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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/


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