It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Busch Gardens Christmas Town will return to Tampa on Saturday, November 16th, 2019 and run through Monday, January 6th, 2020.
The annual award-winning event that celebrates the holiday season has some new additions this year:
The Most Wonderful Time: Enjoy a classy Christmas soirée with jazzy piano solos, a live band and heart-melting vocal performances.
The Holiday Sing-Along Train: This season, the park’s classic steam engine has a merry makeover, including more lights than ever. One of the most popular things to do has been updated for 2019.
Merry Mint Lane: Park guests can enjoy a close look at penguins and other animal ambassadors at the Animal Care Center. The area’s festive makeover includes photo opportunities with new Peppermint Pals, tasty treats and more.
Sugar Plum Princess: Joining the Ice Princess and Poinsettia Princess, a new Sugar Plum Princess will greet guests near Sultan’s Sweets candy shop.
Pumpkin Thrill Shakes: It’s not really fall or winter without pumpkin and Busch Gardens has added it to the line-up for their Christmas Town samplers.
Breakfast with Elmo & Friends: Families can enjoy hugs and high fives from their favorite Sesame Street friends as they celebrate the holidays with family-friendly eats at Dragon Fire Grill. Available select dates in November and December, space is limited and reservations are encouraged.
Taste of the Holidays Buffet: Guests can enjoy the views of Serengeti Plain and Cobra’s Curse, while feasting on holiday favorites at the park’s historic Serengeti Overlook Restaurant. This new buffet menu features returning classic favorites, like house-signature fried chicken and pumpkin cheesecake.
Full disclosure: I was given complimentary tickets to Busch Gardens Christmas Town in exchange for an article about my experience at the annual event. Any opinions expressed are my own and do not represent Busch Gardens or any other entity.
My family and I hit the road on Saturday for an evening at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay for their annual Christmas Town event. The weather on Saturday was perfect for a day at a theme park. It’s normally hot whenever I visit theme parks, but it was in the mid-60s on Saturday.
Immediately upon entering the theme park we encountered a few of the local workers dressed in excellent holiday outfits which made for great photo ops. If you are trying to take some family photos, Christmas Town is filled with props and characters to help build some great memories.
We decided to hit the ice skating show first called “Christmas on Ice”. I tried to hit this show last year, but arrived too late to enter the show. You need to arrive early if you want to watch this show, I recommend 30-40 minutes before the show at the minimum for good seats.
“Christmas on Ice” was a really great show with some exceptional ice skaters and plenty of different themes that can appeal to families, couples, kids, and various groups. I really enjoyed this show and recommend it to anyone visiting Busch Gardens during Christmas Town.
After the show we made our way over to the Christmas Village. They relocated the village this year to the lanes by Gwazi due to construction in their old zone. There was a good number of food and drink options, but it did feel slimmed back a little.
I had a turkey panini that was excellent here, however there was quite a line and wait for food, which was definitely frustrating. I also tried the Chicken N Waffles, which were delicious but went a little too heavy on the apple butter.
I recommend hitting up Christmas Village earlier if you’re going to get food because some booths were overwhelmed by crowds and didn’t seem to have a proper system in place to handle them. It have also been the fact that the booth I was mainly at was making mac and cheese grilled cheese sandwiches, which may be logistically difficult.
A nice added feature was wine tastings and a whiskey addition, which gives you some liquor options unless you to venture over to Dragon Fire Grill & Pub or one of their other restaurants for some libations (we eventually did).
After we grabbed some food, we wandered over to the Serengetti Overlook Restaurant to watch the Carol of the Bells light show which is always fun and great for kids. After that we ventured back and headed towards the Sing-a-Long Train which is always one of my favorite things to do at Christmas Town and great for when you’re tired of walking and need a break.
We wanted to hit up Santa Clause and Rudolph but the wait times were over an hour so we decided to skip it since we didn’t have much time left until the theme park closed. Busch Gardens does sell priority access to these areas for $24.99 for those who would rather pay to skip the line.
One thing we didn’t see this year that I expected to see was the snow machines, which I appreciate quite a bit living here in Florida. Hope those come back in the future.
Overall, my family and I had a great time at Busch Gardens Christmas Town. The lights were beautiful and we enjoyed all the Christmas trees and cheer as well as all the photo opportunities to make some memories. Christmas Village could be improved a bit more logistically, but it was still enjoyable overall.
I recommend getting there early so you can get the most out of it or return back multiple times if you are a passholder and take your time going through the areas of the park and enjoying the holiday spirit.
Are you feeling the holiday spirit? It’s 67 degrees today in Tampa and I am already sipping on an eggnog latte. Busch Gardens Tampa Bay will bring back their annual Christmas Town series starting this Saturday, November 17th.
This is a sponsored post for Busch Gardens about their annual Christmas Town event. I visited the theme park with media passes to experience the event for a first-hand account. Opinions are my own and do not reflect those of Busch Gardens.
Thanksgiving has passed and the holiday season has finally started. Busch Gardens is now running their annual Christmas Town event from now until January 6th. January 1st to January 6th will have a new Three Kings Day Celebration.
The winter event features tons of photo opportunities for families, couples, and friends.
You’ll find Christmas characters spread throughout the theme park including Santa Clause, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and others. The park penguins are on-display and there is also a Sing-A-Long Express Train running with holiday songs playing on-board.
Shows and musical events include Christmas on Ice, Carols of the Bells, and the Holiday Hills Brass Band. The Christmas on Ice show is quite popular and actually fills to capacity so I would recommend showing up a little before the showtime to make sure you get a seat.
Busch Gardens added more food items to the menu including mini doughnuts and a number of other specialty items.
The prices vary but each thing will probably run you anywhere from $4-$10. They are selling sampler packs and if you’re planning to hit a number of booths, it might be an economical option for you and your group. The food stands and theme park restaurants are also open with some specialized items added.
I think a cool addition to think about for the future might be to add a food truck park with snow around it or maybe an ice bar with adult beverages.
The theme park rides are also open which leaves a ton of things to do. My favorite was the Cheetah Hunt which zooms past many of the lights and Christmas trees as pictured above.
I would recommend showing up earlier so you can have time to get on rides and also enjoy all the Christmas festivities before the theme park closes. We did enjoy a ride or two during our visit but chose to spend more of our time looking at the lights and enjoying the holiday additions.
The lights have really become more impressive in the last few years and it will certainly give you a piece of the holiday spirit. I loved the Christmas trees and displays. This unusually chilly weather lately will also enhance it. I recommend visiting Busch Gardens Christmas Town if you’re looking for a special night out with the family, a date, or a night with some friends.
Christmas Town is included with Busch Gardens admissions tickets.
For a limited time, guests can pay for a day and get two parks now through 2018 FREE. Guests can enjoy unlimited admission to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay through Dec. 31, 2018 and to Adventure Island through the 2018 season.