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Unofficial Guide to Busch Gardens Christmas Town
Busch Gardens Williamsburg – Christmas Town
What is new this year PLUS discounts!
November 17, 2018 – January 5, 2019
Get your Tickets! There are big ticket savings this year as always but something new is that Christmas Town is now included with annual memberships! So if you are coming back to the park and want parking included you might consider the Unlimited Membership. Here is our Busch Gardens Discounts page that keeps up on discounts and memberships at Busch Gardens Williamsburg! Keep scrolling down for all the new things this year at Christmas Town!
The annual Christmas Town celebration starts Nov. 17 and runs select days through Jan. 5, 2019. This year’s event is celebrating 10 years with 10 million lights, more lights than ever—giving Christmas Town the most lights of any holiday event in North America. So, if you are in Williamsburg anytime between mid November and the January 5th, you do not want to miss Busch Garden’s Christmas Town. There is something for everyone in your family. There are rides for all ages including Battle for Eire, Busch Gardens’ new Virtual Reality Ride, and Verbolten®. Shows that the entire family can enjoy, several dining options that offer both great food and wonderful entertainment, like World-champion figure skater Elvis Stojko! Wait, did we mention Santa Claus is there too? (The real one!)
Here are some top things to do this year at Christmas Town:
1.Santa’s Workshop: Santa moved his home last Christmas Town – you can find him at Santa’s Workshop in the NewKastle (formerly Dark Castle) building. You can take pictures and children can drop off their Christmas wish lists.
TIP: Beat the crowds and head to Santa’s workshop for photos as soon as the park opens.
2. NEW Christmas Town Express: – The familiar Choo Choo of the Busch Gardens Railway will have you singing along to favorite holiday songs while enjoying the lighted decorations along the park’s popular train route. They have caroling, two million stunning Christmas lights and themed holiday vignettes meticulously placed around the 1.5-mile tour. It is a great place to sit with the whole family and take in the park. Little ones will enjoy the real train ride and everyone else will enjoy a little rest as you tour the sites.
3. NEW – Wilkommenhaus – located in the park’s German village (where the Escape rooms are during Howl-O-Scream) will transforms into an amazing visual Christmas spectacle through beautiful projection mapping. Virtual gingerbread men make this festive village come to life nightly, every 15-minutes during Christmas Town. Kids will love watching this light show.
TIP: Get a great view of the most of the lights from the Skyride, the Christmas Town Express train, or Mach Tower (or Nacht Tower), which descends slowly during Christmas Town so you get the bests views!
4. O’Tannenbaum – There is a hot chocolate stand near by – so grab a mug and get ready to watch the multi-colored spectacular light show O’ Tannenbaum. Gather with friends around our majestic 50-foot Christmas tree, sip your hot beverage and dance to the booming holiday musical score. The iconic tree creates a sense of community that will stay with you long after you leave the park…and everyone has a photo with this tree in their Christmas photos!
5. Spectacular yuletide shows: A cappella show Gift of Harmony™ is back for its second year. Popular shows Twas That Night, headlined by former Olympic skater Elvis Stojko, Deck the Halls, Scrooge No More!™and Gloria! also return, along with the popular 50-foot Christmas tree light show O’Tannenbaum in front of the stunning Das Festhaus.
6. NEW Sesame Street® holiday show: Elmo’s Christmas Wish –Elmo’s Christmas Wish debuts this year on the stage at Sesame Street® Forest of Fun™. Guests can enjoy this holiday musical show with Rosita, Grover, Zoe and Cookie Monster as they help Elmo find his Christmas wish. Sesame Street® Forest of Fun™ also will be all decked out for the holidays. Guests can meet their favorite Sesame Street characters, including Elmo and Cookie Monster, and capture a special holiday photo. Families can ride Grover’s Alpine Express and take time for some Christmas shopping at Abby Cadabby’s Treasure Trove.
7. Gloria: Live entertainment is a fundamental part of the Busch Gardens experience and Christmas Town keeps this tradition alive. We took our children to see Gloria this year and sat in the second row of Ireland’s Abbey Stone Theatre. My children have never sat so close to an orchestra. They watched the strings section intently. The singers were fantastic and the show opens with the performers behind a lit scrim; my daughter thought is was a film for the first few minutes, it was so beautiful.
8.”Scrooge No More”: The Globe Theater in England has returned to its musical roots; presenting live musical productions, which started with London Rocks!, Christmas Town is continuing the live musical theater programming with “Scrooge No More!” This rendition of the classic Christmas Carol story focuses on Scrooge’s transformation from Humbug to Christmas Ambassador Extraordinaire.
9.‘Twas That Night: For a full-scale ice show check out Royal Palace Theatre in France. Inspired by the classic poem A Visit from Saint Nicholas, ‘Twas That Night headlined by former Olympic skater Elvis Stojko. This show really captured the magic of Christmas Eve — I’m not sure who enjoyed it more, me or my kids! They loved seeing Santa and his reindeer on skates – and there are a few more surprises but I won’t spoil it for you! This is an outdoor space so if it is a chilly night – mittens and coats and some yummy hot chocolate will do the trick.
TIP: The Royal Palace Theatre is in an open-air venue with tons of seating, but I recommend going early if you want the best seats on busy nights (you can also pay extra for reserved seating online before you go.)
10. Das Fest Haus located in Oktoberfest offers great food with options for everyone and huge benches of seating. The show “Deck the Halls” is filled with the holiday tunes you hear on the radio and grew up singing. We loved hearing the live band, and the dancers perform on both sides of the stage, so any seat in the house will be pretty good. This is a fun, sure to please show and a great place to sit down, eat dinner or just grab a hot chocolate and enjoy a good performance.
TIP: Near Das Fest Haus, duck into the Mistletoe Marketplace and find a traditional Germany outdoor market and with unique treasures for everyone on your Christmas list.
11. Gift of Harmony: A cappella show Gift of Harmony™ is back for its second year. Christmas Town has added a new offering to its array of yuletide shows. Gift of Harmony™ features a modern a cappella sound with stunning and complex vocals performed by a group of talented singers. The musical set will include traditional Christmas songs and some newer holiday favorites.
12. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer™: Stop by Rudolph’s Winter Wonderland and see Rudolph and his Friends – this is perfect photo op for your kids (and you) to jump in a picture with your favorite childhood characters. The classic Christmas character is back and joined by friends Clarice, Yukon Cornelius, Bumble and Sam the Snowman. Also, enjoy a multis-ensory presentation of the timeless Rudolph story at Rudolph’s Movie Experience.
13. Caribou Pottery: Take a break from all the excitement and 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. Located in New France
Places to Dine:
Christmas Town offers an assortment of special dining experiences, including Tastes of Christmas Town which features a buffet luncheon with a carving station, pasta and salad bar, kid-friendly foods and other holiday favorites and Santa’s Fireside Feast.
14. Santa’s Fireside Feast : If you want to plan a special dinner for the family Santa’s Fireside Feast in Ireland’s Castle O’Sullivan is a wonderful meal with everything from meatballs to a turkey dinner on the buffet, and an intimate setting where Santa comes out and recites “T’was the Night Before Christmas”. Mrs. Claus came and chatted with our delighted children at our table. Santa is waiting on stage for little ones to climb on his lap and tell him their hearts’ desires. It is also the perfect photo op.
One of my favorite places to eat year round is always the Trappers’ Smokehouse, where you will enjoy hand-carved smoked turkey, ham or brisket dinner and special kid’s choices too.
For all the dining options visit Busch Gardens website.
15. Parcel Pickup: Planning on shopping at Busch Gardens – and why not, they have package pickup. Purchase your item and ask to have it taken to Parcel Pick up right near the exit of the park. We did it and it was easy as pie!
MONEY-SAVING TIPS: Here are a few special offers that can save you a couple of dollars – especially if you are a repeat visitor to Christmas Town:
- You can always use your refillable drink cups from past seasons to get a reduced rate on refills of soda.
- Thirsty? You are welcome to bring in a water bottle to the park or you can ask for ice water at any concession stand – and it is free.
- You can save on your meal by purchasing online in their Meal Deal section before you head to Christmas Town.
- Purchase the Christmas Town™ Souvenir Hot Beverage Mug and then get refills at a discounted rate during Christmas Town 2018. Souvenir mug (12 oz.) can be filled with coffee*, hot chocolate and fountain soda. (*Starbucks, Ghirardelli and alcoholic beverages are not included.)
- PhotoKey membership – your photos taken by Busch Garden’s photo team in the park will also be linked to your account so that you will be able to share, or create one-of-a-kind memorabilia from your trip to Busch Gardens – purchase and set it up before you go so that you can easily scan the QR codes on your phone app as you have your picture taken by staff at various locations.
- If you have an Annual Membership, depending on your level, you will receive free or discounted parking and discounts on food and merchandise. Check your membership levels to see your discounts before you go!
This is a separate ticket event so even Annual Pass holders need to purchase either a Christmas Town Fun Card or Single Admission Pass. If you want to visit Colonial Williamsburg try a Christmas Town Bounce Card! – Busch Gardens +Colonial Williamsburg Christmas Town Bounce Ticket.
TIP: Definitely buy your tickets online before heading to the park – this will save you tons of time waiting in line! You can just head into the park with your print out or mobile device.
If you have not been to Busch Garden’s Williamsburg before please check our Unofficial Guide to Busch Garden’s Williamsburg. It will give you the insider’s scoop on where to eat, snacks you can bring in the park and helpful tips.
Here is our page with the latest Busch Gardens promotions and special discounts .
This review was written in 2014 but was updated in 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018!
Unofficial Guide to Busch Gardens Williamsburg Christmas Town