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Disclosure: As an Affiliate Blogger for Busch Gardens Virginia through Mom Central I received an invitation to a Christmas Town Preview Event. Opinions are my own.

Christmas Town Busch Gardens

Well, I haven’t fully decided on our Thanksgiving menu for this year yet, but I am definitely in a much merrier mood after visiting Busch Gardens® Christmas Town™ for a Preview Event!

Nothing lifts my spirits more in Winter than gorgeous sparkling lights, hot cocoa, and beautiful Christmas music. We began our evening at the Christmas Town Lighting Ceremony with the O’Tannenbaum Tree in front of Das Festhaus. A collective roar of approval went through the crowd at the lighting of 8 million Christmas lights and I am so glad we were there.

Shortly after the tree lighting, it began to get dark and the park really took on a festive and magical appearance.

Christmas Town Lights

I honestly enjoyed the lighting throughout the park the most overall.

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My daughter was delighted with the refillable hot cocoa mugs, the rides and the fun of running around after dark in winter weather. While obviously not all the rides are open, many are and I loved seeing the England Skyride cars going across the sky rimmed with lights.

As I was cold (definitely dress warmly this year!), I ended up wandering through many of the shops. I got a beautiful mistletoe ornament in the England Christmas Towne Shoppe, and walked outside to find “snow” falling. Just beautiful. My kids were enjoying the firepit with peppermint hot chocolates.

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Personally, I thought the lights at the Polar Pathway in Italy were the most amazing.

Polar Pathway #ChristmasTown

I also loved the Peace on Earth theme reflected in so many lights in Italy.

Peace on Earth Lighting #ChristmasTown

 

We wandered around just enjoying all the lighting, heading towards Castle O’ Sullivan in Ireland for a Dinner at Santa’s Fireside Feast.While this was especially for my youngest, we all enjoyed the show and got to visit with Santa Claus, have cookies served by Mrs. Claus and watch the jolly elves. A fun experience overall.

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Meeting Mrs. Claus at Santa's Fireside Feast

After dinner, we discussed which show to see, with choices like the Scrooge No More, Miracles and Gloria. We peeked in at the Deck the Halls performance in Das Festhaus. At that point, my daughter learned there were live penguins over in the Ice Palace, so shows were put on hold and we continued our journey around the park.

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All too soon, it was closing time. As usual, we did not get to do everything available! I need to go back and see more of the live shows, which all sounded wonderful. As a southern girl, I just wish it would stay about 50 degrees for me, but nevertheless, I would go back. I think this is a fantastic holiday tradition for families and yet again, I found all the employees very kind, the park clean and the festivities and shows family friendly.

Take a look at the Christmas Town website to plan your trip, Christmas town runs through December 31, 2014. And yes, your kids will be tired out from having so much fun!

Sleepy after Christmas Town

As an aside, I’d also like to share that I got to try out Photokey. Photokey is a new program they are offering at the park. Using Photokey, you can visit places inside the park, take digital pictures that are then available online for you to access and print, even create gifts.

I had some trouble with my photokey, because of a problem with my password. I was really upset, but it was my error. Luckily, they figured out the issue and I was able to get some great shots. I love the idea of owning all my photos. We were able to get some beautiful photos of my daughter with Santa Claus and now I can turn these into ornaments for grandparents! I do recommend looking into the Photokey service.

Here are a few of my favorite spots with Photokey locations in the park:

  • Highland Stables (Scotland)
  • Christmas Carriage (Big Ben in England)
  • O Tannenbaum (Oktoberfest)
  • Polar Pictures (Polar Pathway in Italy)

Visit Christmas Town for Christmas Town details, and to watch for specials – I have seen a few already. I so want to go back with all my family! To see more pictures check out #ChristmasTown, or @BuschGardensVA on Twitter and Instagram. The official Facebook page is:www.facebook.com/buschgardens.

You can also download the Busch Gardens mobile app, it is available on the iTunes and Google Play store. Play a new scavenger hunt in the app, while you are enjoying Christmas Town:)

Disclosure: As an Affiliate Blogger for Busch Gardens Virginia through Mom Central I received complimentary tickets for my family but was not otherwise compensated. Opinions are my own.

Roman Rapids Ride

Roman Rapids Ride

As I write this post, I think I want to begin at the end. Because one of the last things the kids did together was so fun for me to watch and it just summed up the reason I wanted to go to Busch Gardens in the first place ~

I wanted to get as many of my kids as possible together and do something memorable and super fun. To get outside together without having to make a ton of plans, just to BE. As all my kids grow up, go to college, and begin their own families, time together becomes more and more precious and it is harder to get everyone together than in past years, for sure…

I have to say, my most favorite moment of the day was watching (almost) all my kids, including my daughters’ boyfriend and my daughter in law, go down the river on the Roman Rapids Ride. I stood there and wondered how time had gone by so quickly. I loved seeing how much fun they were having together…I heard them taking care of each other, and a little bit of teasing, but not much. It’s every moms dream to see your kids having this much fun together, don’t you think? Take a look for yourself:

While my kids may remember Griffon, Verbolten or Alpengeist more, I know I’ll never forget watching them from the bank as they laughed their way down the river. Seriously, right then, I was so glad Busch Gardens existed, that it was nice and that the kids all made it that day.

So now you know how I felt about the day and the park already! But anyway, the day began way earlier as we live a few hours away from Busch Gardens Williamsburg. We took two cars and met up at the park. My daughter made one stop on the way:

On the way to Busch Gardens Williamsburg

On the way to Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Once we all arrived, beginning with the tram ride to the entrance, I found the park facilities to be wonderfully clean, with the grounds so well kept and the staff very friendly. Honestly, the park has the feeling of being well run, overall.

The kids at Busch Gardens Williamsburg

The kids at Busch Gardens Williamsburg

We stayed together mostly as a big group, although we had the roller coaster riders…and the non roller coaster riders! But that worked out because we needed someone to hold bags! Note: the lockers are good, but most people still want to keep phones, wallet, a few little items with them. I would consider wearing a non-lame fanny pack next time. I did get some of the Cashless wristbands, one less thing to carry and my youngest thought it was fantastic.

So, after looking at our park maps and checking the show times, (you can also use the Busch Gardens Discovery Guide App), we had a rough plan and started riding! My son Nick wore a Go Pro camera and filmed a bunch of the coasters, which was neat to see. Park regulations permit go pros with the chest straps.

Loch Ness roller coaster in Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Loch Ness roller coaster in Busch Gardens Williamsburg

As my kids are older, we skipped most of the little kid areas, like the KIDsiderate Attractions, which moms of younger kids should check out. (We did last year) We hit all the coasters! Here is a Nick Go Pro Video of Verbolten, I was laughing so hard listening to this one:

And here’s Griffon:

See more of Nick’s park videos on my youtube channel!

After a bunch of intense rides, we took a little detour to chill out, get some water and decide on lunch. We saw the Clydesdales, the grey wolves, the hawks…as a homeschool mom, I am very interested in all their nature and conservation programs (but I’ll save that for another post!).

Petting Clydesdale at Highland Stables

Petting Clydesdale at Highland Stables

After some more wandering, we ended up eating while watching the Entwined: Tales of Good and Grimm show. This was a great decision, because the show was a trip, everyone ate a solid meal and got to relax. Nick got a chicken and barbeque plate that was very good. Note: I see you can pre-purchase meal deals  with a discount. I think I would do this next time. We hung out in Germany for awhile and checked out some shops and enjoyed the carousel and bumper cars.

Visiting the fountain at Busch Gardens Germany

Visiting the fountain at Busch Gardens Germany

Big brother and little sister Carousel Ride at Busch Gardens #99daysofsummerfun

Big brother and little sister Carousel Ride at Busch Gardens #99daysofsummerfun

My daughter and her boyfriend wandered off to ride some more rides and then they had a portrait done! The portrait is adorable and I know she loves it, great job Gwen!

Busch Gardens Portrait Artist

Portrait done by Portrait artist, Gwen

Then, there was more riding and laughing… and mom NOT doing anything but having fun also!

I have to say, it was an intense day! so much fun and just one day:) We had to leave a lot undone, but we all got to do most of the things we had wanted to.

The day was nearly over by now, but we were able to see the London Rocks Show, which was a very entertaining musical show with great technology as well, loads of classic British rock woven into a story and a few 3D surprises…shhh!

London Rocks

London Rocks Show at Busch Gardens Williamsburg

All in all, it was a fantastic day. You can tell by all the smiles:

my kids at Busch Gardens

My Eldest and his gorgeous wife enjoying family time at the park

All this fun and time together and no one had to make anything or do anything… I think I will start a tradition where our whole family has to meet and do this at least once a year. This year, Busch Gardens is having #99daysofsummerfun, and I like that idea:)

So whether you are a family full of littles needing to burn off energy or have a house full of teenagers, Busch Gardens is a great way to get outside easily and have some fun together. They have special shows and events throughout the summer, and a few other special events throughout the year. You can purchase an annual pass or Fun card. There are other online deals for shorter time periods, as well as plenty of information about the park on their website.

Check out Busch Gardens Williamsburg:

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