Living in Florida sometimes makes it hard to get into the holiday spirit when it’s 70 degrees Fahrenheit outside. So we look for unique ways to start our holiday celebrations in the Tampa Bay Area. A great way to get in the mood is at Christmas Town Busch Gardens.
I was provided with complimentary passes from Busch Gardens to experience Christmas Town several years ago. All opinions are my own.
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This year, from November 14, 2022 to January 9, 2023, Christmas Town Busch Gardens turns the park into a lighted wonderland. Voted a USA Today 10 Best Theme Park Holiday Event, it’s something everyone of all ages will enjoy.
Busch Gardens tickets include admission to Christmas Town. 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.
There’s really something for everyone at Christmas Town. Storytime with Mrs. Clause, Elmo’s Christmas Wish and Rudolph’s Winter Wonderland are a must for the little ones. Adults will want to venture into the Christmas Village Town for some holiday beverages and shopping. And the entire family can enojoy the Three Kings Journey, the ice skating show and fireworks displays.
Make sure you hop on the Holly Jolly Express. Decorated in garland and Christmas decorations, the train takes a 20 minute trip around the Serengeti while playing Christmas songs. This year there will be limited seating on the train, but it’s a must do.
As you wander around the park, you’ll see elves, princesses and fairies to meet and you can take pictures with them. Love Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer? He’s there with his girlfriend Clarice and Bumble the Abominable Snowman ready for self-distanced photos.
And of course, Santa is visiting from the North Pole! His elves are ready to greet you at Santa’s House so you can take a photo with the jolly elf himself.
Food & Drinks
What are the holidays without great food and drinks? Not a whole lot of fun! So head over to Christmas Town Village – with food areas inside the village to explore, there is a wide variety of food and drink choices.
Lines can be long when Christmas Town opens as they work out the kinks, so be patient. A good tip is to immediately head to Christmas Town Village when it opens, get your food and drinks and then then head out to see the lights once the sun goes down.
The best way to experience the food in Christmas Town is to purchase a Christmas Town Sampler Lanyard. Available with 5 or 10 samples (annual pass holders are able to purchase a special lanyard that allows for 12 samples), it allows you to get food and drinks in Christmas Town Village without having to deal with cash. Note that the alcoholic drinks are smaller sized when using the lanyard. Still, non-alcoholic beverages (including bottled sodas) and food are full-sized, so you’ll save if you want to try a variety of different things.
Where to Stay
There are a wide variety of places to stay in Tampa while visiting Busch Gardens. Staying near the University of South Florida puts you 5 miles away. But if you’re interested in staying near where the action is, there are plenty of hotels in the downtown Tampa area, which is 10 miles from the park.
Christmas Town at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is a great way to get out of the house and enjoy the holiday season with your family.
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