What do you get when you cross gaudy high tech Christmas celebrating with one of the most beautiful theme parks in North America….?
You get Christmastown and there is no equal
Christmas In America: Big Is Never Big Enough
You can never over Christmas in America. We take having fun at Christmas very serious in this country. So that being the case you have to experience Christmastown at Busch Gardens. I mean who better to exaggerate the pageantry of American style Christmas than Busch Gardens. A great theme park is looking to be larger than life and to put on a show.
Upon entering the park I was totally overwhelmed, in a good way, as mountains of Christmas lights were..EVERYWHERE. It was beautiful, exhausting, phantasmagorical, and exciting all at the same time. It really was a different park. Yes it was Busch Gardens Williamsburg, but it was transformed convincingly. And they did a great job getting you into the Yule tide mood almost immediately. The place did not look faked or makeshift, but a new flavor of theme park experience.
Walking Through The Gates
First of all I was in the dark most of the time I was there. Walking into the park I was wearing a heavy coat, not feeling as energetic as those t shirt months when I would jam in with a giant crowd of summer thrill seekers. I immediately noticed that the majority of Banbury Cross in England was decorated in soft Christmas lights. It was a great way to set the mood as Big Ben, lighted to perfection, protruded into the dusk. And because it was the holiday season, and cooler, I immediately wanted to eat.
Festive Feelings In Christmas Town
The first stop was to get my hot chocolate that people who had been to the park at this time of year have raved about. So I purchased my refillable mug, and defacto souvenir, and ordered my first cup of hot cocoa. But it is never that easy. Next to the very nice barista was a sign for a smore and no campfire needed. Of course on an empty stomach I had to try the holiday treat.
ChristmasTown Sugar Rush
For the first few bites it was heaven..cookie, graham cracker pieces, chocolate chips and marshmallow crème. All of course being washed down with hot cocoa. I am estimating that I was consuming about 1000 calories with every bite and at least a tablespoon of pure cane sugar with every forkful. After about ten bites my blood sugar was spiking and the family begin the trek further into the park. I certainly wasn’t going to be hungry for a while!
Subtle And Welcome Differences
As I traversed the festive atmosphere I noticed a lot of details that were put in place to maintain the mood. They were:
- Custom park maps designated and designed with the Christmas Town theme
- Lighted maps (perfect for the nighttime) all through the park
- Custom signs giving directions to the new attractions
- Delicious holiday treat style menu items like hot cocoa, smores etc
- Warm up stations with outdoor heaters
A Few Drawbacks
- It was night and I found myself sitting down to eat in the dark. Dark and cold are not a magic combination, Christmas season or not
- I should have researched the park a little more because it had all new shows and it was hard to digest it all
- I should have planned the meals a little better for maximum consumption. I didn’t know there was a sausage wrapped pretzel until I had filled up already.
But Still A Great Experience
In fact I enjoyed Christmastown USA more than the usual summer fun park experience. People drive around looking for incredible displays of lights on homes. In that context a theme park with tens of thousands of lights is a must see spectacle, for some as much as any new ride or roller coaster.
A Few Christmas Town Tips
Check the weather
If the weather is less than 58, bring your heavy coat. It is going to feelmuch colder than you think. You are going to be out in the cold for hours. Even 45 degrees can get rather chilly over time, even in the festive atmosphere.
Premium Parking..Just Pay It
For $10 extra dollars you can park in walking distance from the parking lot to the entrance of BG. It is worth it. At ten a night when you leave you are not going to want to wait in the cold for a tram and then freeze on that tram from a cold air blast as you are shuttled to your car. Pay the extra $10.