Tournament, round one: Christmas at Busch Gardens, or Dollywood?
Published: March 18, 2011 at 7:10 AM
So that's why I'm showing some love today to two parks that have created their own special events for the Christmas season. And you'll vote today to advance one of them to the next round of the 2011 Theme Park Insider Tournament: America's Best Theme Park Event.
Christmas Town debuted in 2009 at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, featuring special holiday-themed shows, selected rides from the park, new walk-through attractions and a feast with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Not to mention more lights than I care to count, too.
Smoky Mountain Christmas at Dollywood shares its name with an old Dolly Parton movie, and debuted in the park in 1990. Being Dollywood, the focus here is on live musical shows, and Smoky Mountain Christmas delivers with at least half a dozen special holiday-themed shows, as well as a parade and the Polar Express 4-D show (familiar to SeaWorld Orlando visitors).
Both parks provide an entertaining template for what other parks can do to extend their year into the holiday season, the same way that Knott's Berry Farm showed the industry how to extend the season into October with Halloween events. But only one of these events can move on in our tournament. Which will it be?
Please share your experience with either (or both) of these events, in the comments.