toward Holiday Hills, a 1950′s retro area laced with big bulbs, plastic, and vintage-style Coca-Cola billboards. Take a whirl on Peppermint Twist or Snowman Summit. Dasher’s Diner serves up your childhood favorites if you find that you’re hungry.
Depart Holiday Hills for Italy where The Battering Ram, The Flying Machine and DaVinci’s Cradle are all operational. Ristorante Della Piazza is serving dinner and you can take in a beautiful show called “Miracles” at Il Teatro di San Marco Theatre. The ballerina in your midst will love this one!
Soak in the moment as you cross the bridge and look to your left for the “Peace on Earth” art suspended from the train trestle. It’s perfect for a family photo.
As you approach Oktoberfest you’ll notice that Mach Tower has been dubbed Nacht Tower for Christmas Town. Glide up and sail back down before or after your spin on Verbolten. Der Wirbelwind and Der Autobahn are operational in Germany, and you’re invited to a fantastic dinner and “Deck the Halls” show at Das Festhaus. Toy solders and Frosty the Snowman are just a few of the fun characters you’ll find inside.
O Tannenbaum is a sight to behold as lights dance in animation on the 50-foot Christmas tree. If your timing is right, a choir will sing to you from the balcony of Das Festhaus. Find more gifts – many handcrafted by Virginia artisans – to take home from Mistletoe Marketplace.
Ho, ho, ho! Santa’s near! The North Pole is home to Santa’s Workshop, of course, as well as the Kinder Karussel and gift shops. By the way, it snows at Santa’s workshop, making the experience all the more amazing.
New France has fun shops for carved candles, metal art, and paint-your-own pottery, not to mention the comfort food of Trappers Smokehouse. Le Catapult is ready to give a spin, too. (Careful with eating and spinning!)
Tinted in blues and purples is France, and this is where you’ll find the Ice Palace: A Penguin Paradise. The penguins of Sea World San Antonio made their way to Virginia for your enjoyment. The line can get long to see these sweethearts, so plan accordingly. New to France are the King, Queen and Court Jester. They’re available for photo ops and interacting with them is a ton of fun!
The walk to Ireland is a peaceful one complete with the nostalgic smell of Christmas trees. At Abbey Stone Theater you’ll find “Gloria!,” the re-telling of the first Christmas. Magi, a manger, and amazing musical and dance talent bring home the true meaning of Christmas. If you purchase the add-on for Santa’s Fireside Feast, Ireland is where you’ll rendezvous with the Jolly ol’ Elf.
Before you know it, you’re to Highland Stables where white and blue stars twinkle just out of reach and the famous Clydesdales are waiting.
Christmas Town is nothing if not stunningly beautiful. Each country has its own flavor (literally), and as cliche as it sounds, there is absolutely something for everyone. Both secular and non-secular shows, fantastic dining, and some of your favorite Busch Gardens rides will make you want to come again.
Visiting Christmas Town
Christmas Town Fun Card (unlimited visits): $30
Busch Gardens Annual Pass Holders: $20
3 to 10 p.m.: November 29-30, December 6-7, 13-14, 16-23, 26-31
3 to 9 p.m.: December 1, 8, 15, 24
Colonies at Williamsburg: Three nights, four tickets to Colonial Williamsburg and Christmas Town: $719.99
Choose Your Own Hotel: Two nights, unlimited visits to Christmas Town: rates from $35/person/night
Embassy Suites Williamsburg: Two-three nights, four tickets to Christmas Town, cooked-to-order daily breakfast: $529-$597
Have you been to Christmas Town at Busch Gardens? We’d love to hear your favorite experience! Leave a comment.
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