Disclosure: Busch Gardens Williamsburg provided my family with complimentary park tickets in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own.
Oftentimes I find, as I get older, that it is increasingly difficult to get excited about the Christmas season. When I was younger, all the lights, decorations, carols and special cookies all seemed to weave a magical spell that was cast over me for the entire month of December. Now that I’m a mom, however, it’s more about planning menus, lugging out the decorations, days of baking, and hours of gift wrapping and less about the joys of the holiday.
But one step inside the magical scene that Busch Gardens has created in Christmas Town will make your holiday dreams come to life again!
From the moment you enter the front gates, you can see that Busch Gardens has outdone themselves on the decorations…every inch of the park has been transformed with twinkly lights, spirited Christmas music and beauty around every corner.
Each area of the park had its own distinctive theme: England was turned into Scrooge and Marley’s village with red ribboned wreaths hanging between the buildings, Italy was covered in while lights and displayed a magnificent Nativity, New France was covered in rustic decorations and Holiday Hills had a cheerful 50’s retro theme with bright colors and big plastic reindeer and Santas.
The music also changes as you walk through the park…religious carols in Italy, banjo in New France, German carols in Oktoberfest and kitschy songs in Holiday Hills. I declared each section my favorite as we walked around the park…it was all so much fun to take in!
One of the things I really appreciated about Christmas Town was their attention to detail: there were literally hundreds, if not thousands, of pine trees newly planted all over the park, decorated with gorgeous lights, the smell of balsam in the air, and patio heaters and fire pits placed all over the park in case you needed to warm up!
But I haven’t even mentioned the wonderful shows that have been put together especially for Christmas Town! We made it a point to see all of them, and all of them we did see, except for Scrooge No More, which had super long lines each time we tried to attend. The singing and costumes were amazing, especially at the Gloria show, with its live orchestra and special effects.
I think my favorite moment during our trip to Christmas Town was during the Miracles show, in the open-air theater in Italy. We all sat around a table sipping on hot cocoa and Starbucks lattes, watching graceful dancers and listening to hopeful singers…it was really just a cozy little piece of our day together as a family.
Tip: If you purchase a reusable Christmas Town mug of cocoa or coffee, you can bring the mug back for refills for only $1.29!
Speaking of the hot cocoa, there is some delicious food and drink to be had at Christmas Town! We had dinner with Santa at his Fireside Feast, where we enjoyed a turkey dinner with all the trimmings and the company of Santa’s elves. Santa recited for us the classic holiday poem, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, and the kids got their photo with the big elf while Mrs. Claus brought us some cookies. The kids are still talking about that night (my son likes to tell us that Santa agreed that he should have an iPad for Christmas, which isn’t going to happen, by the way!)
For those who like the rides at Busch Gardens, you’re in luck! Several of their rides are open during Christmas Town, but most of the big coasters are closed for the season. The kids had fun on Reindeer Run, Li’l Gliders and the Kinder Karussel. The whole family loved riding the Railroad Train with its festive Christmas lights and jaunty holiday tunes playing during the ride.
Tip: If you REALLY, REALLY like looking at penguins, then get in line for the Ice Palace. Otherwise, skip this attraction. We stood in line for 45 minutes with two wiggly kids, and were disappointed to find that it was a small exhibit of about 8 penguins that took less than 3 minutes to see.
All in all, we had an absolute blast at Christmas Town! The sights, sounds, and holiday fun was so magical that it brought back all that great Christmas Spirit. I think we are going to make Christmas Town a new family holiday tradition!