This year’s Christmas Town continues to up the ante with more than eight million lights and some new attractions and additional ride operations to supplement a solid, yet limited lineup of rides and an impressive lineup of shows. New to the park for Christmas Town is a small photo opportunity themed around the classic Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. The park has transformed the extended queue of Apollo’s Chariot into the North Pole with chances for guests to take pictures with Yukon Cornelius, Bumble, Rudolph, and Clarice from the beloved Rankin Bass production. Despite the use of a number of cardboard cutouts throughout the queue, the area is well done, though guests should know that when they queue up to see the area, they are merely waiting in line for the character photo op, and it is not designed to be a walk through.
The park has also wisely decided to open Sesame Street Forest of Fun along with addition some holiday lights and decorations to the area. While more probably could be done in this area, the mere fact that smaller kids can have some more rides to experience with Land of the Dragons closed is a big plus. The park is also operating Tempesto this year to help spread out some of the crowds that can get quite overwhelming especially later in the month.
The park returns its high-caliber lineup of shows including the impressive ‘Twas the Night starring two-time Olympic Silver Medalist Elvis Stojko. The ice skating show is framed around the famous Clement Clarke Moore poem that find Stojko in the lead role of the father mesmerized by what he sees on Christmas Eve. This show is not to be missed, and if you want to see the incredible skating (far more impressive than Disney on Ice) up close, expect to line up at the Royal Palace Theater more than 30 minutes ahead of show time or purchase a reserved seating package.
Scrooge No More is another not to be missed show that delivers the classic Dickens tale as a short (25-minute) musical with an original score at the indoor Globe Theater. This show has high production values with an energetic cast and memorable songs.
The park also returns the quaint Deck the Halls 50’s-era singing and dancing show to the Festhaus and gospel-themed Gloria! to the Abbey Stone Theater. Both are great shows worthy of planning to see, but not the must-sees that ‘Twas the Night and Scrooge No More are.
As other regional parks start to get into the Christmas business, Busch Gardens Williamsburg has established a solid tradition that will continue to attract more guests. While the ride operations are still limited, which can cause walkways to be extremely crowded on busy days, there is plenty for guests to do with shows and light displays that are worthy of repeat viewings. The park still only offers Christmas Town as a separately ticketed event, so even season passholders need to purchase admission to experience the park’s holiday transformation. Nonetheless, it is definitely worth it, and after attending other holiday events at other regional parks, Christmas Town is still the bar that the other parks outside of Florida and California will strive to reach.
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