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Busch Gardens Christmas Celebration

It’s hard to believe it’s finally December and the park is two weeks into their Christmas Celebration. I love Christmas and I love Christmas Town at Busch Gardens, but beware folks….THIS IS NOT CHRISTMAS TOWN!! At least it’s not the Christmas Town we have grown to love over the years.

For those that have not been, and even for those that have, this event can best be summed up as going back to Christmas Town year 1, which is NOT a bad thing. When you’re a park as big as BG, and you only have three weeks and a skeleton crew to work with, you’re going to do your best to decorate as much as you possibly can. This means keeping some areas closed off. Not a big deal since we’re all used it by now. Back when they first opened for CT, Italy was not open and you could only walk to the back of the park through Ireland, and backtrack the same way to get out. I know a lot of people that have already been to the event are upset about this, but really, it’s not THAT big of a deal. Especially when you do have the option to ride the train. When we visited, we took the train from Tweedside Station to Caribou, then walked to Das Fest Haus, had dinner, then took our time backtracking back to the front of the park, stopping in shops and enjoying the musicians in New France and Ireland along the way.

My first disappointment for the night was dinner at Das Fest Haus. I’ll start by saying the lines were pretty short, and since there was no show, it was nice not having to yell at each other during dinner. We got the Christmas dinner (turkey, green beans, and potatoes), which, in years past, is our favorite meal during CT. And while it was still really good, we were missing two key components to the turkey dinner….cranberry sauce and their signature cornbread dressing. What the heck? Even a roll would’ve been nice to have. But the food was hot and tasted good. And while there may not be Deck the Halls on the stage, the park did add a live pianist to at least offer some dinner entertainment. I have to say, we really enjoyed him and I really hope he’s back next year. While Deck the Halls is a nice show, it’s had it’s run. It’s the only show that has not changed over the years and honestly, while it’s entertaining, it’s also the oldest running show during Christmas.

During our walk back through the park, it was nice to see there are a few vendors set up near Santa’s Workshop, to give us some Mistletoe Marketplace resemblance.


Santa’s Workshop was my second disappointment. And really, my biggest disappointment of the whole event. I knew going in that there would be no sitting with Santa and little interaction. I was even expecting the plexiglass divider as that is how Bass Pro Shop is set up. No big deal, it is what it is this year. But we had more fun standing in line chatting with the elves than we did seeing the big man in red. Did they do a good job with the Covid restriction setup? Sure. But it was really sad and honestly a bit heartbreaking to be so separated. I actually prefer the setup the park has for the photos with Frosty (sitting on a bench in front of him) over the Santa setup. So parents, if you’re reading this….avoid breaking your kids hearts if you can and skip Santa’s Workshop. But, if your kids insist, prepare them.



 After leaving Santa’s Workshop, I needed something to bring my spirits back up. We hit up Three River Snacks for the parks signature peppermint fudge hot cocoa and their new gingerbread funnel cakes. While I usually skip funnel cakes, I can’t say no to gingerbread anything. Plus, I was really curious. Surprisingly, it wasn’t too bad, although mine could’ve used more gingerbread spice to it. For about half the price of their regular funnel cakes, you get two mini funnel cakes stacked with caramel sauce, whipped cream, and powdered sugar. I asked to go light on the toppings and I’m glad I did as the sweetness of the caramel sauce overpowered the gingerbread spice. The peppermint fudge hot cocoa was nice and hot and perfectly tasty for the cool night.


If you’re still craving something sweet after the funnel cakes, the Cookies and Cocoa Cafe is still open as you head back towards Ireland.

While I do miss Scrooge No More and Gloria!, the park has several outdoor performers to entertain us. New France, Ireland, and England each have musicians and carolers to help keep the Christmas Spirit up and help keep some sense of normalcy to the event.                                                                                                                                 

Now, the biggest question….is it worth going? Yes, as long as you go in knowing what to expect. Whether you’re a member, or paying guest, I believe this event will help with the Christmas Spirit. Just don’t go in expecting Christmas Town and 5 million lights because you won’t be getting it.  Plus, with Covid restrictions still in place, its nice to enjoy the park when capacity is limited to 4000 guests (up from 1000 guests)

Christmas Celebration is split into day and evening sessions, still requiring guests to make reservations for each event. If you visit during the daytime, kids can enjoy a scavenger hunt, similar to what they did during Halloween Harvest, as well as Sesame Street Forest of Fun, and several kiddie rides.

Tickets for Christmas Celebration start at just $39.99 and they do go up in price depending on when you visit. They are also offering a Christmas Celebration Fun Card for $79.99 each. Reservations are required for everyone.

Christmas Celebration is open through January 3rd. Check their website for more information https://buschgardens.com/williamsburg/


Halloween Harvest added dates

Hey guys!

Just got an update from the park that I want to share.  Due to the popularity of their Halloween Harvest, they have extended the event and added for dates.  While the event was originally scheduled to end November 1st, the park has added the following dates and times:

Additional Visiting Dates and Times: (reservations are required)

Oct 20, Tuesday – 5 – 9 p.m.

Oct 26, Monday – 5 – 9 p.m.

Nov 6, Friday – 5 – 9 p.m.

Nov 7, Saturday – 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. and 3 – 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. – 12 a.m.

Nov 8, Sunday – 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.  and 5 – 9 p.m.

For more information on the event and to make reservations:  https://buschgardens.com/williamsburg/tickets/reservations/


Busch Gardens Halloween Harvest

Hey Chasers!

How many of you have been to Busch Gardens since their August reopening? Thoughts? Concerns? Comments?

This has been a tough year for the park. Usually by now we are well into the season. Actually, well into the season, end of season, and middle of Howl-O-Scream. Due to the pandemic closures the park has been getting creative in its operations, with their limitations being set at 1000 guests maximum, and limited operating days/hours, I feel they are doing the best that they can with the situation, and a pretty darn good job at it too.

If you haven’t been to the park yet, visit this link for info and what to expect for their Covid precautions: https://www.attractionchasers.com/reopening-busch-gardens/

Typically by now we are well into Howl-O-Scream. One of my favorite times of the year for Busch Gardens. Due to staffing and time constraints, as well as operations constraints, the first thing you will notice when you enter the park is their lack of decorations compared to the normal Howl-O-Scream. I have to stress that. Normal. Howl-O-Scream. Halloween Harvest, as this event is being called, is NOT Howl-O-Scream. It is more of a Halloween/fall festival. Actually more closely to a fall festival with some Halloween aspects added.

Currently the park is operating with three different time blocks, 11-3, 5-9, and 8pm-12am (Saturdays only).

What to expect of this special event….this time the park has opened up Italy, Festa Italia, and Oktoberfest, but has closed down France and New France. While Ireland is still open, Apollo’s Chariot, Tempesto, and Verbolten are now open too. I love the change in sections and rides.

During the daytime, kids can dress up in their costumes and participate in trick or treating and a pumpkin scavenger hunt. When the sun goes down, the park does have a small handful of scare actors roaming around to give guests the scares they crave this time of year. While there are no haunted mazes or scare zones, we found there was still plenty of roaming scare actors to make you jump.

Marco Polo’s Marketplace is open for dining, however, the park has kept their Food and Wine kiosks up and have added a few new foods to the menu. I HIGHLY recommend the Reuben sliders and German meatballs at the Vesuvius Grill near Escape from Pompeii. O’Tators in Ireland is offering fish and chips and shrimp po’ boys. While I have heard the shrimp po’ boys are supposed to be fantastic, our serving was nearly inedible with the bread being so hard you couldn’t even bite into it. The fried shrimp was nothing exciting, but the sauce that is used in the sandwich had a nice little kick to it. But I would recommend the Reuben sandwich any day. I would also recommend purchasing one of the sampling passes for $30 or $60 (slightly cheaper if you have a memebership). The punch cards are well worth the cost if you want to try the various kiosk foods.

Don’t forget, you do need reservations to visit the park. While most dates are full, keep checking as spots open when guests cancel their reservations. Passs holders and members get into the park for free, individual day tickets are still $50 and guest ticket cannot be used for these special events.

Reopening of Busch Gardens

Well it’s been a wild and crazy year. Busch Gardens has finally announced that they are reopening…..kinda. The park, which has been closed since March 14, due to the pandemic, is opening for limited dates and times for their newest event, Coasters and Craft Brews.

Before I get to talking about the event itself, I want to discuss the parks new safety and cleanliness protocols and what to expect when you visit the park.

All guests and team members are required to wear a mask at all times. By now, this shouldn’t be a shock to most people. If you forget your mask, don’t worry. The park will make accommodations for guests to purchase one prior to entering the park.

We will also be going through a temperature check. The thermometer, like most businesses that are monitoring their employees temps, is the simple point-and-shoot type laser thermometer. We will have two chances to get a good reading. Don’t worry, if you test high the first round, you’ll be asked to relax in their cooling station for a few minutes before they take your temperature again. A second high temperature and you will not be permitted to enter the park.

Pretty simple, isn’t it?

As far as rides go, expect changes to your whole riding experience. Queues will look differently with the addition of the Social distancing stickers. You’ll basically stand to the ride of the queues. Sounds simply enough. right? I will warn you though, if you’re the type (and I know most of us are) that enjoys your rides from specific seats, Busch Gardens is taking that option away from us and will filter guests into the seating queues as needed.

The park has also been adding plexiglass dividers for cash registers and have also closed off sections of their picnic areas to give guests more personal space.


Now, for Coasters and Craft Brews.

Not much to really touch up on. Once you enter the park there’s only one direction you can go, to the right.

For those guests that enjoy their souvenir popcorn buckets or soda cups, there will be NO using of those containers.

Beers for the event can be purchased inside Grogan’s Pub while Trappers Smokehouse will be open for dining.

There will also be brewery talks featuring some of our favorite local breweries.

All in all, I was impressed with everything we saw today at the park. It looks great and I can’t wait to return.


Pantheon at Busch Gardens

I can’t believe we’re already a month into 2020.  While Busch Gardens may be quiet without the screams from excited guests, the staff has been hard at work since closing day, prepping for the spring opening.  Breaking down rides, conducting safety inspections, and rebuilding them.  As you pull into the toll plaza on opening day, take a peek to your left and you’ll notice Apollo’s Chariot has been fully repainted back to it’s purple and gold glory, and it looks as good as it did when it first opened.

Refurbs and paint jobs aside, there is also one thing to really look forward to this year….PANTHEON.  The parks newest, fastest, multi-launch coaster.

Located next to the Festa Italia train station Pantheon, themed for the Roman Gods Pluto, Neptune, Mercury, Minerva and Jupiter, takes will take riders through 3,328 feet of track at speeds of 73mph, through four launches, two inversions, a 95 degree drop, and a 180 foot drop.  For those airtime fans, while there may not be a lot of hills, but we’ll still see fifteen, yes, FIFTEEN, opportunities for airtime, as the trains race over, under, and around the terrain.

Once you leave the station, the ride takes you through twists and turns before finally entering its first launch and inversion.   As the trains make their way to the top hat hill element, you’ll find the trains rolling backwards up to the top of the reverse launch, where the track will actually shift into a launch track, sending the trains up and over the top hat, down past the Rhine River, similar to Verbolten’s second drop, sending riders into what is called a ‘Top Gun Stall’, where the train inverts, hanging riders briefly, before continuing on, and finally finishing back at the station.  The entire ride will be about two minutes in length.

If you rode the train during last season and followed Pantheon’s construction, you’ve probably noticed that it sits in the area that was previously used as pastures for the parks Clydesdales, sheep, and Highland cows.  Have no worries, the park didn’t completely displace our beloved animals.  They still have plenty of pasture space next to the ride.  In fact, you’ll probably get a chance to see them as you walk over the Festa train station to get to Pantheon.

While we were not given information regarding the themeing we were told that there will be themeing at the station and queue area.  And if you’re worried about the trees that were removed for construction we asked about that too.  The park works with the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Program that requires that they replace trees that are removed.  So while it may not be immediate, they will work to replace the landscaping around the coaster.

While there may not be an official opening date released just yet, the park is hoping for a spring opening.  There’s still quite a bit of work to finish before they can begin testing though, including completing the last section of track.  My guess is maaaaaybe a spring break opening if we’re lucky, but hopefully no later than Memorial Day.

Busch Gardens opens March 14 for members, March 15 for general public.  If you haven’t purchased a membership yet, now is the perfect time to buy them as the park is running a sale on memberships AND fun cards.  https://buschgardens.com/williamsburg/annual-pass/


Christmas Town 2019 Review


Alright chasers, it’s that time again. Time to break out your hot cocoa mugs. Christmas Town is officially open!

In it’s 11th year, the park continues to amaze me with their lights and decorations. With just two weeks between the end of Howl-O-Scream and opening of Christmas Town, the park had a lot of work to do, tearing down Halloween decorations and putting up 10 millions lights and Christmas decorations around the park. Two weeks. But somehow they manage to get it done.

Back in its second year, the Christmas Town Express is still one of my favorite highlights of Christmas Town. I highly recommend getting into the line early as on busier nights the wait can be extremely long (upwards of 2hrs), but even then, the wait is well worth it. Like last year, the train only uses one station, Caribou in New France, making this a full 20 minute ride around the park. Keep an eye out a you pass through the Festa Italia station as you can see the latest work on the construction for Pantheon, the new coaster opening in 2020.

The park has two new highlights this year. The first is the Traditions tree maze. This is a must see, even if you only do it once. Located to the right of Das Fest Haus, this maze of lighted trees features booths from around the world that explain how different countries celebrate Christmas. The booths also act as craft stations for kids. The tree maze is simply beautiful and since it’s tucked away from everything, giving you a bit of peace and calmness from the crowds.

The second new attraction this year is the new show in Italy, simply titled, Believe. It features a live pianist singing Christmas carols. I still miss Miracles, and honestly would love to see the two shows merged together, but I’m thankful that they replaced Gift of Harmony.

Scrooge No more, Gloria, O’Tannenbaum, and Deck the Halls round out the rest of the shows.

Families might be bummed to find the Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer movie is no longer playing in Festa. It has been replaced with a count down to Christmas photo op location. Disappointing but the photo op is cute. But don’t worry, you can still visit and get your picture with Rudolph and his friends.

Don’t forget to visit Santa’s workshop. His elves are on hand to help your kids write their letters.

I will say this….one of my favorite things this year as been the big tree at the end of the pathways between San Marco and Festa Italia. Typically by Christmas Town it’s leaves are completely gone, leaving the bare outline wrapped in lights. This year we’ve been treated to the leaves holding on (thanks to the wacky Virginia weather), adding just a splash of color and shadowing to the popular photo spot.

While you’re walking through Oktoberfest, don’t forget to visit the merchants of Mistletoe Marketplace. I love shopping the various crafts from these great local vendors.

If you’re looking for food, Das Fest Haus still serves the traditional Christmas dinner of turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans, and cornbread stuffing and Trapper’s Smokehouse has their BBQ Sliders. I wish they would carry the sliders during the regular season.

And don’t forget the parks ever popular peppermint fudge hot cocoa.  Bring your mug for $2.39 refills!!

Christmas Town is now open daily through January 5th. For tickets and more information, visit their website https://buschgardens.com/williamsburg/events/christmas-town/

Howl-O-Scream 2019

On September 14, Howl-O-Scream opened once again. Members and media got a sneak peek on Friday the 13th. Lucky for us, we also had a full moon to help bring on the scares.



Dan, Matt, Cody, and myself got the chance to check out all of the mazes and enjoy the sneak preview of the new(ish) show, Jack is Back. Sadly, long time running fan favorite Fiends is gone this year (Bring back the nurses!!) but another fan favorite has returned. If you’re familiar with the Jack is Back show from years ago, you’ll remember the Ireland section of the park turns into a dance party, complete with fog and streamers, and our favorite pumpkin himself, Jack. It was hard for me to have high hopes for this show as it is nothing new, but it’s still a fun show the entire family can enjoy together.

On to the mazes….

Unfortunately t he park hasn’t introduced a new maze this year, BUT, there’s a few small additions and tweaks to the current lineup.



Circo Sinistro, while still one of my favorites, still lacks in the scares. Nothing has changed about this maze over the years except the amount of scares is still lacking (even though I will admit, they got me a few times). It’s a struggle trying to justify standing in line for longer than 30 minutes for this maze. While I enjoy it, this is one that I can pass up if the line is too long.

Demented Dimensions….We left this one disappointed. It was a favorite of mine last year. The sets are still well done, but lacked any scare actors inside. I hope it improves of the season as they can do so much with this one and they just….didn’t.

Dystopia….well done last year, well done this year. We enjoyed this even though nothing stood out to us as being great.

Lumberhack…again, a well done maze. Being outdoors they make great use of fog to help hide the scare actors. It’s also another maze I can take or leave. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still fun, but not stand in line longer than 30 minutes fun.

Vault: Overtaken….back for its second year, Jack has been released from the vault to take over Ireland, but replacing him is our second favorite Howl-O-Scream characters….the cast of FIENDS. They join the other characters of Howl-O-Screams this year. If you didn’t go through the Vault last year, here’s a simple synopsis….favorite characters from past years and favorite sets. I loved this maze last year, and enjoyed it again this year.

Frostbite…..here’s my surprise favorite for this year. I loved it the first year and hated it last year. Too much dark tunnels with nothing to see. Too few scares. Just plain boring overall last year. In fact, I couldn’t even get myself to go through it more than once. So when we were notified that we would be doing a walkthrough with reverse POV (more on that later) I honestly was disappointed. But, I still agreed to give it a chance, and I have to say I was so wrong. THEY SCARED THE CRAP OUT OF ME!!! Again, the guys had way too much fun at my expense with this maze. And we have the video to prove it. This is a maze I would go through with each visit this year. Well worth it!

Scare Zones

As with the mazes, there are no new scare zones this year.

Sideshow Square has received MAJOR improvements this year, even on opening night. Last year there were so many changes, including characters, that the whole area was just lacking. I love to people watch and this area is one that I can sit for hours and just watch everyone. Last year it was boring and lacked any sort of scares or entertainment, but this year, familiar favorites ARE BACK! I don’t usually get scared in the zones, but the guys and I took a break to watch the action and unfortunately I fell victim to being scared on more than one occasion. But I loved every second and will look forward to hanging out in this section with each visit.

Garden of Souls…another favorite from last year. Themed to Dios de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, this is another scare zone that I would actually love to see improved on or even a maze designed to its theme. While there’s not much for decorations, the scare actors do a good job of creeping up to and scaring guests passing through the area.

While walking through the park, we somehow missed Axe Alley and Fool’s Court, but if Axe Alley is typically overrun with fog and Fool’s Court last year wasn’t much about scares as it was more just watching the jesters interacting with guests. I can take it or leave it honestly.

And then there’s guest favorite Ripper Row. The headless ladies and Scotland Yard are back once again, on the search for Jack the Ripper.

The biggest disappointment for us of the night was there was no Monster Stomp. As of this writing, the show finally opened this weekend, however, opening Howl-O-Scream without a major show for the first two weeks was a tough blow for us as we were looking forward to seeing it. Another night.

Want more than just haunted mazes and shows? The park has also introduced two new No Escape Rooms, Jack’s Twisted Terror and Grave Obsession, for a separate fee.

Howl-O-Scream is open weekends and limited week day nights now through November 3.


Summer Nights returns to Busch Gardens

Summer has arrived at Busch Gardens!  And what better way to kick off summer is Summer Nights.

Last year, Busch Gardens introduced their summer event, Summer Nights.  A rave party feature neon lights, music, and bubbles.  To help kick off Summer Nights this year, the park has brought back the dance group Light Balance. Last year they performed inside the Abbey Stone Theatre with limited dates and show times.  Due to their popularity, they have expanded to the Globe Theatre with an all new show created just for Busch Gardens. Local media outlets were given a sneak peak look during one of their rehearsals and I’ll just say this….these dancers are amazing and you are going to love their show. They’ve picked up the Globe Theatre’s show schedule timeslots and will perform throughout the day, beginning at 2:00, and into the evening, through July 7.

The full list of performers are:
Light Balance June 29-July 7
Boogie Storm July 8-14
The Passing Zone July 15-21
William Close & the Earth Harp Collective July 22-28
Fighting Gravity July 29-August 4
Freckled Sky August 5-11.

Another show to look forward to during Summer Nights are SPARK, returning for its second year. Lasers, pyrotechnics, dancing, and lots of neon lights.  And don’t forget about their bubble pit.  Located at the Royal Palace Theatre, SPARK is more dance party than actual show, but it’s the chance for everyone to celebrate summer by dancing the night away.

With Summer Nights we also get new food throughout the park.  So many goodies to choose from this year.   If you enjoyed the sangria during the Food and Wine Festival, they’re not only keeping it, they will be rotating flavors weekly, like pineapple, berry, and watermelon.  Sangria was one of my favorite drinks during the Food and Wine Festival so I’m excited they’re keeping them during Summer Nights.

Other summer treats this year include chicken and waffle cones, tie-dyed crepes, chocolate dipped pretzel sticks, and the return of the Freak Shakes from Josephine’s Creamery de Chocolat.  If you missed them last year, be sure to grab one, and share with a friend.

Squires Grille will also be serving up two new burgers. Their first one, the donut burger, consists of two burger patties, bacon, and cheese, served between two maple glazed donuts, with a hard boiled egg garnish on top.  At first glance, this sounds like an odd, sickenly sweet, combination, but by first bite, I was hooked.  The combination of sweet, salty, and savory meshes well with the burgers and donuts.  The maple glaze on top is sweet but not too sweet and balances everything together nicely.

The second burger is the Impossible Burger. This burger is actually plant based, and looks and tastes pretty close to an actual beef burger.  This is not your average ‘vegan’ burger full of black beans and fillers.  Whether you’re trying to eat healthier or just want to cut meats out of your diet, the Impossible Burger is the perfect when you do get the burger craving.  Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed.


Summer Nights will run daily June 28-August 11.  https://buschgardens.com/williamsburg/events/summer-nights/


BG Food and Wine Festival 2019

Hey guys! It’s that time of year again. The annual Busch Gardens Food and Wine Festival is here. Lots of changes and new kiosks this year. Some good changes, some not so good.

Ever since it’s inception, the Food and Wine Fest is one event I look forward to at the park every year. I love food. I love wine. Perfect combination, right? This is also the time when you get to try foods from around the world, as well as eating something different in the park if you’re tired of eating at Das Fest Haus or Trapper’s Smokehouse. I will say though, this year is full of mixed emotions for me. Too many changes missed kiosks from previous years.

First off, what happened to the chef demos??? The demos have been a huge favorite of mine the last couple years! I loved seeing the dishes being prepared, and yes, being able to try them on the spot, fresh made. The demos were always a huge hit. Those kiosks have been replaced by drink stations. Not a bad swap really as some of the infusions are really good, but I still miss the demos.

New kiosks this year are Mexico, Jamaica, and Philippines, as well as the herbal infusions, garden to glass, and the sangria garden.

If you pay close attention to the new food kiosks, you’ll notice some of your past favorites were kept for some of the new kiosks. Like the empanadas from Spain are now at Mexico.

My favorite booth this year once again was Brazil. I’m crazy for the churrasco (steak with chimichurri sauce). This is a hard one for them to mess up. The steak is cooked on the grill pit outside of Trapper’s Smokehouse. Pair this with the Brazilian Lemonade or Caipirinha (rum with sugar and lime) and add their abacaxi (grilled pineapple).

If I had to pick one food booth to skip though, it would be the Philippines. I was intrigued about their Mamon, a
butter sponge cake topped with shredded cheese with raspberry sauce. Cheese on a sponge cake with raspberry sauce? My curiosity got the best of me with this one. My idea of sponge cake, or any cake for that matter, is something soft and moist. The sponge cake here was hard and crispy, more like a cookie than a cake. The raspberry sauce was good but there was no shredded cheese on the cake (or was it cooked inside?). I wish I had tried the Siopao (steamed pork bun with sweet soy glaze) instead. If you have to pick a kiosk to skip, this one would be it.

Other returning favorites from Ireland (bangers and colcannon), Korea (beef bulgogi), and Mediterranean (lamb sliders and loukoumades) were still popular and very good. While I was looking forward to ending my sampling with the pecan bacon bars from Virginia, by the time we made it back around to them, they were sold out, unfortunately.

Another new favorite though was at the Italy kiosk. Italy replaced Spain (I miss the scallops and gazpacho!) with their mushroom risotto and caprese. I skipped the risotto (although I have heard from others it’s really good) and opted for the caprese. This simple dish is a hit. The tomatoes and mozzarella cheese make for a nice light, refreshing, dish to enjoy in the hot summer. Yes, I can make it at home, and I do, but this one is worth it at the park as well.

Now for the drinks. The new herbal infusion station offers up drinks such as lavender lemonade, watermelon mojito and mint julep, and rosemary lemon Moscato. We opted for the lemonade and mojito. the lavender lemonade was REALLY strong. The lavender overpowers the lemonade flavor. In fact, as we drank it down, we added water and more ice and it was still too overpowering for us. This was one drink we couldn’t finish. The watermelon mojito however…..SO GOOD!!! I could get this over and over. Not too sweet, not overpowering in flavor. It had the perfect combination of everything to it. Highly recommend!

I will admit I skipped the Garden to Glass kiosk. I don’t do Bloody Mary’s and after the lavender lemonade, I was scared to try the Strawberry, Orange, Beet & Ginger Smoothie

My absolute favorite new kiosk this year though, is the Sangria Garden. You cannot pass this one up!! If they kept this year round, I would be one happy girl. They offer four flavors:
Red Sangria – Traditional red sangria
White Sangria – Citrus Moscato sangria
Rose Sangria – Strawberry rose sangria
Frozen Sangria


You can buy the sangria by the glass or try all four as a flight. Either way, it’s worth it! The frozen sangria was the best, followed by the red, but honestly, all four are very good, very refreshing, and perfect on a hot summer day.

The food and wine festival runs Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, through June 30. If you’re a member, don’t forget to scan your pass at the self serve kiosk at the park entrance and claim your free sample with EACH visit!

Coasting For Kids at Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Who’s ready for some coasters??

This weekend, Busch Gardens will be opening for the 2019 season.  While it’s been a long two months since the park closed in January, I know everyone is eager to get back to their favorite coasters.

On Saturday, Busch Gardens Williamsburg will be kicking off the season by hosting Coasting for Kids, a fundraising, roller coaster riding event for kids with critical illnesses and their families.  This event is being co-hosted by Give Kids The World.

Haven’t heard of Give Kids The World?  Neither had I until recently.  Here’s a little information on them….

GKTW was Founded in 1986 by Central Florida hotelier and philanthropist, Henri Landwirth.

The GKTW village, opened in 1989, is an 84-acre, nonprofit resort built exclusively to serve critically-ill children and their families. The villas offer fully accessible accommodations, with all meals provided on site, tickets to local attraction, plus all transportation.

Local wish-granting organizations also assist GKTW with providing airfare, car rentals, spending money, and anything else the families need, to include helping with medical care and translators.  These donations help to relieve the stress of illnesses by giving the families a week long dream vacation, stress free.

And the best part?  There is never any charge to visiting families, and no child is ever turned away.

Since 1986, GKTW has served over 160,000 families from all 50 states and over 75 countries.

If you think GKTW sounds similar to another well known organization, Make a Wish Foundation, you are correct.  According to Jessica Mueller, Social & Content Strategist for GKTW, they actually partner with Make A Wish Foundation and over 230 other wish granting partners to fulfill wishes of critically ill children whose wish is related to theme parks.  “When wish granting organizations have a child whose wish is to visit the Central Florida attractions, they work with us.  We fulfill the wish for not only the wish child, but the whole family with a week-long, cost-free dream vacation.” says Mueller.

How can you participate in the Coasting with Kids event at Busch Gardens?  Simple. The park is asking for guests to start your own fundraiser to help support the mission.  By raising just $100 (that’s EASY, right?), you can receive an event exclusive t-shirt, and all day access to Busch Gardens beginning at 8:00am with exclusive early rides on the coasters.

If you want to know more about GKTW check them out on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/gktwvillage/

The Busch Gardens Coasting for Kids event page can be found here

For more information about the event, and how to start your own fundraiser (it’s not too late!!!) visit http://www.gktw.org/coasting to sign up.

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