From pine-scented pathways and colorful conifers to whimsical wreaths, sparkly garlands, and more than six million lights, it’s all in the details at the fifth annual Christmas Town event at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. An all-new decorating tour, animal encounters, joyful musical shows, and the park’s always delicious food and beverage choices enhance the thrills of roller coasters and family fun rides.
My family and I had the opportunity to preview Christmas Town on its opening night last Friday. Along with many other Virginia families, we’ve made Christmas Town at Busch Gardens an annual tradition, so we jumped at the chance to get in an early visit.
To start off, I got to do something I have always wanted to do. Pet a clydesdale! I considered trying to lure this handsome fellow, Dakota, home with a path of carrots, but I figured the park might notice a 1700 pound clydesdale missing from the stables. Oh, well, maybe next time.
We also got to meet Molly the border collie.
Next came the Scottish black-faced sheep and a cute little goat.
These animal ambassadors reside at the Highland Stables in the park’s Scotland area. I have a lot of Busch Gardens favorites, but I have to admit that the animals are at the top of the list. Where else can you go to ride roller coasters and also get up close to interesting animals?
The Highland Stables’ “Clydesdales and Collies” tour is not available during Christmas Town, but during the regular season, you can learn all about life on a Scottish farm and get up close with clydesdales, collies, and Scottish black-faced sheep.
Santa’s Fireside Feast
Scotland’s Castle O’Sullivan is the site of Santa’s Fireside Feast, an all-you-care-to-eat feast that includes mashed potatoes, dressing, chicken nuggets (gotta keep the kids happy), macaroni and cheese (another big kid pleaser), salad, Swedish meatballs, vegetables, and the most moist and delicious sliced turkey. There was probably even more than that, but I was stuffed and couldn’t waddle my way back for a second helping. If you want recommendations, the Swedish meatballs are amazing. I could have seriously just eaten the meatballs. Oh, and if you didn’t want recommendations, I give them anyway. No charge.
While we were all enjoying the delicious buffet, Santa and Jingle the Elf posed for pictures with the kids and the kids at heart.
After all of the pictures were taken, it was time for a telling of “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” by the man in red himself. I have heard this story a number of times throughout the years, and I have to say that this telling was a magical experience. Busch Gardens’ St. Nick has such a great voice and gave a wonderful rendition of this classic story.
Here is a snippet of the story. Please pardon my sketchy video skills.
With any good story, you must have cookies and a slice of cake to top it off.
Here are a few festive scenes from Busch Gardens’ Christmas Town 2013.
England’s Globe Theater is all decked out to announce the British invasion of “London Rocks” in 2014.
The France village is dressed in an icy wonderland, with a theme of The Twelve Days of Christmas. There are also penguins!
Yes, there are even penguins. They traveled from sister park SeaWorld as well as the Columbus Zoo. You can watch a video of in-flight antics on Busch Gardens’ Instagram page at www.instagram.com/buschgardensva.
Don’t worry, he didn’t jump.
Holiday Hills is a tribute to the traditional Christmas celebrations of the mid-twentieth century. Classic decorations, twinkly garlands and tinsel deck the buildings, streets, and rides of the Festa Italia area. I particularly enjoy the blow molds in shapes such as Santa’s head, reindeer, and candlesticks.
Our last project of the night was painting a piece of pottery. Caribou Pottery, in New France, is the perfect place for when you’re feeling crafty. Paint your own pottery pieces or capodimonte (made in the Italy village), or hand-dip a candle in colorful wax.
Caribou Pottery is one of my daughter’s favorite things at Busch Gardens. The whole process works very similar to places like Gather and Glaze or All Fired Up. You pick out an item, choose your paint colors, and go to town with your own unique brand of creativity. After you’ve painted your pottery, the item will be fired in a kiln and shipped to you. The price of the item includes all firing, shipping, and handling charges. I can’t wait to see how our poinsettia ornament turns out.
My little artist really enjoys the hand-dipped wax candles. Watch out, the wax is very hot.
Let the wax dry in between dipping. It dries pretty quickly and you can take it with you right away.
Christmas Town Musical Shows
- Deck the Halls – Performed in Das Festhaus, Deck the Halls is a festive collection of classic Christmas songs accompanied by spirited dance numbers. Frosty the Snowman, a troupe of soldiers, and gingerbread gentlemen join the park’s talented performers.
- Gloria! – Experience the retelling of the joyous Christmas story through contemporary and traditional songs and music in Ireland’s Abbey Stone Theater.
- Miracles – Witness an uplifting performance of classic and contemporary song and dance in Italys’ outdoor Il Teatro di San Marco Theatre.
Busch Gardens’ Rides Open During Christmas Town 2013
- Battering Ram
- DaVinci’s Cradle
- Der Autobahn
- Der Autobahn Jr.
- Der Wirbelwind
- Flying Machine
- Kinder Karussel
- Le Catapult
- Li’l Clydes
- Little Balloons
- Little Gliders
- Nacht Tower (Mach Tower)
- Peppermint Twist (Turkish Delight teacups)
- Reindeer Run
- Roto Baron
- Snowman Summit (Trade Wind)
If You Go:
- The Christmas Town Fun Card – Pay for a one-day admission ($30.00) and enjoy unlimited visits to the park during Christmas Town 2013.
- Santa’s Fireside Feast – Enjoy a classic Christmas story told by the man in red himself while feasting upon an all-you-care-to-eat buffet. Santa’s Fireside Feast is $30.00 for adults and $20.00 ages three to nine. Ages two and under are free.
- Exclusive tours are available at an additional cost and include holiday decorating, penguin encounters and wolf training up-close.
Christmas Town at Busch Gardens is open on select nights through December 31, 2013. Please check out the Busch Gardens Williamsburg website for specific dates and times.
Just like Grandma’s pumpkin pie always has the perfect blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, and other scrumptious spices, Busch Gardens has mixed in all kinds of memorable moments in its 2013 Christmas Town display. Come on out and start your own tradition. And yes, there is a pathway that is actually scented with pine. Like I said, it’s all in the details.
Thank you, Busch Gardens Williamsburg! We had a festive time.
Disclosure: The author received complimentary admission to Christmas Town 2013 as part of the Blogger/Media Preview Event. All opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author.