My family has been visiting Christmas Town at Busch Gardens Williamsburg since it’s opening day and it’s always been a favorite holiday tradition of mine. After not visiting due to the pandemic, I was so excited to revisit the park and, in my opinion, one of the best holiday celebrations I’ve visited. For this trip over Thanksgiving Break, my family visited Christmas Town for two days (the day before and the day of Thanksgiving). Today, I’ll be reviewing my experience at this year’s event and all of its festive components!
The Lights & Decor
Busch Gardens Christmas Town is well-known for its ten million twinkling lights. For the most part, the park did not disappoint. Many of the classic light displays, including the overlay of Escape from Pompeii and the “Peace on Earth” light fixture over the Rhine River, returned this year. However, the lights in the France area of the park were scaled back. Instead of the gorgeous “12 days of Christmas” theme with 13 white, blue, and purple trees throughout the area, the section of the park only had garland lining the buildings, similar to the first fews years of Christmas Town. Even with the smaller display in France, the lights were still absolutely gorgeous. My personal two favorite areas are the blue trees in Scotland and the green trees in the Wildlife Reserve path, but the entire park is truly gorgeous.
Compared to previous years, I will say that the shows and entertainment at Christmas Town this year was a bit disappointing. The only returning stage show was Scrooge No More, which I highly recommend, but I did miss favorites like Gloria! and Deck the Halls. Scrooge No More is Busch Garden’s retelling of Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, featuring original songs, choreography, and set pieces. Since it’s premiere, I’ve always enjoyed the fun (and rather impressive staging of the) production. Unto Us was a new show that appeared to be a substitute for Gloria! and was my favorite new show of the season. All of the performers were such talented singers and I felt that it was such a beautifully staged show. Since it was an outdoor show, I did take pictures of it and hope to share the series in a future blog post!
I did watch most of Up on the Haustop, and while the show wasn’t bad, I didn’t really enjoy it. Its predecessor, Deck the Halls, had been running since the event’s inception and was largely focused on more of a classic Christmas and well-known traditions. Up on the Haustop, on the other hand, had a much more glitzy feel and look. While the song list was a nice update for the event, I didn’t personally like the new sets and costumes, and I missed the live full brass band that was an integral part of the original show.
Celtic Fyre: A Christmas Celebration took the main season hit Celtic Fyre and advertised a holiday twist to the show. While I’ve always loved Celtic Fyre, this version of the show didn’t feel like it was a part of the holiday season. Except for the two folk songs in the middle of the show, and one additional song at the end of the show (“Christmas in Killarney”), the show had no difference from the regular version. I did love the energy and staging of the Christmas in Killarney number and wished the show had more numbers like that!
Christmas Town also had a variety of street performances throughout the different lands – all of them added such a nice ambience and festive feel and featured such talented performers!
Character Meet & Greets
That’s right, character meet and greets are back at Christmas Town! As always, you can meet the famous Busch Gardens Clydesdales in Scotland. Additionally, a rotating schedule of Sesame Street friends can be found at their regular meeting location in the Sesame Street Forest of Fun. In Germany, by the Wilkkomenhaus, Gingy the Gingerbread Man and Frosty the Snowman are back after their couple year hiatus from Busch Gardens, and Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer and Clarice have returned for another year. If you’re looking for the star of the holiday season, you can visit Santa, Mrs. Claus, and the elves at Santa’s Workshop in Oktoberfest – which is actually an interactive walkthrough experience!
Unlike most other theme parks, there are no partitions between you and the characters, and you can even hug your favorite friends again! All of these meet and greets, with the exception of Santa’s Workshop, are located outdoors or in open-air buildings.
Rides & Attractions
I unfortunately can’t comment too much on this section since I didn’t go on too many rides this trip, but many of the park’s rides were open (weather permitting, of course). I did, however, go on the Christmas Town Express, which is the holiday version of the train around the park. This year, entry and exit was only taking place from the New France station, but my whole family thinks that it made the experience a lot more enjoyable (and less lengthy). I really enjoyed all of the light displays that were only visible from the train – definitely an attraction that I’d recommend!
Food options were much more limited than in previous years, but I was able to find some treats around the park! If you want to read more about my food experience at the parks, you can check out my recent blog post – Holiday Treats at Busch Gardens Christmas Town.
While this year’s event is a bit underwhelming compared to the park in previous years, Christmas Town is still a merry and bright holiday event for the whole family. Despite some of the cutbacks and changes to the traditional lineup, I still very much enjoyed my trip! I would highly recommend Christmas Town, but would advise those who have attended in previous years to be aware that a lot has changed in a relatively short amount of time.
If you’re looking for more about my Christmas Town experience, be sure to visit my social media pages and keep your eye out on my YouTube channel for my vlogs to premiere!
Are you planning on attending Christmas Town this year?
Have a terrific day,