Celebrating at Christmas Town Busch Gardens
Disclosure: I was provided with complimentary passes from Busch Gardens to experience Christmas Town. All opinions are my own.
Living in Florida, sometimes it’s hard to get into the holiday spirit when it’s 70 degrees Fahrenheit outside. So we’ll look for special ways to start our holiday celebrations. A great way to get in the mood is at Christmas Town at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.
Taking place this year from November 16, 2019 to January 6, 2020, Busch Gardens Christmas town turns the park into a lighted wonderland. Voted a USA Today 10 Best Theme Park Holiday Event, it’s definitely something everyone of all ages will enjoy.
Admission to Christmas Town is included in the price of the regular Busch Gardens tickets. Having been to Busch Gardens with kids who aren’t into rollercoasters, I knew that we didn’t need to hop on all the rides to enjoy the night. If you love the rides though, you might want to go a few hours before sunset and then enjoy the lights and entertainment.
With shows such as Three Kings Journey, which tells the story of the three wise men making their way to Bethlehem, Elmos’ Christmas Wish and Christmas on Ice, there’s a variety of acts to catch. Carol of the Bells was a favorite of ours – located at the Serengeti Overlook Restaurant, tens of thousands of lights are coordinated to holiday music.
Make sure you hop on the Sing-Along Train – decorated in garland and Christmas decorations, the train takes a 20 minute trip around the Serengeti while playing Christmas songs and encouraging passengers to sing along.
Head down to Merry Mint Lane at the Animal Care Center where you can meet penguins up close and even enjoy some treats. And don’t forget to look at the animal habitats. Yes it’s dark but sometimes you might catch one of the lions up and about like we did.
Meet & Greets
As you wander around the park you’ll see elves, princess and fairies to meet and take pictures with. Love Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer? He’s there with his girlfriend Clarice and Bumble the Abominable Snowman ready for photos.
And of course Santa is visiting from the North Pole in case you need to drop your list off to him before his big day! His elves are ready to greet you at Santa’s House – we hope you’ve been nice and not too naughty this year.
Photo courtesy of Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Food & Drinks
What’s the holidays without great food and drinks? Not a whole lot of fun! So head over to Christmas Town Village – with 10 food areas inside the village to explore, there is a wide variety of food and drink choices.
Being completely honest here – the lines food and drinks were really, really long. To be fair we were there the very first night Christmas Town opened. The workers were all friendly but it took so long to get our snacks that we feel we missed out a little on some of the other fun things going on. Next time I’d head for food and drinks as soon as Christmas Town Village opened at 4pm and then head out to see the lights once the sun goes down.
Our family enjoyed the Chicken and Waffle Sandwich, a Waffle Cristo (sliced ham and Swiss cheese on waffles) and Beer Cheese Soup. The adults sampled some beers and a Holiday Mojito and we also all had to have some hot cocoa.
The best way to experience the food in Christmas Town is to purchase a Christmas Town Sampler Lanyard. Available with 5 or 10 samples, it allows you to get that many samples at the food stands in Christmas Town Village. Note that the alcoholic drinks are smaller sized when using the lanyard but non-alcoholic drinks (including bottled sodas) and food are full sized so you’ll definitely save if you want to try a variety of different things.
Interested in a different atmosphere? Try the Taste of the Holidays buffet at Serengeti Overlook or enjoy a holiday breakfast with Elmo and his friends!
Christmas Town is going to become a holiday tradition for our family – what’s your family’s favorite way to kick off the holidays?