I have always loved Christmas, a great trait I inherited from my dad no doubt. The festive decorations, the lights, the peppermint hot chocolate, decorating the Christmas tree, enjoying time with family, etc. I have a new little niece to celebrate with this year as well, so I am super excited to enjoy spending some time with her. But one thing I hadn’t done before was explore Christmas Town at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia. Luckily, Jake’s parent’s live close enough that we can stay with them for the weekend and drive down to the park for a day.
You can purchase either “Single Day” tickets, of “Fun Cards”, or “Bounce Tickets” from the Busch Gardens website, and you can also upgrade if you are so inclined. The ticket prices vary depending on when you want to attend, so the closer to Christmas the more expensive they will be. I happened to buy ours in mid-November when they were having a sale for $25/person, definitely worth it. The only downside to buying them so far in advance is you have to select the date you want to go, and you may not know the weather situation of that day. The weekend before we went it ended up raining and snowing, so good thing we didn’t go then; although it may have been neat to go while it was snowing.
Did I mention Busch Gardens Christmas town has over eight million Christmas lights, making it the largest Christmas light display in North America? Yup! (Check out the side show at the end of the post with some of the Christmas lights)
It was a nice, clear day on December 16th, and it wasn’t too cold either, 46 was the high. I definitely needed a few layers and I ended up putting on a sweatshirt under my coat right before we entered that park, but walking around the park kept me warm so I didn’t need my gloves until after the sun went down.
The park opens at 2 PM, so we arrived about 30 minutes before hand to give us some time to park and get to the entrance. I’m glad we arrived early too, because while on a ride around 3:00 PM (Mäch Tower) we could see that the line to pay for parking was super backed up and the lots were getting pretty full.
Once we had our maps in hand, we decided to head over the Oktoberfest to eat some lunch at Das Festhaus’, but first we stopped at the Highland Stables in Scotland. The Clydesdales were beautiful!
We then took the train and walked to Das Festhaus’ where they just so happen to have a show at 2:30 PM, “Deck the Halls.” We grabbed some lunch, which included some excellent bratwurst, and sat down to enjoy the show. Since we were there when the park opened, it was not as crowded which was nice. To be frank, I enjoyed the show, and the live band and singing were pretty good, but it was super cheesy (I guess it was more for kids?). I almost spit out my cider when the dancing gingerbread men came on stage.
Once the show was over, we headed back out into the cold where we rode the bumper cars and Mäch Tower before walking through Mistletoe Marketplace (also known as Der Marktplatz during the regular season) where both Jake’s mom and I bought a painting.
We then continued to New France where one of only two open roller coasters were open, Invadr. Invadr just opened this past summer, so it was exciting to ride a coaster I hadn’t ridden before. The line was backed up all the way to the entrance, so we ended up waiting about 45 minutes or so, but the ride was worth it. Invadr is Busch Garden’s first wooden coaster (mind you it is supported by steal, so it really only feels like a wooden coaster) and was built next to Le Scoot (which was not running). I am a little sad that when I return in the summer Le Scoot will no longer be flowing through the woods as it use to. Now, Invadr will be roaring by; so now you have Invadr on one side, and Alpengeist on the other.
After the minute long ride, we had a few minutes to waste, so we headed over to Acadia Traders where Jake did some Gem Mining, then we dipped some candles in colored wax at Caribou Pottery. Busch Gardens definitely does not lack when it comes to activities for the entire family to do, that’s for sure.
The next show was at 6 PM, “‘Twas that Night” on Ice at the Royal Palace Theatre. While we were waiting for the show to start, Jake and I picked up a couple crepes and some hot chocolate and lattes at Coffee & Crepes (original, I know) to keep us warm throughout the outdoor show. It was excellent for sure! The lead, Elvis Stojko, a World-Champion figure skater, along with the entire cast made the entire experience exceptional. A must see, especially for the kids. (I wish I could post more from the shows, but they ask for no flash photography or recordings of any kind take place during some of the shows)
The show ended around 6:30 PM and we wanted to go to one last show, all the way in England, so we booked it back to the park entrance, basically, and made it to “Scrooge No More,” a musical take on “The Christmas Carol“. This show was by far our favorite!
There was so much more that we wanted to do in the park, but definitely not enough time in one day. I would suggest if you want to do Christmas Town to do it in two or three days. With all of the rides, shows, and shopping, you will not see or do it all in one day. I believe if you have Annual Passes you will be able to get a 50% off discount for Christmas Town, so might as well take advantage of it so you’re no rushing to get through the park in one day.
You can also still purchase tickets to visit through January 1, 2018.
Here is this year’s map: (Christmas Town Map PDF version)
After the Sun Went Down