We skipped the malls and "decked the halls" this Black Friday by scoping out Christmas Town in Busch Gardens Williamsburg. I still feel like I am floating from the magical experience. The decorations at night are breathtaking, and you can't help but smile as you roam through the festive theme park.
Our experience started in the afternoon as we attended the Ultimate Penguin Insider Tour (extra admission fee.) This tour included learning about the visiting cold and warm weather penguins, question and answer session with the penguin trainer, watching a feeding, and a meet and greet interaction with one of the adorable critters. A complimentary CD with high resolution images was included. My children loved watching these amazing birds swim around, and the staff was knowledgeable, friendly, and entertaining.
After the tour ended, we boarded the sky ride and made the full triangle around the line. It was still afternoon for us, but I would recommend riding in the evening to get the full effect of the spectacular lights.
The park is broken up into different sections: England/Scotland, Ireland, Italy, France/New France, Oktoberfest, and for the holiday season there is the "North Pole" and "Holiday Hills." Each section contains its own unique rides, entertainment, shopping, and dining.
For younger children, Italy is a great section to spend some time. Little ones can soar up not too high on the Little Balloons and the Little Gliders. If your child is over 42" and has no fear (like my six year old,) they will enjoy DaVinci's Cradle, The Battering Ram, and The Flying Machine.
We also enjoyed the rides at the brand new Holiday Hills section of the park. My children (with an adult) were both able to go on the fast Reindeer Run and the Peppermint Twist (tea cup ride.)
Busch Gardens offers top notch entertainment, and Christmas Town boasts main shows. Gloria! features a full orchestra, amazing singers, and multimedia to tell the powerful story of the birth of Jesus Christ. Deck the Halls includes holiday tunes with singers and dancers in festive costumes. A Sesame Street Christmas is great for little ones and contains the beloved Sesame Street characters getting in the holiday spirit. Finally, Miracles is an uplifting show with stunning scenery and talented movement and vocal artists. During our visit, we adored Gloria! and Deck the Halls.
My children are huge train fans, and there was nothing more breath taking then riding the train throughout the park at night. There are three stations located throughout the park, and visitors can get off the train or choose to stay aboard. The trains run continuously, are decorated with moving Christmas lights, and blast holiday tunes. It's a fun ride!
Furthermore, a stop to Christmas Town wouldn't be complete without a visit with Santa, and the Santa's Workshop is decorated beautifully and contains a very "realistic" looking Santa and Mrs. Claus.
It was excellent to enjoy some quality time with my family and "let go" of our parenting rules. Our kids indulged hot chocolate at 8:30 PM (past their bedtime) while watching the spectacular musical "Oh Tannenbaum" light show on the gigantic 50-foot Christmas tree. The entire experience was magical, and we hope to make Christmas Town at Busch Gardens part of our annual holiday tradition.
Important things to know:
My family received complimentary park admission, Quick Queue option 1, a Penguin Insider Tour, and an overnight stay in a Williamsburg area hotel as compensation for this review. All opinions in the article are my own.
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