Busch Gardens Christmas Celebration 2020
Select dates Nov. 13 – Jan. 3.
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In a time when we could all use a little cheer, Busch Gardens Christmas Celebration shines bright! It’s not Christmas Town folks, but for 2020 we are thrilled Busch Gardens is open and…let’s say from food to experiences, what the folks at Busch Gardens are doing is incredible in this year of extraordinary circumstances.
Yes, guests have to wear a masks while in the park, even if they are outdoors. But the event is limited capacity which means that lines are practically non existent for the rides. And, as one would expect from Busch Gardens – there are lights everywhere.
Pictures with Santa, sparkling lights, abundant decorations, festive foods, live seasonal music, unique shopping and of course roller coasters and rides. The spirit of the season is alive at Busch Gardens.
We got to visit the opening night and it was a much needed Christmas event! Below are a few highlights and tips to fill your visit.
Looking for Santa? He is at Busch Gardens in Santas Workshop. To keep Santa healthy for his big day on December 25th the park has taken extra steps to ensure safety by installing plexiglass, extra cleaning, social distancing and bringing in one family at a time.
We got to chat with Santa and he is looking forward to listening to your kid’s Christmas wishes. And regardless of the plexiglass, you will also get that Santa picture with the kids too!
Before you come to visit Santa, your children can write a letter to him on this fancy Christmas stationary by downloading it here (or any paper they would like to write on) and they can drop it in Santa’s North Pole mailbox perched outside Santa’s Workshop in Oktoberfest.
There are several opportunities for your kids and the entire family to get a special photo in the park. Sesame Street Forest of Fun has Sesame Street Characters including Elmo, all waiting for your family. Frosty the Snowman has a picture set up big enough for the extended family in France. And the Clydesdale horses in Scotland are out with a beautiful backdrop for a wonderful picture. And of course, pictures with Santa cannot be missed!
Sparkling Lights and Abundant Decorations
It really is amazing how fast they can transform the park from Halloween to Christmas. In less than a week (and two days of heavy rain) the park was glowing for opening night! We were even told by an employee that more lights will be added which is hard to believe! It’s difficult to capture the beautiful lights so believe us when we say the sparking lights are around every turn!
HOLD THE TRAIN…a trip to BG Christmas Celebration is not complete without a ride on the railway. Grab a cup of hot chocolate and take in the beautiful sights in the park, and if you’re really in the spirit sing along with the Christmas music.
Also open are 15 roller coasters and rides. This is the most since opening under strict COVID guidelines. So here is the run down on rides that are open: Alpengeist (coaster), Der Autobahn (bumper cars), Der Autobahn Jr., InvadR (coaster), Verbolten (coaster), Finnegan’s Flyer (newest ride at BG), Le Catapult, Der Wirbelwind (swings), Li’l Clydes (kids ride), Kinder Karussel (carousel), Der Roto Baron, Grover’s Alpine Express (kids coaster), Oscar’s Whirly Worm (kids ride) and Prince Elmo’s Spire (kids ride). There are rides for the littlest to the bravest.
Enjoy the carolers as you enter the park in England, singing traditional Christmas songs. Make sure to check out the Killarney Irish Trio in Ireland, they are a lot of fun! While walking through New France we enjoyed a great singer who played acoustic guitar. There is a great pianist inside the Fest House. If you have little ones definitely check out Sesame Street® Forest of Fun™and enjoy Cookie Monsters holiday musical show!
As usual, the singers and musicians are excellent so get ready to enjoy the music.
Kids will love the Gingerbread Scavenger Hunt which takes you throughout the park. Find them all and on your way out stop at Emporium and claim your prize. Definitely a great way to keep everyone engaged!
And since kids are always hungry…we have to talk about the food.
You can grab lunch/dinner at the outside grill at Trapper’s Smokehouse in New France – which includes ribs and barbeque – food here is amazing. Or take time to sit down and experience the Fest Haus. Tables are spaced out and there is a waiting line outside so once you’re let in it is not so crowded. We didn’t have to wait more than a minute outside and maybe 5 minutes in line on the inside…which is record time if you have ever eaten at Fest Haus during a regular season.
If your looking for all the fixings or just pizza, nuggets and fries you won’t be disappointed. I will recommend the southern fried pickles (bet you didn’t expect that). One of us had the turkey dinner with mashed potatoes, gravy and beans and ate every bite. The sausage dinner was really tasty and the kids enjoyed the sirloin sandwich, it was huge and actually too big for them to finish.
And a shout out to the desserts; we did not find one that we didn’t like…and we tried almost all of the ones at Fest Haus.
We did not partake in the holiday adult beverages this time – but the Season just started so…next time.
This year they have wine tastings and specialty cocktails including “Cranberry Hot Toddy,” “Warm Apple Pie Cocktail,”and “After Dinner Mint Cocktail,” an iconic specialty hot chocolate.
If you purchase your meals before you go you will save up to 15% and that can add up with families. Here is the link for meals. It is worth prepaying – and you can combine it with your park ticket as well. Portions are big so if you have littles that don’t have big appetites – opt for kids meal or maybe have kids share.
Now one of my favorite aspects…SHOPPING!!! People think of Busch Gardens as a great place for a family adventure but it is also a great place for gifts for the holidays and for yourself!
There are so many lovely shops bursting with treasures for everyone on your list. This year the shops in Ireland are stocked. And the Emporium in England has these cool snow globe type decor that are battery powered so the snow is always blowing. They are magical.
Pin trading is still alive and well and the Emporium has a good selection if you are looking to add to your collection or start one. Busch Garden’s staff will always trade with you!
This is one I think most people miss but makes a great memory. Go to Caribou Pottery (in New France) take some time to sit down with your kids and paint. Select the pottery pieces you would like to paint like holiday decor, bowls, plates and mugs and paint them. They will fire them and then you can pick them up or have them mailed to you. We enjoy hanging our ornament on the tree every year!
The Clysdales are all about, this Christmas – we had a chance to pet them but you can also get a picture with them in front of the Scotland Stables. Inside the stables we talked with two animal care team members about the owl who was flying between them!
The park employees are working so hard this year – sanitizing handles, seats, bathrooms, table tops – everything you can think – so please give them an extra “thank you” – we would suggest a smile – but with masks on, they would never see it!
So that’s the skinny. It is a definite thumbs up family event! So get your tickets and get in the Christmas Spirit! And a last, big thank you to all the park employees who are making this happen this year!
Busch Gardens Christmas Celebration offers day and evening reservation windows on select dates Nov. 13 – Jan. 3. But these will fill so plan ahead. Christmas Town was always one of the Park’s busiest seasons. Reservations and tickets are available NOW!
Best Way to Play: Get tickets NOW!
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