I had the privilege of attending the Blogger Preview of Busch Gardens Williamsburg Christmastown last friday, opening night. While I was provided tickets to facilitate this review about family friendly holiday activities, all the opinions expressed are 100% my own.
This summer was the first time we made a trip to Busch Gardens Williamsburg since living in Richmond for 14 years. As projected in my previous post, you can see just how beautiful this amusement park is. You often don’t even feel like you are in an amusement park at all but a botanical garden. So without all the beautiful summer flowers and green grass what would Busch Gardens look like during their family friendly Holiday Activities at Christmastown?
I will steal the quote of my 10-year-old, “now this is what you do to an amusement park”. Filled with millions of lights (6 million to be exact) and evergreen trees (1,500 fresh cut trees) you are truly transported to the North Pole. Walking down the lit walkways the amazing aroma of Evergreen fills the crisp air. Nothing says Christmas for me more than the smell of a fresh evergreen tree. (note to the environmentally concerned the trees are turned into mulch for the park, I was concerned myself)
The entire park is transformed to a winter wonderland. From the games to the employees working there there are candy canes, polar bears and even penguins filling the streets of each country. By far France was our family favorite. It was lit so amazingly you could just sit there and stare at the beauty.
Had we started this amazing family tradition years ago I would have loved capturing the kids in front of the 12 days of Christmas trees that reflected their age. (unfortunately my 12-year-old had her one and only chance) but we might just have her start over and stick up one finger!!
Like our experience this summer, Busch gardens Christmastown is not all about rides, in fact only one roller coaster was even working at this event. There are a lot of opportunities to watch artisans up close. The kids and I were able to watch an Italian artisan paint traditional Capodimonte Florals, glass artisans make a glass owl, and the kids enjoyed sneaking a peek at the bakers making some chocolate confection. The artisans are very welcoming to questions and up close looks from the kids and adults.
Christmastown of course is not complete without a section dedicated to the guy in the red suit… you know MR C. aka Santa Clause. On the balmy 68 degree night we attended, they still have snow blowing in front of Santa’s workshop.
Want a closer look to the big red suit? Make a new family tradition by eating at Santa’s Fireside dinner where you get lunch, complete with the juiciest turkey I have had in a buffet line, with all the fixin’s. Of course hotdogs, chicken nuggets and cut up fruit for the more fussy eaters. Here you can enjoy a meal with your family while listening to Santa read a story and grab a up close photo as the kids tell Santa what they want for Christmas. Stick around because Mrs. Clause shares her famous cookies. We have been going to the same Santa in Richmond, but this might have trumped that experience.
Jingles, the newest elf, was amazing and my kids who are a little skeptical about the Big C. were amazed at how the elf remembered their name 30 minutes after their visit on stage… Keep the magic going Jingles, thanks.
I wish I had more than my camera phone to take pictures after the sun went down. These pics don’t give the scenes the proper justice to the magical feeling of the park after dark. It was hard to leave this magical spot and we will definitely make this a new family tradition. I loved that we did not just race from ride to ride, most of which my little guy is too short, but actually explore the different countries and the amazing decorations listening to Christmas Music specific to the location you are visiting.
Busch Gardens Christmastown is open until Dec. 31st and is the perfect backdrop for a family holiday outing. Make memories, enjoy the fresh air and get a little shopping done too. I was thrilled to find out they have package pick up so no worries about buying something at the beginning of your trip. They will have it waiting for you at the exit. Buy your Christmastown tickets and find operational hours to avoid lines. Pass holders get a discount too.
Thanks again Busch Gardens Williamsburg for an amazing evening and bringing the Christmas Spirit into our family , where presents are not part of the conversations, just good family fun. My 10 year old actually asked Santa for an Annual Pass to Busch Gardens.